Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

I am currently embroiled in a love affair with my new air fryer (yes, I’m such a kitchen geek)! I’d wanted one of these for a couple of years now, but had always talked myself out of buying one. I thought it would be just another kitchen gadget that I’d quickly loose interest in, that would remain on my kitchen counter taking up precious space. However, I could not have been more wrong. These things are amazing! I honestly wish I had bought one sooner. Somehow they add crispness and flavour to foods even without prior marinating (and I’m the marinating queen) and all with minimal oil.

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After lots of research I decided on the Ninja AF100UK as it seemed perfect for a family of four, and I have not been disappointed. It’s really easy to use (I used it without looking at the manual) and cleaning up is easy as the pan and grilling tray are non-stick and can be popped into the dishwasher. Honestly, I’ve found a way to use it every day since it arrived and the great thing is that I can make healthier meals for my family without compromising on the taste.

One of my kids’ favourite treats are freshly fried cinnamon sugar donuts (the kind I remember getting at the fair when I was little), so I decided to have a go at making a slightly healthier air fryer version. I kept the recipe pretty much the same as when I make them for the frying pan, but reduced the cooking time and brushed the surfaces of the donuts with melted butter after they were cooked to give the cinnamon sugar something to cling on to. The result is a tasty, sugary, soft donut that the kids could easily polish off in one sitting. And unlike the frying pan version there was no excess oil to have to somehow discard afterwards.


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Air Fryer Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Recipe

Makes: 12 ring donuts and 12 donut holes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Leavening Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes


For the donuts:

  • 205 g strong white bread flour
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 7 g dried fast action yeast
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 50 g salted butter melted, slightly cooled plus extra for greasing the bowl
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract        
  • 1 medium egg beaten

For greasing the donuts before and after air frying:

  • 6 tbsp melted butter

For the cinnamon sugar coating:

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the donuts (flour, sugar, yeast, nutmeg).
  2. Add the milk, vanilla extract and egg to the butter and mix well.
  3. Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients whilst mixing with a spoon until a slightly tacky dough is formed.
  4. Knead by hand or using dough hooks on a hand mixer for around 5-10 minutes until the dough is less tacky.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the inside of the bowl with some additional melted butter, it doesn’t matter if the bowl has some dough residue. Then place the dough back into the bowl and turn it over so that the top and bottom is greased.
  6. Cover the bowl with cling film and place a clean tea towel on top. Leave to rise for 90 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 even balls and spread them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with cling film and a tea towel and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the tea towel and cling film. Use a rolling pin to flattten the dough balls into rounds approximately 6 cm in diameter and 8 mm thick.
  9. Use a 3 cm diameter round cookie cutter to cut out donut holes. Set the donut holes aside.
  10. Brush tops of donuts and donut holes with a quarter of the remaining butter. Turn them over and brush the other side of the donuts and donut holes with another quarter of the butter.
  11. Heat the air fryer at 190 °C for 3 minutes.
  12. Cook the donuts in batches (I cooked 4 at a time) on the crisper tray in the air fryer for one minute per batch until the donuts just start to go a tiny bit brown. Cook the donut hole batch for around 45 seconds.
  13. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
  14. Brush the tops and bottoms of the donuts and donut holes with the remaining butter, then toss them one by one in the cinnamon sugar.


  • These are best devoured while they are warm.
  • Don’t over cook as they will get hard.