Baked Vanilla Donuts — Making donuts at home is easier than you think! Full of rich vanilla flavor in both the batter and the glaze, these donuts are a family FAVORITE. They’re baked and not fried so you can have seconds! Perfect for springtime, Easter, and Mother’s Day but you can change the glaze color to suit the season or your mood!
Baked Vanilla Donuts Recipe
Making donuts at home is easier than you think! And who doesn’t love a nice warm, fresh, baked donut.
That’s right, you don’t even have to fry these vanilla donuts. Instead, they’re baked and ready to go in 10 minutes.
The baked donuts are tender, moist, and cakey without being dry.
They are denser than fried donuts although in some ways actually feel “lighter” because they’re not fried.
I was feeling inspired by springtime with Easter and Mother’s Day coming up and glazed the donuts with pastel colored frosting.
Of course you can tweak the frosting or glaze color depending on the season or your mood.
I have a 2011 recipe for Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla Glaze and today’s recipe is a near clone of that recipe in an effort that my readers today actually see the recipe rather than it lingering in a decade’s worth of archives.
Actually I have quite a few baked donut recipes which I showcased underneath the recipe card in case you’re feeling some homemade donut inspiration.
Ingredients in Baked and Glazed Vanilla Donuts
For the donut batter, you’ll need the following easy to find and very common fridge and pantry ingredients including:
- Baking powder
- Melted butter
- Vanilla extract
For the vanilla donut glaze, you’ll want to have on hand the following:
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Milk or cream
- Food coloring, sprinkles, glitter; optional
- White chocolate chips, optional
How to Make Vanilla Donuts with Frosting
Making your donut batter is so fast and easy. Just follow these straightforward steps:
Step 1: Preheat your oven and spray two 6-count donut molds very well with cooking spray.
Step 2: Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Step 3: Beat together the wet ingredients in a separate medium bowl.
Step 4: Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to combine.
Step 5: Fill each cavity of the donut pan about 2/3-full and bake until done.
Tip: While I was trying to be fancy and I put the batter into a piping bag, for the average person, just put the batter in a large Ziplock bag, seal, snip off a bottom corner, and pipe in into the cavities.
Step 6: While they bake, make the vanilla glaze for the donuts by beating together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Get creative if you want by adding food coloring to it.
Step 8: Glaze the baked vanilla donuts, wait for it to set up, and dig in!
Tip: Rather than piping on the glaze, simply dip one side of the donuts in glaze, be it uncolored or colored. That’s much easier than piping!
Do I Have to Glaze the Baked Vanilla Donuts?
No, you don’t technically have to frost your baked vanilla donuts. However, it’s recommended to add additional vanilla flavor and overall sweetness.
Even a plain vanilla donut glaze, without the food coloring, as I show in Baked Vanilla Donuts with Vanilla Glaze bumps up the flavor and overall “donut authenticity” level.
This is a no-fuss way to get your donuts looking and tasting better!
Because let’s face it, you would never walk into a bakery or donut shop and buy an unglazed donut. Well, I wouldn’t nor would my family have any interest in them either!
How to Make Glazed Donuts with Different Color Glazes
Note: This section is entirely optional for those who want to be a little extra.
If you are going the colored glaze route and want to duplicate the look of my glazed donuts, you’ll want to tint approximately 4 bowls of the powdered sugar glaze.
You will likely need to make a double batch of glaze in order to have enough to divide it.
Then, add food coloring to the bowls to create pastel glazes including:
- Light pink
- Baby blue/aqua/green
The Wilton 4-color pastel set is a good one.
- For the pink and lavender distinction, add a drop of blue to the pink to create a more purple or lavender tone.
- To make the vertical stripes like I did, melt white chocolate chips, add food coloring, transfer to a small Ziplock, and pipe on.
- To finish off the donuts, I sprinkled edible glitter.
Is Buttermilk Necessary for Baked Vanilla Donuts?
People love to ask when I call for buttermilk in a recipe if they can get away without it. The answer for these homemade baked donuts is that buttermilk is required.
For those who live by a Trader Joe’s, they have the cheapest buttermilk that I can find but it’s also great quality.
If you’re wondering what to do with the rest of the container, check out all my recipes with buttermilk.
I have never tried making baked donuts with powdered shelf-stable buttermilk although it would probably work.
Can I Make This Recipe Without a Donut Pan?
The point of a donut recipe should be to end up with donuts, right? However, if don’t have a donut pan you can make “donuts” but baked as muffins.
You’ll have to monitor the baking time, but approximately 15 to 20 minutes is a good starting point.
Can I Bake These in a Mini Donut Pan?
I have not made mini donuts. Mini muffins is the closet I have gotten.
However, I’m sure you could make these baked donuts as baked mini donuts although I personally don’t have the patience.
Fill the mini donut pan about 2/3-full and watch them like a hawk in the oven since they will cook in a couple of minutes is my guess.
Donuts are one of those foods that tend to be at their best the fresher they are. However, they’ll keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days. I am sure you could try freezing them although I haven’t.
Note that after you glaze the donuts, if they sit for a day or two, they will absorb the glaze and become heavier and denser. Don’t expect light and airy for any glazed donuts that are left over.
Tips for the Best Baked Donuts
In order for you to achieve donut making success at home, I have some parting tips.
While you certainly can use a hand or stand mixer to beat together the batter, I find it to be more work than necessary and it’s just easier to whisk together both the batter and glaze by hand.
Since vanilla is used twice, in both the batter and glaze, use a high quality pure vanilla extract and not imitation. Or make your own vanilla extract!
When you’re filling the cavities of your donut pans, fill them two-thirds full.
More than that and your donuts will overflow and morph into balloon like things that don’t resemble donuts as they bake. Any less than 2/3-full and they will be very skimpy and not puffy enough to resemble donuts.
You can use a piping bag but for the average person, it’s just as easy to transfer the batter into a Ziplock bag, snip off one corner, and carefully add the batter into the donut pan.
Use a paper towel to clean off the center hole area or other areas of the pan if you’re a little messy.
Donuts bake very fast! In just 8 to 10 minutes they’re done. Bake both pans on the center rack and rotate the pans midway through baking for optimal results.
As noted above, the multi-colored glazes, the glazed stripes, the glitter, that is all just optional.
For the average person who doesn’t want this to turn into an overwhelming baking project, I suggest using a bowl of uncolored glaze, one bowl with the glaze color of your choice or maybe two colors, and throw on some glitter or sprinkles at the end before it sets up. Easy peasy!
Pin This Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, optionally sifted for lighter donuts
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted for best results
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, half-and-half, or cream
- Food coloring, sprinkles, glitter; optional
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray two 6-count donut molds very well with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- To a separate medium bowl, add the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
- Transfer the batter into a piping bag with large tip OR my recommendation to keep it as easy as possible, transfer the batter to a large Ziplock bag, seal it, and cut off one of the bottom corners with a scissors taking care not to make too big of a slit.
- Carefully pipe the batter into the prepared molds, taking care to fill each mold to 2/3-full. Not more (the will inflate like balloons in the oven) and not less (they'll be flat and skimpy looking). Blot any messes in the center areas or in any area of the donuts pans with a paper towel.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, on the center rack, rotating pans once midway through baking for optimal results. Donuts are done when they look set and are springy to the touch.
- Allow donuts to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes before removing and placing on wire racks to cool completely. While the donuts cool, make the glaze.
- To a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and drizzle in the milk slowly, as needed, whisking constantly, until you achieve a consistency that is just runny enough to adhere to the donuts but not so much it will run right off. Aim for slightly thicker than thinner if in doubt. If you need to, add a bit more confectioners' sugar or bit more milk if your glaze is too runny, or too thick, respectively.
- If you are making multiple colors of glaze, do that now by adding uncolored glaze to separate bowls (up to 4) and add a few drops of pastel food coloring (or the colors of your choice) to each bowl, as desired, and stir well to combine so there are no streaks. Tip - If you're going to do multiple colors of glaze, I recommend doubling the glaze recipe so that you have a sufficient quantity to add each to the various bowls before adding the food coloring.
- Dip the donuts in the glaze for about 1 to 2 seconds, shaking lightly afterward, and allowing excess glaze to drip back off into the bowl. Place donuts on parchment paper or a wire rack after they're been glazed. Repeat the process with as many colors as desired.
- Optionally, to create vertical stripes, melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips in the microwave in 15-seconds bursts until it can be stirred smooth. Add food coloring to achieve desired shade. Transfer to a small Ziplock bag, seal, snip a corner with a very small slit, and pipe onto the donuts.* (See Notes)
- Optionally, add edible glitter, sprinkles, or any other festive garnishes as desired before the glazes sets up fully, about 20 minutes.
*As I noted in the blog post, the multi-colored glazes, the glazed stripes, the glitter, that is all just optional.
For the average person who doesn't want this to turn into an overwhelming baking project, I suggest using a bowl of uncolored glaze, one bowl with the glaze color of your choice or maybe two colors, and throw on some glitter or sprinkles at the end before it sets up. Easy peasy!
Storage: Donuts are best served fresh but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days. Take note that glazed donuts will become denser and heavier if they sit at room temp because the glaze will seep into the donuts. This isn't bad, but they will not be light and airy. I haven't frozen unglazed baked donuts but possibly they will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 5g
More Easy Baked Donut Recipes:
Baked Chocolate Sprinkle Donuts with Chocolate Ganache — Making donuts at home is as easy as making muffins! These chocolate sprinkle donuts are baked rather than fried so you can have seconds, of course!
Banana Donuts with Browned Butter Caramel Glaze — Banana bread in the form of soft, fluffy baked donuts and donut holes!! No-mixer recipe that’s as easy as making muffins! The glaze makes them IRRESISTIBLE!!
Baked Lemon Donuts with Lemon Glaze — These taste like the Starbucks lemon loaf, but in donut (or mini muffin) form!! Easy, no mixer recipe with a tart-yet-sweet lemon glaze that’s PERFECT! Lemon lovers will adore them!!
Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts with Vanilla Peanut Butter Glaze — The ultimate flavor combo of chocolate + peanut butter in easy baked donut form!
Baked Eggnog Donuts with Rum Glaze — Easy and perfect for the holidays to use up that eggnog!
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.