County Fair Fried Dough

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A warm batch of golden, puffy-soft handheld doughs make a fun fair food treat – made easily at home! Sprinkle with powdered sugar or dip in marinara sauce. These buttery, crisp doughs are ready in 30 minutes, with no kneading or rising. Everyone goes crazy for these!

What a blur of activity the beginning of July has been! Between family birthdays, celebrations, traveling and July 4th festivities, I can safely say this summer has been a frenzy of fun. One of my fondest memories so far has been the weekend of sleeping late, drinking wine, fresh mountain air, slow meals by the sea, and antique shopping we experienced in Vermont!

Between our long walk against Lake Champlain, lazing on the lawn enjoying live music at sunset, and a colossal sparkling firework display, there was nothing not to love about July 4th in a classic New England town. You can bet that included some old fashioned, fried fair food treats.

Fried dough has been a newfound love for me. My better half has been enjoying this treat his whole life, and recently introduced me to what I was missing. A few tries to perfect this recipe and here we are – the PERFECT golden, crispy, soft and buttery-sweet fried dough that melts in your mouth. Even if you’re not walking the fairgrounds with one of these babies in hand, you will see how deliciously addictive a classic fried dough is.

Let me show you the simple 30-minute process for cooking these at home!

Ready to make your own County Fair Fried Dough?

• In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

• Using a pastry blender, electric mixer or your fingers, work the cold butter into the flour mixture. Easy tip: grate the cold butter into the bowl for instant tiny chunks!

• Stir in warm water to make a soft dough. Form a cohesive ball with your hands – do not knead. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

• Divide dough into 6 pieces. Working one piece at a time, roll into a thin 5″ round. This doesn’t have to be perfectly round or exact.

• Heat oil in a large frying pan. After a few minutes, flick a piece of dough into the frying pan. When it bubbles to the surface and turns golden, you are good to go!

• Carefully lower a dough disk into the pan – one at a time. Cook for 60 seconds (it will puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom). Flip it and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds. Do not overcook until dark in color; they’ll become overly crisp.

• Remove from oil and set on a paper towel-lined surface. Place in a 200 degree F oven to keep warm, while you make the remaining fried doughs.

• Serve warm with maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon sugar, or the topping of your choice — some enjoy a savory version, with marinara sauce and cheese.

Keep reading for full ingredient list + recipe, below

Looking for more fair-food style recipes? Try these!

3-Ingredient Beignet Bites

Foolproof Crispy Onion Rings

Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders

Glazed Apple Pie Fritters

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Buttermilk Fried Pickles + Red Hot Ranch

Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips with Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce

3-Ingredient Crescent Hot Dog Rollups

Easy Mexican Fried Ice Cream

Crispy Oven-Baked Potato Fries

Cheesy Loaded Nacho Tater Tots


It took all our willpower not to pop one of these puffy dough disks right into our mouths, hot out of the fryer. They are so gorgeously golden and tempting!

For the secret to your best-ever batch, take care not to knead the dough (this will make it tough) or roll it too thin (this will make it too crispy, and we’re going for pillowy-soft with an slight outer crisp). You want to form this dough gently and separate it into 6 pieces. Roll these pieces into rounds about a half inch thick, and pop ’em in your bubbly oil to puff up.

Two minutes ’til hot, toasty fried dough perfection is ready for devouring!


Whether you’re cooking up this County Fair Fried Dough to satisfy a craving, or for a special celebration, these will definitely hit the spot! Kids and adults alike love batches of hot, sugary fried dough for a special snack or dessert. This is the ultimate anytime treat to inspire happy smiles all around!

County Fair Fried Dough

Servings 6 pieces
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 cups oil, for frying You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  • Using a pastry blender, electric mixer or your fingers, work the cold butter into the flour mixture. Easy tip: grate the cold butter into the bowl for instant tiny chunks!
  • Stir in warm water to make a soft dough. Form a cohesive ball with your hands - do not knead. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 6 pieces. Working one piece at a time, roll into a thin 5" round. This doesn't have to be perfectly round or exact.
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan. After a few minutes, flick a piece of dough into the frying pan. When it bubbles to the surface and turns golden, you are good to go!
  • Carefully lower a dough disk into the pan - one at a time. Cook for 60 seconds (it will puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom). Flip it and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds. Do not overcook until dark in color; they'll become overly crisp.
  • Remove from oil and set on a paper towel-lined surface. Place in a 200 degree F oven to keep warm, while you make the remaining fried doughs.
  • Serve warm with maple syrup, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon sugar, or the topping of your choice — some enjoy a savory version, with marinara sauce and cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

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