Who said that vegan donuts can’t be healthy and delicious? Believe it or not, you can have the tastiest donuts without using dairy ingredients and without frying them in a large amount of fat! Why don’t you try these fluffy and delicious donuts made with high-quality ingredients and baked in the air fryer?
You can make these air fryer vegan donuts to taste exactly the same as classic jam donuts, or you can add some cocoa powder and powder glaze.
There are a lot of different versions of this dessert, but I decided to write the basic recipe in which you can add ingredients of your choice to make different kinds of donuts with it.
Ingredients you will need
- 1 ½ cups of whole grain all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of warm dairy-free milk, I use soy or almond milk
- 3 tablespoons of margarine or vegan butter (melted)
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, you can use brown or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon or ground nutmeg
- ½ cup of jam of your choice
- ¾ cup of blueberries
- ½ cup of vegan custard cream
- ½ cup of caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of vegan butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons of almond milk
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, melted
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vegan sprinkles
Keep in mind that these donuts should be baked in an air fryer so if you don’t have one you can still make them and fry them in oil but they won’t be a healthy version anymore. Kitchen utilities you’ll need:
- Air fryer
- Stand mixer
- Two large bowls
- Medium bowl
- Cooling wire rack
- Parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- Biscuit cutter
Step by step on how to make air fry vegan donuts
In this article, I put together a few simple donut options that will for sure become one of your favorite breakfast items. Keep in mind that these donuts must be made with yeast so if you aren’t on good terms with it use instant dry yeast that doesn’t need proofing.
This way you can be sure your dough will rise, while fresh yeast sometimes can fail you.
- First, you will need to activate the yeast by adding a spoon of sugar and warm non-dairy milk of your choice.
- In a large mixing bowl add dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon and whisk until they are completely combined.
- In a second bowl add milk, melted butter, oil, vanilla extract, and yeast mixture. Whisk it by hand until all ingredients are dissolved.
- Now gradually add the dry mixture into a wet mixture and mix with a hand mixer on medium speed. Once all ingredients are in and the dough is sticky use your hands to knead the dough for at least 5 minutes. While you do this you can add more flour in case you think the dough is too runny.
- Let the dough rest and doubles its size for about two hours. Take it out of the bowl and knead it lightly before rolling it out.
- Cut out donuts with a cookie cutter and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest once more again for about 30 minutes. (This step is optional depending on which filling you chose! If you decided to fill them with blueberries then you need to follow this step. Take one disc and place a few fresh blueberries sprinkled with some sugar in the middle. If you want donuts to be small you can fold the edges into a ball. But, in case you want larger donuts then cover the first donut disc with another one and press the edges gently.)
- Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the air fryer basket just in case. Bake them in batches of three donuts since they will grow. Fry them for about 6 minutes then check. If they aren’t ready, flip them over and bake for two more minutes.
- Let them cool off before rolling them in the sugar-cinnamon coating.
Making the vegan custard
Ingredients for vegan custard cream
- 1 ½ cup of plant milk of your choice, add coconut milk for a full-fat version
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or potato starch to thicken the cream
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar of your choice
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or one vanilla pod if you have
- A pinch of turmeric or saffron to enhance the color, you can skip this ingredient if you want
- Lemon peel to add some flavor
Add all the ingredients to a pot of heat. Whisk until all the lumps disappear. Then place the pot on medium heat, and stir continuously until the liquid thickens into a cream, this will take between 2 and 5 minutes depending on the amount of ingredients.
The custard will keep thickening while off the heat so make sure you don’t overcook it! When it cools off use the piping bag to inject it into baked donuts.
Since you will work with the yeast I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to activate your yeast and let the dough rise twice!
About activating the yeast
You’ll need to warm your milk in the microwave but only until it’s warm to the touch. If your milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise! Then add sugar. Yeast is fed on sugar so you must add it, don’t use sweetener for this. The amount of sugar is so small that it won’t harm your diet at all.
Once the sugar dissolves completely, add the yeast. After a few minutes, the reaction must be bubbling and frothing. If this didn’t happen then it’s likely you killed the yeast at a high temperature.
Rising the dough
The dough will need to rest and rise after being kneaded. Transfer it into an oiled large bowl so it will have enough space to grow. It is crucial to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then with a kitchen towel to prevent drying out and trap the warmth inside.
In order to rise, the dough must be placed in a warm spot for about two hours. If your home is not so warm, you can preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it off. Let it cool off a bit before placing your bowl inside.
You will know that your dough is ready when you poke it with your finger and the indention stays. Always be very patient when rising dough, but also be sure to not overproof the dough since it will change the structure significantly.
After the first rise, roll out your dough and cut it into circles and let it rise for the second time. Let them rest and grow for at least 30 minutes, but if you can wait for an hour. The second rising will make them double their size and become puffy and airy after frying.
Measure your ingredients accurately!
Follow the recipe instructions you have blindly, I’m serious. Don’t experiment with measurements. The amounts stated in this recipe will help you create a very soft dough.
The dough must be soft if you want your doughnuts to be fluffy and moist. If for some reason your dough is dry, you can add some more milk or melted butter and knead the dough until it soaks up.
Can I substitute yeast with some other leavening agent?
You can use the mix of baking powder and baking soda, but don’t expect your dough to double its size and become so puffy. When you use baking powder your dough will rise minimally, and the texture will be more cake-like instead of airy and light.
How do I freeze them?
You can freeze them with or without the glaze on top. All you have to do is place the uncovered donuts on a baking sheet and into the freezer for 10 minutes. If you freeze them with the glaze extend the time to 20 minutes.
This is just enough time for the glaze to harden so you can place the plastic wrap on top of it without risking a sticky situation. Tightly wrap the donuts to prevent any freezer burn and place them in an air-tight container or bag. Keep them for about 2 to 3 months.
This is a basic recipe and you can add some condiments like raw cocoa, vegan chocolate, and coconut flour to make different variations of the same recipe. If you decide to add these ingredients make sure to add a bit more milk to keep the dough sticky and soft.
This is a perfect pastry for a weekend breakfast. Since they have a mild aroma you can even use them as a bagel for savory breakfast. Add some vegan cream cheese and sliced avocado and your belly will growl in satisfaction.