Skip to content

Rise’n Roll “Amish Crack*” Donuts: My Hunt For a Top Secret Recipe

October 11, 2014


Spoiler alert: This, so far, is an unsuccessful attempt at recreating the most decadent donut my family and I ever tasted. I share it because I’m on a hunt and in hopes that you may help figure out the missing ingredient, step, or tweak.

Back story: It all began with my high school friend Deb while we were all in Northern Indiana this summer. She served us some great homemade bread and my daughter and her husband wanted to know where she got it. She told them (I wasn’t around) about Rise’n Roll bakery between Middlebury and Shipshewana. And she also tipped them off that they had a donut that was so good and so addictive and so sweet it had the underground name of “Amish Crack.” Let me be clear: *not a drug, but it might as well be.

The donut: Freshly made at Rise’ n Roll, it’s a yeast raised donut apparently dipped in a caramel type glaze and then sprinkled with a heavy dose of cinnamon sugar. So you’ve got a warm fresh donut, coated with thin caramel and then cinnamon POWDERED sugar. Do I need to go further?

It is to die for, and yes, if you eat too many, thou shalt surely die, to quote someone in the Bible. Oh, yeah, that would be God in the Garden of Eden. Well “Garden of Edenish Delights” could be another name for Rise’ n Roll.

The store/bakery/restaurant sets out about a dozen cups of samples throughout the deli area of freshly made ham salad, tiny crackers, humus dip, traditional dip, cold meats, cheeses, jams, apple butter, pickles: some Amish-style treats, and others (like the humus) not so Amish. All of the Amish and conservative Mennonite young people working there were like a busy hive of bees, scurrying to provide great customer service while in the background, you could see the baking prep operations going on. It is the real deal. There are several of these Rise’n Roll bakeries in Northern Indiana (Middlebury and Nappanee and also small markets in Chicago and Fort Wayne) and it is a good thing I don’t live there anymore. The best news is you can buy some of their stuff online. But not the fresh donuts.

At any rate, we all fell in love with The Donut and I set about trying to duplicate the debauchery.

I found a review on line that at least gave me a hint that the glaze was a caramel type frosting. And that the sugar was as described above. But ratios? I was on my own. And while I hardly follow a recipe for everything I cook, when it comes to baked goods, I stick to recipes and usually just improvise.

This was improv from the get go.

They were good, but not THAT good.

Here is what I tried.


Using my favorite Yeast Raised Donut recipe from the good old North Goshen Mennonite Cookbook, I made half a batch (since I was experimenting, and my husband and I were the only ones home. Usually we make donuts as a party or family celebration).

Step 1: The Donuts

Raised Donuts

1 cup scalded milk
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1/4 cup shortening, Crisco type
3/8 cup sugar
¼ cup warm water
3 ¾ – 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

(Also takes 3-4 cups Crisco in electric skillet or other cooker to fry the donuts.)

Scald milk, then add sugar and salt. In separate container, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes with stirring. When scalded milk has cooled a bit, stir yeast and water before adding to the milk. Stir in beaten eggs and add shortening. Add the flour in 2 additions, using hands if needed to add the last half and knead dough for several minutes. Let dough rise till double. Punch down, rise again. Then roll out dough to 1/3 inch thick on floured surface, and cut with doughnut cutter. Put cut out donuts on trays, such as cookie sheets. Let rise again about 30-45 minute.


To fry donuts, drop in hot shortening, 375 degrees. Turn donut over once. (It will probably only take 30-40 seconds on each side to nicely brown.) Do not over cook. Remove donut from shortening and drain on paper towels.

Adapted from recipe by Sue Christener, North Goshen Mennonite “Fellowship Cooking” Cookbook, 1960s era.

Step 2: The Glaze

While warm, dredge donuts in caramel glaze. The recipe below is adapted from Ree The Pioneer WomanTasty Kitchen Recipes.

Easy Caramel Sauce (also good on ice cream, apple pie, etc.)

1 cup brown sugar
½ stick butter
½ cup half and half or cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5-7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. For glaze type consistency, add more milk if sauce is too thick to dip donuts in.

Dunk doughnuts in glaze/sauce while still warm. Then let them drip, hanging on a clean dowel rod to suspend the donuts over a dripping pan for glaze to cool without making a mess everywhere (could also use the long handle of a wooden stirring spoon).

Step 3: The Sugar On Top

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Put powdered sugar and cinnamon into sifter. Sift onto the glazed donuts. Set on paper towel to absorb mess.

Like I said, they were pretty good, but not to-die-for good.

So. Here I am, a pathetic wannabe part-time recipe blogger, writing a half-baked recipe that is not the yummiest yet or the bestest.

What suggestions do you have? Have you eaten the Rise’n Roll donuts? Go there. Other reviews say it is worth driving 100 miles out of your way. While I wouldn’t literally go that far, if you’re in the neighborhood, do stop in, and tell me how YOU would duplicate them.

Or, looking at the above, what ideas do you have for improving my odds of hitting my big fat donut target??



Homemade Doughnuts: Techniques and Recipes for Making Sublime Doughnuts in Your Home Kitchen by Kamal Grant (Quarry Books, 2014) has a recipe for Salted Carmel Icing especially for dunts. Here’s that recipe, but I have not yet tried it:

¼ cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons water
¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt


Briefly stir together the white sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6-7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add butter, cream, and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Combine the caramel, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix until completely mixed and lump free. Cover and refrigerate before using. Makes 1 ½ to 2 cups.


Do you think that would be worth a try? Speaking of caramel, my neighbor/blogger friend Jennifer Murch wrote about to-die-for Homemade Salted Caramel Ice Cream just last week, which does look yummy!


And oh yeah, anyone want to open a Rise’n Roll franchise in this neighborhood??

  1. “to duplicate the debauchery” – love it.

  2. Athanasia permalink

    Spoiler alert here too…I don’t like doughnuts ! Isn’t that just sad and oh so awful? I know I am missing out on such a good thing! I wish you best of luck in your search and much happy eating.
    Home Joys blog has posts about their family donut making day…you could look at her recipe.

    • I envy the fact that donuts don’t tempt you! That is great. I will check out Home Joys blog–thanks for sharing that. Do you not like sweets in general? How about homemade yeast raised sweet rolls? Yeast breads in general call my name.

      • Athanasia permalink

        Oh I love to bake and my family loves to eat. But no I don’t have a sweet tooth. This time of year I am making desserts often of apples…pie, crisp, brown betty, baked, and I don’t at all like cooked apples so never eat it myself. We have apple trees so I have plenty to use up. I put a dozen or so unbaked apple pies in the freezer every fall for almost dessert ( just put in oven while you are making dinner).

        I also don’t like deep fried foods. I have made baked doughnuts with a set of pans. They are ok, I guess. I’ve made fake doughnut holes which are just doughnuts baked in mini muffin pans then rolled in cinnamon sugar.

        I make yeast raised sweet rolls about every other week. My recipe makes about 30 rolls and I either frost them or do the pecan sticky stuff. I’ll eat one maybe. My most favorite treat is the ends off my homemade bread, still warm with some butter and a cup of tea.

        Now, I can resist the call of sugar, just don’t ask me about the salty things!

  3. “Amish crack” got my attention. Great title, Melodie.

    Cream-filled donuts – I love them. Unfortunately, I am too vain to indulge very often. I don’t want to look like a donut.

    • I like cream filled donuts better than jelly filled donuts–they don’t do anything for me. No Pillsbury dough boy look, huh? I hear you. So it is probably good that neither my husband nor I live close to the Rise ‘n Roll. What was fun/funny was seeing our very lean son-in-law and wife scarfing them down! That good. Stay away.

  4. Athanasia, I too know the lure of the end pieces off of fresh baked warm bread with butter. Now that beats donuts!

  5. I’m uttering a half-chuckle here with the part of my mouth that is not presently filled with the last bite of my last caramel-cinnamon coated doughnut from said miracle bakery!! Just returned from Indiana & had to stop at Rise ‘n Roll in Middlebury. Yes, it’s a good thing, I s’pose, that we can only indulge a couple times a year. 😦 Everything we’ve bought there was great, but the doughnuts are so incredible that they’ll ruin every other doughnut for you. That is why, on a whim, I Googled to see if anyone else is trying to figure out how they do this! The one I just ate was a day old, & it could still beat out ANY other doughnut I’ve had! In fact, though I used to be crazy about doughnuts, I find most of them don’t even entice me anymore…except these.

    I haven’t yet tried your recipe, but it looks similar to some I’ve made before. I’ll post back if I get any more ideas, but my initial thoughts are these: I don’t know for certain (& haven’t asked the folks at R ‘n R) but most people I talk to, including a pro doughnut-maker, think the R ‘n R doughnuts are made from potato dough. Still yeast, like your recipe, but with mashed potatoes & their cooking water in the mix. Many Fastnacht doughnuts in Eastern PA (made on Fastnacht Day, a “PA Dutch” or “PA German” day otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras) are made with potatoes, & there’s a consistency & flavor that seems familiar about them. My mom makes mounds of them each year. Also, it would be worth trying some different sized cutters & different types of frying oil, especially experimenting with the hole size. Sounds trivial, but those 2 things truly affect texture. The doughnut hole in your photo is larger than R ‘n R ones.

    The thing about R n’ R doughnuts is that they’re not greasy at all, but a very very thin outer crispness greets you as you bite one, immediately yielding to chewy but light softness that truly melts in your mouth. That caramel + cinnamon coating works to trap all that perfection & they don’t dry out. This time, I had one with the above topping, but filled with Bavarian Cream… and that cream was out of this world!! I have no real hope of duplicating these, but hope we can learn some tips somewhere that will get us closer to the R ‘n R doughnut perfection! Mmmmm.

  6. I was excited to find your post, 2 month after the original post and I’m so glad you found it. I will look forward to any additional ideas you have or if you make a try! Would love to hear about it. Thanks for affirming how out of this world delicious and different beyond the norm, they are!

  7. Jill permalink

    I just checked their site, they do have those donuts for sale. $29.99 for 18.

    • Oh my, tempting! I wonder how fresh they could be after shipping though. Maybe next day air. It might as well be a “drug” until you paid for shipping! Thanks for the note! What I’d really like to do is make a good imitation though!

  8. They used to come into the city of Chicago and sell these donuts. They are the best I have ever had!

    • My son-in-law–who is lean and does not indulge often in sweets, could hardly put them down. I think I did find a location in Chicago still selling them, but I haven’t looked recently online. Thanks for commenting and I love the name of your blog!

  9. Judy Alderden permalink

    I LOVE those donuts and just missed getting them this weekend because the bakery was closed. I DID, however, pick up a bag of “Cinnamon Donut Sugar” at Miller’s Discount store in Centreville, MI – north of Sturgis. You can probably also buy it at E&S in Shiipshewana. It’s either VERY fine sugar/cinnamon, but it really looks like powdered sugar and cinnamon. The aroma is wafting right through the bag.

    • Judy, I’m thrilled to know about the Cinnamon Donut Sugar and we get to the E&S Shipshewana store almost every time we come to Indiana to visit family there. Sorry you had to miss out but happy to know the employees get a well deserved holiday. I believe they stay very busy!

  10. I did a 1am, 2 trimester pregnancy, Google search for this exact recipe. This is what I’m craving currently. Unfortunately I won’t be making an early morning run because we are 3 hours away. I was surprised to see you call it “Amish Crack” because we do as well. My mother in law lives about 25 minutes away from the main shop. Unfortunately their dough recipe has changed, for mass production, and they do not taste the same. They are working on getting it back to the original (dough was too sticky for machine). After trying the new version, I really think the secret is in the dough.

    • I feel your craving! I will have to tell my daughter about it; she is due in January. 🙂 It was her husband who first fell in love with them for our family, which is unusual, as he’s quite thin and usually eats very healthily! My friend who told us about the store said the nickname was Amish Crack–and this is always one of the most highly searched terms that gets people to my blog! Thanks for the info on the dough recipe change! Interesting. I plan to visit Goshen & my mother in October so I hope to stop by the store and maybe take another crack at copying the crack. Ha.

  11. Quebert permalink

    I used to work there, your missing a key ingredient though. Unfortunately I signed a clause that forbids me from sharing the ingredients…

  12. Phyllis permalink

    hmmmm, a clue, missing a key ingredient. potato, perhaps?

    • Like, mashed potatoes in the dough??

    • mhoeff1 permalink

      I was told it’s potato based I’ve read online make a doughnut using potato starch only found one recipe using this

      • I can see that a shortcut might be potato starch but not knowing quantity for that (and with your other caution about gumminess,) I think I’ll go with a potato dough recipe I have an adapt that.

  13. beautiful ending boss…

  14. DeeDee permalink

    I was told that they use flavor extracts not sure how true this is…And that there is potato in dough…I had asked at bakery because of carb ratio for my diabetic son.

  15. Stephanie permalink

    I hope these taste like them… Because those donuts are the best I’ve ever had… And it helps living only an hour away from Shipshewana… Defiantly worth the money and drive.

    • I would say this recipe produces very good donuts, but not quite as good as Rise’n Roll, sorry to say. I guess for that you’ll have to continue to make the hour drive and be thankful you’re only an hour away and not 600 miles like me! And perhaps be thankful it’s not a mile away or you would likely indulge too often! I know I would. Thanks for your comment.

    • I would say this recipe produces very good donuts, but not quite as good as Rise’n Roll, sorry to say. I guess for that you’ll have to continue to make the hour drive and be thankful you’re only an hour away and not 600 miles like me! And perhaps be thankful it’s not a mile away or you would likely indulge too often! I know I would. Thanks for your comment.

  16. Rachael permalink

    They are amazing. I live in Fort wayne where there is a rise and roll about 15 minutes from me on the other side of town. Lol. I’m to lazy to go most the time. But dang. When I do. It’s on!

    • We often drive through Fort Wayne on our way to Goshen, driving from Virginia. Is it on the south side of Fort Wayne? Yes, in this case, a streak of laziness is likely a good thing. Thanks for your comment and the ongoing ride this post is having! It is my most frequently viewed post!

      • Thelma Louise permalink

        Yes. Rise and Roll SW location is on Illinois Rd east of 69 in a strip mall next to Fire House Subs. About 5 minutes east of 69.

  17. Van permalink

    I know this is an older page, but did you ever perfect your recipe by adding mashed potatoes to your dough?

    • Van, no, haven’t tried it yet. I love fall donuts, so this is a good season to revisit this. Will have to plan a time! Thanks for the nudge.

  18. Constancia permalink

    I don’t care for donuts, as a rule. However, the kids at school had a fundraiser, so I tried one of the caramel cinnamon ones . . . MAN! This was one of the best things I’ve ever had, in life!!! I could eat half a dozen per day, easily!

    • You know, that was my son-in-law’s first reaction as well: he is not much for sweets and spare as a rail, but he sure enjoyed a number of those donut holes in a row. It was fun to watch his face, enjoying them!

  19. mhoeff1 permalink

    I was just there and oh my goodness they are a taste of Heaven .. they were sold out so all I had was a sample ok 3 samples lol. anyways when I asked about why it was so fluffy the young girl said it is potato based. I found a recipe online for potato starch doughnuts and read that potatoe flour isn’t recommended as it makes the doughnut gunmy so I will try the potatoes starch recipe. did you ever find a similar recipe to perfect these delicious doughnuts ? joie

    • Thanks for your input! No I have not yet tried again, but fall is often the season when we have a donut party, so I will see if I can try this again, using mashed potatoes in the dough. I am familiar with yeast bread recipes that call for mashed potatoes. Thanks for your comment about the “taste of heaven.” Nice.

  20. Wayne Andrews permalink

    As I live close to there I often stop in for a “Donat” . When my dog was still alive I had to share with her or she would drool all over the seat I think the missing ingrediant might be lard. That makes pastries fluffy and lite.

  21. Hello! – I tried my hand at these and here is what I came up with:
    Thanks so much for your inspiration and the helpful comments I found here – let me know what you think!

    • Gigi Groth permalink

      Hi Julie, I used your recipe for the donuts and the caramel glaze from Melodie. My neighbors love me including our next door neighbor’s parents from Montana. I have tried many recipes but always go back to this combination.

  22. For those of you not from this area. There is also a new shop in the South Bend area. BTW – the best school fund raiser EVER!!!

  23. Xamishmom permalink

    I grew up Amish…number one thing is to use lard not Crisco… I actually found this recipe trying to remember how we made them as kids so I could make them for my kids. I’m going to try it with tweaks from a very rusty memory and let you know how it goes

  24. Tricia permalink

    Rise n Roll doughnuts are the best melt in your mouth doughnut I have ever tasted in my life! My brain could not grasp how wonderfully delicious these doughnuts are. I think I ate 3 the first time I ever had them.

  25. Ms M permalink

    Try substituting potato starch flour for some of th Wheat flour, or mashed potatoes or potato flakes (instant potatoes). You’ll get the lighter texture you crave!

  26. Wendy permalink
    I bet this is the secret you are looking for! Use the dough for amish dinner rolls 😉

  27. Gigi Groth permalink

    Hi Melodie,

    I try a recipe several times and tweak it if I don’t like some ingredients. My husband is a very good, impartial critic because I take criticism as a way to improve the recipe. I read your blog about this “Amish Crack Donuts). The copy cat Amish Crack Doughnut from Oranges and Almonds blog (5) is a winner so far.

    I tried the recipe as written four days ago. My husband said “do not change anything.” My neighbor raved they were out of this world and she wished a late father, a Donut King could have tasted them. That was very sweet of her to say that.

    I wish I could attach a photo.


    • I will check this out for sure! I think you can add a photo, at least I have on others. Thanks for your help!

      • Gigi Groth permalink

        The missing ingredient, I am 95% sure it is potatoes (mashed and cooking water). The other 5%, maybe nutmeg. The dough is terribly wet so I will reduce the water. We will order the rise and roll and try them. Or if we ever go to this place, we will make the stop. Thanks for your blog. It pique my interest in the quest for the best donut.

      • Gigi, if you are a donut aficionado, check out my neighbor’s blog–in charge of making thousands of donuts each year at our local relief sale:
        Now that’s a job–volunteer of course!

  28. Denise permalink

    There is now a Rise n Roll bakery in Valparaiso, Indiana

  29. Danielle Lavin-Loucks permalink

    I love these donuts and have tried several times to replicate as well. If the donut itself was not to die for but the covering was amazing, try lard or tallow for frying. The former secret to the amazing McD’s fries is still the best for creating fried masterpieces.

    • I bet lard really does make a significant difference. Thanks for finding this. My great grandfather on my mother’s side was a Loucks. 🙂

  30. Casi Fansler permalink

    I think the powdered topping has some sort of Carmel flavor but just a touch

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Quick(er) Amish Dinner or Sweet Rolls – A two-fer | findingharmonyblog
  2. Remembering the Days | findingharmonyblog
  3. How to go solar: Our experience | findingharmonyblog
  4. Great Gifts, Rise’n Roll Donuts and Gluten Free Flour | findingharmonyblog
  5. Fancy Doughnuts in a Plain World: “Amish Crack” | Oranges and Almonds
  6. Rise ‘n Roll’s Amish Crack Epidemic and Its Impact on the ‘Saw – Hooch and Nosh
  7. By the Numbers: Blog Posts and Newspaper Columns | findingharmonyblog
  8. Rocket Fuel – RV Castaways
  9. Rise ‘n Roll's Amish Crack Epidemic and Its Impact on the 'Saw - Hooch and Nosh | Telling the Story of Kosciusko

Leave a Reply to melodiemillerdavis Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Jennifer Murch

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. -Twyla Tharp

Trisha Faye

Cherishing the Past while Celebrating the Present


To walk or tramp about; to gad, wander. < Old French - trapasser (to trespass).

Tuesdays with Laurie

"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." —Laurie Buchanan

Hickory Hill Farm

Blueberries, grapes, vegetables, and more

The Centrality and Supremacy of Jesus Christ

The Website & Blog of David D. Flowers

Cynthia's Communique

Navigating careers, the media and life

the practical mystic

spiritual adventures in the real world

Osheta Moore

Shalom in the City

Shirley Hershey Showalter

writing and reading memoir

Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Harmony, grace and wisdom for family living.

mama congo

Harmony, grace and wisdom for family living.


Harmony, grace and wisdom for family living.

Roadkill Crossing

Writing generated from the rural life

%d bloggers like this: