Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

Do you like cinnamon buns?  Brownie points if you love Cinnabon cinnamon rolls like I do?  If you’re a cinnamon roll fan, you’re going to love these donuts.

Really, who doesn’t love a cinnamon roll?

Warm baked dough that’s sweet, dense, cinnamony and sugary, ooey gooey, with frosting everywhere.

Yes, please.

I worked at the mall when I was in high school and between Panda Chinese food, Mrs. Field’s Cookies, and Cinnabons, I ate more sodium, grease, and sugar than should be legal or is good for the complexion.  But hey, you’re only 16 and working next to the food court once.

I have such fond memories of Cinnabons.  The dense texture of them, the flavors of the cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter, the warm dough, and that cream cheese frosting.

I always ordered extra frosting and it was 50 cents for that extra cup of frosting but when you’re in high school working at a minimum wage job, you notice the price of tea in China the price of extra frosting.  But best use ever of 50 cents.

My grandma made the best cinnamon rolls, but since she’s not around and I had a cinnamon roll craving come over me, I knew I needed to figure something out.  Working with yeast-based doughs is a kitchen fear I still need to tackle.  Truth be told, I’ve never made traditional cinnamon rolls.

However, I thought that cinnamon bun style donuts was something I could handle.

And my hunch proved successful.

These donuts are baked but they are not cake, or dry the way that most baked or cake-style donuts are.

Not in the least.

They are actually pretty heavy, dense, and very moist.   The texture reminds me of an underbaked muffin-top in some ways.  Gooey and thick, not light, airy or fluffy.

The flavor is what you’d expect from a cinnamon bun.   There’s cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, melted butter.

And frosting.  I paired the donuts with a vanilla cream cheese glaze that makes you want to dive in and bathe in it.  I actually like a little donut with my frosting.  A little coffee with my cream.  Can you relate?

No donut pan?  I’m sorry.  You can buy one for $8 bucks at BB & B with a coupon or $10 without a coupon.   You’ll be happy you did.

And if you really don’t want to do that, you can make these donuts as muffins in a muffin pan.  I tried that with the leftover batter.  The recipe yields what would be 7 donuts in my donut pan but rather than waiting for my one donut pan to come out of the oven, I made the remaining batter into two small muffins in my muffin pan.  I baked the muffins for about 15 minutes and they turned out just dandy.

The whole donut recipe from start to finish, including making them, cooling, glazing, and doing the dishes is 30 minutes.  That’s success.

But the fact that they remind me of Cinnabons is the best.

The recipe yields 6-7 donuts and we polished off 5 at once, right out of the oven.

Bu there was that one, lone, straggler donut.  The next day, that straggler had become the perfect sponge for the cream cheese glaze.

Soaking up all that magical stuff and getting even heavier in weight and more full-bodied with flavor, which is just the way I like my baked goods: heavy, rich, dense, and intense.

Couldn’t think of a better way to Christen my new donut pan than with these.

Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze - When a cinnamon roll meets a donut on the way to the oven, this is what you get! Soft, fluffy, easy donuts that are ready in 10 minutes!

Print Recipe

Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

These donuts are what a Cinnabon cinnamon roll that met a vanilla glazed donut on the way to the oven would taste like. They're soft, moist, and full of great cinnamon flavor. Donuts are a cinch to make at home, but if you don't have a donut pan, recipe may be make in a muffin pan.

Yield: 6-7 donuts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 10 to 12 minutes

Total Time: about 20 minutes



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon (add more if you like cinnamon or want a stronger ‘cinnamon bun’ taste)

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

6 tablespoons buttermilk

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

1/2 cup+  confectioners' sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon+ cinnamon

splash Milk, Half & Half, Cream, Heavy Cream, vegan milk


  1. Donuts - Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease or spray a Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Pan with cooking spray. Or, use a muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and optional salt.
  3. Add buttermilk, egg, vanilla and melted butter.  Whisk to combine.
  4. Use a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off) to pipe the batter into a 6-donut pan.  Or just be extra neat and do this with a spoon (my preference).
  5. Bake 8 to 11 minutes, or until doughnuts spring back when touched are are set.  Donuts will not be golden brown, but should be springy. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan, about 5 minutes.
  6. Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze - While donuts are baking or cooling, make the glaze by combining powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, cinnamon, with a small splash milk.  Whisk to combine, adding the milk as necessary, until desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Dip the donuts into the glaze. Donuts are best fresh, but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 3 days.

Related Recipes

Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla Glaze

Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts with Vanilla Peanut Butter Glaze


  1. I actually really dislike cinnamon (I know, I know!) but would love to make these with ginger or nutmeg or something! What a great use of your donut pan and the pictures are wonderful!

  2. HOLY YUM! Delicious! Who doesn’t love a donut AND a cinnamon roll into one! :-)

  3. Now it is NECESSARY for me to have a donut pan…

  4. Cinnamon buns are one of my favorite things on Earth! I would love one right now.

  5. Drooling over here! I love cinnabons and I love donuts. Match made in heaven :)

  6. wow! the broken-apart donuts look sooooo good, I can practically taste how dense and moist they are… yum yum (food porn!)

  7. Wow, Averie. I cannot wait to make these! Your photos in the post are particularly outstanding. :)

    • Ok I actually hated my pics. Seriously. I had tons and tons to choose from and nothing was working. The frosting and the shininess, my camera was not focusing as well as I thought it was…til after I put them on my computer and the photo shoot (and donuts) were done!

      I know you take gorgeous pics…not sure if that ever happens to you or not where certain foods, i.e. frosting, salad dressing, whipped cream, etc…reflective foods, cause this horrible blur thing to be going on. Anyway…thank you. I needed to hear your sweet compliment :)

  8. I made a cinnabon bun recipe a couple of weeks ago but haven’t been able to post it because of the power outage here! :(
    Cinnamon bun donuts though? Simply adorable (and look so yummy!) :)

  9. My grandmother used to make donuts often when we were kids – fried of course. I probably haven’t had a donut in about 17 years – since I worked at a bakery. I’m sure I’ve told you the story. Let’s just say I ate my weight and then some in donuts. But those actually look appealing to me – or maybe I’m just smelling cinnabon ;-)

  10. I’ve never had a cinnabon but I’ve made them at home when I was a little girl! I’ve never made donuts though !

  11. I LOVE a good cinnamon roll… and I love the smell of my kitchen after I make them! great flavor idea for a doughnut!

  12. These look amazing!! I really need to jump on the donut bandwagon. :) I LOVE cinnamon and still get tempted every time I pass their stand at the mall or airport!

  13. dense and moist > airy and cakey ! These look beautiful. I can literally smell that tantalizing cinnabon smell that wafts half way down the mall just by looking at these and hearing your stories.

  14. My hips grew an inch just looking at those things! Cinnabon is where it’s at!

  15. These look insanely delicious!

  16. Yum, these look so great and I’m not even a doughnut lover!

    Quick question for you as you are one of my favourite food photographers to ask – when the light gets darker earlier in winter, how do you photograph meals? I know you mainly photograph baked goods so maybe you just choose to shoot them earlier in the day, but I am struggling with this. I have pre-made dinners on some days when I’m working from home so I can photograph them in the light but then they’re not as fresh when I eat them which seems a bit of a bummer! So just wondering how to avoid having to use artificial lighting, or perhaps there’s just no way around this lol! Love the shots here, so textured :)

    • Anna this is SUCH a great question and I’ve addressed bits and pieces of it before and also mused out loud with friends about the conundrum.

      One reason I do love dessert recipes is that they can be made ahead, there is no pressure to “get dinner on the table” and take the picture while hungry family members are waiting and the light is bad, anyway. I am pretty sure some bloggers make meals ahead of time and photograph in the afternoon; not really a day-to-day practical solution for me.

      Also this lighting kit is decent but a pain to take up and down (Kath has it too and she says she fast with hers…me..not so much)

      And you need Lightroom or editing software. If you’re in school, it’s about a hundred bucks. Worth every penny. What you can’t do with real light, as long as the pics are semi decent, you can usually make them much better with LR.

      Good luck!

    • Thanks so much for the info! I really appreciate it and will check out Lightroom – not a student sadly but it might be worth the full price anyway. I definitely want to check out a lighting kit; I bet they are a pain but maybe there’s even an area of my bedroom I could leave it up for a while at a time at least…just with working full-time it’s impossible to be prepared enough to make meals in advance and with the hour about to go back that’s only going to get worse as it gets dark earlier and earlier!

      Thanks for the link; can’t wait to check it out…I was so disappointed with my yummy and gorgeous stuffed mushrooms – the photos were just terrible because of darn artificial lighting and shadows…!

  17. these look so yummy! so funny because I have been craving cinnamon rolls like crazy (hello, 6 months preggers hormones!). Have you ever had the cobblestones from Panera? Like a cinn roll but with apples and stuff… so freaking good. tons of icing of course! I have reallllly been wanting a *real* cinnamon roll but I know the gluten will hate me!

  18. we had a cinnabon in the cafeteria at my college. there was many a late night dinners at cinnabon to be had then. best 800 calories and 32 grams of fat eaten (last time i checked (about 8 years ago when i was in college) that was the calorie/fat count of a cinnabon.) gotta love the extra frosting too!!!

  19. Like everything else on your site, these look so yummy! I just posted a recipe for cinnamon rolls on my site on Monday. LOL
    How is it you are in such great shape when you bake so many yummies?? I used to decorate cakes professionally, but then I realized how much cake I was eating! What do you do with all of the goodies you make?
    BTW, did you know that Swedes actually have a cinnamon bun holiday? I researched it for my post. How great is that?? : )

  20. You pics are gorgeous! I wanted to eat the computer screen! they look delicious :)

    • I hated these pics…LOL

      I wrote this to someone else…
      Ok I actually hated my pics. Seriously. I had tons and tons to choose from and nothing was working. The frosting and the shininess, my camera was not focusing as well as I thought it was…til after I put them on my computer and the photo shoot (and donuts) were done!

      Thanks for your support :)

  21. i have so many memories of cinnamon buns in the airport during college. i played water polo and when our team would fly to away games, we had a tradition of getting some buns (extra frosting of course!) before we hopped on the plane. good news was that a water polo game burned off every single calorie in no time!

  22. I got my donut pan the other day! It’s washed and ready to go! I can’t wait to play with it! These look delicious Averie!

  23. Cinnamon rolls/buns are one of my favorite things in the world. I have enjoyed my share of Cinnabons, as much as I hate to admit that. ;-) You just started a major craving, lady! I tell you, reading food blogs is dangerous when you are pregnant!

  24. Averie, these pictures are fabulous! They are seriously making me drool. I haven’t had a cinnamon roll in forever, but they are one of my favorite treats!

  25. Oh my gosh, the cinnabon smell in our mall drives me crrrrrazy!!! So yummy!!! I love how much you’re using your new donut pan toy! :-)

  26. I Loooove cinnabons… have not had one in years and years. But my best friend and I used to eat them every day one summer we were both day camp counsellors when we were 15. We didn’t share one.. we had one each.. Oh the chocolate ones are/were heaven! They were the BEST!! Love how you have teenaged memories of them too!! These donuts look gooey and lovely!

  27. I love cinnamon rolls. You have seriously combined the best of both worlds here. Now I need to get a donut pan!

  28. Seriously? Baked donuts that are like CInnabon? Heaven. And your pictures look like heaven. I know you said to someoen else that you didn’t like them, but I am in awe of you photos every time. I need a freaking donut pan!!!!

  29. We must be related. You inspired me to buy a donut maker (did you get the trackback?) and I made cookie dough donuts. And here you are with cinnamon bun donuts. Crazy! But in really awesome donut-y way. So naturally, I have to make these, right? ;)

  30. These look delicious!! I feel more compelled now to purchase a doughnut pan ;)

    By the way, is that surface below the plate from Crate & Barrel?

  31. I don’t think I would have survived working in the food court. I would have been in a permanent food coma:) I am not a huge doughnut lover, but I think these sound fabulous. I will try them out in a muffin pan before I make the “8 dollar” investment.

  32. Oh. My. God. I need these in my life:)

  33. These donuts looks fabulous, awsome job. Cinnamon is amazing, a total fall happy flavor and scent for me.

    1. Yes, but it’s been ages since I’ve had a traditional cinnamon roll and Cinnabon’s make me think of the airports since every airport food court seems to have one.
    2. Nope, not yet. I tried begals once, kind of close – right?

  34. i’m officially drooling. It’s breakfast time where I am right now and how I wish I were about to eat one of those! It’s been a while since I’ve had a cinnamon roll from cinnabon, but from what I remember, they’re pretty darn tasty ;) ANd they smell amazing every time I walk by.

  35. to be honest, I am not a HUGE donut fan in general…they are just way too sweet and that pastry texture I am not a fan of…however with that said I think that homemade donuts are completely different and YES PLEASE!! those look so decadent and delish! I hope you had company to serve them to! :)

  36. All I can say OMG! These looks so good! I LOVE Cinnamon Rolls, but stay away because of fat and calories, but yours aren’t bad, not bad at all! I love that! Whats even better I don’t have to eat everyone in one sitting, since you said they taste just as good the next day! I am so wanting one! On my list for Saturday morning! I can’t wait!!! Thank you!

    Yes, I have made donuts and YES I love Cinnamon Roll’s any kind from anywhere!!!

  37. Augh! I worked in a bakery for years and you could chase me with a doughnut. Tried your Butterfinger Bars tonight and those are so sweet I only want to have a sliver. Which makes them the perfect sweet IMO!

  38. you’re only 16 and working next to the food court once <- One hopes so, right? ;)

    The photos of these alone are drool-worthy. I loved cinnabons, but they always remind me of airports now. I bet these would be great with my Penzey's cinnamon.

  39. YUM. This is getting bookmarked.

  40. I have to agree with other commenters on how gorgeous your photos look! I seriously want to eat the screen, and you captured the obviously perfect texture so well that I can taste it. I want these donuts!

    Ever since you posted about the donut makers, I’ve been wanting to buy one & even mentioned it to my sister. She kinda hinted that I’m getting one for Christmas, sooo…this recipe is getting book-marked ’til then ;)

    Also, I reviewed your Butterfingers & made them vegan (SO GOOD!). I posted several link-backs & gave you credit, but because I made it so differently (not just one or two ingredients), I kinda had to re-post it. I hope this is okay…let me know :) xx

  41. Tried Cinnabon once. Did not like. There was a fake flavor in there that I couldn’t identify, probably because it was a weird imitation of a real flavor.

  42. THOSE look wonderful! I can tell how moist they are from their crumb.

  43. O.k. I am definitely making these this weekend! They look scrumptious :) I tried a recipe for pumpkin donuts topped w/ cinnamon & sugar in my new donut pan and while they were decent, I have a feeling these will blow them away. Thanks so much once again – you’re so inspiring :)

  44. yum! welcome to world of baked donut making :)

  45. Oh my gosh you are KILLING me with these. They look delicious! I wonder if it would work at all to use a gluten free flour. Because Cinnabons are my absolute favorite thing ever, and I miss them. And all of their dense, cinnamony, sugary, goodness.

  46. Another effing amazing recipe a la Averie!! You rock girl!!

  47. Hi Averie! I’m going to try this out using Lactose free milk. My son is lactose intolerant and loves cinnamon rolls. We’ll see what happens!


    • Ok there is a reaction chemically that happens between buttermilk (because it’s an acid) and baking powder. If you are not using buttermilk, I would recommend adding a little more baking powder and a little baking soda to help with the leavening. I’m sure it will be fine but just letting you know that upfront…LMK how they turn out for you if you make them.

  48. Alright, officially sold on the whole donut pan thing

  49. That’s it. A donut pan has been added to my Christmas list!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE cinnamon buns probably more than any other sweet treat. Those and really good cookies are about the only sweet things I actually go gaga over.

  50. Holy cow, those look far too amazing Averie! I need to get a donut pan.

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