Baked Pumpkin Donuts & Donut Holes ♥
aka How to Make Small Boys & Handsome Men Happy

Baked Pumpkin Donuts & Donut Holes, a really special fall treat ♥, just like cake donuts, warm with spices, coated with butter-spiced sugar.
A special treat for fall, baked donuts and/or donut holes, warm with pumpkin spices, coated with buttery, spicy sugar. Bite-size goodness! Great for baking with kids, excellent for multi-generational eating!

Twas quite the morning, this past Sunday. Males outnumbered females 7:1. Five-year old twin boys. Eight- and nine-year old BFFs. Two dads who've discovered paleo plus one grandpa. Versus ME. It started with a protein fest: platters of eggs and bacon and breakfast sausage cooked crisp. But then I appeared with "breakfast dessert" – pumpkin donuts and donut holes, still warm from the oven and coated with buttery sugar with warm autumn spices. Flash! Donuts here, donuts gone. Donut holes here, donut holes gone. Even the "picky eater" twin who had earlier harumphed out of the room stating that he didn't "yike" pumpkin donuts – even he took a bite, then exclaimed with sugary lips, "I yike pumpkin donuts!" Score one for the lone female and pumpkin lover.

So put these donuts on the menu, maybe for breakfast, maybe for a snack, maybe for a party or better yet just-cuz. They're easy to make, all from simple pantry ingredients.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 12 mini donuts & 18 mini donut holes

2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons allspice
1-1/2 teaspoons cardamom
1/4 teaspoon clove, optional

1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup (165g) 100% pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup (125g) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 220g
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 cup (1 stick, 114g) salted butter, melted (you won't likely use it all)
1-1/3 cups white sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix (ditto)

MY PUMPKIN PIE SPICE Stir together the spices. The recipe makes a generous 4 tablespoons, enough for this recipe plus a little more. Recipe easily halved or multiplied, I make a double or triple batch at the opening of pumpkin season.

DONUTS & DONUT HOLES Set oven to 350F/175C. Spray a mini donut pan and/or a mini muffin pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and brown sugar; if needed, work out any small brown-sugar lumps with the back of a spoon, pressing the lump against the side of the bowl. Whisk in the egg until thoroughly combined, then the pumpkin, milk and vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, thoroughly mix the flour, 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix, baking powder and salt. With a spatula, turn the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, mixing just until combined.

Transfer the batter to a ziplock bag, snip one corner. For donuts, squeeze the batter into the donut pan, filling to the top but no more (they'll puff up, making pretty little rounded donuts). For donut holes, squeeze the batter into mini muffin pan cups, filling not quite to the top (they'll puff up too but won't "dome" as is nice for actual muffins).

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until done and a toothpick inserted into the center of both a donut and a donut hole comes out clean. Let cool for about 5 minutes, no more, they should be cool enough to handle but still warm when applying the coating.

Set up an assembly line with two bowls: put the melted butter in one; stir together the white sugar and another 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix in the other. For donuts, dip a warm donut top (or the whole donut if you prefer) into the butter, then into sugar-spice mixture. For donut holes, gently roll the entire donut hole in butter, then in sugar-spice mixture. You won't use all the butter nor all the sugar.

SERVE Serve warm or at room temperature. Best on the first day but still moist and flavorful on the second day.

MINIATURE DONUT PAN I do have a donut pan and am happy for the rare excuse to use it. But it's definitely not required. In fact, while we all loved the shape of the donuts, they weren't as pretty. For some reason, the sugar didn't show as much, like it was absorbed into the butter versus adhering to it. Weird. UPDATE I'm not sure what happened that first time, but we no longer find the donuts less pretty. In fact, wow, they're really cute!
MINI MUFFIN PAN So yeah, the donut "holes" are actually mini muffins but they look surprisingly round and "hole-ish" – really! If you do all mini muffins, I suspect you'll get at least 24 mini muffins, maybe more.
REGULAR MUFFINS? Yes, I think you could use this same recipe to make some number of regular-size muffins. The baking time will be longer. If it were me, I'd dip only the muffin top into the butter and sugar-spice mixture.
BAKING WITH KIDS, an UPDATE Those twinzz are now nine years old and after a recent sleepover, the three of us made Baked Pumpkin Donuts & Donut Holes. The result? Four thumbs up! And for me? This is a great recipe for teaching kids how to measure using a scale, talking about grams, about using a whisk, why you just barely mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, etc. Fun for all!

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Yup, you've got my number -- I'd love these! Baked donuts are wonderful, aren't they? We've never done a pumpkin one, but we will!


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