An easy way to make the donuts you get in a Chinese restaurant using canned biscuit dough


Lately I have had a little shadow in the kitchen. Just last night Gus (4 1/2) asked if he could bring his stool in to help me make cashew chicken. He helped me add ingredients and shake the stir-fry pan. When we had sat down to eat, he declared that he was a master chef and that he would go to chef school.

Methinks he has been watching too many Food Network shows with mom.

All three kids like to help me in the kitchen. While our projects might make a lot of mess, I believe it is important for them to feel comfortable choosing and preparing food.

Cakes, cookies, and sweets are a treat in our house and so over the holidays when Denna said she had really been craving donuts I obliged and bought some from the grocery store as a treat. But that glorious dozen sparked an interest in her to find out how donuts are made. We have made baked donuts before, but never attempted the all-popular fried variety.

cutting up biscuit dough

I’m not a huge fan of frying stuff. I hate using up all that oil. We fry our own tortilla chips and tostadas occasionally. We made Indian tacos as a New Years’ treat. But normally I stay away from frying.

Frying bread doesn’t make too much of a mess though, so when I saw an easy idea for donuts on Pinterest, I told the kids we could give it a shot.

frying each donut in oil

I’m sure most of you have ordered take-out from a Chinese restaurant or eaten at a buffet and tried the little sugar-coated donuts they sometimes have. They are small, fun, and they feel like a grand treat because they are different. They’re softer and lighter than donut holes.

This recipe is an attempt to mimic those little fried treasures.

Easy Chinese Restaurant Donuts

What you need:

  • 2 cans refrigerated biscuit dough (regular style – not flaky)
  • Oil for frying (enough to cover 1″ of the bottom of your pan – about 1 1/2 cups usually)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TB cinnamon (optional)


1. Open your canned biscuits. Cut each biscuit into smaller pieces. We made the donuts pretty small by cutting each biscuit into 4 small wedges.

2. Heat oil in a cast-iron or other heavy skillet. Fry each donut in oil until golden, turning once. You can fry a handful of the pieces at a time and it only takes about 30 seconds on each side. Place on paper towels to drain.

3. While donuts are still warm, place them in a bowl with a lid and add the sugar mixture (plain sugar if you choose not to use cinnamon). Shake gently to coat.

shaking up the donuts to coat with sugar

And that’s it! It doesn’t get any simpler than that. We used cinnamon sugar because we already had some mixed up.

If you don’t like using canned biscuit dough, you can easily make up your own dough. I think any good biscuit dough recipe would work, but here is one specifically for Chinese donuts. We are going to try this recipe next time.

fried chinese donuts

Since we made our donuts so small, they were a little more brown and “crispy” than the larger ones from our local Chinese take-out. But they were the perfect size to just pop in your mouth.

They didn’t last very long as we shared them with some friends. I think they would store well in a sealed container on the counter for a day or so, provided they were dry. Moisture would definitely make them soggy.

This might be my remedy for the next time the kids are asking me for donuts and I don’t want to go with the heavy, huge, sugar-laden rounds from the bakery.

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One Response to Easy Recipe for Kids: Making Chinese Restaurant Donuts

  1. Amy says:

    Goodness gracious—-now I want some donuts! LOL!!

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