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!

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.

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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.
Only Eats

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186 comments on “Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze”

  1. Ahh! I just got a donut pan off my wedding registry, and have been looking for the perfect recipe to try to break it in. These look AMAZING! Can’t wait to try!

  2. These look so perfect! I HAVE to get a donut pan asap!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I am digging out my donut pan I have yet to use in 2 yrs for these :)

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  5. I’ve been meaning to make these for quite a while now, but just got around to it. I am notorious for forgetting ingredients and tonight’s victim was the brown sugar. I realized it right before I was putting them in the oven, so I sprinkled it on top instead. This batch turned out amazing! The brown sugar made a crunchy crust on top, which was awesome. We also made another batch the “right way”, but still preferred the brown sugar as a crunch instead of incorporated. Either way, they’re delicious. Thanks for the post!

  6. Would you say these have the same texture as your chocolate donuts w/ pb glaze, because those were good donuts? Cinnabon really are the best cinnamon rolls ever and that is funny because I just realized my local mall now has one. They used to a really long time ago and then went away, but it’s BACK :)

    • These are more dense than those I think. There is something about cocoa powder that tends to dry things out and the crumb is a little dryer…so these are a smidge heavier maybe? and moister. When you dump a pound of cream cheese glaze on them, they’re bound to get heavy. Of all the non-choc/non-PB donut recipes I have, this is my fave one bc they’re super moist. I’d rather it be heavier and moister than lighter and drier! Bottom line, make them. You’re going to enjoy them. Now, they’re not Cinnabons, but the flavor profile is similar. But nothing can compete with a 1000 calorie yeasted Cinnabon. :)

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  8. Averie, are these okay o make ahead? I want to make them for Easter (with sprinkles!) but would need to make the day before.

    • Donuts are one of those things like a pancake or a waffle, it’s truly best to make them fresh. I would suggest making muffins, a cake, or really almost anything else other than donuts if you absolutely have to make them a day ahead. Just being honest! Check this out – I’m sure you’ll find something!

      • Okay!!! Thank you for the honest answer. I knew that…just couldn’t let it go! Your soft cherry bread will be perfect. THANK YOU!

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  10. Just bought a donut pan so of course I had to try one of your recipes.
    I had to make buttermilk with 1% milk and vinegar. I added the salt and used Egg Beaters instead of a real egg.
    THESE ARE AMAZING. I wondered how strong the cinnamon taste would be with only a teaspoon spread between 6 donuts, but you can definitely taste it.
    Instead of cream cheese, I used the vanilla glaze from your vanilla donut recipe.

    These are so moist and sweet and delicious. Way better than Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts. I’ll definitely make these again.

    • Thanks for trying these and glad you loved them and are a big fan! Sounds like your DIY buttermilk did the trick and that vanilla glaze, too! And yes, I think they’re better than KK or Dunkin’, too :) Thanks for the compliments!

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  15. I saw these in an online post about home made donuts. I went to your page and enjoyed your blog and set out to make these. AWESOME!!!! My brother, boyfriend, sister in law….everybody loved them. I followed the recipe exactly. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try out your other recipes.

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  21. I would like to make mini versions of these donuts, using my 1 3/4 doughnut pan. How much time do you suggest I keep them in the oven?

  22. My teenage sons were amazed at how delicious these were. My 16 yr old yelled MOM! And the 17 yr old tried taking the whole pan away! Awesome recipe thank you so much!!!

    Rating: 5

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