Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Growing up, my family didn’t do a lot of doughnut-eating. The popular treats were never in the house, so we’d only have them once in a while, usually if there was a function after church. As a result, I never became much of a doughnut connoisseur. That being said, I certainly did have my favorites when I was presented with a box of doughnuts. They were, in this order: Boston cream, the ones with chopped nuts around the outside, and cinnamon-sugar. Last year, I made my first batch of homemade buttermilk doughnuts and tried three different varieties – chocolate-glazed, vanilla-glazed and cinnamon-sugar coated. My favorite was, by far, the cinnamon-sugar variety.

Over the last month I’ve been filing up my Doughnuts board on Pinterest with tons of different awesome-sounding recipes, including pumpkin. When I came across a recipe for pumpkin muffins that mimic the texture and flavor of pumpkin doughnuts with a cinnamon-sugar coating, I knew I was in business!

Once I saw the recipe, I recalled other muffin recipes I had seen on some other sites that used the same type of technique to mimic the flavor of a doughnut. Once the muffins come out of the oven and are still warm, they’re brushed with melted butter and then immediately rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. The result is a fabulous pumpkin-flavored muffin with a doughnut-like cinnamon-sugar coating. They are every bit melt-in-your-mouth fantastic as you could imagine.

I love how much the pumpkin flavor in these shines through, and I love that these taste just like a pumpkin doughnut, but have the advantage of being baked, and not fried. Not as much fat, not as much effort, not as time-consuming, and not as much mess. That translates to a perfect Sunday morning treat!

One year ago: The Baked Brownie

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


For the Muffins:
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2½ 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
1/3 cup buttermilk
1¼ cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup granulated sugar
2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups.

2. Make the Muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and pumpkin; set aside.

3. Beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the pumpkin mixture, beating 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.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffins cups (about a heaping 1/3 cup batter). Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

5. Make the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating: While the muffins are resting, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Working with one muffin at a time, remove the muffins from the pan, brush all over with the melted butter, then toss to coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Return to the wire rack and let cool completely.

(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)


103 Responses to “Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Michelle C. on October 8, 2012 at 12:24 am

    All I can say is OMG!!
    I swore off baking for 2 weeks on Friday, because last week from Tuesday to Friday afternoon I had made the Baked Brownie for myself and then volunteered to make 100 cupcakes to sell for my sons Fall Festival at school to raise money for his kindergarten class. Oy! And I couldn’t just do simple either. I did the chocolate salted caramel and Vanilla made to look like candy corn. WHAT WAS I THINKING!
    I sold out of all 100 in just over an hour. The event lasted 3. OOPS!
    Well, now it looks like I’ll be giving in and making these little treats tomorrow. Curse you, Michelle! 😉


    • kim on October 8th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      I have a really simple recipe for pumpkin muffins if any one is inerested. Spice cake and a can of pumpkin, bake in mini muffin pans and then top with cinnamon sugar


      • Madeline on October 3rd, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Thanks Kim — Yours sound pretty good too. And the posted recipe sounds divine. This is why I can’t swear off baked goods as hard as I think about trying!!!


  2. Michelle C. on October 8, 2012 at 12:25 am

    I’ll let you know how they turn out. Yay!


  3. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 8, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I ate a lot of doughnuts growing up… And still do! I was always a jelly doughnut girl but now I like the ones with the crushed peanuts best! Totally gonna try these :)


  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks on October 8, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Ive seen this recipe and many similar to it for little pumpkin muffins and donuts and was just telling a friend yesterday I want to try these and now you’ve got me convinced. They look great!


  5. Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine on October 8, 2012 at 2:34 am

    I love this! I have been dying to make donuts but I dont have a donut pan! But I DO have a muffin pan! These are so cute! Cant wait to try them out!


  6. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on October 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Yummy!!!! I have to say cinnamon and sugar on donuts is my favorite way to eat them!!!


  7. marla on October 8, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Love the look of these pumpkin muffins and that crunchy sugar topping!


  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on October 8, 2012 at 9:11 am

    These are lovely!


  9. leslie on October 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Ive made a similar one without pumpkin. The “butter bath” is glorious!


  10. Diane on October 8, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I LOVE donut muffins! We used to make them at the bakery where I worked! Can’t wait to try a pumpkin version!


  11. Gillian at No Bite Left Behind on October 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Oh yum! I wonder how this would translate into an apple cider doughnut muffin? Off to research…


    • Pat Nelson on October 13th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      There is a cider doughnut recipe on Kingarthurflour.com.


  12. Maria on October 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

    LOVE these!! Perfect for fall!


  13. Nicole on October 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Oh my, yum!!!


  14. Eileen on October 8, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I just made a similar version of these in my babycakes maker. They were shaped just like donut holes, and sooo good. Seeing yours makes me want to go make another batch!


  15. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on October 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

    It’s recipes like these that make me wish pumpkin season never ends! The possibilities are endless. These look totally delicious.


  16. Ari @ Ari's Menu on October 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

    These look amazing!! I love how bright and orange the inside is too!


  17. Suzanne on October 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Wow. I made some “healthy” pumpkin muffins this week, which we devoured in nothing flat. I’m a little afraid to watch the feeding frenzy that these amazing-looking treats will create. Thanks for the great recipe.


  18. Fran@fransfavs.com on October 8, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I’ve made and posted the traditional doughnut muffins. I think the pumpkin version will be even better! Putting it on my must-make list.


  19. Meg - [Life of Meg] on October 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I absolutely ADORE your blog. I use your recipes constantly and ALWAYS get rave reviews! We love both pumpkin and doughnuts at our house, so I think this recipe is going to be another winner – thank you!


  20. The Food Hound on October 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Oh oh oh oh oh, these look tremendous. I love pumpkin spice doughnuts, and I know everyone is on a doughnut craze right now, but I can’t stand the idea of the mess in my tiny kitchen. These are the answer!! A local bakery makes something similarly rolled in cinnamon-sugar, but not with pumpkin. You win :)


  21. tanya1234 on October 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    luv the recipe
    am going to try it
    thankx alot


  22. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on October 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    These sound amazing!! I just made pumpkin muffins yesterday, but suddenly they seem so inadequate 😛


  23. natalie@thesweetslife on October 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    just yesterday my sister requested pumpkin donuts coated in sugar….i’m pretty sure these are close enough! :)


  24. Sues on October 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    These are beautiful and so, so delectable looking! Perfect for eating while sitting at my desk with a nice hot cup of coffee :)


  25. Connie on October 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Do you think would translate well into a mini muffin? Would you just have to adjust the bake time?


    • Michelle on October 10th, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Connie, You could definitely do mini muffins! Just reduce the baking time (I would start checking around 6-8 minutes).


  26. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on October 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I love that these are completely coated! Yum


  27. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com on October 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Your muffins look so delicious!


  28. Madeleine @ teeniebaker on October 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I made doughnut muffins stuffed with nutella a while ago, but these look so good. I’ll have to try them with pumpkin!


  29. bellini on October 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I have all of the ingredients and can’t wait to try these.


  30. Loretta E on October 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    We have a bakery nearby that sells doughnut muffins, but I think yours look even better than theirs!


  31. Maria on October 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    These look so good! My favorite are the apple cider cinnamon sugar donuts but these pumpkin flavored ones trying to hide as muffins look even better


  32. Laura Dembowski on October 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Those look so comforting in this chilly fall weather! Wish I had one for the morning.


  33. Riley on October 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of doughnut muffins around the web lately, but these look better than any I’ve seen so far! Yum!


  34. buttercream bakehouse on October 9, 2012 at 6:06 am

    looks delicious.


  35. Sarah on October 9, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Made them mini sized yesterday. Have eaten 5 already. Need to get them out of my house.


  36. Tracey on October 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I have a small amount of pumpkin puree in my fridge just begging to be used. I think a half batch of these made into minis might be the perfect solution!


  37. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite on October 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    These are so pretty! I love that the all-over cinnamon sugar looks like sparkles :)


  38. Jessica on October 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Made these today. Despite my non-dairy substitutions, they were fabulous. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!


  39. Naomi on October 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Made these today, they are awesome!


  40. Natasha on October 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Do you think these would freeze well?


    • Michelle on October 10th, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Hi Natasha, These would freeze well before the butter/sugar coating. I don’t think that they’d thaw well if you do the butter/sugar coating. You could freeze, then reheat them in a warm oven and do a fresh butter/sugar coating before serving.


      • felicia on February 27th, 2013 at 11:35 am

        What temperature do you use to reheat frozen baked goods? I’ve never done that.


        • felicia on February 27th, 2013 at 11:37 am

          oh and while i’m at it… i guess i should also ask how you freeze the muffins to begin with! do you wrap them in foil, or something else?


        • Michelle on February 27th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

          Usually 325 or 350, but a lot of recipes have specific instructions. I wrap in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag.


          • felicia on February 27th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

            Thanks so much Michelle! I appreciate it.


  41. Amanda on October 10, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Thank you soo much for this recipe i cant wait to try it!!Im 13 years old and you inspire me soo much!!


  42. Lori on October 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Just got back from upstate New York. Was disapponted in the pumpkin doughnut I bought. These look like a winner! Thanks Michelle. I am going to bake some and send them to my boy at school.


  43. Lori on October 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I did not wait in making these. A batch is on its way to my son away at school. They are soooooo good! Every bite is fall “deliciousness”. This recipe is a keeper.


  44. Rebecca on October 13, 2012 at 9:00 am

    is pumpkin pie filling different from a can of pure pumpkin (like Libby’s or One Pie)? Can I use these for puree?


  45. Di on October 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I made these for breakfast this morning, and they were a big hit with my girls. =) Thanks for sharing them.


  46. Liz on October 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Wow. I’m no baker but these turned out DELISH. I added cinnamon chips to the batter and thought they were a favorable addition. Part donut/part muffin. 100% awesome. Not too heavy or fragile, they stood up to the butter bath and sugar coating. I just finished delivering them to my neighbors because left alone with these are dangerous. Sign of a successful recipe. Thanks, BEB.


  47. Priscilla on October 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    They turned out wonderful. Thanks for the recipe. :)


  48. Amanda Rae on October 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hi Michelle! Made these today & there are now glorious smells in my kitchen. Thank you, kindly! The one thing I did that was really helpful was to put the cinnamon sugar mixture in a doubled-up brown paper lunch bag, and then carefully roll it around. Less on my hands and more on the muffins!

    Thanks again!


  49. angela on October 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Yes, and I don’t even like donuts, but these are getting pinned and made.


  50. Michele on October 15, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for the recipe! My teenage boys and hubby gobbled them up! They were the perfect treat before our 2 hour drive on Saturday morning.


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