There’s a bit of work that goes into making doughnuts from scratch, and you might not want to go through this process each time you feel like enjoying fresh, homemade doughnuts.
You might also be looking for a way to save leftover dough, for when you have made a little too much and know you won’t be able to eat all of the doughnuts in the batch.
Can you freeze doughnut dough? Yes, you can freeze doughnut dough after proofing, and it freezes well. The doughnuts will still be light and airy when cooked after freezing. However, you must take steps to ensure the doughnut dough is protected during the freezing process to keep its best qualities.
If you’re making the most out of your dough, keep reading to learn the best practices for keeping it safe in the freezer.
How To Freeze Doughnut Dough
There are two types of doughnuts that you might be making at home – yeast doughnuts and cake doughnuts. Both vary a little when it comes to freezing and need their own special care to ensure they are kept protected in the freezer.
So, if you are looking for the best way to freeze doughnut dough, we have listed step-by-step instructions for you to follow, and some extra tips to ensure that your doughnuts taste as beautiful as possible once frozen and cooked!
Freezing doughnut dough is fairly simple, but there are a few differences between freezing yeast doughnuts and freezing cake doughnuts.
Once you know which recipe you are using, have a look at the below step-by-step guides for each to see the best way to freeze them.
If you’re still looking for your perfect recipe, why not try our classic ring donut recipe?
Freezing Yeast (“Regular”) Doughnut Dough
Yeast doughnuts are made from a dough that is rollable and moist. It uses yeast as a rising agent and contains flour with a higher protein content.
With yeast doughnut dough, kneading is required to develop the gluten. It does take some time to proof yeast dough, and sometimes the dough will need to be proofed twice.
This results in a lighter and airier dough that you are able to freeze for later.
Here is how to freeze yeast doughnut dough:
- Prepare the doughnut dough as you would normally.
- Cut the doughnut dough into rings and leave them to proof on parchment paper laid onto a baking sheet.
- Once the doughnut rings have been proofed, place the baking sheet into the freezer, allowing the doughnut rings to freeze. Keep the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 3 hours, so that the doughnut rings freeze solid.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer.
- Wrap each doughnut dough ring in a layer of plastic wrap, being careful to wrap them quite tightly. Wrap a double layer of plastic wrap on each doughnut ring.
- Place the double-wrapped doughnut dough rings into a resealable plastic freezer bag, writing the date of freezing on the front of the bag.
- The plastic freezer bag can then be sealed, squeezing as much air out of the bag as possible.
- Place in the freezer.
Yeast doughnut dough can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. It is important to write the date of freezing on the plastic packaging so that you can keep track of when the dough should be used by.
The dough might still be fine to use after this point, but it might decline in quality.
Tip: If you do not want to go through the trouble of separating the dough into doughnut rings, you can freeze it whole, or in small balls, and then thaw it at room temperature and roll them into rings before cooking.
Freezing Cake Doughnut Dough
Cake doughnuts, like our baked sour cream donuts, are the original type of doughnuts, which require cake flour and baking soda or baking powder as a leavener.
This creates a thick batter that doesn’t need to be kneaded or mixed thoroughly. The dough just needs to be left to rest for a bit before being baked or fried.
Here is how to freeze cake doughnut dough:
- Prepare the batter as you normally would.
- Using a piping bag, pipe out rings onto a baking sheet which has been covered with some parchment paper. Make sure to pipe the rings out carefully, in a single layer, not touching each other.
- Place the baking sheet with the doughnut dough into the freezer. Leave these in the freezer for a few hours until the doughnut dough rings are frozen solid.
- Once the doughnut dough rings have frozen solid, remove them from the freezer.
- Double wrap each doughnut dough ring in plastic wrap, covering all areas of the dough well to prevent any contact with air or moisture.
- Place the double-wrapped doughnut dough rings into a resealable plastic freezer bag and write the date of freezing on the top.
- Put the plastic bag in the freezer.
Use the dough within 1 month of freezing. You can leave them in the freezer for longer, but the quality will begin to decline and not be as good as it would within 1 month.
When you freeze cake doughnut dough, you are deferring the leavening process, and once the dough thaws and is at room temperature, the baking powder or baking soda will begin to act as the leavening agent.
How To Use Frozen Doughnut Dough
Once it is time to use the doughnut dough you have sitting in the freezer, you will need to know how to get it from a rock hard frozen ring to light and airy baked or fried doughnut.
You should not cook the doughnut dough from frozen, and you will need to let the dough thaw and come to room temperature first before cooking.
You will also have to leave the doughnut dough to sit at room temperature for some time, allowing the leavening agents to work, and to give the doughnuts a fluffy texture.
Once the doughnut dough rings have thawed and come to room temperature, rising along the way, you can then cook them as you would normally, by baking or frying.
Freezing doughnut dough and thawing it properly will give you delicious doughnuts, and you might not even be able to notice the difference between previously-frozen dough and dough that was made fresh!
Can You Freeze Homemade Cooked Doughnuts?
Along with freezing homemade doughnut dough, you can also freeze doughnuts that have already been baked or fried.
The best way to do this would be to freeze the doughnuts before they are glazed or filled, and only once they have reached room temperature after cooking.
To freeze homemade baked or fried doughnuts, you will need to use a large plastic freezer bag and cut out two pieces of waxed paper, which should be just smaller than the freezer bag.
Slide one piece of the wax paper into the bottom of the bag, laying it flat. One by one, place the doughnuts into the bag in a single layer, on top of the piece of wax paper.
Once you have filled the plastic freezer bag with doughnuts in a single row, place the other piece of wax paper on top.
Push out as much air from the bag as you can, as excess air and moisture will damage the doughnuts in the freezer.
One way to do this is to close the bag as much as possible and place a straw in the end, sucking out as much air as you can before sealing.
Lay the bag flat in the freezer and use the doughnuts within 1-2 months. While it isn’t advised to freeze doughnuts that have been filled or glazed, you can do so.
You just need to be careful not to disturb the filling or glaze when preparing the doughnuts for freezing, and make sure that as much air as possible is removed from the plastic bag before sealing.
How Long Will Doughnut Dough Keep in the Fridge?
You can keep doughnut dough in the fridge for up to 3 days, but it is best if the dough is used within 48 hours.
Is It Okay to Leave Doughnuts to Rise Overnight?
Yes, you can leave doughnuts to rise overnight, but if you choose to do this, place the doughnuts in the fridge for the night. Alternatively, leave the doughnuts on the kitchen counter to proof for 1 hour.
If you have left doughnut dough to rise in the fridge overnight, then you will need to leave it out to reach room temperature for an hour before you fry or bake them.
Can You Leave Doughnut Dough to Rise for Too Long?
Doughnut dough can be left to rise for too long, and you will notice a difference in the taste of the doughnuts.
The dough ferments as it rises, and if it is left to rise and ferment for too long, the cooked dough might have a sour or unpleasant taste.
Why Is My Doughnut Dough Hard?
Doughnut dough might be hard if it is not left to proof for long enough. It might also happen if you fry your dough while it is cold. It is important to leave the dough to proof for long enough and to come to room temperature before frying.
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