Light and fluffy yeasted donut dough fried to golden perfection rolled in cinnamon sugar and stuffed with a gingerbread cream cheese filling, perfect gingerbread donuts
Why make these donuts?
If you're looking for an easy, light, and fluffy donut recipe this is the one for you! These yeasted donuts are raised and fried to the perfect texture. They are then rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with a silky gingerbread cream cheese for an irresistible Christmas-themed treat.
If you want to switch up the flavors feel free to change the gingerbread cream to something like pastry cream or Nutella. There are so many different options!
There are quite a few ingredients that go into these donuts, but most of them are pantry staples and are found in most kitchens!
- All-purpose flour: Regular flour works perfectly for these donuts. If you want to give your donuts a little more support and structure feel free to use bread flour
- Lukewarm water: Water hydrates the dough while keeping it light
- Lukewarm milk: Milk hydrates the dough while adding extra fat and flavor
- White sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to the dough as well as acting as fuel for the yeast to grow and rise
- Instant yeast: Yeast are the organisms that power the rising of the dough, ultimately giving the donuts their light and fluffy texture
- Pinch of salt: Salt helps to strengthen the dough as well as balance out the flavor
- Unsalted butter: Butter adds fat to the dough, giving it a tender texture and extra flavor
- Neutral oil: Oil is needed to deep fry these! Make sure you use a neutral-flavored oil like vegetable or canola oil otherwise your donuts will take on the flavor of the oil.
- Granulated sugar: Aka white sugar, is perfect for giving the exterior of the donuts a slight crunchiness
- Ground cinnamon: Cinnamon is the perfect spice when making donuts! You can add other spices to the sugar as well to up the gingerbread flavor.
- Cream cheese: Cream cheese gives the filling a slight tanginess and an all-around creamy texture. Make sure it is a room temperature as it makes the mixing process way easier.
- Granulated sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to the cream. Add more or less according to your personal preference!
- Thickened cream: Aka heavy cream, gives the cream cheese a lighter texture!
- Spices: I use a mix of cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and ground nutmeg to recreate that gingerbread spice mix. Feel free to add more or switch up the ratios to your personal preference. You can even add other spices like ground cloves.
Tips for frying donuts
Donuts are all about frying! Here are a few tips to help you fry to golden brown perfection.
Transfer the donuts to the oil carefully
After you have proofed your donuts they will be full of air. This helps them fry up light and fluffy. If you move them into the oil too quickly or roughly you can release that air and cause your donuts to end up deflated and dense.
If you aren't sure of your ability to move them carefully you can cut the baking paper the donut has been proofing on into rectangles. Each donut should be sitting on a separate rectangle.
Lift the donut by lifting the edges of the baking paper and place the whole assembly into the oil. As the donut fries the baking paper will slide off and you can remove it.
Control the temperature
The optimal temperature at which you should be frying your donuts is 285F / 140C - 300F/150C. This way the dough will be cooked at the same time the exterior turns golden brown.
If the temperature is too high the exterior of the donut will fry faster than the inside, leaving it raw.
If the temperature is too low, the oil will begin to absorb into the dough, and you'll have a very oily donut.
I highly recommend using a thermometer, but if you don't have one you can check the temperature of the oil by frying a small piece of white bread. If the bread bubbles lightly and turns a light golden brown it's at the perfect temperature.
Make sure you adjust the temperature accordingly as you fry, adding donuts to the oil will lower the temperature of the oil. While the temperature will increase as you continue to fry all the donuts.
Drain the donuts on a wire rack or paper towel
Draining the donuts is very important as it will remove the excess oil. Excess oil can make the donut feel more greasy or soggy.
After you fry each donut place it on your wire rack or paper towel and let it drain as you fry your next batch.
Once you have fried all your batches roll them in cinnamon sugar. Draining the oil will prevent the sugar from forming clumps as the donut is rolled in it, giving it an even coat.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do these last?
These are best eaten on the day they're made as the dough is still light and fluffy. As donuts sit they will begin to become staler. They will also begin to absorb the cream filling and become slightly soggy.
If there are leftovers I recommend eating them within 2 days.
How should I store filled donuts?
I recommend eating the donuts freshly made. However, if there are leftovers you can store any unfilled donuts in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 2 days. When ready to eat simply fill the cream and enjoy!
The cream is made from cream cheese and cream so it needs to be kept refrigerated when possible. Only remove it from the fridge when you are ready to fill your donuts.
Can I fill these with something else?
Yes, you can! There are so many options other than the gingerbread cream cheese. Think your favorite spread like Nutella, Biscoff, or peanut butter. Or even fill it with jam for a jelly-filled version!
Why are my donuts oily?
There are a couple of reasons why your donuts may be oily:
- The donuts were over proofed before frying, causing them to absorb more oil as they fry
- The oil wasn't hot enough before the donuts were fried
- The donuts weren't drained on a wire rack or paper towel after they were fried
Why are my donuts dense?
There are a couple of reasons why your donuts are dense:
- The yeast used wasn't active or too old
- The milk and water added was too hot, killing the yeast
- The dough wasn't proofed for long enough before frying
Can I bake these?
I highly recommend frying these as the result will be completely different. When these are baked in the oven they will turn out drier, and closer to a bread roll than a donut.
A baked donut is usually made with a cake batter baked in a donut pan. This results in a moister and more flavourful baked cake donut. If you are after a baked donut recipe here are a couple of options I have on my website.
Can I glaze these?
Yes, you can! These would perfectly with a glaze rather than cinnamon sugar. You can make a simple glaze by combining powdered sugar and milk or water. Simply dip your donuts into the glaze and allow the excess to drip off a wire rack.
Can I make these into mini donuts?
Yes of course! These are perfect for making mini cinnamon sugar donut bites. Scratch the filling and cut these into small gingerbread mean. Fry those and give them a good toss in cinnamon sugar for the perfect Christmas-themed donut bites!
Let's Get Baking
Looking for the perfect Christmas baking project? These gingerbread doughnuts are light, fluffy, and delicious. On top of that, they're super cute!
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went.
Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok for more of my baking creations and updates! Until next time... happy caking!Print
Light and fluffy yeasted donut dough fried to golden perfection rolled in cinnamon sugar and stuffed with a gingerbread cream cheese filling
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 10 Donuts 1x
- Category: Donut
- Method: Easy
- Cuisine: American
- 400g All purpose flour (3 ⅓ cup)
- 125ml Lukewarm water
- 125ml Lukewarm milk
- 25g White sugar (2 tbsp)
- 8g Instant yeast (1 tbsp)
- Pinch of salt
- 45g Unsalted butter (3 tbsp)
- Neutral oil for frying
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 200g White sugar (1 cup)
- 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 125g Cream cheese, softened (4.4 oz)
- 50g Granulated sugar (¼ cup)
- 240g Thickened cream (1 cup)
- ½ tsp Ground ginger
- ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
- Pinch of allspice
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Combine the flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- Add the lukewarm milk and water to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth
- Add the butter and mix on medium speed until smooth and elastic, it will take up to 15 mins
- Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap
- Place in a warm place for 60 mins, or until doubled in size
- Remove from the bowl and roll into a circle about 1.5cm/0.6 inches in thickness
- Using a gingerbread man cutter cut out shapes of dough and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper
- (Gather any remaining dough into a ball and re-roll it out to cut out more shapes)
- Cover with cling wrap to proof for 30 mins, or until almost doubled in size
- Bring a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed pot of neutral frying oil to 280F / 140C - 300F/150C
- Carefully transfer 3 donuts to the oil and fry for 2-3 mins per side, or until golden brown
- Remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towel
- Repeat with the remaining donuts
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish
- Add the drained donuts to the cinnamon sugar mixture and roll to coat
- Allow to cool completely
- Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a medium mixing bowl and beat until smooth
- Add the cream and continue to beat until light and fluffy
- Fit a piping bag with a medium-sized round tip and fill with the cream
- Poke a hole in the back of the donut with a skewer and move it around to create a cavity in the donut
- Insert the tip of the piping bag into the donut and fill it with the cream
- Repeat with the remaining donuts
- Optionally melt some white chocolate and fill a piping bag, cut off a small opening and pipe faces on the donuts
- Enjoy immediately!
Keywords: Gingerbread, donut, doughnut, baking, yeast, raised, cinnamon, spiced