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Spring is here which means bright, fresh, and fruity flavors are in order!
There’s nothing like the combination of tart + sweet which is why I love strawberry & lemon so so much.
I teased this recipe on my Instagram story recently because I was so excited at just how close these doughnuts look and taste like fried doughnuts without a drop of oil!
Not to mention these doughnuts are so vibrant and pretty without any artificial food coloring. Adding white sprinkles to the glaze would also be super fun!
How to Make Baked Strawberry Lemon Donuts
How to Make Perfect Doughnut Dough
Since we’re baking and not frying this dough, it’s key that the dough itself lends richness on its own. That’s why it butter, egg yolks, and cream. Those ingredients help create a texture that’s as closed to fried bakery doughnuts without any oil. However, those ingredients also slow down rising time. For me in my kitchen it took 2 hours to double in size for the first rise. It may take more or less time depending on how warm and/or humid your kitchen is.
Whatever you do, avoid adding too much extra flour to this dough. You can see from the photo below what the texture should look like. It needs to be fairly sticky. Don’t worry, as the dough rises the flour will absorb some of that moisture and the dough will become less sticky and easier to work with.
Once ready, use a doughnut cutter to make quick and easy work of shaping the doughnuts. Just avoid twisting the cutter to release the dough. Sprinkling some flour on the cutter can help prevent sticking. If you don’t have a doughnut cutter you can also use two biscuit cutters or anything else you can find (even a bottle cap) to make that classic shape.
Do I have to use instant yeast? Can I use active dry yeast instead?
Yes, you can use active dry yeast in this recipe. If you don’t have or can’t find instant yeast, you can easily use active dry yeast instead. Simply combine it with the warm liquid called for in the recipe and allow it to proof for 5 minutes before adding into the bowl with the other ingredients.
Note that instant yeast is sometimes labeled as rapid rise or quick rise yeast. These types of yeast are specifically formulated to allow you to skip proofing (aka the step where you combine the yeast with warm liquid for 5 minutes). You can add instant yeast directly into the mix with all of the ingredients.
In this day and age most yeast products are formulated to ensure your success in the kitchen. So unless you kill the yeast by exposing it to liquid that’s way too hot, you should be just fine. The dough may just take longer to rise.
This glaze uses freeze dried strawberries to give it that strawberry flavor and color without any food coloring. If you’d like more lemon flavor, replace some of the water in the glaze with lemon juice!
Do I have to use corn syrup?
No, you can leave it out. It simply helps to create that ultra shiny donut-shoppe style glaze. You could also replace with golden syrup if you’d prefer.
Where to find freeze dried strawberries
Find freeze dried strawberries near the other dried fruit in the grocery store. I find them reliably at Target (under the Simple Balanced brand name) and Trader Joe’s. Those are also my two favorite brands to use because they seem to have the most intense strawberry flavor and vibrant color.
If you’re crushing the strawberries by hand, you may need to add more to pigment the glaze and add enough flavor. This is because the powder won’t be as fine and more if it will get stuck in the strainer than inside the glaze itself.
How to add more strawberry flavor
I didn’t add any chopped strawberries to this dough because I found it negatively affected the texture and baking subdued the strawberry flavor too much to make it worthwhile.
So if you want an extra punch of strawberry, try adding a touch of strawberry extract to the glaze (Watkins brand makes one). Alternatively you could add some strawberry liqueur to the glaze for a more adult doughnut. Or you could even fill your doughnuts with strawberry jam! The options are endless.
How to Make Doughnuts Ahead of Time
You can let the dough rise for the first time for about a day in the fridge. Unfortunately these doughnuts are best enjoyed the day they’re baked. They become stale very quickly, so keep that in mind!
More Doughnut Recipes
- Champagne Doughnuts (also baked)
- Classic Glazed Doughnuts (fried)
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Baked Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (335 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
For the strawberry glaze:
- 3 cups (375 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup or golden syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract, optional
- 1 1/2 cups (30 grams) freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed and sifted*
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot water
Make the doughnuts:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the water, zest, vanilla, yeast, eggs, and sugar. Gradually add in the flour then salt, stirring until absorbed. Attach the dough hook. Add the butter and cream and knead on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until a smooth sticky dough forms. Avoid adding too much additional flour, the dough will become less sticky as it rises. Remove the dough to a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it’s just over a ½-inch in thickness. Cut out about 12 doughnuts from the dough with a flour dusted doughnut cutter, rerolling the dough scraps as needed. Place on large baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing at least a few inches apart. Cover and allow to rise until puffy, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the doughnuts for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden and puffed.
Make the glaze:
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth, adding enough water to make the glaze smooth and pourable but still very thick. Dip each doughnut into the glaze. Place glazed doughnuts on a wire rack above a lined sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let set for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Doughnuts are best served the day they’re baked.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.