Mardi Gras Donut Holes

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!

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Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!As excited as I get about decorating for Halloween…and then Thanksgiving…and then Christmas…each year, I find it oddly satisfying to clean up all of the decorations and pack them away once the holidays are over.  To be fair, taking down the holiday decorations is a bit of a bittersweet time.  I love the warm feeling that comes when the Christmas tree is lit.  (We often leave our tree up through New Year’s Day just so we can enjoy it as long as possible without becoming “those” neighbors who still have a Christmas tree up in February.)  But with that said, I love putting the tree and other decorations away as it means we get all of that space in our house back.  Of course, Robbie managed to fill all of that space with toys in less than 24 hours…but at least he had fun doing it!

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!A couple of years ago, I decided to create a Mardi Gras tree.  Yes, a Mardi Gras tree.  I missed that warm feeling of the Christmas tree, so I decided that a Mardi Gras was totally necessary.  However, I kept the Mardi Gras tree small.  I picked up an artificial Christmas tree and some colored strands of lights on super clearance after the holidays.  Then I methodically changed all of the lights out until only green, purple and yellow lights were left.  Add in some Mardi Gras beads and other festive decorations, and *bam* a Mardi Gras tree.  I know it’s a bit ridiculous, but we find it fun to be a little festive around this time of the year…especially since it’s bitterly cold and snowy outside!

Mardi Gras Tree!You know what else is fun?  Mardi Gras Donut Holes.  Truthfully, these are just donut holes sprinkled with purple, green and gold sanding sugar…but aren’t they fun!?  I decided to actually fry these Mardi Gras Donut Holes, although you could totally do a baked version instead.  I had our mini-fryer out for another recipe (ahem, cajun fried shrimp, ahem), and I decided to just keep it out for these Mardi Gras Donut Holes.  One bite, and both Laura and I were hooked!  Laura pointed out that these taste a lot like cake donuts, and I think that’s because there’s no yeast in the dough here.  Now I love all donuts, and you won’t ever catch me turning down a good yeasted donut.  But if push comes to shove, I’ll go for the cake donut first.  (Seriously.  I might shove an old lady to get to the last cake donut.  Ok, maybe I’m not that bad…but I’m close!)

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!These Mardi Gras Donut Holes turned out a little larger than expected.  I didn’t account for the fact that the donut holes would expand once they hit the hot oil, so these ended up more like 2-bite donut holes.  But I’m ok with that.  I mean the only thing better than a 1-bite donut hole is a 2-bite donut hole, right?  We actually made this same donut recipe back in November when my sister, mom and niece were visiting, and we pulled out my decorating kit to let Blakely decorate her own donut holes.  Isn’t that what Funcles are for?  (Seriously…she calls me Uncle Funcle.  And I gotta live up to that name somehow!)

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to get into the Mardi Gras spirit, then give these Mardi Gras Donut Holes a shot!  And laissez les bon temps rouler!  (That’s the unofficial motto for Mardi Gras in Louisiana, and it means Let the Good Times Roll!  It’s pronounced “Lay-say le bon tom roo-lay.”)

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!

Looking for more fun Mardi Gras recipes?  Click here to check out an assortment of ideas to plan an entire Mardi Gras feast!

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!

Mardi Gras Donut Holes

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 140kcal


For Donut Holes

For Decorating


  • Using a deep (at least 2½”) skillet, add enough oil to fill skillet 1” deep. Insert a candy thermometer and heat oil over medium-high heat. (Note: Target oil temperature for frying will be 350°F.)
  • Using a medium mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking powder; stir until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter and milk. Pour liquid mixture into bowl with dry ingredients; stir until well combined. (Note: The dough will be thick and somewhat sticky.)
  • Using a cookie scoop or 2 spoons, drop 8-9 (½”-¾” balls) of batter into hot (350°F) oil. Fry donut holes for 1-2 minutes, turning once, or until both sides are deep golden brown in color.
  • Transfer donut holes to a paper-towel lined plate to cool.
  • While donut holes are cooling, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. (Note: Start with 1 Tbsp of milk and gradually add more until icing reaches desired consistency.)
  • Once cool, drizzle donut holes with icing and then sprinkle tops with colored sanding sugar. (Tip: I used a sandwich bag with one corner snipped off to drizzle the icing.)

Let the good times roll with a batch of these Mardi Gras Donut Holes!

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  1. A mardi gras tree? That’s so fun! I can’t complain that these turned out a little larger than you expected. Two bite donut holes are a lot better than one bite…hehehe 😉 And that expression is lovely! Cheers to a fabulous week, David!

    1. Yes, a Mardi Gras tree. Yes, it’s ridiculous. But, yes, it’s also fun. I mean you live in the arctic northland…you get it. These winters are cold and long, so you gotta find some fun traditions to keep ya going, right? 🙂 I’m thinking donuts by the Mardi Gras tree is a new tradition now!

    1. Hahaha. I think I might have to agree with you. I actually got the idea from a family friend who goes all out for Christmas. They have probably a dozen trees in different rooms and each one has a theme…it sounds crazy, but it’s actually really fun to go visit during the holidays! My Mardi Gras tree is nothing like their masterpieces, but it’s still fun. 🙂 Thanks so much, Kathy!

  2. I love the Mardi Gras tree! I’m going to forward this post to my mom because she practically cries when she takes down the Christmas tree–I know she’ll appreciate another excuse to decorate. My dad on the other hand. . .he won’t be thrilled :). I’m glad these donut holes are on the larger side. The small ones are just a little too small. More is always better when it comes to donuts!

    1. Yes! I’m thinking your Mom and I would be best friends. I mean decorating for random holidays adds a fun twist to life. (Although, to be fair, I didn’t know much about Mardi Gras until I moved down to Louisiana.) As far as your Dad, just make him a batch of these donut holes, and I think he might be ok with the Mardi Gras tree each year then. Thanks, Kelsie!!

  3. Mardi Gras is Here and I’m so ready for Fat Tuesday! I’m always ready for fat Tuesday lol. I love decorating for different holidays I hate putting all my decorations away, it feels like punishment for having a good time lol. I’m almost positive I’ve seen some Mardi Gras trees in New Orleans, this is a great idea, purple, green, and gold never looked so good. I love the masks in your tree 🙂 That’s a great touch. I feel like it was mini fryer week on your blog and I have no problem with that! LOL Have a great week David

    1. Yeessss! I love me some Mardi Gras! And I also totally agree with you about putting decorations away. It feels like punishment. But since Mardi Gras usually falls in February, it’s a good way to ease off from the lack of Christmas decorations. It was indeed mini-fryer week on the blog this past week, but I just hammered out a couple in a row. Back to non-fried foods now…I mean we gotta be good for Lent, right? 🙂 Happy Mardi Gras, Mary!

  4. Wow, the Mardi gras tree is looking so beautiful. And I agree with you that after the celebration gets over it’s really hard to take out the decoration. BTW these donuts are looking yummy. I just love Donuts, so do my hubby and my daughter, especially the one with full of chocolates. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Puja! I admit that the Mardi Gras tree is silly, but it’s a fun way to celebrate…especially since we’re in the dead of winter. And these donuts are a really fun way to celebrate, too. Haha! 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend, and I hope you have a great week!

    1. I do love Mardi Gras! The colors are so festive and fun. Although, to be fair, I love all donuts no matter what color they are. 🙂 Thanks so much, Deepika!

  5. I think Lynne would have our tree down right after Christmas Day if I let her, but like yourself I like to have it up through New Years Day too. Sadly I don’t think I’d get away with a Mardi Gras tree though. Ha ha! I would get away with making these amazing Mardi Gras donut Holes though. Lynne would love them and your decorated coloured icing looks amazing!

    1. No way! I can’t believe Lynne wants that tree down so quickly. Sitting around the house (i.e. watching movies and Netflix) by the light of the Christmas tree is one of the best parts of the holidays! Although I have to admit that these donuts were a really fun way to celebrate Mardi Gras this year. 🙂 Thanks, Neil!

  6. Wow so festive and fun these donut holes look with all that colorful icing on top. You have chosen perfect colors to celebrate Mardi Gras. I love to eat a ton of guac. with lime flavored tortilla chips on mardi gras. But I think you’ve got my dessert part covered for the day. 😉

    1. Thanks so much, Dawn! I admit that the Mardi Gras is silly, but it’s just a fun way to be festive…especially since we live in the north when it’s so cold and bleak at this time of the year. And the donuts definitely helped the celebrations this year, too! 🙂

  7. Oh tell me about this holiday spirit – it’s always so hard to say it goodbye (Probably, partly cause the process of anticipating and preparing is normally so much longer than the actual holidays). It’s not a problem in our family as we keep the tree up to 4-5th January or even a little longer. When we lived in Russia, we often would keep the tree (the real one) until almost mid of January. The reason was that Orthodox Christmas is on January 7th (although we didn’t celebrate it). Also, there’s such a thing as…Old New Year in Russia and some other orthodox countries which is January 14th. I know, sounds weird – it happened due to switching between calendars long time ago. Even though this Old New Year wasn’t the official thing, it was kind of cool to have another little celebration and wrap the season up. You should start celebrating it to David! And how cool these donuts are! I’m not a fan of sprinkles and colored sugar, but sometimes some colors are so needed in our lives, right?

    1. You know, you make a good point about the anticipation for holidays. That just helps extend the holiday season. But then its so boring in the house once you take all of the decorations down. Now I’ve heard about Old New Year, but I don’t know much about that holiday. But I’m all about having another holiday to celebrate during the middle of the winter. A little color is always a good thing, right??

  8. Hi David…! I also read your post and I really enjoyed your post, these looks sooooo good & delicious with beautiful color…. I will try to making this at valentine day…..Thanks for sharing…!

    1. Hey Samantha! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. These Mardi Gras donut holes turned out really well, and you could totally change the color of the icing for different holidays. Red and white would be perfect for Valentine’s Day today! 🙂

  9. Blakely couldn’t have called you anything more appropriate – only an uncle funcle could make a funcle mardi gras tree AND funcle donut holes like these! And – I LOVE LOVE LOVE cake donuts -( I could see myself shoving an old lady to get to the last cake donut, for sure) so the fact that Laura said these tasted like cake donuts means I’ve gotta try these soon! Lil Shashi was trying to get me to make beignets – but these look so much more fun! And WOA – changing out all those lights so only green, purple and yellow ones were left involves some serious patience – but it paid off, cos that tree looks fantastic!

    1. Haha! I guess you’re kinda right, Shashi. It takes an uncle funcle to be silly enough to make a Mardi Gras tree. Oh man, these donuts were a fun way to celebrate Mardi Gras, too! I mean cake donuts are my thing…and I could’ve eaten the whole tray of these if I wasn’t trying to be good. But I agree…beignets need to be on the agenda sometime soon, too. Yummmm powdered sugar! 🙂 Thanks so much, and happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite Athens gals!

    1. Yes! I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate…it keeps life fun. Plus, celebrations often mean delicious food, and I’m all in on the delicious food train! 🙂 Speaking of that, I wish I had some more of these cake donuts right about now. So good! Thanks, Nicole…I hope you guys are having a great weekend so far!

  10. I lived in New York for many, many years before having the goid sense to move to Chicago, and let me tell you, New York was not always the Disneyland it currently is. It used to be a dark, sleazy mess. Boy, I miss those days. But when I was living in that den of sin and vice, I visited New Orleans for the first time. Wow! It’s the most decadent place in the U.S. I loved it!

    1. Hah…I was wondering where you were going with the New York story. (Also, I didn’t realize you lived in the city. It seems like it would be fun to live there…for about 2 days.) New Orleans is still my favorite city, and sadly it’s been a number of years since I’ve gotten back to visit. NOLA isn’t exactly close to upstate NY. Thanks, Jeff!

  11. I love your Mardi Gras tree! I’m one of the few people I know who decorates for Mardi Gras. Your donut holes would be a fun treat for my kids!

    1. Yes! Mardi Gras decorating used to be common when I lived in Louisiana (obviously!), but up here in New York most folks barely even realize when Mardi Gras is. I love it, though! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Ellen…I really appreciate it! 🙂

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