County Fair Fried Dough: happy fry-day!

Fried dough.

Two simple, straightforward words.

Fried. Dough.

Yet what a wonderful metamorphosis takes place when a simple flour/butter/water dough hits a scant 1/2″ of hot oil.

POP goes the dough, coming suddenly to life as air, trapped inside, expands to create big bubbles.

And what was formerly a soft, pale round of dough becomes golden brown and snapping crisp, the tasty essence of why we love doughnuts and french fries.

It’s all about that crisp deep-fried crust and flavor – even though 3/8″ of peanut oil could scarcely qualify as “deep” frying.

Have you resisted churros, beignets, and other deep-fried treats because you hate the thought of a gallon of hot oil bubbling on the stovetop, covering you and everything within reach with a rich patina of eau de doughnut?

Then this is a great recipe for taking a (shallow) dive into “deep” frying.

Using just slightly more oil than you’d use to stir-fry veggies or sauté onions, you can create a treat that’s been the standby of country fairs for decades: Fried Dough.

The simple biscuit-like dough goes together in a flash. Pat it into rounds, lower into a scant 1/2″ of oil, fry for 2 minutes, and there you have it:

Heaven without the hassle.

You KNOW you’re dying to make fried dough…

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

Mix together the following:

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

*Substitute 2 cups (8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour, if desired; omit the baking powder and salt

Work in 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in 1/2″ cubes, using a pastry blender, your fingers, or a mixer.

Stir in 3/4 cup lukewarm water, and mix to make a soft dough. If you’re using self-rising flour, decrease the water to 1/2 to 2/3 cup, enough to make a soft (but not sticky) dough.

Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each into a thin 5″ round, about 3/8″ thick.

Heat about 3/8″ vegetable oil to 375°F in an electric frying pan, or in a pan over a burner. If you’re using a 10″ diameter pan, this is 2 cups of vegetable oil. Peanut oil is our favorite deep-frying oil; it has a higher smoke point, and neutral flavor.

If you’re not using an electric frying pan, use a thermometer to take the temperature of the oil; or guesstimate it by seeing if the first piece of dough fries nicely in the time specified.

Pick up one dough disk, and carefully lower it into the pan.

Let it cook for 60 seconds (it’ll puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom), then flip it over and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds. You don’t want to cook these too dark; they’ll become overly crisp.

Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place in a 200°F oven to keep warm while you make the remaining fried doughs.

Serve warm, with confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon-sugar.

Or maple syrup, or honey.

Or the topping of your choice — some folks enjoy a savory version, with marinara sauce and cheese.

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for County Fair Fried Dough.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Jenny

    I made a vegan version of this since I am vegan. My husband is a vegetarian so I made two batches. One with regular butter for him and one with Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter for me (it’s insanely good you cannot taste the difference). He had no idea that I made two batches. I cut a piece from the vegan dough and the butter dough and he tried it without any toppings first. When I asked him which one was real butter he got it wrong. He couldn’t believe how good the Miyoko Cultured Butter was in this dough. He said it was lighter, puffier and flakier than the real butter. I use it to bake, making Pâte Brisée for pies , puff pastries, cookies, butter cookies, fudge (yep fudge!) Gosh now I am hungry! 🙂

  2. Beth

    This is what we called “dog bread” in our family. Grandma and Grandpa lived on a farm in a big house with a huge kitchen and and big dogs and kids running in and out all the time. Grandma made dog bread for us and it was a huge treat. We called it that, because the dogs were always hanging around waiting for a piece to drop, and they would grab it and burn the living daylights out of their mouths. They didn’t care. She always saved a bite for each of them and gave it to them when it cooled. I’ve really missed it. She made a wonderful gravy to go over the top. All she had to do was open the screen door and holler out, “Dog bread and gravy!” We’d knock each other down trying to get to the kitchen. I’m going to make this tomorrow. Thank you!

  3. Jamie

    While I haven’t tried *this* recipe, as someone who’s made frybread many times, I just have to mention that I actually prefer to have leftover dough for the next day. My bread turns out super puffy with a crisp outside. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s never failed me. You can leave it on the counter top overnight as long as it isn’t sweltering, otherwise the fridge is fine. Just let it come to room temperature before frying, and use a little flour to handle since it will “sweat” due to being cold.

  4. Lisa

    I have made this for years at home, using my wok to cook it in. We put sauce and parm on it – fried dough pizzas – yum!

  5. Helen

    I have not made this particular recipe, I make fried dough (family has been making fried dough since the 1930’s at least) with a yeast bread. Big Beautiful Buns recipe from KAF or Walter Sands Basic White Bread are my most trusted recipes and I will use a portion of the bread dough to fry. We like it with just melted butter pooling into the crannies of the bread. It is served with almost any main course, but especially good along with a pot of beans. I love making a fried green tomato sandwich with the fried dough.

  6. Joe Scherr

    I have been in charge of making fried dough as a fund raiser for our Cub Scout Pack for the last 8 years. We do this at a 4th of July celebration at our town. This is the third year using this recipe, and we have to make more each year, because we always sell out. The first year we made 80 pounds, the second year we made 120 pounds, and this year we made 180 pounds of dough. We have to borrow a commercial mixer at our local nursing home to mix up the dough. I increased the recipe 50 times to make 40 pounds of dough each batch. The results are: 25 lbs of flour, 12 oz of baking powder, 3/4 cup of salt, 3lbs of butter, 1 3/4 gallons of warm water. We also add 3 cups of sugar to the recipe.

    At the event, we have a crew pulling the dough out, a crew frying the dough, and a crew selling it. The lines are 20 deep just before the fireworks are about to go off. It has always been a success. Thanks for the great recipe.

  7. Pamela Walker

    I’m not sure if any of you know what a Kiggle is, but right about Easter time. They
    Would come something like what is being made from this recipe. They come with powder sugar and sometimes with raisins. They come puffy and or cruchy or both at times. Gosh, my mom would almost bring the bakery home with her. Us kids thought of them as a treat for Easter. They were soo good

  8. sheila fredette

    Looks so delicious, I was wondering if this dough could be made the night before and fry up in the morning, I’d like to make this for the grandkids Christmas morning , thank’s 🙂

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sheila, I think because this dough uses baking powder as a leavening agent it may not puff us as well when used cold from the refrigerator the next day. For best results I would recommend making the dough Christmas morning. Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks, Kevin! Like the names we use for carbonated drinks (pop?soda?fizz?) or sandwiches made with meat and veggies (hoagies?subs?grinder?Dagwoods?) the name for this fried treat varies around our great nation. The recipe may also vary, using a yeasted dough or a dough with baking powder. Enjoy it wherever your travels take you. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

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