Baked Doughnut Holes: it's what's missing that counts


I didn’t used to like baked doughnuts.

I mean, isn’t the whole point of doughnuts that crisp, nicely greasy crust? That way you can taste the frying fat, along with sugar and cinnamon and other signature doughnut flavors?

Baked doughnuts? Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

But one day, during one of my periodic calorie-counting phases, I decided to learn to make a really good baked doughnut.

One that was SO tasty and SO moist and SO tender I’d never miss the hit of grease.

And one particular recipe – Doughnut Muffins – became my savior.

I’ve taken this basic muffin recipe and turned it every which way, making plain cinnamon doughnuts, and cider doughnuts, pumpkin doughnuts, and apple, banana, and strawberry versions: doughnuts for dessert.

Baked doughnuts? Oxymoron no more. Let’s just call them the lazy (shortcut-savvy?) doughnut maker’s new best friend.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease the top and bottom parts of a doughnut hole pan.

If you don’t have a doughnut hole pan, a mini muffin pan, though it won’t yield perfect spheres, is suitable.

And now, a word from our sponsor – that would be us, King Arthur Flour.

A key element of these doughnut holes is their cinnamon-sugar coating.

If you love cinnamon and haven’t tried our Cinnamon-Sugar Plus, you’ve got a treat in store. Made from superfine sugar and Vietnamese cinnamon, it’s a must if you’re a cinnamon toast aficionado – or plan on making muffins or doughnuts coated with cinnamon-sugar. The fine grains of sugar adhere much better to whatever you’re coating than cinnamon-sugar made with regular granulated sugar.

Just sayin’.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

Place the following in a mixing bowl, and beat until smooth:

1/4  cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar

Add 2 large eggs, and beat again until smooth.

Stir in the following:

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

See how I’ve spooned the baking powder, nutmeg, etc. onto different parts of the batter in the bowl? It’s my visual reminder about what I’ve added, and what still needs to go in. You never know when the phone will ring, or you’ll catch the puppy chewing on a chair leg – thereby totally losing your place in the recipe, right?

Stir 2 2/3 cups (11 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour into the butter mixture alternately with 1 cup milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups full; the batter will mound up a tiny bit. Place the top on the pan, and lock it in place with the clips.

Bake the doughnut holes for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center holes comes out clean.

Loosen the edges of the holes if necessary, and gently return them onto a rack to cool briefly. Grease the pan again, and bake as many more batches as necessary to use up the batter.

While the doughnuts are still warm (i.e., as each batch comes out of the oven), place 4 or 5 at a time in a paper bag with cinnamon-sugar. About 3 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar should be enough for the whole batch.

Shake gently to coat the holes with the cinnamon-sugar. If the holes have cooled too much and aren’t holding the sugar, spritz them very lightly with a bit of water, then shake.

Enjoy the hole thing!

And here they are as mini muffins. If you’ve used a mini-muffin pan, bake in a preheated 425°F oven for about 10 minutes, until they test done; they won’t be very brown, but a toothpick inserted into the center of once will come out clean.

For extra flavor (and better adherence of the cinnamon-sugar), dip each mini muffin in melted butter before gently shaking in cinnamon-sugar.

You can ditch the toothpick and use your fingers if you like – it’s kind of messy, but that’s what I ended up doing.

Besides, licking buttery cinnamon-sugar off your fingers? Not a problem.

Serve doughnut holes or mini muffins warm or at room temperature. While their crust isn’t greasy-crisp like that of a fried doughnut, their preparation is certainly a heck of a lot easier.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Cinnamon Baked Doughnut Holes.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Cindy in Indiana

    Hi PJ… can’t wait to order a doughnut hole pan & try these! Will your recently posted baked pumpkin doughnut recipe work with this pan, too?

    You bet, Cindy – any cake-type recipe should work. Enjoy! PJH

  2. sarahgrace

    Those look delicious! Do you think the recipe would work if I baked them in one of the little electric cake makers like the BabyCakes Cake Pop Maker?

    Yes, Sarah, I think that would work just fine – let us know how they come out, OK? Good luck – PJH

  3. "Linda S"

    They do look yummy! I got to thinking: I’ve got an ableskiver pan I still have yet to use. Could I do them in a pan like that on the stovetop, or would the batter be too heavy? Better yet, maybe you could do a recipe for those in an upcoming blog?
    Sounds great, I think you should give it a try! ~Amy

  4. BakingPrincess

    These are amazing! I just made them now and the smell is heavenly! I used mini muffin trays and I don’t miss the fried donuts at all!

    Fantastic! Enjoy every bite. ~ MaryJane

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While we haven’t tried this one with whole wheat flour, it should work well. You might start by replacing half the flour in the recipe with whole wheat flour.~Jaydl@KAF

    1. Amy Trage

      Here are the directions from the blog: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease the top and bottom parts of a doughnut hole pan. ~Amy

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There’s a link to the recipe at the bottom of the post. The blog will just guide you along if you have questions, or you can call the Baker’s Hotline at 1-855-371-2253. Laurie@KAF

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