State Fair Fried Dough


State Fair Fried Dough

30 Pieces
10 Min

What's better than hot fried dough like you used to get at the local fair? Well, how 'bout an easy version you can whip up at home?

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 (1-pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

What to Do

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, separate loaf of dough by pulling it apart into 1-inch pieces. Test oil for readiness by carefully placing 1 piece of dough into pan. You'll know oil is ready when dough bubbles around edges.
  3. Place remaining pieces of dough into oil and fry a few at a time until golden brown on bottom. Then turn dough over and brown on other side. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  4. Repeat until all dough is fried. Place sugar in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Roll or shake fried dough in sugar to completely coat. Serve hot.


BE CAREFUL! The oil will be very hot!

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My mom always used a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on top of the butter while they were still hot. mmmmmm......

My kids and I like ours with butter and good maple syrup. Yum! (Even home-made with brown sugar and mapleen)

We used pizza dough from Italian bakery --first batch salted --next sugared with whatever you like --I meant 5 stars --they are great either way!

Wonderful. I make the big ones that take up the whole plate and also cut up the dough in half dollar size pieces that you can make vanish in 2 bites, 1 bite if your in my family. Slathered with real butter while it still hot and a sprinkle of sugar in the raw. I've actually eaten these to the point where I get a stomach ache.

My grandmother (and now I do too) made a version of this that was more like the "elephant ears" you find at the fair. We called them doughboys. She (and I) start with home made bread dough, pinch off chunks of it and stretch them, then fry them. Most people we know put powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar on them but we grew up eating them with butter and tomato soup on them. My cousin makes them and often uses the frozen dough and they come out pretty close, but nothing beats the home made bread dough!

My brother and sister-in-law live in New Mexico (where she grew up) and they also make the "fry bread" and put taco toppings on it. They call them Indian tacos. You make the bread the same way as I described (stretch a chunk then fry it) but put seasoned taco meat and any other taco toppings you want on them. Delish!!!

Do you have a recipe for this being baked? We love fried dough and would like to make it without all the oil. But want the same or close to it flavor.. Thanks, any suggestions would be appreciated. B

Unfortunately, frying in oil is the only way we know how to get that delicious flavor.

I also made this for my children, they preferred the fried dough topped with pizza sauce and parmesan cheese or just plain with butter. I myself like it with butter and cinnamon sugar. It sounds like this can be made any way you want it from all for the comments and it sounds like this has many names and is something that has been made for a very long time. I guess since it is a recipe that has continued on for so long it must be something that every one loves. This is a good thing.

Best when served with pure maple syrup.In the south where I am, no one has a clue what fried bread dough is so it must be a northern states dish.Grew up in the north and this was a breakfast treat once every couple of months.

This reminds me of the Fastnacht doughnuts my Pennsylvania Dutch mother used to be making when I'd come home from school. She'd have the dough cut into squares on her little white porcelain-topped work table - (NOT convenient frozen dough - NEVER!!) - waiting for them to rise just high enough before dropping them into the hot fat. She'd usually have one batch already cooling on a towel and I was allowed to have one, dipped in confectioner's sugar, still warm. It's a delicious memory of my mom. She died when she was 63, but I still hear her warning: "Don't eat too many of those when they're this fresh - you'll get a stomach ache because they say fresh dough isn't good for you!" Thanks for jogging my happy memories!

My mother use to make these when I was young. But she didn't have the ease of the frozen bread. She would have to make the dough & wait for it to raise! How great I found this recipe & can skip that step. Tastes just like what mom use to make!!

I've had "fried dough" with spaghetti sauce that was delish.

Just might try this. Grew up in Mass. and always went to the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield. This (if it's the same thing) was a once a year treat!

Here in MT they call it Indian fry Bread and top it with Taco toppings for a Indian Taco.

In 1969 we were at a restaurant in Wall South Dakota and were served this wonderful fried bread. There was no sugar or any other topping on is just the fried bread. It was so good and I asked what it was called and they said it was called squaw bread because the indian women used to make it that way some times. It was just yeast bread dough that was flattened out and fried. I have tried it with the Rhodes frozen rolls thawed out and flattened some and it is really good.

My mother (who was Sicilian) made these when I was growing up. She just called them fried bread dough. As a kid, I just thought they were donuts as I had never had a bakery donut. I make these for my family and friends and everyone loves them. At the fairs they make them large and flat. I make them small and rounded, whatever way the dough comes when I pull some off. It actually changes the flavor when they're thicker. Much better actually.

I have made this many times. We made bread dough at my bakery and froze it individually in saran wrap and inside a freezer bag. Took them out as we used them. Sprayed non stick veggie spray on a wood board and rolled them out to a large circle. Put it in a fryer and let it brown on both sides, just like you would do with a doughnut. After we took it out of the fryer we drained the fat out of it and put it on a plate with soft butter that we also made and sugar and cinn. together or maple syrup if desired. I used Rhodes white bread at home now as it is quick, and tastes the same.

Also good with cinnamon butter

Our summer church picnic rolls our 30-cases of dough. We roll them flat and thin, then fry, they usually come out round and flat/bubbly and fill an entire paper plate, then sprinkle with either confectioner sugar or granulated sugar/cinnamon. Our church picinc sells out of them every year.

So very good! Reminds me of the candy apples I use to get at fairs as a kid back in the early 60's.

growing up as a youngster, my mom always referred to this as "rubber heels" but instead of granulated sugar, powdered sugar was used. My mom was born in Wisconsin and was of a German background.

I want to respond to this piece of tripe:"Ethel Mertz Mar 02, 2012 Even better with pure maple syrup. This has to be a northern recipe as most southerners do not know what fried bread dough is. There are some who call this elephant ears rather than fried bread dough." Down south they DO KNOW what fried dough is. There was an old recipe called "Leather Wooly" I have eaten it many times. It is quite simiular to Indian Fry Bread without the yeast they sometimes use. Also, my German maother in law made fried doigh balls and called it Berliner Pfannmkuchen [Berlin Pan Cakes], rolled inj swugar aqs sosme have indicated. Read more at

This is an easy version of the Italian "ZEPPOLE"......(Pronounced in our family: "ZAY-POLLA".)

You can also mix cinnamon with the sugar to dip in or sprinkle over. Also when made from scratch bread dough was made with raisen in it sometimes.

Old German thing. Called OVER THE KNEES..Made by stretching dough like a doughnut but leaving the center dough thin..No Hole. Then fry. Called over the knee ..joke was that old maids streched the dough over their skinny knees to make them.

Fried bread dough is AWESOM e Fried bread dough is AWESOME! My family has eaten it for years. It is great for breakfast with syrup or peanut butter or jelly.Great for a change with spaghetti or other italian dish. Without the sugar of course. We are northern but the kids married southerners. We all love it. I make my own maple syrup up here in New York and it can't be beaten on fried dough.

Even better with pure maple syrup. This has to be a northern recipe as most southerners do not know what fried bread dough is. There are some who call this elephant ears rather than fried bread dough.

Elephant ears I've heard of. Fried dough? Never! Though the elephant ears from my youth are large, flat pieces of fried dough covered w/ some sort of topping like apple or cherry pie filling.

We 'southerners" know what fried dough is.....anybody who has been to a State Fair in ANY state knows what fried dough is !!! One of my favorites !!!


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