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Overhead closeup image of homemade Rainbow Donuts | All Images © Beyond the Butter, LLC

Rainbow Donuts

Author: Jennifer
With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, these homemade Rainbow Donuts will be the prefect treat to share with your family, friends, or coworkers! This fun and delicious recipe combines your basic fried donut that's dipped in a vanilla glaze, then piped with rainbow colored vanilla whipped frosting on top!
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18 donuts



  • 2 ¼ teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • ¾ cup Warm Water
  • cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus any additional flour for rolling out the dough for cutting later
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil, for frying the donuts in deep fryer

vanilla glaze

  • 1 ¼ cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
  • cup Milk, any dairy type (I used 1%)
  • cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

vanilla frosting

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 4 ½ cups Sifted Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream



  • Combine the packet of active dry yeast and the warm water in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer that's fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let the yeast proof (or sit) for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the granulated sugar, salt, unsalted butter, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and all-purpose flour, then set the mixer speed to low and knead the mixture until the dough forms together. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl easily when ready. If you find that it's still really sticky, you can add 1 tablespoon of flour until the dough is soft and still slightly sticky.
  • Transfer the dough over to a lightly greased, medium size bowl, flipping it over once to coat the entire ball of dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (do NOT use aluminum foil) and place in a warm, draft free spot for about 1 ½ hours or until it's almost doubled in size.
  • Gently punch the dough down in the center, then turn it out on to a clean and lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 6-7 times or until it turns into a smooth ball with the same texture throughout.
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about a ½ inch thickness rectangle. Coat your 3 ½ inch donut cutter with some all-purpose flour, then cut out the donuts. Using a bench scraper, cut each donut in half to get the rainbow shape. Then place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them out about 1 inch a part. Repeat this step until all the dough has been used. With any small pieces of leftover dough, you can roll it into donut holes.
  • Cover the baking sheet with a clean tea or dish towel and allow the donuts to rest for 1 hour or until they've almost doubled in size.

vanilla glaze

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the sifted confectioners sugar, milk, light corn syrup, and vanilla extract until well blended and smooth.

vanilla buttercream frosting

  • Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter on medium-high speed until completely smooth (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Switching the speed to low, add in the sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream, and mix until blended and smooth.

frying the donuts

  • Line a baking sheet with about 2 layers of paper towels. Next to it place your bowl of vanilla glaze, then beside it place another paper towel lined baking sheet with a wire cooling rack placed over the top. This will be where you place the glazed donuts.
  • Fill the deep fryer with either canola or vegetable oil to the max fill line. Then set your deep fryer for a temperature of 365ºF and your timer for 1 minute, 30 seconds. Mine beeps when it reaches temperature. If using a deep skillet or large stock pot, see notes.
  • Place 3-4 rainbow donuts in the grill basket and fry for 1 minute, 30 seconds on each side, turning them over with either tongs or a slotted spoon. You want the donuts to be a nice medium golden brown color. 
  • When the donuts are ready, carefully remove the grill basket and place the donuts onto the paper towel lined baking sheet to let any excess oil drain off. You can also remove the donuts from the grill basket using tongs if you'd rather not remove the basket.
  • Using tongs, take one donut from the baking sheet and immediately dip it into the vanilla glaze and place it onto the next paper towel lined baking sheet with a wire cooling rack on top to allow any excess glaze to drip off.
  • Repeat steps 3-5 until all the donuts have been deep fried and coated in the vanilla glaze.
  • Let the donuts cool slightly before piping the buttercream on (otherwise it may melt it a little).

decorating the donuts

  • Divide the frosting into 7 piping bags (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white). You'll only need a piping tip for the white which will be for the clouds. I used the Wilton No. 12 round decorating tip for this.
    For the rainbow color piping bags you can simple snip a little part of the bottom off before you're ready to decorate the donuts.
  • Start by piping the red color first, followed by orange, then yellow, green, blue, and lastly purple.
  • Then pipe on the clouds, like you're piping little cupcakes.


Recipe Notes

Prep time noted for this rainbow donuts recipe includes 30 minutes prep, 1 ½ hours rise time, and 1 hour rest for the dough.
Cook time noted for the recipe is only for the frying of the donuts.
Not noted in the recipe is the prep time to make the vanilla butter cream frosting (20 minutes), and the prep time for decorating the rainbow donuts (35 minutes).
Prep and cook times are approximate and may differ based on the tools used and level of experience.
If you're using a heavy skillet or stock pot for frying the donuts you'll need roughly 3-4 cups of Canola or Vegetable Oil.
Place the oil into the deep heavy skillet or stock pot and heat until it reaches 365ºF using a candy/deep fryer thermometer. Add in the oil BEFORE you turn on the heat to heat up the oil.
After frying the donuts, do NOT pour the oil down the drain. I know this is probably old news to many of you, but I still need to say it. Wait for it to completely cool and then pour it into a glass jar, these Toss-It! Bags, or reuse it! I like to place the oil in this Oggi 4 quart grease can after I'm done using it. It comes with a strainer and keeps it clean and tightly covered until I use it again.
Keyword donuts, doughnuts, fried donuts, homemade donuts, homemade doughnuts, pride month donuts, rainbow donuts, rainbow doughnuts, rainbows, st. patrick's day donuts, whipped frosting
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