You are going to fall in love with these super moist and delicious Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts that are the perfect start to a holiday morning! They are packed with pumpkin, spiced with all the best iconic fall flavors, and coated in a simple cinnamon sugar mixture that is absolutely yummy! And because these donuts are baked and not fried they are effectively cake donuts, which makes them a tad bit healthier and easier to make!
📖 Difference between baked and fried donuts
As the name indicates, one type of donut is baked, which means cooked in the oven and the other type is fried, meaning cooked in oil. Yet, there are actually a few other significant differences between baked and fried donuts.
To begin, fried donuts have a soft pillow-like texture. This is because yeast is used as the leavening agent and they are also almost always made using bread flour, which is higher in protein. Yet, just like bread, due to the yeast, fried donut dough needs time to rise and for that reason, they take a much longer time to make.
Whereas, baked donuts also known as cake donuts have a tender crumb and are baked in the oven using a donut mold. So these baked pumpkin spice donuts are more similar to cake because they rely on baking soda and baking powder to make them rise instead of yeast. So they are much easier and less time consuming to make than fried donuts. And because they aren't fried, these healthy baked pumpkin donuts are better for you too!
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- Extremely easy – No fancy ingredients, expensive equipment, or special skills are needed to make these cinnamon sugar pumpkin donuts, which makes this the perfect recipe for first-time donut makers. The perfect easy pumpkin spice donuts recipe you need!
- Quick recipe – You literally just make a simple batter and bake these pumpkin cake donuts. That's it! Unlike fried donuts that require yeast and waiting for the dough to rise, these healthy pumpkin donuts are ready to bake in a matter of minutes.
- Healthier donut option - Baking is always healthier than frying in oil. So not only are pumpkin donuts baked in the oven just as good as their fried counterparts, but they are healthier too.
- Super delicious – Full of pumpkin puree and lots of fall spices these baked pumpkin spice donuts are amazing! They are perfectly moist on the inside and coated with a delightful cinnamon sugar mixture on the outside.
- Detailed tutorial - Just follow the steps, check out the expert tips and FAQ, and your donuts are sure to come out perfect!
📝 Ingredient notes
- Egg: Used to help bind the batter and add richness. Use at room temperature.
- Vegetable Oil: This is an oil-based batter with no butter, so it's important to use a vegetable oil that is flavorless. Using oil helps to keep the donuts super moist.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar is used to sweeten the pumpkin donut batter and to make the yummy cinnamon sugar coating.
- Brown Sugar: I am also adding a bit of brown sugar to add some deep molasses flavor. You can use light or dark brown sugar. If you want to learn more about how to use different types of sugar in baking, please read my sugar guide.
- Pumpkin Puree: You need good quality pumpkin puree for the best flavor. If you are using store-bought puree you want to choose the "solid pack" variety, which has already had the excess liquid removed. However, if you can't find solid-pack pumpkin puree or want to make your own pumpkin puree, you will have to remove the liquid yourself. You can do this by using cheesecloth, a fine mesh sieve, or cooking it out.
- Flour: I used simple all purpose flour. If you want to be a baking pro, please read my flour guide to learn more about the different types of flour and how to use them in baking.
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda: Both are leavening agents used to help the baked pumpkin spice donuts rise and make them tender.
- Salt: An important ingredient that helps to balance sweetness and enhance flavor.
- Spices: You can use store-bought or make my homemade pumpkin spice mix for the batter. You will also need a few teaspoons ground cinnamon to make the donut coating.
- Butter: Always use unsalted butter to control the amount of added salt. I use butter with a fat content of 82% in all my recipes for the best flavor. The butter is used to adhere the cinnamon sugar coating to the donuts, so it needs to be melted.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
How to make baked pumpkin donuts? It is in fact, super simple and pretty fun!
1. How to make baked pumpkin donuts
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 347 F (no fan) and grease your donut tin well if you aren't using a silicone baking mold.
- Use an electric hand mixer to whip the egg, oil, sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Then gently fold in the pumpkin puree with a rubber spatula.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a separate bowl and then whisk together. Now, fold the dry ingredients into the wet pumpkin mixture using a rubber spatula. Do not use a mixer. You need to be careful not to overmix the batter.
- Spoon or pipe the pumpkin batter into the donut mold. Be sure to divide the batter equally among the donut cavities so that the donuts bake evenly.
- Bake the donuts for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the baked pumpkin spice donuts to room temperature before coating them with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
💡 Top Tip: Do not fully fill the mold cavities with batter because the donuts need room to rise.
2. How to cover the pumpkin cake donuts with cinnamon sugar
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a medium bowl.
- Melt the unsalted butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Then apply it thoroughly all over the donuts.
- Dip the donuts into the cinnamon sugar mixture and toss the mixture over them to fully coat.
Serve the pumpkin donuts as a breakfast with coffee or pumpkin spice latter or as a snack after lunch or dinner.
💡 Top Tip: Use a pastry brush to evenly apply the butter and keep from oversaturating the donuts, which can make them greasy.
✨ Flavor variations
These easy pumpkin donuts are going to become your ultimate pick for Thanksgiving and beyond! Because not only are they super delicious but they are really easy to customize too!
You must keep the ratios of the ingredients the same as well as the mixing method and baking time. However, there are a number of other ways that you can get creative like switching up spices or making glazed pumpkin donuts.
These are a few of my favorite ways to customize this baked pumpkin spice donuts recipe!
- Spices - You can spice up the batter or coating any way you like. Aside, from pumpkin pie spice, I love to add a touch of cardamom and a dash of vanilla extract. Ground cloves are another good option as well as allspice or even a tiny bit of cayenne pepper for heat.
- Chopped Nuts - You can stir chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts into the batter. Just gently fold them in once the batter is made.
- Chocolate - Mini chocolate chips are a great addition to the batter. You can also drizzle the donuts with melted chocolate after you coat them in the cinnamon sugar.
- Cream Cheese Frosting - Top the donuts with some of my yummy cream cheese frosting.
- Glaze - To make baked pumpkin donuts with glaze, you can use this amazing butterscotch glaze from my pumpkin bundt cake recipe in place of the cinnamon sugar coating. Or even make baked pumpkin donuts with maple glaze!
- Citrus Zest - Orange zest goes wonderfully with pumpkin. Lemon zest is also another great addition that will add a lovely contrast to the sweetness.
- Purees - Similar to my pumpkin banana muffins, you can replace half of the fresh pumpkin puree with banana puree. Just make sure to use the exact same amounts as stated in the recipe.
🥣 Equipment Notes
To make this easy recipe for baked pumpkin spice donuts you will need a few basic pieces of equipment.
It's important to remember that baking is a science, so you should always use a digital scale to make sure that your measurements are exact. A digital oven thermometer is also really useful to see if you need to make any adjustments after you preheat your oven. Both of these tools will help you to always have the best baking experience.
For the donut batter, an electric hand mixer works best to whip the egg, oil, and sugars together. And using a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together is ideal to make sure you don't overmix the batter.
Then when it comes time to bake, you'll need a donut tin like a Silikomart donut mold, which is my favorite! As well as, a cooling rack to let the pumpkin spice doughnuts come to room temperature after they come out of the oven.
🎓 Expert tips
- The egg and pumpkin puree must be at room temperature for the batter of this pumpkin donut recipe to emulsify and properly come together.
- You must remove any excess liquid from the pumpkin puree for the best texture. You can do this by squeezing it with cheesecloth, a sieve, or by cooking it. Then measure out your pumpkin.
- Do not overmix the batter. You need to fold the dry ingredients in using a rubber spatula. The mixer should only be used to whip the wet ingredients.
- Make sure to grease your donut pan well if you aren't using a silicone mold. You can also check out my article on how to remove cake from different types of pans.
- For even baking, distribute the batter evenly among the cavities of the donut mold. This also ensures that all the donuts have room to rise as they bake without overflowing.
- Use a timer to ensure you don't overbake the donuts. Baked pumpkin spice donuts are ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the donut comes out clean.
- Be sure to only apply a light layer of melted butter all over the donuts before coating them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- If you opt not to coat your donuts the cinnamon sugar, which adds a lot of sweetness to the donuts, you can add more sugar to the batter.
You either didn't leave them in the oven long enough or the batter was too wet. This is why it's important to accurately measure all the ingredients. And in this recipe, it's also crucial that all the excess liquid be removed from the pumpkin puree before it's measured out.
The most common reason baked donuts turn out dry is overbaking. The other most common reason is typically due to the ratios of the ingredients being off, which in this case means that you probably added too much flour.
Yes! Just distribute the batter evenly into 6 cavities of a muffin pan and follow the recipe instructions to bake. You can also make baked pumpkin donut holes using a mini muffin pan.
Probably yes, but I've not tried. However, keep in mind that you can't just change one ingredient in baking without often needing to reformulate other parts of the recipe. For a gluten-free version, just make sure to use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour that has xanthan gum in it, which acts as a replacement for the gluten that is naturally in all-purpose flour. As for a vegan version, you may have to experiment with different egg replacements and use vegan butter of course.
Allspice actually comes from the berries of a small tree and pumpkin spice is a mixture of warm spices. However, sometimes the two get confused because some people find that allspice has a taste that is similar to a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. In fact, for this reason, a dash of allspice is often included as part of a pumpkin doughnut recipe.
Leftovers can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.
The baked donuts can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months in a sealed freezer bag. However, it's best not to coat them in cinnamon sugar or any glaze if you plan on freezing them.
🎃 More Pumpkin recipes
Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts (VIDEO)
- 1 Egg room temperature
- 60 g (¼ cups) Oil no flavor vegetable oil
- 30 g (2 tablespoons) Granulated sugar
- 30 g (2 tablespoons) Brown sugar
- 110 g (½ cups) Pumpkin puree
- 90 g (¾ cups) All purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon Baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon Baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pumpkin spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
- 40 g (3 tablespoons) Unsalted butter melted
- 80 g (⅓ cups) Granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts
- In a large bowl oil, whip egg, oil, and the 2 different kinds of sugar with an Electric hand mixer for a few minutes until fluffy, then fold pumpkin puree in
- Sift dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices) then fold into the wet ingredients by hand using a Rubber spatula). Do not use a mixer at this point.
- Pipe or spoon the donut batter into the cavities of your donut mold.
- Bake for 20-25 min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
- Let the donuts come to room temperature before applying the cinnamon sugar on them
- Mix granulated sugar with cinnamon
- Melt a small amount of butter and apply lightly but thoroughly all around the donuts then dump them in the cinnamon sugar mixture
- Serve the donuts fresh. Any leftovers can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for 2-3 days.
- All ingredients must be at room temperature to properly emulsify: eggs, pumpkin puree, etc.
- For the best taste and texture make sure that your pumpkin puree is not watery. Strain it on cheesecloth to get rid of some of the liquid if necessary
- Digital scale is required for a consistent, happy baking experience:)
- Do not overwork the cake batter, after the wet ingredients are whipped up, switch to a rubber spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients
- If not using a silicone baking mold, make sure to properly grease your tin. Check my article about how to get cake out of mold and how to properly prepare a non-silicone mold
- Always pre-heat your oven and consider using a digital oven thermometer for the best results
- Baking this Pumpkin donut takes 20-25 minutes in my oven however focus on the texture, not the time. Apply the toothpick check (it should come out clean) to avoid raw cake
- When applying the melted butter, make sure to apply only a small amount but all around the donuts. The cinnamon sugar will only stick to the part that is buttered.
These donuts are amazing!! Can’t wait to try some of your other pumpkin recipes 🙂