pic 1Donuts—also known as deep-fried parcels of joy—can be made at home if you follow the proper techniques. Make your first batch after consulting our guide!You can make just about anything at home—fried donuts, baked donuts, glazed donuts, filled donuts, cake donuts. Sure, you can make other things besides donuts, but can anything compare to the feeling of pride after you make you first batch of homemade donuts? We’re here to provide the best tips for crafting the perfect donut and to eliminate the stigma of late-night donut-frying extravaganzas.

How to Make Donuts at Home

I know you’re excited to dust off your deep-fryer, but the perfect donut involves a bit of science. Though donuts come in many varieties (like the spiced South African koe’sister), those approved by correctional officers and college students alike usually come in two forms: cake and yeast.

Yeast donuts, which have a soft, almost spongy texture, get their airiness from the yeast itself. Adding water and sugar activates the yeast, which feeds on the sugar and induces a chemical process that releases CO2. Yeast not only creates air bubbles that elevate dough, but also imparts an incredible flavor into the donuts.

A cake donut, on the other hand, has a denser texture and is usually sweetened, with a crunchy exterior and a cake-like interior. Yeast donuts are often glazed or filled, while cake donuts can also be coated in various glazes and toppings but are rarely filled.

One thing you must understand about yeast: it rarely ever plays by the rules. As such, a successful batch of yeast donuts requires vigilance and proper technique. You must raise them adequately, lest they turn on you and deflate. The chemical process of raising the donut dough is known as proofing, and the air temperature matters: 95° to 100° F is ideal for the proofing stage. If the air temperature is too cold, your donuts will be stunted—too hot, and they may rise too quickly and then deflate, leaving you with flat donuts.

The proper temperature for the frying oil (canola is the most popular because of its neutral flavor) is 375° F. You should closely monitor the temperature, or else you’ll end up with unevenly colored donuts. Once they’ve achieved a South Beach-style tan, let them dry off on a paper towel. Glaze your donuts while they’re still warm—but not exceedingly warm—to keep the glaze from hardening too quickly.

There you have it: the steps to achieving the perfect donut. Let the donut-making commence with some of the Internet’s favorite recipes down below.

Try These Yourself!

Classic Glazed Donuts: If you appreciate the classics, a glazed yeast donut will allow your hard work to truly shine.

Nutella-Filled Donuts: Put yourself to the test with this Nutella-filled yeast donut. Consume with caution.

Apple Cider Donuts: An absolute fall favorite that you’ll make every autumn, year after year.

Strawberry Sufganiyot: The addition of brandy and orange zest to the dough adds a luscious fragrance that perfectly complements the strawberry filling.