Sugar Donuts Chinese Buffet Style

Chinese donuts that are found in American Chinese restaurants are often called “crispy fried bread” or “fried dough” on the menu. They are similar in taste and texture to traditional Chinese donuts, you tiao, but they may be slightly different in appearance or preparation. You can make this copycat version with simple tubes of biscuit dough.

homemade Chinese donuts on a blue plate.

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What makes Chinese Sugar Donuts so good?

Chinese Buffets are known for a standard set of dishes. You will always see fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and even a great crab casserole. For some reason, often, by the fried wontons, you will find some donuts. Those sugar donuts are delicious and very easy to make at home.

Why you should try this recipe

While Chinese Buffet Style Donuts may not be the world’s healthiest treat, they are pretty delicious. They have a heavenly exterior crunch. You may want to try these not just as a dessert with a meal, but you may want to try them for a weekend breakfast or afternoon snack.

What are Chinese Donuts?

These are like donuts. They are typically deep-fried balls of dough and then rolled in white granulated sugar. You can find these puffy donuts with a generous sugar coating on a Chinese buffet dessert table.

They may have originated from Youtiao, the Chinese deep-fried dough often served for breakfast. In China, these are made in different shapes and in long forms, so it’s easy to see how they are Americanized in many restaurants.

What does a Chinese donut taste like?

When you get these in most Chinese restaurants, they taste like ordinary donuts. So if you have never tried one and want to try one, this is an easy recipe.

You don’t need to make frosting when you make one of these donuts because you roll it in granulated white sugar.

You only need a few simple ingredients and some oil for frying. Here’s a list of what you need for this Chinese donuts recipe:

  • Refrigerated canned biscuits
  • Sugar
  • Frying oil like canola oil or vegetable oil
homemade Chinese donuts ingredients on a baking sheet.

Ingredient Notes

For the canned biscuits, I don’t recommend purchasing expensive ones. In fact, by the least expensive that you can. Do not purchase the flaky ones if you want to recreate this recipe at home.

I recommend using plain vegetable oil. Other types of oil would work; you could use corn oil, soybean oil, or even peanut oil.

How to Make Chinese Donuts (Sugar Donuts Chinese Buffet Style)

  1. Add enough oil to a deep fryer or large heavy-bottomed pot so that it is a few inches deep. Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a deep-fry thermometer to check the oil’s temperature.
  2. Place a couple of biscuits in the oil and cook until lightly browned on one side, about 1 to 1½ minutes.
  3. Turn the biscuits over to brown on the other side.
  4. When both sides of the donuts are golden brown, transfer them to a wire rack or paper towels and drain for 15 seconds, you will want to remove the excess grease.
  5. Dredge the donuts in sugar while they are still warm.
homemade Chinese sugar donuts on a blue plate.

How do you eat a Chinese doughnut?

You would eat them as you would any donut; keep in mind these round donuts do not have holes in them, so you should enjoy them one bite at a time!

How to Store and Reheat Chinese Doughnuts

These donuts do not store very well. You can enjoy them immediately for the best flavor and texture, if you want to enjoy them later, I recommend storing them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.

I do not like to store these in the fridge, because I feel like it will give you poor results, they seem to get too hard if you refrigerate the leftovers. If you have an air fryer, you should reheat them for about 60 seconds at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

a stack on homemade Chinese sugar donuts on a plate.

Recipe variation

You may want to roll these in cinnamon sugar instead of plain white graduated sugar.

What to serve these with?

You may want to serve these with ice cream. Some people like to dip these in either a chocolate sauce or even sweetened condensed milk.

How to Store and Reheat Chinese Doughnuts

These donuts do not store very well. You can enjoy them immediately for the best flavor and texture, if you want to enjoy them later, I recommend storing them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.

What is the best way to reheat these homemade donuts?

I typically store these at room temperature in an air-tight container like a donut. They seem to get too hard if you refrigerate the leftovers. If you have an air fryer, reheat them for about 60 seconds at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You could also eat these in a toaster oven or regular oven for about 6 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Do you love donuts? Check out these recipes!

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Be sure to take a look at more of my Chinese cuisine recipes and the best desserts.

homemade Chinese donuts on a blue plate.

Chinese Doughnut (Buffet Style)

Enjoy Chinese Buffet Style Donuts, even more, when you make them at home. 
4.97 from 28 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chinese Buffet Style Donuts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 293kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits
  • oil for frying
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Add enough oil to a deep fryer or large, deep heavy pot so that it is a couple of inches deep.
  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees.
  • Place 2 to 3 biscuits in the oil and allow them to lightly brown on one side, about 90 seconds. Be sure to fry only a couple at a time or the oil may cool too much and the donuts will absorb too much oil.
  • Turn the biscuits over to brown on the other side.
  • When the donuts are golden brown on both sides, transfer them to a wire rack or paper towels to drain for 15 seconds.
  • Pour sugar into a small bowl.
  • Dredge the warm donuts in the sugar.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 435mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 8g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

      • Jami

        5 stars
        I made them last week and filled them with smucker’s raspberry preserves. I Used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip. Suggest trying to fill one and cut it open t9 see how you did. The first one I filled did not have enough jelly. It took more squeeze force than I expected to get a good jelly-donut ratio. They were delicious.

  1. Anthony-Hector

    Greetings Stephanie,

    Interesting recipe but I am presently in Hong Kong for work, been here already 2-years, and have to say I’ve never encountered anything like these doughnuts! There is a dessert pastry which is deep fried and rolled in sugar but it is more like a choux paste/pastry in texture although somewhat more dense.
    Thanks for the great recipes though!
    A.H.

    • Stephanie

      My guess these “Chinese donuts” are a “Chinese American” dish just like General Tso’s chicken. There are many dishes that were created in the US for the American audience.

  2. John

    5 stars
    How about try to copycat white castle burgers if anyone can do this it would be you i’ve tried came close but still missing something.

  3. Linda Winchell

    Made these tonight but I used my frozen yeast pre-made rolls. Thawed and allowed them to proof. Flattened out to about 1 ” thickness, deep fried in 375 degree canola oil.Once golden brown on both sides, rolled them in white granulated sugar. So good!!!
    Next time I am going to fill all of them with jelly! Linda Winchell

    • ILOVECUPCAKE S

      Yes you can they cook quickly. Have your eve’s on them at all times. Make sure there thoroughly cooked before you rook them in sugar. Pan frying doesn’t make a difference at all then deep frying! Have fun!

  4. xee

    I tried making them but the inside is not fully cooked yet When the outer is like almost burnt already. Am I doing something wrong?

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