Old-Fashioned Baked Donuts

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These old-fashioned baked donuts will remind you just how delicious breakfast can taste! This simple recipe will give you familiar old-fashioneds without all the hassle of rolling, cutting, and frying the dough.

baked donuts stacked three high on round metal rack with glass flower vase in background

This baked donut recipe is perfectly sweet and cakey without being too sugary. The donuts make a great breakfast treat or delicious snack at any time of day!

I’m a sucker for a fresh hot donut. Coffee and donuts for breakfast are some of life’s simplest pleasures. I can never pass up baked chocolate donuts with peanut butter frosting or strawberry donuts.

A few weeks ago, I had a major craving for old-fashioned donuts, but the idea of having to pull out the fryer and clean up grease splatters didn’t appeal to me.

So, I went on a mission to find and perfect a baked version that tastes just like this classic cake donut.

Through my research, I discovered that there are two types of old-fashioned donuts. One uses sour cream and the other uses buttermilk.

I tested both during the development process and prefer buttermilk best in this baked version.

Why this recipe works

  • A lot of vanilla and nutmeg is what makes these donuts taste so darn good! Don’t shy away from the full tablespoon of vanilla called for in the recipe.
  • The batter is mixed like a muffin batter. Some clumps of flour may be visible but this is okay and will give you tender donuts.
  • Apply the glaze while the donuts are still warm. This will cause the glaze to sort of melt and set in a thin layer just like true old-fashioned donuts.
baked donuts arranged in single layer on round metal rack with blue napkin underneath and white tea pot next to glass flower vase

It took several batches of failed donuts before I achieved exactly what I was looking for. The batter calls for simple ingredients that most people already have on hand.

I used melted butter and oil with the addition of buttermilk to keep the texture soft. Whole wheat flour combined with all-purpose flour keeps the donuts sturdy.

You don’t have to chill and roll the dough because these donuts bake in a donut pan. You can mix this batter by hand, making the process much simpler.

The baked donuts are soft and cake-like without being overly sweet, while the vanilla glaze adds just the right amount of extra sweetness. You can also dust them with powdered sugar if you wish to omit the glaze.


Recipe Ingredients

The ingredients are pretty standard pantry items. More than likely, you already have them on hand.

  • Fats: You’ll need unsalted butter, vegetable oil, and eggs to make the best baked donuts.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is used in the donut batter while powdered sugar is used for the glaze.
  • Vanilla: Using pure vanilla extract will give you the best flavor. It’s in the donut and the glaze.
  • Flour: A combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour is used for the donut. You won’t taste the whole wheat flour. Only a little is used to help give the donuts structure.
  • Leavening: Both baking powder and baking soda help the donuts rise during baking.
  • Spices: Nutmeg and salt are the only necessary spices. Nutmeg will give the you that familiar flavor.
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is essential to this recipe! It keeps the donuts tender while offering a very slight tang. You can use sour cream but I don’t prefer it.
  • Milk: Th glaze uses just a few tablespoons of milk.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Mixing bowls: You need two mixing bowls.
  • Whisk: A large balloon whisk is what I prefer for mixing. You don’t need to use an electric mixer.
  • Piping bag: A disposable piping bag or ziptop bag with a small corner cut off works best for filling the donut pan.
  • Donut pan: I like these donut pans, but they only hold six donuts. This means you’ll need to have at least 3 on hand to make this recipe.

How to make baked donuts

It’s super easy to make donuts at home! This recipe comes together in just a few short minutes.

The Batter – The batter is made by mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Then, combine the two and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

The Glaze – To make the glaze, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk together until smooth.

hand dipping baked donut into bowl of glaze with more donuts on wire rack in background

Step 1: Mix the batter

To make the donut batter, start by mixing the melted butter, oil, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. You don’t need a mixer for this. Just use a large whisk and mix until combined.

Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until they are well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together until very well combined.

Whisk half the flour mixture into the butter mixture just until almost fully incorporated. Add the buttermilk and remaining flour mixture then mix just until no dry streaks of dry flour are visible.

ⓘ Don’t overmix the batter! It’s okay if it’s not perfectly smooth. Overmixing will cause the donuts to be tough.

process shots showing how to mix batter for baked donuts

Step 2: Bake

Using a disposable piping bag, pipe the batter into greased donut pans. Fill each cavity about ⅔ to ¾ full.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or just until the donuts spring back when pressed lightly with your fingertip. Take care not to overbake or the donuts will be dry.

Transfer the donuts to a wire rack and immediately make the glaze.

process shots showing how to pipe donut batter into donut pans and fully baked donuts in pans

Step 3: Make the glaze

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl. Working with the warm donuts, dip the tops of each one into the glaze and return them to the wire rack.

You can enjoy the donuts while they are warm, or allow them to cool completely first. Once cooled, the glaze will set.

process shots showing ingredients for glaze in glass mixing bowl and hand dipping donuts into mixed glaze
baked donuts stacked three high with a bite taken out of the top donut

If you like this baked donut recipe, you’ll love these other donut recipes:

Baked Donuts

4.52 from 634 votes
baked donuts stacked three high on round metal rack with glass flower vase in background
This old-fashioned baked donut recipe will remind you just how delicious breakfast can taste! These simple, baked donuts will give you familiar old-fashioneds without all the hassle of rolling, cutting, and frying the dough.
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Serving Size 18

Ingredients

For the donuts

  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup (60 g) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • cup (83 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

For the glaze

  • 2 cups (240 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the donuts

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly spray three 6-cavity donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the butter, oil, and sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to combine.
  • Stir half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, then the remaining flour. Stir just until combined after each addition. The batter will be thick.
  • Transfer the batter into a disposable piping bag or zip-top bag with a small corner cut off. Pipe the batter into the prepared donut pans, filling each cavity ⅔ to ¾ full.
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until donuts spring back when pressed lightly with your fingertip. Set the donuts on a wire rack while you make the glaze.

Make the glaze

  • In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. Stir until smooth, adding more milk if needed.
  • While they are still warm, dip the donuts into the glaze and set them on a wire rack placed over parchment paper. Enjoy the donuts warm or allow them to cool. The glaze will set as they cool.

Notes

Make ahead tip
  1. Donuts are best served warm and fresh but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days.
  2. The donuts can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. If you’d like to serve them warm, heat them in the microwave for a couple seconds.

Nutrition

Serving: 1donut | Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 0.002mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American

Originally published August 2016. Post updated August 2020 with new photos, a video, and more details in the copy. No change to the recipe other than a bit more vanilla and nutmeg added.

4.52 from 634 votes (576 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




238 Comments

  1. Do you absolutely need the whole wheat flour?

    1. Also, do you need the donut pan or can you just cut out the doughnuts and doughnut holes?

      1. Jen Sobjack says:

        The recipe requires a donut pan. It’s made with a batter, not dough.

    2. Jen Sobjack says:

      It adds structure to the donuts but other readers have had success with replacing it with all-purpose flour.

  2. 5 stars
    Made a quick batch of these this morning and they were GREAT! I have Nordic donut pans, and I ended up with 14 donuts (as opposed to 18), filling cups about 3/4 full. Timing for me was right about exactly 8 minutes for baking. Loved the glaze also – simple and worked great! I also took a few of the donuts and dipped them in the glaze, and then into sprinkles and they turned out picture-perfect! Highly recommended!

  3. I only keep olive oil in my house. Do you think it would affect the donut flavor much to use it instead of vegetable oil?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Olive oil has a pretty strong flavor so you may be able to taste it in the donuts.

  4. 5 stars
    Followed your recipe to the letter as far as ingredients go this morning. But baked for 11 mins versus recommended 7-9 mins. Those babies came out perfect! Glazed and let rest for a couple of hours. They were an absolute hit at my barn amongst fellow riders. All gone in record time!! Luckily, I out 2 aside for my husband at home to have with coffee (Ha!). Thank you much for your recipe(s). I’ll be trying out the Strawberry donut recipe next.

    Curious though if I can swap the oil for unsweetened applesauce and/or buttermilk for whole fat sour cream? Your thoughts please.

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’m not sure if apple sauce will work in place of the oil. I’ve not tested this before. But you can use sour cream in place of buttermilk with no issues.

  5. 4 stars
    I’m not sure what I did wrong yet these were bland with a weird after taste… I followed the directions so I’m hopen when I try a second time they will be better… the glaze also came out off yet I dislike powder sug glaze so that could be it… I have a pic yet no way to submit

  6. Charlei Divine says:

    Can these be freezed with the glaze or cinnamon sugar already on the donut?

    Or are these meant to be freezed plain? And then glazed after defrosted?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      Yes, you can freeze them with the glaze on them.

  7. Hi,
    I don’t have whole wheat flour, can I substitute all purpose flour or brown rice flour and if so how much should I use.

    Thank you

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      I don’t recommend using rice flour but others have made this recipe using only all-purpose flour and had great results. I’ve not tested the recipe to see how much to use or if a 1-to-1 swap is adequate.

  8. 5 stars
    I don’t have a donut pan so I had to use a muffin pan. I made 12 standard size muffins and had to bake for 20 minutes.

  9. 5 stars
    These were so easy to make this morning! They weren’t as dense as I expect old fashioned doughnuts to be and were pretty fluffy, which I liked. I only put glaze on half of them and they were great both ways. I will probably add some cinnamon the next time I make these for a personal tweak. All in all, they were devoured straight out of the oven.

  10. Toni Ramme says:

    Can I prep the batter the day before and keep it in the refrigerator until the morning?

    1. Jen Sobjack says:

      This batter is meant to be baked right away.