Donut Muffins

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Sweet, cake-like and scented with cinnamon and nutmeg, these muffins taste remarkably like donuts.

Doughnut muffins on a wire rack.

Sweet, cake-like, and scented with cinnamon and nutmeg, these muffins taste remarkably like donuts. Kids love them because they’re deliciously plain, and adults love them because they’re just plain delicious. Unlike donuts, they’re baked not deep-fried so you can feel more virtuous eating them. They’re a perfect accompaniment to coffee, tea, or milk and if you need one more reason to try them, they’re easy to make with ingredients you probably have on hand. If these are a hit with your family and you want to mix things up a bit, give this powdered donut cake a try. It’s sure to vanish in no time.

“These muffins were perfect! Loved how easy they were to make and that they taste like a doughnut and a muffin at the same time!”


What You’ll Need To Make Donut Muffins

ingredients you'll need
  • Milk: Provides moisture and richness to the muffins’ batter. Low-fat milk is fine.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds acidity to react with the baking soda, helping the muffins rise.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Forms the base of the muffin batter, providing structure.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Leavens the muffins, causing them to rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Nutmeg: Infuses the batter with warm, aromatic flavor reminiscent of classic donuts.
  • Butter: Incorporates richness and flavor into both the batter and the topping.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the muffin batter and creates a delicate, slightly crisp topping.
  • Eggs: Act as a binding agent, holding the muffin batter together and providing structure.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavor profile with its aromatic sweetness.
  • Cinnamon: Adds a warm, spicy flavor to the muffin topping, reminiscent of cinnamon-sugar donuts.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by combining the milk and lemon juice. This is essentially making your own buttermilk (since you only need 1 cup), which reacts with the baking soda in this recipe to give these muffins a nice, open crumb.

Milk and lemon

Next, combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. All that nutmeg is what makes these muffins taste like donuts.

Bowl of unmixed dry ingredients.

Whisk to combine and then set aside.

Whisk in a bowl of dry ingredients.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes.

Electric mixer with a bowl of creamed butter and sugar.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.

Egg in a bowl of creamed butter and sugar.

Mix in the vanilla extract.

Vanilla added to a bowl of creamed butter and sugar.

Add a third of the dry ingredients.

dry and wet ingredients

Mix well, then add half of the milk mixture.

Milk with batter in a bowl.

Continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients until the batter is well combined. It will be quite thick.

Bowl of muffin batter with an electric mixer.

Scoop the batter into a greased muffin pan, filling the tins to the rim.

Muffin tin of doughnut muffin batter.

Bake until firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings: melt the butter and whisk the cinnamon and sugar together.

Doughnut muffins in a muffin tin.

When cool enough to handle, brush the muffins with melted butter and roll in the cinnamon-sugar.

Person brushing doughnut muffins with melted butter.

Serve warm out of the oven or reheated in the microwave. I especially love them slathered with jam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make mini donut muffins? What changes should I make?

Sure, these would be great as minis! The baking temperature will remain the same, but the baking time shorter. Start checking them for doneness at about 12 minutes. All ovens are different though, so keep a close eye on them.

Can I use a non-dairy milk in the donut muffins?

Definitely! The donut muffins will work with any kind of non-dairy milk like soy, almond, or oat milk.

Can I freeze donut muffins?

For sure — the muffins can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. Thaw for 3 to 4 hours on the countertop before serving. To reheat, wrap individual muffins in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350°F oven until warm.

Doughnut muffins on and next to a wire rack.

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Donut Muffins

Sweet, cake-like and scented with cinnamon and nutmeg, these muffins taste remarkably like donuts.

Servings: 12 muffins
Total Time: 45 Minutes


For Muffin Batter

  • 1 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For Muffin Topping

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray a standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a measuring cup or bowl and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.
  5. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low speed to combine. Add half of the milk mixture and mix well. Mix in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Mix until evenly combined but don't over-mix. The batter will be very thick.
  6. Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup to the rim. (I like to use an ice cream scoop with a wire scraper for this.) Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the toppings: Melt the butter in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the cinnamon and sugar together.
  8. When the muffins are cool enough to handle, working one by one, use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar. If you have cinnamon-sugar left over, sprinkle muffins again. Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store at room temperature. Reheat muffins briefly in microwave for that fresh out of the oven taste.
  9. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: the muffins can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. Thaw for 3 to 4 hours on the countertop before serving. To reheat, wrap individual muffins in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350°F oven until warm.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 342
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Sugar: 21 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 234 mg
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • I don’t think these taste like donuts that much, but they are wonderful all the same. The nutmeg gives it a holiday feel, and they are a welcome change from the standard muffin selections. Absolutely yummy!

    • — Regina M. on November 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made these today and I am beside myself with how good they came out.
    I had whole nutmeg that I had to grate so instead of two teaspoons I had a pinch of nutmeg in the batter. Together with the cinnamon topping they were THE BOMB. I love this recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙏

    • — Lexie on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe today, with a few changes. I did not use the milk or lemon juice. I used buttermilk, and added 2T of oil to the recipe.. and I piped a tiny amount of blueberry marmalade inside the batter.
    I also submerged each donut muffin, instead of brushing the melted butter on top. They were well received.. I’ve made this recipe, before dividing the liquid with an equal amount of apple cider. Thank you for sharing it.

    • — Roberta Wilson on April 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi! Could this be converted into mini muffins? 😊

    • — Samantha on December 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • Not sure what happened, I followed the recipe exactly and although they look delish, they just came out so so in taste.

    • — Lydia on December 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Could this recipe be made in a 8×8 square cake pan instead of muffins as I don’t have access to a muffin tin, unfortunately!
    Thanks in advance for your opinion… your website; it’s my go-to for ideas, recipes and I tell anyone who is looking for a fresh take on recipes to check out your “Once Upon a Chef” !!


    • Hi Mary, Thanks for your nice words about the recipes and for spreading the word about the blog! You could make this in an 8-inch square pan, but instead, I’d recommend using this recipe. 🙂

  • Made these several times for playdates. Kids love these and they disappear fast. Personally, I prefer “healthier” muffins with nuts, oats, cranberries, etc, however, kids don’t wanna touch those, so this is my go-to / please everyone recipe for playdates.
    And of course, the recipe is foolproof and always work like everything else from this blog.

  • These are great ! I used to crave donuts but now I make these instead and it’s better for me and the kids. (I did reduce the butter by a tablespoon in the batter because I had pooling butter that seeped through the muffin liners.) But otherwise this recipe is amazing and soft inside just like a donut. The nutmeg is perfect. Love all your recipes thank you !!

  • Make these. There are so many muffin recipes out there and some are ok, some are good but they are rarely great. These are fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

  • Can these muffins be frozen?

    • Yes, they freeze nicely. 🙂

    • Thank you 😊
      They turned out amazing!!
      My kids loved these!

  • I only had 1.5 sticks of butter so I decided to cut the muffin recipe by 1/3 to have enough butter for the topping. Unfortunately, I only meant to add 2/3 cup milk and vinegar (instead of lemon juice) but added the whole cup. The recipe worked! My batter obviously wasn’t thick like Jenn’s but baked up nicely into 12 muffins.

  • Please, PLEASE make these. I was looking for something to bake out of boredom and was hopping between this and my normal banana bread. I’m SO happy I decided to go out of the box and make these muffins. While they were a bit crumbly, I didn’t mind. The nutmeg works perfectly in this muffin and that’s coming from someone who’s not the biggest nutmeg fan. And DO NOT skip out on the cinnamon sugar topping, it makes the muffin. My family loved these and consumed soooooo many. I’m definitely going to make them for the next party I go to (when we can all safely get together, of course.)

  • These Doughnut Muffins were definitely a hit at my house! Will be making them again very soon. Taste so fresh! Followed the recipe exactly and they turned out great! Making homemade desserts are soooo much better than buying them. Jenn has made me a much better baker and cook. Her recipes have helped me get excited about making food for my family that I know they will love!

  • In a word – delicious! These freeze well so easy, so quick to pull out of the freezer for breakfast.
    Anything with cinnamon is so tasty.


  • My daughter loves donuts, so trying these was a no-brainer! They have a nice texture and taste best when they’re warm.

  • These are SO GOOD! My daughter loves a cinnamon muffin that I have made for years and requested it. Wouldn’t you know, I couldn’t find the recipe! I was almost in a panic because my daughter likes those muffins so much. Jenn to the rescue! I came across this recipe and wasn’t sure if the muffins would make the cut with my daughter or not – she’s quite stubborn and not easily fooled. Success! Not only did she like them – she liked them more than the originals that she had loved. Whew! The only problem was the recipe only made a dozen. LOL

  • So delicious. A huge hit in our family. Thanks for the tasty recipe. I did not make any changes, or substitutions. Worked perfectly

  • Absolutely delish! I followed the recipe exactly and the texture turned out amazing. I think the taste of nutmeg was just a smidge strong so I might try 1.5 teaspoons instead of 2 teaspoons next time. Thanks for another winner, Jenn!

  • Another great recipe! Followed exactly and had no issues. Good size, great texture and overall yummy! A glaze topping would be delicious too! Thanks for another winner Jenn!,

  • Hi, my family is not a fan of butter (I know, what’s wrong with them?!). Could I sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon on before baking? or substitute oil for butter (which seems weird here), or maybe just use less butter and see if I can get away with it?

    • Hi Rachel, are you just referring to the butter that tops the muffins? If so, you could probably get away with just sprinkling with them cinnamon and sugar. Hope that helps!

  • Just pulled mine out of the oven and I, too, had an overflow problem with a few of the muffins. It was not bad, just a few drips, but I think it is simply from overfilling. The yield says 12, but I think it’s more like 12-14, depending on how much batter you end up with. I made these GF using King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. Works perfectly, but I recommend weighing it (375g for this recipe).

    The mixing step is very important and I followed the instructions precisely – ended up with very tender muffins. Sublime! I think these would be wonderful in the mini size as it is a decadent and rich muffin – maybe too much so for standard size.

    I also ended up with pooled butter in the muffin tins and I did not grease the pan! I do not recommend leaving the muffins in the muffin pan, and these are not ‘pretty’ muffins. Like the pictures on this blog, there are inconsistencies in shape. Some came out domed, some a little flatter and expanded. These would be amazing with a light drizzle of vanilla or maple glaze.

  • Hi! Can you make the dough in the evening and make it the next morning?

    • Hi Emma, Unfortunately, it won’t work to refrigerate the batter as the muffins won’t rise well when you go to bake them. If you’d like, you can mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another and then combine them and proceed with the recipe when you’re ready to bake it.

  • I usually love your recipes. I made these over the weekend. Followed the directions except made into 48 minis and baked for 12 minutes. They were beautiful, the topping delish but muffin rather bland and flour taste. Texture was nice. Mixed reviews from guests. Have gone over the recipe to see where I went wrong but it was followed to a T. Other “donut muffin” recipes have you sugar the entire muffin but liked yours because it didn’t seem as messy. But thank you for your blog and excellent recipes.

  • I am not sure what happened…I followed the recipe but after about 10 min of baking they overflowed the muffin pan onto the bottom of the oven so I pulled them out to avoid smoking up my entire apartment. I was really looking forward to eating these!

    • Oh my goodness, Christie – I’m so sorry you had trouble with these! They should not overflow. Did you by chance make any substitutions? Did you use a standard size muffin pan?

  • Hi! Can these be made as mini muffins?

  • Easy to make and tastes like doughnuts!

  • Nice! My mother and daughter thought the topping looked too dark and not appetizing. I thought the taste was perfect. To each there own. Next time I may adjust the ratio of cinnamon to sugar to make them happy. Thanks for the recipe!

  • These turned out kind of dry for me, especially once the cooled all the way 🙁 The flavoring on top though is delicious!

  • This is a recipe that I had made with my children when they were small. Now I make them with my Granddaughters. I like the addition of the lemon! The texture of the muffin is wonderful and the taste is one that is hard to beat! They are best right out of the oven but can be warmed up and still taste great! Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed!

    • — Connie Peterson
    • Reply
  • Super wonderful recipe. Defiantly are something you don’t want to serve cold as they tend to be a little drier. When we are out an about and don’t have the opportunity to heat them up we serve with a little butter! mmmmmm!

    • — Jordynn McMullen
    • Reply
  • I’d been waiting for an occasion to make these with my three year old. Rainy Saturday morning was the time. The texture was outstanding – moist and light, fluffy crumb yet deliciously crisp top – but I found them super rich. There were pools of butter in each of the muffin compartments, under the muffin liners, which made me wonder: is all that butter really necessary? Still, a quite good recipe.

  • These look delicious except I am not a fan of nutmeg. Can I substitute cinnamon for nutmeg in this recipe? Or will it really change the whole doughnut concept?

    • Hi Lissa, they’ll taste slightly different but will still be delicious. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • I made a version of these when my kids were little. We loved them! When I saw this recipe I decided to make them to bring back memories. These are so good! I followed the recipe and like the addition of lemon juice. The only thing I do differently is I roll the entire muffin in butter and the sugar mixture. Yum!!

  • I made these and they were fantastic! I brought them to work and within seconds they were gone! Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂

  • These were rather bland. The texture was amazing, but the only thing that kind of saved them was the sugar topping. I only added 1/2 t nutmeg and it felt a bit too strong (this is a personal preference). It seemed to me these muffins are a vehicle for jam, but don’t shine on their own.

    • — Deniza Constantinescu
    • Reply
  • These muffins were perfect! Loved how easy they were to make and did taste like a doughnut and a muffin at the same time! This recipe is also very easy to cut in half if you only need a half dozen. I wouldn’t change a thing!

  • Easy to make, lovely light sponge, we devoured them! Lovely for a cooler and rainy weekend, thank you 😊

    • — Becky from the UK
    • Reply

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