Make delicious, crispy, buttery, and airy fried dough at home in less than 20 minutes! It is even better than the fried bread at the country fair. This melt-in-your-mouth treat is perfect with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Fried dough can be topped with a variety of sweet or savory toppings, making it the perfect snack or dessert!

Fried dough.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This homemade fried dough recipe is easy to make.
  • The dough only requires a few simple ingredients.
  • You probably already have all of the ingredients in your kitchen pantry!
  • This recipe takes just 20 minutes in total.
  • It is versatile.
  • Top it with a variety of sweet or savory toppings.
  • It is delicious comfort food.
  • This fried bread is crispy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside.
  • It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
  • Check out these Baked Donuts for another fun recipe!

Ingredients & Substitutes

These are the ingredients and substitutions for fried dough. Scroll down to the bottom for the full recipe.

Use all-purpose flour for this recipe. I have not tested another flour yet.

Granulated sugar adds a touch of sweetness.

Baking powder helps these dough bites remain light and airy.

A touch of salt balances out the sweetness.

Milk helps to thin out the batter. Feel free to use any type of milk. I used 2% for these photos.

Vanilla extract adds a cozy homemade flavor.

Fry the dough in vegetable oil for the best results.

Lastly, add your favorite toppings! Powdered sugar is my favorite.

Ingredients for fried dough.

Taste & Texture

This fried dough is sweet and buttery. The powdered sugar on top adds more sweetness.

The texture is crispy on the outside and light and airy inside.

Add your favorite toppings for a customizable flavor!

How to Make

Step 1

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Flour in glass bowl.

Step 2

In a separate small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla extract.

Milk in glass bowl.

Step 3

Gradually pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until a sticky dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

Step 4

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead it gently for a minute to ensure it’s well combined.

Flour dough on parchment paper.

Step 5

Divide the dough into smaller portions, about the size of a golf ball, and roll each portion into a ball.

Batter balls with flour.

Step 6

In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F (175°C). Use a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Step 7

Carefully drop a few dough balls into the hot oil, being cautious not to overcrowd the pot.

Step 8

Fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown.

Step 9

Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the fried dough from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Step 10

Repeat the frying process with the remaining dough balls until all are cooked.

Step 11

Allow it to cool slightly before serving. Optionally, dust them with powdered sugar or sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar for added flavor.

Step 12

Serve the fried dough warm and enjoy!

Balls of fried dough.

Expert Tips for Success

Here are a few expert tips and tricks for making the best fried dough at home.

Use a light touch when mixing the dough. Overmixing will make the dough tough.

Heat the oil to the correct temperature before frying the dough. This will help prevent the dough from absorbing too much oil and becoming greasy.

Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying the dough. This will lower the temperature of the oil and make the dough soggy.

Flavor Variations & Add-Ins

This fried dough recipe is a blank canvas, so you can customize it to your liking. Here are a few flavor variations and add-ins to try.

  • Sweet toppings: powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, Nutella, fruit, maple syrup
  • Savory toppings: cheese, bacon, garlic, onion powder, herbs

How to Serve & Store

Fried dough is best served warm and fresh.

You can top it with your favorite toppings and enjoy it immediately.

My favorite way to serve fried dough is topped with powdered sugar!

This sweet treat can also be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

Fry Bread Versus Fried Dough

CharacteristicFry BreadFried Dough
IngredientsFlour, baking powder, salt, waterFlour, baking powder, salt, water, sugar, milk
TextureDense, chewyLight, crispy
FlavorNeutralSweet, distinct
History & CultureNative American cultural significanceAmerican

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use other types of flour?

You can use other types of flour, such as whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour. However, the texture of the dough may be different.

Can I use other types of oil?

I highly recommend using vegetable oil for this recipe.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to fry the dough, simply let it come to room temperature before frying.

Are elephant ears and fried dough the same?

Elephant ears and fried dough are the same delicious treat. They are made with a simple dough that is deep-fried and served with your favorite toppings.

Is pizza dough the same thing as fried dough?

Pizza dough and fried dough are similar, but they are not the same thing. Pizza dough is typically made with yeast, flour, water, salt, and sugar. It is then kneaded and allowed to rise before being shaped into a pizza and baked. Fried dough, on the other hand, is typically made with flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. It is then mixed with water or milk and fried in hot oil until golden brown.

Is fried dough a New England thing?

Fried dough is a popular treat all over the United States, but it is especially popular in New England. It is often sold at fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks in the region. It is also a popular menu item at many seafood restaurants and clam shacks in New England.

Powdered sugar with fried pastry.

Equipment Needed

Use a candy thermometer to accurately measure the temperature of the oil.

You May Also Enjoy

If you enjoy this homemade fried dough recipe, please leave a rating and review! You can find more great recipes on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. Check out these Dessert Recipes for more recipes!

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Fried dough.

Fried Dough

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Addison LaBonte
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This homemade fried dough tastes like it came from the country fair!  It has the perfect light and airy texture.  This recipe is surprisingly very quick and easy to make.  Top with powdered sugar, melted chocolate, or whipped cream!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • Cinnamon sugar, for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until a sticky dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it gently for a minute to ensure it’s well combined.
  5. Divide the dough into smaller portions, about the size of a golf ball, and roll each portion into a ball.
  6. In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F (175°C). Use a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature.
  7. Carefully drop a few dough balls into the hot oil, being cautious not to overcrowd the pot. Fry them for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown.
  8. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the fried dough from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  9. Repeat the frying process with the remaining dough balls until all are cooked.
  10. Allow the fried dough to cool slightly before serving. Optionally, you can dust them with powdered sugar or sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar for added flavor.
  11. Serve the fried dough warm and enjoy!

Notes

  • The dough should be sticky.
  • Use flour on your hands and the working surface as needed.
  • Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the hot oil.
  • The fried dough really only needs a few minutes.  Do not fry too long.
  • This is best eaten soon after making.