Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Chocolate | Dessert | Donut

Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts

November 17th, 2014
3.38 from 8 votes
3.38 from 8 votes

These doughnuts are crazy good! Cakey fried Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts with sour cream, a thick luscious glaze, and no yeast! Easier than you think!

Yield: 14 Doughnuts

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 24 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Everything is better with chocolate. Texture: Cakey yet slightly fluffy but much more dense than any yeast raised doughnut. Those craggy edges just soak up that luscious thick glaze. Ease: Easier than yeast doughnuts, these can be in your mouth in under 2 hours start to finish. Appearance: I mean, aren't these just calling your name? Loudly?! Pros: Nothing like a homemade doughnut, especially an old-fashioned sour cream doughnut. There's just something about that texture! Cons: Sorry about your diet. Would I make this again? Mmmhmm.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

Yesterday morning was slightly disastrous. I woke up after a restless night’s sleep to find that Alfie, our new rescue dog, had peed on my beautiful Crate & Barrel striped curtain panel. The second time this past weekend. He’s completely housebroken except when his routine is thrown off he likes to do weird things like pee on curtains. I spent hours this weekend hand washing curtains that are about 3 feet taller than I am. Not fun. After washing the curtain I got on the computer to get some work done because this is the crazy busy season in the food blog world which means working on Sundays can be necessary. Of course when I get onto the computer I discover my website is down and I end up spending an hour and a half on the phone trying to get it resolved. Which basically means listening to what’s complete Greek to me as the web host rep attempts to explain what’s wrong. Not fun at all!

Luckily the disaster is over (hopefully), though I couldn’t use the backend of my site normally yesterday which meant very little work could get done. So what did I do? Well I went shopping of course. And it totally turned around my bad day. Nothing like a little retail therapy! The entire time I was trapped on the phone I was dreaming about these Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts. They were long gone at that point and I wished that I could just go back in time to take one last bite. That’s how dang good they are! They’re basically the chocolate version of my Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts which have unsurprisingly been one of the most popular recipes recently. Doughnuts for the win!

These cakey fried chocolate doughnuts are out of this world!! That thick glaze is HEAVEN!

If you make these Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts, be sure to take a picture and tag it #handletheheat on Instagram. I love seeing your photos!

Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts Recipe

Chocolate Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts

3.38 from 8 votes

How to make
Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts

Yield: 14 Doughnuts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
These doughnuts are crazy good! Cakey fried Chocolate Old Fashioned Doughnuts with sour cream, a thick luscious glaze, and no yeast! Easier than you think!


For the doughnuts:

  • 2 cups (226 grams) cake flour
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Canola oil, for frying

For the glaze:

  • 3 1/2 cups (350 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • Make the donuts:


Make the donuts:

  1. In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until sandy. Add the egg yolks and mix until light and thick. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour. The dough will be sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour, or until slightly firmed.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two differently sized biscuit cutters to cut out as many doughnuts as possible, dipping the cutters into flour as necessary to prevent sticking. You should get about 14 doughnuts and holes. Don't worry if they stick a little to the cutter, they'll puff up while frying and imperfections won't matter.
  4. Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot with a deep-fry thermometer attached. Heat to 325°F. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry on each side about 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Let drain on a paper bag to soak up the excess grease.

Make the glaze:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Immerse each doughnut into the glaze. Place on a wire rack above a sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let sit for 20 minutes until glaze is set.
  2. Doughnuts are best served the day they are made but may be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
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  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating

  1. #
    AZ Gal — February 22, 2023 at 10:16 am

    Can you bake these or do in the air fryer? I love a good chocolate cake donut!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — February 22, 2023 at 10:58 am

      Hi there! We haven’t tried that, as these doughnuts were designed to be fried in oil. Feel free to experiment and let us know how it goes!

  2. #
    Juan — November 1, 2022 at 11:03 am

    Hey there, can you use the Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Coca powder to give these donuts a more robust Chocolatey taste? Do you think it would mess with the batter consistency?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 1, 2022 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Juan! We haven’t tried that, but it should work just fine! Let us know how it goes if you give this a try! 🙂

  3. #
    Travis — July 2, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    Excellent way to make them!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — July 6, 2022 at 1:33 pm

      Happy you enjoyed these doughnuts, Travis!!

  4. #
    Cathi — May 28, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Can these be frozen? At what point should I freeze them, if possible? Before or after frying?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — May 31, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Cathi! While we haven’t tried freezing these doughnuts, I don’t see why you couldn’t! Once you have fried them, cool completely and arrange the doughnuts in a single layer on a baking tray. Freeze the tray for a few hours, or until solid. Transfer the frozen doughnuts to a freezer bag or airtight container and return them to the freezer. To defrost, leave them on the kitchen counter for a few hours. I would recommend refreshing them in a very hot oven for a few minutes, just to crisp the outside back up, without drying out the middle, and then glaze the doughnuts before serving. I hope that helps! 🙂

  5. #
    Jess — December 1, 2021 at 6:42 am

    Can I make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight?

    • #
      Emily — December 1, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Hi Jess! You can, just make sure to keep them really well covered as this dough tends to dry out quickly.

  6. #
    Kathy — April 23, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    What brand of cake flour do you recommend?

    • #
      Tessa — April 23, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Kathy, I prefer Swans Down Bleached Cake Flour 🙂

  7. #
    Cyndi — November 28, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    This recipe looks great. However, I would like to bake them. How would I adjust? It would need to be more of a batter than a dough.

  8. #
    Maggie — November 7, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    My husband and I thought we would spend some time together making these donuts today. Although I’m not in the kitchen much anymore as I have Multiple Sclerosis, my husband is an excellent cook and baker. We raised all 7 of our children with him cooking and a dessert from scratch every week.

    We followed your directions, step by step. After taking the dough out of the fridge, it was still so sticky it was difficult to work with. The canola oil was tempted properly and we put in the first three donuts. Using my cell phone to make sure that the timing was correct, I checked them at 1.5 minutes and they were already burned. I couldn’t use the rest of the dough because it was just falling apart.

    So our day of spending time together ended in the trash can.

  9. #
    LINDA — October 21, 2020 at 5:51 am


  10. #
    Anna West — July 26, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Made this last night. Turned out meh. Flavor isn’t bad but the dough barely puffed up on most of them so they were flat and crispy. Dough was also really sticky and hard to work with, had to add a ton of extra flour just to make it workable. Waste of time and ingredients for me, will not make again

  11. #
    cookie — June 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    I wish I would have read the comments before I wasted ingredients on this hot mess. I too wondered why there were so many differences in measurements in this versus the non-chocolate version. I’ll never know if the other is better, because after this sticky, squishy, spicy “chocolate” donut, I’m headed elsewhere for recipes! (And no, my dough was not too warm and I know how to fry dough)

  12. #
    Jessica — June 21, 2020 at 8:02 am

    Donuts are great! We used just a tad less sour cream.
    BUT because I only looked at the times for prep & cooking given at the top of the recipe I didn’t start as early as I should’ve. My bad, however, chilling time & glaze set time should be included in the prep time portion of the recipe.

  13. #
    Dmitri Gorchev — May 24, 2020 at 8:45 am

    This is the best whole made donut recipe I’ve done so far

  14. #
    Nathan — May 23, 2020 at 4:55 am

    While the donuts turned out pretty well, I agree with other readers that they weren’t quite chocolatey enough. I’m wondering if adding more cocoa powder in place of a little flour might help. I’m also wondering if adding more sugar would help. I noticed that although this recipe uses twice as much sour cream as the regular old fashioned donut, the sugar content is exactly the same.

    • #
      Nathan — May 30, 2020 at 4:07 am

      I think I figured it out. You are supposed to use Dutch process cocoa.

  15. #
    Rachel — April 23, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    I also noticed measurements were slightly different with the chocolate vs the original…for the non-chocolate lovers of the family, could you make one of the recipes and just leave the cocoa out or add it to 1/2 of the dough depending on which recipe you use? If so, which recipe would you recommend using?

  16. #
    Michele — January 2, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Is it crucial to add corn syrup to the glaze? Why is it needed? What does it do for the glaze? I never use corn syrup and I don’t want to buy it for such a small amount if it isn’t necessary. Thank you.

  17. #
    Shiloh Walton — December 23, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I have read that adding gelatin or powdered agar to the glazes can keep it better set/stabilized- any tips or experience with that?

    • #
      Tessa — December 23, 2019 at 9:24 am

      No, I don’t. Fried doughnuts always taste best the day they’re fried no matter what you put in the glaze so I don’t really see the point in going to that extra effort here!

  18. #
    Diana Taylor — September 24, 2019 at 10:37 am

    just made them they are soo good i also toasted coconut in the oven and sprinkle on 1/2 of them yum yum ..

  19. #
    gerry — September 30, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    why does the cook time say 1 hour 40 minutes and in directions it says Fry on each side about 2 minutes, so which is it and why

    • #
      Shiloh Walton — July 26, 2020 at 8:05 am

      Because of prep time and you don’t fry them all at once

  20. #
    Laura — January 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Will this recipe work baked in the oven in a donut pan?

  21. #
    Vicky Davis — September 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Love the fact that no doughnut pan is required

  22. #
    Eden Passante — January 12, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Yum!! These look incredible! I’ll take 10! LOL!

  23. #
    lisa — December 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I’m wondering why this recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream but the plain recipe only calls for 1/2 cup. Is that perhaps why some people are reporting the dough being too sticky and dissolving in the oil? Thank you.

  24. #
    Diann Sapien — November 21, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I tried making these yesterday and they didn’t come out well at all 🙁 they weren’t firm enough after being in the fridge overnight even. I noticed there’s 3 tablespoons of butter in this recipe vs the original recipe theres only 2 would that make a difference? I’d love to make these for my family. Thank you.

  25. #
    Darlene — September 17, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I will definitely make a couple of changes to amounts of sour cream and probably increase the sugar amount as the cocoa is unsweetened. I have made donuts a few times and helped my Mom do it as a kid. Never have had to keep dough in freezer or frig. I am hoping making these changes will not result in the problems that most are having with this recipe. Will update after I try it my way.

  26. #
    Kenna — May 13, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Can you take out the sour cream or substitute it with something because I don’t really want them to taste like sour cream.

    • #
      Shiloh Walton — July 26, 2020 at 8:04 am

      They don’t taste like sour cream

  27. #
    Nina — April 24, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Do you have a baked version?

  28. #
    JM — April 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Didn’t work out well for me, sadly. I echo other commenter’s sentiments about the flavor (not chocolatey enough, too much nutmeg) and they fell apart, despite liberal freezer usage.

  29. #
    Norbert — April 1, 2016 at 5:54 am

    for everyone commenting on this page, and regarding gluten free versions – I tried one – I made the AP gluten free into cake flour with the link here and did everything to the letter – they had trouble rising a little bit – so they just looked like flat donut shaped treats – but they tasted pretty good – next time I’m going to try to leave the whites in the eggs – and maybe find a gluten-free cake flour

  30. #
    Kristin H — February 25, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    These are probably the best chocolate cake doughnuts I’ve ever had homemade. I’ve tried so many doughnut recipes–fried and baked–and I’m always disappointed that I still can’t seem to make doughnuts just as good if not better than a bakery… which I’m able to do with most baked goods. This recipe is probably the best. They were moist and sweet. The only thing I didn’t care for was the nutmeg. I agree with one previous person who commented that I wanted to taste more chocolate and not spice. Next time, I would leave out the nutmeg completely. I had no problems working with this dough. About half-way through the chill time, I had read that some people put theirs in the freezer, so mine sat in the freezer for about 30-40 minutes. To roll them out, I sprayed my pastry board with non-stick spray, then I coated it fairly generously with flour. Then, I put down my ball of dough, and covered that generously with flour. I noticed one person said that their doughnuts started dissolving into the hot oil. I noticed that happening with one of mine after the doughnuts had all been cut and were waiting to be fried. I would suggest keeping the cut doughnuts in the fridge while they’re waiting for their turn, so the dough doesn’t get too warm. I think these are a keeper!

  31. #
    Dustin — February 16, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Overall very tasty. I agree with previous comments about putting in the freezer to make the dough more firm and also with the large amounts of flour for rolling. Do not try to knead by hand or it will warm the dough and it will become unworkable.
    My recommendations:
    – use less nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon) and more cocoa (3/4 cup). The donuts were a bit too “spicy” and not chocalatey enough for me.

  32. #
    Sally — January 10, 2016 at 8:25 am

    These look amazing! Anyone tried them with a donut pan? I really want to try baking my favorite donut.

  33. #
    Amy — December 30, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I was comparing this recipe to your standard Old Fashioned Donut recipe and noticed that they are nearly identical, except for the amounts of butter and sour cream. The butter is close, but the sour cream in the chocolate recipe is twice as much as in the standard! Is that intentional? All the comments about super sticky dough made me wonder if it could be a typo…I’m hungry for chocolate donuts, but don’t want to get myself into a mess… 😀 Your pictures remind me of my childhood favorite, chocolate honey glazed donuts from Dunkin Donuts, but better, of course, being homemade. Mmmm.

  34. #
    Robyn M. — December 12, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Question–can you make the doughnuts (including the cutting step) and then shove them in the fridge and fry them the next morning? Asking for a friend… *ahem*

    • #
      Tessa — December 13, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      You can, just make sure to keep them really well covered as this dough tends to dry out quickly.

  35. #
    jack meibaum — May 19, 2015 at 11:51 am

    put in freezer for 1 hour or so until a bit firm. Will still be VERY sticky but put lots of flour on table, dump dough on flour, put more flour on top – I use a sifter to distribute this flour, flatten the mass a bit and place more flour, turn over onto well floured cutting board put more flour – roll out and cut with floured cutter – pick out holes with fork and lift donuts up with thin, metal floured spatula – fry. To make this easier to handle, I rigged a pizza screen with wire handles – I place soft donuts on the screen and when the screen is full I lift into hot oil. donuts can be lifted out as well. everything enter and leaves at same time. Good luck. I make hundreds at a time with this sticky dough.

  36. #
    Adriana — February 2, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Help! Something went wrong! 🙁 I followed the recipe just like it is, but when I put the donut in the oil it “dissolved” into the oil, I don’ really know why that happend…. Then I just tried to save it by putting the other donuts in the oven but they turned into cookies… I must say the taste is good..but I failed at consistency.
    Any recommendations?? Thank you!

  37. #
    sharon — November 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Only have hand mixer, can that work?

  38. #
    Da bossest — November 25, 2014 at 10:57 pm


  39. #
    Allie | Baking a Moment — November 17, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Wow these look seriously amazing! I love chocolate cake donuts, especially when sour cream is involved and especially when they’re fried 😉 Hope you managed to get your curtains cleaned and glad you got some retail therapy after that nightmare of a morning!

  40. #
    Gaby — November 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I’m so sorry your day started off so badly, mornings like that are the worst! Yay for reatail therapy!!! These donuts look wonderful!

  41. #
    Megan G — November 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    So excited to make these, but am finding this dough completely unworkable. It’s so sticky, I can’t do anything with it! I’m trying to get it off my well floured counter as I speak. Maybe I’ll just do donut balls… I don’t think I’ll be able to keep salvage an actual donut shape. I’m sure they’ll be tasty either way.

    • #
      Tessa — November 17, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Megan! If the dough is too sticky pop it back in the fridge until it firms up more and it’ll be much easier to work with 🙂 Also, don’t be skimpy with the flour when rolling these out!

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed