Cinnamon Sugar Tossed Sweet Potato Doughnuts

These are baked doughnuts, and after you try these, you will never miss their fried counterparts again.  Besides their soft and tender texture, the sweet potato flavor is just incredible, and we get that pure flavor by mixing in 1 cup of mashed sweet potato directly into the dough.   The awesomeness of sweet potatoes apparently knows no bounds.

Microwave a sweet potato, then scoop out the flesh:

Make a dough with main players like flour, yeast, and sweet potato.

Roll out the dough, and cut little circles:

Bake until puffed and lightly brown:

Toss the doughnuts in butter, then cinnamon sugar, right when they’re hot out of the oven.

Look at the little vanilla beans seeds and that awesome fluffy texture!

Cinnamon Sugar Tossed Sweet Potato Doughnuts

Yield: 2 dozen doughnuts

Cinnamon Sugar Tossed Sweet Potato Doughnuts


  • 12 oz sweet potato total (so we can end up with 1 cup)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup milk (I used skim)
  • 2¼ tsp instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3.5 oz light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
  • 1¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped***
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 extra large egg yolks
  • 15 oz bread flour (3 cups)
  • For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


  1. Prick the sweet potato several times with a fork and microwave for 8 minutes, until tender. Cut the potato in half and scoop the flesh out. Mash with a fork (you should have about 1 cup of sweet potato).
  2. Either just melt the butter, or if you wish to take your sweet potato doughnut flavor to the next level, brown the butter in a small skillet. Let it cool.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the milk to 105 degrees F on an instant read thermometer). It’s important not to go over 105, or you risk killing the yeast (this happened to me the first time I made these…oops).
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, let the yeast and warm milk sit for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla seeds, nutmeg, and rum, and whisk to combine. Add the mashed sweet potato, butter, egg and egg yolks, and beat until well combined.
  5. Change to the dough hook, and add the flour. Beat at medium for 2 minutes, then bump the speed up to medium high and knead until a soft dough forms and the sweet potato dough pulls away from the sides and toward the center, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Dump the dough out, form it into a ball, and let it rise on the countertop for 2 hours (don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t rise all that much…it won’t).
  7. Gently redistribute the yeast by kneading lightly, then roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. I rolled my dough out to about 3/4 inch thick for my doughnuts.
  8. Cut circles out, then stamp out the centers to make little holes. Place the doughnuts on two parchment paper lined sheet pans, and let them rise for 2 hours, covered with plastic wrap.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the doughnuts in the center of the oven for about 10 minutes, until the doughnuts have risen and are golden brown (they should be 200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).
  10. While the doughnuts are baking, make the cinnamon sugar topping by melting the butter in one bowl, and whisking the sugar and cinnamon in another. While the doughnuts are hot out of the oven, toss them in the butter, then immediately toss in the cinnamon sugar. That’s it! Enjoy your doughnuts =)


Recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine.

***I buy these Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans on Amazon, 7 beans for $6, and free shipping.  Way cheaper than anything you will find at the grocery store.

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  • avatar Platanos, Mangoes and Me! April 18, 2011, 11:56 am

    OMG…these are fantastic. I am so afraid to try this. I am a lousy baker. My mouth is drooling…can you send me some or a dozen or two ;}

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 12:04 pm

      They ARE fantastic! These disappeared in two days, not kidding. I know, it’s sort of a long recipe and I could see how that would be intimidating. But they are easy, I promise! I would be so proud if you made them! If you have an instant read thermometer, they are VERY easy because you don’t have to worry about accidentally killing the yeast, which is probably the part that would screw people up most for these.

  • avatar Jennifer Johnston April 18, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Joanne, I believe that you have found the solution to the distict lack in good doughnuts around here. I am most definately going to be making these! I mouth statrted watering as soon as I saw the picture. You are awesome! Keep it up! :o)

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 6:39 pm

      Thanks Jen =) You should try making these…they are so good!

  • avatar carlysulli April 18, 2011, 12:43 pm

    Yum yum yum! Those look sooo delicious!

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 6:39 pm

      They are hands down the best doughnuts I’ve ever had…and the best part is they’re not fried!

  • avatar freshandfoodie April 18, 2011, 1:12 pm

    These are awesome! I’ve never had a sweet potato doughnut before, but now I totally want to! I just love these.

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 6:41 pm

      I stumbled across them in a magazine and thought they sounded so interesting. I love sweet potatoes!

  • avatar katshealthcorner April 18, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Those are absolutely GORGEOUS! :D

    I love your blog! :D

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 6:41 pm

      Thank you! Yes, they were so photogenic and fun to shoot =)

  • avatar yumtherapy April 18, 2011, 4:42 pm

    Yum, these look amazing! And relatively guilt-free! :)

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 6:42 pm

      I also like that I don’t have to get out the deep fryer. Deep frying things can be a little bit of a pain.

  • avatar seedotkay April 18, 2011, 10:11 pm

    I was wondering for the vanilla bean part, can you replace it with extract?

    • avatar Joanne April 18, 2011, 10:56 pm

      Yes you can replace with extract in this case. I would add maybe a teaspoon or two.

  • avatar Leah April 19, 2011, 7:26 pm

    Yummmm these look so amazing. I will be making them soon!!!

    • avatar Joanne April 20, 2011, 8:59 pm

      If they turn out as well as your version of the chocolate chunk muffins, they will be AMAZING. But seriously, the doughnuts are SO good. Pete and I ate them all in 2 days. Not kidding.

  • avatar Jaqie April 20, 2011, 8:50 pm

    I made em! well, my nephew helped me too :) it was our project for the day, and man oh man, its so good!

    • avatar Joanne April 20, 2011, 8:58 pm

      YAY! That makes me happy Jaqie! They are a bit of work, but so worth it! Don’t you love the sweet potato flavor? I love that you twisted yours too. Such a great idea…I will try that next time.

  • avatar Patty April 23, 2011, 12:03 pm

    These sound and look amazing – thanks for sharing!

  • avatar Jen at The Three Little Piglets April 23, 2011, 12:18 pm

    Oh my heaven these look good! If I had any sweet potatoes I seriously think I would go make them right now. I love the smell of fresh doughnuts!

    • avatar Joanne April 23, 2011, 7:58 pm

      I have 10 pounds of sweet potato in my pantry because they are so cheap right now! 49 cents/lb. Woohoo! Let me know if you make these…they are so worth it.

  • avatar My Kitchen in the Rockies April 25, 2011, 11:50 am

    I will have to take this recipe to try. What a delicious treat. Can’t wait! Thanks.

  • avatar My Kitchen in the Rockies April 26, 2011, 9:52 pm

    I made them yesterday and they were TO DIE FOR! So delicious. They came out great and were easier to make then I thought. Thanks for sharing this great recipe. I didn’t have the right cutter for the donuts, so I got one today for the next time which will be very very soon.

    • avatar Joanne April 27, 2011, 12:11 am

      That is FANTASTIC! Thanks for letting us all know. And yes, I think they aren’t difficult at all, they just take several steps to make them (have to give the yeast time to work their magic). I actually cut mine with my metal measuring cups LOL. The handle made it a little awkward, but it got the job done. Sometimes I use my teacup too. I bet the cutters you got will make it super easy.

  • avatar huntfortheverybest April 26, 2011, 11:03 pm

    wow those look great!

  • avatar Simran May 6, 2011, 5:43 am

    These look fantastic. my mother insists on calling them spudnut’s. Will be trying these on 8th may for mothers day.Can’t wait to see the look on her face.

    • avatar Joanne May 6, 2011, 10:22 am

      hehehe spudnuts? That’s so funny. I hope you like these as much as I do!

  • avatar AikoVenus May 6, 2011, 1:47 pm

    Ooh, those look good! I’m torn between making Korean cookies or going crazy and making them donut-style like these. :)

  • avatar Jennie @ Oh Sweet Day! June 4, 2011, 7:40 pm

    Oh my goodness….now these are my kind of donut!!!

  • avatar Lauren June 4, 2011, 7:57 pm

    XP from Tastestopping:

    For some reason, I can’t see the comment I left previously, but I edited this picture for color and contrast and resubmitted it to Foodgawker for you. It was accepted!

    WOOHOO! Congratulations!!!

    • avatar Joanne June 4, 2011, 8:18 pm

      Hi Lauren, that’s strange….I don’t see any previous comment. It has disappeared into the black hole! Anyway, thanks so much for doing that! What kind of editing software do you use? The photo looks great!

      • avatar Lauren June 4, 2011, 11:26 pm

        I should have specified- that was in reference to the post on Tastestopping.

        And you’re welcome! I use Gimp for Windows. It’s a free download here:

        • avatar Lyuda June 19, 2011, 3:13 pm

          i love gimp! except when it freezes..

          • avatar Joanne June 20, 2011, 9:30 am

            Uh oh. What is gimp? Some crazy computer thing?

          • avatar Lauren June 20, 2011, 11:23 am

            GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop. It’s awesome!

  • avatar Jenn June 5, 2011, 1:06 am

    Wow – now that is a donut!

  • avatar alyssa August 21, 2011, 5:09 am

    Great pictures, I can’t wait to try this one! I buzzed you!

  • avatar Sarah September 6, 2011, 3:53 pm

    These look delicious! Do you think these would work just as well, without changing ratios, with regular white potatoes? I love sweet potatoes, but the husband doesn’t. Kill joy! I’ve made potato donuts before, but they were fried.

    • avatar Joanne September 6, 2011, 9:10 pm

      Hey Sarah, Hm…while I can’t be sure without trying, I don’t think the white potatoes would work well, just because the sweet potatoes are sort of soft and a little sticky, but white potatoes just sort of crumble and break down. Even if your husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes, I really think he will like these doughnuts! The sweet potato flavor is very delicate, and seriously, these doughnuts are SOOOO GOOD!!!

  • avatar thekalechronicles October 19, 2011, 8:37 am

    We used to have a deep-fryer years ago and my Mom made yeast-risen doughnuts. Heaven. I haven’t seen a baked doughnut recipe that I wanted to try until now. Thanks! — Sharyn

  • avatar thekalechronicles October 21, 2011, 11:18 am

    I made these yesterday and mine turned out to be more like bagels, shading toward hockey pucks. I am an experienced yeast bread baker and I was so disappointed: the dough was light and tasted and smelled wonderful: the doughnuts were heavy and not doughnut-like.

    • avatar Joanne October 21, 2011, 12:54 pm

      Sharyn, that makes me sad! How disappointing. I am honestly really surprised to hear they didn’t turn out well!!! I’ve made them many times and they are one of my most popular recipes that people have made, and I’ve always been told they are a hit. They are supposed to be pretty fluffy and soft and relatively light..not hockey puck like!!! Out of curiosity, do you weigh your flour or do you measure? Also, do you have an oven thermometer?

      • avatar thekalechronicles October 21, 2011, 1:29 pm

        I measure: spoon in and level off. I don’t have an oven thermometer — our oven runs a little hot, but I compensate for that. I’ll try them again next time I have extra sweet potatoes, but I’m thinking there was too much sweet potato in the dough or too much flour in the cutting out, although I tend to be careful about that. They looked good before they went into the oven and they taste okay — it’s a texture thing.

        • avatar Joanne October 21, 2011, 4:33 pm

          Did you think that they rose at all during either of the room temp rises? They don’t rise all that much, but there is definitely some difference. If they did rise some, my best guess is there was too much flour maybe. Or you’re right, possibly too much sweet potato. Something made them heavy! You will see in my last photo on the post that the crumb is very light and fluffy. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out well this time and I hope if you do make them again they go better! Because they really are my favorite doughnuts ever!

          • avatar thekalechronicles October 21, 2011, 7:29 pm

            The dough rose fine, both before and after I rolled them, but there was no “oven spring” at all: in the oven they just sat there instead of raising further.

        • avatar Joanne October 21, 2011, 7:32 pm

          That’s so strange. I was going to say, they don’t seem to rise all that much while they’re out in room temperature and I’m always concerned I’ve killed the yeast or something, but then when I pop them in the oven they just puff up like crazy. I’m stumped!

  • avatar Lexy July 9, 2012, 6:41 pm

    I really want to make these but i dont have any yeast, im tempted to try the recipe without yest. But would that ruin the bread?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug July 9, 2012, 6:43 pm

      Hi Lexy, unfortunately it is not possible to make these without yeast. The yeast is what leavens and aerates the dough so it’s fluffy and soft. Without it, it will just be a hard brick of sweet potato flour. Definitely pick some up the next time you’re at the store =)

  • avatar johanna October 16, 2012, 11:41 am

    Hi Joanne, these look delicious! I am wondering if it is possible to make this dough a day beforehand, or the night before a breakfast. Would it be possible to refrigerate the dough after the first rise?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 16, 2012, 1:33 pm

      Hi Johanna, You can definitely do the dough ahead of time. If you let the dough sit overnight in the fridge, the dough will taste even better! It just takes longer if you let the dough rise in the refrigerator, but overnight would definitely be plenty of time. I hope you enjoy the doughnuts…I just love them.

  • avatar Sonia October 19, 2012, 10:43 am

    Hi, these look awesome but is there any chance I can do without the rum?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug October 19, 2012, 10:51 am

      Hi Sonia, Definitely! You can either just leave it out entirely or you can add 1 tsp vanilla extract if you’d like.

  • avatar Pat November 10, 2012, 3:21 pm

    All I have to say is OMG! VERY DELISH! I made a few minor adjustments but OH SO GOOD!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 10, 2012, 4:11 pm

      YAY! So glad to hear it Pat. I am wondering what adjustments you made. I always like to hear the variations that people do. Sometimes I debate adding more spices to these! Maybe next time I’ll try.

  • avatar Sarah November 11, 2012, 3:08 pm

    These look amazing! Would it be possible to sub regular flour for bread flour? Thanks!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug November 11, 2012, 4:12 pm

      Hi Sarah, I’ve never tried it so I’m not 100% sure, however it might not be as good. Bread flour has more protein in it, which means it can develop more gluten (which is really important for bread because gluten is basically the web that holds the gas bubbles in that the yeast produce, which give the bread its rise and fluffiness). They might be a bit more dense and hard to work with, but then again, I’ve definitely made things where I pulled off AP flour in cases where I should have used bread. If you try it let me know =)

  • avatar matmedmera November 16, 2012, 2:59 am

    What a delicious doughnuts. I have to try bake these today, but with pumpkin which needs to be take care

  • avatar veonica December 1, 2012, 7:35 pm

    hi, this looked so yummy and so i made them, but they turned out flat and dense. they were still really really yummy, but they werent the consistency of a doughnut. i used all purpose flour, so maybe that could be it?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 1, 2012, 8:35 pm

      All purpose flour has less protein than bread flour, so the bread flour is important. The protein is what is developed into gluten, and the gluten is like a web that holds in all the gas bubbles produced by the yeast, and gives the doughnuts the rise and fluffiness that they need. Hope that helps.

  • avatar Rams January 14, 2013, 11:39 pm

    Hi Joanne,
    these look so wonderful and yummy. I want to try these for tomorrow. But making 2 dozen and finishing in a house of 2 is very difficult. Can you please let me know if I can halve the recipe or can I freeze the left overs or the dough? Please let me know as I really want to try these.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug January 15, 2013, 1:34 pm

      I understand, my house is a house of two also! Breads freeze very well, and these doughnuts definitely fall in that category. You can either freeze the dough, or you freeze the doughnuts already baked. The first one would yield freshly baked doughnuts upon thawing, but the second one is easier.

  • avatar Nadine September 24, 2013, 4:16 pm

    I´ve made these a while ago and i loved them! Because it´s pumpkin season at the moment i am thinking about using pumpkin puree instead of a sweet potato, do you think it will work as well?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug September 25, 2013, 10:18 am

      Hi Nadine, would you be using fresh pumpkin? If so I would say yes since it has a similar texture. I have found the canned pumpkin to have a very strange texture, but who knows, that might work too if you’re wanting to use it. Enjoy!

      • avatar Nadine September 29, 2013, 5:07 am

        I used fresh pumpkin puree and changed the spice mix a bit, they are soo good! Thank you for the recipe, it´s really a nice one to “play” with :D
        By the way, I have done a let’s say over-night version, so the first rise of the dough over night in the fridge to save a bit time the next day.

        • avatar Joanne Ozug September 30, 2013, 10:54 am

          Hi Nadine, awesome, thanks for sharing the results here!! Glad they went well. I have some fresh pumpkin puree in my fridge too so maybe I will try it as well!

  • avatar cindy April 1, 2014, 3:47 pm

    i feel like my dough was a bit sticky. is this how it is supposed to feel or did I not beat long enough?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug April 4, 2014, 10:13 am

      Hi Cindy, yes, this is a sticky dough. I have played a lot with the flour levels and I find that if you add flour to make the dough not sticky, the doughnuts are too dense and hard.


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