Fried Donut Recipe (Roscos Fritos) - Spanish Sabores

Fried Donut Recipe (Roscos Fritos)

This simple fried donut recipe comes from Andalusia, where they’re popular around Christmas and Easter. It’s a classic cake donut recipe, without yeast, meaning they are ready in only 15 minutes!. If easy, quick, and delicious donuts sound like your thing, don’t miss these!

A stacked tower of four sugar covered fried donuts.
These easy fried donuts are a must-make!

I love donuts and fried dough of all sorts, so when I kept seeing these small, sugar-covered cake donuts in pastry shop windows, I had to try them.

Soft, sweet, and delicious — I was hooked.

But it wasn’t for many years I’d attempt making them at home. I always assumed they were complicated to make… but they actually couldn’t be easier!

Here you’ll find the classic Spanish fried donut recipe (roscos fritos con azúcar), including lemon zest and anisette liqueur. But you can substitute out different flavors if you prefer (see the notes).

Don’t be intimidated by the frying part either — it’s easy, and if using olive oil (like we do here in Spain) they’ll be healthier than many other donut recipes.

Donuts frying in a cast iron skillet.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for fried donuts on a wooden tray: sweet anise liquor, milk, egg, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, olive oil, lemon zest

Key Ingredients: Flour, egg, milk, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, olive oil, lemon zest, anise liqueur (can substitute for vanilla extract).

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Olive Oil: In Andalusia, we usually fry in olive oil, which I like to think means that our sweets are a touch healthier! Read more about frying in olive oil here. You can substitute another oil such as canola or sunflower if preferred.
  • Anise Liqueur: This gives Andalusian donuts their distinctive taste, but anise is not for everyone! Simply substitute vanilla extract (or your favorite flavor — almond extract would be delicious). You’ll use less in these cases, see my notes below.
  • Lemon Zest: The same thing goes for the lemon zest, you may omit or substitute if you prefer. Lime or orange zest would be lovely, or skip altogether and dust these donuts in cinnamon and sugar (instead of just sugar).

Fried Donuts: Step by Step

Fried donuts recipe steps 1-4 in a grid. Step 1 a metal bowl filled with egg and sugar. Step 2 a metal bowl filled with batter covered with baking powder and oil with a metal whisk on top. Step 3 a metal bowl with a batter and lemon zest on top. Step 4 a metal bowl with a batter and flour on top.

These fried donuts couldn’t be easier, especially if you have all of your ingredients prepped and measured before starting! Remember — these are homemade donuts without yeast — so there’s no waiting around!

Start by whisking the egg and sugar in a large bowl. Add the oil, baking soda, baking powder, and the anise liqueur (or substitution). Then whisk in the lemon zest and milk.

Next, you start adding the flour little by little. You want a sticky dough — but not so sticky you can’t form the donuts. You may need to add a little more or less flour, depending on where you are making these (the humidity, etc.).

Fried donuts recipe steps 5-8 in a grid. Step 5 is a metal bowl with a tan dough inside. Step 6 is a hand holding a hand shaped ring of dough. Step 7 is donuts frying in a cast iron skillet. Step 8 is 6 small golden donuts resting on paper towels.

Form the donuts by grabbing off a ball of dough and poking a hole in the middle. Stretch the donut so that the hole is about an inch (2.5 cm.) in diameter.

In the meantime, heat a couple of inches of oil in a heavy pan (I use cast iron). Gently drop in the donuts and fry until golden on both sides. Remove them and place them on paper towels.

Step 9 in making fried donuts. A glass platter with sugar dusted fried donuts on top. The number 9 is in the left hand corner.

Finally, cover the donuts with sugar and enjoy!

Tips & FAQs

  • Make sure your oil isn’t too hot (or too cold) when frying. It should not be smoking. Test the temperature by putting a small bit of dough in. If it starts to gently sizzle and brown, it’s ready.
  • These donuts are hand shaped, but some people use a nifty donut cutter instead. If you have one, go for it!
  • How long do these last? Like most cakes and fried goods, these are best when enjoyed shortly after being made. They’ll last up to a week, but if not stored in an airtight container they will become stale.
Sugar covered fried donuts in a white bowl.

More Spanish Donut Recipes

If you like these easy fried donuts, don’t miss these other donut (or donut-like) creations!

  • Churros: The most famous Spanish fried dough, these homemade churros are a must-try.
  • Buñuelos: These small, round Spanish donuts are popular dipped in hot chocolate.
  • Tortas de la Abuela: While not a donut, this honey-soaked fried dough recipe is another easy and quick way to feed a sweet craving!

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Sugar covered fried donuts in a glass dish.

Fried Donuts Recipe (Roscos Fritos)

A simple fried donut recipe from Spain. This classic cake donut recipe doesn't need yeast, meaning they are ready in no time. If easy, quick, and delicious donuts sound like your thing, don't miss these!
5 from 1 vote
Print (images optional) Pin Rate
Course: Cake, Snack
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 donuts
Calories: 98.71kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil You can substitute another oil such as sunflower or canola oil if needed.
  • 3 tbsp anise liqueur You can substitute 3 tbsp of a different sweet wine or liqueur, or reduce to 1 tbsp of vanilla extract (or similar).
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 ½ cups plus 2 tbsps of flour (200g)
  • olive oil for frying
  • ¼ cup sugar to cover the donuts (50g)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs and three tablespoons of sugar together.
  • Add the oil, liqueur or extract, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk until combined.
  • Add the milk and lemon zest and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the flour little by little, until you have a slightly sticky dough. It can't be too sticky to work with, but if you add too much flour the donuts can come out hard. Add extra flour if needed to achieve the right consistency.
  • Heat oil in a wide, heavy frying pan.
  • While heating, form the donuts. Grease your hands with oil and grab a small handful of dough. Poke a hole in the center with your finger and carefully stretch until the hole is about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) in diameter.
  • Gently add the formed donuts into the hot oil a few at a time. Don't overcrowd the pan. Brown on one side and then flip and brown the other.
  • Once fried, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate of paper towels.
  • Cover with sugar on all sides while still hot. Enjoy!

Notes

  • You can skip or substitute the lemon zest if preferred.
  • You can substitute the anise liqueur for any other sweet wine or liqueur, or for 1 tbsp of extract (either vanilla extract, almond, etc.).
  • Make sure your oil isn’t too hot (or too cold) when frying. It should not be smoking. Test the temperature by putting a small bit of dough in. If it starts to gently sizzle and brown, it’s ready.
  • These donuts are hand shaped, but some people use a nifty donut cutter instead. If you have one, go for it!
  • Like most cakes and fried goods, these are best when enjoyed shortly after being made. They’ll last up to a week, but if not stored in an airtight container they will become stale.

Nutrition

Calories: 98.71kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.48g | Protein: 1.56g | Fat: 3.88g | Saturated Fat: 0.59g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 10.25mg | Sodium: 125.74mg | Potassium: 16.82mg | Fiber: 0.32g | Sugar: 5.42g | Vitamin A: 15.15IU | Calcium: 32.98mg | Iron: 0.67mg
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What do you think? Will my roscos fritos be the next fried donut recipe you try? I hope so!

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