Homemade You Tiao (Chinese Donuts) are crispy on the surface, extra airy, fluffy, and tender inside. Learn how to make the classic Chinese breakfast staple with safe ingredients while achieving the best texture, just like the street vendors.
Prep Time: 30mins
Cook Time: 15mins
Resting time: 2hrs40mins
Total Time: 3hrs25mins
Keyword: street food
Author: Maggie Zhu
200g (1 and 1/2 cup)all-purpose flour
115g (1/2 cup)water, cool to room temperature
4g (1 teaspoon)baking powder
2g (1/2 teaspoon)baking soda
6g (1 and 1/4 teaspoon)salt
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Prepare the dough
Prepare a large bowl with a mesh strainer on top. Sift the flour into the bowl.
Combine the water, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Stir to mix well.
Add the water mixture, egg white and salt into the flour. Stir with a fork until a coarse dough forms.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
On a clean working surface, knead the dough the second time for another 2 minutes. Cover it with plastic again and let it rest for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge (*See Footnote 1).
Make donuts (see the blog post above for step pictures)
While heating the oil, prepare the donut dough: Divide the dough into two even pieces. Work on them one at a time.
On a lightly oiled surface, roll the dough into a long strip. You can use your hands to hold both ends of the dough and stretch it gently so it’s easier to form a long shape. Once the dough is 4” (10 cm) wide and 1/4” (0.5 cm) thick, cut off both ends so it forms a rectangle.
Cut across the rectangular sheet, making 1” (2.5 cm) width 4” (10 cm) rectangles.
Dip a skewer or the back of a knife into water. Press it into the center of half of the rectangles. Place the unpressed strips on top of the the pressed strips and press into the center again, so the two pieces of dough are attached to each other. (*Footnote 2)
Once the donuts are formed, let them rest for another 10 minutes.
Fry the donuts
Heat a tall medium-sized pot with 3” (7 cm) of oil over medium heat until it reaches 375 °F (190 °C).
Line a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
Work on the donuts one at a time. Use your fingers to pinch the two ends, and gently stretch it into a thin long strip that is about 8” (20 cm) long. Then gently lower it into the oil. You can cook 2 to 3 donuts at a time, depending on the size of your pot.
Cook each side for 2 minutes or so, until it turns golden color for a soft crispy texture, or a golden brown color for a crispier texture.
Use a pair of tongs to remove the donuts from the oil, gently shake off the excess oil, then transfer them onto the cooling rack.
Enjoy the donuts while they’re hot or warm.
To store the leftover donuts, wait until they cool down completely, then transfer them into a ziplock bag. Store them in the fridge for 2 to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
To reheat the donuts, preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Place the donuts on a baking tray and bake until heated through, 5 minutes for refrigerated or 8 minutes for frozen donuts.
We found that the flavor and the texture of the donuts will be slightly better if the dough rests in the fridge overnight. However, 2 hours’ resting works well enough.
The goal is to attach the two pieces of dough to fry them together. But the dough shouldn’t be pressed too much, because you also want to be able to easily separate them after frying.