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'Crispy Scream' Doughnuts

Ghost Doughnuts
Raymond Prado
Cook Time:
5 mins
Prep Time:
2 hrs
24 doughnuts

Chef notes

These doughnuts are a scream! Their fluffy texture and sweet, ghostly glaze will have them all devoured in no time. You won’t believe they aren’t from your favorite doughnut shop.

Technique tip: Make sure your oil is at 350 F. Too hot and the dough will seize and won’t expand, resulting in dense doughnuts. Too cool and the doughnuts will start absorbing the oil and be greasy.

Swap option: You can use store bought crescent roll dough or cinnamon roll dough.


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet (1/4-ounce) instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm (about 105 F)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons honey or 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • vegetable or canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the starter:

In a saucepan, add the flour, then while whisking, add the water and milk. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens into a smooth paste. Mixing time is approximately 3½ minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

For the dough:


In a mixing bowl, add the flour and instant yeast. Stir to combine.


To the lukewarm milk, add the egg, stir, then add it to the starter. Add the honey and salt; then add the flour-yeast mixture. Mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook until the mixture just comes together and then add the butter, a small piece at a time, until incorporated. Raise the mixer speed to medium.


The mixture will be very soft and shaggy at first, sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl. Continue mixing until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and shiny, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn the dough over to coat the dough in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until the dough almost doubles in size. Place the dough in the refrigerator to firm up for shaping, about a 1/2 hour. (The dough is very soft and slack, but by cooling it in the refrigerator, the butter in the dough seizes and the dough firms enough to shape more easily, much like brioche dough.)


Punch down the dough and transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan that's been sprayed liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Flatten the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.


Flour your baking surface and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 4-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out rounds. Roll each piece into a rough oval. Using a large 1-inch round piping tip, stamp out a large mouth and using a 1/2-inch round piping tip, stamp out two eyes. Place the ghostly doughnuts on individual squares of parchment and place on a large sheet pan a few inches apart, covered loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to double in size in a warm spot in the house (but not too warm), about 45 minutes.


In a large cast-iron pot, heat the oil (at least 2 inches deep) to 350 F. If the temperature is too low, the doughnuts will cook too slowly and start to absorb oil and the donuts will be greasy. If too hot, the donuts will over brown and set too quickly and the doughnuts will not rise and be dense and chewy.


Fry each doughnut for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown. Transfer to a cooling rack lined with paper towels.

For the glaze:

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients into a thick, pourable glaze. If too thick, add a little bit more milk. If too thin, add a bit more confectioners' sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the right consistency.

To assemble:

Dip each ghostly face in glaze. Serve while warm.