3 Easy or homemade air fryer donut balls recipe ideas are here! Use cinnamon rolls, biscuit donuts or homemade dough! Soft on the inside and crispy outsides, make these doughnuts in your Ninja Foodi tonight!
We’re back with the best air fryer donut recipe around! These didn’t last long in our house after I made them in my Ninja Foodi. If you’re ready for some comfort food, homemade or quick, this easy air fryer recipe is killer. (originally published 8/19, affiliate links present)
Air Fryer Donut Balls
If you insist on making everything homemade, then opt for our air fryer apple fritters. These use refrigerated cinnamon rolls so they’re super easy to throw together and enjoy if you’re in a hurry. You could use biscuit dough too but the other is so much sweeter.
Just pop the container open, cut, roll and you’re ready to “bake”. Another option with the same idea is to use frozen bread dough from Rhodes. Defrost them first as you normally would and do the same thing, it’s super versatile that way.
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Donut Holes in Air Fryer
We’re going to start with how we made these quick doughnut holes first. I swear, you can make so many things with refrigerated cinnamon rolls! We started this earlier by sharing how to make air fryer cinnamon rolls as well as semi homemade sticky rolls. They were SO good that we just kept going and these were created one night.
If you haven’t baked in an air fryer you’re in for a real treat. You really need NO oil for things to get extra crispy you should. Sometimes a little spray on the top but you don’t have to submerge anything so way less fat and calories than the old fashioned way.
If you prefer from scratch everything and have your own recipe for the dough by all means go for that. The timing in the recipe card below is for donut holes but just increase for the whole shebang. Sprinkle sugar on top or use the glaze that is in the Pillsbury package for extra YUM when done.
Air Fryer Donuts from Grands Biscuits
As I mentioned earlier if you want to make the whole circle you could do so. I would bake the whole ones together with a few more minutes. Then enjoy and plop in the holes and use the timing below, then you can enjoy both! Unlike our Instant Pot donut holes these really creates the perfect texture you want for fried foods but with a lot less calories and/or fat.
- Refrigerated cinnamon rolls or biscuits
- Cinnamon and sugar mixture
- Baggie is helpful but you can use a plate instead as an alternative
- Melt frosting from container
- Sprinkle powdered sugar on top with some cocoa powder
- Drizzle chocolate glaze on top
- This is how to melt chocolate chips in the microwave, smooth with a touch of coconut oil
I create a sort of assembly line on a flat surface like you see here to make them while I’m waiting for my machine to preheat to 390 degrees. Get the kiddos to help with this one, they will love it.
Air Fryer Donut Holes
Start with popping open your container and removing your vanilla icing cup. You will use this when they’re done so don’t toss it!
- In a small bowl melt your butter.
- Mix together cinnamon and sugar in another small dish, or use a pint size freezer bag.
- 1/3 cinnamon and 2/3 sugar is approximately the measurements I use but quite honestly I don’t measure this perfectly, I can tell by the color if it’s perfect.
We’re using cinnamon rolls cut in half instead of from scratch, so no lightly floured surface or yeast is involved here.
- Roll each half in your hands so they’re small balls.
- Biscuit cutters are great for slicing, or a pizza cutter.
- Now you’re ready to coat and cook!
- Dip in the butter, roll in your sugar mixture and put into your air fryer basket so there is space between them.
- keep in mind they will “grow” and expand so they’ll need a bit of space.
- Cook for about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Then put into your baggie with more sugar cinnamon mixture and toss again so they’re WELL coated with goodness.
Drizzle frosting on top and eat!
Tip: Lightly grease your air fryer basket at the beginning. Setting them on a cooling rack when done is great too (they may disappear quickly though).
Typically I add half the halved rolls in each batch so they can spread out. So one package will need 2 batches to completely cook properly and perfectly. Total cook time is 5-6 minutes depending on how crispy you like the outsides.
- You can enjoy them straight out of the basket but we like our air fryer doughnuts coated with a bit of extra sweetness so we toss them for a second time.
I experimented with this recipe before sharing it here and slicing the rolls in half was best. If you roll the entire piece into a ball and cook them they expand too much and don’t resemble donut holes anymore. The outsides get too done before the insides have enough time to cook too so I recommend cutting them.
When they come out they kinda’ look like donut cut holes in the middle that get neglected typically but shouldn’t! They’re just as good as a full doughnut and we think more fun because they’re the perfect size to pop right into your mouth!
- They’re seriously the perfect bite size air fryer breakfast recipe.
- Served alongside our donut muffins your brunch will surely be a huge hit.
Of course these always need a bit more sweetness on top but that is why using cinnamon rolls comes in handy.
They all come with a small container of frosting so just pop that into your microwave for 15 seconds and it will be melted. Use any other tub of frosting flavors you like too.
Here are a few questions you might have before you get going.
ZERO if you make them in your air fryer!! That is the beauty of this fancy hot air machine. You can get the perfectly fried donuts you love without all the fat and calories.
If you wanted to use refrigerated biscuits instead of cinnamon rolls for this you could. There just won’t be as much sweetness. Poke a hole in the center and cook at 360 degrees for about 7 minutes until browned.
We will share that second method with you below! If you want homemade air fryer donuts we have a way to do that too.
Ninja air fryer donuts
Yes you can use any brand on your countertop for these. If you want to take the next step and try making these from scratch with yeast, here is how they’re done.
- 1 1/4 c. milk
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- I cheat on this and melt a tub of vanilla frosting
Homemade Air Fryer Donuts
Make biscuit donuts OR for homemade: Heat milk in microwave for 60 sec. until it’s 90 degrees or so, transfer to stand mixer. Stir in yeast until dissolved. Allow it to rest 5 minutes. With paddle attachment beat in eggs, butter, sugar, salt and 4 c flour. Use dough hook to knead at med. speed adding 1/4 c flour until it’s no longer sticky.
- Move into a greased bowl, turning once. Cover and put in warm area for 1 hour or until it doubled.
- Put dough on a floured surface and punch down. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to ½ inch thickness.
- Cover the doughnuts and place in a draft-free spot for 1 hour or until the doughnuts have doubled in size again.
- Using round cookie cutters in two sizes, cut dough into circles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Knead any scrap pieces of dough into a mound continue cutting the doughnuts until all of the dough is used.
Cover the doughnuts and place in a draft-free spot for 1 hour or until the doughnuts have doubled in size again. Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees. Spray basket with nonstick cooking spray. Place doughnuts in basket in a single layer. Do not overlap. Spritz with oil spray. Air fry on each side for about 3 to 6 minutes or until golden.
From there you can use a piping tip and bag to insert ganache or curd for lemon filled donuts.
Make your own glaze or pour on melted frosting to make them sweet. Add sprinkles or anything you like and enjoy. Want to just use regular refrigerated biscuit donuts in your air fryer?? We have directions for using those too!! This is what those look like and are super easy to make.
We’ve made something similar in our Instant Pot too. We called them pressure cooker churro bites and people rave over them too.
Air Fryer Donut Recipe
- Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees. Cut refrigerated cinnamon rolls in half and roll each one into a tight ball.
- Melt butter in a small bowl. Pour cinnamon and sugar into a pint size baggie and shake to mix well.
- Dip each rolled cinnamon roll into the butter so it is coated, then put into the baggie and shake so the outside is coated with cinnamon and sugar.
- Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and put coated pieced inside basket with room in between them (they will spread a bit). I put 8 pieces in at a time = half the container.
- Close the lid and continue to air fry at 390 degrees for a total of 5-6 minutes, flipping them after minute 3. Check at minute 5 to see if yours are done through, if not use the last minute.
- Put remaining sugar and cinnamon into a new baggie (the other one will be a bit wet). Take each one out one at a time and shake in new baggie to recoat with more sugar and cinnamon.
- Drizzle or dip each one in frosting that came in your cinnamon roll container and enjoy.