Learn how to make baked pumpkin donuts with this easy recipe. They are a fun fall treat that makes a great breakfast or snack! You will need a donut pan to make these pumpkin donuts since they are baked, not fried. You can coat them in cinnamon sugar or glaze them if you prefer.
The beauty of baked pumpkin donuts is that you don't have to deep fry them, which can be a messy, though rewarding, endeavour. These easy donuts are made from a simple pumpkin cake batter, lightly spiced, then baked in donut pans.
What you will need to make these
These pumpkin donuts are cake donuts, so they are made from a batter, similar to pumpkin cakes or pumpkin muffins. Here's what you will need to make them:
- all-purpose flour is needed to give structure to the batter so that the donuts bake nice and light
- baking powder, not baking soda is used here because the batter is made with milk and doesn't have the acidity that baking soda may need to help the donuts rise up. Remember baking powder is a complete chemical leavener.
- salt, specifically Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt is a fine salt that isn't too salty. The salt is needed to balance out the sugar and bring out the flavours in these donuts. If using table salt, add half the amount
- pumpkin spice mix or a mixture of spices, store bought spice mix or a homemade blend will work here
- pumpkin purée, either canned or homemade
- sugar, either granulated sugar or brown sugar works in this recipe, but I like to use both since brown sugar will add a little flavour. The sugar is very important to achieve the right texture so don't cut back on it
- eggs help emulsify the ingredients together but also help the donuts bake lighter
- neutral tasting oil, like canola oil is used to create tender donuts that aren't so dry tasting. You will need extra to brush the pans with
- milk is needed to smooth out the batter. Too much milk makes these donuts too wet and heavy. The percentage of milk fat isn't so important here
To bake donuts, obviously you will need a donut pan (I have two Nordic Ware pans you can find on Amazon). If you don't have donut pans, don't worry: you could bake these in muffin pans to make pumpkin donut muffins!
Filling donut pans can be tricky. I like to transfer the batter to a large piping bag without a piping tip. Cut the tip of the bag to create a large opening (about 1 centimetre or ¼–½ inch). This will make it easier to cleanly fill the donut pan without spilling too much.
Coating baked donuts
To finish baked donuts, you have several options:
- toss them in cinnamon sugar when they are still hot so that the sugar adheres to the donuts
- brush them with melted butter when they've cooled off then toss in cinnamon sugar to coat
- glaze them when they've cooled off with a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze.
Personally, I like to let them cool and brush them with melted butter before coating in sugar. I find the melted butter gives these extra flavour.
The trouble with baked donuts is that they are best eaten within a day or two, especially if you've coated them in sugar. The sugar is hygroscopic and will draw moisture, liquifying and creating a wet coating on the donuts that isn't very appealing.
For longer storage, I suggest only coating in sugar the donuts you plan to eat right away. Store the rest in an airtight container and coat them in sugar when you want to eat them.
Still, just like pumpkin muffins, these are best eaten within a few days.
If you don't want to use pumpkin purée, you can try mashed sweet potato instead (the same amount) to make sweet potato donuts!
Feel free to play around with the spices in the donuts. For example, cardamom works will in them!
Baked pumpkin donuts
- 250 grams (2 cups) bleached all-purpose flour
- 5 mL (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 5 mL (1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- 2.5 mL (½ teaspoon) ground ginger
- 1.25 mL (¼ teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- 1.25 mL (¼ teaspoon) Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 0.625 mL (⅛ teaspoon) ground allspice
- 0.625 mL (⅛ teaspoon) ground cloves
- 2 large egg(s)
- 240 grams (1 cup) pumpkin purée or strained homemade pumpkin purée
- 100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 100 grams (½ cup) light brown sugar
- 78 mL (⅓ cup) canola oil or any neutral-tasting oil
- 60 mL (¼ cup) whole milk (3.25 % fat)
- 58 grams unsalted butter melted
- 100 grams (½ cup) cinnamon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the cavities of two donut pans with canola oil (I used this one from Amazon). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated and brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and milk.
- Pour the wet. ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk or fold to combine. Don't over mix.
- Fill a piping bag with the batter, and pipe it into each of the molds to fill it about half-way. to two-thirds full.
- Bake the donuts until a cake tester inserted into one comes out clean (about 12–14 minutes).
- Immediately invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Otherwise they may stick a little.
- When donuts are warm, toss in cinnamon sugar OR if they've cooled off, then brush outside of donuts with melted sugar and toss in cinnamon sugar.