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Sourdough donuts are light and fluffy and are the perfect way to start the morning. Make the base donut dough and then top them with a variety of different icing flavors and toppings.

Today I will show you a salted caramel, pina colada, strawberry lemonade and dark chocolate variety, but feel free to use your imagination and get creative.

Sourdough Donuts 4 Ways

What can be better than sourdough donuts fried to a perfect golden brown and topped with a variety of different flavored icings and toppings? This recipe is perfect for an indulgent breakfast.

This will be your new favorite way to use your sourdough starter. These donuts are naturally leavened and come out perfectly light and fluffy. 

They are perfect for a weekend breakfast or special occasion brunch.

Why Sourdough Donuts?

Sourdough starter is so full of health benefits and it quite easy to use. The best part about sourdough is you can use it for so many different recipes.

You can even use the sourdough discard to give an extra health boost to things like muffins, pancakes or even cookies.

Step Up Your Sourdough Game:

This recipe is made with sourdough starter, but you can also make this recipe with dry active yeast. The recipe substitutions are in the recipe card section below.

And don’t forget this recipe works for donut holes, twist and bars.

Sourdough Starter:

sourdough starter

Some tips with sourdough starter and this recipe is to make sure your sourdough starter is active and bubbly. I recommend feeding it about 4 hours before you will use it in the recipe.

Let it sit out at room temperature on the counter to double in size.

If you need help with feeding your yeast check out how to feed your sourdough starter here.

4 Varieties Of Sourdough Donuts:

The base of this donut recipe is the same for all four varieties. We just made four different varieties of icings.

The icings that we created today are salted caramel, dark chocolate, strawberry lemonade, and pina colada. 

I couldn’t decide which icing I wanted to make so I had to make all four. They are all delicious and you can use one or make all four.  

To make the 4 different varieties start with the donut base recipe. Then top with the icing choices below.

Option 1: Sourdough Salted Caramel Donuts

Salted Caramel Sourdough Donuts

For this option combine powdered sugar with pre-made salted caramel sauce. I like to use a thicker caramel for this icing. Trader Joe’s has a delicious salted caramel.

Then thin the icing out with milk to desired consistency.

I like to top this option with Maldon flaked sea salt.

Option 2: Sourdough Dark Chocolate Donuts

chocolate sourdough donut

Combine powdered sugar with dark cocoa powder. Then thin the icing with milk until desired consistency.

I like to top this option with multicolored sprinkles but you can top with nuts or heath bits too! 

Option 3: Sourdough Strawberry Lemonade Donuts

strawberry lemonade sourdough donuts

For this option combine powdered sugar with mashed up strawberries, lemon zest and a little lemon juice.

Make sure the strawberries are mashed thoroughly. Top with lemon zest. 

Option 4: Sourdough Pina Colada Donuts

pina colada sourdough donuts

Combine powdered sugar with coconut extract. Then thin the icing with milk until desired consistency.

Top the donuts with fresh pineapple, toasted coconut and a maraschino cherry.

Ingredients You Will Need For The Sourdough Donut Base:

Active sourdough starter: Make sure your starter is bubbly.

Water: Use lukewarm water.

All purpose flour: Make sure your flour is not bleached. You can also use bread flour.

Sugar: Use granulated sugar.

Butter: I like to use Kerrygold butter. Make sure it is softened. 

Eggs: You can leave your eggs out at room temperature for about 30 minutes if desired. This isn’t necessary but does help to incorporate everything easier.

Vanilla bean paste: You can also use vanilla extract in a 1 to 1 ratio. I prefer vanilla bean paste as it adds a rich concentrated vanilla flavor. You can see the beautiful vanilla beans running through your homemade donuts.

Salt: You always want to balance out the sweetness with a little salt. 

Vegetable oil: You could also use canola oil. 

How To Make Sourdough Donuts:

To make the donuts add the bubbly active starter and warm water to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Add sugar and stir.

Add eggs and softened butter.

Then add vanilla bean paste and salt. Mix to combine.

Then add the flour to the mixer. Mix to combine.

Top the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on your counter for 4 hours.

Then transfer to the fridge and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Sprinkle a clean work surface lightly with flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto the lightly floured surface.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut the dough into circles. Then use a smaller cutter to cut out the middle. Save these dough pieces to make donut holes.

Fry the donuts in a dutch oven in hot oil until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side.

Remove the donuts with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Dip the donuts into the icing of choice on both sides and place on a cooling rack. Top with toppings and enjoy warm!

Other Topping Ideas:

If these four options don’t sound appetizing feel free to change up the flavors and make them your own.

Some other topping ideas include:

  • vanilla glaze
  • cinnamon sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • crumb topping
  • maple glaze
  • peanut butter
  • blueberry glaze

Other Sourdough Recipes:

If you love sourdough I have a ton of recipes for you! These are some of my favorites. Make sure you check them out. 

Cinnamon Rolls


Pizza Dough


French Toast

Chocolate Bread

How to Make Sourdough Donuts:

Sourdough Donuts 4 Ways
Yield: 24 donuts

Sourdough Donuts 4 Different Ways

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 minute
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 1 minute

Sourdough donuts are light and fluffy and are the perfect way to start the morning. Top them with salted caramel, pina colada, strawberry lemonade and dark chocolate icings. I promise these will be one of the best donuts you will ever taste!


Donut Dough:

  • 1 cup active bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour + more fore dusting
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Salted Caramel Donuts:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup jarred salted caramel sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk
  • Maldon coarse finishing sea salt

Strawberry Lemonade Donuts:

  • 2 strawberries, mashed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • lemon zest to top

Chocolate Donuts:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk
  • multicolored sprinkles

Coconut Donuts:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1 pineapple, cut into small wedges
  • maraschino cherries (1 per donut), drained


  1. Measure out 1 cup active bubbly sourdough starter and place in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Then add 1 cup warm water.
  3. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar. Mix to combine.
  4. Add 3 eggs, 2/3 cup softened butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix for 10 seconds.
  5. Add 3 1/2 cups flour.
  6. With the mixer on low add an additional 1 cup of flour in small increments. Mix until combined.
  7. Cover with saran wrap. Leave out at room temperature for 3 hours. Then place in the refrigerator for 24 hours to develop more flavor (if you don't have 24 hours you can refrigerate for 4 hours after you leave it out at room temperature for 3 hours. Then proceed).
  8. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.
  9. Transfer the dough to the floured work surface.
  10. Sprinkle the dough with more flour on top then roll or pat out into a large 1 inch thick rectangle.
  11. Using a biscuit cutter, donut cutter or a glass cup, cut the dough into circles (3 inch diameter).
  12. With the remaining scraps of dough form another 1 inch thick rectangle.
  13. Cut the remaining dough into bars (for donut bars) or cut into circles.
  14. Using a small 1 inch diameter circle cutter or the bottom of a metal cake tip, punch out the center of the donuts. Save these pieces to fry for donut holes.

Make the Icings:

15. Let the donuts sit for 10 minutes while you make your icings. To make the salted caramel icing combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 1/4 cup of salted caramel.

16. Thin the icing with 1-2 teaspoons milk. It should be smooth and drip off the spoon easily.

17. To make the strawberry lemonade icing dice the strawberries into small pieces. Smash them with your hands and then add them to a bowl with 1 cup powdered sugar. Add the zest of 1 lemon and 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice to thin the icing.

18. To make the chocolate icing add 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder to a bowl with 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 2-3 teaspoons milk to thin the icing.

19. To make the coconut icing add 1 teaspoon coconut extract to a bowl with 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 2-3 teaspoons milk to thin.

*If you are making only one flavor double the individual icing recipe.

Fry The Donuts: *See Notes

20. Bring a small saucepan filled 1/2 way with vegetable oil to 350 F degrees. Test the oil by frying a donut hole. The donut hole should fry immediately and be bubbly around the outside.

21. Fry the donut hole until golden brown on all sides. Remove the test donut to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain the excess grease.

22. Slowly lower the donuts into the oil using a slotted spoon. Fry the donuts for 30 seconds on each side or until golden brown (do not crowd the pot). Use a slotted spoon to flip the donuts and cook for another 30 seconds or until golden brown. Remove with the slotted spoon and place on paper towel lined cooking sheet to drain the excess grease.

23. Finish frying the remaining donuts and place them on the paper towel lined baking sheet to drain excess grease.

24. When the donuts are still warm dip them in desired icing choices on both sides. Then place on a wire rack for the excess icing to drip down.

25. Finish the donuts with toppings immediately while the icing is still wet.

*For the chocolate donut top with multicolored sprinkles.

*For the salted caramel donut sprinkle Maldon finishing salt on top.

*For pina colada donut top with toasted coconut, pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

*For the strawberry lemonade donut top with lemon zest.


I like to use a small saucepan and fry in batches to use less oil. You can also use a larger pot to fry more donuts at once.

You can make 1 or all 4 of the different flavors of donuts. It is the same base.

Also make this base into donut holes or donut bars.

Make sure to double the icing recipe if you are only making 1 variation.

Make sure to dip your donuts while they are still warm and top with topping while the icing is still wet.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 4g

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