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Santa and Elves Donuts

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 3 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 3 minutes


  • For the donuts:
  • 1 bottle Vegetable oil (48 ounces)
  • 2 pkgs Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle Biscuits (8 biscuit count)
  • For the filling:
  • ½ C Unsalted butter
  • 2 C Powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp Heavy whipping cream
  • For the glaze and decorations
  • 2 C Powdered sugar
  • 23 tbsp Heavy cream (or milk)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 can Pillsbury vanilla frosting
  • Red, Green, Yellow food coloring


  1. For the donuts:
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, pour about 3 inches of oil. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 360°F. Caution! Oil will be extremely hot! Reduce heat as necessary to prevent oil from over heating. Check oil periodically when frying donuts to maintain temperature.
  3. Fry donuts two at a time for about 30 seconds per side. Flip again and fry an additional 15 seconds per side until lightly golden brown. Use metal tongs to remove from donuts from oil, tapping gently on the side of the saucepan to remove excess oil. Place on a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool completely.
  4. Use the round end of a wooden spoon and insert into the middle of the donut. Gently move the spoon back and forth to create a crevasse for the filling in the middle of the donut.
  5. For the buttercream filling:
  6. Soften butter in a microwave for 15 second. Using your whisk attachment, beat butter on medium-high until extra light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  7. Slowly add powdered sugar, alternating with heavy cream to prevent frosting from becoming dry and crumbly. Add cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Once all ingredients have started to blend together, increase the speed to medium-high. Beat at medium-high for 3-4 minutes to whip extra air into the filling. Fill piping bag with buttercream.
  8. The donuts must be filled with buttercream before decorating. To fill the donuts, stick the round end of a wooden spoon in the middle and move around to create a crevice. Use a piping bag to fill the donuts. I prefer to use a piping tip, something like TIP 18, or a round TIP.
  9. For the glaze:
  10. If you can, sift powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time, and vanilla extract until glaze is thick but still runs off your spoon. You may need to add additional milk. Divide glaze into two bowls. Dye one red and one green. Fill a small piping bag with a coupler and tip #3. Set aside.
  11. To decorate:
  12. For the elf donuts:
  13. To glaze the donut, use a piping bag with a coupler and a #3 size tip. Start by outlining the edge with green. Then go along the inside edge a couple times and fill the middle like you would flood a cookie with royal icing. Spreading it gently with a knife if needed. A toothpick also works to fill in any gaps. Just wiggle the toothpick around to move the frosting. Allow the glaze to harden over the top.
  14. To decorate, first pipe the belt with red glaze using a piping bag with a #3 tip. I pipe the outline and then filled the middle. Make the vertical green lines about ½” apart. Once those have dried, add the yellow belt buckle on top. Gently place black sugar pearls above the top of the belt buckle. For the white boarder, pipe with Pillsbury vanilla frosting using a piping bag with a #18 tip.
  15. For the Santa donuts:
  16. Pipe the top third of the donut with red glaze. You should make a half-moon shape. Allow the glaze to harden over the top. Use a flat edge of a knife to spread the white frosting on the bottom of the donut for the face. It’s okay if there is a small gap in between the white and the red because you are going to cover it with white frosting using your #47 piping tip (basket weave tip) with the flat edge side up. If you don’t have this tip, you can also use a #18 star tip and drag it from edge to edge.
  17. For the beard, pipe the white frosting with a #18 piping tip. Pull the piping tip straight up and pipe close together, make 2 or three rows. Add a pom pom to the beanie with your #18 tip, moving it in a small circle and pull straight up. Lastly, add the black sugar pearls for the eyes. I had large cinnamon sprinkles, but if you don’t have those, pipe the nose using the red glaze.
  18. Allow donuts to set before serving! These are best served the same day.