These cheese donuts take inspiration from Colombian buñuelos, a traditional holiday dessert of fried dough balls flavored with grated cheese. The combination of tapioca starch and cornstarch creates a fritter that's bites differently from the run-of-the-mill donut: a chewy, airy interior covered in a crisp shell.
The dough is simple to make and can be kneaded by hand, though a stand mixer will speed up the process. Don't feel pressured to use expensive cheeses—we use commercial grated Parmesan and cheddar in ours. Processed cheeses like Eden will work just fine.
1 ½ cups tapioca flour
1 cup grated mozzarella
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup neutral oil, plus more for frying
Mix the dry ingredients: Combine tapioca flour, grated cheeses, cornstarch, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
Mix the wet ingredients: Combine milk, oil, and egg in a large measuring cup or bowl. Whisk until smooth and well combined.
Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. Slowly mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a rough dough forms with no dry flour streaks. If the mixture looks too wet, keep going!
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until a stiff, almost smooth dough forms.
Prepare for frying: Add 3 inches of oil to a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Heat oil over medium-high to 325ºF (175ºC). Line a baking sheet or heatproof plate with paper towels.
While the oil is heating, portion the dough into 1-inch balls with an ice cream scooper or spoon. Roll each ball between your palms until smooth and round. Repeat until all of the dough has been portioned and rolled. You should end up with around 15 to 20 donut balls.
Carefully lower the donut balls into the oil, working in small batches to prevent overcrowding. Fry, turning as needed, until donuts are cooked through and evenly golden on all sides, about 5–7 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all donuts have been fried.