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No need to continue searching for the perfect fall breakfast: Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts are here!
These doughnuts are SO delicious and are perfect for any special occasion or weekend project.
Pumpkin Spice Donuts are absolutely full of pumpkin spice goodness, fried to heavenly perfection, and topped with a shiny pumpkin glaze.
You can even make and shape the dough the night before, so everyone can wake up to freshly fried and glazed doughnuts. Thanksgiving breakfast, anyone?
Be sure to check out my tips below for perfect Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts!
How to Make Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts
My Favorite Doughnut Tools:
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven – For frying. This Dutch oven is nice and deep, which prevents mess as you fry your pumpkin doughnuts.
- Deep Fry Thermometer – To gauge the temperature of the oil as you fry. Inaccurate oil temperature can result in greasy doughnuts, or doughnuts that are still raw inside.
- Doughnut Cutter – To cut your dough. You can alternatively use a regular round cutter with a much smaller round cutter, to cut out your pumpkin doughnuts and doughnut holes.
- Digital Kitchen Scale – For weighing the ingredients. Any issues I hear about the dough being too dry or sticky are likely due to inaccurate measuring! Learn more about that here.
Do I Have to Use Cake Flour?
Yes, cake flour works best to create really light and tender doughnuts. Cake flour is actually made from a softer variety of wheat and is bleached and milled more finely than AP flour. It’s definitely worth the trip to the store to pick some up. Learn more about cake flour and why I prefer to avoid DIY substitutions here.
What Type of Pumpkin Should I Use for Pumpkin Doughnuts?
- I used store-bought canned pumpkin puree for this Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts recipe.
- While I haven’t tried it myself, you should be able to use homemade pumpkin puree instead, if preferred.
- Note: Be sure NOT to use canned pumpkin pie filling for this recipe – it is not the same thing as pumpkin puree.
- Check out my Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin article for the differences between using fresh pumpkin puree, regular canned pumpkin, and organic canned pumpkin, and learn how to make your own pumpkin puree!
Do I Have to Use Corn Syrup in the Glaze?
- Corn syrup helps to create a glaze that dips beautifully, stays shiny, and sets perfectly, just like doughnuts from a bakery.
- Corn syrup is unfairly demonized and really just misunderstood. At the end of the day, it’s just an invert sugar (meaning that it’s a sugar that’s liquid at room temperature).
- Corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup.
- If you don’t want to use corn syrup, I recommend using golden syrup in its place.
- If you prefer to skip it altogether, just note that this will change the texture and appearance of your glaze.
Can I Bake These Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts Instead of Frying Them?
No. This recipe was formulated to be fried. That really does give you the best taste and texture. If you prefer not to fry, I have plenty of baked doughnut recipes here. I have not tried air frying these doughnuts, and I don’t believe it would work – but let me know if you give that a try!
How to Make Pumpkin Donuts Ahead:
- The dough itself can be made, covered, and refrigerated up to 24 hours ahead of time.
- You can also cover and refrigerate the shaped uncooked doughnuts overnight. This is definitely the easier option for serving these doughnuts for breakfast, but the dough is also more likely to dry out slightly this way. Make sure it’s really well-wrapped and limit the amount of time it’s sitting in the fridge.
- Once the doughnuts are fried and glazed, they need to be served that same day.
More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love:
- Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Scones
- Pumpkin Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
For the pumpkin spice doughnuts
- 3 cups (339 grams) cake flour, plus more for rolling
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (use less if you don't love nutmeg)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup (165 ml) sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) pumpkin puree
- Canola oil, for frying
For the pumpkin glaze
- 4 1/2 cups (450 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup or golden syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water
Make the doughnuts:
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter on low speed until sandy, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolks, increase the speed to medium, and beat until light and thick, about 1 minute.
- On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the bowl in three additions, alternating with the sour cream and pumpkin, mixing until combined. The dough should be sticky like biscuit dough.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
Make the glaze:
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the powdered sugar, corn syrup, salt, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, and vanilla until combined. On medium speed, add gradually add the water, scraping down the bowl, until incorporated. Set aside.
Fry the doughnuts:
- On a generously floured work surface, roll out the cold dough to 1/2-inch thick 8-inch wide round. Cut as many doughnuts and holes as possible, dipping the cutter into flour to prevent sticking. Fold and gently re-roll the scraps to make extra holes.
- Shake any excess flour off the doughnut dough before adding them to the hot oil about three at a time. Wait for the doughnuts to float, then fry for 20 to 30 seconds. Gently flip over and continue frying for about another minute, or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack to drain. Fry the holes for about 20 to 30 seconds per side.
- While the doughnuts are still hot, give the glaze a whisk before dipping the cracked side of each doughnut into the glaze. Let dry on the cooling racks until set, about 15 minutes, before serving. Glazed doughnuts should be served the same day.
This post was originally published in 2016 and was updated with additional recipe tips and baking science information.