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This classic Donut Glaze Recipe makes a thin, sweet glaze that dries to give you a perfect crackle. Use this or any of the variations on old fashioned, baked, or yeasted doughnuts!

Doughnut glaze dripping off of a whisk onto a wood slate background.

I have made more than my fair share of donuts since the first time that “I was so happy I fried” when I  made my old fashioned sour cream donuts years ago. For this post, I photographed my Krispy Kreme Copycat Donuts dipped in my classic glaze. I developed this particular glaze recipe over the course of 5 years to yield the perfect taste and consistency!

As the Executive Pastry Chef for Iron Chef Marc Forgione, I was tasked with making a ‘Donut of the Day’ for daily dessert specials. These donuts became run-away hits! I now have over 150 unique donut recipes in my arsenal. Yes, it’s a lot. But I only have 10 unique base glaze recipes, and this is my favorite!

Why you will love this Donut Glaze Recipe:

  • Tempers sweetness. No one wants a donut that is cloyingly sweet, and this glaze adds just the right amount of sugary flair to your favorite doughnuts!
  • The glaze makes the ultimate crackle. You know that slightly hardened shell on the outside of the perfect donut or crullers? That is this glaze! 
  • This recipe is versatile. It’s not just for donuts (although, yes it’s perfect for donuts), but it’s also the ideal glaze for cakes, muffins, and scones. Plus, you can adjust it to the dessert’s specific flavors for the best possible match!

Professional Tips for Frying & Glazing Homemade Donuts

  • Dip the donuts in the glaze while they are still warm. Some people use chopsticks or a slotted spoon for this step, but I use my fingers. Either way works! Stay mindful of the fry oil temperature with a thermometer, and be careful with your hands since you’re working with hot oil. Place your golden brown donuts on a cooling rack over some parchment-lined baking sheets or towels to catch the extra oil and glaze. This will also keep the bottoms crispy.
  • Alternatively, warm your glaze. It is easier to use this glaze when it is at a slightly warmer temperature. It’s especially good to have a warm glaze for more delicate donuts. In order to warm your glaze, use a double boiler (or bain-marie). A double boiler is a pot with a low level of simmering water, with the glaze-filled bowl placed on top.
  • Let it set. It usually takes about 10 minutes at room temperature for a glaze to set, though it will not completely set until the donut has cooled.
  • Double dip your donuts. For a thicker glaze, wait until your donuts have set and then dip them again! This will give you an extra thick and crunchy layer, and is an insider tip for cake donuts, like Chocolate Cake Donuts.
Classic Donut Glaze with yeasted donuts on wood board.
Pumpkin Spice Cake Donuts interior texture
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Ingredients

Doughnut glaze is chiefly made with a few simple ingredients:

  • Whole Milk: I use whole milk for the added flavor and fat. It also has a lower water content which is useful for glazes. Substitute whole milk with your favorite milk alternative for a vegan solution!
  • Kosher Salt
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: I use confectioner’s sugar to add sweetness. It also incorporates easily into glazes for a silky, smooth texture. Powdered sugar is sweeter by volume and weight than granulated, so use a light hand.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds a beautiful flavor itself and together with the milk is reminiscent of ice cream.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • A coffee version: Add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder to the milk before mixing, or just let the flavors meld on their own. Add coffee extract or a little cocoa powder to bump up that flavor!
  • A sweet fruit variation: For sweeter fruits like peaches, substitute peach juice for the milk, and add the juice from half a lemon. To use jam as the flavoring, first reserve ¼ cup of the milk in this recipe. Then add your desired jam (strawberry jam, concord, etc.). Whisk until smooth before adding the ¼ cup of milk a little at a time until the glaze runs smoothly from the whisk.
  • Add some spices: You can add in pumpkin spice mix to glaze these pumpkin donuts or you can add cinnamon, cardamom or any spice you love!

How to Make Donut Glaze

Use these instructions to make the perfect classic doughnut glaze every time! Further details can also be found in the recipe card below.

Make your glaze.

If your powdered sugar is particularly lumpy, it helps to sift it prior to adding it in your mixture.

Step 1: Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. I like to use a medium bowl for this, which helps my apartment stay clean! I start in the center with my whisk and make sure I incorporate all the ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Take note of the glaze consistency as you add flavoring. You don’t want a glaze that is too runny or stiff.

Store or glaze your donuts:

Step 2: Cover the surface of the glaze directly with plastic wrap to keep it from developing a film before it is ready for use. You can store it in the fridge, but remember that it is easier to use at a slightly warmer temperature, so either dip a warm donut in it or warm it up prior to use. 

Sometimes it helps to give it an extra whisk before use, to break up any solidifying that has occurred. 

Step 3: Dip your still warmed donuts in the glaze and set on cooling racks. It’s helpful if you use a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the glaze that occasionally drips down as it sets.

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

You cannot go wrong with this donut glaze recipe. If it gets too thin: add more confectioner’s sugar. Not flavorful enough for your taste: add more jam, spices, or juice.

White glaze spilling from a whisk onto a wood board next to a bowl of white glaze.

How to pair the right donuts with the right glaze?

For me, it’s always about balance and using glaze flavor pairings to make an ordinary donut into something extraordinary. Possible duos:

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store leftover glaze?

Store glaze in an airtight, clean container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can freeze glaze for longer storage, though freezing fried glazed donuts is not ideal. Unused glaze will keep for 3 hours at room temperature, 2 weeks refrigerated or 3 months frozen.

What is the difference between icing and glaze?

While the ingredients in icing and glaze are sometimes the same, the consistency is different. Icing is thicker and is generally spread on with a spoon or spatula. Glaze is thin enough to pour on. Heavy cream is a possible ingredient to thin icing, but heavy cream will not make a good glaze. Its fat content will make the glaze too thick and it will not harden.

Why does donut glaze harden?

Powdered sugar is the ingredient that makes doughnut glaze harden. It will not harden if it is too thin or if it contains too much fat. This is the reason that glaze made with heavy cream will not set enough to crack. If your glaze is too runny simply add more powdered sugar.

Will the doughnut glaze recipe multiply?

You can make as large a batch of this recipe as you would like. You are only limited by the capacity of your bowl or stand mixer.

If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!

Classic Donut Glaze with yeasted donuts on wood board.
5 from 10 ratings

Donut Glaze

This classic Donut Glaze Recipe makes a thin, sweet glaze that dries to give you a perfect crackle. Use this or any of the variations on old fashioned, baked, or yeasted doughnuts!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 12 Donuts

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. I like to use a medium bowl for this, which helps my apartment stay clean! I start in the center with my whisk and make sure I incorporate all the ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  • Cover the surface of the glaze directly with plastic wrap to keep it from developing a film before it is ready for use. You can store it in the fridge, but remember that it is easier to use at a slightly warmer temperature, so either dip a warm donut in it or warm it up prior to use.
  • Dip your still warmed donuts in the glaze and set on cooling racks. It’s helpful if you use a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the glaze that occasionally drips down as it sets.

Video

Notes

Technique – I try to be sure my glaze is slightly warmed, sometimes via a bain-marie, so it covers the donuts easily.
Storage – Store in the freezer or fridge in an airtight, clean container.

Nutrition

Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 15mg | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Calories: 154
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Before You Go!

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef-tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed donut recipes or make breakfast extra special with my Donut Bread Pudding!

Classic Donut Glaze
Classic Donut Glaze

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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Recipe Rating




14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have never believed that such a delicious glaze was that easy to make. Delicious and making it as often as I can. I made a lemon cake and had to have some over it. Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    This is perfection! I used it on sour cream donuts the first time I made it and blueberry muffins the second time. Its definitely versatile and not just for donuts!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Ooo, that sounds delicious! Excellent idea to use it on blueberry muffins. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This came at the perfect time! I never realized the glaze was so easy to make, but it game out perfect and hardened nicely.