Crazy for Crust

Jan 07

Easy Lemon Donut Holes {two ways}

I’m so in love with lemon this time of year, and these easy lemon donut holes are a perfect way to satisfy my cravings!

Easy Lemon Donut Holes |

Okay, so before we start to talk about these amazing and super easy (like, make in just a few minutes) lemon donut holes, I want to tell you about the travesty that happened to me this past weekend.

I’m out of perfume, so I headed to the mall to get more. I’ve been wearing Dream by Gap since I was 16. It’s been my signature scent for 20 years, except for the short period of time I flirted with something pink and fruity smelling from Victoria’s Secret. Anyway, I couldn’t find it, so I asked the sales lady where it was.

It’s been discontinued. DISCONTINUED.

Yeah. I know. Total travesty, right? Like, I gasped so loud I scared Jordan (not joking – it was the ugly gasp; hand-over-mouth and everything). It’s…like…I don’t even know where to go from here. Except maybe to Amazon to buy up the rest of their stock. I mean…perfume shopping? At 36? Really? Do people do that? I’m lost.

Also? #firstworldproblems

Anyway, let’s talk easy lemon donut holes!

Easy Lemon Donut Holes |

My mom’s neighbor has a Meyer lemon tree. My mother-in-law has a lemon tree. I have lemons pretty much anytime I get to see either side of the family. (Are you jealous?) After the richness of the holidays, I’ve been totally craving lemon. This is the first (of a few) recipes I’m sharing with you!

And this is, by far, the easiest. It starts with Pillsbury Grands biscuits. Cut them in quarters, fry them into donut holes. {Or is it doughnut holes? I don’t know, I like donut better.} Then they are covered in one of two lemon toppings: Lemon Sugar or Lemon Glaze.

The Lemon Sugar is like a cinnamon dusting, without the cinnamon. There’s zest in the sugar and the flavors meld so well together. The Lemon Glaze is made with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice (if you can use Meyers, do it, they’re so good!). Make a batch of one or the other or both and you have a sweet and tart breakfast or dessert!

These would be good with ice cream. Or white chocolate sauce. Or just because your perfume is discontinued and you’re depressed and need a donut hole.

Easy Lemon Donut Holes |

My mouth is watering thinking of that glaze. I may go make some and drink it with a straw! :)

Easy Lemon Donut Holes {two ways}

Yield: 32 donut holes; 16 of each flavor

Easy Lemon Donut Holes {two ways}


    For the Donut Holes:
  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Biscuits (8 biscuits)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • For the Lemon Sugar Topping:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons, depending on size)
  • For the Lemon Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons, depending on size)


  1. Place about 4 cups of vegetable oil in a heavy bottom pot and heat until it reaches 350°F. I like to leave my candy thermometer in the pot during frying so I can regulate the heat up or down if it gets to hot or cold. A heavy bottomed pot is best for frying, it’s easier to regulate the heat that way than with a thinner pot. (I use a Le Cruset soup pot.)
  2. Cut each biscuit into four pieces and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Fry in batches of 5-6 depending on the size of your pot. Cook 2-3 minutes until they are a deep golden, flipping halfway. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and place the cooked donut holes on a cookie sheet topped with two layers of paper towels.
  3. Make the Lemon Sugar Topping: stir together the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl. Cool donut holes until you can touch them before rolling in sugar.
  4. Make the Lemon Glaze: whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice in a second small bowl. Let donut holes cool completely, then dip in glaze.
  5. Makes enough sugar topping for 16 donut holes and enough glaze for 16 donut holes. Double if you wish to do all one or the other.

Easy Lemon Cream Danish

Easy-lemon-cream-danish (4 of 7)w

Lemon Pound Cake


Caramel Banana Pecan Doughnuts

banana-caramel-pecan-doughnuts (2 of 6)w

Sweets from friends:
Buttermilk Orange Donut Muffins by Our Best Bites
Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake by Two In the Kitchen
Caramel Glazed Turtle Donuts by Something Swanky


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84 comments on “Easy Lemon Donut Holes {two ways}

  1. My jaw is DROPPING at how easy these sweet little lemony treats are!! My kiddos and I will LOVE them! Thank you so much for linking to my Lemon Coffee Cake!! :)

  2. I am not a huge fan of dount holes, but these lemon ones look craaaaazy good! I need a lemon tree for all the lemon donut hole baking that my kitchen is going to experience. Haha, every day I have an ugly-first-world-problem-gasp … it was my jeans being in the dryer a little too long this morning … aaaand my eye liner smudging this evening 😉

    • I only like them when I get a hankering, you know? Fried stuff isn’t usually my thing but once in awhile… And when I get to needing lemon, these satisfied that perfectly!

  3. I don’t like Meyer lemons (my parents had a Meyer lemon tree when I was a teenager, much to my chagrin ); would this be as good with regular lemons?

  4. Nailed this one girl! And yes, hop on over to Amazon ASAP and buy it ALL!!!

  5. What what? Are all the perfumes discontinued? I was at gap a couple of weeks ago and bought Dream More because I couldn’t find Dream…and ended up liking it more. Maybe because its just a tad different. You know…baby steps. Ugh, I’m going to be bummed if it’s gone too!

  6. Sorry to hear about your perfume dilemma. My 15yr old daughter picked me out some for Christmas this year. I love it. However, she says, ” I tried to find one that wasn’t teen-ish, but still had some old lady to it.” Ummm, what?? So, if you like a little teen and old lady, maybe Estee Lauder is for you too, hehe.
    As for these donut holes, yes. Just yes. I heart lemon!

    • LMAO! That is hilarious. Teen + a teensy Old Lady. Too funny! Luckily I got 2 bottles of Amazon, so I have a while until I need to find something new. I can take my time this way. :)

  7. Love this idea of using the Pillsbury Grands to make donuts! Especially with lemon and especially 2 ways! That makes my taste buds very happy. Perfect recipe girl! Pinned!

  8. We’ve been making donut holes like that forever, but I’ve never thought to add anything to them other than powdered sugar or a sugar glaze… .I’ve GOT to try lemon!!

    • It’s SO fabulous Rose! And I cannot believe I just thought to cut them in quarters the other day. *head slap*

      • Hehe… I love “aha” moments. Or *head slap* – whatever works 😉 I just sent you an email with a link to my *shameful* post from back in 2010 about how we do the donut holes. MY pics aren’t great now, but ohmygosh, how horrible they were then!!

  9. Lemon is such a chipper, spring-like (hopefully!) thing to bake with this time of year and I love seeing the pics of these! Reminds me of warmer weather…soon…I hope :)

  10. I love how easy these are! And with lemon, I always feel like it’s ok to eat more, because it tastes so fresh. That makes sense, right?

  11. Oh my gosh, I am totally jealous! I never have enough lemons in my apartment. These look so good!!

  12. I’m always in love with lemon treats and these donut holes take the cake! PERFECT, Dorothy! Pinned and sharing on FB and Twitter. Have a lovely week. :)

  13. Do you know that I got a deep fryer for Christmas? Yes, I did. Can you guess what I’m going to make this weekend? Be still my ever-lovin-lemon-heart.

  14. These look delightful! After lots of chocolate desserts over the holidays, lemon will be a refreshing change of flavor.

  15. I love the fresh flavor of lemon. I know it is a winter citrus, but it reminds me of spring!! I am still all in for winter, but these sounds and look awesome!

  16. Hahaa… you make me laugh Dorothy! First world problems indeed (though I definitely understand, I was using the same Yves St Laurent eyeshadow for years and they discontinued it, I was irrationally annoyed!). Glad that you managed to get a stock of the perfume on Amazon. Back to this donut goodness…. YUM! The first picture alone sold the recipe to me. Love the combination of lemon and sugar glaze, I use it on cakes all the time. Definitely going to try these! xx

  17. Oh my gosh Dorothy, that’s awful!! I’m a huge creature of habit too, so I can only imagine how hard that news was for you to hear. It’s like Chicken Little running around yelling, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” only is actually has for you. I’m so sorry! Lemon donut holes definitely sound like a great pick-me-up. Anything lemony, really. It’s such a bright and cheerful flavor, and when the treats are that easy to prepare, it’s a double dose of happiness!

  18. I would totally stock up if I were you :) These donut holes sound delicious!

  19. It seems like the company that made the perfume, should have given you a call… I mean you were probably their most loyal customer. How rude! These lemon donuts holes look amazing :) I will need about 10 after I drive to work today in the after effects of our winter storm.

  20. I love lemon! & in the form of lemon sugar or icing? Divine! I bet the smell of these donuts makes up a little for the loss of your favorite perfume :)

    • Yes, I think I’d wear this scent as a perfume if I could! :)


      • That sounds good! I’ll have to look for it!

  21. I love all things lemon, and this is dangerous to read before I have had breakfast! Hard to make good choices with donuts on the brain! HA! How dare they discontinue your perfume without telling you? I hate when that happens! Pinned!

  22. These little donut holes are bringing me sunshine on a very cold day! Beautiful

  23. Yes, I am jealous that you have fresh lemons at your disposal and I’m even more jealous that you have these donuts in your kitchen!!!

  24. I’m all about lemon right now! So jealous of your supply of fresh lemons!

  25. These are all over my social media and I’m in love with them! And the perfume thing totally sucks but it can be a good thing….I ran out of my “Signature” perfume and wore something new and a guy at work informed me, “Julie in the least creepy way you smell really good today!” See good things :)

  26. These donut holes look delicious! I love anything with lemon in, so I must give this recipe a go! :)

  27. I love having a lemon tree too- anything sweet paired with lemony tartness just perks those salivary glands right up!

  28. Oh no . . . a new scent :) It always seems like they get rid of the best ones. I have so much perfume that I don’t even know what to do with it, but I like to switch off and I don’t have one signature smell. I can’t wait to hear if you find a new favorite smell. BTW – I want these donuts like right now.

  29. I went through a similar tragedy two years ago, I got hooked on scent in college and it’s discontinued now. WHY do they do that???

  30. Oh yea, I’m totally making these! I love lemon and how easy these are!

    I’m sorry about your perfume :( I totally hear you. I usually just wear scented lotions and my favorite coconut scents only come back twice a year, which means I stock up. Go to amazon and stock up girl!

  31. I freaking love lemon! After all of the holiday sweets I was in the mood to bake but not with chocolate (gasp!) but was lost. Your recipe sounds perfect – simple but still yummy! I can totally relate to your perfume situation. Dream was my signature scent too, then the GAP in my town closed. The nearest one was 3 hours away so I’d stock up every time I was there, and then that one closed! If I wanted to continue wearing the perfume I’d have to drive 6+ hours to the nearest GAP, and buying online wasn’t an option because perfume can’t be shipped into Canada unless the bottles are really small :( Good luck in your quest to find a replacement! I wear Euphoria by Calvin Klein now, in case you were wondering what I settled on!

  32. Pingback: Easy Lemon Donut Holes {two ways} – HONEY

  33. You can find your perfume on Ebay… :)

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  36. Just clicked over to your blog from the Pillsbury site. These Lemon Donut Holes look divine! I just wanted to mention that it would be great if the recipe printed along with the picture. Can’t wait to try them!

    • How are you printing? The print button in the pink box should print the recipe? I’m sorry if it didn’t. Can you let me know what you saw?

      • I used the pink button and it printed just fine – it just doesn’t include the lovely picture. it’s text only. i use mozilla firefox if that makes any difference.

  37. Try Jo Malone perfume. You would love Orange Blossom or they have seasonal lemon one.

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  39. Love the donut holes! Try for your search. They might have yours, plus they also have a ton of sample sizes of things you can get to try.

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  41. Just want to know how long you can make these before you need them? A day or two? 

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