Homemade Chinese Doughnuts - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Dessert | Donut

Homemade Chinese Doughnuts

February 20th, 2015
4.41 from 15 votes
4.41 from 15 votes

This Homemade Chinese Doughnut recipe is reminiscent of the ones you get from the Chinese buffet dessert table but made from scratch in less than 1 hour.

Yield: 10 to 12 doughnuts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Sweet goodness. Since the doughnuts themselves aren't very sweet, the sugar coating isn't too cloying, promise! Texture: Perfect crunchy sugar coating and golden brown doughnut crust outside plus the tender and delicate inside is pure texture heaven. Ease: Homemade doughnuts in less than 1 hour?! You will make a bit of a mess but this recipe is otherwise super simple. Appearance: I love anything coated in sugar, it just sparkles and screams "eat me!" Pros: Quick, homemade, and delicious copycat recipe. Will totally satisfy your craving for those Chinese buffet-style doughnuts without actually having to step foot into a buffet. Cons: Very rich and indulgent. Would I make this again? Mmmhmm.

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Homemade Chinese Doughnuts (like the ones from the buffet!) in less than 1 hour!!

My grandpa, my dad’s dad, LOVED Chinese buffets. I could never understand why whenever we tried to organize a family dinner his first choice, and subsequently the place we ended up at, was almost always a Chinese buffet. Even for special occasions! Whether it was the food or the senior citizen discount he received, I will never know. Sadly he lost his battle to leukemia January 1st 2015, which was a rough start to the year for us. Those little things about him, like the fact that he loved Chinese buffets or that he was the only person to still call me “young lady” seem to stand out the most to me still.

Randomly last week I had a strong craving for Chinese doughnuts, the ones that seem to be in the dessert section of every Chinese-American buffet. I have no idea just how traditional or authentic these are to actual Chinese culture, but it was the only reason my brother and I were willing to make so many family trips to Chinese buffets as kids. We LOVED those damn doughnuts. Who wouldn’t? Fried balls of dough coated in sugar? It’s a kid’s dream, and apparently still my dream dessert to this day. So I decided to make them at home.

Homemade Chinese Doughnuts (like the ones from the buffet!) in less than 1 hour!!

These doughnuts are ridiculously good. I mean, it’s just pure decadence so how could they not be incredible? Jared and I discovered a way to make them even more indulgent in the best possible fashion – they happen to taste fabulous with ice cream! This recipe basically takes a biscuit dough variation and deep fries them, finishing with a generous sugar coating. All the recipes I found online for homemade Chinese doughnuts used those premade refrigerated tubes of biscuit dough, but I wanted a homemade from scratch version and I’m thrilled with what I was able to come up with! The exterior crunch is marvelous, and the inside is soft, tender, and fluffy like a cross between a biscuit and a doughnut. I will say that the inside isn’t quite as light and fluffy like the buffet-style biscuits I remember, but it absolutely satisfies the craving nonetheless.

A quick recipe note, be sure the doughnuts are cooked all the way through before coating with the sugar. You can use a cake tester or toothpick to check. During my last little batch of frying doughnuts the oil had dropped in temperature without my noticing and those ones ended up a little doughy in the middle.

Scratch made Chinese buffet style doughnuts

Homemade Chinese Doughnuts in less than 1 hour!

4.41 from 15 votes

How to make
Homemade Chinese Doughnuts

Yield: 10 to 12 doughnuts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
This Homemade Chinese Doughnut recipe is reminiscent of the ones you get from the Chinese buffet dessert table but made from scratch in less than 1 hour.


  • 2 cups (255 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) whole milk
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Granulated sugar for coating


  1. Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot with a deep-fry thermometer attached. Heat to 350°F.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You can also do this by hand with a pastry blender. Stir in the milk until combined.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust the dough with flour. Gently pat the dough out until it’s a 1/2-inch in thickness. Use a 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out circles.
  4. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, being careful not to let them burn. Let drain on a paper bag (or paper towels) to soak up the excess grease.
  5. While still hot, generously coat each doughnut in granulated sugar. Serve. Doughnuts are best served the day they are made.
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : Chinese
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Carolina — October 28, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    The best chinese donuts I’ve ever had. Easy to make, and delicious.

  2. #
    Dawn M. — February 18, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Hi! Would you adjust this recipe for high altitude? I’m in Flagstaff (7,000 ft elevation)

  3. #
    Tricia — February 15, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    Very dry and soaked up oil so much. Ate one and threw out the rest. Very disappointing, nothing like the restaurants.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 17, 2023 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Tricia! I’m sorry to hear that these doughnuts didn’t turn out as they should! Do you have a thermometer to test the temperature of your oil? It sounds like the oil may not have been quite hot enough, which can cause the doughnuts to soak up too much oil. I hope that helps, and I hope you give these doughnuts another dry – they really are so goo! 🙂

  4. #
    Lynda — October 16, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Excellent recipe. Turned out great. Family loved them. Will definitely will make it again.

  5. #
    Cindy — September 7, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    The Chinese doughnut had no flavor. it wasn’t as light as the doughnuts that I’ve tasted in Chinese restaurants. it was a little heavy on the inside of the doughnuts. The taste was bland.

  6. #
    Luz — July 25, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Can’t wait to make this delicious donuts

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 27, 2022 at 9:22 am

      Hi Luz! Yay! Can’t wait to hear what you think once you have tried them! 🙂

  7. #
    Kim — March 17, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    I know the world does not need all things airfried, and I certainly don’t need my sweet carbs faster, but do you think these would work in an air fryer.

    • #
      Emily — March 18, 2022 at 9:26 am

      We haven’t tried that! But please let us know if you do!

  8. #
    CT — May 23, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Can I use salted butter?

    • #
      Tessa — May 24, 2021 at 4:33 pm

      It’s hard to know how much salt is actually in salted butter when using in recipes, so I usually recommend unsalted butter; however, if you do try salted butter, just don’t add salt to the recipe. Good luck!

  9. #
    Aurora — April 16, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    OK, OK, I see you Tessa! I’ve made this recipe several times, and each time was better than the last. It’s hard to mess this up, with such a solid recipe base you can really get creative. I don’t own a food processer so I just whisk the dries and butter until it’s crumbly. I’ve made a few adjustments after making them for my family so many times ; Firstly, I mix some grated nutmeg and a pinch of salt in with the sugar coating (I’m not sure why, but it ups the game of your doughnut). I also used coconut oil for frying the dough and, honestly, it adds another dimension to the whole aroma of the doughnut, along with the nutmeg, without really affecting the taste. I felt lazy so instead of pressing the dough out with a cutter, I rolled them into balls just enough so the doughnut creases wouldn’t divide the dough as it cooked. I wouldn’t be too worried about burning them, on account of it being so good when it’s crunchy. I’d say what you’ve gotta watch out for is all the oil being evenly heated, so I rotate the pan. Thanks Tessa, you really know your shit!

    • #
      Tessa — April 20, 2021 at 10:12 am

      Yum! I can only imagine how amazing they would smell fried in coconut oil! I’m so happy you love this recipe, Aurora, and have been able to make your own additions with great success!

  10. #
    Ariana Johnson — March 16, 2021 at 9:58 am

    this was so good. I am 12 years old and this recipe turned out great. I have one question do i put it in the fridge to save it?

    • #
      Tessa — March 16, 2021 at 1:51 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing! You can store at room temperature, but these doughnuts are best served the same day they’re made.

  11. #
    Shelby — February 15, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Made these in the shape of a heart for Valentine’s Day and they were delicious! And I don’t have to use canned biscuits! Thank you for the recipe!

    • #
      Tessa — February 15, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      That sounds amazing! Hooray!

  12. #
    Joel — February 1, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Would these be similar using a 1:1 gluten free replacement flour?

    • #
      Tessa — February 1, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      I’m not sure, I don’t use gluten-free flour personally!

  13. #
    Adam — December 24, 2020 at 3:25 am

    I followed directions perfectly and it did not work. It is impossible to cook all the way through without burning the outside. I am also pretty sure they use a different type of batter, as this tends to flake and crack, donuts you get in a Chinese restaurant are different texture then this, like more spongy. I have no clue why I am trying to make these at 4:00 AM but did not turn out, same thing with shrimp fried rice, tried it 100s of times nothing like Chinese restaurants, it really makes you want to hold a Chinese restaurant hostage to force there cooks to cook in front of you, literally the hardest thing on planet earth is making shrimp fried rice, and trying to make it taste like Chinese restaurant. I TRULY BELIEVE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO COOK LIKE CHINESE RESTAURANTS BEING A WHITE CAUCASIAN MALE, IT JUST DOES NOT RUN IN ARE DNA, I WILL LEAVE IT TO CHINESE RESTAURANTS…

  14. #
    Keya — December 12, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Would it be possible to mix it by hand with a fork. I’m a broke college student with absolutely no kitchen supplies.

  15. #
    James Clifford — November 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Can i have this receipe translated in to chinese

  16. #
    dwight — August 31, 2019 at 9:33 am

    looks great. but. what about baking instead of frying. wha temp and time would be used.

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