Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

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Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes2Ahhhhh, fall weather has finally hit us in Southern California.  You might be sick of hearing me talk about it, but I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  And, according to the 10-day forecast (although often unreliable) these temperatures are here to stay!

These pumpkin donuts were appropriate for celebrating the cool breeze flowing through my windows and the ability to turn on my oven without worrying about heating up the house.  Yes, I said oven…another reason to love this recipe as the donuts are actually baked instead of fried.  Technically, these are miniature muffins but after rolling them in the buttery cinnamon sugar mixture, they magically turn into cakey, sugary donut holes.

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 40 donut holes

Serving Size: 2 donut holes

    For the donuts:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • For the Coating:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each cup. (I use my small cookie scoop.) You will have batter left over for about another dozen. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Bake the remaining batter and repeat.

With the melted butter in one bowl and the sugar and cinnamon combined in another, dip each muffin into the butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.

Source: The Craving Chronicles


After making these many times, I now like to dump the sugar/cinnamon mix and the butter-coated donut holes into a gallon sized ziplock bag, then shake to coat (working with 1 dozen donuts at a time).

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  1. This just popped up in my Google Reader and I recognized those doughnut holes. My last post was also adapted from that recipe! They are insanely delicious. They’re even good when using whole grain flour! Everyone needs to make these. 🙂

  2. Delicious! Nice and “poppable!”

  3. These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them. I think using pumpkin like this is a great way to get some fiber into our diets (while loving every bite!)

  4. Oh wow, these look great. Spicy, sugary deliciousness. Love that they are baked too. I enjoy fried things occasionally, but makes such a mess. Trying these soon!

  5. These look so incredibly delicious 🙂

  6. These look so incredibly delicious!! 🙂

  7. Great idea to make them in a mini muffin pan! They sound fabulous!

  8. These donuts look deadly, I mean irresistable.

  9. This looks delicious! Do you happen to have a cider donut recipe or know of one? I live in Boston and would LOVE to make some myself. I’m with you on the fall weather too… Except they’re saying a high of 80+ on Sunday, which makes me depressed to see those temps again!! Stop trying to steal Fall’s thunder, Summer!!

  10. Look super yummy! Wish I had mini-muffin pans but I sadly don’t.

    • You can spoon them onto cookie sheets. I don’t own a mini muffin pan and I’ve made them three times now!

  11. This is one of those times where, “You had me at hello.” Yum!

  12. Oh my word! I could nestle into all those nooks & crannies in that donut!!

    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  13. Oh my yum! I want to dive right into these photos.

  14. Yay for fall. I know the feeling! I LONG for chilly. It puts me in just the mood to make these cuties!

  15. Elise, these look fantastic! I’ll be making them this weekend.

  16. I just finished making a batch of these. AWESOME!!! Quick and easy. I seem to be obsessed with pumpkin right now.

  17. I agree, I’m so thrilled thats it’s finally getting colder here in SoCal. I loved driving to work in the rain today…I don’t even care if I had to sit through traffic! LOL These look amazing; I’ll have to make these soon! Thanks for the recipe.

  18. Even though I have a doughnut pan, I love that you made baked doughnuts holes. So easy!

  19. Oh my gosh!!! I need one of these! I am a sucker for anything pumpkin…especially pumpkin donuts! I have to make these ASAP! 🙂

  20. YUM… these look SO good!!! and baked?? my hips will thank you for that one! 🙂

  21. These look delish! I made pumpkin monkey bread last week and it was awesome I cannot wait to try these out this week.

  22. YUM!! I saw these on pinterest, and they look divine! 🙂 So “fally!’
    Cookin’ Cowgirl

  23. Do these really need to be served/eaten immediately? Would love to bring them to work for my colleagues. Would they survive an overnight?

    • They are definitely best eaten the day of. Can you get up earlier and make them in the morning before leaving for work? Or, I haven’t tried it myself, but it would probably be fine to bake the muffins the night before, then dunk them in the butter/cinnamon sugar in the morning. (You might want to briefly warm the muffins in the microwave first…)

      • summer yet? says:

        I baked these yesterday! They are truly delicious!! I only buttered and sugared 6 in hopes of keeping myself from eating all 24! Today I rolled some in warm butter, then the sugar/cinnamon they were are as good as yesterday!! I stored them in a baggie!!
        They will become a permanent part of my fall treats!!

  24. I found this thru Pinterest, and it is my first official “Pinterest experiment”. They are SOOOOO divine! I didn’t have allspice, so I used 1/8 tsp mace and 1/8 tsp ginger along with the nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Love it!

  25. Baked these today….OH MY GOODNESS. They are delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  26. Found this through Pinterest. Awesome recipe! I blog about it here:

  27. I just made them! I could seriously eat the whole batch. My entire house smells like fall.. so good :]

  28. Just made these last night for a get-together! To make them a little less calorific, we decided to dilute the butter quite a bit with just plain water… the result was still absolutely delicious – just not so buttery! Yum Yum!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  29. How do these come out as donut holes when they are just put into a muffin tin? these are round, a muffin tin is not round :/


    • Johnathan, they do take the shape of a mini muffin, yet when rolled in the butter and sugar they are very close to being donut hole shape, too. Give it a try and you’ll see! 🙂

    • Jonathan, glad to see I was not the only one who noticed. This recipe is for muffins. I’m sure they tase great, but I really wanted to make the donut holes shown, not muffins. Disappointing—like false advertising!

      • I’m sorry you feel that way. It is definitely not false advertising, and I’m very disappointed you accused me of such. I work very hard to maintain this blog, and in no way do I falsely advertise! The photos above are the photos I took of this exact recipe, baked in the mini muffin tins. Glad the rest of the reviewers were more kind.

        • As I am making these this morning, it occurred to me that maybe the problem you are having is that you’re overfilling the mini muffin tins, so then they end up with a “muffin top.” You should only put about 1 tablespoon of batter into each cup, so they dome up nice and round.

        • I looked for a recipe for these after visiting our local bakery and falling in love with the doughnut holes. I found this recipe and my doughnut holes taste identical to the bakery’s. The only problem I had is the butter soaking up all of the sugar and cinnamon coating so the doughnuts were kind of wet. Any ideas on how to make the coating more dry?

          To Johnathan:

          If they look like muffins, you either slopped the batter in or filled them too full! I made both of those mistakes when trying these but after several practice runs, they are now perfect!

          Thanks for the recipe, it is delicious! =)

          • Thanks, Stephanie! I don’t really think there is a way around the coating being a little wet, at least. How did you coat them? Meaning, did you roll them one or two at a time in a bowl of sugar, or did you dump a bunch at a time in a zipper bag full of the sugar and then shake to coat? I like to dump them in the baggie and shake to coat. This might help with the coating. And, if you want, you can add more cinnamon sugar to keep it dry for each batch you shake.

            Hope this made sense and helps a little!! 🙂

  30. Made these this morning, and they were a hit. Linked to you on my website. Thanks for a great breakfast!!

  31. These look delicious!!!

  32. I’m also obsessed with pumpkin right now. Am about to try these – thanks for the recipe! 🙂 They look scumptious!

  33. karen morgan says:

    I want to make these, but I don’t want to go out & buy all the spices that I may only use this one time. Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead and would I use the same measurement if I was adding all the other spices?


    • Sure! Maybe just use a teaspoon or 1 1/2 teaspoons of the pumpkin pie spice. 🙂 (Make sure to use Cinnamon, though, for the sugar topping.)

  34. It says serves immediately, but would they still be just as good if I need to make them the night before a party?

    • Hi Erin, You can bake them the night before, but wait to dip them in the warm butter and sugar until the same day to preserve freshness, taste and texture. 🙂

  35. Could you make this gluten free?

    • Hi Lisa. I’m sorry, but I do not have any experience converting recipes into gluten-free ones. So, my answer is “I don’t know.” 🙂

  36. I made these without a mini muffin pan! I spread a thin (1/2 inch?) layer of batter in a 10×13 pan, baked as directed, cut into squares, and then rolled the squares into balls. They totally hold together!

  37. These look so lovely and creative…what an awesome creation!;)

  38. Jessica H says:

    This is seriously the best thing I have ever put in my mouth!

  39. wooow so delicious

  40. my kids and i just made these and they are delicious! the kids had a great time rolling in the butter and sugar too. found this on pinterest, thanks for the recipe!

  41. What is pumpkin puree? Can I puree the canned pumpkin?

    • Hi Deborah. Pumpkin puree is just mashed up pumpkin. Pumpkin in the can is puree already. 🙂 Just make sure it’s pure pumpkin and not spiced up for pumpkin pie filling.

  42. Thank you for this great idea. For those who responded it is false advertising, take a moment and drive to target, purchase a donut hole pan and use it instead of a mini muffin pan.

  43. does anyone know how long to bake in the “Donut Hole Maker”? they sound so yummy

  44. found this on pinterest and can’t wait to try. Does it make 24 mini muffins or 40?

  45. I found this recipe on pinterest (a different pin called pumpkin poppers but same recipe) and I made them and OHMIGOSH they are so good! My recipe made 21 and they came out to 2 WW points each. I used 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice IN the poppers and also used cinnamon sugar to coat them in a ziplock.

  46. I just barely made these and they are soooo good. Mine didn’t turn out in the shape of a donut hole… but doesn’t matter to me because they are so freaking good. I think that they would be good with cream cheese frosting. Thanks for the recipe!

  47. Hello! I love these and seem to be obsessed with all things pumpkin at the moment! Would it be possible to freeze them after they have cooked and before rolled in the cinnamon sugar? I live on my own and although I could eat them all I think it best if I don’t!? x

  48. We are trying to become a gluten free household and I made these with my gluten free flour mix and they turned out so fluffy!!! They tasted so good! No one had any idea they were gluten free! Thank you for the yummy recipe!

  49. I just made these as I found them on Pinterest. I used real pumpkin so I had to bake them 3 minutes longer. I put all the batter into one mini muffin pan because I didn’t read that you should separate it until after I did it, lol. So they turned out to be mini muffins! They were so light and fluffy! Thank you for the recipe!

  50. Didn’t care for them, to many spices didn’t taste like pumpkin

  51. JUST made these this morning! YUM YUM YUM! Followed recipe exactly. To those people who complained they weren’t round…it’s because you’re filling your mini muffin tins too full. I put 1 TLB in each tin and they were practically round after I dipped them in butter/sugar/cinnamon. My sons each ate FOUR (that’s a LOT for them), I ate about 6 before I decided that was enough for my figure. My husband is still snacking on them with his coffee.

    DEFINITELY keeping this recipe on hand, it’d be perfect to serve in addition to eggs and fruits when company is in town. THANKS FOR SHARING THIS RECIPE! 🙂

  52. Don’t have a mini muffin tin. How can I make these without one? Can I use a regular muffin tin?

    • Hi Rose,
      If you use a regular muffin tin, they will just be muffins and not small like donut holes. You will also need to bake a little longer. Mini muffin pans are pretty inexpensive, so if you’re up for it, I would go get one. 🙂

  53. I’ve been eyeing LOTS of baked donut recipes lately! I really have to get off my can and try it! I have some pumpkin puree in the freezer, so I guess I’ll try this one! Thanks for sharing!

  54. Do these puff up ALOT during baking? These look amazingly yummy!

  55. How do you get them shaped like that? I dropped them from a tablespoon and they look like lumpy cake bites. Lol.

  56. I made these last night. Buttered & sugared them this morning. They were a HIT at my cookie exchange. Glad I doubled the recipe so I have leftovers to enjoy tonight.

    • Did you heat them up since you made them the night before? I’m thinking these would be great to take to my Bible Study but I’m afraid I won’t have enough time in the morning to make them.

  57. I just made these and they are delish!!

  58. After making these twice I can’t seem to get the size/temp/baking time down right. They aren’t coming out fluffy but more like pumpkin pie bites. They are too dense. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I even tried the cookie sheet instead of the muffin pan and cooked them for almost 20 minutes.. And I only stirred the batter till it was combined. I want to enjoy these like everyone else is!! Haha

    • Oh wow! I have no idea what could be going wrong for you! Do you happen to live in a high altitude?

      • No I do not. I almost feel like the batter is too wet but I swear I’m following the directions! Haha it’s coming out closer to cake batter

        • Weird. I want to figure this out for you! 🙂 Are you using 1 cup plus 3/4 cup flour? Sometimes people mistakenly read the 1 3/4 cups as One three-quarter cup instead of 1 cup PLUS 3/4 cup more. Did that makes sense? ha! I’m so wanting to help you!!

          • haha i did understand you. and Yes i used 1 and 3/4 cup. My stove is old, so maybe the temp is off. i was thinking about maybe lowing the temp and cooking for longer. but i almost feel like it would have to cook for 45 minutes at least. i cooked them for 30 minutes last time.
            This recipe is so straight forward and fairly similar to other ones so I’m afraid to waste another can of pumpkin haha..
            I did use egg replacer and almond milk. but the egg replacer consistency is similar to an egg. I wouldn’t think that is the reason. I just wonder if there is a way i can make the batter less runny. Would adding more flour be ok? and then should i add more spices?

          • Oh boy! I just don’t know. If you think it’s your oven, I would suggest purchasing an oven thermometer (less than $10 on Amazon) to ensure you’re baking at the right temperature. This will give you more accurate results than trying to alter the recipe ingredients. 🙂

  59. I’m not know for my baking skills… But I was excited to try this baked donut recipe, and it did not disappoint!! I couldn’t find pumpkin purée, so I used 100% pure pumpkin from Libby’s and it worked great! Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂

    • Hi Stacey! Good job! You actually used pumpkin puree. 100% pumpkin = pumpkin puree. 🙂 Libby’s is exactly what I use.

  60. I just had to come back here and comment on how GREAT these were! I found them last fall on Pinterest and we made them several times. They are a BIG hit with my kiddos. We had company last weekend, and I served them and everyone asked for the recipe. It is now printed and in my recipe book! Thanks! : )

  61. Mine completely fell apart!! Soggy and a mess!! Disappointed waisted ingredients!! Thank god dogs and chickens like them

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Sorry to hear that, Nikki! Definitely have never had that issue and we make this recipe all of the time. Maybe you measured an ingredient incorrectly, forgot an ingredient, or didn’t bake long enough? I would also check your oven’s temperature as they can vary.

  62. Dumb question but why can’t you use pumpkin pie filling? What’s the difference?

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Kim,
      Not a dumb question. Pumpkin pie filling is spiced to taste like pumpkin pie. This recipe calls for just pumpkin puree, which is not spiced.

  63. First of all, yum! Secondly, to help cut down on the calories/fat from the butter I tried these three different ways. I left the batter the same each time, but changed the cinnamon/sugar application: 1) as per the recipe, 2) rolled in cinnamon and sugar before baking (like a snickerdoodle cookie), and 3) tossed with powdered sugar and cinnamon while warm. All three were good, but here’s my thoughts.
    1) When I rolled the holes in butter and then the cinnamon mixture the sweetness was overwhelming. I could hardly taste the pumpkin flavor any more.
    2) When I rolled them in the cinnamon mixture before baking, the result was more subtle. These were my husband’s favorite, but they were a little harder since the batter was soft and tricky to roll.
    3) My favorite was tossing them in a powdered sugar and cinnamon mixture after baking while they were still warm. This gave a more true doughnut hole flavor, and cut back on calories since you can omit the butter.
    Again, all 3 were yummy, so it’s truly a taste preference! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  64. I would bump up the seasonings–
    maybe half again as much

  65. These are insanely sinful yet so delicious! I’ve made them a few times now and follow your recipe to the T. I generally have enough for 24 mini holes and then enough batter left to make 3 donuts in my donut pan (my kids fight over these). Thank you for the recipe!!!

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Thanks, Sherry! Definitely sinful, for sure! I’m wondering if only your kids fight over the extra 3? wink wink! 😉

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