Crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, these sweet Homemade Funnel Cakes dusted in powdered sugar are the perfect treat. It's carnival food, but without the flashing lights, loud noises, or hefty prices.
Going to the fair, theme park or carnival growing up, the fancy funnel cakes were always my favorite. As an adult, I had to ask -- what if I could bring the fun in funnel cakes home? The result is this recipe. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, enjoying breakfast on the weekend, or serving up a movie night on the lawn, our recipe for homemade funnel cakes is the one you are looking for.
Ingredients for Homemade Funnel Cakes
- Whole Milk - The extra fat in whole milk improves the texture of the cake.
- Eggs - I like to use large for baking.
- Vanilla Extract - Imitation vanilla does not compare. Use pure vanilla extract whenever possible. Homemade vanilla extract is even better!
- All-Purpose Flour -
- Granulated Sugar - Regular white table sugar.
- Baking Powder - Gives the batter a bit of puffiness as it fries.
- Salt. Just a tiny bit to intensify the flavors.
- Ground Cinnamon - This is optional and gives the funnel cakes a more traditional flavor.
- Canola Oil - Vegetable oil will work as well. Do not use an oil with a strong flavor.
How to Make Homemade Funnel Cakes
First, you will want to get your oil hot in the skillet. The ideal temperature is 375ºF. Once the oil is heating up, mix the batter. To mix the batter, start with the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk. Mix the dry ingredients separately including flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients. Whisk again until the batter is smooth.
Next, pour the batter into a squeeze bottle or a piping bag with a small hole cut at the end. You can also use a plastic zipper baggy with a small hole in the corner. Squeeze the batter into the oil making a circle motion until you have the size you want. Cook it for one minute and then flip it to cook the other side. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Tips and Variations
You can add so many different toppings to your funnel cakes! a simple dusting of powdered sugar is an easy classic.
Fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries and whipped cream is excellent.
Macerated fruit (fruit that has been blended with sugar to pull out the juice and sweeten it) with whipped cream is tasty too!
Ice cream is a common topping for funnel cakes and of course, add the syrup of your choice. Ice cream with warmed pie topping is an extra level of decadence.
Cinnamon and sugar is more traditional on a hot funnel cake and goes really well with chocolate syrup.
Be very careful not to splatter hot oil when flipping the funnel cakes. It is best to carefully turn them over with tongs, do not try to flip them with a spatula.
How to Keep Leftover Funnel Cakes
Store your leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat the homemade funnel cakes in the oven at 350º for roughly five minutes. Add the toppings once they are hot through.
Can I freeze homemade funnel cakes?
Freeze funnel cakes in an airtight container for a future breakfast or treat. Frozen funnel cakes can be reheated in a toaster or toaster oven. If they were very greasy, use an oven instead.
Frequently Asked Questions
What temperature should I use to fry homemade funnel cakes?
375ºF is ideal. If you can, maintain a steady temperature. When the temperature is lower than 375ºF, it will make the funnel cakes greasy and if the temperature is hotter it will burn outside of the funnel cakes before the insides are cooked.
How long does it take to fry a funnel cake?
About one minute per side.
Can I make homemade funnel cakes gluten-free?
I have not tried this recipe with the one-for-one all-purpose gluten-free flours, but I believe it will work. Try it and let us know in the comments!
Can I make funnel cakes with pancake mix?
You can add extra water to a pancake mix and use it to make funnel cakes, but this method is imprecise, and our from-scratch recipe is so very simple. Give it a try!
More Great Carnival Recipes
Homemade Funnel Cakes
- In a large skillet, add the canola oil and place over medium heat. Let the oil come up to 375 degrees F and maintain that temperature.
- While the oil is heating up, begin making the funnel cake batter.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth and combined.
- Pour the batter into a squeeze bottle or a ziplock storage bag with a small hole cut in the corner.
- Squeeze the batter into the oil in a circle motion. Let cook for one minute then flip carefully with tongs.
- After another minute remove funnel cake from oil and place on a sheet pan lined with paper towels to soak any extra oil. Repeat until all the batter is used.
(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)