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Air Fryer Donuts – How To Turn Biscuit Dough Into Donuts

You will not find an easier way to make donuts than this Air Fryer Donuts recipe. With just 5 simple ingredients and 5 minutes of cooking time, you will have donuts on the table before your coffee is even ready!

If making donuts from biscuits sounds familiar to you, that is because many of us used to make them using the deep frying method. I can remember as a child waking up on Saturday morning, watching cartoons in anticipation of the deep fryer being started.

My mother would pull out the can of Crisco from the refrigerator and begin to heat it up. She would then call us into the kitchen to help cut out the center of the biscuits.

air fryer donuts
Air Fryer Donuts – an easy way to make donuts from buttermilk biscuits.

After a little stretch of the dough, she would plop the donuts in the basket and the oil would begin to sizzle. They instantly began to turn golden brown and after one simple flip, they were ready to be drained.

Now came the fun part! We would carefully place a donut in a brown paper lunch bag that held either a mixture of cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.

It was the job of myself and my siblings to shake the oil coated donuts in the sweet toppings. Which, of course, we were more than happy to do because we knew that it was almost time to sink our teeth into a delicious treat!

Donuts Made Without Oil

However, in an effort to avoid eating fried foods, I have given up my deep fryer. So after discussing these memories with my husband, I decided to relive a part of my childhood by making donuts in my air fryer!

I had just made Barbecue Cheeseburger Pie and had 4 leftover buttermilk biscuits that I needed to use in a hurry. So the next morning, I pulled out my Nuwave Air Fryer and got started!

And within 10 minutes, from entering the kitchen to sitting at the table, the donuts were made! A quick and easy breakfast or snack recipe that even the novice air fryer owner can make!

Air Fryer Donuts Recipe

*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
donut holes
The center of the buttermilk biscuits make great donut holes!

INSTRUCTIONS

The first step in making air fryer donuts is to spray the basket with non-stick cooking spray and preheat the air fryer. Although not all brands of air fryers require you to preheat the basket, it is recommended to do so for this recipe.

This is because that the biscuits will need to be placed on a hot surface to begin cooking adequately. If they are placed in a cold basket, the dough will be come soft and chewy, rather than crisp up like a fried donut.

Therefore, preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). If your brand has a preheat button, allow it go through that cycle completely.

However, if your air fryer doesn’t automatically preheat, no worries. Simply turn the air fryer to the desired temperature and let it run for at least 3 minutes.

While the air fryer is heating up, open the can of biscuits. Pull the biscuits apart to separate and then place each of them on a cutting board.

Cut out the Center of the Biscuits

Using a 1 inch cutter, or in my case an apple corer, cut out the center of each biscuit. Be sure to save the center pieces, as these will become your donut holes!

Once the air fryer is preheated, place the donuts in a single layer in the prepared basket of the air fryer. Cook for 3 minutes, flip and continue to cook for and additional 1-2 minutes.

The donuts will be done when they are golden brown and puffed up. If you saved the donut holes, place them in the basket and cook for 3-4 minutes.

cutting a hole out of the center of biscuit dough
Use a 1 inch cutter to cut out the center of the biscuits. Be sure to save the centers so that you can make donut holes!

Although not absolutely necessary, I prefer to flip the donut holes after they have been cooking for 2 minutes. This will allow both sides to become golden brown in color.

While the donuts are in the air fryer combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl or brown paper lunch bag. Then in a separate bowl, mix the melted butter and vanilla extract.

When the donuts and/or donut holes come out of the air fryer, brush them with the butter mixture and then immediately toss them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Serve immediately with a big glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee.

Helpful Recipe Tips

  • For those that don’t have leftover refrigerated biscuits from making another recipe, you can purchase a tube of 4 Buttermilk Biscuits at most grocery stores. Although the price per piece is more than buying a standard tube of 8 biscuits, it is a great way to purchase just a few.
  • If you don’t have a 1 inch biscuit cutter, you can use an apple corer or even a small shot glass to cut the hole out of the center of the biscuit. Another way to make the hole is to use kitchen scissors to either cut a hole in the center of the biscuit.
  • Use tongs to flip and remove the donuts. The air fryer basket will get hot and when you go to turn the biscuits you will want to be sure to protect your hands and arms.
donuts in the air fryer
The donuts are finished cooking with both sides are golden brown in color and the donuts are nice and puffy.
  • Brush with butter as soon as they come out of the air fryer, and then quickly add the topping. This will help the cinnamon sugar adhere to the surface of the donut better.
  • Even if you are feeding only 1 or 2 people, be sure to make all 4 donuts! They are so good that it will make for a great, late afternoon snack.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What other toppings can I use?

Although cinnamon sugar is the preferred topping of many, you can top your air fryer donuts with various ingredients. The second most popular topping is a powdered sugar glaze.

Simply mix a few tablespoons of powdered sugar with a drizzle of milk and mix until the desired consistency is reached. Then dip the cooked donuts in the glaze and you have a delicious sweet treat ready to eat.

However, you can also think outside of the box and top your donuts some extra goodness. I have listed some of my favorite toppings below:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Powdered sugar glaze and crushed peanuts
  • Powdered sugar glaze with sprinkles
  • Strawberry jelly or jam spread on top
  • Nutella either spread on top or served on the side for dipping
  • Spread a thin layer of canned icing on top and add a few sugar crystals or sprinkles
donuts with milk
Donuts make a good breakfast, but also a great snack later in the day as well.

2. Why were my donuts were still doughy in the middle?

All air fryer brands cook at different rates. Therefore, you will need to test out this recipe to see how long it will take your air fryer to cook the donuts all the way through.

For example, I know that my Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker/Air Crisper combo cooks faster than my oven style Nuwave Air Fryer. Therefore, I start checking for doneness at the 4 minute mark when cooking the donuts in my Ninja.

3. Can I make these ahead of time?

Just like with regular donuts, they are best enjoyed as soon as they come out of the oven. Although when stored in an air-tight container, they are still delicious when eaten within 24 hours.

Enjoy! Mary

To receive FREE recipes delivered directly to your email, be sure to sign up for the iCookfortwo newsletter. A sign up form is located in the middle of this article. If you have any questions, comments, or want to submit an idea for a recipe for two, feel free to email at mary@icookfortwo.com

air fryer donuts

Air Fryer Donuts Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Turn plain buttermilk biscuits into delicious donuts with this easy to make air fryer recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4 count) tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Separate biscuits and place them on a cutting board. Cut out centers using a 1-inch cutter, set the centers aside. Place the donuts in a single layer in the prepared basket of the air fryer. Cook for 3 minutes, flip and continue to cook for and additional 1-2 minutes or until the donuts are golden brown and puffed up. Cook the donut holes until golden brown, 3-4 minutes, flipping them at the 2 minute mark.
  3. While the donuts are in the air fryer the combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter and vanilla extract.
  4. When the donuts and/or donut holes come out of the air fryer, brush them with the butter mixture and then immediately toss them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm.

Notes

Other optional toppings: powdered sugar glaze, icing, chopped nuts, jelly, Nutella spread

Recipe provided by iCookfortwo.com

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1 donut
Amount Per Serving Calories 170Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 16mgSodium 88mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 0gSugar 17gProtein 1g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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