1930s Doughnuts Recipe

Last year I wrote about Halloween and the Doughnut. If you are interested in reading it I will link it here. Basically, it talks about how the doughnut was quite a Halloween tradition from at least the 1930s. I didn’t include a doughnut recipe last year because of the crazy year that was 2020 and just wasn’t able to test any out. So here is me remedying that with a recipe that I have tested and adapted from a 1930s doughnut recipe. This is quite an easy recipe for a basic cake doughnut that one could play around with the spices to make their own. 


Check out tomorrow when I show what a 1930s newspaper shared as a special way to serve up a doughnut on Halloween. Also, here are a few more ads from the past that mention Halloween doughnuts plus a photo that accompanied the 1937 newspaper that I found this recipe in.


1930s Doughnut

  • Servings: 1 1/2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A 1930s doughnut recipe.


  • 3 tablespoon butter or shortening, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying.
  • Optional: cinnomon sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter (or shortening) and the sugar until it looks like corn meal.
  2. Add the eggs one at the time until each is fully incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together 3 1/2 cups of the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter mixture by alternating between the dry and liquid.
  5. Pour the dough out on to a floured covered surface. The dough will be sticky. Add and work in flour slowly until the dough is not sticky but still soft and tender.
  6. Roll out the dough to a 3/8 of an inch and using a doughnut cutter or two biscuits cutters (one larger than the other) cut out the doughnuts.
  7. Heat up a couple inches of oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees.
  8. Carefully drop the doughnuts into the oil frying the first side for about two minutes and then flip cooking the other side for about a minute.
  9. Cool on a bakers rack to let excess oil drain off. Roll in cinnamon sugar.


“Coffee Cakes Model Cafe and Family Bakery Ad”. Spokane Chronicle. October 25, 1935.

“For Halloween Grocteria Ad”. Medford Mail Tribune. October 23, 1952.

“Jimmie Jingle Says”. Lincoln County News. October 24, 1957.

Marsh, Dorthoy. “Now’s the Time To Make Doughnuts”. Albuquerque Journl. January 17, 1937.


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