I was going to make beignets for Mardi Gras. Truly, I was. In fact, I even made a batch, but I just wasn’t blown away. At first I was confused and concerned. After all, I’ve heard over and over how wonderful beignets are. Then I remembered; I’m a cake doughnut kind of girl. I will almost always take a cake doughnut over a yeast doughnut. Beyond that, I will always choose an old fashioned doughnut over any other kind. So I threw caution to the wind and made old fashioned sour cream doughnuts for Mardi Gras.


The best old fashioned doughnuts I’ve eaten came from Gibson’s in Memphis and, try as I might, I can’t find an old fashioned doughnut in Atlanta that even comes close. In fact, I’ve found it difficult to locate an old fashioned doughnut at all around here. We have some spectacular doughnut shops; Revolution Doughnuts and Sublime Doughnuts both come to mind, but I’ve never seen an old fashioned doughnut at either place.


So I was feeling a whole lot of joy as these beautiful doughnuts came into being. I can stop feeling empty and lost whenever I go into a doughnut shop and those old fashioned sour cream doughnuts just aren’t there, because now I know how to make them at home. And I will make them at home. Often.

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe By:
Recipe Type: Breakfast, Sweet
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • Doughnuts
  • 2¼ C Cake Flour
  • 1½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
  • 2 T Shortening
  • ½ C Sugar
  • 2 Egg Yolks, large
  • ⅔ C Sour Cream
  • Bread Flour, for dusting
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying
  • Glaze
  • 3½ C Powdered Sugar
  • 1½ tsp Corn Syrup
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Approx ⅓ C Hot Water
  1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg and set aside.
  2. Add the shortening and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low until the shortening is incorporated and the sugar takes on a sandy texture.
  3. Add the egg yolks and increase the speed to medium, mixing just until the eggs have been incorporated and scrape the bowl.
  4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the sour cream to the mixer bowl, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients (dry, sour cream, dry, sour cream dry).
  5. Mix just until a sticky dough forms, scraping the bowl as needed.
  6. Scrape the dough into a new bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  7. During the hour, pour enough oil into a large cast iron pot (or fryer) so that the oil is several inches deep. Heat the oil to 325 degrees F.
  8. Mix up the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and hot water and mixing well. If the glaze seems to be too thick, stir in 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  9. Prepare a cooling rack set over paper towels or newspaper.
  10. Once the dough has finished chilling, liberally flour a work space with bread flour and gently roll out the dough until it is ½" thick. Use a doughnut cutter or two round cookie cutters to cut out the doughnuts and holes. Lightly score the doughnuts three times, making a triangle in the ring of the doughnut. This helps the "petals" of the doughnut to open up.
  11. When the oil is at 325 degrees F, carefully slide several doughnuts in scored side up. Take care not to overcrowd the pot.
  12. When the doughnuts float to the surface of the oil, let them cook for 15 seconds before flipping them over.
  13. Once flipped over, fry for 90 seconds.
  14. Flip the doughnuts over again so the scored side with the "petals" is now facing up and fry for another 75 seconds - until the doughnuts are nice and golden brown.
  15. Remove the doughnuts from the oil and set them on the rack to drain and cool slightly.
  16. While still warm, drip the doughnuts, petals side down, into the glaze. If a crust has formed on the glaze, be sure to stir it up first. Smoosh the doughnut around in the glaze a bit and then pick it up to let some excess glaze dribble back into the bowl.
  17. Return the glazed doughnut to the rack to let the glaze set up.
  18. Repeat the process until all doughnuts have been cooked.
  19. When you only have the doughnut holes left, cook them the same way, using about 75% of the frying time for each step. When they are ready to be glazed, drop a bunch in the glaze at once and shake the bowl or gently stir the holes in the glaze until the doughnut holes are fully coated. Let the excess glaze drip off of the doughnut holes and put them on the rack to set up.
The book from which this recipe came, Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker, suggests cookie cutters in the following sizes: Large: 2¾" and Small: 1¼".

All frying times are approximate.