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.
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 donut recipe
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.
Baked donut 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.
To make baked donuts 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.
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.
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.
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.
If you like this baked donut recipe, you’ll love these other donut recipes:
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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.
Had some buttermilk to use up so thought I would give these a try. They were great! Only have 1 donut pan that holds 12, so I made mini muffins with the rest of the batter. Those I tossed into cinnamon sugar. All were a hit with the family.
I just made these and they were so delicious and fluffy. Going to try your other donut recipes.
I’m so glad to hear that, Sami!
I also wanted to mention I didn’t have any ww flour just spelt flour and it worked beautifully as a substitute
Glad to hear the substitution worked well.
Hi Jen! I’ll be using this recipe to make mini donuts that are about 1.5 to 2 inches. What would you suggest I set the oven temperature and baking time to? Thanks!
The bake temp would be the same but it’s hard for me to say the time. I’ve never baked mini donuts before. I would start with half the amount of time and keep checking from there.
Hi Jen! I am such a fan of your recipes, literally I haven’t come across one I didn’t like. In fact I compare other recipes I find against yours and more often than not I make yours with great results, my family is always happy when I bake!
My question is if I wanted to omit the ww flour and use all all-purpose flour, would it affect the structure of the donut significantly enough to prompt me to make a purchase for ww flour? It’s not something I use regularly and I’m worried it would spoil for lack of use.
I’ve had readers make the donuts without the whole wheat flour and they’ve been satisfied with the results. I imagine the donuts would be softer and extra moist since all-purpose flour doesn’t absorb as much liquid as whole wheat flour.
Hey there from down under in Perth West Australia! I was just given a couple of donut baking trays and searching a heap of recipes yours seemed by far the easiest and most appealing…..and I know why! OMG these little gems rock. So easy to put together and as soon as they came out of the oven I went to my neighbour and handed over half a dozen to much delight! Light, airy and oh so sweet. Filed away in my keeper list. Didn’t have wholemeal flour so just used plain flour with no issue. Cheers Jen.
I’m so glad to hear the donuts turned out great with using plain flour. Thanks for giving the recipe a try!
I made these as a tester for some doughnuts for my niece. They were delicious but very dry. I don’t want to feed her something she could possibly choke on. Did I do something wrong? I used 1% fat buttermilk. Could this have been the problem?
Hi Julia! There are a lot of possible reasons why the donuts came out dry. Using 1% buttermilk instead of whole buttermilk could have played a role since fat adds moisture to baked goods. Also, how did you measure the ingredients? I highly recommend using a scale to weigh the ingredients. This will provide more precise measurements. Make sure to use an oven thermometer to see if your oven is calibrated correctly. And don’t overbake the donuts. You check them a few minutes early to see where they are in the baking process.
Hello Jen. First, let me say that I clicked on your website because you had “introvert” in the title, something I can relate to. 🙂
I liked how you wrote out the instructions and ingredients before the recipe, making it easy to understand. I will be checking out more of your recipes, and making this donut recipe soon. Thanks.