I am so pleased to share with you these airy and delicious pumpkin spice donuts. I actually made mine into pumpkin spice donut holes, so you can decide how you want to cut yours.
With pumpkin and pumpkin spice in the dough, and a healthy dose of pumpkin spice in the sugar coating, these little guys taste like fall. Don’t miss the chance to have one with your whipped coffee or PSL!
Another great recipe to try is my pumpkin babka with pecan streusel.
For ease of browsing, here are all of my sweet yeast breads.
This post and recipe was created for #HalloweenTreatsWeek! I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always opinions are 100% mine.
What’s So Great About This Recipe?
If you’re a fan of soft donuts, this recipe is for you.
Here are some things I think you’ll really like about these little guys:
- The dough is packed with both pumpkin and pumpkin spice with more pumpkin spice in the sugar coating
- It’s made with the straight dough method, which means that you just put everything in the mixer bowl all together
- You can make it with either canned or homemade pumpkin puree
- The dough is super soft so it fries up light and airy
- You can make these the same day you make the dough or refrigerate the dough overnight if that works better for your schedule
- You can cut these into “holes” or cut them as full-sized donuts
- using a pizza cutter makes quick work of portioning the dough
- It makes a lot! I was able to get 55 donut holes out of this one recipe, so they’re great for a (small) crowd
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
As I said, this dough uses the straight dough method, which is the easiest method for making yeast breads and sweet breads.
The ingredients are straightforward and are not hard to find (or make)
Here’s what you’ll need:
- pumpkin puree: canned or homemade works here just fine. If you cannot find/don’t like pumpkin, you can also substitute butternut squash puree, acorn squash puree, or Hubbard squash puree
- sugar: I used Dixie Crystals sugar. Dixie Crystals is also a sponsor of this event. (Thanks, y’all!) You can also use brown sugar if you’d prefer.
- milk: I used whole milk. You could also use 2% milk or even a plant-based milk
- butter: you’ll want it very soft. Melted and cooled is fine as well. Good substitutes would be liquid coconut oil or a vegan butter such as Earth Balance
- egg: you just need one whole egg. If you want the dough a bit richer, you could add an additional yolk. If you want to keep this vegan, you can sub in one flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxmeal with 3 tablespoons water. Stir together and let sit until thickened)
- salt: I use Morton’s kosher salt. If using fine salt, cut back on the amount by just a bit
- yeast: active dry or instant. I use instant yeast. To proof your active dry yeast, use a portion of the milk, barely warm, and then add that mixture to the rest of the ingredients in the dough.
- pumpkin spice: obviously. If you don’t have it, you can sub in cinnamon or apple pie spice
- all purpose flour: no need to bust out the bread flour, but if you have it, you can use it with no problem.
The procedure is outlined clearly in the video, so please take a couple of minutes to watch that. It will show you the texture your finished dough will be.
It’s a very wet dough, so please resist the urge to add more flour. You’ll end up with dense donuts, and that’s not good for anyone.
- Mix the dough in your stand mixer.
- Knead until very stretchy and silky. (See video and also photo above.)
- Let the dough rest in the fridge overnight. 8-12 hours is fine, but you can also let it sit up to two days if you’re busy doing other things
- With oiled hands, pat the dough out to about 1/2″ thick
- Cut into shapes of desired shape and size
- Cover and let rest for an hour
- Heat your oil, and fry in batches
- Roll or toss in spiced sugar
- Let cool for just a couple of minutes
I also want to stress that you want the donuts to have a nice amber color. Not only does this add deeper flavor, but it also ensures that your dough will cook all the way through.
As long as your dough is no thicker than 1/2″, you should have no problems, but fry them to this lovely amber color, and you can be certain your guys will fry up light and airy.
From 1/2 inch pieces of dough to light, airy pillows of pumpkin spice donut goodness, friends.
Make some of these. They’ll make you happy, and I want you to be happy.
Tips and Tricks
Y’all, I need to reiterate that this is a very soft dough. It’s really almost like a very thick batter rather than a dough.
Working with such soft dough can be a bit tricky. Here are my top tips for working with it:
1.Keep your hands well oiled when working with soft dough.
2.You’ll have better luck working with it cold, so if you have the time, I recommend letting the dough spend the night in the fridge.
Since the dough is very soft, you don’t necessarily need the most powerful stand mixer to make it.
I wouldn’t recommend using a hand mixer with the dough hook attachment or you could be kneading a very long time.
Even in my stand mixer, the knead time is probably 10-12 minutes to make sure the dough is as supple and stretchy as you can make it so it fries up nice and light.
Fried Donut Q&A
You can successfully make a smaller batch of this dough as long as your mixer has a 4.5 quart or 5 quart bowl. Any larger, and I don’t think your dough hook will be able to pick up such a small amount of dough. You may have to tip your bowl a bit for it to work.
I use corn oil. You can also fry in melted shortening, peanut oil, or vegetable oil.
I poured my oil to a depth of about 2″ since I made small pumpkin spice donut holes. If you make larger donuts or beignets, pour your oil 3″ deep. For safety, never fill your pan more than half full of oil.
Yes, it does. If your oil is too hot, the outsides of your donut holes will burn before the inside has cooked. If it’s too cool, they’ll take a long time to cook and may also end up soaking up oil, making them greasy.
I found that frying in oil between 340F and 360F was a good range for these guys.
Yes, you absolutely can. They won’t be as light and puffy as fried guys, but they’ll still be good. Simply form your dough into small balls and space them out about 1 1/2″ apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Spray them with a bit of oil, cover them, and let rise until puffy. Bake at 375F until golden brown. Allow them to cool for a few minutes, dunk each in butter, and then roll in the spiced sugar to serve.
Yes you can. Cut your dough into large squares–about 2″x2″– and fry them up until very deeply golden brown. Place them on racks to cool and sift on a generous amount of powdered sugar whisked together with pumpkin spice.
While these donut holes/donuts are best when eaten fresh, they’ll be fine for a day at room temperature. Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds or in the toaster oven for 5 minutes or so before serving.
Yes, they do. For longer storage, freeze them in freezer bags. Press out all the air you can before sealing the bags. They’ll be fine in the freezer for 4 weeks. Pop them into the microwave to thaw/heat from frozen, or let them come to room temperature still in the sealed freezer bag. Then reheat and enjoy.
- Fill your pan no more than half full with oil to make extra sure it doesn’t boil over or sputter over the top when you start adding dough.
- Slide the dough into the oil rather than dropping it in. Make sure the dough is touching the oil before you let go so the oil doesn’t splash up and burn you.
- Keep a bowl of ice water near the stove and, if you burn yourself, immerse your hand (or whatever part) into the bowl immediately to stop the burning.
If you have a question/questions about this or any other post, whether recipe or technique, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to help.
You can leave a comment on the post, and I will respond within 24 hours. If you need an answer more urgently, please email me, and I will respond within about 4 hours (unless I’m sleeping) and often much more quickly than that.
Either way, I will answer as completely as I can. That’s why I’m here!
Want Some More Fall Treats?
If you’re looking for more donut recipes, you might want to give my glazed raspberry filled donuts a try. They’re (almost) dead ringers for their Krispy Kreme counterparts.
If you’re looking for more pumpkin goodness, you can’t go wrong with pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls complete with cream cheese glaze or some deliciously crunchable pumpkin spice caramel corn. This maple pumpkin pudding is also really delicious.
And last, if you’d like some spooky-cute Halloween goodness, try my malted milk ball spider cookies. They’re like your favorite chocolate chip cookie, but malted. And with eyes!
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
If you make this recipe and/or have enjoyed or learned from reading this post, I’d appreciate it if you could share this!
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If you make the recipe, please consider rating it a rating and a review. You can do this via the recipe card in the post.
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For the Donuts
- 6 oz (3/4 cup) pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons softened butter
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) whole milk
- 13 oz (about 3 cups) all purpose flour
- 2 quarts vegetable oil or melted shortening
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine pumpkin puree, sugar, yeast, salt, and pumpkin spice.
- Add the butter, egg, milk, and flour.
- With the dough hook, mix on low speed until it comes together in a shaggy, wet dough.
- Increase the speed to medium high and knead for 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth, shiny, and very stretchy. NOTE: Dough will be very slack (wet). Please see video for texture and resist the urge to add more flour to your mix.
- Once the dough is fully kneaded, scrape into an oiled bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate overnight, 8-12 hours or up to two days.
- When ready to fry, remove the dough from the fridge, turn it out onto a clean dry surface (do not flour), and press it out into a rectangle about 1/2" thick.
- Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into the size/shape you want. You may also use a donut cutter if you want to make traditional donuts.
- Cover the cut dough and let rest about an hour.
- Whisk together the sugar and pumpkin spice in a large bowl and set aside convenient to where you're frying.
- Heat your oil to 360F.
- Fry the dough, a few pieces at a time, until very deeply golden brown, turning them to make sure they cook evenly. Remove from the oil with a strainer and let excess oil drain back into the pot.
- Place the hot donuts in the bowl of sugar and toss well to coat with the spiced sugar.
- Remove to a cooling rack.
- Repeat with the remaining dough. You may need to whisk together more sugar mixture. It just depends on how generous you are with the coating.
- Enjoy warm.
Nutritionals based on 2 donut hole sized donuts with my best approximation of how much oil from frying and how much sugar from coating them.
You can bake rather than fry these. Just roll each piece of dough into a tight ball using friction from your dry counter, place them about 1 1/2" apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake at 375F until deeply golden brown. Before rolling in the sugar, quckly dunk each donut into melted butter so the sugar will stick.
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Nutrition InformationYield 25 Serving Size 2 small donut "holes"
Amount Per Serving Calories 107Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1.2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 12mgSodium 145mgCarbohydrates 18.2gFiber .7gSugar 6.6gProtein 2.1g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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