How to Make Old Fashioned Chocolate Donut?

People love old-fashioned donuts. They eat them for breakfast, as a snack, and sometimes even for lunch or dinner. They are also one of the most popular doughnut styles commercially, with their dough being mass produced and most donut shops having their own variations of the original.

So, what’s better than a traditional plain old-fashioned donut? A chocolate one, of course! If you’re a fan of chocolate-infused doughs, you should try this old-fashioned chocolate donut recipe!

In this article, we’ll thoroughly examine the origins of the old-fashioned donut, as well as give a step-by-step recipe on how to make them.

Keep on reading to learn how to make the best old-fashioned chocolate donut!

History of Old-Fashioned Chocolate Donuts

Old-fashioned donuts are a subtype of cake donuts. Cake donuts differ from yeast donuts since they rely on chemical leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda instead of natural yeast.

The traditional recipes for old-fashioned donuts usually include sugar, flour, eggs, leavening agents, and sour cream or buttermilk. The sour cream or buttermilk gives these donuts a unique texture and tangy flavor. Old-fashioned donuts are usually fried in oil, but you can also bake them.

Before the introduction of leaveners like baking soda in the United States during the 1830s, the primary donuts served were yeast donuts. However, the increase in popularity of pearlash, the predecessor to baking powder, led to the development of cake donut recipes, including old-fashioned donuts.

Chocolate old-fashioned doughnuts are a more recent iteration of the original recipe with one significant difference; the inclusion of cocoa powder. There are two types of cocoa powder on the market -natural and Dutch-process- and you need to identify which one each recipe uses.

The difference with Dutch-process cocoa powder is that the cocoa beans are washed in an alkaline solution before being powdered. This removes their acidity and gives the powder a smoother taste and a darker color.

The only recipes where you should use natural instead of Dutch-process cocoa powder are recipes that use baking soda because it relies on acidic substances to react. Since most modern recipes use baking powder, you can usually use any type of cocoa powder you want.

Ingredients & Supplies

Ingredients & Supplies

The chocolate-flavored old-fashioned donuts recipe is simple and only requires a few ingredients. Here is what you will need to make the best old-fashioned chocolate donuts:

For the dough:

  • ⅔ cup (134g)  granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp (42g) unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup (160g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 cup (336 g) cake flour
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (48g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (or unsweetened natural cocoa powder)

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Kitchen Supplies

  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Mesh strainer
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Donut cutters
  • Dutch oven
  • Cooking oil (vegetable, canola, peanut)
  • Deep-fry thermometer
  • Wire rack
  • A stand mixer (optional)

Step by Step on How to Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Donuts

Step by Step on How to Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Donuts

Here are the instructions you need to follow to make old-fashioned chocolate donuts:


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the melted butter and sugar until they are incorporated. Add the egg yolks and beat the mixture until it is smooth. Finally, add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until all ingredients are combined. If you have a stand mixer, you can use it with the paddle attachment to significantly speed up the process.
  2. Sift and combine the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk them together until they are well-mixed.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until you get a smooth dough. Your dough will be sticky, so handle it carefully and do not overmix it!
  4. Grease a medium bowl and line it with plastic wrap. Also, spray some grease on the plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t stick. Place the dough in the bowl, grease the top of it, and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the dough in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. This dough will last about a week in the fridge.
  5. Once the dough is properly chilled, flour the top of your dough and transfer it onto a well-floured counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about a ½-inch thick sheet.
  6. Using floured donut cutters, cut as many donuts as you can from your sheet of dough and set them aside. Don’t forget to cut holes in the middle of your donuts! Take the remaining dough, form it into a ball and repeat the rollout process to make more donuts. Once you have all your donuts, place them in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes so they are easier to handle during frying.


  1. Fill up your dutch oven (or any large pot) with enough oil and heat it up to 340°F (170°C). Monitor the temperature closely with a frying thermometer. The lower cooking temperature is important to give these donuts their signature texture.
  2. Gently lower each donut into the frying oil and fry for 3-4 minutes while flipping them every minute. Since these are chocolate donuts, you can’t rely on the color to see if they’re done, so be careful not to burn them! Also, don’t fry more than a few donuts each time to not allow your oil to cool down.
  3. Once all your donuts are cooked, remove them from the oil and place them on a cooling rack to cool off. When you can handle them easily, it’s time to glaze them!


  1. For the glaze, in a mixing bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. You might need to add more milk to get a smooth but pourable glaze.
  2. Once your donuts are cool enough to touch, dip one side of them in the glaze, and place them on a wire rack for the glaze to harden.

 Pro tips

  • If you’re using a stand mixer, make sure to add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients one spoon at a time. This way, you don’t need to wait for them to combine each time. If you put them in one spoonful at a time, the mixture will eventually mix together.
  • You can prepare a large amount of dough in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to one week. This way, you’ll have it ready whenever you want to make some quick homemade donuts.
  • A nice way to tell what thickness your dough is, are pastry rods or baking rods. These wooden or stainless steel rods come in plenty of popular sizes. Consider picking them up to ensure your dough has the proper thickness.
  • Before you cut your donuts with a donut ring, go through the entire sheet of dough with the ring and make small indents. This way, you can visualize the exact cutting points and get maximum usage out of your dough!


All in all, chocolate old-fashioned donuts are a great alternative to the original recipe, especially if you’re a chocolate lover. These cake donuts are excellent for dipping into your morning coffee, and the additional chocolaty flavor is the perfect way to start your day! Make sure to follow our recipe and pro tips to make the best old-fashioned chocolate donuts!


What Is Different About Old-Fashioned Donuts?

Old-fashioned donuts are essentially cake donuts with a unique texture and a crunchier exterior compared to other cake donut recipes. The primary ingredients of old-fashioned donuts include flour, sugar, egg, buttermilk or sour cream, and a leavening agent like baking powder. That’s where they differ significantly from most other cake donuts, which don’t use any acidic ingredients.

What Flavor Is an Old-Fashioned Donut?

A plain old-fashioned donut tastes similar to any other fried donut. Adding buttermilk or sour cream gives this particular donut a slightly tangy flavor, which pairs well with sweeter toppings. You can make traditional old-fashioned donuts with a sugar glaze or try our recipe for an old-fashioned chocolate donut.

What Is the Difference Between Old-Fashioned and Buttermilk Donuts?

Both old-fashioned and buttermilk donuts are types of cake donuts that use baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent. They also have a similar exterior texture and taste. Their primary difference is that old-fashioned donuts can be made using buttermilk or sour cream, whereas buttermilk donuts don’t use any sour cream in the dough.

Are Old-Fashioned Donuts Healthier?

Like all fried donuts, old-fashioned donuts are not very healthy due to the excess oil they absorb while frying. However, if you enjoy them as an occasional snack, you won’t have any problems. Unfortunately, old-fashioned donuts are also not dairy-free or vegan friendly, as one of their most important ingredients is sour cream or buttermilk.

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