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Jul 9, 2024

Tangzhong Doughnuts

These milkbread doughnuts, made with a tangzhong, are just about the softest, lightest, and most heavenly doughnuts you'll ever make. 

Milkbread Doughnuts with Granulated Sugar on a baking sheet.


If you've ever made a bread with a tangzhong (a small amount of the flour and milk and water in the dough that is cooked and cooled), you know about the light and fluffy results in rolls, sandwich breadbao buns, and even hot dog buns. Why not doughnuts? 

One bite of one of these doughnuts will convince you that you've found doughnut heaven. The only problem will be stopping yourself from finishing off all of them before sharing. 

Milkbread Doughnuts with Granulated Sugar stacked on two small plates.

You can either use a thin glaze to coat these doughnuts, a thicker glaze flavored with vanilla, chocolate, or maple (and even add a few sprinkles), dust them with confectioner's sugar, or just leave them plain. I dipped them in granulated sugar while they were still warm from frying. 

Ingredients in Tangzhong Doughnuts:

With the possible exception of the powdered milk, you probably have everything you need in your refrigerator and pantry to make these today. 

From the fridge: Whole milk, unsalted butter, and one large egg. 

From the pantry: Granulated sugar, bread flour, salt, and nonfat dry milk. I recommend using King Arthur's Baker's Special Dry Milk

Oil for frying: I recommend peanut, corn, vegetable, safflower, or avocado oil. Canola oil can sometimes change flavor in high heat. 

Tools for making doughnuts.

Process for Making Tangzhong Doughnuts: 

First, make the tangzhong by cooking a small amount of flour, water, and milk in a saucepan until it thickens, like the consistency of mashed potatoes. If you have an instant read thermometer, it should reach just 149 degrees F. Let the mixture cool. 

Next, mix all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled. 

After that, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut it into 2 1/2 to 3 inch rounds with a cookie cutter. To cut the middle for the doughnut hole, I used the end of a large piping tip, about 1/2 inch around (see above). You can also skip cutting out a doughnut hole. 

You could always get a doughnut cutter if you're a kitchen gadget nut like me. Actually, I'm surprised I didn't buy one. 

Let the doughnut dough rise until doubled and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. 

Finally, deep fry the doughnuts for about 2 minutes and drain them on paper towel lined wire racks set over baking sheets. 

Milk bread doughnuts crumb on green mini cake stands.

It's amazing how just one to two minutes of frying produces such fluffiness!

About Deep Frying: 

I don't often deep fry, mostly because I hate tossing out all of the oil. Recently, I came across an article in the September/October, 2022 issue of Cooks Illustrated Magazine with tips about re-using frying oil. I didn't realize that you can strain and re-use the oil. Clearly, I didn't grow up in a household where deep frying happened... ever. 

Evidently, you can either run the used oil through a coffee filter to clean it, or you can cook it with a cornstarch slurry until the cornstarch solidifies. I haven't tried the cornstarch method, but I definitely will try it next time I fry chicken or other "less clean" foods that leave a lot of bits in the oil. 

These doughnuts fry super "clean" and the oil ends up looking the same as when you started. According to Cook's Illustrated, most frying oil can be re-used about four to eight times, depending on what you fried previously. 

I'm looking forward ot making more fried doughnuts now!

Of course, if you seriously fall in love with deep frying, you can buy a deep fryer with an oil filtration system. I actually used a mini deep fryer that I bought several years ago at an outlet center. It was great for frying two doughnuts at a time. (It's pretty tiny and doesn't have a filtration system, but it's great for small batches and making sure the oil is the right temperature). 

You could also use a wok or a Dutch oven along with a candy thermometer. Be sure to monitor the temperature of the oil and bring it back to temperature before adding more doughnuts for frying. 

Another tool you might need is a spider skimmer for removing and draining the fried doughnuts from the oil. 

Tangzhong Doughnuts on a baking sheet.

Make-ahead and Storage:

The one issue with fried doughnuts is that they are totally best the day they are made. On the second day, they can be microwaved to revive them a little bit. On the third day, they are pretty much bricks, especially if you've already glazed or sugared them (the glaze or sugar will pretty much melt and disappear). 

I had the same experience with jelly doughnuts (sufganyot) and Beignets

If you have leftovers, only sugar or glaze the ones you will be using immediately and freeze the rest. You can rewarm and glaze the frozen doughnuts up to 30 days later. 

Tangzhong Doughnuts on mini cake stands.

This month, the Bread Bakers are posting recipes for fried bread. Be sure to check out everyone's recipes! 

Bread Bakers Logo.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here

Tangzhong Doughnuts in a bowl.

Tangzhong (Milk Bread) Doughnuts

Tangzhong (Milk Bread) Doughnuts
Yield: 10 doughnuts plus 10 doughnut holes
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 3 HourTotal time: 3 H & 50 M
These milkbread doughnuts, made with a tangzhong, are just about the softest, lightest, and most heavenly doughnuts you'll ever make.


For the Tangzhong
  • 43 grams (3 tablespoons) water
  • 43 grams (3 tablespoons) whole milk
  • 14 grams (2 tablespoons) bread flour
For the Doughnuts
  • 300 grams (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 14 grams (2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 9 grams (1 tablespoon) instant yeast
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 57 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • All of the tangzhong
  • 2 to 3 inches peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • granulated sugar, for dipping


To Make the Tangzhong
  1. in a small saucepan, combine the water, milk, and flour, and cook until the mixture thickens (and reaches 149 degrees F).
  2. Let cool.
To Make the Doughnuts
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the dough hook, mix the dough ingredients until smooth and elastic on medium low speed, about 10 minutes.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled container. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  3. Deflate the dough and roll it out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough with a 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch cookie cutter and cut the center out with a 1/2 inch round cookie cutter or icing tip. Cut the rest of the dough into doughnut holes if desired.
  4. Place the cut doughnuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled.
  5. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
  6. Fry the doughnuts, 2 to 3 at a time, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towel lined wire racks set in a baking sheet.
  7. Dip the warm doughnuts in granulated sugar or dip in your favorite glaze.
  8. Serve the same day.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

4 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

2 g

Carbs (grams)

19 g

Fiber (grams)

1 g

Net carbs

19 g

Sugar (grams)

4 g

Protein (grams)

4 g

Cholesterol (grams)

22 mg
doughnuts, tangzhong
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Recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking

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Would you like to comment?

  1. So soft and delicious doughnuts.. yum!

  2. Do you think air frying would work? Yvonne

    1. Hi Yvonne. While I haven't tried it, you might be able to. You would have to spray the doughnuts with oil and I think they might take longer.

  3. Gorgeous light crumb inside! These look like they'd melt in my mouth!

    1. Thank you Stacy. They pretty much do melt in your mouth!

  4. You are making me so hungry. I wish I had one with my cup of coffee right now!

  5. Genius! These doughnuts look gorgoeus and I am craving for one now. Using tanghzong is a great idea and I can't wait to try it.


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