Rosemary Onion Donuts

Well friends, this is a very special day! It’s donut day! But not sugary sweet, cake-like donuts. Nope, these are savory, herby Rosemary Onion Donuts that you dip in a salty, chivey butter and then you close your eyes and are like, “Wow, where have savory donuts been all my life?” That’s right – this is the 21st century and donuts do not always have to be sweet! Besides, a Rosemary Onion Donut with Chive Butter is kind of an ideal appetizer. It’s like bread and butter, only a bazillion times better. And, hello – party food? 100 percent.

Truth be told, I did not come up with this idea on my own. Rosemary Onion Donuts were mentioned in what might be the best summer beach read ever – a book called 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand. The main character lives on Nantucket and I forget what else because she ate these Rosemary Onion Donuts pretty early on in the book and I could think of nothing else after that.

So, here is my version and they’re pretty darn great. I borrowed the basic donut ingredients and technique from Molly Yeh’s recipe for Raspberry Rose-Filled Donuts and then put an entirely oniony, herby twist on them. There’s a slight bit of sweetness, a ton of rosemary/onion/garlic flavor, and a pillowy texture that will make you want to fill your pockets with these dounts and go live happily ever after.

Rosemary Onion Donut goodness starts with a yeast dough

The dough starts with a warm, foamy yeast mixture, that you combine with flour, sugar, salt, freshly grated onion (super pungent – watch out!), chopped rosemary, and dried onion. When I say dried onion, I mean dried, minced flakes like these that we sell at the shop my mom and I own, although I think McCormick sells them too. They add a nice texture and little more oniony kick than just plain ol’ onion powder. But onion powder goes in here too, along with some garlic powder for good measure. Eggs and soft butter get mixed in (use a stand mixer with a dough hook) and then the whole thing rises for about 2 hours until the dough is big, fat, and puffy.

Let it rise, twice

Rosemary Onion Donut dough after its first rise (2 hours).

After the first rise, you can roll out your dough and cut out your donuts. So fun, guys! The dough is super sticky, so be ready with some extra flour on hand but I loved this part of the process. Maybe just because it’s one step closer to fluffy, fried goodness. Once you cut the donuts out (I use these cutters), let them rise one more time until they’re plump little O’s.

Rosemary Onion Donuts that have been cut out and risen for a second time (1 hour).

Fry time

Yup, now you can deep-fry those suckers at 350 degrees (use a thermometer if you can).

Yaaassss. All of this.

Meanwhile, you should be mixing together some soft butter, fresh chives, and salt so the wispy little chunks of Rosemary Onion Donuts you tear apart have something to glide through on their way to your mouth. Eating these tasty little puffs is really kind of a moment. The savory and slightly sweet onion mixes just perfectly with the woodsy rosemary. And, the fried exterior that you’ve hopefully dashed with a little salt is a lovely contrast to the fluffy, feathery center. Ok enough. I can’t discuss these anymore, they’re too good. I’m off to go eat another one. Or ten. Cheers to the savoriness!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the perfect summer beach read, the stand mixer I love, my deep fry thermometer, and the donut cutters that aid in my new savory donut obsession, from which I may earn income!


Rosemary Onion Donuts

Savory donuts! These oniony, herby donuts have a crispy fried exterior with a tender center and they taste amazing with a little chive butter. Perfect party food!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 4 hours (includes rising time)
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1215 donuts 1x
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: deep-frying
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1/2 C warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 1/4 C warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 small onion, grated on a box grater
  • 1 heaping TBS fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 2 TBS dried minced onion or onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 C plus 1 TBS sugar
  • 3 1/2 C flour, plus extra for dusting your surface
  • 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
  • oil for frying

for the chive butter

  • 1 TBS minced chives
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • salt to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the warm milk, warm water, yeast, and 1 TBS of sugar. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to foam. 
  2. Meanwhile, to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, grated onion, dried minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and 1/4 C sugar. Turn the mixer on and let it mix until all of this is combined.
  3. With the mixer running, add the eggs and the yeast mixture. Let it mix for a few minutes until everything is well combined. Then, with the mixer still running, add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Let the mixer continue running for 8 to 10 minutes, scraping down the dough hook occasionally. The dough will be very wet and that’s ok. 
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.
  5. After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface, and roll it out to a 1/2 inch thickness. Use a donut cutter or one big and one small round cookie cutter to cut out your donuts. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press the dough scraps together and repeat. Cover the cut-out donuts with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour, until they’ve doubled in size.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees so you have a place to keep your finished donuts warm until you’re ready to serve. Add 3 to 4 inches of oil to a large heavy pot and heat it to 350 degrees (use a deep-fry thermometer if you have one). Fry the donuts in batches for 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer them to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep them in your warm oven until ready to eat.
  7. Combine all ingredients for the Chive Butter and serve alongside your warm Rosemary Onion Donuts. Enjoy!


*Nutrition info is approximate

Keywords: rosemary onion donuts, savory donuts, homemade donuts, fried donuts

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