Bake Break: Fried Potato Doughnuts

With all the heady material floating around in the cultural ether today, I feel like today's post really is a break, a break from politics, social concerns, environmental issues, and other things. Let's take a pause and make some doughnuts.

Last week my boyfriend and I were perusing an illustrated chart we'd found online that described all the various doughnuts out in the world today. I don't recall what prompted us to look this up, but it was definitely a tasty chart to study. There were bear claws, eclairs, jelly doughnuts, and many others, but one in particular stood out: the spudnut. A quick internet search revealed that it was a potato-based doughnut, and we became intrigued. After all, potato bread is good, so why wouldn't it work for a doughnut? Soon enough my boyfriend had found me a vintage recipe from 1937, and my weekend project was set.

You can find the recipe itself here.

I started with the usual creaming of the butter and sugar. I used to insist on mixing everything by hand, but I finally bought an electric mixer a couple of years ago and haven't looked back.

Next it was time for the mashed potatoes. I used a couple of golden Idaho potatoes, but russets apparently work pretty well too. Drier potatoes apparently make for lighter doughnuts, so I microwaved mine in lieu of boiling. You can peel them if you want, but I like to leave the skins on because they're the most nutritious part, and you really can't taste them anyway in the finished product.

After I combined the other ingredients, I got this sticky dough that I turned onto a generously floured countertop and patted out into a disc:

Next it was time to actually cut the doughnuts. I don't have a doughnut cutter since I usually bake mine with a pan, so I improvised by using a measuring cup and a spice container lid.

I ended up getting about a dozen doughnuts, along with four doughnut holes.

Now it was time to heat the oil. This was the lengthiest part of the process, but I used to time to write another blog post. Once the oil reached 375, it was time for action.

I was amazed at how quickly the process went. Once I put the doughnuts in the oil, it only took about 3-4 minutes at most to cook them on both sides. I used a slotted spoon to turn them over and removed them from the oil, though if I were to keep doing this I'd probably invest in a pair of tongs. I thought about my paternal grandparents a lot while I was frying them, as they used to make their own doughnuts on special occasions.

After the doughnuts had cooled a little and the excess oil daubed off, I rolled in them a cinnamon-sugar mixture. And here are the finished doughnuts:

It was definitely a different experience from my baked pumpkin doughnuts. I've been baking since I was a kid, but I'd never deep fried anything before. Frying has always intimidated me for some reason, but making these definitely helped my appreciation for it. The doughnuts themselves were very crispy, with a much thicker crust than what you'd find in a store-bought doughnut, but it provided a pleasant contrast with the soft inside. I might have cooked them a little too long, but with practice I'd get better at it. You also couldn't really taste the potato, it did more for the soft texture than anything else. I wouldn't do these on a regular basis since I don't eat a lot of fried food, but then again, I never make doughnuts on a regular basis period. They're definitely a special occasion type of dish.

Still, it made for a great Sunday breakfast the next day.


  1. Woodbury, how can I walk into a Carl's Jr. establishment and they be completely out of French fries and dispenser ketchup? -DAC


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