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Meyer Lemon & Sour Cream Donuts

Meyer Lemon Sour Cream Donuts

Lemon and sour cream donuts. For breakfast. For his birthday. For dessert too!

When I asked Bill what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he said he’d rather have several of his favorites rather than just one cake. At the time I thought that was a splendid idea except that by saturday night things had begun to pile up and I was starting to look at him sideways. I had to have a good reason to get up early on monday and make these because my night had been short on sleep and full of work and my back was (and still is) feeling pretty broken that morning. Love will make you do funny things. Donuts especially!

I am not going to play it all "no, not me, never" card on you with these: I wanted them too. Oh yes! I would have to be in a body cast to refuse to make or eat plenty of one of them. We like them so much that I doubled the recipe for the party later that evening and when the rain pushed us inside from the back porch, we all gathered around the island and took turns frying these pieces of lemony goodness.

After the recent couple of posts featuring Meyer lemons, some have wondered where the heck I was finding Meyers this time of year in SC. Well, I don’t. I’ve got connections. Sort of. One of the greatest things that come from blogging is not only the opportunity to do something you love but all the wonderful people you meet, whether virtually or in real life. My blogging friend Mary has a very fruitful Meyer lemon tree in San Francisco and she generously sent Veronica and myself a box full. I am holding on tight to the last eight, scheming yet another dessert. Ehehehe.

Meyer Lemon Sour Cream Donuts

I think lemons are to me what salt is to others. I have no idea where that came about but where I might forget the salt, I never forget the lemon, either when baking or cooking. I am even more fascinated when it comes to Meyer lemons as everyone picks up different scents and undertone. I always think of mild rosemary when I slice into one. One reader asked what would be the equivalent in France and as far as taste is concerned, I don’t think there is one. Now, as far as finding an equally praised citrus, the "citron de Menton" would surely be it. It even has its own festival people!

These donuts are so easy to make it’s a crime well, not to make them. Seriously. Wet ingredients, dry ingredients, stir, rest and fry. Tada! These are a real treat as we don’t usually eat fried anything but if there is one thing I will not compromise about, it’s properly fried lemon and sour cream donuts!

You don’t even need a deep fryer to make scrumptious donuts like these! I actually prefer to use a 9-inch cast iron pan for frying. Make sure to bring your oil to the proper temperature and do not overcrowd your pan with too many donut pieces. It brings the oil temperature down and you end up with soggy drippy oily donuts. I like to use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop for these but 1/4 cup or a 2 spoons will do the trick too. We like to eat them with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar. Not that I never thought of dipping them in a lemon glaze before, hmmm…

Meyer Lemon Sour Cream Donuts

One year ago: Cracked Pepper Mint and Strawberry Macarons.

Meyer Lemon And Sour Cream Donuts

Makes about 20

1 cup (125gr) all-purpose flour
1 cup (140gr) cake flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
4 oz (120gr) sour cream
2 large eggs
zest and juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon (15gr) olive oil
canola oil for frying (about 1 cup or 250ml)
Powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Reserve.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, sour cream, eggs, zest and lemon juice, and the olive oil, until smooth. Add the reserved flour mixture, and stir with a spatula until the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for about 1 hour.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed cast iron pan or Dutch oven until it reaches 325F. Scoop the batter using either 1/4 cup full (you will get less donuts) or a two-tablespoon ice cream/cookie scoop like I did and fry 4-5 at a time without overcrowding your pan (turns the oil temperature down which makes your donuts greasy). Fry each batch for 4-6 minutes, occasionally monitoring the temperature of the oil.

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Manggy July 30, 2009 um 3:36 pm

Love these– am a big donut lover! (maybe not for breakfast though, it's just not Asian, heh heh 😉
I've seen a few recipes that called for 190C and they come out a little darker than I like– I think I'll try 160C next time, I like the color on yours 🙂

Phoo-D July 30, 2009 um 3:40 pm

You are a woman after my heart! These look sublime. My grandfather sends us boxes of Meyer lemons each year and we treat them like gold. Everything tastes better with Meyer lemon. I can't wait for the next box to give the donuts a try! Beautiful.

Simones Kitchen July 30, 2009 um 3:41 pm

I never knew that making donuts would be so easy! I can see why you would make these… 🙂 They look absolutely lovely.

montague July 30, 2009 um 3:42 pm

i would love to sink my teeth into one of those!

Maria July 30, 2009 um 3:52 pm

The little donuts are super duper cute!

Sunshine July 30, 2009 um 3:54 pm

I'm a lemon kind of girl too! I'll eat anything with lemons or lemon flavor.

Milliways July 30, 2009 um 3:54 pm

It looks so delicious! I can't wait to try out the recipe!

Rosa's Yummy Yums July 30, 2009 um 4:02 pm

What a wonderful choice of delicate and delightful flavors! Those donuts look extremely tempting!



Sarah July 30, 2009 um 4:05 pm

I've never been much of a donut fan, but I've never had homemade – these look amazing!!! We're celebrating my husband's birthday this weekend, and I think these will have to be on the menu!

anna July 30, 2009 um 4:05 pm

Those sound awesome! I believe the Doughnut Plant here in NYC does a Meyer lemon doughnut in the early spring and I can't wait to taste one! Meyers always remind me of flowers and basil.

Bertha July 30, 2009 um 4:09 pm

I adore meyer lemons with all my heart! my co-worker gave me about 50 of them probably from his overflowing tree and I always run out of ideas of what to do with them :). This is the first time I saw a donut recipe without a yeast and without kneading. Hmm.. I'll have to try it sometime. Thanks for sharing!

Jen July 30, 2009 um 4:15 pm

this is fantastic! i've got meyer lemons coming out of my ears! I can't wait to try it!!!

Andrea Meyers July 30, 2009 um 4:20 pm

These are just beautiful! I adore donuts but only indulge about once a year. I would break my rule for some of these. 🙂

Unknown July 30, 2009 um 4:23 pm

Wow! They are really great looking and easy to prepare! I will try them for sure.

Rose July 30, 2009 um 4:35 pm

Those look OUTSTANDING! I can practically taste the zing of fresh lemon with the sweetness of the doughnut!

Andrea [bella eats] July 30, 2009 um 4:36 pm

Oh my. Helen, these are absolutely beautiful, and combine so many of my favorite things. What a lovely treat, and happy birthday to Bill!

As always, your photos make me want to cry… Very well done.

Char July 30, 2009 um 4:41 pm

i have died and gone to heaven. those sound so divine

Char July 30, 2009 um 4:41 pm

i've died and gone to heaven – those look so divine.

Laura July 30, 2009 um 4:41 pm

Those look so tasty. I will have try them. I love Meyer lemons.

Rachael Hutchings July 30, 2009 um 4:43 pm

My mother has a Meyer lemon tree which I raid constantly when it's bearing fruit! LOVE Meyer lemon. I also love yuzu and miss having easy access to it. These look so delicious. Bill has good taste–I am a donut person too!

veron July 30, 2009 um 4:46 pm

Love fried dough sprinkled with confectioner's sugar. I have my meyer lemon juice all nice and frozen in 4 oz packs. Hubby spent two hours squeezing and zesting all of them. Can't wait to churn out more ice cream and maybe some of these doughnuts.

Valérie July 30, 2009 um 4:49 pm

Oh, my goodness, I love this type of beignet! Reminds me of Brussels… They look irresistible!

Elizabeth July 30, 2009 um 4:54 pm

Cannot resist a fresh donut or beignet in the morning. These look so delicious!

Unknown July 30, 2009 um 5:00 pm

Wonderful pictures and look absolutely delicious.

The Purple Foodie July 30, 2009 um 5:00 pm

Your donuts look great. I've been dreaming about making donuts for a few days and looking at these I'm tempted to make them over the weekend. Do you think yoghurt would work in place of sour cream? I usually do that for cakes so I'm guessing this should work as well.

Helene July 30, 2009 um 5:03 pm

The Purple Foodie: yes, whole milk plain yogurt can be a substitute. Just make sure to drain the whey very well of the batter would be too soft.

The Duo Dishes July 30, 2009 um 5:25 pm

Making donuts at home would be a bad thing for us…we'd make them all the time. No doubt these are delicious.

A Bowl Of Mush July 30, 2009 um 5:43 pm

Looking at these made my mouth water! Yum!
Its funny, my partners birthday is coming up too and I was thinking, instead of making one cake I could just make a few of his favorite things.

kamran siddiqi July 30, 2009 um 6:00 pm

Guess what I'm making tonight? Your donuts! I can't resist!!! I just need to pick up some sour cream and I should be good. Can't wait to take a bite out of a few of these!!

I'll get the scale out for these…

Shining Windows July 30, 2009 um 6:12 pm

I can't stand it!!!

Sam@BingeNYC July 30, 2009 um 6:37 pm

Oh my – these are just gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I usually steer clear of fried food as well, but these look like a must try!!!

Patricia Scarpin July 30, 2009 um 6:37 pm

I'm not going to complain about all these delicious lemon recipes, you can be sure of that, sweetie! 😀

These look fantastic and a real treat for anyone's breakfast!

Cherry Blossoms July 30, 2009 um 6:43 pm

I have been dying to try meyer lemons. I bought my husband a tree but it died…would this recipe work with regular lemons? I wonder…

rick @ à la mode July 30, 2009 um 7:00 pm

oh my these sound devine, and so simple too! i can just imagine the scent of lemon as these fry up in the oil. and that lemon glaze, do it!

Cheryl Wray July 30, 2009 um 7:43 pm

These look delicious (and the pictures are beautiful)!

Snooky doodle July 30, 2009 um 8:07 pm

oh these are so yummy! delicious!

Michelle {Brown Eyed Baker} July 30, 2009 um 8:29 pm

Gosh, how fabulous!! I just snagged some Meyer lemon juice from Williams Sonoma the other day. About how much juice would say is extracted from 1 lemon?

Also, I wonder how these would be filled with lemon curd? Mmmmm… so excited to try these!

Julia @ Mélanger July 30, 2009 um 9:07 pm

Oh my. How wonderful. I wish I received a big basket of these warm little treats for my birthday. I have always wanted to make these. Maybe with a gooey caramel filling. Delicious. Beautiful photographs, as always!

Lucy Vaserfirer July 30, 2009 um 9:19 pm

They look light as air! Just thinking these little beauties would also be fabulous with creme fraiche.

Lucinha July 30, 2009 um 10:27 pm

They look great! What´s the best oil temperature?
By the way: I love your blog!!

Helene July 30, 2009 um 10:44 pm

Cherry Blossoms: any kind of lemon works well.

Michelle: depending on the size it's usually 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup.

Lucinha: I don't know about the "best". I just find the one stated in the recipe to work all the time.

dee July 30, 2009 um 10:45 pm

Oh, I am absolutely drooling. I love your comment about how lemons are to you what salt is to others.

bridget {bake at 350} July 30, 2009 um 10:53 pm

Oh my!

PS…my birthday is in October. 🙂

Anonymous July 30, 2009 um 11:08 pm

My goodness these looks soooo good!

Ash July 30, 2009 um 11:31 pm

I'm a lemon lover and these are quite the temptation!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) July 30, 2009 um 11:35 pm

Meyer lemons are a rare treat in Rhode Island. Trader Joe's brings them in, and while they're nothing like the ones you get fresh from the tree, they are delicious. Love the look of these doughnuts — want to know my birthday???!

{kiss my spatula} July 31, 2009 um 1:12 am

i am seriously considering having donuts for dinner now. 🙂

Nutmeg Nanny July 31, 2009 um 1:55 am

What a wonderful dessert! I love homemade donuts…nothing better in my opinion.

Rachel July 31, 2009 um 2:33 am

Anything citrusy gets me going..and the donuts are way too irresistible.

Poorni Pillai July 31, 2009 um 2:36 am

God, I love lemons almost as much as you do, its torture coming here and seeing these lucsious desserts….but sweet torture. Love it! 🙂

diva July 31, 2009 um 2:36 am

i'm lovin these doughnuts. they're so much better than the usual jam-filled types!! meyer lemons woop woop. jealous of your contacts 🙂 x

ChichaJo July 31, 2009 um 2:46 am

I would love these for breakfast! (Manggy, freshly fried pichi-pichi at the Salcedo Market for breakfast would beg to differ ;)) I hardly ever make fried donuts, even though I love them, because I'm scared of frying, especially deep frying…but you make it sound so easy indeed perhaps I'll be trying again soon!

Jen Yu July 31, 2009 um 4:16 am

These sound heavenly. I think I would be tempted to squirt lemon curd into the middles!! I kept looking for a photo with a bite taken out until I realized they were normal donuts 🙂 Ah, lucky B-man. Another year older and another year more awesome! xxoo Okay, so bring a bag of these to SF in Sept, okay? 😉 weeeeeeee!

♥peachkins♥ July 31, 2009 um 4:23 am

I love donuts and I love the flavor of this donut..

morgana July 31, 2009 um 6:33 am

Mmmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. And more Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Those donut look amazingly delicious.

Maybe July 31, 2009 um 8:54 am

Lucky you ! I would have loved these for my birthday… And I totally understand when you say you love lemon, I looove everything that has lemon in it like lemon squares, lemon meringue pie, lemon sorbet… :o)

Jennifer July 31, 2009 um 10:58 am

Oh YUM! These donuts look amazing!!! I love the use of sour cream in these! I dont have a deep fryer either, still no excuse not to make donuts (I did last week). Beautiful photos as always 🙂

My comfort food network July 31, 2009 um 11:33 am

Love the donuts. Love the recipe. Love the photos. Wish I was Bill!

Btw, I had some questions regarding macarons. Where can I email you at? Here is my email address
[email protected]

mycookinghut July 31, 2009 um 12:27 pm

I love your donuts!!!! Mom made lots when I was a kid.. 🙂

Ramya Kiran July 31, 2009 um 1:18 pm

They look wonderful. My all time favorite!

June July 31, 2009 um 2:41 pm

Fabulous photo's, great recipe. Bless you…& Bill!

Aparna Balasubramanian July 31, 2009 um 2:57 pm

Love these "no-hole" doughnuts. I think your husband had the right idea. I'd rather have these (and some other favourites) for my birthday than cake!

Hope your back is better now with all the massages.

Julie July 31, 2009 um 3:28 pm

WOW. Some things are just worth an extra hour on the elliptical trainer! Can't wait to try these!

chocolatecup July 31, 2009 um 5:41 pm

kill me right now with those donuts!haha:P

Gis July 31, 2009 um 6:36 pm

Oh my xD I always get so hungry xD I have worked on many food blogs, but your blog is something special… It just makes me cry out for foooood xD

I will so need to have some of your prints on my new home xD xD xD But close to the kitchen I think so it inspires me to cook xD

Cannelle Et Vanille July 31, 2009 um 9:51 pm

oh these sound sooo good helen. B is quite the lucky guy! i want to have bday treats like him!

Naomi Knill July 31, 2009 um 11:05 pm

I've just stumbled across your blog for the first time and what a post to stumble across for a lover of all things lemon…! These dainty little doughnuts sound divine. Recipe duly noted on my 'to do' list for sometime soon.

Kitchen M August 1, 2009 um 3:41 am

Wow looks amazing and making me hungry!!

Alexandra August 1, 2009 um 4:22 am

That's it! I was just wondering what to make for a fun Saturday morning breakfast treat….thank you!
you have simplified, what i have always considered to be difficult endeavor!

Alexandra August 1, 2009 um 4:23 am

That's it! I was just wondering what to make for a fun Saturday morning breakfast treat….thank you!
you have simplified, what i have always considered to be difficult endeavor!

Engineer Baker August 1, 2009 um 8:39 am

Oh wow, those look amazing. And while Jen was looking for curd in the middle, I like the idea of a plain unfilled donut hole – lemon everywhere, and less mess and fuss! I hope your back is beginning to feel better too!

Kelly-Jane August 1, 2009 um 4:42 pm

They look fantastic. Your first picture is really knockout!

simplesong August 1, 2009 um 6:56 pm

AMAZING. looks perfect! happy weekend to you!

kickpleat August 2, 2009 um 6:36 am

I love that you squeeze extra lemon over top. I love pretty much all things lemon and these look incredible! This is way, way too tempting.

nora@ffr August 2, 2009 um 3:08 pm

wow!!! i love this very much.. specially th stunning photography 🙂

coloring in my life August 3, 2009 um 4:43 am

these look absolutely delicious!

El August 5, 2009 um 4:01 am


Louise August 5, 2009 um 10:56 am

I only saw this recipe this afternoon but immediately printed it off and mixed up a batch. Fantastic lemony flavour- even without a Meyer- but unfortunately my scoop was far too large so the middles didn't cook. I was aware this was a risk when I started but I didn't want to wait to track down a small scoop! Impatient? Moi? I will now though. A wonderful excuse to buy more kitchen toys, thanks!

Angelique from Bitchin' Kitchen August 5, 2009 um 5:30 pm

These look fantastic, I've never tried sour cream donuts before though! This makes me want to try them!

mimi August 6, 2009 um 4:00 pm

wow, meyer lemon donuts sound amazing!! these will just have to be made, sooner than later!

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire August 7, 2009 um 2:23 pm

Tu me fais bien envie et puis s'il n'est pas nécessaire d'avoir une friteuse c'est parfait

Olga August 12, 2009 um 8:37 pm

where did you get that red bowl with polka dots? i'm in love with it!!!

Chats the Comfy Cook August 14, 2009 um 2:53 am

Those donuts are leaving me craving for them. So good.

Kim August 14, 2009 um 1:11 pm

I am all about donuts! What a fabulous choice for a birthday treat. Great pictures, they look as if I could pick one from the bag.

Katie August 16, 2009 um 11:41 pm

Oh, delicious! And even better – for breakfast! That's definitely a yummy treat. 🙂

Anonymous February 6, 2010 um 2:25 am

I really want to make this but I don't have cake flour (and no corn starch to make a substitute). Do you think it would be ok making it with just all purpose flour?

Helene February 6, 2010 um 2:42 am

Anonymous: there is no need for cornstarch to make cake flour. For 1 cup of cake flour, take one cup of all purpose and remove 2 tablespoons.
So, in theory it would work here but I have never tried it so I can't vouch for it.
Let me know if you do!

Jules March 28, 2010 um 4:52 pm

WE made these last night and they are amazing! Thanks for the wonderful recipe……I had it saved in my do file for a awhile! Super easy to make and really delicious!!!

Sweet Francisco April 8, 2010 um 11:40 pm

Wow. These look amazing. I think I am going to make them for brunch this weekend. Right after I make your lemon meringue macarons!

Anonymous April 20, 2010 um 5:58 pm

I meant to come back and let you know that while I didn't have cake flour, I think it was fine. I say "think" because the middle wasn't cooked thoroughly which probably has more to do with the temperature of the oil than anything else. I don't see how you have balls because they get flatted when making in a pan. The flavor was delicious and I pretended the middle was custard instead of raw…which only tasted good while it was fresh.

Shanna April 17, 2013 um 12:50 pm

Are they also good to eat cold?

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