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. What I wouldn’t give for one of these RIGHT NOW for breakfast. Holy Hannah. I’m drooling.

  2. These look sooooo yummy! Makes me wish I had a donut pan, haha!

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  4. I just made these and am in donut heaven! I ate two of them as soon as I slathered on enough glaze for my tastes :) They are so so so delectable, and the great thing about making them in donut form is that you get the perfect donut-to-frosting ratio with every bite (I know you can make them in muffin form, but when there’s a yummy frosting or glaze, that’s what I’m all about…and really, cupcakes are just one fluffy vehicle for getting all that frosting to my taste buds).

    I doubled the recipe because I know my coworkers will love these on a Monday morning, but I did want to ask if you stored the loner donut in the refrigerator, given the cream cheese and milk/half and half in the glaze, or if you simply stored it in an airtight container on the counter…sometimes the refrigerator plays with the texture of my baked goods, so I’d like to keep these as marvelously dense and moist as they are!

    • Glad you made them and they’re a hit! I just stored the extra donut in an airtight container on the countertop but do as you see fit with yours. You may want to refrigerate them but yes, refrigerating baked goods like donuts can play with the texture. Hope your coworkers love them…you’re so nice to bring homemade donuts into work!

  5. Oh wow. I wanted to comment on these before and got sidetracked. These look like the most delicious donuts. I am so right there with you on the criteria for a worthwhile dessert, Averie: dense, moist, extra frosting, extra sweet. Those donuts look awesome! Gotta get me a pan from BBB! :-)

  6. Thank you for sharing. I just recently bought the Wilton donuts pan so was pleased to see your recipe. Will be giving this one a try in a few days. I recently made chocolate donuts and if you are interested I posted that recipe on my soup night blog.

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  8. pinned! I can’t wait to make these!

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  10. These look amazing! Like, I want to make them right this very second…that amazing. I truly cannot wait to try them!

  11. OMG! I don’t know if it’s the pictures or the recipe that makes me drool more! Honestly, I’ve never made them myself, as all doughnuts that I had were yeast-based and entirely different.

    I think I might just developed a new addiction.

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  14. LOVE this!! pretty excited to realize you’re no longer a veg. (Vegans who are hating me right now can keep hating!) you rule!! i love this recipe. i love, love, love. :)

  15. This is perfect!! Simple cinnamon donuts with vanilla cream cheese glaze sounds incredible

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  19. If I used regular (2%) milk instead of buttermilk would that make a difference. I’m living on a college budget and I can’t justify buying the buttermilk and not using the whole thing.

    • It will *probably* be fine but being that I did not make the recipe that way, I can’t guarantee it. Tips: 1. Trader Joe’s buttermilk is like $1.29 or $1.79 for a container so pretty reasonable 2. adding 1 tbsp or so to regular milk produces buttermilk-like effects. Google it for the specifics. LMK if you make them and what you end up doing.

  20. I have a challenge for you! I really really want to get a donut pan, but would prefer using almond flour. Can you muster up a yummy version using almond flour? Or maybe even coconut flour!

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  22. Just got my doughnut pan (best valentine’s day gift ever) and these are going to be my first doughnut recipe! Thank you! :D

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  24. I tried making these tonight and I replaced the flour with GF Bisquick mix, and although they turned out kind of cakey (thanks to gritty GF Bisquick), they were delicious!! My husband hates all my GF stuff and he actually liked these and said he couldn’t tell they were GF! :) You also inspired me to purchase the donut pan…I LOVE IT. And then I also had to buy a super cute set of mixing bowls that look like confetti, since I had to mix donut batter. It’s a good thing I’m saving money on pre-made GF food by making things in your blog, because I’ve made up that price difference in baking gadgets. ;) Thanks for all the delicious recipes!!!!

    • Thanks for the feedback that GF Bisquick Mix worked in place of the flour. That’s great info. I bet if you were to reduce the 1 tsp of baking powder, they may turn less cakey. There is probably already baking powder in the bisquick mix and adding it will make things more cakey. You want some so they rise nicely but too much and things get too cakey…LMK if you play around with it more and what you do and what results you have. I love finding out the at-home experiments and results that people get.

      And you got a set of confetti bowls. CUTE! Enjoy :)

    • I will be trying that tomorrow! They got better after I left them overnight in the fridge, but still cakey. Will let you know after I make another batch tomorrow or Tuesday!! :) Thanks for the tips!!!

    • Ok I LOVE the feedback. Please keep me posted about how things pan out and the results and what you end up doing! :)

    • SO…tonight I tried to make the donuts again. They were MUCH better without the baking powder!! So much more dense!!! They were FANTASTIC!!! I also replaced a quarter of the GF Bisquick with coconut flour (I ran out…). I made a double batch and made the other half into mini muffins, which turned out even better than my donut shaped ones! FYI, I did have to increase the baking times both times I made these GF. If I remember your recipe says 8-12 and it took me 15 for the donuts and 11 for mini muffins. :) I really appreciate the tips!!

    • Love the field report and what you did and what worked well and what your baking times were…so helpful and I’m sure that someone reading this one day will find it useful, too. I bet the reason the muffins were better than the donut is b/c of the shape…the center will stay softer, denser, a touch more “raw” if you will..than donuts, just because of their shape and baking times. And in GF baking, where things have a tendency to dry out and get cakey in a hurry, the muffin shape is probably a winner.

      Keep me posted on any of your baking adventures. I love to hear this stuff. It’s super helpful and I could geek out with Alton Brown and baking factoids…all day long :)

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  26. I just found you. I’m beyond excited to try some of your recipes. I’m adding you to my blog roll!

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  28. Averie! I made these this morning. I modified the recipe a bit b/c I was missing some ingredients… I used 2 tbsp buttermilk + 4 tbsp apple sauce in place of the 6 tbsp buttermilk (i only had a smidge left in the bottle!) They came out SO moist. I also used 1 less tbsp white sugar and *almost* a full tsp of cinnamon (i LOVE cinnamon!!!). And I used your vanilla glaze recipe from your vanilla donuts. I didn’t have cream cheese on hand! For the vanilla glaze, I followed your recipe exactly and used almond milk as the liquid. These were SO good and tasted like a cinnabon! I’ll post them later this week. Love all your donut recipes. :)

    • Sounds like a success and glad you liked them! I haven’t made any donuts in awhile; I need to get back on the kick. I went through a phase right around the time I made these and need to get back into it :)

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  30. this looks so good. my stomach is growling. like, i don`t even know what to do, except to make these.

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  37. I just made these beauties last night for the first time and I must say that they were truly awesome. I went out to Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase this pan, just to make these. Awesome Job as usual and
    THANKS FOR SHARING! Definitely, a keeper in my book. By the way, I love your site.

    • Thanks for making these and telling me about it, Iris! And I am so glad that after you went out and bought a donut pan JUST to make this recipe that it lived up to it’s expectations! Whew! :)

      So glad you love my site and if you try anything else, tell me about it!

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  41. I just stumbled across your blog this afternoon and have spent several hours perusing your site while salivating over myself. Your pictures are phenomenal, and your directions do not leave anything to interpretation. I do plan on trying a bunch of your recipes, but my time to bake will be limited, because I will need to spend extra time on the elliptical and the treadmill to make up for all of the goodies. There are so many good choices, I can’t decide what to try first.

    • Several hours – wow, glad I held your attention! Thanks for the lovely compliments on my photography, recipes, and writing. It’s a personal peeve of mine to read recipes that leave gray areas that can cause less than successful results so I am as clear as I can be. And as a blogger, I’ve learned to be as specific as possible b/c in the end, it saves me time because people are less likely to write in with issues that need troubleshooting. Write back after you’ve made something – can’t wait to hear about it!

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  43. I finally made these! But shaped as muffins since I do not have a donut tin. And I confessed I sliced one open and put some butter on it. But that was guilding the lily-these are great for a cinna-holic like me:)

  44. I was looking for a good donut recipe, and accidentally Stumbled upon this. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, due to the fact that I used Whole Wheat, but I have to say this is one of the BEST donut recipes I’ve found. If you had a rater, I’d rate it 5 stars. Definitely doing this one again, the family is now addicted. Thanks for the recipe.

    • That’s awesome that you tried them with whole wheat and they were a big success – to the point you’re on call with remaking them again and again for the family! :) Thanks for LMK that wheat works…so WELL!

  45. I live a low carb lifestyle so I unfortunately could not try these. However, I made them for my BF and he loved them. It took him three days to eat all six and he said that they were still nice and moist by day three. Thanks!

  46. I made these for my BF and he loved them. It took him three days to eat all six and he said that they were still nice and moist by day three. Thanks!

  47. I am married to a cinnamon bun lover, and this rainy Sunday seemed like a perfect opportunity to break in my doughnut pan and surprise him with this recipe. And he is in LOVE. Two of these and he had to stop himself. This was a great introduction to your blog! You’ve got a huge fan in me – and apparently, my husband as well. :)

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  49. My first high school job was at Cinnabon. I never was taught to make the rolls, so I still have the fear of yeast baking and rolling things out. These look so good, I’ve been looking for a donut pan but haven’t tried BB&B. will get one soon so I can make these!

  50. Hello Averie, I made these last night and I tried one straight away, it was very good but a bit dry, I probably slightly overbaked it by a minute or 2. Anyways, Ive put them in a plastic container and had one today, you are right they are definetely better the day after, it was so much more moist and I loved the fact that the glaze was partly absorbed by the donut. Next time I’m gonna try to dip them twice in the glaze, I love it, I think I could just eat it by itself! :) Thanks for the recipe, another great one! :)

    • Donuts are exceedingly prone to drying out. You have to be REALLY careful with them. 1 minute can make a big difference, 2 mins can be the difference between good and gross. So just reduce baking time next time and yes, the glaze does soak in by the next day so sealing them off in a baggie while glazed and still warm will render them softer the 2nd day. They do get kind of gooey but I don’t mind :)

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