The Best Pumpkin Donut Holes

It is the season of crisp leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and cups of hot cider by the fire.

Although the boos and spookiness are finished for 2020, autumn still has much to offer. The vibrant leaves may no longer be on the trees but they still smile underfoot on my hikes. I love autumn, specifically autumn mornings.

Hope, peace, and donuts fill my ideal morning. If you know me, you know I LOVE a good donut. Autumn mornings call for pumpkin and apple cider donuts…at least that’s what my Pinterest feed keeps telling me.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been avoiding indoor public spaces as much as possible for the last 8 months…for 8 months I have not had my beloved donuts.

Lovely, lovely Pinterest has not been helping my donut cravings. Recipe after recipe after recipe slide under my nose as I scroll through my feed; sometimes I think I can taste the photos. Last week, i decided it was time to cave and make them myself.

I am not well versed in baking with yeast, a common ingredient in the average donut, so I decided to make donut holes. I was pleasantly surprised; they were delicious and I have already made them a second time!

The recipe I used came from Danielle from Live Well, Bake Often. Her recipe makes delicious donut holes that are fluffy and have just the right amount of sweetness for a fall morning. The best part though: they are SUPER easy and totally worth it!

The Recipe:

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes

Baked pumpkin donut holes coated with cinnamon and sugar. These make the perfect breakfast for fall! 

Course: Breakfast 
Cuisine: American 
Keyword: baked pumpkin donut holes 
Prep Time: 30 minutes 
Cook Time: 12 minutes 
Total Time: 42 minutes 
Servings: 32 donut holes 
Author: Danielle


Pumpkin Donut Holes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan well with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, egg, milk, unsalted butter, and vanilla until fully combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into the mini muffin cavities about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the donut hole comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the donut holes from the pan to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Meanwhile, add the melted butter to a small bowl. Add the cinnamon and sugar to a separate bowl and mix together well.
  8. Take each donut hole and dunk it into the melted butter, making sure it is fully coated. Then dip it into the cinnamon and sugar mixture, making sure to coat well.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

When I made the recipe the first time, I packaged them up to give to my family the next day. Unfortunately, the sugar and cinnamon coating did not like to be packaged (moisture built up and the sugar melted off the donuts into sticky puddles).

Pumpkin donut holes and chocolate crinkle cookies

The second time I made them, I followed Danielle’s article’s advice and ate them the same day. The other option is to make the donut holes and freeze them without the cinnamon sugar coating. Then, when you get a sweet tooth, you can unfreeze some and sugar coat them as you please. My question though is how do bakers like the Amish Markets that sell sugar coated apple cider donuts prevent the melting? Comment below with your ideas!

Thank you Danielle from Live Well, Bake Often for creating the recipe to these AMAZING donut holes. My COVID-19 autumnal donut free lifestyle has officially come to an end. Homemade pumpkin donut holes will now be a staple in this household!

If you are a donut lover, be sure to test this recipe for yourself and post your results to social media with the hashtag: #livewellbakeoften and tag Danielle @livewellbakeoften

If you have any favorite donut recipes that you would like to share, be sure to comment below.

Happy fall everyone! Happier days are ahead with President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

Spread love and joy my friends.

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