potato doughnuts with cardamom and cinnamon

I have a confession to make. I have never deep fried anything in my life. Unlike the fearless Taylor, who will deep fry cookie dough and carrot cake at the drop of a hat, I’m frightened of hot oil. Years ago when I was studying organic chemistry, a beaker of hot sulfuric acid shattered in my hand, splattering my arm with the corrosive, smoking liquid. The searing pain of that burn is permanently etched into my memory. The rational side of my brain is fully aware that hot oil is not quite the same as hot sulfuric acid, but I’ve had a hard time explaining that to the irrational and more hysterical side of my brain.

I met Christianna at BlogHer Food in Atlanta last month, and I liked her immediately. As it turns out, Christianna holds a monthly recipe swap from a vintage cookbook. When she invited me to participate, I immediately thought YES.

And then I saw that the recipe was for doughnuts. Which happen to be deep fried.

I took a big, deep breath and decided to take the plunge. Hot oil and I would meet – but hopefully not touch – and become friends. Or, at least, cordial acquaintances.

The goal of Christianna’s recipe swap is to redevelop the old recipe, sprucing it up and making it our own. In that spirit, I kept the heart of the recipe the same – mashed potatoes blended with the sweetened dough which is then fried in oil and rolled in sugar. However, I made some adjustments in the spices and the batter components. For the potatoes, I used Yukon Gold, a versatile potato with waxy, yellow flesh. Cardamom and cinnamon add a slightly exotic flavor to the cake-like inside of the finished doughnut.

The fear of frying in hot oil? Gone.

Potato Doughnuts with Cinnamon and Cardamom

These are best eaten warm and on the day they’re made, by the handful.


Ingredients for Doughnuts

3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup mashed Yukon Gold potatoes
Vegetable oil for frying

Ingredients for Topping:

½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, butter, sour cream, and the potatoes. Gradually add flour mixture to the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Chill the dough, covered, for 1 hour. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface to ½ inch thick. Cut out doughnuts with a floured round cutter or the bottom of a floured glass.

In a dutch oven, heat vegetable oil (2 inches) over medium-high heat to 360 degrees F. Fry the doughnuts in batches, 2 minutes per side or until they are golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

While the doughnuts are still warm, roll them one at a time in the sugar topping, coating them well.


In a shallow bowl or pie plate, stir together the cinnamon and sugar.

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28 Responses to “potato doughnuts with cardamom and cinnamon”

  1. 1
    kitchen Minions — June 5, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    I’m scared of frying too, but I’m also scared that I’ll enjoy it and start eating too much of it! What did you do with all of the excess oil?

    • 1.1
      Merry-Jennifer — June 5, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

      This is embarrassing, but the oil is still sitting covered in the dutch oven on my counter. When I finally get around to buying a funnel, I’m going to put it back in a container and dispose of it properly.

  2. 2
    Aggie — June 5, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

    I have a fear of hot oil too. Won’t do it at home, freaks me out!

    These look SO good!!! I wish I could pick one off that plate!

  3. 3

    See, I too, have a fear of frying. I have to tackle it like you have and figure it on out. All these donut posts are making me hungry!

  4. 4
    Burwell General Store — June 5, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    I am so glad you joined in the swap! It’s really fun, and this recipe looks amazing, and easy. I am also glad we finally met, I love your work, and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) more recipe swaps in the future!

  5. 5
    PolaM — June 6, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    Great job there with your first swap! I love how these swaps push you to overcome fears and try new things!

  6. 6
    Shari — June 6, 2011 @ 12:42 am

    I love tea – however, when I was living in Sydney a glass teapot shattered in my hand and sent the searing liquid all over my hand and belly… leaving some pretty awful burns. Thankfully, I fully recovered without scarring, but I now will never take a hot beverage in a glass container!

    Such a lovely post and AMAZING photography for your first contribution to the recipe swap – I look forward to following you from now on 🙂

    Shari from http://www.goodfoodweek.blogspot.com

  7. 7
    Boulder Locavore — June 6, 2011 @ 10:03 am

    These sound great! Love the flavors you used for the donut holes! So glad you’ve joined the swap.

  8. 8
    Marly — June 6, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    Being vegan I’m always looking for things that can add moisture in a recipe while also creating binding – to replace eggs in a recipe. I have tried mashed potatoes in a recipe before and was pleased to see that no one in my family caught on. But I never thought of using them in donuts before. What a great idea! Love it!

  9. 9
    Alli Shircliff — June 6, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

    I was totally in the same boat as you with the fear of the hot oil…glad we both survived! Your doughnuts look so good, I want to grab one through the computer!

  10. 10
    Chef Dennis — June 6, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    Great job with the recipe, those donuts look delicious and what a interesting combination of spices for those little beauties!
    I would love to try a few!!

  11. 11
    claire — June 6, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    hot oil makes me nervous too!

    they look gorgeous though!
    I am so sad I missed the swap… I cant wait for next months!

  12. 12
    Gail — June 7, 2011 @ 8:04 am

    Congratulations MJ! These donuts look and sound divine….the texture must have been really interesting, too!

    Have you flambéd? That was a huge fear of mine!

  13. 13
    Ethan — June 7, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Can I say I’m proud of you for conquering one of your fears without it sounding cheesy?
    Well, proud of you! It’s nice getting over one of your fears when there’s something to eat at the end of it:)

  14. 14
    Winnie — June 7, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

    Wow these look amazing. I do VERY infrequent frying projects and have yet to attempt donuts. One of these days…

  15. 15

    It takes a lot to convince me to get out my big stock pot and heat up oil for frying… But, these doughnuts may just be the inspiration I needed. I’m wondering how they’d taste made with sweet potatoes, too… Sounds perfect for the fall.

  16. 16

    I was lucky enough to have been given a deep fryer and it has helped ease my fears of having oil splash and hit me in the face.

    These doughnuts are delightful. They look so rich and crispy, but light in the middle.

  17. 17
    Liz — June 8, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    Mmmmm….these look bakery perfect! Gorgeous gems~

  18. 18
    Jessica @ How Sweet — June 8, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    LOVE these! They look absolutely fabulous.

  19. 19

    I guess it’s just because of the way I learned to cook, but I’ve never had any fear at all of hot oil. “Back in the day” a typical meal consisted of a meat, usually something fried, with two or three vegetables. And some of the veggies could be fried as well. Of course, I don’t do it so much any more simply because of the smell and mess but I’m gonna get out a big old bottle of oil and give these doughnuts a go!

  20. 20
    Feast on the Cheap — June 8, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    Good grief, these look soooooo good. Love the dash of cardamom

  21. 21

    I kind of have a fear of frying myself, but I guess they always say it’s best to face you fears head on and these certainly look worth it!

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  23. 22
    SMITH BITES — June 10, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    potato doughnuts . . . potato. doughnut. yep, am pretty sure if i had a phobia of frying in oil, i’d close my eyes and leap for this recipe alone . . .

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  25. 23
    Megan's Cookin' — August 7, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

    I’m not much of a deep fryer either but these donuts sound heavenly!

  26. 24
    Lisa {With Style and Grace} — August 26, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    I too have a fear of frying – guess the only way to get over it is to do it… night try this with sweet potatoes. A little bite of comfort.

  27. 25
    sophistimom — August 29, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Everyone tells me how much better potato doughnuts are. I’ll have to try them now. Thank you for the recipe.

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