Baked Pumpkin Donuts

rows of doughnuts on green countertop with vegan and pumpkin flavors
Photo: Will Anderson
Prep Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 35 mins

Pumpkin puree flavors these dense, cakey buttermilk donuts that are baked in the oven, not fried. Rolled in cinnamon sugar and ground pepitas, they're just the thing for a fall party.


Pepita Sugar

  • ¼ cup pepitas

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 4 tablespoons, melted, and more for pans

  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

  • cup granulated sugar

  • cup packed light-brown sugar

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ¾ cup buttermilk

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree


  1. Pepita Sugar:

    Pulse pepitas in a food processor until fine. Add sugar and cinnamon; pulse to combine. Sugar can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week. (Makes 1 cup.)

  2. Donuts:

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly brush 3 standard donut pans with butter. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

  3. Beat butter with both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Beat in vanilla, then flour mixture in two additions, alternating with buttermilk and pumpkin.

  4. Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip (such as Ateco #807), or to a resealable plastic bag, then snip a 1/2-inch hole in one corner. Pipe 3 tablespoons batter into each cup of pans. Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 11 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks set in rimmed baking sheets and let cool until just warm to the touch, 10 minutes more.

  5. Brush donuts with melted butter and toss in pepita sugar, then return to racks. Donuts are best served the day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 day.

Cook's Notes

If you don't have three pans, you can bake these in batches -- just be sure to thoroughly wash and dry the pans in between.


Vanilla Confectioners'-Sugar Glaze + Pepitas

Whisk together 3 cups confectioners' sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract. Whisk in 6 to 8 tablespoons whole milk until mixture is smooth and thick, and has the texture of pourable honey. Glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days; stir until smooth before using. (Makes 1 1/2 cups.)

Skip the pepita sugar and dip the top of each donut in glaze until halfway submerged, turning as needed to evenly coat one side, then place, glaze-side up, on racks and sprinkle with ground pepitas. Let stand until completely set, about 1 hour. Donuts are best served the day they are made but can be stored, unglazed, in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 day; glaze 1 hour before serving.

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