Bakery-Style Baked Mini Donut Muffins

Moist and fluffy part-donut, part-muffin. They’re baked not fried, and thickly covered in cinnamon-sugar. They’re easy, quick, buttery, and completely irresistible. 


I love everything about donuts. Fluffy, light, airy, doughy, SUGARY.  So much sugar-y sweetness. I’ve had donuts on my mind for a while now, but they were particularly calling my name this past week. We are in the middle of exams (I should be done by now but they have taken a bit longer than expected due to snow) and last week I decided to take a break from studying and whip these babies up. What an awesome study break, right?

These mini donut muffins are the next best thing to fried donuts. They are part cinnamon-sugar donut hole, part mini-muffin,  so I’m calling them donut muffins. No matter what you call them, they’re fast and easy to make. They come together from start to finish in under 30 minutes. Having warm, fresh donut muffins for breakfast sure beats frozen waffles or a granola bar.

I have found that a lot of baked donuts can be very dry, but the buttermilk in this recipe serves to add moisture and keeps them soft, light, tender, and fluffy. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make some by adding 2 tablespoons white vinegar (or lemon juice) to 1 cup milk, wait 10 minutes to allow it to curdle, stir; use as necessary. Or, add 1/4 cup yogurt to about 1 cup milk, stir, and use as necessary. Easy as pie! I mean, mini donut muffins!


I debated baking these as regular-size muffins, but there’s something about the individualized aspect of mini muffins that lends a special poppable quality you won’t get with a regular-sized muffin. And plus, the smaller they are the more surface area to donut ratio gets covered in a thick coating of cinnamon sugary goodness.


I baked 24 mini muffins using a rounded tablespoon of batter. Spray your tablespoon with cooking spray, repeating as necessary, so the batter glides right off into the pan because filling up mini-muffin pans can be messy. A Tablespoon fills up about half of the muffin tin and that the maximum amount that you want. You’ll be surprised how much this batter rises and the ones that were filled more than 3/4-full ended up turning into overgrown mushrooms.

My muffins were perfectly done after 9 minutes, but watch your muffins, not the clock because baking times may vary and there is a very fine line between perfectly baked and burnt because they’re small. They can go from raw to dried out and crisp in the span of about 90 seconds. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. They’ll be more pale than golden on top.


About five minutes after they came out of the oven, I dipped just the tops in butter and then plunged the whole muffin into a cinnamon-sugar-brown-sugar mixture. Everything is better coated in cinnamon-sugar. The cinnamon-sugar coating adds so much extra cinnamony flavor and the sugar granules add that donut hole taste!

Bakery-Style Baked Mini Donut Muffins

Moist and fluffy part-donut, part-muffin. They’re baked not fried, and thickly covered in cinnamon-sugar. They’re easy, quick, buttery, and completely irresistible. 


For the Muffins:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk milk (if you don’t have any, see post for substitutes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

For the coating:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


For the Muffins

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Spray one 24-count mini muffin pans with cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, stir milk, eggs, vanilla and butter until combined. Fold into the flour mixture until just blended, be careful not to over-mix the batter or you will end up with rubbery donuts.
  • Using a spoon sprayed with cooking spray so the batter slides off easily, drop rounded tablespoons into prepared pans. Fill each cavity about 3/4-full. If you have some leftover batter, you can equally distribute it between the muffins or make the last few after the first batch comes out.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until muffins are domed with set centers, are springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Because they’re small, they cook quickly and 1 minute can drastically effect taste; don’t overbake and watch them closely. Allow muffins to cool in the pans on top of a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before removing. While the muffins cool, prepare the coating.

For the Coating

  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power; set aside.
  • In a separate small bowl, sift together the sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  • After the muffins have cooled, dip each muffin TOP briefly in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. When you dip the muffins into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, dip them top-side down and spoon the cinnamon-sugar over the entire muffin. Repeat until all muffins have been coated.
  • Serve immediately and if they last, store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.