Sweet Potato Rice Donuts

Sweet Potato Rice Donuts

I received a package from my mother-in-law the other day.  In the package there were several vintage brocade tablecloths, napkins, some other linens, and a few crocheted doilies.  They used to belong to my dear grandmother-in-law, Phyllis.

Phylis died over 10 years ago and I miss her dearly.  She was a genuinely kind, loving and funny woman.  She was a type of person who can make friends with anybody regardless who they are and what they stand for.  Born as the oldest daughter she helped her parents raise 8 little brothers together.  She was a tough lady with tender heart.

I still remember her heart-warming welcome when I was introduced to her by my husband as we were dating.  She cherished the pair of hand-made Korean slippers that I gave her and I saw her wearing them every time I visited.

Phyllis loved her life and lived in full until she died of brain tumor.

I must be getting old.  I used to prefer everything new and trendy.  But as I get older, I get emotionally attached to things that is old and has stories in them.  Some of her linens has faded spots and some parts torn.  But I love it.  By knowing her I know she has used those linens to entertain her family and friends numerous times.


Sweet Potato Rice Donuts

I made donuts, which I don’t make that often. I mixed sweet potatoes with rice flour, rolled into balls, then deep fried in oil, and coated with cinnamon sugar.  The very chewy, almost doughy, textures is something that you don’t find in donuts made with wheat flour.

These sweet potato rice donuts became a wonderful afternoon treat with a cup of Korean citron “tea” I had.  And they looked absolutely gorgeous with a blue and white plate over my grandmother-in-law’s doily.

A quiet afternoon, with the entire house myself, a peace came to my mind as I was thinking of ‘family’ in an eternal perspective.  And you know what?  Happiness sometimes comes to you in a very simple and humble way.  And that happiness can be doubled when a sweet treat is waiting for you at home.

My son raised his thumb up as soon as he bit into one when he came home from school.  I guess that means – it is good, isn’t it?


Let’s make our donuts. Get sweet potatoes and rice flour (glutenous rice flour). You will also need a little bit of all purpose flour, too. It brings better texture.

If you need a gluten free donuts, you can omit the wheat flour.


Cook sweet potatoes in any method; boiling, steaming, microwaving, baking or simply twitching your nose if you are a wizard


Peel the potatoes and mash them without mercy.


In a large bowl combine rice flour, 1/3 cup of wheat four, sugar, baking powder and salt.


Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the rice flour, and start rubbing them together with your hand.


You will soon see them forming fine crumbs.


Add the scalding hot milk, about 3/4 cup first. The amount of milk varies depends on the moisture level of your sweet potatoes.


Mix with a spoon. Add more milk, if needed, and start kneading by hand.


Knead the dough until it forms a bread dough-like consistency, about 1 minutes. Rice doesn’t have any gluten so you don’t need to knead them long.


Roll them into 1″- 1 1/4″ size balls.


Heat oil but not overly hot. You want to fry these balls a little lower temperature than usual deep frying recipes. If the oil is too hot, it will burn the outside while the inside is still raw.


You need to roll them around in oil with a metal utensil so they can be browned evenly.


One trick I use when I am deep frying is that I tilt over my pan (I use a stir-fry pan) to collect the oil to one side. This created deeper space for oil, which means less oil is needed to cover the pan.


Keep rolling in oil, about 5 minutes, until they form a brown crust outside.


Done! Perfectly fried rice donuts. Take them out and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to wipe out the oil residue on the surface.

BTW, do you know that rice doesn’t absorb as much oil as wheat do when deep frying? I should have taken the picture of the before and after status of oil level in the pan to show. Unlike wheat flour donuts, rice donuts will have far less oil consumption. How divine?


When the donuts are still hot, roll them in cinnamon sugar until coated evenly all over.

They are good hot, but I prefer to eat them at room temperature. The chewiness will develop better as it cools down.


Sweet Potato Rice Donuts

Chewy, gooey, and sticky, with a crunch bite of granulated sugar…

Phyllis would have love them.  She would be so impressed with me making these Korean style donuts, and… she and I would have chat for hours about pretty much anything while enjoying these goodies. I really miss her.

Well, it is getting late here. I better go to bed.

Hope you had a restful weekend.  Can’t wait for Monday morning…


Sweet Potato Rice Donuts

Sweet Potato Rice Donuts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: about 3 dozens

Sweet Potato Rice Donuts


  • 3/4 lb sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 2 cups glutenous rice flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour (can omit for gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1 1/3 cup hot milk
  • Oil for frying
  • For the cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mash sweet potato and add to the flour mixture and rub together until the flours become fine crumbs.
  3. Slowly add hot milk (1/4 cup of milk each time) to the mixture and mix together with a spoon first, then using hand bring the dough together to form a ball shape. The amount of milk depends on the moisture level of your potatoes. It should resemble the bread dough consistency.
  4. Make them into 1" balls with the dough. Set aside and cover with a towel.
  5. Heat oil in a wok or fryer over medium low temperature. Drop a few dough balls and start rolling with a metal utensil to brown them evenly, about 5 minutes. Make sure your oil is not too hot. About 145ºC is ideal temperature.
  6. Transfer the donuts to a plate lined with paper towel to remove extra oil on the surface. Roll them in cinnamon sugar to coat evenly all over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  1. 1

    Tiffany Kim says

    Hi Holly! Thanks for another awesome recipe. You are my most trusted source of Korean cooking knowledge! :) Can I ask if there’s a Korean name for these donuts? (My husband always asks!) Oh, and can I suggest a non-Korean dish that I’d love you to make for the blog? Ma Po Tofu. I’ve tried making it twice now and it’s not quite right. Do you know how to make it? :)

    • 2

      Holly says

      Hi Tiffany
      The Korean name for these donuts are called “goguma chapssal donuts (고구마 찹쌀 도너츠)”. I love Ma Po tofu and make it at home sometimes. It is on the list of recipe I need to make soon. Thanks.

  2. 3


    Such a nice tribute to your grandmother! Very well written. Old stuff can be good. My parents are elderly and are beginning to downsize, so I just inherited some gorgeous crystal glasses that were once my great-grandmother’s – so nice to have them. It’d also be nice to drink something from it as I ate these donuts! Really excellent recipe, and I agree they look gorgeous on the blue plate with the doily. Thumbs up!

  3. 4

    leah says

    i LOVE goguma. o man…we are home in california in 2 weeks and i am going to eat korean food for one month straight. I NEED kimchi like NOW!! and these delicious little treats too…and you know what one of my favorite treats is?!?!? Soon-deh. my mom laughs that this is something i love….

    • 5

      Holly says

      Oh, Leah, Out of all the Korean food that I eat, I am so sorry to say this but, Soondeh is NOT my love. I just never liked it. Many Koreans love it though. I do get picky for what I eat sometimes…

  4. 9


    These are super cute looking donuts. Can’t believe they are made out of sweet potatoes. I’d love to make them if it’s not very labor-intensive.

    • 10

      Holly says

      They are not that labor intensive recipe. You can easily make them with only a few ingredients. Hope you get to give them a try. Thanks.

  5. 13


    Lovely recipe — and lovely doily! I think you’ve done Phyllis proud. I’m still a little scared of deep frying, but I appreciate your tip about tilting the pan to create a deeper well of oil.

  6. 15


    i just love your site so much. everything i’ve made from here has been exceptional and your photos and words are inspiring. this is such a touching post, and even though i’m not wild about donuts i just might have to make these to eat with some tea on a thoughtful afternoon.

  7. 17


    I love all things sweet potato, i use it in my soups, roast, dessert, and now i must try making this. Perfect for a snack. You are right, it would go down so well with a warm cup of citroen tea. This reminds me of those banana puffs being sold at the malay staffs, but heaps better!

  8. 19


    These donuts are so cute, and if they really are chewy, they’d be just the snack for me.

    Can I please make one suggestion, though, Holly? Would you be able to put the korean name of your dishes, in addition to the english names, on the original post, rather than in the comments? I like knowing the proper native names of dishes, more than their anglicized counterparts. Not sure if anyone else feels the same.

    • 20

      Holly says

      I always try to put the Korean name of the dish in the post but I guess I miss out sometimes. Thanks for the reminder. It is important to know the original name of the dish. I will keep in mind.

  9. 22


    Just made these this weekend. They were so easy and delicious-not too sweet. I love that they take on the color of the potato. I made lots of people happy on Sunday. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. 24

    cristinaronalda says

    hello !!! i live in Africa i don’t know if this reason explains the following THERE IS NO RICE FLOUR HERE ahhh i feel bad for my stomach because it seems all the yummy foods are made of rice flour ! i would like to know if there are some desserts that could possibly be made of plain flour THANK YOU ^^

    • 25

      Holly says

      Hello cristinaronalda! Rice flour will bring different texture to the desserts. There are plenty of desserts made with plain flour. Just look under my recipes on the Navi bar and you will find “Baking” tab. There should be some recipes you are looking for.

  11. 26

    Shelle says

    So I adore your blog. I am always looking for new cuisines to develop my cooking skills in, and as I’ve started working on my Korean dishes, your blog has been a treasure. I don’t often have time to read blogs, but when I do I be sure to catch on every delicious post and beautiful story you share. I want to thank you for writing!

    These look positively scrumptious. I have one quick question – do you know if this recipe would work if soymilk were substituted for real milk?

    • 27

      Holly says

      Hi Shelle, You can use soy milk instead of cow’s milk. Thank for your comments. I do appreciate all my readers for their encouraging words for what I am doing. Hope you get to find many more Korean recipes for you to try.

      • 28

        Shelle says

        Thank you! That means it can be made vegan – which is lovely; I have a vegan friend who’d love to make these with me!

        There’s a 焼き芋 (baked sweet potato) stand near my work, and I’ve been tempted to just buy baked sweet potato there and take ’em home to mash up into something (because I cannot eat a whole bag in one sitting)- I may turn them into your donuts!

  12. 29


    hello, I’m Indonesian. i found your blog accidently when i look for korean cuisines’s recipe. i really like your blog. thanks to you i learn so much. thank you. 😀
    oh yea, i made this sweet potato donuts. and i make my own creation with fill the donuts with red beans paste, and it delicious! i gave some of donuts to my housemate and an aunty in front of my dormitory, and she said it’s delicious. i really happy to hear that.
    well, actually i have a photo of it, but i don’t know how to upload it for you.

    • 30

      Holly says

      How wonderful Riska! These donuts with red bean filling is wonderful combination. I am sure it made you feel very happy when everyone enjoyed what you created. That is a pure joy!

  13. 31

    cheryl s. says

    I am making this recipe tomorrow morning, Dec 14. The recipe, as it’s written, calls for 3/4 pound of sweet potatoes however, 3/4 pound sounds like sweet potato in its raw, uncooked state.
    The recipe is unclear.
    Is sounds like 3/4 pound of sweet potato, uncooked. How much of the “cooked”, mashed sweet potato do you need for this particular recipe? 2 cups, 3 cups????

    • 32

      Holly says

      Hi Cheryl
      The 3/4 lb of sweet potato in this recipe is starting with raw sweet potato, then cooked and mashed. It will be about 1 1/2 cup or so (more or less) when mashed. The amount doesn’t have to be exact. When you pour the milk to mix the dough, pour little by little to pull the dough together to make bread dough consistency. Depends on the moisture level of sweet potato you use, the amount of milk will differ. Hope this helps.

  14. 33

    Beccatokki says

    Ahhh, I’m so glad you threw the note in about being able to leave out the wheat flour for gluten free donuts! I must try making these! I love sweet potatoes, and I haven’t eaten anything vaguely donut like for the past five years because I need to eat gluten free. If it goes well, I know what I’ll be making next year for the fried donut things at Hanukkah! Thank you for the recipe and the lovely story about your grandmother in law, she sounds like she was lovely. :)

  15. 34

    martina says

    Hello, Holly!

    You have an awesome website, and thank you for sharing these recipes with us!

    I’m anxious to try this one as it is, but I also am not very fond of sweet potatoes, and my grandmother reminded me that I have some canned pumpkin, so would this be an okay substitute? Would I need to warm up the potato? I look forward to the recipe either way, and thanks for everything!

    Take care~.

    • 35

      Holly says

      Hi Martina
      Yes, you can use canned pumpkin instead. Adjust the amount of milk as you mix together to get the right consistency of the dough. You will provably need less milk since pumpkin is looser than sweet potato. The dough should not be so sticky. However Rice flour dough is very forgiving to work with and it is very easy and quick to form balls.
      There is no need to warm up the potatoes as long as you can mash them down.
      I would love to hear how they turn out. Thanks!

  16. 36

    curla says

    hi holly, i just want to ask how to make homemade glutinous rice flour and its procedures.i really want to try this recipe of yours but there is no glutinous rice flour in our market.pls help..

    • 37

      Holly says

      Well, in order to turn rice into flour, you will need a grain mill to grind rice into fine powder-like rice flour. I never made myself so I don’t know how to to help you. I would suggest to search online Asian grocery stores to find it. Glutenous rice flour is very common grocery item for Asian food, so I bet you will find it easily. Sorry that I couldn’t help you much with this :(

      • 38

        curla says

        ok..just one question, was your glutinous rice flour wet or dry? for this recipe. and how do you store your rice flour? i wanted to make my own since there’s no asian grocery stores here in our area.

        • 39

          Holly says

          It is dry long grain glutenous rice flour. You can use mochiko flour which is from short grain rice but will need more liquid to moisten. I just store my flour in an air tight container inside the cupboard. You can store in the fridge if you live in hot and humid area.

  17. 40

    Caroline Arcand says

    What a lovely posting. Your reminiscing about Phyllis made me think of both of my Grandmothers … one a feisty Scots-woman, the other a warm, loving Irish-woman – both a big part of my heart and life growing up.
    I look forward to trying these donuts (I’m GF) … and am looking for a recipe on Korean GF rice buns. I don’t suppose you have heard of them? I buy them often at T&T – the large Asian market in our city. They are unbelievably delic with butter!

  18. 41

    KALISEA says

    hi im 12 years old and im making these for my social studies class on Friday may 17 2013 we are in the unit of japan and Korea and u have to make a japan or Korean dish i am planning to make this but said they taste better warm but mine cant be warm because i have school now that i have that out the way i have 6 questions
    1. how do these donuts taste cold
    2. do u think my class will like them btw they are 12 and 13
    3. where do find rice flour
    4.do you have any suggestions to make this recipe better
    5. what is the serving size and how many calories are in there
    6.is there any mistakes that u made that u can tell me what not to do
    thank you for this recipe i would like u to reply ASAP because its coming up soon

    • 42

      Holly says

      Hi Kalisea

      Wow, I am so impressed that you are going to try these donuts. My daughter is 12 years old as well and I need to tell her that she needs to up-notch her cooking skill (She can barely make grilled cheese sandwich!) :)
      Anyway here are my answers to your questions.
      1. These donuts actually taste better in the room temperature. Therefore you can make ahead and take them to school. (DO NOT keep them in the fridge though, otherwise they will get hard) They can go stale next day so I suggest eat them same day you make.
      2. They are rice donuts which has very different texture (very chewy and sticky yet soft) than donuts made with the usual wheat flour. So some kids who are not used to the chewy-sticky texture might not like them.
      3. Any Asian grocery store should carry them. Look for glutenous rice flour or Mochiko flour. If using Mochiko flour, add a little more milk.
      4. These can be gluten free donuts if you omit the little amount of wheat flour in the recipe. Just take out the wheat flour and replace with the same amount of rice flour.
      5. The recipe will yield about 3 dozen donut balls. I think one person can easily eat 2-3 balls. So I would say 10-15 servings?
      6. I didn’t make any mistake but I need to warn you to be VERY CAREFUL when you make these. They need to be deep-fried. Make sure a grown-up is supervising there for you or doing the deep-frying job for you. Please, be very careful, Okay?
      Have fun making these donuts. Hope you and your classmates like them. keep me the update posted. I would love to hear how they turn out!

  19. 43

    KALISEA says

    o yea can u answer all my questions from my previous comment if u don’t
    no it is fine have a blessed day

  20. 44

    KALISEA says

    hey holly it me and my mom are making the recipe but it is becoming to soupy because of the milk what should I do please help reply back asap

    • 45

      Holly says

      Did you use glutenous rice flour? I wonder you used regular rice flour. They are different. Regular rice flour won’t give the right texture.
      I wonder why it turns our so soupy. Was your sweet potatoes have lots of moisture in them?
      I would say if your dough seems very soupy, add more rice flour and the sweet potato (if you have more). A little sticky dough are fine to make these donuts, but no so soupy. Let me know if you need more help.

  21. 46

    Karina vizcarra says

    Can i use sweet rice flour i don’t know if it’s the same but it’s the only thing i could find

  22. 48

    LT says

    You mentioned about being gluten free to omit 1/3 cup of wheat flour. Should I add 1/3 cup of glutinous rice flour to replace the wheat flour?

  23. 53

    Wan says


    I wanted to make a simply yet healty-ish treat for a friend I haven’t seen for a while. If i make the donuts tonight, do you still think it will still taste the same if I bring it to my friend tomorrow? Or if I pre-made the dough, refrigerated, and then fry it in the morning, is the frying process still the same?

    • 54

      Holly says

      It is better to make the donut on the same day you want to serve. Otherwise they get hardened if left too long.

    • 57

      Holly says

      It is hard to say. I haven’t tried with baking yet, so I can’t tell you. However You will need to coat with a little oil to get the crisp texture on the outside. Give it a try. It might work.

    • 59


      I am not sure if baking these donuts will work. They will puff but with very dry surface. You can try a few first to see how they turn out.

  24. 60

    bmint says

    I love the sweet and creamy taste of Korean sweet potatoes. My kids and I had fun making them together today. They were delicious – crispy on the outside yet soft and chewy inside. Even my husband, who is generally not a big fan of sweet potatoes, couldn’t resist. Do you think it would be possible to make these with a filling similar to Ho-ddoek? I think you’re a culinary goddess! Thank you.

    • 61


      Hi bmint
      yes, you can add the hotteok fillings inside and eat the donuts while they are hot to enjoy the hot syrup inside.
      Usually Koreans like to add sweetend red bean paste or white bean paste filling inside.
      Thanks for your compliment. Do you see my cheeks are turning red out of shyness? Haha!

  25. 62

    세라 says

    Thank you for this awesome easy-to-follow recipe and beautiful pictures! I don’t think I could have made these without the pics because my potatoes were so watery. I just eye-balled everything so it looked like your step-by-step photos and my family devoured the finished product. I’ve eye-balled this recipe a few times now and it works every time. Such a great treat that my body loves.

    If anyone is attempting a “clean” diet I can recommend the following substitutions. Because my sweet potatoes had so much moisture I tried substituting potato starch for the flour (and because I wanted a GF product) and it worked out! My KorAm family is a big fan of dduk so we LOVED the end texture. I also added maple syrup to the sweet potatoes instead of sugar to the flour mixture and put some extra syrup on the side for dipping. I fried them in organic extra virgin coconut oil using your pan tip and you’re right, this recipe uses very little oil! I’ve also used either unsweetened almond milk or whole milk and they both work great.

    Thanks again!! >.<

  26. 63

    Michelle says

    Thanks for the amazing recipe I used Okinawa purple sweet potato and rolled it in just sugar and it was awesome :)

  27. 64

    Betty says

    Thanks for the recipe! Mum was mind blown that a sweet potato donut exists ahha. To begin, I was skeptical as to it’s minimal oil retaining properties but found that only the outer edge, which constitutes less than 1mm forms a crisp crust that when you drain each donut, literally no oil comes out!! In Australia the grocers sell the orange kumera sweet potato- these hold a lot more moisture- I added virtually no milk, though I would have liked for them to be sweeter.

  28. 65

    Eunice says

    Wow! I’m so glad I found your website. I made these donuts along with the hotteok and they both came out delicious and the best part is that they’re vegan!


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