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A stack of fried dough topped with cinnamon sugar

Homemade Elephant Ears

Bring the county fair home with these light and crispy Homemade Elephant Ears. They taste just like the fried dough you'd find at the fair! Top with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or Nutella for a sweet and easy treat.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword beaver tails recipe, elephant ear pastry, fried dough
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 219kcal
Author Lauren


  • 1/4 cup hot tap water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • .25 oz quick rise yeast 1 packet
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • any light colored oil for frying such as canola, vegetable or peanut oil 

sweet toppings:

  • sugar
  • cinnamon
  • lemon juice
  • nutella


  • In large bowl pour in hot water and 1 teaspoon of the measured sugar. Sprinkle yeast over top and stir. Set aside to proof, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in microwave safe bowl, heat milk, butter and remaining sugar to melt butter and dissolve sugar. Stir to cool--you want it to be a little warmer than room temperature, but not scalding to kill the yeast.
  • Pour butter liquid into yeast mixture and stir. Whisk in egg and salt. Stir in flour using 1/2 cup increments until it forms a dough. Knead dough 2-3 minutes until a slightly sticky dough has formed, adding more flour when necessary.
  • Place dough into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Store in a draft free, warm spot in your kitchen for an hour or so to let dough rise. Punch dough down and cut into 8 equal pieces.
  • Preheat oil in fryer or deep skillet to 350 degrees, or medium heat on the stove top. Roll dough out to be long ovals that are 1/4-1/8 inch thick...or should I say thin. And, they don't have to be perfect looking either. Mine weren't: Carefully place in hot oil and fry 20-30 seconds per side. (See recipe tips at bottom)
  • Once dough has finished cooking remove from oil and hold it over the pan to let the excess oil drip off of it. Then immediately coat in cinnamon sugar--a classic combination! You could also place on paper towels and then spread on Nutella as well. Another favorite way is coating it in sugar and then adding a little lemon juice. So tasty! Be sure to serve these warm and fresh!


Your oil should be hot enough to get a medium to lightly dark brown color on them within 30 seconds. The dough will puff up, so you may want to cut a slit in the middle to cook the dough evenly. You could also press the middle down into the oil using tongs.


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 341mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 173IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 2mg