Today I’m sharing a perfect recipe for fall, these small-batch baked pumpkin spice doughnuts. As the days are gradually getting shorter, the promise of fall is in the air, and I love everything about this time of year. The cozy sweaters, the chill in the air, the crisp leaves underfoot, apple pie, the scent of the first snow. Snow tends to come early in Colorado. Another thing to love about fall is all the pumpkin treats and baked goods. These pumpkin doughnuts are soft and cakey, quick and easy to make, and coated in cinnamon sugar. What’s not to love?
Looking for more high altitude pumpkin recipes? Don’t miss these pumpkin sugar cookies with maple icing, the best ever pumpkin bread, pumpkin bourbon ice cream, and brown butter pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.
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Why You’ll Love These Doughnuts
Small Batch. Sometimes you just don’t need a whole bunch of sweets in the house, and you only want a little treat for your family. This small batch recipe makes just six baked pumpkin doughnuts, although you can certainly scale the recipe up to make a bigger batch, too.
Easy to Make. This is an easy batter to make, simply by combining the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and then spooning the batter into the doughnut mold to bake.
Perfect for Fall. With the pumpkin and the cozy spices, these doughnuts just scream sweater weather. Serve them with hot coffee or apple cider after a day at the pumpkin patch or your local apple orchard!
- Pumpkin. Be sure to use plain canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Sour Cream. Adds richness and acidity for a very tender texture.
- Egg. Binds the batter together and adds structure.
- Vanilla Extract. Flavor.
- Flour. Plain all-purpose flour adds structure to the doughnut batter.
- Sugar. Dark brown sugar adds moisture, sweetness and a hint of molasses.
- Spices. A blend of espresso powder (optional), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves add a wonderful depth of fall flavor to these doughnuts.
- Baking Soda. Leavens the batter so the doughnuts puff up.
- Salt. Balances the sweetness.
- Cinnamon & Sugar. For coating the doughnuts.
These doughnuts are so easy to make. From start to finish, you’ll be eating warm doughnuts in under 30 minutes, which makes them perfect for weekend breakfasts with a hot cup of coffee, or just a fun snack after an afternoon of apple picking. This is a modestly-sized batch – just 6 doughnuts – but the recipe can easily be doubled as well.
Combine the Wet Ingredients.
Pumpkin, sour cream, an egg and vanilla are combined until smooth. The recipe only uses 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, so you can save the rest for a batch of pumpkin muffins or pumpkin pancakes. I’ve even added leftover canned pumpkin to smoothies, since it’s such a healthy and versatile ingredient.
Combine the Dry Ingredients.
Sift together all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, salt, baking soda and spices. If you have pumpkin pie spice, you can certainly use it, but I always use my own blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. I also add a little espresso powder to these pumpkin doughnuts, and it adds such a nice subtle coffee flavor.
Mix and Pipe the Batter.
Briefly mix together the wet and dry ingredients, just until combined. The batter is thick so the easiest way to get it into your doughnut pan is to pipe it. I always have piping bags on hand since I decorate cakes. But if you don’t have piping bags, simply snip the corner off a zip-lock bag and fill that with your batter to pipe into your pan.
The best part about baked pumpkin spice doughnuts is that they’re baked, not fried. They bake quickly in about 11-12 minutes, and they puff up into the prettiest little doughnuts ever.
TIP: These baked pumpkin spice doughnuts need to be dipped in the cinnamon sugar while they’re hot, or it won’t stick. That said, if you have trouble with it sticking, there’s a simple solution. Just dip a pastry brush in a small amount of melted butter, lightly brush the butter onto the doughnuts, and then dip them in the cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
My favorite way to finish these doughnuts is with a sparkly coat of cinnamon sugar. It’s easy to do, it looks beautiful, and tastes delicious. I usually use a ratio of 2 tablespoons granulated sugar to 1 teaspoon cinnamon for the perfect balance of sugar and spice. But use whatever ratio you like, depending on how sweet or spicy you prefer it to be. What I like to do is keep a jar on hand of cinnamon sugar that I use for all sorts of baking projects like this. It’s easier to coat the doughnuts in a bowl full of cinnamon sugar, and then just save the extra for another recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a doughnut pan for this recipe?
Yes, this is a baked doughnuts recipe, requiring a doughnut pan like this one.
Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of the spices in the ingredients list?
Sure, if you have pumpkin pie spice, that will work just fine.
How long do these stay fresh?
These doughnuts will stay soft and moist for days, but the cinnamon sugar coating will soak into the doughnut after a day.
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Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
- Doughnut Pan
- ⅓ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3 tbsp sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
- ¼ cup cinnamon & sugar (1/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
- Preheat the oven to 375. Thoroughly grease a standard-sized doughnut pan with non-stick spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sour cream, egg and vanilla.
- Separately, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, spices, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir together with a spatula until no dry streaks of flour remain.
- The batter will be thick. Spoon the batter into a piping bag or a plastic bag, and snip off the corner. Pipe the batter into the doughnut pan.
- Bake the doughnuts on the center oven rack for about 11-12 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the doughnuts in the pan for 1 minute, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Immediately dip the hot doughnuts in the cinnamon/sugar mixture to thoroughly coat them. If you have trouble with the cinnamon/sugar not sticking to the doughnuts, then use a pastry brush to lightly brush a very small amount of melted or soft butter on the doughnuts, and then coat them in the cinnamon/sugar.
- Place the doughnuts on a wire rack, and cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm.
- The espresso powder is optional, but it adds a nice coffee flavor to these doughnuts, which is why I also call them Pumpkin Spice Latte Doughnuts.
- You can substitute pumpkin pie spice for the individual spices, if you have it.
- The doughnuts still taste great leftover, although the cinnamon/sugar will soak into the cake as they sit, so they are best served fresh.