These homemade funnel cakes are awesome! No need to travel to the amusement parks or fair to get yourself and overpriced funnel cake. You can make them at home!
Growing up visiting theme parks and amusement parks was a fun activity to do with friends and family. And it was so fun to buy funnel cakes, covered in powdered sugar and strawberries. Although they seemed kind of expensive. But isn’t all theme park food expensive?
They are super easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost, and they only require normal everyday ingredients that you probably already have at home.
What is a funnel cake?
Maybe you aren’t familiar with this type of dessert? It is pretty much a fried pancake-like batter that forms a brain-like shape when fried. They are a bit crispy and crunchy and taste so yummy with powdered sugar and other toppings.
Originally, funnel cakes are associated with Pennsylvania Dutch country in the United States. Commonly you can find them at American amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals. Let’s get on to making them at home!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
In order to make funnel cakes at home you need a handful of everyday simple ingredients:
- Flour – All-purpose/plain flour
- Baking powder
- Milk – I generally use whole milk but other kinds of milk will work too.
- Water – I always use filtered water because my tap water tastes gross.
- Vanilla extract
- Liquid measuring cup
- Wire rack
Step 2: How to make funnel cakes
Begin with a large deep pot and add some cooking oil, enough to be an inch to inch and a half deep. Set the burner to medium or medium-high if you want it to heat up faster. The oil should be around 350F/176 C.
While the oil is heating in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, water, and vanilla extract.
Next, add the flour mixture half of it at a time and whisk it in with the egg mixture until all combined and you are left with a nice thin runny funnel cakes batter. The consistency will be not quite as thin as crepe batter and not as thick as traditional American pancake batter.
Step 3: The funnel
Pour the batter into a liquid measuring cup. This makes it much easier to pour it into the funnel, but you can certainly go straight from the bowl into the funnel if you like.
For the funnel choose one with a spout diameter either 7/16th of an inch or 1/2 inch. This results in a good looking funnel cake. Any smaller and the batter will too thin any larger and it just won’t work very well.
Step 4: Fry those easy funnel cakes
Time to fry these up! Once the oil comes to the proper temperature (350 F/176 C), place your index finger over the opening of the funnel to plug it up. With your other hand pour in about a half of a cup worth of batter.
Hold your finger and funnel about 1 inch away from the surface of the oil. Slide your finger to the side and as the batter drains move the funnel around in circles and zig zags creating the classic funnel cake shape.
*Please be careful the oil is really hot! If you are a young person please have adult supervision when working with hot oil or deep frying.
Allow the funnel cake to cook for 45 seconds to a minute and a half on this first side until it gets nice and golden brown on the bottom.
Flip the funnel cake over with tongs and cook the other side for about the same amount of time or until golden brown. Each one will take around 3 to 4 minutes total to cook.
When done grab the funnel cake towards the center with the tongs and remove it from the oil. Allow it to drain a bit into the pot before placing it on a wire rack to drain and dry and cool for about 5 minutes.
*Note: After letting the oil cool COMPLETELY at room temperature you can strain it and put the oil back in its original container and reuse it again. I recommend only using it for similar types of recipes like donuts, fry bread, etc.
Step 5: Serve up those easy homemade funnel cakes
After the funnel cakes cool down a bit, sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar. This is the classic way to eat them. But there are so many options that you can do, other favorites include adding fresh fruit, chocolate, Nutella, etc. Time to dig into one and enjoy it!
How long do funnel cakes last?
They are best eaten fresh. The batter can be saved in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge. The actual fried funnel cake and be stored in a ziplock bag on the counter for a few days or in the fridge. Reheat them in the microwave or in the oven. Like I said, they do taste better freshly fried.
Can I make a funnel cake without a funnel?
Yes! If you don’t have a funnel just pour the batter out of your measuring cup using the same circular zig zag motion as it falls into the oil.
Here are a few more recipes you may like:
Chocolate covered strawberries
- Liquid measuring cup
- Wire rack
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose/plain flour 180g
- 3 Tbsp. of white granulated sugar 38g
- 1/8 tsp. of salt less than 1 g
- 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder 6g
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2ml
- 1/2 cup of milk whole, 2%, 1%, skim, almond, etc. (120ml)
- 1/2 cup of water 120ml
- Powdered sugar for dusting and other toppings
- Oil for frying vegetable, coconut, canola, etc.
- Add enough oil to a large pot to be 1 to 1.5 inches deep. Set the burner on the stovetop to medium heat and bring the oil temp up to 350 F/176 C. Medium-high heat will heat the oil faster.
- Make the batter by whisking together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate larger bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, water, and vanilla extract.Mix in the flour mixture half of it at a time until all incorporated and the batter is complete. The consistency will be runny but not as runny as crepe batter and not as thick as American pancake batter.
- Pour the batter into a liquid measuring cup. Use a funnel with a diameter spout between 7/16 and 1/2 inches. Place your index finger over the hole of the funnel to plug it up. Pour about 1/2 cup worth of funnel cake batter into the funnel.Hold your finger and funnel about 1 inch away from the top of the hot oil, remove your finger and allow the batter to drain into the oil. Quickly move the funnel around in circles and zig zags as the batter falls into the oil.
- Cook each side of the funnel cake for 45 seconds to 1 and 1/2 minutes. Or until each side is golden brown. Each one will take 3 to 4 minutes in total. Flip it over with tongs to cook the other side. Once done, hold it above the oil to drain for a few seconds then place it on a wire rack to drain and dry and cool for about 5 minutes.
- Dust the top with powdered sugar, add fruit, Nutella, strawberry syrup, etc. Then enjoy!
Do you like this recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.
So easy and so delicious! Tastes just like my favorite one at Knott’s!
Thank you, Stephanie!! 🙂
Wow, I am so happy to surprise my kids and make a favorite treat at home! Delicious and so fun! Thanks
That is great, Laura! 🙂 You are welcome.
I can’t imagine a summer going by without having a funnel cake! Since I can’t get the at the local fairs this year, I’m so glad that I can make them at home!
Yes!! You can totally make them at home. 🙂