Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Hilda’s Donuts

on October 29, 2014

When I was little, we lived right next door to my other grandma and grandpa in town. We lived in the upstairs apartment of a house, above the people who owned the house, Hilda and Mike. They were very fascinating to me, they were very old, and they were Norwegian. Mike smoked a pipe and liked to drink his coffee out of his saucer – as in cup and saucer – that saucer. I had heard of people doing that, but he was the last and only person I ever really saw do it. I remember he sure liked to slurp it! Hilda used to make great treats to have with that coffee. I remember her big, almost fluffy molasses cookies that were topped with sparkling sugar, and these amazing donuts made from scratch. They’ve become another one of our family traditions. My other grandma used to make them for us, and then she passed the recipe on to my mom. You can see how well used my mom’s copy of this recipe for Hilda’s Donuts is. This was one treat my mom sent with my dad when he went deer hunting, so it’s appropriate that we traditionally make them in the fall. My sister still makes these often, too, and since she was recently home for a weekend visit, I asked her for a lot of advice. I haven’t made these in years, but she’d like to start a drive-thru donut shop some day! My daughters helped me make this batch, so now they know how to make them, too.

Hilda's Donuts

These donuts really are a taste of home.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Hilda’s  Donuts

Mix in order given:

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons shortening (I don’t use shortening anymore, so I used 2 Tablespoons of melted butter)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together and add:

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 cups of all-purpose flour (this is one thing I had to ask my sister, how much to add, since there is no amount on the card)

Roll out to 1/4 ” thick on floured board and cut with a donut cutter (I rolled out half at a time and then put the leftovers from each half together in the end so they only have to get rolled once again).

Fry in melted lard, heated to 375 degrees F.

You can use oil, if you prefer, but like my sister said, when you only make these once every 10 years, why not use the good stuff. Lard doesn’t smell so great when you’re frying, but I think sometimes oil can give them a funny taste and I prefer lard for this.


It seems like a lot of liquid until you add the flour. It seems like it will be sticky, but when you start to roll it out on a floured surface, it wont be.


This is my old donut cutter that I’ve had since before we were married. It looks a little worse for wear, but it still works.


Don’t fry too many donuts at a time. It lowers the temperature of the lard when you put too many in.


I always let them drain for a few seconds on a baking sheet covered with paper towel.


This was a beautiful batch! I dip them in a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon.


These are the best eaten warm, but they might last a couple of days, if you’re lucky. They’re definitely a taste of home for me. I have so many great memories of loved ones associated with these donuts: Hilda and Mike, Grandma D., Dad, Mom, my sister, and now making them with my kids. I hope these donuts continue to be family tradition for them, now that they can make them, too!



One response to “Hilda’s Donuts

  1. […] or shortening, or margarine – I usually just use butter. I had lard left over from making Hilda’s Donuts and I thought – let’s give it a try. I haven’t had pie crust made with lard in […]

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