Cinnamon Twist Donuts || Your New Favorite Fall Donut

Cinnamon twist donuts are made with a rich, buttery dough. And topped with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar.

homemade cinnamon twist donut on a plate

They’re delicious. And while making them for this post was my first time making them, it definitely won’t be my last.

The simplicity of the recipe is a big draw to this sweet treat. And the meditative excercise of kneading the dough doesn’t hurt either.

They have the texture of those amazing little sugar covered donuts you find on Chinese buffets. I love those things! And I’m pretty thrilled to be able to make a similar treat right in my own kitchen.

The recipe in this post only makes 6 donuts. But they’re HUGE!

I’m going to try freezing some of the dough the next time I make them (more on that later in the post). But, for now, I just shared them with my neighbors. That’s always a win win!

Are Cinnamon Twist Donuts Good For You

The ingredients in this cinnamon twist donuts recipe are pretty wholesome. Especially, if you are producing or shopping local farms for your milk, eggs, and butter.

The thing I really like about it is that it doesn’t require a whole lot of sugar. And the bulk of the sugar that is in them is in the topping. So, you control that amount.

Overall, I would say this is a great way to satisfy an aching sweet tooth. This donut is even tasty without the cinnamon sugar topping, making it more desirable as a breakfast alternative.

Ingredients For Cinnamon Twist Donuts

This cinnamon twist donuts recipe uses basic pantry staples. So, no running out to the store to make these beauties. Just head on over to the pantry and grab what you need.

ingredients for handmade recipe on a table

Here’s a list of the ingredients …

  • MILK – You will need whole milk to make these donuts. I used farm fresh raw milk.
  • YEAST – Active dry yeast is what makes these donuts rise. And they rise beautifully, so big and fluffy.
  • SUGAR – There is a minimal amount of sugar in the dough for this recipe. The bulk of the sugar used is in the cinnamon sugar topping. This makes it very easy to control the amount of sugar you consume when you eat them.
  • EGG – Farm fresh eggs are always preferred for any recipe. But, if you don’t have access to them, you can use any eggs.
  • FLOUR – This recipe uses white all-purpose flour. I chose to use organic flour, but any flour will do.
  • SALT – Ordinary table salt works well in this recipe. I have real salt in the house, so I used that.
  • BUTTER – There is a significant amount of butter in this recipe. Use farm fresh if you can.
  • VEGETABLE OIL – The vegetable oil used in this recipe is for frying the donuts. You can use any oil that has a high heat index. I used vegetable oil because it is rather inexpensive. If I were a little further along on my homesteading journey, I would be using the pork fat from my pigs.
  • CINNAMON – Cinnamon is used to blend with the sugar coating on these donuts. Be sure that you have a good brand with plenty of flavor. Organic is always preferred.

How To Make This Recipe

This cinnamon twist donuts recipe is very easy to make. It comes together in no time at all. You have to exert a little elbow grease in order to get the kneading done properly. But that amounts to just 10 minutes of your time.

You also have to wait for the dough to rise before you can shape and fry your donuts. However, it’s hard to really count that time as it is free time and you can use it any way you wish.

Making The Dough

You’ll start by combining the milk, yeast, and sugar, and allowing it to rest for 10 minutes. This will cause the yeast to bloom which prepares it to raise the dough.

ingredients for cinnamon twist donuts on a table

Next you’ll blend in the eggs. And then the melted butter.

In a separate bowl, you’ll mix the flour and salt together with a whisk. And then begin blending it, one third at a time, into the wet mixture.

ingredients to make a recipe on a table with a whisk and a towel

At this point, you will knead the dough with your hands for 10 full minutes. It will be sticky. But should firm up quite a bit as you go.

woman kneading dough for cinnamon twist donuts

When you are done kneading it, place it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and set it in a warm place to rise. When it doubles in size it is ready to be shaped and fried.

Shaping And Frying Your Dough

You’ll divide it into 12 portions and work with each portion individually. Roll them into a log shape, by swiping one hand along them in an upward position and the hand, on the other end, in a downward position.

woman rolling out dough for cinnamon twist donuts

Fold the log of dough in half, and hold it up in the air by the fold. Twist the dough together. Pinch the ends shut and fry in a pan of hot oil until they are a dark golden brown.

woman twisting dough for cinnamon twist donuts

Then lay them out on a parchment lined pan and rub the cinnamon sugar mixture over them with your hands, until they are fully covered in it.

3 homemade donuts on a parchment lined pan

Can I Bake These Donuts?

I haven’t tried to bake this dough. While I was learning how to make these cinnamon donut twists, I looked at a lot of different recipes and blog posts about them.

close up of a freshly made donut

I found that bloggers are saying that this dough is not suitable for baking. But I’m not certain if that is because they are just mimicking what they see in other posts, or they have actually tried to bake the dough.

I, personally, am not going to try to bake it. I feel like it will lose it’s airy texture. And that is a main feature of the dough for me.

The dough does expand a great deal while it is being fried. It pretty much doubles in size. I’m not sure that would work in the oven.

Alternative Toppings For This Donut Recipe

I suppose if you top these donuts in with something besides cinnamon sugar they are no longer called cinnamon twist donuts. But don’t let that stop you!

freshly made fall donut on a plate

I can think of sooooo many ways that I would like to top them in the future. The two main ideas that are calling my name are to simply mix the sugar with either cocoa or pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon.

I can also see them coated with plain confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, or peanut butter powder.

I can just taste them coated in finely chopped peanuts, like a peanut stick. YUM!

And I think that a simple glaze made from maple syrup or honey would be really fabulous on them.

Quite honestly, they taste really great plain. So, if you’re trying to avoid the sugar punch … just enjoy the fried dough. Who doesn’t like fried dough, anyway?!?!

Storing Cinnamon Twist Donuts

These cinnamon twist donuts store really well in an airtight container. They will last about 2 or 3 days stored this way before they begin to go stale.

two homemade donuts on plates ready to be served

I haven’t tried to store them any other way. I don’t think they would be very appealing if you put them in the refrigerator. A cold donut sounds awful.

I did read that they can be frozen. Not as a finished product. But as a dough.

I haven’t done this yet. So, I’m not sure how well it works. But the process makes perfect sense to me, as the freezer would suspend the action of the yeast.

If you’d like to try it, here’s what’s being suggested by others …

Lay the shaped dough out on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze. Then place the frozen dough pieces in a ziploc baggie and return them to the freezer.

When you are ready to make a donut, remove it from the freezer and thaw it out. Then fry and enjoy!

I am definitely going to try to do this in the future. This is a large recipe for a household of just 2 people. I would love to be able to make just one or two at a time.

Although, it won’t be nearly as beneficial for my neighbors!

pinnable image for cinnamon twist donuts

If you try this recipe and love it, please give it 5 stars! It supports my work more than you may realize, and I appreciate that a great deal!

You can also show your support by tagging me on Facebook @sustainableslowliving and/or Instagram @slowlivingbydianegail when you post a pic of your finished dish.

homemade cinnamon twist donut on a plate
Yield: 6 servings


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cinnamon twist donuts are made with a rich, buttery dough. They're topped with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. And they're delicious!


  • 1 1/2 c milk, whole, warm to touch, not hot
  • 1 tbls active dry yeast
  • 3 tbls sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 c flour, white all-purpose
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 6 tbls butter, melted
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon


  1. Combine milk, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Whisk the egg into the milk mixture.
  3. Whisk the butter into the milk mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  5. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the milk mixture and stir it in. Repeat with the other half of the flour mixture. Make sure all of the flour is completely hydrated.
  6. Knead for a solid 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft. It will remain a little sticky, but should easily pull away from your fingers.
  7. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.
  8. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping and set aside.
  9. Heat a pan of oil to fry the donuts in.
  10. Punch the dough down to deflate it.
  11. Divide it into 12 equal portions.
  12. Roll each portion out into a 1 1/2" thick log. Do this by swiping your right hand in an upwards motion on the strand of dough, while simultaneously swiping your left hand in a downward motion on the other side of the strand.
  13. Fold the log of dough in half and suspend it in the air by the folded end with your hand.
  14. Twist the dough to form the donut. There will be more twists in the donut at this point than there will be in the final product, as it will unwind some during the frying process.
  15. Set the dough down on a flat surface and pinch the ends together. Be sure that you are forcing the dough to remain in the twist shape, as it will try to unwind.
  16. Place the dough in the frying oil. Fry on each side until the dough becomes a dark golden brown.
  17. Remove the dough from the oil and place it on a parchment lined pan.
  18. Pour the cinnamon sugar over the top of the dough and work it in with your hands so that it sticks to the dough.
  19. Flip the dough over and repeat this action on the other side.
  20. Serve warm. Or keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 551Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 907mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 3gSugar: 22gProtein: 12g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 10/23/2022. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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