Making Donuts: Cooking with Kids

We recently made mini donuts for a cooking activity in my class. Most of the time, we use no-cook recipes, but using a donut maker meant we were able to actually bake something in class for the first time.

making donuts, cooking with kids

I had one of those mini donut makers that I bought a while back in a department store (cost around $20). These donut makers have a recipe book for making donuts and also have mixes you can purchase especially for the maker, but I wanted to use something simple and inexpensive. I discovered that you can make them with boxed brownie mix (and probably any boxed mix for cake or muffins, although I haven’t tried those options).

For a healthier option, you can also make these with pancake mix. I found a pancake mix that was organic, all-natural, and low in sugar. You could also use a gluten free mix, if needed. Either way, it works out best when the mix is slightly runny, not thick, because you want the mix to pour into the donut mold. You don’t need a thick batter that has to be formed or “mashed”.

mixing the donut batter

Materials Needed:

  • Donut maker
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Plates (one per child)
  • Small cups (one per child)
  • Craft sticks
  • Oven mitt
  • Food color
  • White icing or cream cheese
  • Donut batter mix (your choice)
  • Any ingredients on your mix’s box

When we made ours, I worked with small groups of about 5 children. Each child had the chance to add an ingredient and stir the mixture.

mixing the donut batter

Important! Keep the donut maker out of the children’s reach and tell them to be sure they do not touch it. It gets very, very hot. I used an oven mitt to make sure I didn’t burn myself. *The donut maker in the photo above was not yet plugged in at the time.*

If possible, have the donut maker in their sight, but not in their reach, so they can watch the whole process. They can see how the runny, wet mixture transforms to a spongy bread just by adding heat (science exploration!)

Once the mixture is ready, use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop the mixture and pour it into the donut mold on the maker, then close it down and wait. (You’ll need to follow all directions and safety instructions on your particular donut maker.) The wide craft sticks work great for scooping out the donuts when they are ready. Let them cool before giving them to the children.

Mixing donut icing

Meanwhile, the children can be working on their donut topping. Give each child a small cup of icing or cream cheese with a drop of food color and have them stir it with craft stick.

Spread the icing on the donuts

When the donuts are cool enough to touch, the children can spread their icing on the donuts.

Donuts with icing spread on but the children

Note: Since I was working with only about 5 children at a time, I split a box of brownie mix in half. Each group used half a box, and I halved the amount of ingredients we added.


    • corlette says

      thanks so much I did not have a donut maker so I did cookies instead but it was a really good idea, thank you.

  1. Elena says

    It is wonderful. We made Valentines cookies, last February. The children were really excited. We will make donuts next time.

    Thank Karen.

  2. Janet says

    That looks like fun for everyone. We also use no cook recipes and use an electric frying pan
    To cook lots of stuff… Im going to see if I can find one of these don’t makers. Kids can make donuts when we have parent breakfasts!

  3. Jennifer F. says

    I love the idea of cooking in the classroom, except we need to get permission from admin and parents every time there is something related to food. In the past I have made applesauce and stone soup in the crockpot. We have also made butter. There is so much learning in cooking. I wish it wasn’t so difficult to do it these days.

  4. says

    It’s always great to see kids getting involved in the kitchen! My mother brought me into the world of baking at the mere age of 6 and everything she taught me stuck quite well.

    Question: How was the clean-up process? Messy? Whenever we cook for one of our lessons at my preschool, I make sure to highlight that doing dishes and cleaning up is just as important as the cooking itself!

    Looks like everyone had great fun!

  5. Donna says

    Wow! Fantastic idea! I have a donut maker and I’ve never had good results with it. Now, I can’t wait to try the brownie mix (wonder if Jiffy has some in a small box for mini batches?) and hopefully use it in my K5 class. This week we have making bread dough for yeast rolls in my bread machine on the agenda.

  6. Samina says

    I am an educator and have done a lot of cooking activities with my class of 3 year olds and my 2 year olds as well. It is so much fun, i have done Guacamole, butter, banana on a stick dipped in yogurt and then cereal, fruit salad, cookies and smoothies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *