How to Make Delicious Honey Sourdough Donuts at Home

Last Updated on June 17, 2023 by Gabby Hatten

Are you looking for a delicious and unique recipe to try out in the kitchen? Look no further than these honey sourdough donuts! With sweet honey and tangy sourdough, these donuts are sure to impress both your taste buds and any guests you may have over. Making homemade donuts may sound intimidating, but this recipe is easy to follow and perfect for young families looking to try their hand at baking.

sourdough donut holes covered in powdered sugar

Why Sourdough?

Sourdough bread goods are often considered more easily digestible than bread goods made with commercial yeast. The long fermentation process of sourdough allows for the breakdown of gluten and other complex carbohydrates, potentially making it more tolerable for those with gluten sensitivities or digestive issues. It may have a slightly higher nutritional content compared to bread goods made with commercial yeast. The longer fermentation process can enhance the bioavailability of certain nutrients, making them easier for the body to absorb. Overall, sourdough is extremely beneficial, and is comprised of something most households always have on hand. If you keep flour in your pantry, having a sourdough starter eliminates the need for purchasing commercial yeast.

Benefits of Overnight Fermentation 

Overnight fermenting or cold fermentation of dough has several benefits for bread and other baked goods. Here are some of the key advantages:

1. Enhanced flavor development: Overnight fermentation allows for a slow, controlled fermentation process, which enhances the flavor profile of the dough. The extended time allows enzymes to break down complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars, leading to more pronounced flavors. It also promotes the development of desirable fermentation by-products, such as organic acids and aromatic compounds, which contribute to a richer taste.

2. Improved texture and structure: The longer fermentation period allows for better gluten development, resulting in improved dough structure and texture. It enhances the elasticity and extensibility of the gluten network, leading to a lighter, more tender crumb and a better rise.

3. Increased digestibility: The extended fermentation time of overnight fermentation partially breaks down gluten proteins and other complex carbohydrates, making them easier to digest. This can be beneficial for individuals with gluten sensitivities or digestive issues, as it may increase tolerability.

4. Convenience and flexibility: Overnight fermentation allows for better time management in baking. By preparing the dough in the evening and letting it ferment overnight in the refrigerator, you can have freshly baked bread ready in the morning. It provides flexibility in planning and can fit into busy schedules.

5. Shelf life improvement: The slow fermentation process helps to improve the keeping quality of bread. The increased acidity and natural preservatives produced during fermentation can extend the freshness and delay staling.

6. Control over fermentation: Cold fermentation provides greater control over the fermentation process. By adjusting the temperature and duration, bakers can manipulate the flavor, texture, and rise of the final product according to their preferences and specific recipe requirements.

It’s important to note that overnight fermentation may not be suitable for all types of dough. Some doughs, such as those with high sugar content or delicate textures, may not benefit from extended fermentation. It’s always recommended to follow specific recipes and guidelines when experimenting with overnight fermentation.

Tools

  • Mixing bowl
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap/tea towel
  • cooling rack/wire rack
  • active sourdough starter
  • danish dough whisk or wooden spoon
  • kitchenmaid mixer (optional)
  • dough hook attachment (optional
  • airtight container (optional)

Ingredients

To start, gather all your tools and ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar 
  • 2 tbs raw honey
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 4 1/4 cup all purpose flour 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sourdough starter (you can use sourdough discard, they will be less fluffy)
  • pinch of salt
  • Coconut oil (for frying)

Step By Step Directions

Begin by warming your milk on the stove or in the microwave until it reaches room temperature. Mix together your sugar, brown sugar, honey, and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and sourdough starter, being sure to mix everything together well and scraping the sides of the bowl. Once everything is combined, slowly pour in the flour and salt, stirring as you go to create a smooth, uniform batter.

Next, let your donut dough sit for at least an hour, giving it time to rise and develop flavor. After an hour has passed, perform one set of stretch and folds. Let dough rise for another 4-6 hours before placing in fridge to ferment overnight. In the morning, roll out your dough so it is about 1/2 inch thick. You will then use a donut cutter or a cup and a smaller circular object (like a shot glass) to cut out your donut shapes. Don’t forget to save the remaining dough to reroll and cut out more donuts. Once your donuts are cut out, place them on a lightly floured baking sheet to rest for another 20 minutes. If you do not have a biscuit cutter, you can roll the dough into small balls for donut holes. This is my preferred method (:

Now it’s time to fry! Heat up your oil in a deep cast iron pot (on medium heat) or fryer until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently place your donuts in the hot oil and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they reach a golden brown color. As they finish cooking, place the donuts on a sheet lined with paper towels to cool and dry.

Finally, it’s time to add the finishing touch: the honey glaze. This glaze is super simple to make and adds an extra touch of sweetness to your donuts. Combine 2 tbs of melted butter, 2 tbs of honey, and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl. Stir everything together until it forms a smooth, liquid consistency. Dip your cooled donuts into the glaze, ensuring that they are fully coated, and let them dry on a clean surface. Not a fan of glaze? You can always toss in powdered sugar instead (:

Are these good the next day? While you can store in an airtight container for up to two days, they are definitely best fresh!

Homemade donuts may sound intimidating, but with this honey sourdough donut recipe, they’re easier to make than you may think! Whether you’re looking for a new weekend baking project or a delicious treat for a special occasion, these donuts are sure to impress. With just a few simple ingredients, you’ll be able to whip up a batch of these sweet and tangy donuts that will have your taste buds dancing. So why not give this honey sourdough donut recipe a try today? Your family and friends will thank you!

**note** I tried this recipe in the air fryer and the results were not great, so I would not recommend!

sourdough donuts

Easy Homemade Sourdough Honey Donut Recipe

With sweet honey and tangy sourdough, these donuts are sure to impress both your taste buds and any guests you may have over. Making homemade donuts may sound intimidating, but this recipe is easy to follow and perfect for young families looking to try their hand at baking.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rise Time 16 hours
Total Time 16 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs raw honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sourdough starter you can use sourdough discard, they will be less fluffy
  • pinch of salt
  • Coconut oil for frying

Instructions

  • Begin by warming your milk on the stove or in the microwave until it reaches room temperature. Mix together your sugar, brown sugar, honey, and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and sourdough starter, being sure to mix everything together well and scraping the sides of the bowl. Once everything is combined, slowly pour in the flour and salt, stirring as you go to create a smooth, uniform batter.
  • Next, let your donut dough sit for at least an hour, giving it time to rise and develop flavor. After an hour has passed, perform one set of stretch and folds. Let dough rise for another 4-6 hours before placing in fridge to ferment overnight. In the morning, roll out your dough so it is about 1/2 inch thick. You will then use a donut cutter or a cup and a smaller circular object (like a shot glass) to cut out your donut shapes. Don’t forget to save the remaining dough to reroll and cut out more donuts. Once your donuts are cut out, place them on a lightly floured baking sheet to rest for another 20 minutes. If you do not have a biscuit cutter, you can roll the dough into small balls for donut holes. This is my preferred method (:
  • Now it’s time to fry! Heat up your oil in a deep cast iron pot (on medium heat) or fryer until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently place your donuts in the hot oil and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they reach a golden brown color. As they finish cooking, place the donuts on a sheet lined with paper towels to cool and dry.
  • Finally, it’s time to add the finishing touch: the honey glaze. This glaze is super simple to make and adds an extra touch of sweetness to your donuts. Combine 2 tbs of melted butter, 2 tbs of honey, and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl. Stir everything together until it forms a smooth, liquid consistency. Dip your cooled donuts into the glaze, ensuring that they are fully coated, and let them dry on a clean surface. Not a fan of glaze? You can always toss in powdered sugar instead (:

Sourdough Starter

If you’re reading this recipe and you have no idea what sourdough starter is, I’ll touch on it here. Sourdough starter is a naturally fermented mixture of flour and water that serves as the leavening agent in sourdough bread and other baked goods. It is created by combining flour and water and allowing it to undergo a fermentation process. During this process, wild yeast and lactobacilli naturally present in the environment and on the surface of grains and flour begin to thrive and multiply within the starter. These microorganisms consume the carbohydrates in the flour and produce carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to rise. Sourdough starter is often maintained and fed regularly to keep the microbial population active and healthy, ensuring its ability to leaven bread. It imparts a distinct tangy flavor and aroma to the baked goods and is highly valued for its unique characteristics and traditional baking techniques. To create your own, start with a 1:1 ratio. One cup flour to one cup water. If you have a kitchen scale, measure out the ingredients instead. For example, 50 grams flour to 50 grams water. I am in a humid environment, so my starter thrives best when I do one cup flour to half cup water. You may need to experiment a bit to find what works best for you, for more in depth information you can read my sourdough starter post here. For best results, your starter should be established for a good 3-4 weeks prior to use in any recipes.

​Our Favorite Toppings for Sourdough Donuts

My kids like to have fun and change up the donuts often, my oldest daughters current favorite is a simple cinnamon sugar coating instead of glazed. My persona favorite, is to add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract to the dough and leave out any glaze or coating altogether. It gives it just that extra bit of sweetness that makes them perfect on their own. For a fresh summer time twist, you can plate donut holes and drizzle with lemon curd, topping with fresh raspberries. Hello summer time favorite!

Looking for more sourdough recipes? Check out some of my favorites here.

Author Profile

Gabby Hatten
Gabby Hatten
Hello there, I'm Gabby! I am a mother of three, married to my wonderful husband Marco, and I have a deep passion for simple living, vintage homes, and cooking everything from scratch! Although I grew up in Las Vegas, my husband's military service brought us to the east coast, where we have now made coastal North Carolina our home. While I didn't grow up on a farm, I have always been fascinated by that lifestyle and have dedicated my adult life to learning and embracing those skills, which I am excited to share with all of you!

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