Cinnamon Donut Balls

Nothing beats hot and fresh cinnamon donuts, and this is an easy donut recipe using yeast to produce light and fluffy donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar.

cinnamon doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar on large plate

Hot Cinnamon Donut Balls

I love, love donuts. I particularly love them hot, fresh from the vat and sprinkled with lots of sugar and ground cinnamon. Give me a donut and a cup of coffee for breakfast and I’m a happy camper.

Dunkin’ Donuts recently opened where I live in Zurich, but before their arrival, cinnamon donuts were a rare find here.

And this is pretty much how and why I discovered cooking; the absence of familiar foods in my new homeland meant that I had to try and make them myself at home if I wanted to satisfy my cravings.

Why This Recipe Works

  • This easy donut recipe uses a yeast batter to produce light and fluffy donuts.
  • This recipe only requires one session of proving.
cinnamon doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar on large plate with jar of jam in background

Easy Donut Recipe

This easy donut recipe comes from Gary Mehigan of MasterChef Australia. He makes cooking everything look easy, and these cinnamon donuts are among the best I have ever eaten!

You can watch Gary Mehigan make his cinnamon donuts here:

Yeast Donut Recipe

Most donut recipes require you to make a yeast dough, but this recipe uses a yeast batter.

A yeast dough is very much like a sweet bread dough. Once the dough has risen after the first session of proving, you cut out doughnut shapes from the dough (like you would with a cookie dough). The cut-out shapes typically require a second session of proving before being deep-fried in oil.

With a yeast batter, you only require one session of proving, which takes about 45 to 60 minutes. The mixture is very liquid, so you will instead be scooping the batter straight into the oil to cook.

If you are familiar with making Danish Aebleskivers (which is traditionally made with a yeast batter), the donut recipe below is very similar.

Homemade Donuts

These homemade donuts are incredibly light and fluffy – not dense and chewy which leaves a heavy feeling in your tummy.

These cinnamon donuts are perfect to eat as they are, but I love to serve them with some strawberry jam or even a generous spoon of chocolate hazelnut spread.

cinnamon doughnuts on grey plate with sugar

Cinnamon Donut Balls

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Resting Time: 1 hour
  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 20
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Australian

Nothing beats hot and fresh cinnamon donuts, and this is an easy and delicious recipe using yeast to produce light and fluffy donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar.



  1. Heat the milk in a large saucepan with a sugar thermometer until it reaches 37°C (98°F).
  2. Melt the butter in the milk.
  3. Whisk in the sugar and eggs.
  4. Next, whisk in the yeast.
  5. Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Slowly pour in the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. The batter should be fairly thick.
  7. Cover with a teatowel and set aside in a warm place to prove for 45-60 minutes or until it has doubled or tripled in volume.
  8. Use a wooden spoon to mix the batter and release the air.
  9. Fill a large saucepan with oil until it is one-third full and heat until it is 165°C (330°F).
  10. Grab a handful of the batter and squeeze balls of dough through your thumb and index finger into the oil. Do this just above the oil so that the oil does not splatter when the dough hits the oil.
  11. Repeat until you have about 5 or 6 donuts, but do not crowd the pan.
  12. Cook for about 5 minutes until golden brown. The donuts will tend to turn themselves in the oil as they are cooking.
  13. To test if the inside is cooked, insert a metal skewer through the centre of a donut.
  14. Remove the donuts from the oil and tip it straight into a large plate of granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Make sure the donuts are well-coated.
  15. Serve with strawberry jam on the side.

Kitchen Notes

This recipe is adapted from Gary Mehigan of MasterChef Australia.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Serving Size: Per donut
  • Calories: 169
  • Sugar: 4.8g
  • Sodium: 35.3mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 4.5g
  • Cholesterol: 42.8mg

Did you make this recipe?

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This recipe was first published on 5 August 2011. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

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  1. Hazzer 5 August 2011

    Wow, these look so good. My mouth is watering.

  2. Teresa De Angelis 5 August 2011

    Oh yes, great choice! I have this thought in my head that doughnuts are so complicated and long to make, but I just read though the recipe and it really does seem too easy not to try. I nice little sweet treat. YUM!

  3. Ann Koekepan 5 August 2011

    Love it. Looks a little like our smoutebollen in Belgium. Also deep fried. Must certainly try these ones with the children, they love donuts. Great writting Creme.

  4. jobakes 5 August 2011

    Lol I too had a childhood addiction to cinnamon donuts but they were found at McDonalds. Boy did I throw a wobbly the day they stopped making them! After my experiment with homemade churros (which were fabulous) and realising the fat involved I vowed I would never deep fry again unless I had a visitor who required them… perhaps you can visit Creme so I *have* to have a go at this fabulous recipe? ;).
    Beautiful lil perfect cinnamon spheres btw, totally perfect x

  5. eat little bird 5 August 2011

    Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! This is a surprisingly easy recipe, despite the fact that it involves yeast which used to scare me off in the past.

    Jodie – I know what you mean about the amount of oil, but if you believe Nigella, apparently deep-frying can be healthy for you! Well, so long as the oil is at the right temperature, I think the food doesn’t absorb as much oil as you think it would. If I am ever in your neighbourhood, I might just have to pop by to whip these up for us to snack on 🙂 Happy to know of someone else who had a donut addiction, LOL!

  6. Julia Levy 5 August 2011

    I’ve actually never been a donut fan and think i can count on one hand how many i’ve had. But you know, maybe I should never make this recipe cos I think i’d have a serious problem on my hands!!!

  7. At Anna's Kitchen Table 5 August 2011

    Oh my word, they look truly amazing! I’ve never made donuts before.

  8. Reem 5 August 2011

    Oh My God.. I’m drooling, these look heavenly!!! Best part this is an easy recipe.

  9. myfudomyfudo 6 August 2011

    the looks of it makes me feel the aromatic scent of your delish donut.

    -Taylor Bailey (

  10. Heidi @ Food Doodles 6 August 2011

    Oh my, those look so yummy. I love the picture of the inside. Mmm 😀

  11. susan 6 August 2011

    simply perfect!

  12. Karolina Eleonóra 6 August 2011

    Beautiful!! ^^

  13. nicola 11 August 2011

    Now they really do look delicious! I love cinnamon doughnuts and like Jodie, I have fond memories of the ones they used to serve in McDonalds…sigh 🙂

  14. trixie melodian 21 August 2011

    I’m a huge fan of cinnamon donuts – but they HAVE to be hot and fresh. Cold ones from the supermarket are doughy and stodgy.

    I made this recipe tonight and it was perfect. I was surprised to find a lot of the online recipes involve rolling, cutting out and proving a firm dough which wasn’t what I wanted at all. I wanted the wet batter that you see being blobbed out of the donut maker into the hot oil at the local donut shop!

    This was just right, really easy and gave a great result, especially in our ($30 el cheapo) deep fryer. We had run out of milk so replaced the milk with cream and reduced the butter a tiny bit. We ate the first couple hot and fresh but for the rest of the batch (the recipe makes far too much for our little family to eat in one sitting) I filled them with raspberry jam after rolling them in cinnamon sugar. Jam donuts seem to be acceptable to eat cold in a way that plain cinnamon ones don’t.

    I’ve tried freezing a couple so I’ll let you know how it works out!

    • eat little bird 21 August 2011

      Hi Trixie! Thanks heaps for your feedback! I’m so glad you also found this to be an easy recipe and the donuts turned out great for you! The recipe does indeed make a lot of donuts and I had made a note to try and halve the recipe next time. They still taste great the next day, but nothing beats a hot and fresh donut 🙂 I’m envious of your deep fryer … I might have to buy myself one too!

  15. Oh my – these are so good with a nice hot cup of coffee on a Sunday morning! I made these last Saturday night and Sunday morning they were just so fresh and good that my hubby and I had a great start to out day! I plan to make these often because they are so much better than anything you could buy in the store!

    • eat, little bird 11 November 2011

      Hi Emma! These are indeed really delicious when they are hot and fresh. I know that it’s not the healthiest start to the day, but I love a donut or two with my coffee at breakfast sometimes. Perhaps we can eat with a clearer conscience if the donuts are homemade? 😉

  16. Olivia 11 November 2011

    These look really good. I can see my entire family liking these – maybe a little too much! My hubby has an incredible sweet tooth, so I have to watch it with the sugar, but every now and again, these would be perfect!

    • eat, little bird 11 November 2011

      Hi Olivia! Everything in moderation is good, I think 😉 These are great to make at home and I think I will make these again when I have friends over for afternoon tea next week 🙂

  17. olivier 20 January 2012

    Hey mate,
    I’ve been looking online for the recipe by Gary Mehigan . We both watched the same cooking program. I was living in New Zealand when I saw it. It’s been ages since then. I loved it though. I’ve been particularly wanting Gary Mehigan’s recipe. Thanks a lot!!!!
    I was just thinking about your pot. you could get a wok at “Asia” shop in Oerlikon. When I visited my sister at Zurich, we used the train to stop there for asian ingredients. it’s a nice shop…..unless you’ve been there already or already got the wok : ) cheers

    • eat, little bird 20 January 2012

      Hi Olivier!

      Nice to know of another MasterChef fan! I really liked that season and these donuts are what I have cooked most from that show. Please let me know if you try this recipe as I would love to know what you think of them.

      And what a small world! I know exactly the Asian grocer in Oerlikon that you are talking about – I go there quite often because a good friend of mine lives close by, and they happen to have a great selection of fresh herbs and silken tofu, the latter being hard to find in Zurich. But thanks for the tip – I don’t actually own a proper wok and that would definitely be a good place to buy one!

  18. Merisse 6 June 2012

    I’m sooo going to try this one out, it looks delicious and I’m a big fan of cinnamon!!

    • eat, little bird 6 June 2012

      These were incredibly delicious and I’m waiting for the right time to make them again. If you like cinnamon, I would recommend that you double or triple the amount of cinnamon 🙂

  19. Lynna 7 August 2014

    These look so droolworthy!! Not helping my intense donut cravings! 😛

  20. Julia 12 April 2018

    I have to try this! Looks amazing! Great recipe.

  21. Blitzo 7 June 2022

    I love this blog the content explain well about the recipe of cinnamon-donuts. I do hope you post more blogs about any recipes.

  22. Cee-ann 4 February 2024

    I made these today and my family just loved it! I wanted to make something with yeast as it was 37°c today so perfect for doughnuts!
    I love the clear instructions and only a few short steps to make these great doughnuts. I wasn’t able to perfect the round doughnut ball shape but the kids didn’t mind because they were so delicious. I did come out with a lot more the 20 as per the recipe but we don’t mind!
    I would like to try the same recipe to make Long John doughnuts. I think I would need to use a piping bag to get the right shape.
    Thanks for a quick and easy recipe 🙂

    • Eat, Little Bird 12 February 2024

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! I think it might be one of the easier donut recipes I have tried. I will be curious to know if you can pipe this batter, a bit like making churros. They will be delicious no matter!