Crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside. Bite into the cinnamon-sugary twists that are Korean Donuts. If you’re going to fry donuts once in your life, make these.
During my first pregnancy, my one true love was the Korean Donut from H Mart. Sadly, I didn’t live near a Korean grocery store. Luckily, Halmoni did. She lived only 2 hours away from me, so I visited often. And whenever I did, I bought and ate a donut.
I loved Korean Donuts to the point of obsession. I woke up thinking about them. I planned my days around them. And when I finally got one in my hands, I took big bites and licked my fingers. I smacked my lips and didn’t offer to share. Good manners be damned when you’re pregnant and eating the one item you crave most in the world!
Imagine my stupified wonder when I discovered you could make Korean Donuts at home. A random google search led me to the queen of Korean home cooking, Maangchi. Well, duh, of course she would have a recipe!
My version is sweeter. I know, so unlike me. (I’m not big on desserts. I make desserts like Not-Too-Sweet Lemon Bars and Coconut Panna Cotta with Ginger Syrup.) But other than a few tweaks here and there, the recipe is all hers.
This is a yeasted donut that requires time and patience. The dough needs to rise twice. Then shaped into the characteristic Korean twist. One more quick rise, and finally, deep fried and rolled in copious amounts of cinnamon sugar. (I made a visual below, to help you get started.)
Still, I think you’ll find great pleasure in the making and eating of these crispy, sugary treats. Enjoy the tactile sensation of rolling out the dough. Delight in the yeasty aroma. Experience the thrill of creation: you’ve made something from nothing, built meaning out of raw materials. That first bite will taste all that more delicious.
How to Twist Korean Donuts:
After the dough has risen twice, lightly flour surface. Cut dough into 16 equal pieces. (I use a bench scraper to cut the dough in half, then keep halving until I have 16 equal-ish pieces.)
Take one piece and roll out (with your hands) into a long strip, about 10 inches long.
Twist one end away from you while simultaneously twisting the other end towards you.
Hold the ends and lift the dough off the surface, in a U-shape. The donut should naturally twist. If you need, give it a little extra twist to help it along. Pinch the ends together and tuck under each other.
Repeat until you have 16 donuts. Then let the dough rise another 15 minutes.
Now it’s time to deep fry and coat in cinnamon sugar! YUM! Enjoy!!
Crispy, sugary twists that crunch softly when you bite down. Korean Donuts will make all your cinnamon-sugar donut dreams come true.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup milk
- 3 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 egg
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 packet)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
Heat melted butter and milk in saucepan until lukewarm to the touch, but not hot or steaming. Sprinkle yeast over the liquid and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Add egg and beat lightly with fork.
Add flour, sugar, and salt to a large bowl. Add liquid and mix with spatula until dough forms. The dough will be very sticky so feel free to sprinkle dough with a little more flour if needed. Cover and put in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough. Let rise again, about 45 minutes. (Yes, the dough needs to rise twice.)
Lightly flour surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. I cut the dough in half, then keep halving until I get 16 equal-ish pieces.
Shape dough into twists: Take one piece and roll out (with your hands) into a long strip, about 10 inches long.
Simultaneously twist one end away from you and one end towards you.
Hold the ends and lift the dough off the surface, in a U-shape. The donut should naturally twist. If you need, give it a little extra twist to help it along.
Pinch the ends together and tuck under each other.
Transfer to parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat until you have 16 twists. Let the twisted donuts rise another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and cooling rack so the finished donuts have a landing place once they're finished frying. Also, prep a large cast iron dutch oven (or stock pot) with a candy thermometer and 1.5 inches of vegetable oil.
Heat oil until thermometer reaches 325F. Gently lower donuts into oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. (I fry 4 donuts at a time.) Maintain an even temperature between 300-325F, lowering and raising heat if needed. Turn the donuts and cook until both sides are golden, about 2-4 minutes total.
As the oil heats, prep the cinnamon sugar. Add sugar and cinnamon to a large shallow bowl and mix with a spoon. Once the donuts have finished frying, use tongs to transfer hot donuts to the cinnamon sugar. Use the spoon to sprinkle and thoroughly coat each donut with cinnamon sugar. You may need to turn the donuts with tongs to ensure that all sides are well coated.
Eat immediately! Korean donuts taste best when they are still warm.
*Leftover donuts can be frozen and reheated in a 325F oven until crispy and hot, about 4-5 minutes.
**Yeast is finicky. There are many ways to kill yeast. Yeast can also die if it’s too old. To determine if your yeast is still active, sprinkle a small amount (a pinch) over warm water. If it foams, it’s still good. If it doesn’t foam, then you may need to get a new batch.