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Air Fryer Doughnuts – Low Fat Recipe

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Air Fryer Doughnuts are a fun, easy, healthier way to enjoy everyone’s favorite breakfast treat. They only take about 5 minutes to cook in the air fryer.

Pink frosted air fryer doughnut with red sugarPin
Air Fryer Doughnuts

Want to make your Valentine something special for Valentine’s Day that will not ruin all the work in January, trying to lose that extra holiday baggage? Here we are at the rescue. These Air Fryer Doughnuts are so good.

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The Doughnuts turn out a bit less sweet and a lot less greasy than Dunkin’ Donuts’ versions of doughnuts, but super tasty, nonetheless!

Why does this recipe work?

  • This recipe is made with traditional doughnut dough, so the texture and flavor are so similar to traditional doughnuts that you will be amazed. You can use canned biscuit dough, but it doesn’t compare to the homemade version.
  • You can make the family a special treat without all the fat and calories of a fried doughnut and with that same fried texture rather than baked.
  • They have slightly less sugar, so they are better for you.
  • They are not fried in oil, so they are healthier.
  • The glaze or frosting adds just the right amount of sweetness.
  • They are fast and easy. They only take about 1.5 from start to finish, including rising time. Only about 20 minutes of active time!
  • They are soft on the outside, fluffy, and tender on the inside, just like a fried donut!
2 chocolate doughnuts on blue pewter platePin

We’ve done several batches of these delicious Air Fryer Donuts, which turn out delicious every time.

Believe it or not, the general consensus was that everyone who has tried them prefers the plain to the chocolate flavor, even the chocoholics.

Optional toppings for these donuts

  • Powdered sugar glaze, plain or topped with
    1. Toasted coconut
    2. Chopped peanuts
  • Buttercream frosting, with any sprinkles or decorating sugars you like
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Orange or lemon zest added to glaze or frosting
  • Powdered sugar
Pink frosted doughnut on antique, flowered china platePin

The recipe for the chocolate doughnuts is identical, just add cocoa powder, if you would like chocolate doughnuts!

Optional flavorings for donuts

  • Chocolate powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture
  • Chopped and drained fresh or frozen blueberries, well-drained.
  • Chopped apples and cinnamon
  • Lemon or orange zest
  • Maple syrup or extract

Are Air-fried Foods Healthier?

Doughnuts are not exactly health food, but this version is healthier than its’ fried cousins. These doughnuts only contain 4 grams of fat. They still have the carbs, but it’s fun to splurge a bit for the holidays, right?

Pink frosted doughnut with cup of tea in tea cupPin

Ingredients You Need

  • Warm water
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Cocoa powder (for chocolate doughnuts)
  • Salt
  • Warm milk
  • Melted butter – always use unsalted butter in baked goods
  • Large egg

For glaze

  • Powdered sugar
  • Warm water

How to Make Donuts in the Air Fryer

Step One:

Measure the water. Heat to between 105-115°F. Add yeast and sugar.

Yeast, water and sugar in a measuring cup.Pin
Heat water. Add yeast and sugar. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Two:

Add the butter to the milk in a small microwave-safe bowl.

Butter and milk in a small bowl. Pin
Add butter to milk in a small bowl. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Three:

Microwave for 30 seconds or so to melt butter.

Melted butter in a small bowl.Pin
Melt the butter in the microwave. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Four:

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl.

Eggs whisked in a bowl.Pin
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Five:

Measure the dry ingredients.

Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.Pin
Measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Six:

After resting for 5 minutes, you will notice the yeast “blooming” or bubbling.

Yeast blooming in the measuring cup.Pin
The yeast will bloom after five minutes. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Seven:

Add the yeast mixture, milk (ensure the temperature is 105-115°F), and eggs to the dry ingredients.

Wet ingredients added the dry ingredients.Pin
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Eight:

Knead in a stand mixer with a bread hook, or mix by hand and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel, and set in a warm place. Let it rise for one hour until it is doubled.

Dough after rising in a bowl.Pin
Let the dough rise for one hour. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Nine:

Roll out to 1/4″ thick on a lightly floured board.

Cutting board with flour and a rolling pin.Pin
Roll out the dough. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Ten:

Use biscuit cutters. Cut out with 3″ cutter. Then cut hole out of center with 1″ cookie cutter. (You can make donut holes with the 1-inch piece that you cut out.)

Cut out doughnuts with a biscuit cutter.Pin
Cut out doughnut shapes. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Eleven:

Cover. Let rise until doubled, 30 minutes or so.

Doughnuts covered with plastic wrap.Pin
Cover with plastic. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Twelve:

Fit a piece of parchment paper into your air fryer basket.

Place the dough in the air fryer basket. Doughnuts shouldn’t touch.

Air fry for 4 to 5 minutes, at 350°F, until golden brown. The internal temperature of the doughnut should be 200°F when finished.

Cool on a rack. Dip in a powdered sugar glaze, or make a chocolate glaze for chocolate doughnuts, or frost with buttercream frosting.

How to store doughnuts

Store leftover doughnuts at room temperature in an airtight container for several days. Or in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Store them in the freezer for up to three months, and take one out whenever you’d like a sweet treat.

So whether your Valentine is a chocolate lover or not (honestly, who is not a chocolate lover? 🙂 ), make them these delicious doughnuts. For other delicious edibles for your Valentine, see here!

Thanks for stopping by to check out this Air Fryer Doughnut recipe! Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all!

close up white frosted air fryer doughnut on marble boardPin

More air-fried recipes

Tools I Use to Make Air Fried Donuts

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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White frosted air fried doughnut with pink sprinkles.Pin

Air Fryer Doughnuts

Air Fryer Doughnuts are a fun, easy, healthier to enjoy everyone’s favorite treat! These Air fryer Doughnuts only take about 5 minutes to cook in the air fryer.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
4.67 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Rising time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Servings: 8 doughnuts
Calories: 238kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $2

Ingredients

For glaze

For buttercream frosting

Instructions

  • Bloom yeast. Heat water to 100-115°F. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and yeast. Let rest 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, measure dry ingredients into mixer bowl. 
  • Melt butter in milk, in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and continue 10 second bursts in microwave, until melted. ***Be sure to let it cool to between 100-115°F, before using.
  • Whisk egg.
  • When yeast is frothy, add all of the rest of the ingredients to the mixer bowl and mix, using dough hook. Mix until dough is smooth. (you can mix by hand and knead on lightly floured surface for a couple minutes, as well.)
  • Cover and let rise for about an hour until doubled.
  • Lightly flour board. Gently roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out doughnuts with 3″ cookie cutter. Cut out doughnut hole with 1″ cookie cutter.
  • Cover doughnuts with plastic wrap and then kitchen towel. Let rest on board 30 minutes, until about doubled.
  • Place 4 doughnuts and 4 doughnut holes in the basket of air fryer. (Or however many fit in your air fryer, without touching.)
  • Air fry at 300°F for about 5 minutes. Internal temperature should read 200°F. Let cool on cooling rack. SEE NOTES***

For glaze

  • Mix sugar and water well, until no lumps of sugar remain. Dunk cooled doughnuts in glaze.

For buttercream frosting

  • Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating well between additions.
  • Add milk and vanilla. Slowly incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar. Thin with a few drops of milk, if needed. Frost doughnuts. Freeze any unused portions for another use. 
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Video

Notes

General yeast bread tips
If your dough is sticky, make sure to measure your liquid very carefully. Also, make sure your butter is measured carefully.
Next, use large eggs. Not extra large, or jumbo eggs.
Third, measure flour carefully. Also know that different brands and types of flour can affect the stickiness of the dough.
Fourth, humidity plays a large factor in the texture of yeast doughs. If it is very humid, more flour will be needed.
Fifth, the hydration of your starter can play a big factor as well. These buns were made with a 100% hydration starter. If you use a different hydration starter, more, or less flour may be needed to form a ball. So, don’t add flour all at once. Add it by heaping tablespoons full at a time, after the first 2 cups. 
If your dough is still sticky, do not be afraid to add more flour. In my experience, you can not add too much flour to a yeast dough. They are very forgiving. Just continue to add flour to make a nice ball, even if it is over a cup of flour.
These are not ultra sweet, like “Dunkin Donuts” doughnuts. They are light and low in sugar and a healthier alternative to deep fried doughnuts!
General Air Fryer Tips
Air Fryers vary in wattage, and therefore in cooking times. This recipe is based using my Cuisinart TOA60. If your air fryer is different, carefully watch food the first time you make it, so that it doesn’t burn.
Preheating your air fryer will give you the best, crispiest result. Check your brand of air fryer user manual to see if preheating is recommended.
Air fryers preheat in about 3-4 minutes.
Use cooking spray or a fine mist sprayer to spray food prior to cooking, with the exception of baked goods.
Don’t overcrowd foods so air can circulate all around.
Flip foods over half way through cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click the link and purchase something, at no additional cost to you. See FTC Disclosure, here.

Originally published January 3, 2022. Updated March 3, 2024.

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30 Comments

  1. 1 star
    I chose to try this recipe based on an all-around 5 star review. Had I actually read the reviews I would have seen that most people who rated it had not actually tried the recipe. I made it and had to double the time in the air fryer for the inside to be cooked. My husband thought they didn’t have much flavour and would need more sugar. I didn’t make a glaze or frosting. I wouldn’t make these again. At least not without modifying the ingredients. They looked like good doughnuts though!

    1. Air fryers differ in there wattage, and therefore, in their cooking time, as is clearly stated in the post. I gave an internal done-ness temperature, to help determine this fact. These doughnuts were also labelled as a healthier version of store bought doughnuts! Obviously to make them healthier, some of the sweetness would need to be decreased. As an air fryer recipe, my goal was healthier. We found them excellent, especially with the glaze, which did certainly add to the sweetness, but they are by no means Dunkin’ Donuts. I appreciate your review and the fact that you tried the recipe! Thanks! I will add notes to the recipe card to reflect your statements.

  2. I got an air fryer a week ago so I was trolling the internet for recipes when I found your blog. I will try your pork tenderloin tonight, then it’s on to these donuts. I never new an air fryer could produce donuts, can’t wait to try them out.Tonia

    1. Hello Tonia! I’m glad you found me! I have a lot more air fryer coming up soon! I hope you enjoyed the pork loin! We all agreed that we like the chocolate doughnuts, bu the plain ones are even better! (Even my chocoholic son!) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. 5 stars
    These donuts look so pretty and easy to make Beth, I haven’t got a air fryer yet but still want to try, balancing between plain or chocolate first, well I’ll decide in the spurr of the moment!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve not yet been tempted into getting an air fryer (not enough space for another gadget!) but these look great and love that they are healthier. Cute decoration too!

    1. That is the difficult part. My Air fryer is quite large, so I had to rearrange my counters! I just love it, though! Thanks for checking them out, Caroline!

  5. 5 stars
    Love donuts but hate the greasiness so these sound perfect! I have an airfryer so these are on my list of treats when the family come.

  6. OK, I literally just bought an air fryer today! Can’t wait to try out recipes, especially sweet treats like these donuts. Yay, and thanks! (Timing is everything!)

  7. 5 stars
    Omg I really need to get an air fryer- it looks like I’m missing out here. These doughnuts look soooo delish ????

  8. 5 stars
    I love Cooking Light recipes! I don’t have an air fryer, but I will try these in the oven. They sound delicious!

  9. 5 stars
    Well, you’ve inspired me to buy an air fryer. These donuts just sounded too delicious. Can’t wait to make them!

    1. I am really enjoying mine! Thank you Emily! I hope you like it too! The Cuisinart I bought is awesome because it is multi function!

  10. 5 stars
    Wow what beautiful donuts! I love the pink icing too as they definitely fit the Valentines Day theme!! I can also see how they would be less greasy. Yum!

  11. 5 stars
    These are so fun! I just got an air fryer for Christmas and have been researching recipes! I can’t wait to try these! I have all of the ingredients!

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