These two-ingredient pumpkin donuts are as simple as can be. Pumpkin puree and dry cake mix are combined and baked into moist, soft, fluffy donuts. You can have warm homemade donuts ready to eat in less than 20 minutes!
I love the taste of everything pumpkin. Whether it’s pie, muffins, pumpkin ice cream, soup, or bread, I’m there for it! Fall baking and pumpkin season typically kick off with some easy pumpkin recipes. I wouldn’t claim today’s recipe produces healthy pumpkin donuts; after all, one of the two ingredients is cake mix. But, they’re certainly tasty, super fast to prepare, and healthier than a pile of fried donuts.
Love this easy pumpkin donut recipe? You’re also going to want to check out our two ingredient CHOCOLATE applesauce donuts! And for more scrumptious pumpkin recipes, you HAVE to try our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pumpkin Apple Muffins, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls!
- pumpkin purée – use 100% pure pumpkin either from a can or homemade if you have it. Do not use pumpkin pie filling. The can of pumpkin provides all the moisture and pumpkin flavor that you’ll need to make these donuts.
- dry cake mix – any flavor will work – we like yellow cake mix, white cake mix, or spice cake mix.
- spices – adding spices is totally optional. Sometimes, I’ll add in about ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon or a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
These pumpkin donuts are delicious straight out of the pan, but if you’d like to jazz them up, we top them with a variety of things:
- powdered sugar – a light dusting is easy and yummy, you can also stir powdered sugar with a couple teaspoons of water to make a simple glaze
- caramel sauce – a drizzle of brown sugar caramel sauce is my favorite topping
- sprinkles – after dipping the tops of the donuts in a glaze or applying frosting, add some festive sprinkles or mini chocolate chips
- frosting – top with any canned frosting or make some homemade frosting – a cream cheese buttercream frosting pairs well with the pumpkin flavor
We use a simple Donut Pan (affiliate link). I use the Wilton brand pan and have it in the regular size and the Mini Donut Pan. The pan helps the donut batter cook up into nice uniform rings. The batter is very thick, however, and some readers have simply piped the batter in rings right onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. This will work, too.
Substitutions and Variations
- Mix-ins – add in additional flavors or textures – chocolate chips, chopped pecans, vanilla extract, maple syrup, or warm spices can all be mixed in.
- Cinnamon Sugar Coating – Use a pastry brush to coat the pumpkin spice donuts with melted butter and then dip into a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Keto Donuts – Use a keto cake mix and stir in the pumpkin puree, following the same baking instructions.
- Pumpkin Spice Muffins – mix the batter exactly the same and spoon into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners. Adjust cook time as needed and bake until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean (about 15 minutes).
Prep: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick baking spray. Pam works fine or you can use the baking spray with flour added.
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (cake mix) and can of pumpkin. You can add any additional spices or flavorings that you like, but it’s not necessary.
Step 2: To easily transfer the pumpkin donut mixture into the donut pan, scoop the batter into a piping bag. Pipe into the greased donut pan. The batter is thick. You will want to fill each pan cavity ½ full. The donuts will rise during baking so you don’t want to overfill the pan or the donuts will become misshapen.
Step 3: Bake for 8-10 minutes. Check for doneness by gently pressing your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut springs back to shape, they are done.
To make a simple sugar glaze, follow the instructions in our Cake Mix Donuts recipe – vanilla or chocolate glaze recipe included. Add some maple extract or maple syrup to make a maple glaze or maple cinnamon glaze.
Step 4: Transfer to a cooling rack and cool donuts completely before adding a caramel drizzle, frosting, sprinkles, and/or confectioners’ sugar. Eat immediately.
Step 5: Mix powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of water and dip the donuts in the glaze or drizzle over the top.
Tips for Making Baked Pumpkin Donuts
Store the baked pumpkin donuts in an airtight container for up to 1 day, but do not add caramel, frosting, or powdered sugar until you are ready to serve them.
For glazing: You will have the best results if you set the pumpkin doughnuts in a single layer on a wire rack and drizzle the glaze over the top so the baked donut isn’t sitting in a puddle of glaze. Catch the excess glaze on some paper towels or on a cookie sheet.
This recipe works with gluten-free cake mix and keto cake mix.
Applesauce works in the same way as the pumpkin puree and can be used to make applesauce donuts.
Absolutely! Follow the same recipe using gluten-free cake mix. The pumpkin puree adds just the moisture that is typically lacking in gluten-free baked goods, so this is one of my favorite gluten-free treats to make.
Frying this pumpkin donut recipe will be a challenge because the batter doesn’t have the same elasticity that a yeast donut would have. I haven’t tried it, but since this pumpkin batter is so thick, you may be able to pipe it straight into hot oil and fry them that way. Your best bet is probably to make pumpkin donut holes and just pipe drops of batter into the fryer. Fry in oil that is 350°F.
This 2-ingredient donut recipe is healthier than traditional donuts since they are baked rather than fried. Pumpkin puree itself also has some great nutrients. Packaged cake mix, on the other hand, is comprised of processed flour and sugar, so it’s not considered healthy.
If you tried this Pumpkin Donuts Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Pumpkin Donut Recipe
- 1 package yellow cake mix 15.25 oz. package
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix the dry cake mix and can of pumpkin. You can add any additional flavorings that you like, but it's not necessary.
- For easy filling of the donut pan, scoop the batter into a piping bag and piped it into the greased donut pan. The batter is thick. You will want to fill each pan cavity ½ full.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Check for doneness by gently pressing your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut springs back to shape, they are done.
- Cool donuts completely before adding a caramel drizzle, frosting, sprinkles, and/or powdered sugar. Eat immediately.
- You can also store the plain donuts in an airtight container for up to 1 day, but do not add caramel or powdered sugar until you are ready to serve them.