These Campfire Donuts are ready in mere minutes and you only need 3 ingredients to make them! The freshly fried warm dough can be coated in a cinnamon sugar mixture or powdered sugar. My family especially loves the donut holes that are gobbled up in one bite.
This sweet treat is one of the most tasty camping breakfast ideas and perfect with a hot cup of coffee or cold glass of milk.
Here’s a list of the key items you’ll need.
- Refrigerated biscuit dough
- Vegetable oil
- Confectioners’ sugar
Refrigerated biscuit dough: The canned buttermilk biscuit dough works best, particularly the jumbo biscuits. You can substitute plain biscuit dough instead of buttermilk dough and it won’t make a big difference in the end product. I don’t recommend using the regular size biscuit dough because the jumbo dough holds its shape better when you cut holes in the center to create the donut.
Vegetable oil: Canola oil can be substituted for vegetable oil. Make sure the oil is fresh and has not been used to cook other foods with powerful flavors like garlic.
Confectioners’ sugar: Powder sugar is my go-to for these donuts because it adds a nice sweetness with just one ingredient. You can change things up a bit by using a different sweetener for coating the hot dough. For a cinnamon sugar variation, mix 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon.
- 12-Inch, 6 Quart Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven
- Long tongs
- Sharp knife
12-Inch, 6 Quart Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven: I like making these donuts right over hot campfire coals in a Dutch oven. You can also place the pot on a standard propane camp stove. You don’t want to overcrowd the pot so you won’t want to use a vessel that is much smaller or you’ll be making lots of batches which can take a long time.
Long tongs: It’s easiest to flip the donuts in the oil using long tongs. You can also just use forks but be careful so you don get burned by the hot pot or hot oil.
Sharp knife: A knife with a sharp point is best when cutting a circle out of the biscuit dough. You can also use a shot glass for this step. The sharper the edge, the easier it is to cut through the dough.
How To Make
What makes these donuts so easy and fast? They are canned biscuit campfire donuts so you are not making the dough from scratch.
Step 1. Start your campfire. You want your fire to burn down to a nice bed of hot coals rather than cooking over big flames.
Step 2. Prepare the dough. Open your canned biscuit dough and separate the biscuits, laying them out on a cutting surface. Using a sharp knife, cut a round circle from the center of the biscuit and remove the “dough holes” creating a doughnut shape. Set the dough holes aside.
Step 3. Heat the oil. Pour oil into a cast iron Dutch oven and very carefully place it on a grate over the hot coals.
CAUTION: Oil is flammable! Keep the campfire flames low and a fair distance from the oil. Don’t allow the oil to splash outside of the pot. Use the heat of coals (not the flames of fire) to cook with oil. You can also make these donuts as camp stove recipes if you are more comfortable cooking over propane.
Step 4. Check the oil temperature. Is it a hot tub or a warm bath? You can tell when the oil is hot enough for frying by placing a small piece of dough into the oil, if bubbles form around the dough, the oil is ready.
Camp Cooking Tip: If the dough just sits in the oil without bubbling (like a warm bath) it is not hot enough. If you place dough in oil that is not up to temperature, the dough will just soak up the grease. Instead, you want the oil hot enough to quickly fry the dough creating a nice crispy outer texture and maintaining a fluffy inner texture.
Step 5. Fry the doughnuts. Use long tongs to place dough into hot oil for cooking being careful to avoid splashing the oil on yourself or into the campfire. When the bottom is golden brown, use long tongs to flip the donuts to cook on the other side. This will only take a few minutes per side.
Step 6. Drain, then sugar the donuts. Remove the donuts from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess grease. Roll donuts in powdered sugar and shake off excess.
Step 7. Make the doughnut holes. Repeat the same process with the “dough holes” that you set aside earlier.
Step 8. Serve warm. Enjoy these fresh doughnuts while they are still warm.
Camp Cooking Tip: You can save the oil and use it to cook something else on your trip. Just let it cool and pour it into a sealed container. It’s a great option for French fries or breaded fish.
Fried dough is a blank canvas for different toppings. In addition to coating the doughnuts in powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar you may also want to try these:
- Add a simple glaze by combining powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.
- Frost cooled donuts with prepared frosting. A thin layer of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry frosting is a great “glue” to add other fun toppings like crushed Oreos, chopped nuts, colorful sprinkles or shredded coconut.
I love serving these doughnuts with a hot cup of coffee as one of my fun camping breakfast ideas or with a cold glass of milk when I’m serving as one of my super fast and simple camping dessert recipes.
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Gently drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If bubbles form around the dough the oil is hot enough to fry the dough and create a crispy exterior texture with a tender middle.
If dough is placed in oil that is not up to temperature, it will just soak up the oil. The result is a soggy doughnut that has a greasy taste that will leave a film in your mouth after eating it.
The donut needs a small amount of oil and must be hot to give the coating something to stick to, I call it “glue”. If you let the donut drain too much or get too cool, the coating will just fall away from the donut. You have two options to remedy this (1) add a little milk or water to the powdered sugar to create a glaze that is drizzled over the donut, or, (2) place the donut back into the hot oil for a few seconds, remove it and let it slightly drain, then coat with the sugar topping.
Place leftovers in a sealed container at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. They are delicious cold or can be reheated in a microwave or oven.
This Dutch Oven Monkey Bread also uses refrigerated biscuit dough as a base. You’ll add a cinnamon sugar mixture and nuts to make a yummy sweet pull apart bread that is topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze.
We enjoy this Dutch Oven Coffee Cake with a hot cup of coffee in the morning. You’ll start with a boxed cake mix then jazz it up with cinnamon and pecans. The addition of eggs and sour cream make it moist.
My favorite breakfasts are the ones that let the entire family eat at the same time. This Dutch Oven French Toast is a casserole that is baked. Serve an icy cup milk or hot cup of coffee on the side for a perfect meal.
There are 8 biscuits in a 16 oz can of dough so you’ll get 8 donuts and 8 donut holes when you make these. If you want to scale it to feed more people, adjust the number of servings in the recipe card and it will calculate the ingredient list for you.
If you are making camping meals for two, you can use some of the biscuits to make these donuts and bake the other biscuits according to the package directions, then, top with jam or gravy for breakfast on another day of your trip! Check out my Camping Biscuits And Gravy to get my simple sausage gravy recipe.
Watch How To Make It
Campfire Donuts Dutch Oven Camping Recipe
- 1 (16 oz) can refrigerated biscuits (Jumbo buttermilk biscuit dough works best.)
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (For a cinnamon sugar variation, mix 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon.)
- Start your campfire early enough to cook over hot coals (not flames).
- Place sugar in a bowl and set aside.
- Remove pre-sliced biscuit dough from the tube and place on a flat surface.
- Use a small shot glass or a sharp knife to cut round dough circles from the middle of each dough circle to form a shape like traditional donuts. Remove the donut holes from the inside of the donut biscuits.
- Pour oil into a large cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven or some type of cast iron pan that is deep enough to hold hot oil without splashing into the fire. Place carefully on a campfire grate over hot coals. CAUTION: Oil is flammable! Keep the campfire flames low and a fair distance from the oil.
- When the oil is up to temperature, carefully place dough into the hot oil. Fry until dough reaches a nice golden brown color, then, flip to cook the second side. It will take a few minutes per side. (see * Note)
- Remove each cooked donut to a paper towel-lined plate to let excess oil run off and briefly drain donuts and holes. (see ** Note)
- Roll donuts in powdered sugar on paper plate (or in brown lunch bag), shake off excess and serve warm.
- Repeat the same process with the “dough holes”.
More Meal Ideas
After you enjoy these campfire donuts, you might want to try a few more of our fun and tasty ideas on your next trip!