Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts

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

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

Yes, they are quick.

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.

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.

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.

Or savory donuts.

Whatever you want to call them.

 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.

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 Cinnamon Bun Donuts with Vanilla Cream Cheese 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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

80 comments on “Baked Savory Cream Cheese & Herb Donuts”

  1. 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!!

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

    No. No there is not. ;)

  3. *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.

    • 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.

  4. I never would have thought of making savoury donuts but these look and sound amazing!

  5. 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!

  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. Anything involving yeast scares me, so this recipe sounds wonderful! And I’m sweet all the way….

  8. 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. :)

  9. This is such a fabulous idea! I can’t wait to try these little guys!

  10. 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!!

  11. savory doughnut is a great idea averie !

  12. 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.

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  15. Tried these with dinner last night AWESOME!

  16. 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.

    • 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!

  17. Not a big donut fan- but these savory nuggets look amazing!

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  23. 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.

  24. i want to make these today, but i don’t have any buttermilk. What could i substitute instead?

  25. How long is the shelf life on these? Do they still taste good at room temperature? Thanks!

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