The best pumpkin donuts recipe you’ll ever try, prepared 2 ways! Soft, fluffy and so delicious – they’re one of my favorite pumpkin dessert recipes! These incredible donuts are made a load of real pumpkin puree, maple extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and then dipped in cinnamon sugar. But that’s not all! Use the same recipe to make filled donuts, with pumpkin whipped cream filling! The filled donuts are just out of this world! Get ready for the ultimate fall dessert and make a large batch of these because you won’t have just one!
Watch My Donut Video Tutorial!
Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions and extra tips. Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing liast and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
Ingredients for Donut Recipe
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Pumpkin Puree: canned pumpkin puree is the best and easiest choice for this recipe.
- Whole Milk: for making the soft yeast dough. Make sure you don’t overheat the milk!
- Dry Active Yeast: regular active yeast or instant/rapid yeast will work well for this recipe. With instant yeast, the proofing time will be much shorter.
- All-Purpose Flour: the best flour for making these pumpkin donuts.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg: for adding flavor to the donuts and for the sugar coating.
- Cooking Oil: for deep frying the donuts.
Making Donuts with Yeast Dough
Classic doughnuts or donuts (whichever name you like to use!) are made using a yeast dough. The dough is allowed to proof, then it’s rolled, cut and deep-fried. Like any good, classic donut recipe, these pumpkin donuts are made with a soft yeast dough. Getting the dough just right is the most important part! The dough needs to be very soft and slightly sticky, which allows it to expand and become super fluffy when deep fried. Preparing yeast dough does take a few hours but it’s well worth the wait! This fall dessert recipe is perfect as a weekend baking project!
How to Make Pumpkin Donuts
Here’s what I add and how to make the best pumpkin donuts!
- Pumpkin Flavor: To add true pumpkin flavor to these treats, I add a whole cup of pure pumpkin puree to the dough. Adding the pumpkin directly into the dough not only gives the best flavor but also makes the dough really soft. Adding both cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough also adds incredible fall flavor. I also like to add maple extract to the dough – it’s my secret ingredient and it makes these donuts SO GOOD! I get my extract on Amazon!
- Deep frying: When deep-frying donuts, make sure the cooking oil is hot! It needs to reach 350F/177C. If the oil is not hot enough, the dough will become very greasy and take too long to fry.
- Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Once the donuts are fried, they’re dipped into cinnamon sugar for a tasty and sugary finish. Make sure to coat the donuts in the sugar as soon as you take them out of the oil! They need to be hot in order for the sugar to stick! I love to enjoy the donuts warm, with a cup of coffee! If you’re making filled donuts, make sure to cool them completely!
Making Filled Pumpkin Donuts
Filled donuts are so good, especially when they’re pumpkin donuts filled with pumpkin whipped cream! The filling by itself is to die for! You can literally eat it with a spoon as a dessert!
- For making the filled donuts, I use the exact same recipe but a different cutter. Use a simple, round cutter and prepare the recipe the same.
- Once the donuts are completely cooled, use a knife to cut small pockets into each donut from the side.
- Transfer the filling into a pastry bag and pipe each donut full of cream; it’s okay if it comes out the sides! Keep any leftover filled donuts refrigerated. This filling recipe yields enough filling for the entire doughnut batch. If you want to make half regular and half filled, reduce the filling recipe in half.
Can These Donuts be Baked?
Yes, you can bake these doughnuts instead of deep-frying them but the texture won’t be quite the same. Cut out the doughnuts and place them onto a lined baking sheet. Let them proof for about 30 minutes, then bake at 350F until golden.
Supplies for Making Donuts
Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- Classic Donut Cutter – a standard donut cutter that you can use again and again.
- Round Donut Cutter – perfect for filled donuts; this cutter has a removable center piece.
- Maple Extract – this extract adds so much incredible flavor to the recipe!
- Candy Thermometer – use this thermometer to get the frying oil to the right temperature!
Looking for more incredible pumpkin dessert recipes?! Check out some of my other recipes!
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes – with spiced whipped cream frosting!
- Pumpkin Spice Macarons – spiced macarons filled with pumpkin buttercream!
- Maple Pumpkin Eclairs – these are filled with the same pumpkin whipped cream filling!
- Easy Apple Fritters – easy and delicious apple donuts!
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – the best fall cinnamon rolls with double pumpkin, cinnamon sugar and cream cheese icing!
Enjoyed this recipe? Share it on Pinterest!
The Best Classic Pumpkin Donuts Recipe (video)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp maple extract, optional
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 to 10 cups canola oil, for frying
For Cinnamon Coating:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp maple extract, or vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
For the Yeast Dough:
- Prepare the yeast dough first. Warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove top until lukewarm; the milk should not be too hot! Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the dry yeast over the top and let it stand for 5 minutes. Whisk again and add the melted butter (cooled!), egg, pumpkin puree, vanilla and maple extracts, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk all the ingredients together for a few minutes, until a smooth batter forms.
- Begin adding the flour, about 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once a dough ball forms, invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, dusting occasionally with flour when needed. The dough needs to be super soft and slightly sticky. Place the dough back into a clean mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to proof in a warm corner of the kitchen until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Making the Pumpkin Donuts:
- Once the dough has proofed, begin preheating the frying oil. Pour the oil into a large braising pan or pot and attached a thermometer. Warm the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350F/177C.
- Meanwhile, knead the proofed dough for 1 minute, then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough needs to be on the thicker side, about 1/3 to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a classic donut cutter or a 3-inch circle cutter to cut out the shape. Cut out as many as possible, then collect the scrapes, knead and reuse.
- Drop the doughnuts into the preheated oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the doughnuts are a deep golden color. Turn them with tongs and continue cooking on the other side. Once done, remove the doughnuts onto paper towels to absorb the excess oil. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon and whisk together. About 30 seconds after removing from the oil, gently dip the hot doughnuts into the cinnamon sugar until well coated all over. Place them onto a wire rack to cool.
For Filled Pumpkin Donuts:
- For the filling: in a mixing bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese for a few minutes until it’s smooth and clump-free, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, extract and cinnamon and whisk again for a few minutes until the mixture is uniform; scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often. Add the powdered sugar and mix again for a minute. Add the heavy cream last and whisk on high speed for about 1 minute, until the filling is fluffy. Do not overmix – overmixing will cause the filling to separate!
- Transfer the filling into a pastry bag tipped with a filling tip or a regular star tip. Allow the donuts to cool completely before filling them! Use a small knife to make cuts from the side into the center of each donut, creating a pocket inside. Pipe each donut full of the filling; it’s okay if some comes out the sides. Any leftover filled donuts need to be refrigerated. This filling recipe yields enough filling for the entire doughnut batch. If you want to make half regular and half filled, reduce the filling recipe in half.
- Enjoyed this recipe? Please consider leaving me a comment or rating review below to help my blog!