These Pumpkin Spice Donuts are baked instead of fried, and have a heavenly aroma from adding brown butter. They have a nice cakey denseness and old-fashioned flavor.

These doughnuts have all the character and deliciousness of a fried doughnut, with no frying required.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts - Sitting on a Wire Rack with Glaze Dripping  

Don’t get me wrong, I like fried donuts too, but baking is a lot easier and much less messy. I believe in only setting up the deep fryer when you have to, and this is a situation where you don’t need one. 

The delicious flavor and non-fried success of these doughnuts definitely comes from the butter. Both the brown butter that’s in the actual doughnut batter and the butter in the glaze that goes on top, which gives it that old-fashioned flavor.

These doughnuts are cakey, but with a nice, dense crumb. Take a look:

Pumpkin Donuts on Wire Rack with Bite Taken from One to Show Fluffy Baked Interior

They also have both pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices in the batter, giving it a fall and holiday flavor.

How to Brown Butter:

To get started on our recipe, we’re going to brown some butter.

I love adding brown butter to baked goods because it adds a deep, nutty, toffee-like flavor and aroma, and it goes beautifully with the pumpkin spice flavor!

Start with a stick of butter and melt it down in a small skillet set over medium heat.

Melting Butter in Saucepan

Keep cooking it for a few minutes until you begin to see brown specks in the bottom of the pan.

Brown Butter - In a Skillet To be added to the batter

Once they appear, pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl to cool down.

Brown Butter Cooling in Mixing Bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Donuts:

In the meantime, combine your dry ingredients, which are flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

Dry Ingredients with Pumpkin Pie Spice

Set that aside and return to the cooled brown butter. Whisk in brown sugar and eggs until smooth and thick.

Pumpkin Donut Batter in Mixing Bowl

Then add pumpkin puree and milk.

Pumpkin Puree and Milk added to Donut Batter

Whisk that together until smooth.

Whisked Batter in Bowl with Whisk

Add the dry ingredients to the wet.

Dry Ingredients Added to Top of Wet Ingredients With Whisk

Once combined, the batter will be very thick. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out portions of the batter.

Scooping Pumpkin Donut Batter with Cookie Scoop

Dollop the scoops into a greased doughnut pan, then smooth them out with a spatula.

Donut Batter Spread into Donut Pan for Baking

Bake the doughnuts for 16-18 minutes until they are puffed and pass the toothpick test.

Baked Cake Donut in Pan With Pumpkin and Brown Butter

Make a glaze of confectioner’s sugar, melted butter, and milk, and then dip the cooled pumpkin doughnuts into the glaze.

Dipping Baked Donut in Donut Glaze With Butter and Confectioner\'s Sugar

Set each dipped doughnut onto a wire rack to drip. Let the glaze firm up for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Donuts with Glaze Dripping on Rack

The doughnuts are now ready to enjoy!

Pumpkin ButterPumpkin RollPumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Pumpkin Muffins are a few of my other favorite pumpkin recipes on the blog.  

More Donuts and Baked Goods:

Pumpkin Donuts on Wire Rack

Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

These Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Donuts are baked, not fried! Nice cakey denseness and old-fashioned flavor.

Leave a Review »


For the doughnuts:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée I used canned
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Butter for greasing

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6- or 12-count doughnut pan with butter. If using a 6-count doughnut pan, you will need to bake two batches.
  • Start by browning the butter, which should take about 5 minutes total. Place the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, and first let it melt. Keep cooking the butter, stirring it with a spatula, until the foam on top begins to subside and little brown specks begin to appear on the bottom of the pan. Once the milk solid specks are a deep golden brown, pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Set aside.
  • Now that the brown butter has cooled, add the sugar and eggs, and whisk until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and milk, and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. The batter will be thick. Fill the doughnut wells about 3/4 full with the batter, making sure to smooth them out well with a spatula. Bake the doughnuts for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Flip the doughnuts out of the pan and let them cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, whisk to combine the confectioner’s sugar, butter, and milk. Dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze. If the glaze gets too firm from the butter cooling down, microwave for 15 seconds to melt it again. Let the glaze set on the doughnuts for 10 minutes, then the doughnuts are ready to enjoy!


Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 190mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 25g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in November 2019. Originally published October 2015.