County Fair Fried Dough

Fried dough of various types is ubiquitous nationwide (as well as around the world), whether made at home or acquired at one of countless county fairs. This recipe is similar to the modern one for fry bread (or frybread), a version of which has been a key part of Navajo tribal tradition since the 19th century. Other cultures have their own names for this crispy/tender treat, including frogs, beaver tails, elephant ears, and pizza fritta (made with yeast). Want to make your own fried dough at home? While most fried dough cooks in deep fat, this easy version uses just 1/4" of vegetable oil: no deep-frying necessary.

Prep
10 mins
Total
30 mins
Yield
8 servings
County Fair Fried Dough

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Work in the cold butter, using a pastry blender, your fingers, or a mixer.

  3. Stir in the warm water to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

  4. Divide the dough into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a thin 5" round, about 3/8" thick.

  5. Heat about 3/8" vegetable oil to 375°F in an electric frying pan, or in a pan over a burner. If you're using a 10" diameter pan, this is 2 cups of vegetable oil. If you're not using an electric frying pan, use a candy thermometer to take the temperature of the oil; or guesstimate it by seeing if the first piece of dough fries nicely in the time specified.

  6. Pick up one dough disk, and carefully lower it into the pan. Let it cook for 60 seconds (it'll puff up on top and become light brown on the bottom), then flip it over and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds. You don't want to cook these too dark; they'll become overly crisp.

  7. Remove from the oil and set on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place in a 200°F oven to keep warm while you make the remaining fried doughs.

  8. Serve warm, with maple syrup or cider syrup; confectioners' sugar, or cinnamon sugar; or the topping of your choice — some folks enjoy a savory version, with marinara sauce and cheese.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to make fried dough with King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour? Omit the recipe's baking powder and salt; and decrease the water to 1/2 to 2/3 cup, enough to make a soft (but not sticky) dough.
  • Peanut oil is our favorite deep-frying oil; it has a higher smoke point, and neutral flavor.