Skip the pot of hot oil and make these healthier air fryer doughnuts. If you've ever had a baked doughnut, brace yourself. These are SO much better. Instead of tasting like a cake, shaped like a doughnut, each of these tastes like freshly fried classic glazed donuts thanks to the dough still being a yeasted dough. They are light and airy just without the extra oil. Be sure to grease your air fryer basket to help your dough not stick to the basket! Straight from the air fryer, they'll look a little more like bagels, but everything changes once you dip them in glaze and top with rainbow sprinkles. If you're a cinnamon-sugar churro person, you could also go that route. You'll have to make these in batches since air fryer baskets are so small, but they don't take long once they are in the air fryer! Giving you enough time to glaze donuts during each new batch.
FOR THE DONUTS
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
1 (0.25-oz.) packet or 2 1/4 tsp. active-dry yeast
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
FOR THE VANILLA GLAZE
1 c. powdered sugar
2 oz. milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp. milk
FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. melted butter
MAKE THE DOUGHNUTS
Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. In a small, microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, add milk. Microwave until lukewarm, 40 seconds. Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir to dissolve, then sprinkle over yeast and let sit until frothy, about 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ¼ cup sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour in yeast mixture, mix to combine, then add in dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and only slightly tacky, adding more flour a teaspoon at a time if needed, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball then place dough in oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Punch down dough, then turn onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a ½" thick rectangle.
Using a doughnut cutter or 3" and 1" biscuit cutters, punch out your doughnuts. Knead any scraps together and punch out more doughnuts or holes. Place doughnuts and holes onto baking sheets, cover with dish towel, and let rise again, 40 minutes to 1 hour more.
Grease basket of air fryer with cooking spray and add 2 doughnuts and 2 doughnut holes at a time, making sure doughnuts don’t touch. Cook at 375° for 6 minutes, until deeply golden. Place on cooling rack and repeat with remaining dough.
Dip doughnuts in glaze (see below) or follow instructions for cinnamon sugar. Return to cooling rack and let set for 5 minutes before serving.
MAKE THE VANILLA GLAZE:
In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk.
MAKE THE CINNAMON SUGAR
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together cinnamon and sugar. Brush doughnuts with melted butter and toss in cinnamon sugar.