For You, A Salvation Army-Style Doughnut Recipe

With the 73rd National Doughnut Day only 1 day away (is your mouth watering yet?), we thought we’d share a special treat with you a little bit early.

If you’re lucky, on Friday you may come across your local Salvation Army unit passing out doughnuts from our partners like Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, or local stores. We have a lot of love for all these great doughnut brands, BUT for those of you who are real go-getters, we’re going to help you celebrate do-it-yourself style.

Below, we’re sharing The Salvation Army’s original doughnut recipe, just like our “doughnut lassies” used to make on the front lines for American soldiers during WWI and WWII. They say it’s because of these women that doughnuts became such a popular treat in the US!

Give it a try, and let us know if you think your doughnuts are good enough to have their own annual celebration.

Salvation Army Doughnut Girl Stella Young


Yield: 4 doz. doughnuts

5 C flour
2 C sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 ‘saltspoon’ salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 C milk
1 Tub lard


  • Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.
  • Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4 inch thick. (When finding items to cut out doughnut circles, be creative! Salvation Army doughnut girls used whatever they could find, from baking powder cans to coffee percolator tubes.)
  • Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the doughnuts gradually. Turn the doughnuts slowly several times.
  • When browned, remove doughnuts and allow excess fat to drip off.
  • Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy.

75 Comments on “For You, A Salvation Army-Style Doughnut Recipe

  1. What is a “saltspoon”? Any idea what it would be equal to in normal measurements? 1/4 tsp? 1/2 tsp? Would really like to try this recipe.

  2. @Kathy,

    I saw you posted this question on our Facebook page as well and Dave replied. (I didn’t know the exact measurement either, but I’m taking his word for it!) In case anyone else has the same question, Dave says a ‘saltspoon’ in this recipe is 1/4 tsp of salt. Happy cooking!

  3. Does the 1 T Lard mean Tub? If so how much is that and can you use Wesson Oil instead? Great project!


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  7. Directions say to drop donut dough into lard.The recipecalls for 1 T!!!? —for 5 doz!Are these donuts deep fat fried or fried in a skillet???

  8. Is it really just 1 T (tablespoon?) of Lard (Crisco, Oil, etc)? Seems like a very small amount to fry 4 dozen doughnuts.

  9. I believe a “saltspoon” is a very small spoon that is used specifically for serving salt at a table.

  10. Can I use any other oil to fry them other than lard? Vegetable Oil perhaps?

  11. Can I use any oil other than lard to fry the doughnuts? Vegetable oil perhaps?

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  13. I believe the 1 T. of lard is one tub. That is how it used to be sold, however, I do not know the measuring equivalent for today.

  14. Ok..I know, I know…If you have to ask, don’t eat it BUT any idea how many calories are in one of these 4 ounce donuts?

  15. The lard is one TUB – they are deepfried. My Grandma used to make these, they were very good

  16. @Kevin,
    You can use whatever oil you like to fry the doughnuts, but it may not have the same taste as our Lassies’ recipe!

  17. I believe 1T of Lard is one Tub. I remember my mother buying a tub of lard for frying donuts and other fried foods. I’m going to use Wesson Oil instead.

  18. @Suzanne @Lance
    You’re right, 1 Tablespoon can’t be enough for all of this! I think some of the other commentators are correct when they say a Tub. It will take a few pounds of lard to fry these things!

  19. @Teri @Chris
    Thanks for clarifying the “1 Tub” measurement. I’ll change that on the post to be more clear. I don’t think the lard measurement has to be exact – just enough to make sure all the doughnuts have a chance to get fried!

  20. @Ed,
    Great question, but I don’t have an answer for you. I’m going to assume it’s somewhere in the triple digits! But those calories don’t count on National Doughnut Day, right??

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  22. sounds like fun! I love old recipes. I think I will try this with my boys today. Thank you for sharing it!!!

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  24. First, I love the idea of National Donut day and more importantly, love old-fashioned donuts! I grew up in a handcraft bakeshop, so just a couple helpful hints. Use any standard shortening such as crisco to fry in and you want enough to be able to flip the donuts. Use wooden skewers to flip them so the heat does not travel up to your hands. Fry the donuts at about 360. At cooler temps they will soak too much grease. Finally, you could put an oz. of salt per 5 lbs of flour. The salt helped preserve the donuts, so less is ok. I would put a 1/2 tablespoon. Always serve with coffee. Enjoy.

  25. Why would you come on here to ask what a saltspoon is BEFORE googling it? The first hit has your answer. I guess it doesn’t matter how much information you put on the internet. People will always be to daft to actually use it.

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  29. I have only made them once, many years ago. I did not use a good cutter and they all filled in looking like baked potatoes when they came out of the oil. We laughed a lot but, “they were delicious”!

  30. A saltspoon (now a rare collector item) is equivalent to a ‘dash’ (apprx 4 pinches) of 1/8 teaspoon.
    No, I’m not that old but I’m a man that loves to cook.

  31. From the pictures I saw on the internet, a tub of lard should be 4 lbs.

  32. a current Armor brand tub of lard is 4 pounds.

  33. WOW!! These are the same doughnuts (mom would call them crellers) Mom would make for us 10 brothers and sisters during cold months along with a huge pot of hot chocolate. I’m going to ask my daughter to make some up per this reciepe.

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  41. The Salvation Army of Tuscaloosa, Alabama AKA “T – Town” will be serving free donuts from their new canteen to celebrate National Donut Day June 7, 2013. Starting @ WVUA 10am ending @ 1601 University Blvd. E. by noon.

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