These are simply the easiest donuts to make when nothing else will satisfy your craving. Jet's original recipe from 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die calls for just 4  basic ingredients - buttermilk biscuit dough, sugar, cinnamon and five-spice powder.

He gets really fancy and also adds a glaze, but honestly a warm donut hole simply dredged in spicy sugar is good enough for me. 

If you don't have any, or want to make your own, I've provided Mark Bittman's home-made recipe for Chinese 5-spice powder (and also my favorite dredging mixture for donuts).

What you need:

  • dutch oven or heavy pot for frying - better yet, if you have an electric frypan with a temperature setting, even better!

  • sharp knife

  • cooking thermometer


  • 2 tsp ground five-spice powder

  • 2 TB ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 16 oz can large buttermilk biscuits (I use Pillsbury Grands)

  • 2 quarts vegetable oil


  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Stir together the five-spice powder, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a pot until it reaches 365 degrees.

  3. While oil is heating lay out biscuits on a cutting board and cut into 4-6 wedges.  If making the glaze, mix the milk, vanilla and powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

  4. Fry the donuts in the oil until deep golden brown on both sides - about 2 minutes/side.  Be care not to let the oil get hotter than 365 - otherwise the outsides will brown too fast, and the centers will be raw.  Drain on paper towels or a wire rack for 1-2 minutes.

  5. Dip half the donuts in the glaze and then the sugar/spice mix.  Alternately, just dredge the entire donut in the sugar and forget the glaze!

Dr. JJ's Favorite Donut Dredge

  • 2 TB ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • pinch (1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper

  • pinch (1/4 tsp) kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup sugar

Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir until mixed.  Try this sprinkled on toast with butter, or as a little touch of Holiday in your oatmeal or hot tea!

Mark Bittman's 5-Spice Powder

Put all ingredients into a clean coffee or spice grinder and process until fine.  Store in a clean dry container for several months.