A funnel cake is a deep-fried pastry made by pouring batter into hot oil in a circular pattern until crispy and golden brown, then dusted with confectioners’ sugar. They are popular at fairs, carnivals, and other outdoor events, but now you can make them at home to enjoy anytime! For another fried dough treat, try my Churros, too!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Dough: Funnel cake dough consists of flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is not always added to the dough, but I love the warm and spiced flavor it brings to complement the sweetness of the confectioners’ sugar.
Oil: A neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point, like canola oil or vegetable oil, is recommended for frying funnel cakes. These oils have a mild taste that won’t dominate the flavor of the funnel cake. In addition, their high smoke point allows them to be heated to the necessary temperature without burning, resulting in a crispy and golden brown texture. And, before throwing out the used oil, check out how to clarify used cooking oil.
Confectioners’ Sugar: Have plenty of confectioners’ sugar for dusting over the funnel cakes! I have more options for toppings when you scroll down to the recipe.
Why Are They Called Funnel Cakes?
The name funnel cake comes from the original method of pouring the dough into the hot oil through a funnel. However, I actually ended up pouring the batter into the hot oil with a liquid measuring cup. You could also pour in the batter using a plastic squeeze bottle or a plastic bag with a small hole cut in one corner.
If you don’t want an entire funnel cake, it’s easy to make the dough into funnel fries. First, add the batter to a piping bag or plastic bag. Next, cut the tip or corner off of the bag, using your finger to block the end of the bag. Working in batches of 5 or 6, pipe the batter into the hot oil into 3-inch lines. Fry for 30-60 seconds, or until golden brown. Using a spider or tongs, carefully remove the funnel fries and place them onto a wire rack lined with paper towels. Serve with your favorite toppings.
How to Store Funnel Cakes
Although best served hot and fresh, you can store funnel cakes for a couple of days. Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat them in an oven or air fryer to crisp them up again. Don’t forget about all the delicious toppings for serving.
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups (367.5 g) whole milk
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups canola oil, for frying
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, add milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. The batter is at the right consistency when it is similar to a pancake batter.
- To a shallow frying pan or a 9-inch skillet, add 1-2 inches of oil (about 2 cups). Heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 375°F.
- To a liquid measuring cup, add ½ cup of batter.
- Line a wire rack with a paper towel.
- When ready, drizzle the batter into the hot oil starting in the center, and continuing in a circular motion until you have about a 6-7-inch round funnel cake. Cook for 60-90 seconds, or until golden brown, flipping halfway to cook evenly on all sides.
- Using a spider or tongs, carefully remove the funnel cake from the hot oil and place it on the paper towel-lined wire rack. Repeat with the remaining batter, making sure the oil temperature is back at 375°F before making each funnel cake.
- Liberally dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm.
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