Pumpkin Donut Holes Baked in a Muffin Tin
All you need are a couple bites of a pumpkin treat to put you in the mood for fall. These pumpkin donut holes do just the trick! Baked in a mini muffin tin, these munchkins are super soft and coated in cinnamon sugar. They are the perfect snack for fall!
I’m a sucker for all the cliche fall activities: cozy sweaters, leaf peeping and pumpkin picking. What can I say, I’m from New England! With that comes baking with pumpkin. If you have a mini muffin tin, pumpkin spice donut holes are incredibly easy to make at home. Just pop one in your mouth and you have your pumpkin fix (just like my mini pumpkin pies)!
Why this recipe works
These baked donut holes use a mini muffin tin and they are super easy to make with ingredients you have in the house. The batter uses brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice for the perfect flavor. Pumpkin purée and buttermilk makes each bite super soft and moist. They are a delicious pop-in-your-mouth treat that you can share with friends and family!
- Pumpkin purée: canned pumpkin purée is best for this recipe (I used Libby’s). Do not use pumpkin pie filling.
- Buttermilk: This adds a little extra lift to the batter to make the donut holes super fluffy and moist. You can also do a buttermilk substitute by whisking together 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar or lemon juice with whole or low-fat milk.
- Spices: You can measure individual spices like I did for this recipe or use 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
- Make these donuts in a regular sized muffin tin! Simply fill each muffin cup three-quarters full and increase baking time to 25 minutes. Brush with butter and cinnamon sugar (just like I do for my banana cinnamon muffins). This will yield about 12 regular size muffins.
- Try dipping the tops of each donut hole in a simple glaze. I suggest the maple glaze I use on my gingerbread scones. It’s just 1 cup confectioners’ sugar + 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup + 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk for a thinner consistency.
- Fill the donut holes with melted chocolate, cream cheese or apple butter. Poke a hole in the donut using a frosting tip and pipe filling inside.
How to make mini pumpkin donut muffins
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Whisk together the buttermilk and pumpkin in a separate bowl. Set both bowls aside.
- Beat butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and pumpkin buttermilk mixture. Keep mixer on low. Start and end with the flour mixture.
- Fill mini muffin tin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes while making cinnamon sugar topping.
- Cinnamon sugar topping: Whisk cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Brush warm muffins with melted butter. Roll the muffins in the cinnamon sugar and set on plate to serve.
For easy transfer of batter, use a small cookie scoop to fill the mini muffin tin. After the pumpkin donut holes are baked, give them only a light brushing of melted butter and do it while they are still a little warm. This will help the cinnamon sugar stick on well without making the mini muffins soggy. Remember to be generous with the cinnamon sugar!
To make ahead of time, I suggest waiting to add the melted butter and cinnamon sugar until ready to serve. There is a chance that they will get soggy if stored in an airtight container overnight. If that does happen, add more cinnamon sugar coating right before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, a donut hole pan will work! Baking times may be slightly shorter so keep a close eye on the oven.
Yes, but I recommend doing so before adding the cinnamon sugar coating. After they cooled, you can freeze donut holes in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
When coated in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, baked donuts may get soggy after being stored for a day or two. To fix it, simply coat in cinnamon sugar again and serve. In the future, wait to add the melted butter and cinnamon sugar until ready to serve.
No. This is a recipe for cake donuts so the batter is meant to be baked, not fried.
If you liked this recipe, be sure to try some of these other fall favorites!
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Pumpkin Donut Holes
For the Muffins:
- 10 tablespoons (141 g or 5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅓ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1¼ cups (300 g) pure pumpkin purée, (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¾ cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and pumpkin. Set both bowls aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add about one-third of the flour mixture. Add half the pumpkin mixture. Repeat adding flour and pumpkin. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until barely combined. Turn off the mixer and fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to catch any pockets of flour that weren’t incorporated.
- Scoop about a heaping tablespoon of batter into prepared mini muffin tin. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. While the muffins are still slightly warm, brush all over with the melted butter, then toss in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until completely covered. Return muffin to the wire rack and let cool completely.