Classic Funnel Cake

  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Fair foods can be as fleeting and mysterious as the events themselves. Unfortunately, the mystery of funnel cake, the quintessential fair food, is often enough to send the home cook running for the hills. But this summer, why not throw your own fair-themed party?

Deep-fried until crunchy and golden brown, funnel cakes can be topped with anything: sugar, syrup, fresh fruit, you name it! Popularized by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1950s, they’ve become a staple at amusement parks and boardwalks across the country.

Rediscover this fair food in your home kitchen in four easy steps. 

Cook’s Notes:

Funnel cakes should be served immediately after frying, so they maintain their crisp, yet light-and-airy texture.

If using a deep fryer, consider starting with new oil to make this dessert. Otherwise your funnel cake may taste a little like last week’s fish and chips.

For expert tips on frying safely and effectively, check out this article from The Spruce.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Optional: Strawberry syrup
  • Optional: Chocolate syrup
  • Garnish: fresh fruit

How to Make It

Preheat a deep fryer, electric skillet, or deep-sided open skillet to 365°F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt; set aside. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, water, butter, and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and lump-free. The consistency should be thin.

Place a finger over the bottom opening of a funnel, and fill the funnel with 1/2 to 2/3 cup of batter.

Hold the funnel close to the surface of the oil, making sure not to touch the surface. Then, remove your finger and pour the batter into the oil making continuous circles of different sizes. Fry until light golden brown on one side and then, using tongs, turn the cake over and fry for 45 more seconds.

Pull the cake out of the fryer and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with sifted confectioners' sugar and/or drizzle with strawberry or chocolate sauce, if desired. You can also add fresh fruit right before serving, if desired.