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You’re going to love these soft, warm spiced, easy to make baked Vegan Pumpkin Donuts with cinnamon sugar!
These vegan baked pumpkin doughnuts are the perfect Fall sweet treat, nut-free (unless you decide to add them on top), dairy free, quick to put together, and dare I say, better than fried donuts!
If you’re looking for cozy Fall snacks, or the perfect dessert for Fall, these fluffy pumpkin donuts are the best way to indulge and enjoy comforting food this season.
But, if you’re looking for a Fall inspired recipe that’s a bit healthier, be sure to check out these vegan pumpkin cookies (that are almost WFPB – no oil), healthy gluten-free vegan pumpkin bread, and vegan pumpkin pancakes!
Ingredients to make Vegan Pumpkin Donuts
Soy Milk: Soy milk adds moisture and richness to these donuts, and it’s an easy choice for many to help veganize the non-vegan version of pumpkin donuts as it was one of the first non-dairy milks available in stores.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is mixed with the soy milk and then allowed to sit for at least 5 minutes to create something similar to buttermilk. It’s not exactly the same, but it comes pretty close and the mixture of the two ingredients is great when trying to replace buttermilk in a non-vegan recipe to make it vegan.
All Purpose Flour: Flour provides structure and texture to these donuts, you can’t really make donuts without some type of flour. All purpose flour is great because it’s neutral tasting, cheap, and is sold everywhere. Other than that, it’s not all that nutritionally great. But, this is an occasional dessert (usually enjoyed only in the Fall).
Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is needed in this recipe to add sweetness and moisture, it also adds a rich, caramel like flavor to them, which is perfect for any dessert, but especially so for desserts intended for Fall.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Both of these ingredients help the pumpkin donuts rice and become fluffy.
Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, and Salt: These spices add warmth and depth of flavor to these vegan pumpkin donuts. The salt enhances all of the flavors in the donuts and actually helps bring out the sweetness from the sugar.
Pumpkin Puree: Pumpkin puree is the main ingredient in pumpkin donuts, and it also adds flavor, moisture, and texture to the donuts. It adds a rich pumpkin flavor that can’t be replaced without changing the flavor profile and basically the name of the recipe.
Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is used to add moisture and richness to these donuts, and also helps prevent them from sticking to the donut pans.
Vanilla: Vanilla helps enhance all of the other flavors in this recipe and also adds a tiny bit of flavor itself, and depth to the donuts.
Substitutions & Topping Alternative for Pumpkiny Pumpkin Donuts
Other Non-Dairy Milks: If you prefer to use a different type of non-dairy milk, rather than soy, due to whatever reason, that is perfectly fine! Just note that soy milk is richer (because of the fat content) than other milks, like almond.
However, any non-dairy milk will do the job, you could even use a vanilla flavored one if you want it to be extra sweet!
White Vinegar or Lemon Juice: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, we still need the reaction it causes in the non-dairy milk to occur. You can do this with white vinegar or even lemon juice, as they are both acidic and will help the reaction occur.
There may, however, be slight flavor differences in the end product. But it should be such a little difference that you may not even taste it.
Other Types of Flour: This recipe has only been tested with all purpose flour, unfortunately, I don’t know if gluten-free flour, oat flour, or almond flour will work.
White Sugar or Coconut Sugar: The brown sugar in this recipe can successfully be replaced with either white sugar or coconut sugar. There may be a slight flavor difference, but it is very slight.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: Pumpkin pie spice can take the place of the ginger and cloves in the same amount as both combined. You will want to keep cinnamon as is in the recipe.
Other Vegetables: If you want a donut similar to this one, but don’t have pumpkin puree or pumpkins, sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree could also be used.
These vegetables are easy to puree if you have the whole vegetable. It’s just like making mashed potatoes, except you’ll want to add no other ingredients and then blend it smooth. It’s also the same thing as making homemade baby food – which I have a lot of experience in from when my kids were babies.
Other Oils: You can replace the vegetable oil with canola oil or coconut oil. I would not recommend replacing oil with applesauce unless you grease your donut pans super well with a plant-based butter or cooking oil spray, as the donuts tend to stick to the pans quite well when replacing the oil with applesauce.
Alternative Topping: Another excellent way to top these vegan pumpkin donuts, other than the cinnamon & sugar topping, is by icing them and adding some nuts.
This especially would be a nice change to the recipe if you’re wanting these donuts to look beautiful and not just taste amazing! (My own kids prefer them with cinnamon & sugar as they’re not huge fans of nuts, yet.)
Icing & Pecan topping ingredients:
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 tablespoon Chopped Pecans
- Make the icing by stirring together the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
- Once the donuts are cool, ice them by dipping them in the icing or spooning the icing onto the donuts and spreading it. Then add a few pinches of pecans on the donuts as desired, then enjoy!
Other nuts that would do well on top are walnuts or pepitas, or try your favorite nut or seed to see how it tastes!
How to Make Baked Vegan Pumpkin Donuts
*Note that these instructions can be printed below with the recipe card.
Step one: Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease the donut pans if not using silicone donut pans.
Step two: Mix together the milk and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Step three: Stir together all of the dry ingredients for the donuts.
Step four: Add in all of the wet donut ingredients and stir well.
Step five: Pour, or spoon in, about ¼ cup of the batter into each donut cavity. The batter should fill the donut cavities about ⅔ of the way up, if it doesn’t, adjust it until it does.
Step six: Bake the donuts for about 13 minutes, using a toothpick to check when they are done. Then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before topping.
Step seven: Make the topping by whisking together the cinnamon and sugar.
Step eight: Once the donuts are cool, dip them in the melted butter then cover the donuts in the cinnamon & sugar mixture by dipping, rolling, or sprinkling the mixture over the donuts. Then enjoy fresh!
Baked Donut Success Tips
Some tips before getting started:
- You need a donut pan for this recipe, do not try to make these donuts without one, the batter consistency is more like a muffin rather than like a bread dough.
- Using a piping bag to fill the muffin pan will help prevent a mess and drips of batter everywhere (especially if you’re having kids help).
- Don’t use pumpkin pie filling (it’s not the same as pumpkin puree).
- Don’t overbake the donuts or they’ll dry out.
- Be sure to measure precisely, or they may not end up baking right.
- Allow the donuts to cool before removing from the donut pan.
- You don’t need to add a topping, but it helps bring out the sweetness and makes it feel ‘finished’.
- Don’t lather the plant-based butter on the donuts for the cinnamon & sugar, just gently brush some on, it doesn’t need much (if any at all) for the cinnamon sugar to stick to them.
- Have fun!
What can I serve with vegan pumpkin donuts?
Serve these vegan pumpkin donuts fresh with the topping of your choice!
These pumpkin donuts go great with a simple cinnamon sugar mixture, a simple vanilla icing, and it would even go great with this vegan caramel sauce!
They also go great with a glass of non-dairy milk, apple cider, or your favorite vegan pumpkin spiced latte!
How to Store
Room Temperature: These can stay at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Fridge: I don’t recommend keeping these donuts in the fridge, the texture just isn’t the same.
Freezer: This is the best way to store these soft vegan pumpkin donuts if you’re not eating them the same day you make them! Do not top before freezing. Freeze on a cookie sheet and then transfer to a freezer safe bag or container. Reheat by leaving at room temperature until thawed (best way), or in the microwave in 15-30 second intervals until no longer frozen. Be sure to eat the same day they are thawed for best results.
FAQ’s for Vegan Pumpkin Donuts
Yes! They absolutely are, especially when you add some type of topping to them!
Absolutely! It is recommended to freeze them before adding the topping, and then adding the topping fresh so it doesn’t seep into the donut while defrosting. These donuts are moist enough without the topping seeping into it.
No. This recipe is specifically for baking the donut batter in donut molds in the oven. The batter is quite liquidy before baking and has not been tested with frying. You *may be able to air fry them if your silicone baking mold fits in your air fryer basket, but I have not tested this yet.
White sugar and brown sugar (both light & dark) go well in the cinnamon sugar mixture to top these donuts. The donuts in the photos used white sugar in the cinnamon sugar topping mixture.
This recipe has not been tested with gluten-free flour. If you want to try it with gluten-free flour, please leave a comment to tell us how it went!
More Fall Vegan Recipes to Try
- Vegan Pumpkin Cookies
- Vegan pumpkin bread
- Vegan pumpkin pancakes
- Vegan apple muffins
- Vegan Pumpkin Waffles
- Halloween Monster Apples
- Vegan Iced Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Vegan Pumpkin DonutsShawna Clapper
- ½ cup soy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- ¼ cup plant-based butter melted (optional ingredient)
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease the donut pans if not using silicone donut pans.
- Mix together the milk and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Stir together all of the dry ingredients for the donuts.
- Add in all of the wet donut ingredients and stir well.
- Pour, or spoon in, about ¼ cup of the batter into each donut cavity. The batter should fill the donut cavities about ⅔ of the way up, if it doesn’t, adjust it until it does.
- Bake the donuts for about 13 minutes, using a toothpick to check when they are done. Then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before topping.
- Make the topping by whisking together the cinnamon and sugar
- Once the donuts are cool, dip them in the melted butter then cover the donuts in the cinnamon & sugar mixture by dipping, rolling, or sprinkling the mixture over the donuts.
- These donuts can be frozen before adding the melted butter & cinnamon & sugar topping. Warm up by thawing at room temperature for about 2 hours.
- These donuts are best enjoyed the same day they are made, or the same day they are thawed from the freezer.
- When checking if the donuts are done, the toothpick should come out clean or maybe with a few crumbs, there should not be batter on the toothpick. If there is gooey batter on the toothpick, bake for another 1-3 minutes.
- Adding the melted butter before the cinnamon & sugar is optional, but enhances the flavor, making it fuller and richer. Since this is a very moist donut, the cinnamon & sugar will still stick to the donut without the butter, especially if frozen and defrosted first, just not as well as if using the melted butter.