How to Make Funnel Cake

Funnel Cake

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
178 Calories
7g Fat
24g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 124mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 60mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Funnel cake has long been a staple of American street fairs and carnivals. Just the the aroma of that crispy, crunchy, perfectly fried sweet dough covered with powdered sugar is enough to take you back to summertime childhood memories.

The origins of funnel cake in America can be traced back to the Pennsylvania Dutch, a group of German-speaking immigrants who came to Pennsylvania during the 17th and 18th centuries. In more recent times, funnel cakes were often prepared at the Kutztown Folk Festival, an annual fair celebrating Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

With this recipe, funnel cakes can easily be prepared at home any time of year. The batter is simple and the frying is quick. Funnel cakes are fun and meant to be shared, so make this recipe for a crowd when you want to capture the energy and excitement of a summertime state fair right in your own kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 cups milk

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying

  • 1 cup unsifted confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Funnel Cake ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In another large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

    In another large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Gradually combine the wet and dry ingredients. Beat until very smooth.

    Gradually combine the wet and dry ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Heat oil (at least 1 inch deep) to 375 degrees F.

    oil in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Spoon the funnel cake batter into a plastic zip-top bag. Then, when the oil is ready, snip off the end of the bag with scissors. This allows you easily control how much batter flows out of the bag and makes it easier to form the funnel cakes.

    funnel cake batter in a bag

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Move the funnel or zip-top bag over the hot oil to make a pattern, starting at the center of the pan and swirling batter outward in a circle. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown. 

    Funnel cakes can be made any size you like, from smaller individual portions to one large plate-sized cake everyone can pick off pieces by hand.

    funnel cake frying in oil

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Once the funnel cakes are browned on both sides, remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Drain excess oil on a paper towel-lined plate.

    funnel cake on a paper towel lined plate

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Transfer to a rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

    Funnel Cake with powdered sugar on top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Variation

  • The name "funnel cake" comes from the idea of pouring the batter directly into the hot frying oil through a funnel. If you choose to use this method, rather than the zip-top bag method, you must be sure to hold the opening of the funnel closed, fill the funnel with the batter, and then release your finger once the funnel is held over the oil.