Looking for a baked donut recipe that's moist and tender with delicious flavor? These easy-to-make Baked Buttermilk Donuts use buttermilk instead of regular milk for a more tender and flavorful donut. They're bursting with tangy vanilla flavor and can be decorated any way you choose!
There's not much in life that I love more than donuts. I would gladly eat a donut every single day and bake them at home way more than I should admit.
When I'm out, I'm definitely a fried donut lover. But when I'm making my own donuts at home, I often make baked donuts. They're way easier to make, way less messy, and are still incredibly delicious.
OK, so a baked donut will never be quite as good as a fried donut... But there's lots you can do to make them pretty awesome. These particular ones are pretty standard baked donuts with one important ingredient swap: I use buttermilk instead of regular milk.
🥛 Why use buttermilk in donuts
Many old-fashioned donuts are actually made with buttermilk. But, typically, old-fashioned donuts are fried. I decided to make buttermilk donuts, but bake them instead.
So, why would you want to use buttermilk in your baked donuts instead of regular milk? A couple reasons! Buttermilk makes baked goods more tender than other milks. And since baked donuts have a reputation for being "cake-y" and not very "moist," any extra help you can get in the tenderness department is a great thing!
Also, buttermilk has a great tangy taste to it that really adds to the depth of flavor in these donuts. I use vanilla extract along with the buttermilk to give these donuts an incredible taste!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
You'll love these baked buttermilk donuts because they're super easy to make and come out perfectly every time.
They're also easy to dress up and make really pretty. I decorated them with sprinkles I got from Sweetapolita, but you can use anything you desire and can even add food coloring to the icing if you want.
These baked donuts use pretty standard ingredients with the addition of buttermilk! Here's what you'll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Melted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Vanilla icing (ingredients below)
- Sprinkles (if desired)
And here's what you need for the icing:
- Confectioners' sugar
- Vanilla extract
❓ What if I don't have buttermilk?
You can certainly make these donuts with regular milk, but it's also easy to make your own buttermilk if you don't have any on hand.
For homemade buttermilk, just add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk (whole or 2%) and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes and it's ready to be used just like you would buttermilk!
🍩 How to make baked buttermilk donuts
If you've never made baked donuts before, you may be shocked by how easy they are! You don't even need a mixer... Just a donut pan and a couple bowls.
To start, preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly spray or brush a donut pan with cooking oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate smaller bowl, lightly whisk eggs.
Add in buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract, and whisk until combined.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.
Over-mixing is what often causes tough and dry donuts. The addition of buttermilk helps keep these tender, but you also want to be sure not to over-mix.
Now you're ready to fill your donut pan with batter.
I highly recommend piping the batter in as this keeps things as easy and mess-free as possible. You can use a piping bag, but a Ziplock bag with the corner cut off works just as well!
Just fill with batter.
And fill each cavity in the doughnut pan about ¾ of the way with batter.
You can just pipe it right in!
Bake the donuts for 10-13 minutes, until they're light and springy to the touch.
Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove to cool completely on wire rack.
If you're using a 6-cavity donut pan, repeat with remaining batter. This recipe makes 12 donuts.
🧁 How to make vanilla icing
The icing is SO easy to make.
Simply put all the ingredients (confectioners' sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla extract) in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
If icing is too thick, add additional buttermilk.
Now, dip cooled donuts upside-down in the icing to coat.
Set them on wire rack with waxed or parchment paper set underneath and top with sprinkles, if desired.
These baked buttermilk donuts are so simple, but so pretty!
Oh and they're incredibly delicious, too! More tender and more moist than the typical baked donut, while still being just as easy to make.
These donuts are a great option when you want to make a quick breakfast treat or want to bring a baked good to a friend's house. Donuts with no mess that don't leave your house smelling like oil are always a win for me!
Especially when they're moist and delicious.
⏲ How to store
I recommend storing these donuts in an airtight container at room temperature. When stored properly, they should keep for about 3 days. But as always, they will be best the day you make them!
🎉 Variations on recipe
These buttermilk donuts are simply flavored with vanilla in both the donut and icing. But there are lots of things you can do to suit these donuts to your taste! Here are some ideas:
- Make them chocolate: you can easily replace milk with buttermilk in any chocolate donut recipe. Just be sure the recipe also has some baking soda in it. If it doesn't, replace some or all of the baking powder with it.
- Make them the flavor of your choice: instead of adding vanilla extract to the batter, you can use any flavor extract you want! Lemon, strawberry, or almond are all delicious options!
- Use a different flavor for the icing: if you like the idea of a vanilla donut, but want a different icing, simply swap the vanilla extract in the icing with the extract flavor of your choice.
- Use food coloring in the donut and/or icing: these baked buttermilk donuts can easily fit any event's theme with a little food coloring! Add a few drops to the batter and/or icing to give your donuts a different look.
There's a lot you can do to make these donuts your own... But they're also pretty fabulous as is!
👩🍳 More baked donut recipes
If you're like me and you like making homemade baked donuts at home, I have lots of fun recipes for you! Here are some of my favorites:
- Pancake Mix Donuts
- Carrot Zucchini Donuts
- Coconut Donuts with Salted Caramel Icing
- Fruity Pebbles Donuts
- Milky Way Donuts
- Blueberry Mojito Donuts
- Lucky Charms Donuts
- Baked Apple Coffee Cake Donuts
- Banana Donuts for Dogs (because your dog deserves donuts, too!)
- Baked Strawberry Donuts (from Marsha's Baking Addiction)
Once you try baked donuts made with buttermilk, you won't want to use regular milk in your baked goods again!
Do you like to make baked donuts at home?
Baked Buttermilk Donuts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp melted butter (slightly cooled)
- 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 batch vanilla icing (recipe below)
- Sprinkles, if desired
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 Tbsp buttermilk
- 1 ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly spray or brush a doughnut pan with cooking oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate smaller bowl, lightly whisk eggs. Add in buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract, and whisk until combined.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, taking care not to over-mix (over-mixing can result in tough donuts).
- Fill each cavity in the doughnut pan about ¾ of the way with batter. I like to put batter in a plastic bag, cut off the corner, and squeeze the batter into the doughnut pan (you can also use a pastry bag).
- Bake donuts for 10-13 minutes, until they're light and springy to the touch. Let donuts cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove to cool completely on wire rack. If you're using a 6-cavity donut pan, repeat with remaining batter.
- Once doughnuts are completely cooled, dip upside-down in icing to coat. Set on wire rack with waxed or parchment paper set underneath and top with sprinkles, if desired.
- Put all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. If icing is too thick, add additional buttermilk.