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A fried donut recipe, no yeast, and about as old-fashioned homemade donut recipe as you can get when it hails from the Little House Cookbook. This is our second recipe in our Cooking Like Ma Ingall’s series!
Back in the early pioneer days, there was no Dunkin Donuts, or Krispy Kreme to grab a snack from. If you wanted a sweet treat, you had to make them yourself. And since sugar was at a premium, donuts were not often as sweet are they are now. And I tell you what, there’s nothing like a still warm from the pan donut, you won’t even miss all the sugar laden dough and frosting found on modern donuts, pioneer promise.
When you think of donuts, do you think of baked or fried, or yeast raised donuts? Many of us think that “healthy” donuts are now the ones that we bake and make with alternative flours, such as almond flour, coconut flour, or the like. But, back in the pioneer times, they used home ground wheat flour and deep fried them in a traditional fat, usually lard. Many doughnut recipes call for yeast, but back in the day, but an easy donut recipe without yeast (like this one) were the norm, it was less expense and less time to wait on rising with a busy farm to run.
Sourdough was what most pioneers used to leaven their bread and if they did use a yeast donut recipe, it would have likely been a sourdough one. Want to start a sourdough starter? Click here to get access to my FREE sourdough starter video series!
The recipe calls for lard as the preferred traditional fat. However, if you don’t eat pork, or can’t find a good quality lard near you, there are alternatives. Try coconut oil, palm oil, or even avocado oil. Stay away from olive oil or butter as they can burn or scorch. Beef tallow is strongly scented and your donuts can wind up tasting a bit on the beefy side.
This recipe calls for all purpose white flour. I have tried it with all purpose white, freshly milled wheat pastry flour, and fresh milled bread type flour. The all purpose white seems to give the best results as far as texture when fried.
This was a frustrating recipe to learn for me. The twisting of the donuts and getting them to look nearly like French crullers wasn’t easy. At first, my donuts wouldn’t turn themselves over, like Mrs. Wilder’s did.
After the umpteenth batch, I finally figured out some of the errors I was making. If you can’t get your donuts to turn over, check for these possible issues:
If you don’t have sour cream plain unflavored yogurt is always an easy substitution (if you need help making your own here’s my easy recipe and method on how to make yogurt at home )
Are you ready to make some traditional donuts? Grab your flour, lard, rolling pin, and let’s get started!
Gather your ingredients for old-fashioned doughnut recipes from scratch.
Instructions on how to make homemade fried donuts
The best fried donut recipe, no yeast, old-fashioned from scratch homemade donuts made just like Ma Ingall’s!
If the donuts take more than 3 minutes to brown, the fat is not hot enough. If they brown in less than 2 minutes, the fat is too hot.
Keywords: fried donut recipe, homemade donuts recipe, how to make donuts from scratch, old donut recipe