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How to Make Funnel Cakes

A plate of freshly made funnel cake with powdered sugar on top.

Funnel cake lovers wait all year for spring and summer to roll around so they can attend carnivals and county fairs just to eat the delicious snack. These sweet treats provide a crisp exterior with a soft interior.

While the food stands at the fairs use massive machines to create funnel cakes quickly and on a grand scale, you can make just as tasty small batches at home. The total preparation time will about 40 minutes, but then you will have six large or eight small funnel cakes for your dinner guests to devour. These cook one at a time, so save this recipe for small cookouts.

General Directions

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

The range on the cooking time varies so much because it depends on the oil temperature, the size of the funnel cakes and the size of the pot you use for cooking. This deep-fried quick bread cooks in long, corkscrew patterns creating a bakery delight that resembles pancakes on the inside. Topped with powdered sugar, they make a delicious finger food dessert that pairs perfectly with any cookout food.

Getting Ready to Cook the Funnel Cakes

Before you turn on the burner, get the kitchen ready to cook. Funnel cakes taste great and they are fun to make, but they do involve extremely hot oil. You need to create a safe environment for frying them first. Clear the kitchen of children first. That includes infants and toddlers, plus older kids who might cause a ruckus.

If you have long hair, tie it back. Roll up your sleeves and remove your hand and wrist jewelry. This protects you from burns since it only takes a few seconds of contact with metal and oil for the metal to heat to a temperature that burns.

If you have to leave the room, remove the pan from the burner. You should never leave hot oil unattended. With those thoughts in mind, you are ready to gather your ingredients and cooking utensils to make this delicious dessert.


  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 cups oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the funnel cakes

The complete set of ingredients to be used for the recipe.


  • Small funnel
  • Plate covered with a paper towel
  • Large pot
  • Spatula
  • Whisk

Follow these simple steps in numeric order to make delicious funnel cakes every time.

  1. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.                                                                  The dry ingredients mixed into a glass bowl.
  2. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then combine it in the milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing them together thoroughly using a whisk. Create a smooth mixture with no chunks or lumps.                                                            The smooth mixture of wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Pour a one-inch deep layer of fresh vegetable oil into a 10-inch skillet.
  5. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. This would be about medium heat on the burner settings. You will not see bubbles in the oil until you drop batter. If you do, it is too hot.
  6. Test the oil by dropping a tablespoon of batter into the pan. You should see bubbles immediately develop around the batter. A sizzle means the oil is perfect. A pop or a sputters mean the oil got too hot. No sound means the oil did not get hot enough.
  7. The batter should brown on one side in two to three minutes. This lets you know the oil is ready and gives you a finished bite to check that the batter tastes right.
  8. Cover the funnel opening with one finger. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the funnel.                              The mixture is being poured into the hot oil with the use of a funnel.
  9. Hold the funnel over the pan, sliding your finger off of the covering so the batter pours out into the pan. Make circles over the pan so the batter forms circular strings.                                        The mix is shaped into a round patty in the oil.
  10. These interconnected dough threads should begin to brown on the bottom and the sides.
  11. Using a slotted spatula, flip the funnel cake to brown the other side, too. Flip the funnel cake away from you so you do not splatter yourself.                                                                              A close up of the funnel cake when it is fully brown in the oil.
  12. Remove the funnel cake once it becomes golden brown on both sides.                                      The funnel cake is slowly turning brown on the sides.
  13. Set the funnel cake on a paper towel-lined plate. This lets the excess oil drain off onto the paper towel.
  14. Sprinkle the funnel cake with powdered sugar.                                                                              A plate of homemade funnel cakes with white sugar on top.
  15. Depending on the size of the funnel cakes you make, you will follow the same cooking procedure five to seven more times to cook the full batch of funnel cakes.

How to make funnel cakes with pancake mix

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 2 ½ cups Pancake Mix
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Oil For Frying


  1. In a mixing bowl, add eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extracts. Using a whisker, whisk until all the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Next, add pancake mix and salt. Whisk until you get a runny consistency batter. Make sure you remove lumps from it. Also, don’t over whisk the batter.
  3. Pour the batter in a squeeze bottle or a piping bag. Set aside. If you don’t have these things, use a funnel.
  4. In a Dutch oven or a deep pan, pour oil until it is about half-filled.
  5. Place the pan on medium heat and heat the oil. Check the temperature of the oil. It should be 375-degree F. Moreover, you can also check the temperature by adding a drop of batter. It puffs up instantly. It means the oil is ready.
  6. Once the oil is hot, start pouring the batter in a circular motion from the squeeze bottle until you get a circular pattern.
  7. Let the cake turn golden. It will take about a minute or two.
  8. Flip the funnel cake using tongs and cook the other side until it turns golden as well.
  9. Take the funnel cake off the oil and place it on a kitchen towel so that it absorbs extra oil.
  10. Repeat the process until you have used up all batter.
  11. Top with your favorite ingredients and enjoy!

Tips for Delicious Funnel Cakes Every Time

Mastering the art of making funnel cakes can take some practice. From making the batter to the cooling process, every step requires perfection to obtain the perfect consistency. These tips will help you get it right from your very first attempt.

Measure the flour by the spoonful. Rather than scooping the flour into a measuring cup, spoon it into the cup. Level it off with the spatula or the edge of a knife.

Use a thermometer to check the oil’s temperature. Oil that gets too hot overcooks the batter, while oil that is too cool produces greasy funnel cakes.

If you have no funnel: pour the batter into a plastic squeeze bottle such as restaurants use for ketchup and mustard. You can also use a liquid measuring cup.

Remember the paper towels:  When you place the cooked cake onto a plate for cooling. This absorbs excess grease and makes the funnel cakes taste better.

Make Your Funnel Cakes Special

Sure, funnel cakes by themselves make a delicious snack, but they taste even better when you add a delicious topping. You can come up with your own ideas based upon your favorite foods, but definitely try the following suggestions. Drizzle funnel cakes with chocolate syrup, caramel topping, and/or a flavored syrup designed for coffee.

Top them with fresh fruit, fruit cocktail, or fruit pie filling. Another awesome tasting option is ice cream. Any flavor works. Try a sorbet or gelato on top, too. Remember to bring the powdered sugar shaker out when you serve the dessert because some people like their desserts sweeter.

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