Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts


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These are technically donuts but they’re savory so I don’t think of them as ‘donuts’.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts on green and white plate

I think of them more like a bagel or technically they’d be classified as a quick bread.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts on green and white plate

Yes, they are quick.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts in half

And yes, they are filled with cream cheese that’s been baked into them.

If you look closely into that hole you can see the cream cheese.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts in half

There’s also shredded cheese that’s been baked in.

And just to be sure you have the cheesy bases covered, don’t forget a side of whipped cream cheese and butter mixture that’s been spiked with herbs.

Whipped dip and cream cheese donuts

These savory donuts do not involve yeast, dough rising, proofing, kneading or any monkey business like that.  Monkey business defined as me not wanting to deal with anything complicated.

I simply made the batter with one bowl and a spoon (no mixer required since I don’t have one), poured it into a donut pan, baked, and voila…

…Cheese bread about 15 minutes later.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts

Or savory donuts.

Whatever you want to call them.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts in half

 Scott called them good and coming from a Jewish guy who loves his bagels and cream cheese and grew up eating in Jewish delis, I was happy to pass his bread test.


Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts with Herbed Buttery Cream Cheese Spread (with Vegan and Gluten Free options)


For the Donuts

1.5 tbsp butter, melted

1.5 tbsp cream cheese, melted

3/4 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp fresh rosemary (or whatever spices/herbs you have on hand, can omit if necessary.  It’s not essential to have ‘fresh’ rosemary for the recipe.  Try dried thyme, oregano, basil, sage, etc.)

1 tbsp Mrs. Dash seasoning blend (or whatever seasoning blend you have and like, i.e. TJ’s 21 Salute, a McCormick blend, or other ‘all-purpose’ seasoning blend)

1 tsp salt, or to taste

black pepper, to taste

optional to taste: garlic powder, onion powder, curry, paprika, oregano,

1 egg

1/4 c shredded cheese (I used Pepper Jack or try mozzarella, Colby, Swiss, Jack, Munster, soy, Daiya, etc.)

6 tbsp+ buttermilk (I used 1/2 c which is 8 tbsp.  Add milk slowly until you reach a thick batter consistency)

Yields: 6 donuts in this Wilton doughtnut pan.  Pans vary by size but this is not a “huge” recipe.  Double or triple, or halve (beat the egg and then divide in half) the recipe as desired.  Can be made as muffins in a muffin pan, and I’d bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.



For the Donuts

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease or cooking-spray the donut pan (or muffin tin).

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt/soften 1.5 tbsp butter and 1.5 tbsp cream cheese.  No more than about 15 seconds.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices and seasonings, egg, cheese, and add the melted butter & cream cheese mixture to it all.   Stir by hand to combine.

Then, slowly add the buttermilk.  You may need as little as 1/4 c or more like 1/2 c, or even a splash more.  The amount of milk needed is going to depend on the type of cheese and cream cheese used.  You are looking for a fairly thick batter.  Thicker than cake or brownie batter, more like cookie dough consistency.

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 which is what I did.

Bake 11 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until doughnuts spring back when touched or until dough is set.  Donuts will not be golden brown, but should be springy. (I always underbake my baked goods but in my oven these took 11-12 minutes to set up)

Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan, about 5 minutes.


For the Herbed Buttery Cream Cheese Spread, optional

While donuts are baking or cooling, make the spread by combining and whipping by hand:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cream cheese

pinch of spice blend used in donuts, i.e. Mrs. Dash or similar

pinch of fresh herbs, i.e. rosemary

Double or triple the recipe as desired


To make Gluten Free: use your favorite gluten free flour blend

To make Vegan: Replace the buttermilk with almond milk + splash of vinegar; increase the amount of baking powder to 2 tsp, use melted margarine or Earth Balance, use vegan cream cheese such as Tofutti, use vegan cheese such as Daiya, and use a flax/chia egg rather than regular egg.  Multiple tweaks but do-able; however I have not made them as vegan so cannot personally attest to the finished product.



You could also make these as savory muffins if you don’t have a donut pan.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts

You could also pour the batter in a flat pan such as an 8 x 8 pan or into a bread or loaf pan and make the recipe that way, too.

Donuts just happen to be my current obsession:

Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts with Vanilla Peanut Butter Glaze

Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts with Vanilla Peanut Butter Glaze

Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

Baked Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze

Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla Glaze

Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla Glaze

Even though I prefer sweet donuts (but that’s just me and my raging sweet tooth talking) because of the addition of butter, cheese, and cream cheese to the batter, you don’t have to worry about these little savory fellas being dry in the least.

There is nothing worse than dry baked goods or bread that’s too dry.  Blech.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts in half

Feel free to dive into the butter and cream cheese spread, though.

Everything tastes that much better with a hearty schmear of buttery cream cheese.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts in half

Even though you may think they would be like lead balloons with all that cheese, they’re actually not too heavy.  They’re not light and airy like phyllo dough, but they’re not total rocks, either.

I’d call them a cross between foccacia bread and a dinner roll with herbs.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts

You can add the herbs of your choice.  My choice was predominantly rosemary which goes so well with cream cheese, but use what you have on hand and enjoy such as basil, oregano, thyme; it’ll all work.

Score another one in Project Butter Up Husband: Obtain Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer mission.

These got me a step closer to my goal.

Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts in half


1. Have you ever made bread?

These savory donuts do not involve yeast, dough rising, proofing, kneading or anything complicated.

I hardly have time to floss my teeth let alone make bread from scratch.  These are a perfect quick ‘n easy bread option.

No donut pan?  Pick one up for about $8 bucks.  Or just make them as muffins.

2. Sweet or savory?

Sweet all the way for me.  I had a couple bites of these so I could tell you what they tasted like but between the gluten and the savory factor, I would much rather save my shots for a Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bar

Savory doesn’t really even cross my radar screen when I could have chocolate or sweets.

Last reminder to enter the $50 Clothing Giveaway.  Winner announced tomorrow.

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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    1. Google how to make buttermilk with regular milk, i.e. usually 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk, wait to curdle, and use.

  1. Will make these very very soon. Quick 2 questions… you use fresh or dried lemon zest? Wondering if one has more flavor than the other? Did you shred your own cheese or use bagged store bought shredded cheese? Always want to follow the expert :-) Thank You for all your great posts.

  2. I made these for dinner yesterday. They are delicious. I baked them as muffins, as my donut pan does not fit in the toaster oven, and I didn’t want to turn on the regular oven for baking a small batch.

    Will definitely bake these again. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thanks for trying these! You’re the second person who told me today they made them. The other gal didn’t leave a comment but emailed me. Thanks so much for coming back here to tell me they worked as muffins and that you plan to try them again. That’s wonderful!

  3. These are gorgeous and I bet the flavor combo is amazing! Must try a vegan version soon! And your photography is awesome, great colors and composition.

  4. What a brilliant idea!! I’ve never even thought of making savory donuts. I love both sweet and savory, and don’t think I could choose between the two. I even like sweet and savory combined at times!!

  5. I have never made bread from scratch and it always seems like such a pain. These seem super simple though! You always create amazing things and it looks like you’re sure getting a good use of your doughnut pan!

    And there is no way savory will ever trump sweet for me! My sweet tooth can not be tamed. :)

    1. we’re twins on the yeast and the sweet all the way.

      Hope you and the family have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for being such an amazing friend all these many years later! :)

  6. What a creative idea – a savory donut/bagel/bread! You are really putting your donut pan to good use.

    I really like “cool” weather, like 60-70’s with a breeze, also I love beaches and water, good books, nice red wines, fall, and going home to visit my family.

  7. So, this recipe is bookmarked and saved for when I get a donut pan for my husband for the holidays…which is really like a donut pan for me, too, so it’s a double score. I’ve been experimenting with baking gluten free savory breads lately, so I can’t wait to try things out with a new and delectable format. And, after reading that spread recipe, I don’t think it’s optional — my stomach will think it’s mandatory, it looks heavenly!

  8. *sigh* I can’t wait to get my donut maker :D
    ohh, and sweet all the way! I definitely appreciate savoury foods, but I eat a lot of treats, smoothies, and fruit.

    1. Ok it’s a donut pan that I used, like a muffin pan.

      Not a ‘donut maker’ which is a plug-in electrical appliance, aka the Babycakes makers.

      I used the old school metal pan, i.e. $8 bucks baby. Nothing fancy. Not a ‘maker’. Just wanted to clarify that one.

  9. Cheesebread? Savory doughnuts? Witty humor? Is there nothing you can’t do, Averie?

    No. No there is not. ;)

  10. You have outdone yourself! I love this recipe! Quick, great flavors and will go great with dinner. Definitely going to make this, maybe tomorrow! I’ve been itching to use my donut pan!!

  11. THESE LOOK SOOOO DELICIOUS!!! I wish I could eat one off of your screen! I love making breads and I am most definitely a sweet person (caramel peanut butter pecan brownies…. no words to describe it’s amazing taste)

  12. I love baking bread, muffins, bars…everything but don’t bake as often as I like. Living alone makes it difficult. Growing up I got to bake all the time as I had a teenage brother who could easily take down entire batches of whatever I made.

    1. the beauty of this recipe is it only makes 6, and they are small. I hate recipes that make dozen(s) of anything. Unless you have a big family or a football team living next door, it’s usually highly impractical…I totally relate to what you’re saying!

  13. SUCH a unique and great idea!! Never would have thought of a savory donut.. but it sounds great! :)

  14. I’d totally call them bagels… I think. Whatever you call them, they look great! I was going to try to make grain-free bagels and was wracking my head trying to come up with how I was going to shape them correctly. Why I didn’t think about my doughnut pan is beyond me. Thanks for the great idea… yet again!

  15. I betcha these would be so good to dunk in some tomato soup on a chilly day. Also, I love the distressed wood you’ve been using to put your plates on. The rustic, woodsy feel is just my style :)

    1. Yes I’ve found a few natural wood backgrounds that I am really liking too…it’s hard to find just the right ones. Thanks for noticing!

  16. Yes and yes! I need a donut pan. I know I keep saying that, but your fabulous inventive donut recipes keep convincing me! :)

  17. Wow, I am impressed!!! Savoury donuts sound sooooo good, and this is the first time I have ever seen such a thing :-)

  18. Beautiful. I could see these being a big hit at a brunch or as dinner rolls for a dinner party.

    Yes, I have baked bread, including braided challah bread. And no, I don’t do it often. First off, I don’t eat it so much, and secondly, like you said, it can be time-consuming.

    Sweet or savory? Both, but I def lean towards sweet.

      1. Why thank you! Yes, I indeed made it. It was pre-blogging, though, so there’s no photographic evidence. It was easier than I thought, actually. And it tasted GOOD!

  19. Those look fantastic!! I am definitely a sweets person any day!!! I like you barely have time for necessary things so baking bread is out for me but I have in the past. I made my own sourdough starter and made some bread, my husband threw my starter away I was pretty pissed it took like 3 days to get it started :)

      1. He did but I was mad about it for awhile, but maybe it was a blessing because I really didn’t have time for it anyway, too busy!

  20. I used to make my own bread all the time. For years I never bought bread at the store. the only reason I don’t anymore is that since going GF I have no desire for bread. It wasn’t too hard to make – because I used a bread machine. Measure, dump, and press start. That’s the only kind of bread making I’d ever do.

    I made savory zucchini muffins back in my early blogging days. I should try those again. used nooch instead of cheddar and chives not rosemary. They were terrific!

    1. I remember those savory zuke muffins of yours now that you mention them…feels like….a lifetime ago!

  21. Wow, Averie! You really are on the donut kick! I love rosemary (favorite herb).

    Yes, I’ve made bread. It is quite time consuming, though, so I usually stick with the quick-breads nowadays. Bananas are my best friend :D

  22. OMG!!!! Your donuts look amazing!!!!! And I am so happy you like the bags – saw your comment above mine on Gina’s post today.

    1. Your work is beyond amazing and thank you so much for our emails today…I appreciate it…so much! :)

  23. i have not made bread (well, aside from the easy quick breads)… i have yet to try out the yeast versions. bagels were on my to-do list for november but didn’t happen… maybe next month!

    these look absolutely fantastic. the possibilities of the donut pan really are endless!

  24. I love making my own bread! I just got a bread maker and can’t wait to experiment!

  25. These are an awesome idea! I like playing around with savory flavors in things that are supposed to be sweet, but donuts probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind. Anything with rosemary wins me over :)

  26. I think I need to get a donut pan now! All of these delicious donut recipes you’re coming up with are making me want to get one. This savory recipe looks great, but I’ll always be a sweet lover over savory!

  27. I love the idea of making a savory dish out of something traditionally sweet… it’s almost like you could have a whole meal of all donuts! and thanks for the GF and vegan options :) I’ve been on the fence about buying a donut pan… at 7 months preggo there could be donuts every day :)

    1. Oh you could have a whole meal of just donuts :)

      And you being 7 mos…wow…time has FLOWN by. For me at least on the sidelines….:)

  28. Now those are a donut I could go for ;-) And thank you for including the GF and vegan options. Those would be perfect for a brunch I’m thinking.

  29. I’ve made the no-knead bread a few times and it’s delicious – I’m with you on the quick & easy idea though! I’m obsessed with rosemary right now… thanks for sharing!