Golden and crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside, and topped with your favorite toppings, this homemade funnel cake recipe is a childhood fair favorite that you can now make any time of the year!
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Putting the Fun in Funnel (yeah, I said it)
Funnel cakes are a carnival classic, right up there with caramel apples, churros, and caramel popcorn. If you’ve ever been to any fair, carnival, or theme park chances are you’ve come across this delectable treat, and if you’ve never had the chance to try it, you’ve definitely noticed it!
Everyone claims to have the best funnel cake recipe around but I’m sure we can all agree there are no bad funnel cakes! Yet even still, I still managed to have created THE BEST recipe ;)
They might look a bit complicated just because of their intricate appearance, but I assure you, they’re super easy to make, as long as you have a funnel. Though, even that’s not a deal breaker!
It’s a once-in-a-while type of treat, but how lucky are we that we can now make our own homemade funnel cake at home?
What is a Funnel Cake?
A funnel cake is not actually a cake, but a light and airy batter fried to crispy golden perfection similar to beignets.
The funnel cake batter is poured through a funnel into hot oil and it crisps up quickly then flipped over to ensure both sides are evenly done. Then, it’s served warm with powdered sugar or drizzled with a variety of toppings.
It’s best with a scoop of homemade ice cream on top!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Vegetable oil: I use this type of oil for big batch frying. It’s relatively inexpensive, it has a high smoke point, and is neutral in flavor. Canola oil would be another option.
- Milk: A liquid needed for the batter that will help keep it nice and moist. Use any kind of milk you want, even nondairy milk works.
- Large eggs: Used to bind ingredients together so the funnel cakes don’t fall apart.
- Water: Helps to thin out the batter just a bit. It needs to be loose like a pancake batter so that it can easily pour out of the funnel.
- Vanilla extract: Adds yummy vanilla flavor to the dessert.
- All-purpose flour: This is the foundation of the whole treat! It’s needed for structure and is the best flour to use for this recipe.
- Granulated sugar: Needed for sweetness, because without it, it would be a rather savory dough.
- Baking powder: Helps the batter rise and puff up just a bit, making it soft and airy on the inside.
- Cinnamon: A depth of flavor that adds a different element, just like the vanilla. So good!
- Salt: To bring out all of the flavors.
- Powdered sugar: To dust overtop the funnel cake just before serving.
How to Make Funnel Cake
- Mix wet and dry ingredients separately. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, water, and vanilla together until well combined. In a separate medium bowl, stir the dry ingredients which are the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Combine into a batter. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Funnel the batter into the oil. Grab your large funnel and place your finger underneath the bottom hole. Add 1 cup of the batter to the top opening of the funnel. Holding the funnel above the center of the pot with the hot oil, remove your finger and swirl the funnel around in a circular motion to create a 6-7 inch round cake, keeping it in a swirling motion until the cup of the batter has been emptied from the funnel. Fry the first side for 1 minute.
- Flip to fry both sides. Use a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully flip it over and fry for another minute until both sides are golden brown.
- Allow it to cool and drain. Remove it from the oil and transfer it to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain the excess liquid. Repeat with remaining oil, making sure the oil stays at the same temperature before adding any batter.
- Serve. Enjoy warm sprinkled with powdered sugar or any of your favorite toppings.
You can have so much fun with toppings on a homemade funnel cake!
- Top it with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce!
- Squirt on some whipped cream, or drizzle it with chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, or caramel sauce.
- Keep it simple with some fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries or whatever fresh fruit you have on hand.
- You can even swap the powdered sugar for a dusting of cinnamon sugar instead.
Homemade Funnel Cake Tips
- Use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil stays at 375°F.
- You always want to add the batter to hot oil. If it’s not hot enough, the batter will spread too much time absorbing grease while it fries. This makes it soggy.
- Keep moving the funnel around in swirls. If you don’t, you risk having clumps of batter in one area that may not be fully cooked.
- Measure flour properly using a kitchen scale or the spoon and level method.
- Use just 1/2 cup of batter for smaller funnel cakes. You’ll end up with more of them!
Definitely. If you don’t have a funnel, use a plastic squeeze bottle or a liquid measuring cup instead. You’ll know it’s meant for liquids as you’ll see it has a little spout on the side.
You can also use a piping bag to pipe the batter into the oil.
Easily! Instead of swirling the dough, add them to the oil in strips.
I use a deep skillet but any type of heavy bottom pot, like a Dutch oven, works too.
Fridge: These are best served fresh, but no one turns away leftover homemade funnel cake! Store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Freezer: You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. If you’re going to freeze them, allow them to cool but don’t sprinkle any powdered sugar yet. Store them individually or keep them separated with parchment paper.
Reheat: Use the oven to retain or regain any crispiness. The microwave works if you’re not concerned about them getting soggy. You can also enjoy them cool.
More Fair Food Recipes
Funnel Cake Recipe
- 1 large funnel
- Vegetable oil , for frying
- ½ cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Powdered sugar , for serving
- In a deep skillet, add 1-inch of oil. Heat over medium-low heat until temperature reaches 375°F on a digital thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, water, and vanilla until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
- Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the milk mixture until smooth.
- Using your finger, cover the bottom hole of a large funnel. Add 1 cup batter to the top of the funnel. Holding the funnel over the center of the skillet, remove your finger and swirl the funnel in a circular motion to create a 6- or 7-inch round cake. Fry 1 minute, or until bottom is golden brown. Flip and fry 1 minute more, or until golden brown all over. Transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining batter, making sure the oil stays at 375 before adding batter.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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