With a texture and flavor similar to cake donut holes, these Donut Muffins are seriously easy and so delicious. Start to finish, you can be enjoying these with the kids in under 30 minutes!

mini donut muffins on wire rack.

Donut Muffins

I make so many mini muffins, but when I heard about something called a “donut muffin,” I couldn’t resist. This one-bowl recipe is so darn easy to make, and the result is tender muffins that have a flavor and texture similar to cake donut holes.

We love them best with the cinnamon-sugar topping, but they are delicious without the topping, too.

The beauty of this recipe is that the batter stirs up so easily in one bowl and they work well for snacks (or breakfast) for days to come. We usually have them with diced fruit, but just a cup of milk or a smoothie works, too!

(You may also like my Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins, Yogurt Muffins, and my Cinnamon Muffins.)

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Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to make this recipe so you know what to have on hand.

Ingredients for donut muffins on countertop.
  • Applesauce: The base of the muffin batter is applesauce, which contributes to the incredible tenderness and the subtle sweetness. (If you do not have applesauce, you can use my easy Apple Puree.)
  • Milk: I cook and bake with whole-dairy milk, but you can use your preferred type here.
  • Unsalted butter: Using unsalted butter allows me to control the salt in my muffin recipes. If you only have salted butter, that is fine. Just omit the salt called for in the recipe.
  • Egg: I bake with large eggs, so that’s what I use here. (Larger or smaller eggs may impact the texture very slightly.)
  • Vanilla extract: You can use pure vanilla extract or artificial extract in this recipe.
  • All-purpose flour: I like to use all-purpose flour to ensure these muffins are super tender and cake-donut-like. (To make with a whole grain flour, whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour are your best options. Add 2 tablespoons milk with either of those.)
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar in this recipe because it works best with the other ingredients to make an incredibly tender crumb. (If you change the sugar to honey or maple syrup, the texture may be drier.)
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds flavor to the donut muffins.
  • Baking powder and soda: A combination of these ensures the muffins bake through and rise properly. Be sure yours are fresh and active.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is an overview of how to make this recipe so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full information, including the amounts and timing.

how to make donut muffins in grid of images.
  1. Stir together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.
  3. Portion out into a greased mini muffin pan.
  4. Bake. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Add optional topping if desired.

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

To make these taste most like a donut hole, I like to dip the top of each muffin into melted butter and a cinnamon-sugar mixture. It’s best to do this right before serving, or on the day you plan to serve. (It adds moisture, so if they sit for days after this step, they can get a little too moist.)

Hand holding donut muffin with bite missing.

Best Mini Muffin Tin

I like to use the Wilton Mini Muffin pan with nonstick spray to ensure my muffins don’t stick to the pan. This is a better option than using paper liners, which are likely to stick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make donuts in a muffin pan?

Yes, you can use a batter similar to what you’d use to make donuts and bake it in a muffin pan. Traditional donuts are often fried in oil, but baking the batter as I do here is easy, less messy, and creates a wonderful texture.

How can I make these as standard-size muffins?

You can bake this recipe as either mini muffins or standard size muffins. The difference is in the amount of batter in each cup and the length of time for baking. Everything else remains the same.

What can I use in place of applesauce?

You can use any other fruit puree that you have on hand or prefer.

How to Store

Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or about a week in the fridge. You can also freeze muffins for longer storage.

Best Tips for Success

  • Dairy-free: Use vegetable, avocado, or coconut oil in place of the butter and nondairy milk.
  • Gluten-free: Use an all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Egg-free: Omit the egg. Add 2 tablespoons additional milk. Proceed with the recipe. (The muffins may be a little more tender than with the egg.)
  • Standard-size muffins: Use about ¼ cup batter in each of 12 standard-size muffin cups and bake for 14-16 minutes.
  • You can lower the sugar in the muffins to ¼ cup, though I have found that the ⅓ cup listed in the recipe is my preference for both flavor and texture.
  • This recipe has the best texture when made with granulated sugar, rather than maple syrup or honey.

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donut muffins cooling on wire rack.

Favorite Donut Muffins

With a texture and flavor similar to cake donut holes, these Donut Muffins are seriously easy and so delicious. Start to finish, you can be enjoying these with the kids in under 30 minutes!
5 from 155 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Breakfast
Calories 129kcal
Servings 12 (Makes 24 mini muffins)

Ingredients

Donut Muffins

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping (optional)

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly)
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. (I do not recommend using paper liners with this recipe as they are likely to stick.)
  • Add the applesauce, milk, butter, egg, and vanilla to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine well.
  • Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl. Whisk to combine into a thick batter.
  • Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin, using about 1½ tablespoons batter in each cup.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until puffed up, golden brown, and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two. Run a knife around the edges to loosen, as needed, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Optional: Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Dip the top of each muffin first in the melted butter, then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. This makes them taste like a cake donut hole!

Notes

  • Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or about a week in the fridge.
  • Dairy-free: Use vegetable, avocado, or coconut oil in place of the butter and nondairy milk.
  • Gluten-free: Use an all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Egg-free: Omit the egg. Add 2 tablespoons additional milk. Proceed with the recipe. (The muffins may be a little more tender than with the egg.)
  • Standard-size muffins: Use about ¼ cup batter in each of 12 standard-size muffin cups and bake for 14-16 minutes.
  • You can lower the sugar in the muffins to ¼ cup, though I have found that the ⅓ cup listed in the recipe is my preference for both flavor and texture.
  • This recipe has the best texture when made with granulated sugar, rather than maple syrup or honey.

Nutrition

Serving: 2mini muffins, Calories: 129kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 140mg, Potassium: 47mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 158IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So yummy! My 2 year old loved helping and thought they were delicious. We made them with GF All-Purpose flour and they turned out great!

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious! Bought a mini muffin pan just to make these. Made them vegan due to a family allergy (dairy free milk, vegetable oil, no egg) and you’d never ever guess. Scrumptious!

  3. 5 stars
    These donut muffins are heavenly! I can’t wait for my boys to get home from school to try them. I’ve already had 4! Next time I’ll double the recipe because these are not going to last long.

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