Maria's Donuts

About this recipe

Maria’s not part of our family—she’s our good friend. And she’s not even Italian—she’s actually only Portuguese. But if our family ever made donuts, they’d taste exactly like these.


In a very large bowl, beat:

  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature),
  • 2 packages yeast with 1 cup water (first mixed to dissolve, then given a few minutes to rise),
  • 3 more cups warm water,
  • approx. 8 cups flour,
  • 2 tsp. salt.

Beat everything together, using a large spatula or your hand, to make a bubbly batter. Then let rise until it doubles in size (approx. 1½ hours).

Using a pot (not a pan), fry individual tablespoonfuls, 4-5 at a time, wetting your spoon in between so the batter doesn’t stick. Move donuts around while they’re frying, and flip them over, using a fork. Replace cooked donuts with new batter, quickly, to keep the oil at the right temperature.

Let drain on paper towel, and then toss with sugar and cinnamon while still warm.


  • These guys freeze really well.
  • Yeast doesn’t like salt; that’s why you add it with the flour.
  • You'll need a little bowl of warm water for wetting the spoon.
  • To get eggs to room temperature, leave out a few hours or place in warm water for a couple minutes. (They beat better warm.)
  • Start your burner at medium-high and adjust from there. You need the oil to be hot.
  • Always fry in vegetable or canola oil, and when done, strain the oil to use another day—you can get 4-5 uses out of a typical batch.
    When gathering the batter into spoonfuls, cut at it with your spoon so as not to smush down the whole fluffy batter thing that’s going on.

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