This funnel cake recipe is just as fun to make as they are to eat. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.
Funnel cakes have always been my favorite part of the fair season for as long as I can remember. But, honestly, they used to not even cross my mind until I saw the carnivals in town.
That is until I sorted out this easy recipe. Now, we can make our own on a whim with all the same ingredients you’d need for pancakes!
Now, don’t let the name deceive you. Funnel cake is not actually a cake. Similar to fried dough, they are crispy and golden treats that are covered in powdered sugar.
When I first discovered how easy it is to make these at home, I was a little worried that we’d overdo it. But after a protein-packed dinner of baked chicken breast or steak, it feels good to cut loose and indulge a bit.
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The best funnel cake recipe
My family loves it when I decide to make funnel cakes. All that’s missing are the carnival games, but my kitchen is a constant circus so that ticks the box!
- 5 ingredients only. For a dessert recipe, the ingredient list is anything but complicated. In fact, you probably have everything you need in your kitchen already.
- It’s customizable. You can add whatever toppings you want or keep it simple with just a little powdered sugar.
- You’re in control. Since you’re the one making them, you get the final say in what oil or flour to use and how much sugar to add. That means you can make them as healthy or as decadent as you want.
As I said above, the ingredients for this recipe are wonderfully simple. They’re much the same ingredients you’d use for any sort of baking.
- Flour. Self-rising flour is best because it’ll make for that classic fluffy texture as your frying. Skip the expensive pre-made flour and make your own!
Wanting to make gluten free funnel cakes? Simply swap out the self rising flour for gluten-free self rising flour. I’ve tried plenty of gluten free flour blends and can vouch for Dove Farms when using it for baking.
- Sugar. Adds essential sweetness. White sugar is best, but brown sugar will work as well.
- Milk. I used unsweetened almond milk, but any dairy or nondairy milk will work.
- Eggs. Lightly whisked.
- Powdered sugar. Also known as confectioner’s sugar, it’s for topping your finished crispy dessert. Feel free to add as much or as little as you want.
How to make funnel cakes
For how festive these cakes are, you’ll be shocked by how easy they are to make. So long as you keep an eye on the cakes as they’re frying, this is a fun recipe to make with the little ones.
Step 1- Combine ingredients
Grab a large bowl and combine the flour, sugar, milk, and eggs. Whisk this together until you have a smooth batter.
Step 2- Make the funnel cakes
Add 2 inches of oil to a non-stick pan or deep pot. While the oil is heating, transfer the batter into a Ziplock bag and snip one corner off the bag.
Once the oil is hot, drizzle the batter into a classic swirly shape. Depending on the width of your pot you may be able to make two or three cakes at once.
Step 3- Fry the funnel cakes
Cook the cakes for 1-2 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy on all sides. Then, place them on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil before sprinkling them with powdered sugar.
- Keep an eye on the oil. If the oil gets too hot, then the funnel cakes will fall apart when you shape them. Ideally, the oil should stay around 190°C.
- Don’t use batter that’s too thick. Your batter should pour easily, about the consistency of pancake batter. If your batter seems too thick, gradually add a bit more milk to thin it.
- Flip the cakes after 2-3 minutes. Once the sides of the funnel cake look golden brown, carefully flip them with a spatula or pair of tongs. They should only need to cook for an additional minute or two on the other side.
- Allow the cakes to cool before adding powdered sugar. Otherwise, the powdered sugar will get soaked up by the oil on the cakes. Let them rest for several minutes first.
The best part about these funnel cakes, in my opinion, is all the toppings you can serve with them. Here are some of my favorites:
To store: Allow any leftovers to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. On the counter, they should last about two days, while in the fridge, they should last up to 4-5 days.
To freeze: Store leftovers in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 6 months.
To reheat: Transfer the funnel cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 177°C for 10 minutes, stopping halfway through to flip them. You can also reheat them in an air fryer set to 190°C for 3-4 minutes.
More fun desserts to try
Funnel cake batter and pancake batter are pretty similar, but the biggest difference is this funnel cake recipe uses self-rising flour, so no baking powder is needed. Also, funnel cake batter has slightly more sugar than pancake batter.
Funnel cakes are made from a thin batter, similar to pancake batter, and poured into a swirly, stringy shape before being fried. Elephant ears, on the other hand, are made from a single circle of pastry dough that’s fried into a flat shape.
If your batter is too thin, then it won’t clump together into a classic funnel cake shape. Your batter should be the consistency of pancake batter. If it’s too thin, gradually add a little flour to thicken it up.
Easy Funnel Cake
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 2 large eggs lightly whisked
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Combine the flour, sugar, milk, and eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Add the batter into a ziplock bag and snip off one end of it.
- Add two inches of oil into a deep pot. Once the oil is hot, drizzle the batter into it in a swirly funnel cake shape. Depending on the pot, you may be able to make 2-3 funnel cakes.
- Cook the funnel cakes for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Place them on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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Is there a way to make this recipe keto friendly?
I haven’t tried but you are welcome to experiment and see
Really enjoyed the cakes. I only put 1/2 the sugar and it still came out great.
Can you make it with an air fryer?
I haven’t tried 🙂