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From Scratch Pumpkin Donuts Recipe

These pumpkin donuts taste amazing and are so fun to make. Some links in this article are affiliate links that may earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

There are some things that just scream fall to me, and pumpkin is one of them.

Unfortunately, I don’t like pumpkin. Or so I thought.

Then I had pumpkin donuts years and years ago and discovered that I like pumpkin, but just in very certain ways. Like in pumpkin donuts.

Black bowl filled with pumpkin donut holes on concrete

Just sayin’ but you MAY want to check out my all my amazing pumpkin recipes here.

I love making them, but they make a ton of donuts, so this is a recipe I make to share. This is a make it the morning you’re going to eat them recipe, and it takes some time because you have to roll them and fry them in batches, but ohhhhh is it worth it.

Not hard. Just a little time.

Head on view of pumpkin donut holes in a blue bowl on a wooden table.

Note that you could roll them out and then cut them into donuts and donut holes before you fry them. That would take more time, so I prefer to just make the donut holes.

What kind of pumpkin should I use for these donuts?

Use. Pumpkin. Puree. Do not accidentally use pumpkin pie filling.

Pumpkin puree is 100% pumpkin, and this is what you want for your donuts. Granted, it may be part squash, but this is the can you want.

Pumpkin pie filling, on the other hand, has sugar and spices mixed in already. This is not the same, and it will not work for this recipe.

Don’t get them confused! The cans look very similar, so it’s easily done.

What pot should I use to fry donuts?

You want a heavy pot that is wide and at least three to four inches deep. I love using a cast iron pot because it retains heat well and doesn’t have temperature swings as I add the donuts like some can.

My bouillabase pot or braising pot is ideal. I use this for everything from making chicken stew with biscuits to mediterranean couscous and more.

When you fry, the oil will be HOT. Be sure you take appropriate precautions for safety.

Use a pot deeper than the oil you will add to it by at least an inch or two (depending on the width of your pot – a narrower pot needs to be taller).

Ensure your pot is in a stable position and will not be bumped or dropped.

Check to be sure your pot is completely dry, as hot oil and water are not friends. It will spatter and burn.

Be careful as you add the donuts to the oil and remove them. Don’t drop them in so they splash, and use a safe implement to remove them like a spider that keeps as much oil in the pot as possible.

What kind of oil should I use for frying?

When you fry donuts, you want a neutral oil with a fairly high smoke point so nothing burns, and you don’t have the flavor impacted.

Don’t use olive oil. You don’t need to use a really expensive oil like grapeseed either.

Instead, go with the tried and true oil like vegetable oil. Canola oil and safflower oil work well, too.

Note that you can reuse your oil up to five times, so you don’t need to discard it each time you make donuts. However, use different oil when you do things like fry chicken or french fries because you don’t want your flavors mixing!

Can I save these homemade donuts for later?

No surprise, these donuts taste best fresh the day you make them. However, you can enjoy them later.

To store for later, let them cool completely, then place them in an airtight container.

If you plan to save them for more than a day, freeze them. Yes, really.

They freeze well for up to a month. To enjoy them, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for 5 or so minutes to crisp them up and warm them.

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Donuts

Add the oil to your heavy pot and turn on your stove. Begin to heat the oil to 365 to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar for the topping, and set this aside.

Make the pumpkin donut dough

In another bowl, add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and flour. Mix thoroughly, then set this aside for a moment.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and egg yolks one at a time and beat until well blended. Add the pumpkin puree, yogurt, and vanilla, and mix until blended.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, and mix gently until just combined.

Bowl of pumpkin donut dough sitting on a black counter.

Thoroughly flour a surface for rolling the dough. Grab a hunk – no larger than your hand – and use some of the flour to dust the top, too.

Roll it into a snake about one-half inch thick. It’s a loose enough dough that you can shape it a little and then roll it, too.

Rolling out dough for pumpkin donuts by hand on a very floured surface.

Use a bench scraper to cut it into pieces about a half inch long to make the individual donuts that are vaguely pillow shaped. Pick up the cut donuts and jiggle them in your hand to remove as much of the flour as possible and soften the edges.

Pumpkin donut holes cut with a bench scraper.

Testing the oil

Use a digital thermometer to ensure your oil is between 355 and 365 degrees. If too hot, turn the heat down slightly and give the oil a few minutes to cool. If not hot enough, turn it up.

Note that if you do not have a digital thermometer, you can test the oil with a single donut. Carefully drop it in, and if it has small bubbles frothing around it, it’s ready.

If not, wait until it’s hotter. If you have a ton of very vigorous bubbles around your donut, it’s too hot, so let it cool.

Frying the pumpkin donuts

Place no more than eight or ten donut holes into the pot at a time. This will both keep the temperature of the oil from dipping too low and from crowding the pot and having the donuts stick together.

Dropping pumpkin donut holes into hot oil to cook.

Let them cook a minute or two on one side, then poke the side of them with a chopstick or the side of a spider to flip them. The other side will generally cook quicker, maybe 45 seconds to a minute.

Using a spider tool to flip pumpkin donut holes cooking in oil.

You want them a light golden brown, not dark. You don’t want crunchy donuts.

If you’re unsure how “done” to make them, test a few donuts out and see where that sweet spot is. You want the donuts cooked through but not dry.

Use a spider or other tool to carefully remove the donut hole from the oil, shaking gently to remove any excess oil. Place the fully cooked pumpkin donuts on a paper towel lined plate to cool slightly.

Removing cooked donut holes with a spider tool.

Quickly roll them in cinnamon sugar once they cool just slightly. Place the coated donuts onto a clean plate so they never sit in their oil.

Rolling still hot donut holes in cinnamon sugar.

Tips to make the process go faster

I cut a batch or two, then start frying. While they fry on the first side, I cut some more donuts.

After I’ve flipped the donuts, I quickly roll the cooling donuts in the cinnamon sugar and put them on my final plate so that I always have a piece of the process moving forward. It works pretty well in terms of timing and helps speed the process, too.

Bowl of pumpkin donut holes on a wooden table.

Save this from scratch pumpkin donuts recipe so you can enjoy them all year long!

Black bowl filled with pumpkin donut holes on concrete

Pumpkin Donuts

These little bites of heaven taste absolutely delicious. This may take a little time to make, but they're absolutely worth the effort.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 150 donuts
Calories: 26kcal
Author: Michelle


For the donuts:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour

For the topping:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon


  • Heat two inches of oil in a large pan to 355-365 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine the one cup sugar with 4 teaspoons cinnamon and mix well for dipping later.
    1 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and flour to a bowl. Mix until just combined, then set aside.
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until lightened. Add eggs, egg yolks, yogurt, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined.
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 egg, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Add dry ingredients to wet, then gently stir until just combined.
  • On a well-floured surface, roll dollops of dough into 1/2 inch round snakes. Cut small bits of dough.
  • Add 8-10 bits of dough to the oil at a time. Cook on one side for about a minute, then flip them over using a spider or a chopstick. Cook for another 45 or so seconds on the other side, then drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • While donuts are still hot but cool enough to handle, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.


  • If you prefer traditionally shaped douts, you can roll them and cut them into donuts and donut holes.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.


Serving: 1donut | Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 34mg | Sugar: 3g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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  1. […] have a bit of a donut fetish. (You’ve seen the apple cider donuts and the pumpkin donuts I’ve made in the past, right?) And I have a mini food fetish, too – witness my mini […]

  2. septembermom says:

    Looks too good for words!! Yum!

  3. Joanna Jenkins says:

    I'm imagining how fabulous your house must smell when you make these donuts 🙂
    xo jj

  4. Pat says:

    These sound absolutely mouth-watering. Did you save some for me?

  5. Linda Berkowitz says:

    I will have to try these.

  6. Heather E says:

    wow, this looks DELISH. i wonder if i could eat these? you should make them and send them to me 😉

  7. Emily says:

    I love pumpkin anything. I have an amazing recipe for pumpkin apple bread that is always a hit. I'll have to give this a try.

  8. Melisa Wells says:


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