These dairy-free donuts can be made with a strawberry mousse filling and are deep fried. Top them with a strawberry glaze or enjoy as is!
Guys, I made these strawberry heart-shaped donuts three times in the last week. I’m not complaining, don’t you worry, I just want you to know that I tested (and tested, and tested) these babies out for you so that they were perfect.
And guess what? If you use water or a milk substitute instead of milk for the glaze, then you can call these dairy-free donuts!
Lets back track a little to how we got to these pretty little strawberry heart donuts…
I’ve been following Salma from The Polka Dotter on Instagram for some time now. She has BEAUTIFUL photography skills, and also likes to bake pink things, so duh, huge fan. For the month of October, in honor of breast cancer awareness, Salma created her first online bake-off called the Pink Polka Dotter Bake Off.
The rules are simple:
Make something pink, upload a picture to Instagram using her hashtag #pinkpolkadotterbakeoff, and donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Check, check, check.
Immediately after seeing this, I decided I was in! But what to make…
I decided to tweak my sufganiyah/jelly donut recipe from last year and turn them into strawberry heart shaped donuts.
The first time I tested these out I thought I had the best idea ever. Grind up freeze dried strawberries and use it in the dough. How smart am I?! Except when they were all done, fried, and rolled in cinnamon and sugar, I took one bite and was like EW.
Something happened between the yeast and the freeze dried strawberries that gave the donuts a very sour taste. It was weird and definitely not the strawberry flavor I was going for.
I will tell you though that my Dad was over for the weekend and tried them. He said the first bite is phenomenal, and they are good if you know what you are getting. LOL thanks Dad, but pretty sure I had to go back to the kitchen with these.
I ended up not flavoring the dough and only used the freeze dried strawberries in the glaze. Then filled them with Dessert for Two’s strawberry mousse that’s made in a blender. A BLENDER, YOU GUYS. Doesn’t get easier than that.
I was planning on making my own filling, but then I saw Christina’s was made in a blender and I was sold. It’s deliciously sweet and tangy and has the right amount of sour/sweet combo that you actually want. Combine that with the fluffy, golden, fried donut dough and its a match made in heaven.
You can go the extra mile and glaze them (and why not) for an extra strawberry sweet flavor, or you can even eat them plain and unstuffed. You can’t go wrong!
And now after the third test, I can now agree with my dad and say that all bites of these dairy-free donuts are PHENOMENAL.
What’s in these dairy-free donuts?
The donuts themselves are made with classic ingredients like all-purpose flour, yeast, warm water, oil, and eggs. The strawberry mousse filling is made with strawberry jam, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and kosher salt — aka the good stuff.
And the optional strawberry glaze is a simple combination of milk, confectioners sugar, and freeze dried strawberries.
How can I make these dairy-free?
To make these heart-shaped donuts dairy-free, omit the strawberry mousse filling and sub non-dairy milk for the tiny amount of milk in the strawberry glaze.
I love the filling in these donuts, but the dairy-free donut dough makes for fantastic deep-fried donuts as is, so the filling isn’t necessary. But if you don’t use the filling, I highly recommend dusting these babies with powdered sugar or making the strawberry glaze, otherwise your donuts will be a little plain.
How to make donuts from scratch
Making homemade donuts is actually really easy, but it does require some extra TLC on your part. You first need to prep the dairy-free donut dough and let it rise for an hour in a warm place.
Then, you need to gently punch down the dough and roll it out. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the donuts and place them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for a second rise. Once they’ve risen a second time, deep fry the donuts in hot oil until golden brown on all sides.
After you’ve fried the dairy-free donuts, make the strawberry mousse filling and strawberry glaze, if using. Fill the donuts, then spoon a little glaze over top and eat!
Can I make these ahead of time?
If you want to make these heart-shaped donuts for visiting friends or family, I recommend starting on the dairy-free donut dough ahead of time but waiting to deep fry the donuts until your guests have arrived.
Donuts are best fresh from the fryer and don’t keep well, so you don’t want to make these strawberry donuts too far in advance.
Can I make these into another shape?
Absolutely! And if you don’t have any cookie cutters on hand, you can also cut the dough into squares with a knife and then fry them. You’d wind up with copycat beignets that way!
One thing to note is that depending on the size of your cookie cutter you may need to fry these strawberry donuts for more or less time than the recipe calls for. I just fry the dairy-free donuts until they’re golden brown all over, so use that to determine their doneness.
Tips for making homemade donuts
- If you don’t have a thermometer, a good way to tell if your oil is ready for frying is to heat it on medium for a few minutes. Then using a wooden spoon, stick the handle into the oil, and if it starts to bubble around the handle, then you know your oil is ready (you can also take a small piece of dough and do a test).
- You can use any shape of cookie cutter to make these dairy-free donuts.
- Don’t omit the kosher salt in the donut dough. It doesn’t make them salty, it just brings out the other flavors.
Need more pastry recipes?
- Blueberry Lemon Scones
- Raspberry Cheese Babka Swirl
- Cherry Muffins
- The Best Cookie Butter Babka
- Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins
Strawberry Heart Dairy-Free Donuts
- For the donuts:1 1/2 cups warm water not boiling5 tsp instant yeast (or 2 envelopes rapid rise or active yeast)1/3 cup granulated sugar1 tablespoon vanilla extract2 large eggs1/3 cup vegetable oil plus more for frying5 1/2 cups all purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder ( just do it, I think it adds fluffiness)2 tsp kosher saltFor the strawberry mousse via Dessert For Two (optional):1/2 cup high quality strawberry jam1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1/3 cup sour cream3 ounces cream cheese1/3 cup heavy creamFor the strawberry glaze (optional): 1 cup confectioners sugar1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries, crushed2-3 teaspoons milk or water
- Make the dairy-free donuts: In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix the warm water with the yeast and leave to sit until it froths, about 10 minutes.Add sugar, vanilla, eggs, and oil to the bowl and mix until well combined.Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and knead or mix on medium for 5 minutes until a soft, non sticky dough forms. You will know the dough is ready when it separates easily from the bowl, or when it stops sticking to your rolling surface. Add in more flour by a 1/4 cup if you need to while mixing if the dough is too sticky.Grease or spray a large bowl with pam and place dough inside to rise for 1 hour.Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Punch it down and roll it out into a rectangle- 3/4 of an inch in thickness.Using a 2-3 inch heart cookie cutter, cut out hearts and set aside on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Gather scraps and repeat.Let the hearts rise for another 45 mins to an hour.Fill a deep fryer or a large stock pot with vegetable oil, about 3-4 inches high.Heat your oil to 350°F.*When the oil is ready, fry the donuts for 1-2 mins on each side or until golden brown.Remove donuts from oil, and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.Make the filling, if using: In a small blender or food processor combine the jam, salt, sour cream, and cream cheese.Blend until smooth.In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.Fold the cream into the strawberry mixture and place in the fridge to firm up for a few minutes.Make the glaze, if using: In a small bowl combine all the ingredients and mix until a runny glaze forms.If the glaze is too thick, add 1/2 teaspoon liquid until you get the desired consistency. If it is too runny, add 1 tablespoon of confectioners at a time till its thickened.Assemble the donuts: Fill a piping bag or small ziplock bag with the mousse and snip off a little piece of the corner.Push a hole through the top middle part of the heart donut using a straw, or a piping tip if you have it.Squeeze some filling into the donut, dip in the glaze, and set aside.Repeat with all donuts, or leave them plain. They are delicious either way!