Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins have all the flavor of a classic spiced cake donut but no frying is necessary! A soft, tender crumb on the inside with a buttery, crisp cinnamon-sugar coating. They taste exactly like they just came off the bakery tray. I’m such a sucker for a warm, fresh cake donut. Add a cup of coffee and some puppy cuddles and you basically have my perfect morning.
The thought of frying donuts in a big pot of oil, dealing with the mess, and stinking up the whole kitchen with the smell of fry oil isn’t too appealing. This recipe is perfect because these donut muffins are baked instead of fried, so there’s no big mess to clean up. Plus there is no fancy pan needed like a lot of baked donut recipes call for. All you need is a standard muffin/cupcake pan and these donuts taste just as good as if they were fried.
What is a Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffin?
A cinnamon sugar donut muffin is exactly what you’d probably guess – a cross between a classic cake donut and a muffin, all coated in cinnamon sugar. The batter is baked in a muffin pan which eliminates the mess and hassle of frying, as a traditional donut would require. But trust me, they are not lacking in moistness or flavor! After the muffins are baked, they take a dip into some melted butter and then are coated with that classic cinnamon sugar coating for a deliciously sweet, spiced bite. You may never go back to store-bought donuts again.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
Just a few basic ingredients are needed for these sweet treats. Get your shopping list ready and let’s get to it!
- Vanilla Extract
- Vanilla Bean Paste
- Baking Powder
How to Make Donut Muffins
You’ll be surprised how quickly these come together and it’s a whole lot faster than frying donuts!
- Make the muffins. These start with a simple batter that includes cinnamon and nutmeg to mimic that classic cake donut flavor. They get baked in a muffin pan – you can use a standard-size muffin/cupcake pan or even minis would be a fun option.
- Prepare the coating. This step is super simple. You’ll melt a stick of butter and combine some sugar and cinnamon. Just make sure the bowls you put these in have plenty of space because you’ll be dunking and rolling the muffins in both of these.
- Coat the muffins. You want to coat the muffins when they are still warm out of the oven. Dunk each muffin in the melted butter, covering the whole area of the muffin (top, bottom, and sides) then roll it in the cinnamon sugar until fully coated.
Tips for the Best Donut Muffins
- Don’t overmix the batter. To achieve that soft and tender donut texture on the interior of the muffin, you want to make sure not to overmix the batter once the flour is added. Overmixing the batter once the flour is added will result in a tougher and drier muffin texture. Make sure to thoroughly cream the butter and sugar, in addition to incorporating the eggs well for the best results.
- Dip the muffins right away. You want to dip the muffins into the melted butter and cinnamon sugar coating while they are still warm. I like to let them cool for about 10 minutes, just until they are cool enough to handle then start coating.
- Coat the muffins one at a time. The melted butter will start to soak into the muffin so you want to get it into the cinnamon sugar right away. I’ve found this is easiest to do one muffin at a time. It can get a little messy but it’s totally worth it!
I’m so excited about this recipe because it truly is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it too. Happy Donut Muffin making!
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
For the Donut Muffins
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 large yolk
- 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 2⅓ cup (302g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (230g) whole milk
For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- Donut Muffins: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-count muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste. Mix well until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl in the process.
- Add the dry ingredients and spices then mix just until combined. Slowly stream in the milk, with the mixer running on low.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan using a 2-ounce cookie scoop (about ¼ cup) for each cavity. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins spring back to the touch.
- Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Melt the butter. Combine the sugar and cinnamon, in a bowl big enough to toss the muffins in.
- Once the muffins are baked, allow them to cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle (but still warm), dunk each muffin in the melted butter and fully coat. Then immediately roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until completely covered. I recommend dunking and coating one muffin at a time. Enjoy!
- Vanilla Bean: If you don’t have vanilla bean paste or a vanilla bean, you can swap it out for more vanilla extract instead. I would bump the vanilla extract up to 1 tablespoon total if you’re not using the paste or bean.