One of your favorite treats to get at the fair is easy to make at home! Fresh, hot fried dough is a delicious indulgence for summertime or anytime.
Fair food is my favorite part of the fair! Which is why when there’s a year we can’t go, I’m always a little sad.
Reading: how to fry dough
Sometimes we skip the fair to spare our wallets – the food, rides, parking fees and costs to get in can really add up. Then there was that period we took a break from the fair after a very unfortunate incident involving my husband, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and some upchucking.
Or the fair isn’t happening at all anywhere for one reason or another. (You know what I’m referring to here!!)
For those times when we are deprived of the fair, it’s really comforting to make our favorite fair treats at home. Like Fried Dough!
Ah, the dough. Served hot, slathered in melted butter, and waiting to be bathed in confectioner’s sugar, honey or real Vermont maple syrup.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Treats like fried dough are must-haves when you go to the fair – but when you can’t go it’s nice to know you can still make your fair treats at home. Fried dough is a fun dessert or even a snack. Make a batch for your next movie night or your kids’ sleepover crew.
The dough is a simple bread dough that you mix together and let rise. The rise time helps develop gluten which gives the fried dough a little chewiness, which is like the bread dough I remember from the fair.
Need a shortcut? Use pre-made dough from the store! Check the refrigerated aisle for bags of Italian pizza dough – these work great in this recipe.
The pieces fry up in just a few minutes apiece. That means your hungry fans won’t have to wait too long! And everyone can top their fried dough the way they like best: pure maple syrup, cooked fruit, chocolate sauce, honey, cinnamon sugar, caramel – just endless possibilities.
🔪 How to make this recipe
Step 1: Make the dough
Mix the flour and dry ingredients together, then add in the water and oil. Mix these together in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Step 2: Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Let the dough rise for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Step 3: Heat the oil
When the dough is done rising, pour vegetable oil in a heavy-duty cast iron pot or enameled cast iron pot like this one. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.
Step 4: Roll out and cut the dough
While the oil heats up, turn the dough out on a floured surface. Flatten it out with a rolling pin, then cut it into pieces.
Step 5: Fry that dough
Gently lay a piece of dough into the hot oil. Use a metal spatula or tongs to turn the dough several times during cooking, until it’s puffed and evenly browned on both sides. Remove the dough to a paper towel-lined rack. Cook the other pieces the same way. Check your oil often during cooking: if it drops below 350 degrees, increase the heat a little to bring it back up. If it’s too hot, slide the pan off the burner to rapidly drop the temperature. Turn down the burner a little and put the pot back on the heat.
Step 6: Add your toppings and enjoy!
Brush the warm pieces of fried dough with melted butter. Then you can add your favorite toppings like powdered sugar and pure maple syrup!
- Maintaining the proper oil temp is key to getting great fried dough. Heat the oil to a temperature of 350 degrees F, and adjust the heat as you cook to maintain this temp. A thermometer is the best way to get the temperature you need – I would suggest picking up a digital thermometer like this one. It’s inexpensive and you can use it for all of your cooking and baking.
- Melted butter brushed on the hot fried dough gives a crucial (and delicious!) flavor. After the butter you can add your favorite fried dough toppings: my favorites are powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup. Chocolate syrup or caramel are also two fantastic options. You can also top fried dough with cooked apples or blueberry sauce.
Can I make this fried dough recipe with an air fryer?
This recipe has not been tested with an air fryer, and from what I understand it’s not as easy to convert a fried dough recipe as it is, say, a breaded fried chicken recipe. Consult the directions and recipes that came with your air fryer to find guidance on cooking dough.
Can I use substitute a different dough recipe?
The recipe I give here is based on recipes for pizza dough, and I prefer this one for the texture in the finished fried dough. I did test enriched doughs (made with eggs, more sugar, milk) and though they fried up just fine, I found the texture to be more like a fried cake or even a doughnut. Not bad, but not fried dough. I suggest sticking with this recipe.
Does the dough need to rise? Can I just skip this step?
I tested this as well, and found that frying dough that had not risen created something more like fried cake, with no chew at all. It tasted fine, but to me didn’t taste like fried dough from the fair. For this reason I recommend letting the dough rise so gluten can develop.
Can I use a pre-made dough?
Yes! I made fried dough with pre-made pizza dough – this is the kind that’s usually in the refrigerated section of supermarkets in little plastic bags. Let the dough come to room temperature.
Fried dough smells so delicious! How easy it would be to sell these out of my front window for $6.50 a pop. (And my house would smell like fried bread paradise.)
Treat yourself to a little piece of fried fair food paradise! The recipe for Fried Dough is below. And here are some other fair treats you can make:
💬 Are you enjoying your Fried Dough at home? What’s YOUR favorite fair food? Leave a comment below and tell me, and give this recipe a rating, too!
Read more: Zucchini Casserole | Family Cuisine