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Pumpkin Donut Muffins Rolled in Cinnamon Sugar

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Two fall favorites in one.

This pumpkin donut muffins recipe combines two great all and winter desserts (pumpkin muffins and donuts) into one amazing, easy treat. Rolled in cinnamon sugar for extra oomph.

baked pumpkin donut muffins recipe

About this Pumpkin Donut Muffins Recipe

Everyone loves donuts. Everyone loves muffins. Why not have both in one?

Moist pumpkin donut muffins rolled in cinnamon sugar are the best of both worlds: You get the texture and flavor of traditional spiced pumpkin donuts, but baked with the ease of a simple muffin tin to avoid deep-frying complexity or buying special equipment. Think of them as giant donut holes.

You’ll also like: Pecan Pumpkin Bread and Easy Apple Crisp

ingredients for donut muffins butter brown sugar eggs pumpkin on marble

Why This Is a Pumpkin Donut Muffin

At first glance, this recipe may seem to lean in the direction of pumpkin bread — it is a spiced pumpkin batter baked in a muffin tin, after all. But the difference becomes clear in the finished product. These pumpkin donut muffins may look like muffins, but they have springy, slightly bready texture of a donut.

It is worth acknowledging the pros and, yes, cons of baking a donut.

Pros. Definitely more ease. Mix a batter, scoop into a greased muffin tin, bake, roll in cinnamon sugar. On the other hand, frying donuts means heating a sizable quantity oil to a fairly precise temperature, frying just a few at a time, draining them on paper towels, rolling in sugar, and then letting all that oil cool before disposing of it.

Cons. There is a slight trade-off in baking a donut instead of frying one. Very fresh, fried cake donuts get that amazing, deeply-colored crust on the exterior — that slightly craggy surface that encases the tender donut inside. Baked donuts do not develop that same crust. But rolling them in cinnamon sugar sure goes a long way toward compensating.

pumpkin donut muffins getting rolled in cinnamon sugar after baking

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins: Recipe Notes

  • Roll your pumpkin donut muffins in cinnamon sugar while they are warm enough to handle, and definitely before they cool. Do not let them cool on a cooling rack. The warmth and slight condensation from cooling them slightly in the muffin tins will help the cinnamon sugar adhere to the muffins.
  • This recipe makes about one dozen muffins, give or take a couple depending on the size of your muffin tin.

Can you freeze these pumpkin muffins?

You can freeze these donut muffins easily once baked and cooled. Just skip the cinnamon-sugar step before freezing and roll them in cinnamon sugar once defrosted.

How to Make Cinnamon Sugar to Roll the Pumpkin Donut Muffins

  • How to make cinnamon sugar: Use 1/2 cup of sugar to 1 rounded teaspoon of ground cinnamon. You will not use all of this, but you will need enough for the muffins to roll around in.

basket of baked pumpkin donut muffins with cinnamon sugar

Did you make these Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Donut Muffins? How were they?

basket of baked pumpkin donut muffins

Baked Pumpkin Donut Muffins

These moist, spiced pumpkin donut muffins, rolled in cinnamon sugar, are an easy fall baking recipe perfect for breakfast and dessert alike.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: dessert, donuts, easy, fall recipes, muffins, pumpkin, pumpkin bread, pumpkin donut muffins
Servings: 12 or so muffins
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (I like Libby's brand)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a muffin tin. (Do not line with paper muffin cups because you won't be able to roll them all around in cinnamon sugar.)
  • Beat the melted butter, eggs, sugars, pumpkin, spices, and salt until smooth. Scrape the bowl to make sure everything is fully emulsified.
  • Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until fully incorporated and smooth.
  • Scoop the batter into muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
  • Bake the donut muffins for about 23 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back.
  • As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, roll them in a wide-bottomed bowl of cinnamon sugar. Enjoy while still warm.
    Note: These will keep in an airtight container for two days, though you may need to re-roll the donut muffins in cinnamon sugar.

14 comments

  • 5 stars
    Hi Lisa – Made these at last. I used 3/4 cup regular sugar and 1/2 c dark brown sugar, and I added 1 tsp vanilla. I baked them in paper cups and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar as soon as they came out of the oven. I loved that the recipe was so easy to throw together. They came out quite dense, but not tough. But I think they were just a bit too pumpkin-y for my taste. I might use even more cinnamon next time, 3/4 of a can of pumpkin, and 2 tsp baking powder to lighten them a little. Thanks again for a great recipe!

    • Unpeeled

      Thanks for writing, Laura! Those seem like really good adjustments; perfect call on adding a little extra baking powder if you want something less dense. Let me know how they turn out next time; I’d love to stay posted! All the best.

  • 5 stars
    Hi, Lisa = I am trying to reduce the amount of sugar I consume, and I’ve found that, once my taste buds adjusted, I am not missing it, either, especially at breakfast. Could I perhaps make this recipe with only the light brown sugar and skip the regular sugar, or will that throw off the chemistry? Thank you. Unpeeled Journal is fantastic!

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Laura and thanks so much! Hmm…good question. And good for you for cutting down on your sugar. The issue is really that sugar does more than add flavor; it also acts as a liquifier and leavener in the recipe as a whole. I think for sure skip the part about rolling the muffins in cinnamon sugar at the end. As for the batter, I think you can reduce the white sugar to 1/2 cup (1/3 cup if you really want to go for it), but I don’t think I would eliminate it entirely. The batter might get a bit tough. You could also think about doing half whole wheat flour and half white, and add some nuts or seeds to lower the overall glycemic index a bit. Hope this helps, and all the best to you!

  • 5 stars
    Really, really good. Moist, flavorful, and the cinnamon sugar really made it taste like a cake donut!!

  • 5 stars
    A great morning treat! Good flavor, very moist.

  • I can’t wait to make these! I’m sure they’ll taste as good as they look.

  • Michael

    Hello
    Pumpkin purée is not available here so I’ll have to make my own.
    Which type of pumpkin should I use.
    Looking forward, many thanks!
    Michael

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Michael! Looks like you definitely have an extra step. No problem. You want a pumpkin that’s around 5 to 7 pounds, but a little more or less is fine. Look for pumpkins say “baking pumpkin” or “pie pumpkin.” You don’t want to use the kind that you carve jack o’lanterns with. Those are mostly bred for style, not eating. Some specific varieties you can bake with: Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, Cinderella, and Fairy Tale. You can also make this with roasted winter squash if pumpkin is hard to find. Hope it goes well!

      • I have made pumpkin puree for years and found for best tasting results, I use what’s called “sugar pumpkin” here in New England. They are small and dark orange in color. (The darker in color the better the taste) The ones that are small and “cute” resulted in the closest taste to pure canned pumpkin. Planned ahead… I’d spend a day on the weekend making the puree. Using zip top bags, label the ingredient on the bag and how much, measure out 2 cup increments, get all the air out, lay flat on a pan to freeze nice and neat. When frozen solid they stack nicely in the freezer.
        Sounds like a lot of work but it really isn’t if you slice the pumpkin in half and bake face down like a butternut squash. For even less work, leave the seeds in and scoop out the unwanted after the pumpkin is baked. The results are rewarding pumpkin puree that will last you a whole year in the freezer.
        Pies, cookies, muffins, **donut muffins and even a pot of chili !!
        And your best friend for the yearly job is a food mill.
        https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-Food-1071478/dp/B000I0MGKE

        • Unpeeled

          Hi, Brenda! You’ve inspired me! I’m going to try it out. And that is so smart to pre-portion the pumpkin puree in advance and freeze it so nicely. (Oh, and pumpkin chili? Sounds delicious.) Thanks for writing!

  • 5 stars
    These were a big hit for brunch! The house smelled great, too. Good flavor, very easy to make.

  • 5 stars
    Mmmm….these were really, really good and did taste like a really good pumpkin donut! They were also good the next day, though some of the sugar had been absorbed, as you mentioned might happen.

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