Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts with Brown Butter-Maple Glaze

Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts - so easy and so delicious - a great taste of the season. These are baked, not fried!

I don’t usually tell people what to do. Being an innately shy soul, I think “bossy” is a adjective that family and friends would not generally use to describe me. It’s not my style, but I can’t help myself this time. There’s something you really need to do – if you don’t have a donut pan, RUN to the store and get one (or two). They’re fairly inexpensive ($8-10 dollars) and pretty easy to find these days. You can also order donut pans online.

Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts - so easy and so delicious - a great taste of the season. These are baked, not fried!

Why am I telling you to do this? I was definitely a doubting Thomas about the idea of baked donuts. I’m an old fashioned girl and the idea of making donuts in the oven ….. well let’s just say it had a “wrong” ring to me. I don’t make donuts very often, perhaps once or twice a year, but when I do, I want REALLY good ones. The real thing (which means fried in oil), Like these babies. Then I’m done, for months and months, till the craving hits me again.

This time I had an idea for pumpkin donuts. I love adding buttermilk to my baked goods and thought pumpkin and buttermilk would be nice together. I checked out a few recipes, then came up with my own. I made the first batch, deep-fried, of course. They were REALLY good, but when I put the cooled, leftover oil back into the bottle and noticed that one third of it was missing ………… Oh dear, I decided I might need to go in a different direction.


Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts - so easy and so delicious - a great taste of the season. These are baked, not fried!

I’d read several other bloggers extolling the virtues of baked donuts but, deep down inside, I really didn’t believe them. “Keep an open mind”, is my mantra though, and I’ve been wrong quite often, so I decided to purchase a couple donuts pans.

Very doubtfully, I made my first batch of baked pumpkin donuts. Sneaking a little bite shortly after they emerged from the oven was quite a revelation. They were REALLY good, but perhaps it was just because they were warm from the oven. I let them cool and then tried another bite. WOW! They were amazing; but I did have a bit more testing and tweaking to do. I was experimenting with the donut’s consistency and the icing was still a work in progress.

Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts - so easy and so delicious - a great taste of the season. These are baked, not fried!

Five batches later (yes, five!), I’m feeling a bit like a pumpkin donut myself, but I’m thrilled with the results and so is my family. I had to laugh at my daughter-in-law, Lindsay. She declared that she wasn’t “a big fan of cake donuts” ………. until she took the first moist, warm, fall-spiced bite. “But these ……….. these are simply amazing!”, was her conclusion. I think you’ll agree ………. After such spectacular results, you can be sure to find many more baked donuts recipes here at The Café in the future ………. so just go ahead and get that pan! P.S. Do you ever do anything you really regret later? I sent all of the remaining pumpkin donuts to work today with Scott as I didn’t trust myself with them in the house. Tonight I said to him (in my saddest voice), “Honey, did you really take ALL of those donuts to work with you?………. ”

Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts - so easy and so delicious - a great taste of the season. These are baked, not fried!


Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts w/ Brown Butter-Maple Glaze

4.3 from 9 reviews

BAKED BUTTERMILK PUMPKIN DONUTS W/ BROWN BUTTER-MAPLE GLAZE PRINT Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts w/ Brown Butter-Maple Glaze Author: Chris Scheuer

  • Author:
  • Category: Breakfast


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 yolk, from a large egg
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼-1½ cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 2 6-well doughnut pans generously with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine melted butter, oil, buttermilk, eggs, yolks, dark brown sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla in a medium size bowl. Whisk to combine till smooth and lump-free.
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  5. Add the dry ingredients, stirring just until flour disappears. Transfer mixture to a gallon size plastic zippered bag. Seal bag pressing out any air. Snip about ¼ inch off of one bottom corner of the bag. Gently squeezing the bag, fill donut wells with batter, evenly dividing between the 12 wells.
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  7. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the donuts comes out clean and the top springs back slightly when touched.
  8. ) Remove the doughnuts from the oven, cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire cooling rack, bottom side up. (The nice rounded bottom will now become the top.)
  9. While the doughnuts are baking, prepare the icing. Place butter in in medium size microwave-safe container. Be sure it’s not too small since the butter will bubble up as it’s browning. Place in microwave and cover container a microwave safe plate (big enough to cover the top). Cook on high for 3-4 minutes or until deep golden brown. (My microwave takes 3½ minutes.) Watch carefully for the last minute as butter can go from browned to burned very quickly.
  10. Remove browned butter from microwave and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then add brown sugar, buttermilk and maple syrup. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Place in microwave and cook on high for 1½-2 minutes or until bubbly and smooth, stopping every 30 seconds to whisk. Take a tiny taste. If it’s still “grainy” return to microwave for another 10-20 seconds.
  11. Add vanilla and 1¼ cups powdered sugar. Continue to whisk until smooth and silky. Mixture should be thick enough to adhere to donuts with a fairly thin coat. Add a bit more powdered sugar if needed.
  12. Dip each donut into frosting mixture. covering ¾ of surface with icing. Turn over, allowing excess icing to drip back into bowl, then set back on the cooling rack. Repeat with remaining donuts. If icing starts to get thick, return to microwave for a few seconds. You can also add a drop or two of additional buttermilk.
  13. Drizzle a bit of extra icing over donuts with a fork, if desired. Allow icing to set for at least 15 minutes before serving (if you can stand it).
  14. Yield: 12 donuts

59 thoughts on “Baked Buttermilk Pumpkin Donuts with Brown Butter-Maple Glaze”

  • OH MY GOD! I already had a recipe for baked pumpkin donuts but I am definitely trading it for this one. They look gorgeous and I’m sure they taste like heaven… I was looking for something to bring for thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws.. Well here it is!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • I’m very picky about baked donuts as they usually come out more cake like than donuts. This recipe is amazing! I made a pumpkin cake for a dinner we went to and on the way my husband asked “did you bring those donuts”!

  • pretty donut but the recipe has too much oil/butter fat; about double the average donut recipe. It made for a wet gross cake pop texture, which now I see one could tell by looking at the photo.

    • So sorry you didn’t like this recipe. Everyone here went crazy over these donuts. Each donut has 2 teaspoons of fat which, while not what I would call “healthy, is not over the top to me for an indulgence.

  • Wow, these are fabulou! I made minis and the recipe makes 48 of them. I have 2 silicone trays, put the bag in the fridge while the first 2 dozen baked and cooled. The icing is the BOMB!! However, if you make mini donuts, you about half again as much icing.

  • Wow, made these this morning and they are sooooo good! I couldn’t wait for the sugar to dissolve so my glaze was a bit gritty but it was delicious! My new favorite recipe and will definitely make these again! I made these in a mini donut pan but they made about 30.

  • These were SO GOOD! I’d had baked donuts before that were less than remarkable, more like muffins in donut shape. But these were better than fried cake donuts. I wasn’t feeling like maple flavor (though I am sure the maple glaze is good too) so I made a brown butter-buttermilk glaze with powdered sugar. Thank you for this recipe. I’m going to have to buy a donut pan just to make it (I borrowed someone else’s this time).

  • I made these over the weekend, and also found them challenging to dip in the glaze (which is amazing, by the way, although I’ll admit to having a little trouble with browning the butter in the microwave…I got it but made a mess in the process). So I just spread the glaze on top and then sprinkled with some of your honey and sea salt roasted almonds! If you haven’t tried that, you must! They add such a great crunch.

    Those almonds are so good on everything…
    The glaze would also be good on everything. ..
    I love toppings!

  • Made these today- so good! Thank you for a new keeper recipe! They came out great, though a little delicate for dipping. My pan holds twelve and I had some batter leftover after generously filling, so perhaps my forms were smaller and overfilled…wasnt a major issue. Re graininess-was not a prob for me- as I tried to sleuth why your reader continues to have unmelted brown sugar in her glaze despite heating, I wondered if perhaps she inadvertently used demerrara(sp?) sugar (brown) or brown coconut sugar instead of ‘brown, brown sugar…

  • I just made these today and they turned out amazing!! My family loved them! I made the icing in a pot on the stove because I kept burning the butter in the microwave. It turned out perfect! I did 6 donuts dipped in the icing and the other 6 covered in cinnamon sugar! Yum yum – definitely going to make these again 🙂

  • I made these delish donuts yesterday using gluten free flour. Not all recipes convert well using gf flour but these were fantastic! My family loved them, today I will be making them again for Mother’s Day breakfast but I will double the recipe. Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

  • I LOVE maple doughnuts! I just made these for the sole purpose of having a something to put the glaze on. These doughnuts are amazing! The flavors are amazing! I will make these again in a heartbeat.

  • Loved the donut, but couldn’t get the glaze to work for me, I couldn’t get it past the grainy stage.
    I had to microwave it several times and it just got to be a thicker grainy consistency. So I just made a
    powdered sugar glaze and added maple flavoring. Any suggestions what I did wrong??

    I still gave it 5 stars because the donut was so good even though the glaze didn’t turn out for me.

    • Hi Veda,
      I’m not sure what could have made it grainy. I’m with family right now (four little ones under 7) but when I get back home, I’m going to try it again and see if I can determine what the problem might be. So sorry this didn’t work for you but I’ll try to help solve it 🙂 Chris

      • Chris,

        Since I haven’t heard from you concerning the glaze on the pumpkin donuts I made them again. And much to my dismay I had the same results. the glaze was grainy. The first time I made them I didn’t let the butter cool before adding the brown sugar. This time I did,, but they were still grainy, it was like the brown sugar didn’t dissolve completely.. Have you had a chance to try these again to see if you can figure out where I went wrong? Also I am wondering if anyone else has had this problem??

        This time I am only giving it 4 stars since I am having a problem with the glaze.

  • These look amazing! I would love to mail them to friends in a care package…about how long do they stay fresh? Thanks!

    • Hi Ashley! I know they were still great the next day but they didn’t last any longer than that so I can’t give you a good answer. They seem to say moist longer than fried yeast donuts do though.

  • I like my doughnuts to take a hot oil bath also, but I trust your judgement. I also have a mini doughnut pan that is just waiting to be called into service. Would it be wrong for me to lick the screen right now?

  • Well, I love donuts, pumpkin and maple – so these would definitely be something I’d enjoy. Thanks for the push. (I’d never call you bossy!) I too have read of the wonders of the baked donut, but I never really believed it – until now! These are on my “must do list.”

  • I worked p/t for a while at SurLaTable years ago, and I would make these on Saturdays for those that came in. Shockingly they’re so easy to make and quite good – and addicting. Yours look beautiful! I never did buy a pan, mainly because the donuts were so addicting. It’s enough that I can’t wean myself off of chocolate let alone donuts! 😉

  • You really liked the baked variety that much? I’ve heard others praise them up and down but like you, I’ve always preferred the fried kind in those few brief moments that I crave one. I think your pumpkin donuts are amazing. I’d start by licking the glaze off. 🙂

    • I was definitely not expecting to like them Christiane, but wow, I’m glad I tried them. I’m sure it depends on the recipe and I’ll be experimenting with some other flavors but this one is really amazing!

    • They do taste like donuts, actually the best I’ve ever made and I am a donut snob, if they’re not really good, I won’t bother with them 🙂

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