These Brown Butter Pumpkin Spice Donuts have a nice dense cakey texture, and have an incredibly heavenly aroma from adding the brown butter. It just takes this old-fashioned flavor to the next level!

These beautiful donuts are baked rather than fried, making them a lot easier to make and much less mess. I believe in settling for a fryer only when you have to, and just you're luck, you don't have to with this recipe!

The delicious and non-fried success in these donuts definitely come form the browned, almost nutty butter. Both the brown butter in the donut batter and the butter in the glaze make this an irresistible melt-in-your-mouth dessert! Don't you just love autumn??!

These donuts are cakey and nice, with a dense crumb finish. They also contain both the pumpkin puree and the aromatic pumpkin pie spices in the batter, giving this treat a fall and holiday flavor.

How to Make Brown Butter

Brown butter will become your new best friend anytime a recipe calls for butter! It literally adds a whole new flavor into your treats! It just adds this deep, nutty, toffee-like flavor and aroma, and it goes beautifully with the pumpkin spice flavor!

Start with a stick of butter and melt it in a small pot over medium heat. Keep cooking it for a few minutes until the butter begins to foam up and you start seeing brown specks at the bottom of the pot. (And the butter begins to smell nutty!)

Once they appear, pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl to cool down.

How to Make Pumpkin Donuts

Made with basic, simple ingredients, these pumpkin spiced donuts come together in a matter of minutes.

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients together.
  3. Combine dry ingredients into your wet ingredients.
  4. Fill donut pan.
  5. Bake.

That simple.

I have a handy trick for filling in your donut pans without causing an extra mess - and I promise that it's an easy short cut. I like to use piping bag, but if you don't have one, a ziplock bag works just as well! Add the batter into your bag, cut off the corner, then carefully pipe the batter into your prepared donut pan. Filling only about halfway or 2/3 of the way up. The bag makes transferring the batter easy, neat, and quick!

Other Pumpkin Donut Toppings

I used a very nice a subtle icing to top the donuts, but you can also melt chocolate to create a ganache or opt out of using butter and just mix the confectioners sugar with a little bit of water.

I know like to add toppings on top of their donuts. Before the icing sets, you garnish them with just about anything that comes to to mind. Here are some of my favorites toppings for donuts.

  • Chopped Almonds
  • Chopped Walnuts
  • Toffee Pieces
  • Chopped Chocolate
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Sprinkles
  • Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
  • Vanilla Ganache Drizzle

This also creates a fun activity for your little ones during a chilly fall morning. You can pre-bake the donuts and allow you kids to decorate them.

More Fall Time Baking Recipes

Prep time:
10 minutes
Cook time:
20 minutes
Chill time:
Total time:
30 minutes
12 Donuts


For the Doughnuts:

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree

For the Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 4 tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 tbs Milk


To make the Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. If using metal donut pans, grease them. If using silicone donut pans, don't worry about greasing them.
  2. Start by browning the butter. Should take about 5-6 minutes total. In a small pot, place your butter over medium heat, let it melt first. Keep cooking the butter, constantly stirring with your spatula. Once you see the foam on top begins to subside and little brown specks appear on the bottom of your pot. As soon as the butter starts to appear more golden brown, take it off the heat and pour it into a large bowl to cool.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. Once the butter has significantly cooled, add your brown sugar and eggs. Whisk until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and milk, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Slowly, in two or three increments, add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. Stir to combine. The batter will be thick. Fill your donut pans about 3/4 of the way full with the batter, making sure to smooth them out well with the spatula. Bake them for 16-18 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. Flip the donuts out of the pan, and let them cool off completely.

To make the Glaze:

  1. Whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, and milk.
  2. Dip the cooled donuts into the glaze. If the glaze get too firm from the butter cooling down, microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt again.
  3. Let the glaze set on the donuts for 10 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

Recipe notes

Did You Make This Recipe?

Snap a photo of it and tag me on Instagram @emily_kovalev or use the hashtag #emily_kovalev so I can see it and feature it!

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