Amazing pumpkin donuts made with maple syrup and honey, no processed sugar. They’re light and fluffy and ready in 20 minutes – the perfect weekend treat! Pair with a hot cup of coffee and pumpkin spice creamer and you’re set to go!
Can we talk about donuts for a second?
I love donuts. I love the taste, how they melt in your mouth and I love that no matter what mood you may be in, there’s always a donut to match.
But because they’re not exactly on the “healthy” side of the scale, we don’t eat them.
In fact, the only time we EVER have donuts for breakfast is when we’re either moving (which I admit has happened often this past year) or when we’re helping someone else move.
So imagine the shock on my kids’ faces when they woke up one school morning (A SCHOOL MORNING!), asked me what was for breakfast and I said donuts. But these aren’t any old donuts folks – these are PUMPKIN donuts!
They were shocked. In disbelief!
I think I might have gotten an extra squeeze in my morning hug. 🙂
But truth be told, I didn’t make pumpkin donuts for the kids. I made them because I was cleaning out the pantry and needed to use up a jar of homemade yellow cake mix.
You see, somehow I started thinking about donuts. (I think it was the fact that I was finally unpacking the last box from our recent move.)
In my search for a recipe, I stumbled across one for easy pumpkin donuts that used just two ingredients: a box of cake mix and a can of pumpkin.
Well, that recipe for easy pumpkin donuts was definitely easy, but it wasn’t that good. At least not good enough to make again and definitely not good enough to recommend to you guys.
You see, when I envision that first bite into a donut, it’s nothing but light and fluffy and melting in my mouth. It’s totally and completely complemented by a sip of hot coffee (pumpkin coffee especially) and every time you finish one, you can’t help but want another.
Under normal circumstances, you’ll only find this texture in yeast donuts. Yeast donuts require yeast, rise time and oil for deep frying. And I assure you, none of that is happening on a school morning.
But here’s the thing: I’ve had incredibly light and fluffy cupcakes before that didn’t have yeast. Why couldn’t I pull off something similar with baked donuts?
I went back to the drawing board (a.k.a. Google and Pinterest and the everyone-must-have cookbook) in search of a donut recipe that would work. I wanted a delicious fall treat that just melts in your mouth AND is somewhat healthy.
Guess what – I found it!
Healthy Baked Pumpkin Donuts
Have you ever had pumpkin-flavored something and then not taste the pumpkin? You won’t find that here.
These incredibly delicious pumpkin cake donuts are infused with 100% real pumpkin and tons of pumpkin spice. They are so easy to make and so, so, SO good.
I assure you, if any pumpkin donut is worthy enough to sit next to your coffee as you read a good book, this one is it.
Whether you choose plain, glazed, chocolate or sugar and cinnamon, these pumpkin donuts are my official indulgence of the season.
Speaking of toppings, can we chat about them for a minute?
How to Make Pumpkin Donut Icing
First up, they’re all good. You literally cannot go wrong with any of these toppings at all, even if you choose no topping.
Second, they’re all really easy.
- Chocolate. Melt chocolate chips in a bowl for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each round. You can try different types of chips too! Butterscotch, white chocolate, dark chocolate.
- Vanilla Glaze. This one is the same that we use on our homemade cinnamon rolls. In a small bowl sift together, 1 cup confectioners sugar and ½ tsp salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together, 2 Tbsp melted butter, 1 Tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Stir into the sugar mixture until smooth. Add more milk to thin if needed.
- Maple Glaze. In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp melted butter, ¼ tsp vanilla extract.
- Cinnamon Sugar. In a small bowl mix together 1 tsp cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar (we like turbinado). In another bowl melt 2 Tbsp butter. Dip cooled donuts in the butter first and then in the sugar mixture.
To ice the donuts, turn the donut upside down into the bowl of glaze or chocolate. Rotate 1/4-1/2 turns, and then pull out of the glaze while rotating slowly.
If you want to add nuts, sprinkle them on top of the icing or chocolate!
Equipment tips for baked pumpkin donuts
Want to make pumpkin donuts but don’t have a doughnut pan? Take heart and make donut holes!
- They make donut hole pans – which are totally cute and worth every dollar from Michaels using a 50% off coupon.
- You can also use a mini-muffin pan and get REALLY close to the donut hole shape if you don’t fill it up all the way (and ignore the flat bottoms).
- I used a cookie scoop (see?! I told you they were awesome!) to evenly fill the holes in the pan. You can use a spoon if you’d like, but really truly, a cookie scoop is easier.
For actual donut-shaped donuts, you will need a donut pan. I have this donut pan, again via Michaels with a 50% off coupon. It’s not a necessity, but giving the kids donuts for breakfast that actually LOOK like donuts will earn you extra mom points and tighter hugs.
Some will recommend filling a gallon plastic bag with your batter, cutting off the tip and piping the batter into the donut pan. I didn’t do that. The last time I tried piping something, it was a complete disaster.
I took the safe route and used my cookie scoop instead – 4 scoops for each donut – and then smoothed the batter in the pan with the back of a spoon. Less wasted batter which means more donuts, and more pumpkin donuts is never a bad thing!
Note: You can always double this recipe and freeze some for later! Batch cooking and freezing is on of my secrets to cooking real food fast. You can find out more in this free 5 Day Challenge!
- 6 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2¼ tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or make your own)
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup butter, soft
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, soft
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease baking pans with a butter wrapper or cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside
- Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Whisk together well and set aside.
- Stir the milk and vinegar and add the remaining wet ingredients: honey, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin puree, eggs, softened butter and coconut oil. Mix together well with a spatula.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until they are JUST combined. Over-stirring will cause dense donuts so do not over-stir!
- Pipe or scoop batter into your pan and bake for 13 minutes if you're making donut holes, 15 minutes if you're making donuts.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the donuts to a cooling rack. Allow the donuts to mostly cool before icing.