Salvation Army Donuts

This is the recipe that Salvation Army workers would use during World War I and II when making large amounts of the donuts for hungry troops. To call the recipe "official" is something of a misnomer though, as the donuts have been made differently by various Army groups throughout the years. Even during the Wars, chefs would make do with available ingredients to create a delicious donut. A downsized recipe for home cooks follows.


  • 7 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup lard
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 large cans evaporated milk
  • 3 large cans water
  • 18 cups all-purpose flour
  • 18 teaspoons baking powder
  • 7 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 9 teaspoons ground nutmeg


  1. Cream sugar and lard together in a large bowl.
  2. Add and beat eggs into mixture.
  3. Combine evaporated milk and water. Add water mixture to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in large sieve and sift into wet ingredients.
  5. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.
  6. Roll and cut.

Five pounds of lard are required to fry the donuts.

This modified version of the traditional donut recipe is somewhat more appropriate for the modern home chef.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 level teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 level teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Cooking oil or lard for deep frying
  1. Reserve 1/4 cup of the flour for the board. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and set aside.
  2. Cream the shortening, 1/2 cup of the sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  3. Add milk and well-beaten egg and stir.
  4. Add the flour-baking powder mixture.
  5. Work into a soft dough and roll onto the floured board into a 1/4-inch thick sheet.
  6. Cut into the desired shape and fry in the oil, heated to about 375 degrees F. Turn donuts frequently while frying. The fat should be hot enough to give the donuts a rich golden-russet color in 3 minutes.
  7. While hot, roll donuts in remaining sugar.

Yield: 15 donuts | Prep: 30 min | Cook: 3 min

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