Filed Under: Donut | Fall | Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts

Recipe By Tessa Arias
October 24th, 2016
5 from 4 votes
5 from 4 votes

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts are fried to perfection and loaded with pumpkin spice flavors and a thick shiny pumpkin glaze. No yeast required!

Yield: 12 doughnuts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

The BEST PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS EVER!! We couldn't believe how good these were... better than the doughnut shop!

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Like all your pumpkin spice dreams have come true! When I took my first bite I literally said, “holy PUMPKIN!!”
Texture: The doughnut is crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside, with that thick shiny glaze on top. Mmmmm.
Ease: I wouldn’t call this recipe easy, but it’s totally doable. Deep frying does make a mess and requires your full attention, but it’s so worth it.
Pros: Doughnut bliss.
Cons: Baked doughnuts can be great, but the only way to achieve doughnut bliss to me is by deep frying. Which of course, is messy and indulgent. But for special occasions, it’s so worth it!
Would I make this again? Yes yes and yes.

Can you guess what my most popular posts in over 7 years of blogging has been?

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts are fried to perfection and loaded with pumpkin spice flavors and a thick shiny pumpkin glaze. No yeast makes this recipe quick and easy!

It has consistently been these Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts. Time and time again. You guys love those babies, and I totally understand why! I am obsessed with old fashioned doughnuts, the taste and texture is just unbelievable!

So since we’re in the middle of the #HolidayBakingBonanza, I just had to share a version of that recipe utilizing pumpkin and spices!

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts are fried to perfection and loaded with pumpkin spice flavors and a thick shiny pumpkin glaze. No yeast makes this recipe quick and easy!

These doughnuts would be the perfect weekend baking project. You can even make and shape the dough the night before so everyone can wake up to freshly fried and glazed doughnuts. Mmm mmm.

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts are fried to perfection and loaded with pumpkin spice flavors and a thick shiny pumpkin glaze. No yeast makes this recipe quick and easy!

My Favorite Doughnut Tools:

(affiliate links)
Cast Iron Dutch Oven (for frying)
Deep Fry Thermometer (inaccurate oil temperature can result in greasy doughnuts, or doughnuts that are still raw inside)
Doughnut Cutter (or you can use a regular round cutter and something small like a bottle cap for the 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!)

Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnut Tips

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. If you really can’t get any, check out my FREE baking substitutions guide for a quick swap.

Can I bake these instead of frying them?

No. This recipe was formulated to be fried. That really does give you the best taste and texture. I have plenty of baked doughnut recipes here.

Do I have to use corn syrup in the glaze?

The corn syrup (or you can also use golden syrup) helps to create a glaze that dips beautifully and sets perfectly shiny just like the doughnuts from the bakery. You can leave it out if you must, but the glaze won’t quite be the same.

Make 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.

Making Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts - no yeast makes this recipe easy!

5 from 4 votes

How to make
Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts

Yield: 12 doughnuts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts are fried to perfection and loaded with pumpkin spice flavors and a thick shiny pumpkin glaze. No yeast required!


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:

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

Make the glaze:

  1. 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:

  1. When ready to fry, pour 2 inches of oil into a large heavy pot. Attach a candy thermometer and heat oil to 325ยฐF.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Recipe Notes

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Diane — October 24, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I bought a bag of Pastry Flour a while back. How is that different than cake flour?

  2. #
    Melanie Araar — October 28, 2016 at 4:32 am

    These sound delicious! I’ve a question about the glaze- the recipe includes pumpkin puree, but it is not mentioned in the instructions. I’m guessing it may be an oversight, but want to make sure as I want these to turn out perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. #
    Megan — November 1, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Hi! I was wondering if your old fashioned sour cream dough can also be refrigerated for 24 hours as well. My mom, unfortunately, is not a huge pumpkin fan but I’d love to make the sour cream version of this doughnut.

    • #
      Jane Zumot — October 3, 2019 at 2:02 am

      Can we baked it instead of frying? Thanks

  4. #
    Angela — November 7, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I made these tonight. Followed the recipe exactly to the letter. The dough wouldn’t even come together because it was so dry even had about a 1/4 c of the ingredients left in the bottom of the mixer bowl and would NOT incorporate. Finally had to add about a tbsp of milk just to kinda bring it together. The dough was so tough you couldn’t chew it. They didn’t split. Not sure what went wrong. HOWEVER the flavor was amazing enough that I will try again if I can figure out what went wrong.

    • #
      Tessa — November 8, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Hi Angela, I’m sorry to hear that! Did you use cake flour, and did you measure it by volume with measuring cups or by weight?

  5. #
    Angela — November 8, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Measured the same way I do all of your recipes. (I make A LOT of them lol) spoon in measure and level. All of your others worked fine ๐Ÿ™ yes I used cake flour. I’m totally baffled lol. Holy cow is the flavor good. (Which is why I’m desperate to figure out what went wrong) Just can’t chew them. ๐Ÿ™

  6. #
    KammyBags — February 12, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    It looks so delicious! I wanna test them! ^_^

  7. #
    Matt — October 15, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    They were quite tasty. Even though the donut cutter I used needs soldering and repair. The last two were really thick so I cooked them longer. The outsides a bit darker and crispier. Taste Amazing, and I used the substituted cake flour as you mentioned.

  8. #
    CHRISTINA NORTHRUP — November 1, 2018 at 10:39 am

    i made this recipe and followed directions to the t! Except for my pumpkin glaze and the donut mix i used a tad bit of buttercream. This might have been the best pumpkin dessert ive ever had in my life.

  9. #
    Carolyn — November 23, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    I havenโ€™t had so much fun baking in a while, these turned out so beautifully! Better have a hungry crowd ready though bc they definitely donโ€™t eat as well the next day and wouldnโ€™t recommend trying to get a third day out of them. But theyโ€™re so delicious that they should go quickly!

  10. #
    mehrona — September 12, 2021 at 1:55 am

    hello tessa, why donโ€™t they need a second rise?

    • #
      Emily — September 13, 2021 at 3:17 pm

      We didn’t find that it was needed! We actually don’t require a second rise for any of our Old Fashioned Doughnuts recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

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