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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

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.

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:

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

Baked Donuts

Yield: 18 donuts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes

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.

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
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ 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) whole buttermilk

For the glaze

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

Instructions

Make the donuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly spray three 6-cavity donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, oil, and sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to combine.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla. Stir until smooth, adding more milk if needed.
  2. 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.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1 donut
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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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.

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189 Comments

  1. Made these last night and definitely a keeper. Super easy without the fuss of using a mixer – just 2 bowls, a whisk and spatula. They were moist and not too overwhelming with nutmeg. I baked them in a convection setting which browned the tops more evenly. And a thin glaze on top was perfect. DELICIOUS!

  2. These were so good 10/10. I used 2 2/3 cups of AP flour and only 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk and it came out really great. I also used a mini muffin tin to make donut holes with the leftover batter which turned out great. I baked those at the same temp for 6 minutes.

  3. Can the buttermilk be substituted with buttermilk powder added to dry ingredients and water to the wet?

    1. @Jen Sobjack,
      Thank you for your speedy reply! I decided to try these this morning and when reading the ingredients, thought to scroll down to see if you had responded. I followed your advice and made my own buttermilk. The doughnuts were quite nice – relieved they didn’t taste like a muffin but as others have said, not that fried doughnut we all think of. I’ll try the chocolate donuts next.

    2. @Jen Sobjack,
      I meant to add that I did halve the recipe and added water to the three empty donut molds in the second tin. Read somewhere that this allowed the other donuts to bake evenly.

    3. @Jen Sobjack, this was my question too. I have powdered buttermilk and was hoping I could use that, as I have a bad back and can’t stand for long. So always looking for little shortcuts!

      Going by your answer to Maria, I’m going to guess that I need to reconstitute the powdered buttermilk first and then follow the rest of the recipe?
      Sending thanks to both you and Maria.

  4. Could you use a cake pop mold to make donut holes?

    1. You’d need to check the manufacturer’s instructions for the mold in question to make sure it’s oven safe. Otherwise, you could use a donut hole pan that’s made specifically for this purpose.

  5. Fantastic recipe! As a well seasoned baker that’s experimented with several donut recipes, this one blew me away. Thank you so much for sharing, really well done. Slight change – baked at 350 (accidentally, will try 425 next time), and I rolled them in cinnamon (1/2 tsp) and powdered sugar (about 2/3 cup)

    1. @Bonnie,
      Slight change – baked at 350 (accidentally…)

      I’ve just got to say that this actually made me laugh out loud! Thanks for making me smile.

  6. Can I use whole milk instead of buttermilk?

  7. I do not have a donut pan and was wondering if the batter could be piped into a mini muffin pan so that you have mini muffin donut centers? I think just filling the mini muffin pan half full might work. Do you? The top would hold the glaze well I would think, or just dunk the top in cinnamon sugar if preferred.

    1. I think a mini muffin pan will work fine. You may need to reduce the cooking time slightly.

  8. Michelle Dexter-Zambrano says:

    Can I make the batter the night before and put it in the refrigerator?

    1. Michelle Dexter-Zambrano says:

      @Jen Sobjack, thank you, I forgot to tell you. These were an amazing Christmas morning absolutely delicious!

  9. Miranda Barker says:

    How long would you recommend the doughnuts bake at 425 if you used a mini doughnut pan?

    1. I haven’t used a mini donut pan so I’m not 100% sure how long they’d take to bake. But these bake quickly with a regular donut pan so I suggest watching them closely.

  10. Carol Saucedo says:

    What am I doing wrong I fill my donut pan and when they bake they seem to come real close together on one side so they look like a weird donut how do I fill so they look like perfectly round donuts with a round center hole. I use a piping bag but don’t know what I’m doing wrong

    1. It sounds like you may be filling the cavities too full. Try using a little less batter in each one.