Dulce de Leche Donuts

Hello friends! My love for donuts is real, and here are some scrumptious Dulce de Leche Donuts to make my list of donut recipes a bit longer!

Dulce de Leche Donuts

I made these Dulce de Leche Donuts for two reasons to be exact: Dulce de Leche Cake, and Dulce de Leche Cupcakes. I had this vision of cakes and cupcakes topped with donut holes. So I just made it happen.

I used my traditional Donut recipe, that I have been using for years, and has never failed to deliver fluffy, soft, and wonderful donuts.

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If you want fluffy donuts, then this is the recipe for you, my friend!

donut holes

Let’s begin with the Donut dough recipe!

Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make donut dough:

ingredients to making donuts
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Butter
  • Nutmeg (optional, but I highly recommend it)

I actually learned to add nutmeg to my donut dough when I worked at a Jewish bakery years ago, we made donuts every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and there I learned many donut tricks!

Here is how we make donut dough!

making donut dough
  1. Mix yeast with the milk, and sugar. Let mixture proof, which means you let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it rises, foams up, and becomes spongy.
  2. Add eggs to the mixture.
  3. Now add flour, salt, vanilla, nutmeg. Mix dough until it comes together.
  4. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, with the mixer running.
  5. The dough is going to look like a hot mess, but don’t worry, trust the process. Keep kneading it for about 10 minutes until it comes together.
  6. Once dough comes together and becomes smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Place it in the fridge for 8 hours, or preferably overnight.

The slow rise of the dough will provide more flavor and better structure to the dough.

Plus, working with a cold dough will be extremely beneficial to keeping a nice shape to the donuts, since you will be dealing with a sturdy dough.

The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge, and begin rolling.

rolling donut dough

Roll to about 1/2″ thick. May seem thin, but trust me, the donuts will rise a bit before frying, and they will totally plump up while frying!

donut dough rolled out

I have used small cutters with about 1 1/2″ diameter to cut small donut holes, but you can also use a larger cutter (3 1/2″ for regular size donut). I made about 74 donut holes using my small cutter.

cutting donut holes

These are the cutters I use.

I’ve had my Ateco set for so many years, they never got rusted, or bent. Really good quality cutters!

donut dough cut into donut holes

You can re-roll your dough as many times as necessary, but have in mind that the pieces you re-roll probably won’t keep the same shape as the donuts from the first batch.

re-rolling donut dough

Lay your cut donuts on top of a floured baking sheet. Cover with a towel, and let them rise for about 1 hour at room temperature.

cut donuts on a tray

Now, heat the oil, or shortening in a deep frying pan, over medium high heat. And fry the donuts one by one, once oil reaches 350 F.

It’s good to have a candy thermometer in place, to regulate the temperature of the oil. If the oil is too hot, the outside of the donuts is going to cook too fast, not leaving time for the inside of the donuts to get cooked.

Fry donuts for about 1 minute on each side. Remove to drain.

frying donuts in oil

While you fry the next batch, quickly start to coat the hot donuts in the sugar+cinnamon mix. Don’t wait for the donuts to cool down to coat them in the sugar mix, because once cold, the sugar won’t stick to the donuts.

coating donuts in sugar and cinnamon mix

After you coat the donuts in sugar + cinnamon mix, let them cool down completely before filling.

You can use a straw, or the handle of a wooden spoon to poke the donuts to make room for the filling.

Place dulce de leche in a piping bag, and pipe the filling inside the donuts.

filling donuts with dulce de leche

You can use homemade dulce de leche, or store-bought.

Here are some tips on how to make the dulce de leche. (On the recipe below, you will find instructions for my favorite method, in the pressure cooker.)

How to make Dulce de Leche with condensed milk

Simply start with a can of condensed milk. Now, there are several options here.

  1. Making dulce de leche in the oven– Pour the inside of the condensed milk can in an oven-proof pan, and bake over a water bath for about 2-3 hours, stirring in between, covered with foil, at 350F.
  2. Making dulce de leche on the stove top– there are two ways to make dulce de leche on the stove top with a sealed can of condensed milk.
  • First is to use a pressure cooker, which is the fastest way. Place sealed can in a pressure cooker full of water, covering the can by at least 2 inches. Cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally and let can and water both cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.
  • If you just want to use a regular pot, make sure it’s a large pot of water, where the can will be submerged the whole time. Boil sealed can for about 2 1/2 hours. Let can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.

Regardless of the method you choose to make your dulce de leche, make sure to always let it cool down before handling it. And leave it in the fridge for a few hours before piping so dulce de leche will be cold and have proper texture.

dulce de leche filled donuts

Here are some more recipes with dulce de leche:

dulce de leche donut cake
Dulce de Leche Layer Cake
dulce de leche donut cupcakes
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

If you like donuts, and if you loved this recipe for Dulce de Leche Donuts, check out some more of my donut recipes:

Dulce de Leche Donuts

I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe! These Dulce de Leche Donuts are super delicious and we all loved them at my house!!

Have a fabulous day, thanks for reading!

Dulce de Leche Donuts

Dulce de Leche Donuts

These are Dulce de Leche Donut holes, but you can make them into bigger donuts too. This is the best fried donut recipe I’ve ever tried, I’ve been using it for years.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, brazilian
Servings 74 donut holes
Calories 50 kcal


  • 3/4  cup  milk  170 grams, 6 oz
  • 1/4  cup  sugar  50 grams, 1.76 oz
  • 3 teaspoons  active yeast (or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast)*
  • cups  all-purpose flour 510 grams, 18 oz
  • teaspoon  fine sea salt
  • eggs
  • teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly grated nutmeg optional
  • 1/2  cup  unsalted butter softened 113 grams, 4 oz
To coat
  • cup  granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
For frying
  • gallon  canola oil or shortening
Dulce de Leche
  • Dulce de Leche Filling
  • 1-14 oz can of condensed milk to make dulce de leche


  • Start by warming up the milk until lukewarm, about 90-100 F. Don’t go hotter than this or you may kill the yeast.
  • Add sugar and mix to dissolve. Add yeast. Let mixture rest for 5-10 minutes until yeast blooms. The mixture will look spongy and risen.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • Now add the flour, salt, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  • Mix all ingredients together using a spoon or the dough hook.
  • Knead dough on medium-low for about 1 minute.
  • Once dough has come together, add unsalted butter by the tablespoon with the mixer on.
  • Let the mixer knead the dough for quite some time.
  • I recommend using a stand mixer to do this. If you don’t have one or don’t want to use one, that’s ok but you may need to work your arms a little bit.
  • Use a spatula and simply try to incorporate the butter into the dough by mixing as vigorously as you can.
  • Regardless if you are using a mixer, or mixing by hand, if after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. You may have to add up to 1/4 cup of flour to the dough.
  • Knead for another 4 minutes or so.
  • Once dough is smooth, transfer it to a large bowl, lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge overnight, or at least for 8 hours.
  • Remove dough from the fridge, transfer to a lightly floured surface, using your hands or a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out into a circle that will be about 1/2” thick. If you use your hands, simply pat the dough as gently pushing your fingers away, in order to open up the dough.
  • Using a circle cutter, cut circles out of the dough. I used a 3 1/2” cutter.
  • Set donuts on top of a tray lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. You want to leave some room between the donuts because they will rise slightly.
  • Repeat with remaining dough. Just be careful not to keep kneading the dough too much as you re-roll it, or the dough might become tough and chewy.
  • I made 12 large donuts and made the rest into small donut holes. Feel free to make more of the large ones if you don’t want any donut holes. The recipe for the pastry cream will be enough to fill about 20 donuts, depending on how generous you are with your filling.
  • Cover donuts with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let them rest for about 1 hour to come to room temperature and rise a little bit.
To fry
  • Place oil in a large frying pan.
  • Over medium high heat, you can heat the oil until 350F.
  • Add donuts in small batches and fry about 1 minute on each side.
  • Remove to a cookie rack, or another place where it can let the excess oil drip.
  • Coat donuts in sugar as soon as possible, because they have to be warm to make the sugar stick in them.
Dulce de leche filling
  • You can use pre-made dulce de leche, or make it at home. To make dulce de leche at home, you take many different approaches. Check the post above to read 3 different approaches on how to make dulce de leche from a can of condensed milk.
  • My favorite way to make dulce de leche starts with an unopened can of condensed milk. Place sealed can in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover it plus at least 2 inches.
  • Then, bring the water to a boil and cook under pressure for 30 minutes.
  • Let pressure release naturally and let can and water cool down all the way before removing and opening the can.
  • When you open the can, it will be a thick darkened caramel inside.
  • Place contents in a container and put it in the fridge until cold and firm.
To assemble
  • Wait for donuts to cool down.
  • Using a straw, poke a whole on the side of each donut.
  • Place chilled Dulce de leche in a pastry bag, and pipe the filling in the center of each donut.
  • These donuts are best if consumed on the day they are made.


*If using instant yeast instead of active yeast, you don’t need to let the yeast + liquid + sugar proof, simply mix all ingredients together in the bowl and proceed to step 6 of the donut dough recipe.
Keyword donuts, dulce de leche

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    1. Hi I am making them soon, but can they be done in advanced for my son’s birthday?And how many days in advanced? And how long would they last if I leave them outside the fridge? Can I prepare the dough before and leave it in the fridge for two days before? And then make them?

      Sorry for all the questions, but it will be first time making donuts and I have no clue.


      1. The donuts are best the day they are made. They will not be fresh on the next day, they will be tough. That’s true with all fried donut recipes.
        However, the dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and be left in the fridge. Then you remove it from the fridge, roll it out, cut out the donuts, let them rise until doubled (about 1 hour) and fry them.

  1. Help! You said you add milk, WATER and sugar… But then on the actual recipe you don’t put how much water… And mine is not spongy 🙁

    1. I don’t even mention water in the recipe itself, only on the top on the blog post itself, and that was a mistake which I am fixing now.
      But on the actual recipe I am not mentioning water.
      And if the yeast wasn’t spongy it’s probably because the yeast was dead, which could be a bad batch, or could be that your milk was too hot.

  2. 5 stars
    five stars! Thanks for this donut recipe. The flavors were so good, The dulce de leche filling and the cinnamon sugar topping pairs so well together. I didnt have a round cutter so I cut a narrow tin soda can in half and used that to cut the donuts. Work with what you have haha!

  3. 5 stars
    These were hands down the best recipe ever! Believe me I’m not even gonna spend money on bakery one’s now. Out of urgency I had to use half batch on the same day so I made the dough and let it proof for 1.5 hours. Refrigerated half the dough and used half immediately. The immediate ones were really good too but the ones made from overnight dough were superrrr soft and yumm! Clear difference!

  4. My dough was In The fridge for 6 days. 😬 Should I toss it out or can I use it still? I intended on putting them on the cake which was amazing, but ran out of time. I would still like to make the doughnuts though. Of course I need a quick answer! Lol!

  5. How necessary is the refrigeration time? I need to make these and I won’t have much time. Let me know if I could even cut the time down! Can’t wait to make these!!!

  6. I have to bring them in for a school project. Should I fry them in the morning? It would be 2-3 hours before they would be served. Also, thank you for replying so soon!

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