Grapefruit Donuts

Homemade donut recipeI know what you're thinking, "Grapefruit donuts? WTF, Emma?" Ok but hear me out: donuts are an awesome breakfast treat and grapefruit is pretty much a breakfast food too. So, you know, why not? These are light and fluffy with a sweet and tart glaze. Very different and very, very tasty.Grapefruit doughnutsI'm not sure if you can tell from the photos but these donuts are a very light pink hue. So they are also adorable. I really wanted to add pink sprinkles but then I realized I didn't have pink sprinkles. And then I thought, "Why did I just assume I would have pink sprinkles?" But my kitchen cabinets are insanely random. If you came over to my house and peeked in my kitchen cabinets I promise you would laugh. I have surprisingly large quantities of corn syrup and black beans.Donuts ready to riseBut enough about black beans, let's talk about donuts. I've made my fair share of donuts and I've read even more recipes discussing how to get the best yeasted donuts. I have been itching to try The Pioneer Woman's donut recipe (I'm a huge Ree fan!), so I gave it a go with a few modifications to change up the flavor (adding in grapefruit here and there).

Grapefruit Donuts, makes 15-18 (plus holes!)

1 cup milk (I used 2% but whole would be good too)
1/8 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
*oil for frying (or shortening, if that's your thing)Naked donutsWarm the milk and grapefruit juice for about a minute in the microwave, stir in the sugar until it dissovles. Pour in the yeast, give it a stir (just one or two) and let this just sit and bubble for 5-8 minutes.

Melt the butter in the microwave (or stove top, don't let me hamper your style if you hate microwaves) until it's just nearly mealted. Stir in the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, and with the dough hook attachment turn it on low. Pour in the yeast mixture. (You can do this all by hand too if you don't have a mixer. No worries.) Now begin adding the flour 1 cup at a time, then the salt and zest. Now turn your mixer up a knotch and let it knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. It should form a loose dough and begin slapping the sides of the bowl when it's done. If your dough seems too liquidy then add another tablespoon of flour (I did, mine needed it). Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.Grapefruit glazeIn the morning roll out the dough (while it's still cold) and cut out your donuts. You can use biscuit cutter, cookie cutters or the openings of jars/glasses. The dough should be 1/2-inch thick (or a little less is ok too). Lay the donuts on a baking sheet, cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour. If your house is freezing (like mine sometimes is in the mornings) then try turning your oven on low for a few mintues, turning it off and then sticking the donuts in the oven to rise. But don't bake them!

Heat enough oil in a pot so that the donuts will have room to float. You want the oil to reach right around 375°F, a candy thermometer is very useful here. If you don't have one and are feeling stubborn about buying one, then you can always test your oil by using the donut holes as testers. The donuts should cook on each side for about 30-45 seconds each and then remove them to a bed of paper towels.

For the glaze (this is where most of the grapefruit flavor is!) whisk together 1/2 cup grapefruit juice and 2 3/4 cups powered sugar. The glaze will naturally be a soft pink color, if you want more add a little red and yellow food coloring.Glazing donutsDip the cooled donuts in the glaze and set them on a rack above a baking sheet lined with wax paper or paper towels (for easy clean up). I like to dip mine twice, letting the glaze set in between each coat of glaze. Maybe you like one coat, maybe you like five coats, no judgments here.Grapefruit donutsI absolutely loved this recipe and will for sure be making these again. If you're not feeling the grapefruit then feel free to stick to the classic version. Or if you want an easier/quick version check out these biscuit donuts. Happy breakfast! xo. Emma

  • These sound absolutely devine!!!! Not to mention worth cheating on your diet…. Omg I must run to the grocery store!


  • So creative! l have to make these 🙂 thank you.

  • Gonna try this soon 🙂 God willing .. I really fell in love with this whole website & please add more of everything 🙂

  • This sounds delicious, I really want to try it out!

  • wow these doughnuts look so yummy.. im sure to try them out.
    and the photography is as usualy great too

  • I seriously cannot wait to make these. Another great doughnut recipe is the one Luisa Weiss has in her book “My Berlin Kitchen” for pfannkuchen. Just throwin’ that out there for all you doughnut lovers after you’ve made these.

  • So, I couldn’t wait. I tried the baked version this morning and they are ah-mazing. Blogged here. I highly recommend! Thank you so much for posting this idea! 🙂

  • My two favorite breakfast foods! Combined into one 🙂 Thank you! I will definitely try them.

    I have recently made baked donuts (more times than I wish to admit) and they are SO SO good and easy, if you want a break from frying them. I think it’s the nutmeg in this recipe that makes them so delicious! Here is a link to my post with recipe and donut pan links included.

  • Yes, your first sentence was definitely my first reaction, mostly because I don’t like grapefruit. With that said, these look ridiculously yummy and I’m willing to try anything once, so in to the circular files this recipe goes. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • I assume you can bake these instead for frying if you want to watch the oil intake.

  • Ooh! What a great idea! Thanks for posting the recipe. Your photos just looked too good so I’m attempting to make them! I made the dough last night (so far it looks pretty good!), and tonight I’ll fry them up.

    I might be a little terrified of frying though? Not in a burning down the house kind of way, but a aack! I don’t know what I’m doing kind of way… I’m hoping this is normal haha. Anyways, should be fun!

  • I made these for my dad on his birthday and he loved them! They were a hit with my mom and siblings too. I am going to make them again soon, but I think I am going to try lemon instead of grapefruit. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lily- Hmm… interesting. Mine did not curdle so I’m not sure what the difference might be. Perhaps it has to do with using store bought juice vs. fresh squeezed? I don’t know.

  • So excited to try these! I have made the dough, and put it in the fridge to sit overnight. My one question is: how do you keep the milk from curdling once you put the grapefruit juice in? Mine did, but I just kept plugging away, and I think the dough turned out well.

  • I can’t wait to try these! Have you ever made maple bacon cupcakes? I would love to try your version of it!

  • My sister and I are making these tonight! I’m excited to try them for breakfast tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  • These look amazing! I pinned them to my recipe board!

    xx Kait


  • sounds so good, I would have to make this for the tea party. I getting hungry looking at them.


  • Grapefruit is an unsung, delicious hero in the baking world- I make grapefruit pie and grapefruit lemon bars, and they’re fantastic! I can’t wait to try these out!

  • I must. try. these. NOW.

    Grapefruit + Donuts = new favorite!

    Stephanie May*

  • I had a grapefruit glazed donut before, but this is something else! Definitely going to try this out soon.

  • Ahhh, so I have to figure out a way to make a dairy, sugar and wheat free version of these doughnuts, asap!

  • What a creative flavour twist on donuts! I’ve made/had orange donuts before, so why “why not” grapefruit???

  • I usually dislike donuts, but these sound pretty good! I love grapefruit and use ut in everything.

  • OMG this recipe came to me at the perfect time! Our neighbor keeps dropping off bags upon bags of grapefruit at our door and I was lost as to what to do with it all UNTIL NOW! I can’t stand the stuff straight up (I think I was scarred as a child because I kept expected them to taste like oranges)so making them in doughnut form seems like a perfect solution! Thanks!

  • These look amazing! I’m totally including these as one of my “favorites of the week”, going live on Saturday!

    Lauren @

  • It just so happens I was tiring of eating a baked grapefruit every morning! And it just so happens that doughnuts were on my list of things to bake! (even though these aren’t baked :P) So now I’m going to get the dough out of the fridge, turn on the fryer and hope they come out alright!

    Thanks for the good timing haha

  • Woah. I used to think that Pumpkin Donuts were the only type of donuts suitable for breakfast…clearly, my eyes were closed. These look amazing! xo

  • These look beyond delicious. I love anything citrus-related and that glaze on top makes me mouth water. Lovely photos and thanks for the recipe!

  • I don’t know how you do it, but you always manage to make me want to like something! I love donuts, but grapefruit has always been a hit-and-miss with me. Maybe this combination would be perfect! 🙂

  • How yummy looking! I love donuts, and grapefruit!


  • these looks amazing!

  • This is amazing! I’m kind of a disaster in the kitchen, but I’ve already forwarded this to a dozen friends and family members to try and intice someone into making them. I applaud you on your wacky flavor combination!

  • Looks delicious! Repinning for sure. 😉 I have to say, though- I had never seen “WTF” on here before, and I hoped I never would! Please refrain from the language- I love your blog, and want it to be totally clean. 🙂

  • those look incredible! we also have a disgusting amount black beans and chick peas in our cabinets. you never know. they’re a good source of protein.

  • Oh no you didn’t! I am so in love with grapefruit right now…this just plays into my love in a delicious delicious way!

  • I think these look *amazing*!!! I love citrus and sweet things and donuts, so I’m all about it. But I have to say…not loving the TV ad that automatically started playing halfway down your sidebar when I clicked through from google reader. Super annoying to have to hunt it down and turn it off early in the morning in the quiet house! 🙂

  • I need to try these! They look absolutely amazing 🙂 This recipe can’t wait!

  • I have thinking about making some donuts. I just feel a little more virtuous devouring them if they are made at home! What a great recipe! Grapefruit! That just pushed it practically into the health food category for me! Thank you A Beautiful Mess!

    The Melody of Cooking

  • These look crazy good! I don’t know that I’d ever had the patience to make them…but I will definitely pass on the recipe to the bf in the hope that he can make them for me:P

  • I have totally been in the mood to fry some dough lately. I keep forgetting to buy oil. After seeing these I am going straight to my grocery list to add oil. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making them soon.

  • I love donuts and grapefruit so I would definitely try them but I just found out I am intollerant to milk and chemical yeast. Maybe I should try with soy milk? Who knows… Thanks anyway for this 🙂

  • This actually sounds delicious! Must give it a try!

  • This looks awesome!! Think it would work with orange juice/zest? I’ve got loads of oranges I need to do something with! Man, I’ve got a huge donut craving now. Going to have to make these!

  • These look amazing. I’m not really a grapefruit fan (I’ve tried!) but I’m thinking a lemon version of these might make their way onto my blog one day.

  • Do have a recipe for a baked version of a donut? Because I heard that baking the dough is actually healthier than frying it but I just can’t quite execute it well…yet. Also have you ever tried lemon poppyseed donuts? If you haven’t those should for sure be on your experimental recipe queue 🙂

  • Been thinking about making donuts for my year long baking challenge. Plus, this will give me an excuse to eat donut for breakfast and not feel guilty.

  • Doughnuts never looked so good! Im interested in trying this flavor, it sounds interesting!

  • Looks amazing! And what a weird combo.

    I do agree with sarah kate (first comment). I don’t like that you used those letters, but can’t have everything. Just didn’t expect it here.

    xo, R

  • these donuts looks sooo delicious, i wouldn’t mind trying them out. but first i should try making donuts! it sounds easy but i have never tried.

  • these sound decadent! i love grapefuit. i never would have thought to make grapefruit flavored donuts. xD thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • I’m not a huge grapefruit fan, but these look great! Have any non-gf fans found these delicious?

  • I am all about this. There is a phenomenally incredible doughnut shop in Brooklyn called Dough, and my favorite of their flavors is the blood orange doughnut. Citrus doughnuts = GOOD IDEA. And they top it with a candied blood orange slice. Mmmmm.

  • Yes. This is really helpful because I’m making heart-shaped donuts for V-day!

  • Alright, so the thought “what the heck?!” may have crossed my mind, but it was in a good way. I think grapefruit are entirely too underrated. And it goes without saying that donuts hail king as breakfast food in my house, so these just seem like such a genius pairing! Reading your recipes always makes me chuckle, too! Thanks in advance for this one. I’ll definitely be making this next weekend!

  • That’s a really interesting combination! They must taste very refreshing!

    Fang Ting

  • Absolutely fantastic – this is whole reason why I started to blog!!!
    I live when people are able to deconstruct and reconstruct
    Cooking – inspirational


  • Oh my word, these sound amazing!


  • I love grapefruit! Thanks for the recipe. I just tried the Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I wasn’t sure about it, but it turned out great. You might like it, too.

  • This sounds really interesting. I have always wanted to make doughnuts, so this is definitely going on my to-do list.

  • Reminds me of @Holy_Donuts grapefruit jelly filled donuts! Holy Donuts is my mom’s business here in Eugene, OR. Check em out! yum yum!

  • This looks so splendidly delicious. And now i’m really craving donuts.

  • this makes amazing donuts seem easy to do. might just have to give them a go . . .

  • I love grapefruits! And donuts! I need to make these!

    Juliette Laura

  • holy crap!! these look AMAZING. Must.Try Thanks Emma you are always have me smirkin’ – please post more everyday emma xo

  • mmmm! is this even real?! these looks remarkably good

  • I love love love grapefruit, and just bought some in fact, so I might just have to try these!
    Katie xx

  • YOu have always stunning ideas ! love that one !

    XX Luba

    Well Living BLog :: featuring total look by Maje

  • Totally bookmarking this recipe so my boyfriend and I can test it out. We love new challenges, and haven’t taken a whack at doughnuts yet!

  • my mom would devour these!

    xo Jennifer

  • Just wow!!! Grapefruit ANYTHING is my absolute favorite in the world and donuts are just beyond tasty! I’m so excited to try this! Thanks for the amazing idea!

  • oh wow these look delicious and I love donuts! Will definitely have to try this recipe!

  • Mmmm, grapefruit donuts sound amazing, actually! 🙂

    Also, agreeing with a previous comment by sarah kate, I hate it that I just saw WTF on this blog. Didn’t expect that either. 🙁

  • Oh my they look divine! I generally don’t like grapefruit but how can you dislike with donuts!
    xo Emily @

  • Why is it that every recipe you post looks so delicious. I’m so going to try this out, this combination seems so yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Emma, I was inspired by your nutella cinnamon bun recipe to finally try my hand at making some plain old cinnamon buns last weekend! It was my first time working with yeast, but I totally owned it and they were so delicious!
    As I also had to refrigerate overnight, may I recommend putting the doughnuts into the oven with a pan of hot (like, just boiled!) water to help them rise in the morning. Worked like a charm for the rolls!
    Thanks again for that extra little push I needed to vacate my comfort zone and make something seriously delicious!!

  • wooow !! I have to try this recipe !
    New post up:

  • Wow! I can’t see myself actually making these spectacular donuts, but I so love that you did and shared the story. So much fun.

  • These sound and look absolutely scrumptious. This would be the only way I’d eat a grapefruit for breakfast.


  • Emma, these are beautiful! I love grapefruit and can just imagine the bright citrus-y flavor of these doughnuts!

  • Admittedly, I was a little shocked by the grapefruit donut combo, but I’m sold. They look delicious!

  • I’m tasting the tart and sweet in my mouth just from your pictures! I am a huge donut lover. I will be making these ASAP!

  • Sophie- You’re right! It should be added in the with the milk before you warm it. I updated the post. Thanks!

  • So when do you add the grapefruit juice to the dough? This step seems to have been left out.

  • I love that you’re a fan of The Pioneer Woman (who isn’t, really?)! She’s my idol – along with you guys – and I have met her twice at book signings. These donuts are definitely NOT a quick recipe, but worth it I am very sure 🙂


  • what a mix – donuts + grapefruit! never heard of it before but they look very tasty so I have to try them soon!

  • You all never cease to amaze me with your creativity. Donuts + grape fruit? Who knew! Also, probably never expected to see the letters WTF meet A Beautiful Mess. I realize it’s cultural, but I really wish it wasn’t.

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