These healthy baked pumpkin donuts are SUPER easy and fast to make, plus they use real pumpkin and spices to pack in flavor in every bite!
Y’all, I made the most delicious, totally dairy-free dessert ever. I wanted a dairy-free dessert that I could enjoy on Thanksgiving, too, and these babies delivered! They are SO freaking delicious paired with a cup of coffee. It’s kind of absurd how good they are. They are baked and not fried, saving calories and lending them to a more cake-like texture, which I love in a donut! They are full of a homemade pumpkin spice blend of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon (same as my healthy pumpkin bread), and real pumpkin in every bite.
I’m going to save a couple for my dessert but serve the rest to my family for a holiday breakfast/brunch (since they will all be enjoying all the pies.)
Another bonus to this recipe is if you double the batch, you can use just about a whole can of pumpkin. Right now, I have the baby to gobble up any leftover cans of pumpkin puree. But, usually, I find them tucked in the back of the fridge growing some new variety of mold. I mean to give it to the dog, but I forget. So anytime I can work it, so a whole can is used, I think that’s a huge win. If you don’t need 24 donuts, you could double the batch and freeze them.
You can NEVER have enough donuts. That’s just a fact of life.
I know you guys love oat flour, and I do too. So, I wanted to tell you I tried this recipe at least ten times (not exaggerating), trying to make it with oat flour. I have at least 100 recipes using oat flour here on the blog, so I would say I’m pretty experienced in working with it. However, I just couldn’t make it work.
Donuts 1, Kelli 0.
So many sad batches of donuts in the trash. And that’s why recipe testing ingredients is a write-off. It’s a whole damn process. My sweet MIL and nephew managed to save a few from meeting their demise in the trash, but some of them I wouldn’t even let them eat.
Either the texture was too gummy, or they wouldn’t stay together. Or I screwed up the flavor, it just wasn’t working out. I finally gave up and went for a version with whole wheat pastry flour, which worked beautifully. I did test this version with oat flour, and I was able to make them “work,” I’ll share those modifications for my gluten-free oat flour-loving friends below. If you don’t need to be gluten-free though, whole wheat pastry flour is still 100% whole grain flour packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients.
How to Glaze Baked Pumpkin Donuts
I also wanted to tell you about the glaze. I freaking love glaze and icing in all forms at all times. So, I tend to be a little heavy-handed with it. I keep my glaze thick by only adding one teaspoon of milk and packing it on the donuts. However, you could thin yours out a bit by adding more milk to get a thinner consistency. I know some people like minimal glaze, so I wanted to share with you that option.
Side note – whenever I see someone scraping the frosting off their cake, a little part of me dies inside, and I stare longingly at the wasted precious frosting. Of course, if people see me staring, they must think of how I “as the dietitian” think they are doing a great job not eating the frosting. In reality, I’m just coveting their stash, wondering if I can intercept the plate before it hits the trash. And that’s the kind of dietitian I am. There is no such thing as “too sweet,” in my opinion. But that’s just me. I’m a caramel guzzling, frosting-loving, heck of a good time.
How to Make Healthy Baked Pumpkin Donuts
The batter for this recipe is a simple “quick bread” type batter. First, mix your dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine.
Once you’ve got your batter made, I like to use a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off to pipe the mixture into the donut pan. I HIGHLY recommend using a silicone donut tray. It’s just so much easier to pop these little suckers out without breaking them. I play my silicone baking trays on a metal sheet pan and stick them in the oven.
I usually smooth out the edges around the donuts and redistribute the batter if I come up short at the end. But, having them piped in there already is a huge time and mess saver!
Ingredient Swaps & Substitutions
Whole wheat pastry flour – Whole wheat pastry flour is my preferred baking flour for light, fluffy end products still made with 100% whole grains. You can sub all-purpose flour (won’t be whole grain) or white whole wheat flour (maybe a little heavier of a product.) If you want to use oat flour, you can, but the result will be very delicate. For best results, let the donuts cool IN THE BAKING TRAY, then transfer to the fridge for at least an hour. They will stick together much better once cooled and chilled in the refrigerator. You can also try to sub a gluten-free 1:1 flour, but I haven’t tried it. Please do not sub any grain-free flour like almond or coconut. This recipe will not work.
Baking powder & Baking Soda – do not omit
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ground Cloves – you can sub all three with 1.5 teaspoons of pumpkin spice seasoning, but if you have all three at home, use them, the combo is divine! However, substituting with a pumpkin spice blend may result in a less flavorful end product.
Dark Brown Coconut Sugar – okay to sub brown sugar or golden coconut sugar. Okay, to sub any other dry sweetener. I do not use “sugar substitutes” in my baking, so I’m unsure if they will work.
Maple syrup – okay to sub any other liquid sweetener, such as honey or agave. I do not use “sugar substitutes” in my baking, so I’m unsure if they will work.
Pumpkin Puree – you could sub canned sweet potatoes for a fun twist on these donuts, but, otherwise, do not sub or omit.
Eggs – you may be able to use flax eggs, but I haven’t tried it! Let us know if you give it a whirl!
Vanilla extract – optional, for flavor – my advice is not to omit.
Melted coconut oil – may sub melted butter. Do not substitute any other type of oil.
Icing Ingredients – The icing is optional.
How to Store Pumpkin Donuts
Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
If you want to freeze them, do not add the glaze. Instead, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator, and then you can add the icing/glaze.
More Healthy Pumpkin Desserts
- Healthy Pumpkin Bread (traditional, whole wheat pastry flour)
- Oat Flour Pumpkin Bread
- Oat Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-free)
- Healthy Pumpkin Cookies (Oat Flour)
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies (Almond Flour)
Healthy Baked Pumpkin Donuts
- 2silicone donut trays
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two donut pans with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar.)1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/3 cup dark brown coconut sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (maple syrup, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and melted coconut oil) by whisking until fully incorporated.1/3 cup dark brown coconut sugar, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 2/3 cup pumpkin puree, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup coconut oil
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, do not overmix.
- Add batter to a zip-lock bag or piping bag, cut off the tip, pipe batter into donut holes, filling each way 3/4 the way full. Use a spoon to smooth out the batter.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, spinning pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- Let cool for 10 minutes. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before glazing.
- Make the glaze by combing powdered sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, and milk. (See note about obtaining desired consistency of the icing.)1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp butter or vegan butter, 1-3 tsps almond milk
- Dip donut in glaze, or use a spoon to spread the glaze over the top. Return donuts to the fridge to allow the glaze to set. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- If you want to use oat flour, you can, but the result will be very delicate. For best results, let the donuts cool IN THE BAKING TRAY, then transfer to the fridge for at least an hour. They will stick together much better once cooled and chilled in the refrigerator.
- Or use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour such as Bob's Red Mill.
- Adjust the level of almond milk to the desired thickness of the glaze/icing. For a thicker glaze (as in the photo), stick with only a teaspoon of milk. Add up to four teaspoons of milk for a lighter/thinner (more calorie-friendly but still delicious glaze). The thinner the glaze/icing, the more donuts you can frost, and the fewer calories each donut will be. I'm a huge fan of frosting, so I kept mine thick!