Easy Whole Wheat Donuts: Baked, Not Fried

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Preview: These easy whole wheat donuts with powdered sugar won’t leave your kitchen in a greasy mess because they are baked instead of fried. White whole wheat flour is the secret.

Baked Powdered Sugar Donuts --ready to eat

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Do you ever buy powdered sugar doughnuts out of a vending machine? Those packages of 6 powdered sugar mini-donuts have so much powdered sugar on them that they could induce a coughing attack just by biting into them. They’re like sucking a sugar cloud into your lungs.

Make these Whole Wheat Donuts that are baked instead of fried and ease the guilt. This recipe incorporates white whole wheat flour (read more about it below) and plain Greek yogurt to help you feel less guilty.

Searching for a healthier option:

What if I could bake donuts instead of frying, substitute white whole wheat flour for all-purpose white flour, and add some yogurt for extra protein?

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After a few false starts, I found powdered sugar heaven for around 100 calories a donut. Now I’m not claiming you can’t tell them apart from their fattier relatives, but they more than satisfy my cravings. Mix them up easy as muffins, and bake in less than 10 minutes with no greasy mess or odor in your house. Speaking of muffins, fans of Central Market may recognize this recipe as a dupe for their Strawberry Balsamic Muffins.


Ingredients and substitutions:

  • FLOUR: White whole wheat flour is my favorite for these little donuts. White whole wheat has all the nutritional value of regular whole wheat without the characteristic bitter flavor. The difference is the type of wheat berry used to make the flour. Since white whole wheat flour can be hard to find in stores, look online or use whole wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour, if necessary.

    If you like to bake, you can use the leftover white whole wheat flour to make these delicious white whole wheat yeast rolls or Pop-Tarts with an oatmeal and whole wheat flour crust.
  • SUGAR: Use granulated sugar.
  • NUTMEG: Did you know that nutmeg is a traditional spice to add to donuts? You don’t need much but don’t leave it out. Freshly grated nutmeg is not absolutely necessary–it’s just fresher tasting.
  • PECANS: Optional.
  • MILK: To keep the calories down, I specified fat-free milk, but any milk will suffice. Needless to say, the more fat in the milk, the tastier the donuts.
  • GREEK YOGURT: I always have yogurt in the house because I make yogurt at home. If you only have regular yogurt, decrease the amount of milk by 1 tablespoon.
  • EGG: I use large eggs in all my recipes.
  • VEGETABLE OIL: Use any unflavored vegetable oil such as canola oil, corn oil, or avocado oil.

donut halves w sifter

Four keys to success with baked donuts:

Filling donut pans with dough in a plastic bag

Thanks to Lara Ferroni who got me started down the baked donut path with her Baked Chocolate Doughnuts. She taught me the first two important secrets about homemade donuts listed below.

  1. Add nutmeg to get the characteristic flavor of a donut. I didn’t know and likely would have left it out since it’s not my favorite spice.
  2. The idea of using a zippered plastic bag (although she used a decorator bag), with a hole to fill the pans, also came from her. Absolutely inspired! You don’t have to roll dough. Just squeeze!
  3. Pecans pack a lot of flavor into these little gems. Chop finely and the kids won’t notice. Or leave them out if you wish.
  4. Use a plastic bag to dip or coat donuts without a big mess.
coating baked donuts with powdered sugar

FAQ about Whole Wheat Donuts:

What if I don’t have a donut pan?

Make donut “holes” with a mini muffin pan.

Where can I buy a donut pan?

I bought my doughnut pan at World Market, but they are available at most kitchen stores and online.

Can I use a cinnamon-sugar coating instead of powdered sugar?

Yes. Combine 2 teaspoons of cinnamon with a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and use in place of the powdered sugar.

How long will these donuts stay fresh?

Just like any other doughnuts, they are best the day they are made. If you have any leftovers, try dividing them in half horizontally. Fry them in a spot of butter. Yum!


I think you’ll have fun with these doughnuts. If you want to make breakfast a party, check out these Strawberry Cake Doughnuts.


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula


baked whole wheat powdered sugar doughnuts

Easy Whole Wheat Donut Recipe: Baked, Not Fried

Baked mini-donuts are made with white whole wheat flour or unbleached flour and yogurt for increased protein and flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 12 mini-donuts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour - 120 gr
  • cup granulated sugar - 66 gr
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table or sea salt
  • teaspoon nutmeg - freshly grated
  • ¼ teaspoon very finely chopped pecans - optional
  • cup fat-free milk - 76 gr
  • ¼ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt - 95 gr
  • 1 egg - 50 gr
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil - 24 gr
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A few drops of almond flavoring
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar - 57 gr

Instructions
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Grease donut pan well (I use spray oil with flour in it i.e. Baking by Pam).
  • Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and pecans (if using) together in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Whisk yogurt, milk, egg, oil, and flavorings together in a separate small bowl. Combine all at once with dry ingredients and stir only until everything is moistened.
  • Spoon batter into a pastry bag or quart-size zippered plastic bag. Seal. Snip a small corner of the plastic bag and force dough out of the hole in the shape of a fat rope that encircles each doughnut cup. Fill only 1/2 to 3/4 full or you will lose the hole in the middle of your doughnut. Makes 12 donuts and possibly 3-4 "donut holes" in a mini cupcake pan.
  • Bake for 9-10 minutes.
  • Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool a bit before coating them with confectioner's sugar.
  • Place the confectioner's sugar (or cinnamon-sugar mixture if you prefer) into a gallon-size plastic bag or a large bowl. Coat the donuts before they are completely cooled.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Whole Wheat Donut Recipe: Baked, Not Fried
Serving Size
 
1
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
106
Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
3
g
5
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
14
mg
5
%
Sodium
 
165
mg
7
%
Carbohydrates
 
18
g
6
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
11
g
12
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keywords: white whole wheat baked donuts, whole wheat baked donuts, whole wheat donuts with yogurt, whole wheat doughnuts
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Recipe Rating




53 Comments

  1. Powdered sugar donuts are my absolute favorite. I’m heading over to your FB to sign up for that pan!

  2. Ooh, I love your photo of the stacked donuts! Very creative composition. I haven’t had a powdered sugar donut in over a decade, and these look delicious!

    1. Oh wow, Jenny! I consider that a supreme compliment from you with the very creative photographic eye yourself. Thanks.

  3. I grew up in New England, of course I LOVE doughnuts. My favorite are the old fashioned or cake doughnut.

    1. I didn’t know New England was famous for their doughnuts. What a cool place to grow up.

  4. yum! these look great. I cant wait to try making some!

  5. As a little girl I lived for these and Fig Newtons. Who would’ve thought I’d grow up to be a dietitian?! Ha. I still do enjoy my treats, and these would bring back some many memories. I entered your contest, but I wonder if I could make these free-form. Do you think the shape would hold if I simply piped the ring on a baking sheet? I wonder.

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

    1. Heather, that is a BRILLIANT idea. I suspect it might work although they might not be real pretty. Certainly worth a try. I used to love Fig Newtons too but it has been a long time since I had one of those.

  6. This looks like a post from heaven! Perfect white powdered donuts just calling out my name! Beautiful photos too! I really appreciate your pointers with your recipes too!

  7. oh those look great and I love the whole wheat factor too, I need one of those donut pan for sure. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

  8. Fantastic post, Paula. I have been way into the fried dough of late, so to see these “baked” is wonderful. They look delicious!

  9. looks absolutely delicious!

    have a great time,
    Paula

  10. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul says:

    I always loved Powdered Sugar Donuts as a kid. I’m looking forward to making these very soon!

  11. carolbrowne says:

    Hooray for baked donuts! I must try these! Also, nutmeg? Who knew?

  12. These were delicious! And yes, Kent loved them & gobbled it right up. Definitely a winner for kids!

  13. Susan Hursh says:

    My favorite donut is a glazed cake donut. Starbucks has a good one and so does Krispy Kreme. Thank you Paula for the great recipes!

  14. Paula,
    These look great! I can just picture that precious little one enjoying these.

  15. I like the food gawker feature.

  16. Love it. Another recipe that uses my new donut pan!

  17. 96 calories? For something this delicious? I’m amazed. And kind of in love with you. 😛

  18. Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen says:

    OOhhhh my! I love this recipe! What about sprinkling them with a cinnamon sugar mixture? Options are endless! Thanks Paula!

  19. These look sensational. I’m bookmarking this now. Thanks!

  20. You are brilliant! I don’t eat fried food (hardly ever), but these look perfect. My kids would love them, too! Must make.

  21. Meal Plan Mom (Brenda) says:

    I remember my dad making donuts years ago in an electric donut maker (like a waffle maker but for donuts) and we loved them as kids–they were a Saturday morning treat! I got a donut pan several years ago and even though it was supposed to come with recipes it didn’t. It has been sitting in the cupboard ever since with the hope that some day I can use it and make the donuts like my dad did.

    I am SO glad to have found this recipe and know you liked it. My kids BEG me for donuts all the time (but I rarely concede) so I am totally going to be trying these out soon. Thanks!

  22. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says:

    That is one good lookin’ baked donut! I’ve been looking around for a recipe for them for a while, too! This is perfect, and your photography is so beautiful. Looking forward to exploring your recipes and seeing what’s next! – Georgia

  23. steph (whisk/spoon) says:

    wow–those look amazing! (i know exactly what you are talking about with the “powdered sugar cloud”) i really should try baked donuts, as cake-style donuts are my favorite anyway.

  24. Who doesn’t love a donut once in awhile and a healthy one…well that just means I can eat more and if these were sitting in front of me I surely would. Bookmarking this recipe! Thanks for posting.

  25. Paula
    First so sorry about your dad – second I have a question and don’t know where to ask it. I found a recipe for spiced maple banana muffins on tasty kitchen. Can you sub whole wheat flour for the regular flour? If so one to one? I’m not a baker and don’t know the science behind all purpose and ww – so I thought I would ask the scientist!!

    Rebecca

    1. Rebecca, that make take a bit of experimentation. If you are using regular whole wheat flour, I would try half whole wheat and 1/2 regular to begin with. Play with it from there. If your are using WHITE whole wheat, you could possibly get away with more whole wheat than white but can’t predict result for sure. Whole wheat flour will definitely change the texture. I’m not really the authority on whole wheat but some of my readers are. Can anybody help?

  26. Have you tried using spelt four? I found some finely ground spelt flour in the bulk bins at Whole foods.. I use it in my cornbread and my pancakes…
    Meg

    1. o-o-o-o Meg, I have not tried spelt. Next time I go to Whole Foods, I will pick some up and try it. Does that mean the donuts would be gluten-free?

      1. Spelt has gluten in it, so they wouldn’t be Gluten-free. They would be wheat free. 🙂 I’m wheat intolerant but okay with gluten, so I use spelt flour a lot and came to your blog after a google search for donut recipes with spelt.
        I copied and pasted an explanation about the differences below:

        “If products are ‘gluten free’ they are also ‘wheat free,’ but products that are wheat free are not necessarily gluten free. Gluten is found in many grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, bulgar; and kamut, spelt, and oats to a lesser extent. People can be allergic to wheat and/or have a gluten intolerance, but they do not necessarily have to have both. The latest statistics say that 1 in 133 people are gluten intolerant (also referred to as celiac), and 1 in 5 people would feel better if they cut out wheat.”

  27. Found your site looking for a homemade powered donut recipe. Just made them with a donut maker and they turned out GREAT!

    My son can’t eat store bought powdered donuts because of the egg in them. So I used an egg replacement and they turned out great!

    Thanks so much!

  28. Wow!!!!!!, those donuts in the pail look beautiful, can’t wait to make them. They look to-die for. YUM!!!!!!!!!

  29. If I don’t have any Greek yogurt what can I use? More milk? And how much more?

    1. Sarah,
      Buttermilk would be a good substitute or sour milk (1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice added to it), but use a little less because Greek yogurt is quite a bit thicker. You may have to experiment a bit.

  30. I love snooping through your recipe archives!
    I made these yesterday because my parents were visiting me for a cup of tea and we loved them – the pinch of nutmeg is wonderful.
    I made doughnut holes because I don’t have a doughnut pan and the good thing with those is that it feels like you can have more 🙂

    1. Tasha, I like the way you think in regards to the doughnut holes. And feel free to snoop anytime.

  31. I am now the proud owner of two donut pans soley because of this recipe! I dont even really care for donuts myself but my daughter is addicted. Her diet is terrible and she is very picky, so this is my best effort to give her something she likes but a healthier version of it 🙂 I havn`t baked more than sugar cookies and the rare cake l,but Im goimg for this and the homemade poptarts as well. in addiion I made up 5 salad in a jars (which i added artesian lettuce which i hope holds up) too! Thank you for all these tips tricks and recipes (and lovely photos), we`ll see how well I put them to use 🙂

    1. Rach,
      I can imagine how much your daughter loves these donuts. They can be hard to resist. She will love the pop tarts too, although they are quite a bit more trouble but a great project to make with your kids.

      Hope you enjoy your salad in a jar. I did not have good luck with adding salad greens to my romaine but maybe yours will be better. They just didn’t last nearly as long. I wrote about it here. Have a great day!

  32. My daughter devoured the donuts,yay ! I made a new batch of them tonight ,along with with the poptarts ( not completed just the dough in the freezer for now ) another dish.

    Last night I made the broccoli,rice and cheese casserole, which is just delicious ! My little one doesn’t like melted cheese, but her Mom sure does 🙂 I’m thrilled that I’m not being bombarded by the extra sodium you find in the canned soups too.

    I might have failed on the lettuce greens. What’s worse is that I had actually read about your salad green expeiriment but I just wasn’t thinking when I was assembling it all lol

    Thank you so very much for putting all of your hard work and ingenuity up here. I really appreciate all of it 🙂 Im such a beginner too, especially with baking, that all of your hints and notes you include are incredibly helpful !

  33. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made these this morning, without pecans, it was doughnut heaven! In addition to being much healthier than doughnuts from the store, they were also better tasting, and far more affordable 🙂
    Oldest boy has requested that I make the next batch in muffin cups, so I can fill them (I’ll use pudding), and he can have a better version of an eclair!

    1. Rhea,
      You are brilliant! Eclairs in a muffin pan? Why not!

  34. Paula- how are these made a day before serving? Do I keep them in the refrigerator?

    1. Hmmm. Afraid I don’t have a good answer since I have never made them the day before. The batter is similar to a muffin. Best right after you bake them but certainly edible the next day.

      Let me know how they turn out if you try it.

  35. hi! might be a silly question but how do you get the powdered sugar to stick? and is there anything added to the coating other than the powdered sugar? i dont think i saw any instructions on that part? Thanks!

  36. It looks amazing!
    And i love that you put nutritional information 🙂

  37. I have made these twice now, and both times I had a hard time getting the powdered sugar to stick to the donuts! Suggestions?

    1. Powdered sugar has a tendency to “melt” away. I usually powder once out of the oven and then again just before serving.

  38. Kathy O-I says:

    I just stumbled onto your blog, and it was love at first “site”! I just bought a Bella doughnut whole baker for $8.49…. just wondering if you think this recipe would rise enough to fill in the “hole”. Still not sure what “salad in a jar” is, but I can’t wait to find out. Thank you!!

  39. These donuts are lite and fluffy, not too sweet, just right and so easy to make. I used bread flour, sour cream instead of yogurt and added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. If you are using a regular size donut pan it makes 8 donuts. This morning my husband ate 3 before they were cool so I can’t make them very often.
    Thanks for this recipe!