Recipe: Make our lower fat air fryer doughnuts

Our air fryer doughnut recipe is lower in fat than a regular version Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvi

Our air fryer doughnut recipe is lower in fat than a regular version Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

If you're watching what you eat, these are a great alternative to the deep fried version.

Our appetite for lower-fat, healthy junk food seems to know no bounds these days.

You only have to look at the success of cheeky chappy Joe Wicks, or the ladies behind online phenomenon Pinch of Nom (whose recent book release was one of the fastest selling in the UK for a decade) to see that we're constantly on the hunt for alternatives to slap on our dinner plates.

You can't move in bookstores or on internet marketplaces such as Amazon, for the piles of tomes dedicated to the subject.

They entice curious cooks in with their promises that yes, you can have your kebab and eat it…

A growing area in this sector feeds our desire for more angelic baking - difficult to achieve when the primary ingredients are flour, sugar and butter.

I'm fervently against the use of sweeteners in baking because, well, it's not real food is it? But I'm all for switching up cooking methods and tweaking recipes to make them less naughty.

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So this week I've turned to my trusty air fryer to reproduce a common baked good, but with a much lower fat profile – the doughnut.

Make no mistake, it's still a treat (don't eat them all to yourself) but you can chow down on one of these with less pangs of regret afterwards.

There's little difference between these beauties and a 'real' doughnut, except the cooking method, which sees the dough lightly brushed with butter rather than dunked into a vat of bubbling oil.

If you've never seen or used an air fryer, they really are a slimmer's best friend. My parents bought me one for Christmas and, while I may have fallen off the 'being good' wagon, that hasn't stopped me using this super cool gadget on a regular basis. Essentially it's a countertop convection oven where you put food on the grill baskets, set the temperature, and the air then flows around whatever you're cooking to give it a nice, even, crispy finish. With just a spritz of vegetable oil it'll make awesome chips.

I've cooked healthy pizza in a jiffy in mine. And homemade fishfingers, with a lighter crumb coating, come out much nicer than if they'd been baked in a traditional oven.

These doughnuts cook in less than 10 minutes and can be finished with any topping of your choice. If you're watching your sugar intake, drizzle them with a very dark chocolate. I've finished them by dipping the cooled buns into thick glace icing. Lovely stuff. PS, it's National Doughnut Week for The Children's Trust from May 11 – so get practising and you could sell these to raise money for the cause.

Air-fryer doughnuts

(makes 8)


250g strong white bread flour (plus extra for rolling)

1tbsp sugar

1 sachet (7g) dried yeast

Pinch salt

1tbsp melted butter

1 large egg, beaten

90ml warm milk

Plus an extra few tablespoons of melted butter for brushing

To finish: Icing sugar mixed with a colouring of your choice and enough water to make a thick, spoon coating icing.


Mix together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Make a pool in the middle and add the butter, egg and milk. Bring together and turn out onto a floured surface.

Now knead until the dough is really smooth and springy. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes but persevere as if you give up before the dough is ready, your doughnuts won't work out as well.

Now pop your dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set somewhere warm for an hour. After this time it should be doubled in size. Lightly knead again and roll on a floured surface to 1cm thick. Using a plain 8cm cutter cut out eight circles. Then, using a bottle top (I used the lid of my cider vinegar) cut the centres out of each. Flatten slightly and place on a lined tray. Cover again and leave somewhere warm for about 30 minutes.

Set the timer on your air fryer for five minutes and the temperature at 225C.

Brush each risen doughnut with melted butter lightly and place in the fryer's grill pan. Cook for five minutes, then turn and give an extra two minutes on the other side.

Allow to cool completely before icing.