Fasnacht Recipe (Raised Donuts)

5 from 13 votes

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This Fasnacht recipe is a part of my childhood that I have passed on to my boys as a part of theirs. Making this raised donuts recipe with them is one way I am able to share stories of my mom who was their Grandma they never met.

Between snuggling up in the quilts and comforters she made some 40 years ago and making old recipes like this one, it’s almost as if she is giving them some of the hugs that I know she would have wanted them to have.

A stack of glazed, raised donuts on a plate.
These raised donuts are one of our many old-time Amish recipes.

These fasnacht donuts show the magic of family recipes and timeless memories. Plus, they are amazingly delicious!

 I can’t recall the first time I “helped” my mom make Fasnacht donuts, but I do know that it has been in the neighborhood of four decades that my hands have played with a donut cutter. This Fasnacht recipe is just one of the many Amish recipes that I grew up with on our big Mennonite farm.

These Amish donuts were part of my mom’s baking routine, along with favorite desserts like old-fashioned shoofly pie, German coffee cake, and, of course, the best Molasses cookies recipe ever made!

Making this Fasnacht recipe back then was always a special activity. Fun, creative, and incredibly delicious. So much has happened in the ensuing years of my boyhood.  Loved ones have passed, and new ones have been born.

I’ve gotten quite a bit older, and gas is no longer 29 cents a gallon.  Many things, however, have remained constant. The comfort of my own bed,  the voice of my best friend from my youth, and the indelible memories of my favorite treats that I grew up with.

Raised donuts on a cooling rack

What is Fasnacht?

Fasnachts are heavy German donuts, traditionally made in a square or triangular-shape with no holes in the center. They can be filled with cream, glazed, powdered with sugar, or all of the above. The old way is to make this Fasnacht recipe with lard, just like my mom did with the fat rendered from our own pigs.

Made from an Amish Fasnacht recipe, my mom just called these raised donuts and on the mornings she revealed she was making them, I knew it was going to be a special day.

One of the things that makes this fasnacht recipe fun for kids, is that we use a regular donut cutter, which is part of what makes it so fun for kids.

What can be more fun than cutting donuts and then having all the donut holes as your own private stash? This is probably one of the recipes I have to thank for giving me a life-long love of baking. And eating donuts like these Fasnacht.

A box of donut holes coated with sugar.
Few things are more fun to eat than donut holes that you make yourself.

Fasnacht Ingredients

This recipe for raised donuts takes ordinary pantry ingredients.

My mom always used lard for her Fasnacht recipe, but that was way back when on the farm. We fry these in vegetable oil today; my kids don’t know the difference!

Pantry ingredients you need to make Fasnacht donuts

How to Make Fasnacht

(The full fasnacht recipe is at the end of this post.)

This raised donut recipe starts with a sponge made with yeast and flour. I suggest letting the sponge raise overnight which I think gives a flavor boost to the Fasnacht.

Once you have all of the ingredients assembled, it’s time to make the donuts!

A mixing bowl of dough and a dough rolled out with a rolling pin
  1. Make the simple sponge.
  2. Let it double in size.
  3. Make the donut dough and add it to the sponge. Allow the two to rise together.
  4. Roll out the dough and let the fun being!
a baking sheet filled with fasnacht donuts
Cover the rising donuts with a towel to keep them from drying out.

When you have the donuts cut out, place them on a baking sheet and let them rise until they double in size. Toss a kitchen towel over them to facilitate the rising process and keep them from drying out.

Yeast Donuts frying in hot oil
Fry the donuts until they are a golden brown on each side.

You’ll fry these yeast donuts in a large skillet, with the oil heated to 375°. Be sure to flip each one so they have a nice golden brown color on each side.

A bunch of donuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
After draining the fasnacht, let them cool before you top them off.

I like to drain these fasnacht donuts on brown paper grocery bags, and then let them cool for a few minutes before adding the crowning touch of a sweet topping.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to donut toppings.

I have one son in particular who is a bona fide foodie.  Isaiah is my blue-eyed nine-year-old who possesses a genuine passion for taste and flavor. He’s our boy who loves seafood for breakfast. You get the picture.

For quite some time now, I have shared with him the stories of making this fasnacht recipe as a youngster while giving him my word to undertake that activity with him someday.

A little boy sitting at a table making Fasnacht

I made good on that promise this past cold and wet April weekend at our small cottage on a small lake in the middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin.  Isaiah had a blast making this Fasnacht recipe, as did his dad.

Group of boys making donuts
4 years later, the same boy, making raised donuts once again.

Isaiah and I ended up adapting a recipe from amishamerica.com.  It seemed basic and well suited to a couple of newbie donut makers such as the two of us. 

I love cooking with our kids. After making this Fasnacht recipe, Isaiah made a remark that echoed his brother Joe when he made our molasses cookies.

He told me of his hope of someday making donuts with one of his kids.  I sure hope that happens someday.

Donuts on a cooling rack

How to Glaze Amish Donuts

I always make a simple glaze for this Fasnacht recipe, using a combination of powdered sugar, salted butter, a splash of vanilla, and some heavy cream or milk. You’ll want to be generous with the liquid and just play with the consistency until its thin enough to drizzle over the donuts but not so watery that it won’t stick.

Ideas for Donut Glaze

One of my favorite ways to eat Fasnacht is to add a cup of powdered sugar to a gallon-size zip lock bag and shake a donut inside of it. This works well for the holes as well. This is not only a simple and mouthwatering idea, it’s also a lot of fun!

If you want a little fancier glaze for this Fasnacht recipe, the sky is the limit. Here are a few of my favorite glaze recipes for donuts:

  • Orange Donut Glaze – Use a teaspoon or so of fresh orange juice and sprinkle some fresh orange zest on the glaze as it dries.
  • Chocolate Donut Glaze – Add a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder to the glaze mix. You may need a little extra milk to make it smooth and silky.
  • Maple Glazed Donuts – This is my favorite. Instead of vanilla extract, add a tablespoon or two of pure maple syrup to the mix. Use the darker and cheaper maple syrup which is stronger in flavor and ideal for baking.
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A stack of donuts on a plate
Top these Fasnacht with your favorite glaze.

Common Questions

Can I use Self-Rising Flour?

Self-rising flour contains all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. I do not recommend substituting this for regular flour when making donuts as it will affect the texture and the taste. Remember, we want light and airy fasnacht! Although you can use substitute self-rising flour for these donuts, you’ll want to leave out the yeast.

What’s the Best Temperature for Frying Donuts?

375° is the best temperature for frying donuts. I like to use a long probe digital thermometer to safely check the temperature of the oil.

What Can I use Besides a Donut Cutter to Shape the Donuts?

If you don’t have a donut cutter, you can use a wide-mouth jar or a large drinking glass to cut shape them. A vitamin container or pill bottle can be used to easily cut the donut holes for this Fasnacht recipe

What is Fastnacht Day?

This raised donut recipe is so good, it has it’s own holiday! Fasnacht Day (or Fastnacht Day) is a Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday, or Shrove Tuesday.

Legend has it the Fastnacht Day was created as a way to use up all the eggs, butter, lard, and other delectable foods in preparation for lent. The Amish and Mennonites have some close ties to the Pennsylvania Dutch and this Fasnacht recipe is one of them.

A variety of glazed donuts in a box

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Fansnacht Recipe

5 from 13 votes
This Fasnacht recipe is a delicious twist on tradition! Ditch the store-bought donuts and whip up a batch of homemade Amish donuts using our easy-to-follow recipe. These melt-in-your-mouth treats are perfect for sharing with friends and family, and they're sure to become a new favorite.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Yield: 48 donuts


For the Sponge

  • 4 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 2 cups water, luke warm
  • 1 tbsp yeast, dry active

For the Dough

  • 4.5 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 cup oil, vegetable oil


  • Prepare sponge by mixing yeast and warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir well until yeast is dissolved. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and set in warm place, overnight or until sponge has doubled.
  • For dough, use a medium-sized mixing bowl and cream together sugar and shortening. Add the nutmeg, salt, and eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into the bowl containing the sponge and mix together. Gradually stir in remaining flour. Stir in as much flour as the dough will readily take. Cover dough and set in warm place and allow to double in bulk.
  • On a floured board, roll dough to ⅓ inch thickness. Cut dough using donut cutter or round form. Allow cut-outs to rise until doubled in size, keeping covered to prevent from drying.
  • Heat frying oil to 375 degrees in deep skillet. Fry donuts until a light golden brown, be sure to turn them over so each side is evenly fried.
  • Allow to cool and drain on paper bag or paper towels. Glaze or coat with your choice of topping, or enjoy plain. Have coffee or milk readily available for immediate dunking.


Top Tops for Amish Fasnacht Recipe
  • Let the dough rise overnight for more flavor.
  • Use a large drinking glass to shape the donuts if you dont’ have a donut cutter.
  • Eat these plain or with a simple glaze made of powdered sugar, vanilla extract, butter, and milk.


Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 28mg, Potassium: 28mg, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 10IU, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mennonite Recipes
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Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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5 from 13 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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