Try homemade berry fritters the next time a doughnut craving hits! Based off of the popular apple fritters, this summery fried berry fritter combines a soft yeasted dough, blueberries, and a creamy strawberry glaze made from real strawberries.
While brainstorming new recipes to try last month, my brain kept going back to monkey bread. I don’t know how or why, but I have a feeling it was the cinnamon-sugar-butter-dough that kept my mind racing and stomach growling. I used it as inspiration for a totally new recipe– perhaps a doughnut that has the same pull-apart style as monkey bread?
Yes, that’s what I’ll do.
I had never made fritters until recently, but I consider myself a pro at traditional glazed doughnuts. Apple fritters are pretty popular in the fall season, so I decided to put a summery spin on things. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my homemade berry fritters.
What are Fritters?
Fritters are deep-fried pull-apart style cakes of dough. The shaping process seems like it would be complicated, but there’s really no precise technique required. I’ll get to that in a minute. Apple fritters are the most common variety, but there’s also blueberry fritters, banana fritters, and even shrimp and clam fritters! After frying, the sweet varieties are usually dusted with sugar or dunked into glaze.
The term “fritters” can also refer to little savory cakes such as corn fritters or zucchini fritters. Today we’re talking about doughnut-variety fritters, a warm breakfast indulgence popular at doughnut shops. They’re VERY good. (Obviously!)
Use My Favorite Yeasted Doughnut Dough
To start, let’s revisit my favorite doughnut dough. This is a rich, buttery dough that requires yeast for its rise. Don’t be nervous, this is actually a very straightforward dough recipe. Let’s walk through each ingredient:
- Yeast: Start with quality yeast. Like usual, I use Platinum Yeast from Red Star. Platinum yeast is an instant yeast that builds a stronger, taller, more voluminous dough. (Here are all the advantages of using Platinum Yeast!) If you don’t have Platinum Yeast, Red Star Active Dry or Quick Rise Yeast works too.
- Sugar: I increased the sugar from my glazed doughnuts recipe. I found that the fritter-style doughnut required a little more sugar in the dough.
- Whole Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. Nondairy or low fat milks work too, but whole milk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
- Melted Butter: I swear by using melted butter in doughnut dough! You could use softened butter, but melted butter really infuses the dough with its flavor.
- Eggs: 2 eggs make this a very rich, brioche-style doughnut fritter.
- Flour: Flour is the entire structure of the berry fritters. You can use bread flour or all-purpose flour, but I find all-purpose flour yields a softer fritter interior. When it comes to flour, less is more. The dough is a little sticky and you’ll be tempted to add more flour as you mix it together, but resist that temptation! You want a soft, pillowy dough which produces a soft, pillowy fritter interior.
- Salt, Vanilla Extract, & Nutmeg: Each add wonderful flavor. Nutmeg may seem a little out of place here, but I promise it’s not. Nutmeg is a VERY common ingredient in most doughnut recipes. I guarantee your favorite doughnut shop uses it because the spice adds that familiar cozy comforting bakery taste. I promise!
Baking with Yeast Guide
Whether you’re a beginner baker or pro, it’s important to understand how yeast works. I urge you to read through my Baking with Yeast Guide where I answer many common yeast questions. I wrote this in partnership with Red Star Yeast, so you can be confident the information is very helpful. 🙂
How to Make Berry Fritters
- Make the Dough: The dough comes together with a mixer. You can also make the dough by hand, but it requires a bit of arm muscle. After the dough comes together in the mixing bowl, it’s time to knead. You can simply continue beating the dough with the mixer for this step or you can knead the dough by hand.
- Knead the dough for 2 minutes.
- Let the Dough Rise: The dough rises in about 1-2 hours in a relatively warm environment.
- Roll out the Dough: Roll the dough out into an oval shape, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Fold the Dough: Fold the dough over the blueberries and seal the edges, as if you were making a calzone or hot pocket of sorts.
- Shape the Dough: Mold the dough into a log, making sure the edges are totally sealed. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into about 12 even strips, then cut 4-5 perpendicular strips to make a cross pattern of sorts. This is NOT an exact process, so don’t stress. You really just need a bunch of small pieces of blueberry-filled dough!
- Cut the Shaped Dough into Fritters: Divide the cut-up dough into 12 even pieces. Mold each into a round shape.
- Let the Shaped Fritters Rest: Place the shaped fritters on a lined baking sheet, then cover and allow to rest as you heat the oil.
- Heat the Oil: Heat oil to to 350°F (177°C).
- Fry the Fritters: Fry berry fritters for 1-2 minutes on each side.
And now some pictures! Shape the dough into a large oval and top half with blueberries. Go light on the blueberries. If you use too many, they’ll just fall out of the frying fritters and burn. You can also use blackberries or chopped strawberries. I recommend fresh blueberries because they aren’t as juicy. Frozen berries or juicier berries make this dough a mess!
Fold it over like a calzone:
Make a bunch of cuts vertically and horizontally:
Divide into 12 pieces, round them out, then cover and let them rest:
Let’s Fry Them!
Have you ever fried anything before? You need a large heavy-bottomed pot. This oil gets VERY hot, so a heavy-bottomed, quality pot is the safest choice. I usually use my 5.5 quart dutch oven. Pour a quart or 2 of oil into your pot. You want at least 2-3 inches of oil– don’t let it come more than halfway up the pot. Use a candy/oil thermometer to heat the oil to 350°F (177°C).
Cook a couple berry fritters at a time, only about 1-2 minutes on each side. Some of the blueberries may come loose and float around in the oil. That’s par for the course! Just discard them since they’ll taste burnt. After frying the berry fritters, use a slotted metal spoon or metal spatula to place the fritters on a wire rack. Let some of the oil drip off, then once they’re cool enough to handle, dunk each fritter into strawberry glaze.
Strawberry Glaze, Obviously
If there’s an opportunity for pink strawberry glaze, let’s take it.
As the berry fritters are cooling, process a few fresh strawberries into a purée. Once liquified, pour over confectioners’ sugar, then add milk or heavy cream and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth, then let each fritter take a nice dip!
Most of the berry flavor comes from this glaze, so I don’t recommend skipping it or switching flavors. Instead of strawberries, you can use blackberries or raspberries. Blueberries aren’t quite as juicy, so I don’t recommend using them for the glaze topping.
Like big giant berry pillows! Would love to know if you try these.
This sweet summery fried fritter combines a soft yeasted dough, blueberries, and a creamy strawberry glaze made from real strawberries.
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F*
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast*
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 6 Tablespoons (86g) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 cups (490g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed
- 1 and 1/2 cups (250g) fresh berries such as blueberries, chopped strawberries, or blackberries*
- 1 – 2 quarts oil*
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup chopped strawberries (about 5 large strawberries)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining 7 Tablespoons of sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If needed, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Don’t add too much flour, though. You want a slightly sticky dough. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.
- Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
- Shape the dough: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and with lightly floured hands, flatten the dough into a long oval about 1/2 inch thick. You can use a rolling pin if needed, but your hands should be able to stretch it out just fine. Spread blueberries onto half of the dough, as pictured above. Fold the dough over the blueberries, then seal the edges. Using your hands, work the dough into an even log. making sure the edges are totally sealed. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into about 12 even strips, then cut 4-5 perpendicular strips to make a cross pattern of sorts. This is NOT an exact process, so don’t stress. You really just need a bunch of small pieces of blueberry-filled dough! Divide the cut-up dough into 12 even pieces. Mold each into a round shape and try to “enclose” the blueberries inside the dough as much as you can. (They’ll fall out of the fritters otherwise.) Place the shaped fritters on a lined baking sheet, then cover and allow to rest as you heat the oil. They will rise a bit as they rest.
- Place a cooling rack on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
- Pour oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat. Using a candy/oil thermometer, heat the oil to 350°F (177°C). This will take several minutes. Add 2 fritters at a time and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Wear kitchen gloves if oil is splashing. Carefully remove with a metal spatula or metal slotted spoon. Place fritters onto prepared rack. Repeat with remaining fritters, then turn off the heat.* Some blueberries may come loose in the oil. Discard those since they’ll taste burnt.
- Let the fritters cool for a few minutes as you prepare the glaze.
- Strawberry Glaze: Place confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside. Purée the strawberries in a food processor. Scrape down the sides if needed. If they aren’t pureeing into a liquid, add 1 Tablespoon of the heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk you are using in the glaze. Once liquified, pour over confectioners’ sugar, then add the cream/milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. If needed, add more cream/milk to thin out or more confectioners’ sugar to thicken.
- Dunk each fritter into glaze. Place back onto prepared rack for excess glaze to drip down. The glaze will eventually set on the fritters after about 20-30 minutes.
- Fritters are best enjoyed the same day. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.
- Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 5. Freeze shaped fritters for up to 3 months. On the day you serve them, let the fritters thaw and rest for about 4-5 hours. Fry as directed. You can also freeze the fried fritters (unglazed). Allow them to cool completely, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired and top with glaze.
- Overnight Instructions: Complete dough through step 3. Instead of allowing to rise in a warm environment in step 4, place the covered dough into the refrigerator overnight (8-12 hours). The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise in a warm environment until doubled. The dough will lightly rise in the refrigerator overnight, so the rise the next morning won’t be too long. After rising, continue with step 5.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Dutch Oven (5.5 quarts) or Dutch Oven (6 quarts), Candy Thermometer, Bench Scraper, Baking Sheet
- Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use Red Star Yeast active dry yeast instead. Rise times will be slightly longer using active dry yeast.
- Berries: Go light on the blueberries in the dough– 1 and 1/2 cups is plenty. If you use too many, they’ll just fall out of the frying fritters and burn. You can also use blackberries or chopped strawberries. I recommend fresh blueberries because they aren’t as juicy. Frozen berries or juicier berries make this dough a mess! Instead of strawberries for the glaze, you can use fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries or blackberries. Blueberries aren’t ideal for the glaze because they don’t purée as well.
- Oil: The amount of oil really depends on how wide or tall your pot is. You want oil to fill about 1/3 of the pot. I use a little more than 1 quart for my 5.5 quart Dutch oven.
- Halve: You can easily halve this recipe for 6 large fritters. I don’t recommend doubling the recipe. Instead, make two separate batches of dough.
- Leftover Oil: Do not pour used oil down the sink drain. Allow to cool, then pour into an empty container and discard in the trash.
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