We already baked the first batch of May Day donuts - so good! And every time I think the same thing: why on earth do these things only happen once a year?

Many people have fears about making donuts, but they are actually quite easy to make. I made donuts for the first time twenty years ago, with very inadequate equipment, when I lived in a really small student apartment. So you can do the same!

In this post, I'm sharing all of my best donut-making tips over the years, and I'm not assuming you have any fancy digital thermometer to monitor oil temperature fluctuations. You'll be fine without it, just like many of your ancestors before you. Now we make donuts just like in the old days.

Due to the risk of burns and fire, I do not recommend baking donuts for people under the age of 18 unless under adult supervision.

May Day donuts in a serving dish

Necessary equipment

You need the following tools for baking donuts:

A slotted scoop, a frying gauge and a pot lid

If you have a steel slotted ladle, it's a big help when you're picking hot donuts out of the pot. But yes, it can be done with a fork.

Making donut dough

May Day donuts are made from basic bun dough. Prepare small buns, for example with this recipe, either plant milk or cow's milk based.

Raised little buns under the cloth
Well-raised little buns, which are then used to make donut pretzels

Which oil is suitable for deep frying?

Ordinary, inexpensive rapeseed oil is best suited for deep-frying. It has a neutral taste and has a high smoking point, meaning it can withstand very high temperatures. It is often found in stores in large (e.g. 900 ml) packages.

I recommend using a max 2 liter pot, preferably no bigger than that. Since there must be at least a 5 cm layer of oil on the bottom of the pot, a large pot needs double the amount of oil. And since the oil takes the flavor from the donut dough, it can't be used for anything else, so it's completely wasted that way.

If you bake the donuts again within a couple of days, you can strain the oil and store it in the fridge, but it really only stays good for a few days.

How do you know when the oil is hot enough?

It is really difficult to estimate the oil temperature visually. Since handling hot oil is dangerous, I recommend that you get some kind of frying thermometer to help you.

The best gauge for deep-frying is the gauge especially intended for measuring oil temperature (pictured on the right). It has a high enough measuring scale and also a small clip that allows it to stay on the edge of the pot.

Two thermometers
A regular frying thermometer and a deep-frying thermometer for oil

So this meter is really handy, but for the first 15 years I baked donuts with a normal frying thermometer (on the left in the picture). It doesn't stick to the edge of the pot, but it's enough to check the temperature every now and then.

If you use such a basic thermometer, you will immediately notice that its scale already ends at 120 degrees. But don't worry, when the oil is hot, the gauge passes 120 degrees, goes through the "start screen" and continues the journey for another little while. When frying, I compared the scales of the deep-frying thermometer and the standard frying thermometer, and I noticed that when the standard frying thermometer is at 40 degrees in his second round, the oil is then between 185-190 degrees, i.e. just perfect for deep frying.

Whatever thermometer you have at your disposal, be careful that the tip of the meter does not touch the bottom of the pot, or else the gauge does not show the correct oil temperature.

Baking donuts

When the buns have risen well, heat about 1 liter of rapeseed oil in a pot. Change the oil throughout the heating process and do not leave it not even for a moment alone in the pot. The oil temperature can quickly become dangerously hot! Keep the pot lid close in case the oil catches fire. It's never happened to me, but it's always worth keeping the possibility in mind.

When the temperature starts to approach 180 degrees, adjust the power of the stove to a lower level and try to keep the temperature as even as possible from now on.

Now take one well-raised little bun in your hand and use your thumb to make a hole in the middle of it. Use your thumbs to enlarge the hole.

Shaping the doughnuts
Shaping the doughnuts

Put the donut pretzel in the pot and deep-fry it for 30-50 seconds on the first side, until you see that the underside of the donut is nicely browned. Using a slotted spoon (or fork), turn the donut to the other side in the pot and bake for another 30-50 seconds, until the other side is the same color.

Baking May Day donuts

Tip: If it takes more than 50 seconds to fry one side of the doughnut, the oil is not hot enough. Then the donut absorbs too much oil, and it affects the taste of the donut. If the donut cooks in less than 30 seconds, the oil is too hot. Then the donuts easily become too dark and they can remain raw inside.

Using a slotted spoon (or fork), lift the donut out of the pan and place it on a paper towel on a plate. A tissue paper is necessary to absorb the excess oil.

Refrigeration of doughnuts

Make a hole in the next little bun and bake it in the same way. Fry no more than 2 donuts at a time to keep the temperature of the oil even.

Serving and storing donuts

While warm, roll the donuts in sugar. If you refrigerate the donuts for too long, the sugar will no longer stick to them.

Sugaring the doughnuts

Donuts should be served fresh, i.e. baked the same day. The composition is no longer as good the next day - of course the taste is still good.

Preferably store the donuts in a paper bag if possible. Then they don't dry out badly and the sugaring is preserved well. You can also store the donuts in a plastic bag, but the plastic bag is so tight that the donut seems to "sweat", that is, the sugar melts on the surface of the donut. However, you can fix the previous day's donuts by rolling them again in sugar before serving.

May Day donut

Disposal of frying oil

Remember that you must not pour oil down the drain!

After use, let the oil cool and then pour it back into its original bottle. When you close the cap carefully, you can put the bottle with the oil in the mixed waste.

Another option is to absorb the oil drop by drop into the bio-waste. This is a bit of a painstaking method, as the oil has to be absorbed in several batches over several days.

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May Day donuts in a serving dish

Making May Day donuts step by step

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  • Author: almost vegan
  • Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Portions: about 20 pcs 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Reseptin kuvaus

In this post, I share all my best tips for making May Day donuts over the years. All you need is a pot and some kind of basic fry meter.


  • 1 dose bun dough
  • 1 l rapeseed oil for frying
  • 34 dl of fine sugar for sugaring the doughnuts


  1. Prepare bun dough.
  2. When the dough has risen, make small balls out of it and put them under a cloth to rise.
  3. When the little buns have risen well, heat the rapeseed oil in a 2-liter pot to about 180 degrees. See above for tips on heating the oil and monitoring its temperature!
  4. Take the raised bun and push your thumb through it. Use your thumbs to enlarge the hole.
  5. Put the donut pretzel in the hot oil and deep fry it for 30-50 seconds until it is nicely brown.
  6. Turn the donut with a slotted spoon or fork, and fry the other side for another 30-50 seconds.
  7. Remove the donut from the pot and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.
  8. Roll the donut in sugar while it's still warm.
  9. Bake the rest of the donuts in the same way.
  • Prep time: 60
  • Cooking time: 30
  • Category: Baking
  • Cooking method: To be deep fried
  • Cuisine: Finnish

Keywords: May Day donut, vegan May Day donuts, soft donut pretzels, baking donuts in a pot, traditional donut

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