Did you ever really want a donut but also really wanted a muffin at the same time and just couldn't decide? Yeah, happens to me all the time, too. Introducing you to one of the greatest hybrid baked goods of all time, Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins!
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins have all the flavor of your favorite donuts with the ease of making a muffin. These irresistible muffins are first dipped in melted butter, then coated with cinnamon sugar. Perfect with your morning coffee, these are a must-make for any home baker and a must-eat for, well, everyone!
Love cinnamon sugar? Try these Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal bars as your next treat!
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Make full-size muffins or cute mini muffins that are just like donut holes
- There’s no deep fryer required for this easy recipe
- Cinnamon donuts make a great breakfast or after-school snack your family will love
- The best part is the buttery, sweet-and-crunchy topping that tastes like cinnamon sugar toast
- These muffins are just as fabulous as cake donuts but even easier
Why Donut Muffins are worth making
Baking requires some work. Getting out the mixer, creaming butter and sugar, mixing, blending, stirring, baking. Then comes all the dishes that need to be cleaned.
And some recipes obviously require more work than others. Oftentimes it's difficult to know for sure if a recipe is worthwhile enough to put forth such effort.
Typically, donuts can be a lot of work. Frying is usually involved. And while making them is often very rewarding, sometimes you just want a shortcut.
A fast pass, if you will, to the endpoint when you get to enjoy the fruits of your baking labor. Well, friends, I am here with that shortcut. Making donuts in the form of muffins not only cuts down on the prep time, but it also cuts out frying altogether.
However, these donut muffins are as indulgent as any fried donut with that melty butter and thick layer of cinnamon sugar coating.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt
- Nutmeg: use whole nutmeg if you can find it, otherwise you can easily substitute an equal amount of ground nutmeg or cinnamon
- Ground cardamom: if you don’t have cardamom you can replace it with cinnamon in this recipe
- Granulated sugar
- Milk: I like to use whole milk for the richest muffins
- Buttermilk: fresh is best, but you can substitute powdered buttermilk as well
- Eggs: two large eggs at room temperature
- Unsalted butter: for the muffins, you’ll need to soften the butter at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using. For the topping, melt the butter over low heat on the stove or in the microwave.
- Ground cinnamon: Combine with sugar for the yummy donut coating
How to make cinnamon sugar donut muffins
Start by heating your oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin cups by spraying them with nonstick cooking spray.
It’s best to bake donut muffins without muffin liners. When the tops get dunked in butter and cinnamon sugar, muffin liners get in the way and prevent full coverage of all that incredible topping. You definitely don’t want that!
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cardamom in a medium bowl. I recommend sifting everything together to get rid of all the lumps. This step also helps the finished muffins stay light and fluffy.
Stir together the milk and buttermilk in a separate bowl.
Place the softened butter in a large bowl. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to cream it for a few minutes until smooth. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the sugar. Keep mixing until the color lightens up. Next, you’ll add the eggs one by one. Beat them after each addition until they are just combined.
Then add in the flour mixture, a little at a time, alternating it with milk and buttermilk until it's just incorporated. This can be done with the mixer or by hand.
You don't want to overmix the batter as it will create tough donut muffins. No thanks to that.
Divide the muffin batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. You’ll know the muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched and are barely golden.
Allow the muffins to cool enough so you can handle them. For me, I always push the limits on this, so please use caution so you don't burn yourself like I inevitably do. I just can't wait!
Stir the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour the melted butter into another bowl.
Dip each donut muffin first in melted butter, then in a mixture of ground cinnamon and sugar. Swirl the top of the muffins all around in the butter to get a good coating. This will make sure all of the cinnamon sugar mixture sticks to the muffins.
If you're like my daughter and want an extra thick layer of cinnamon sugar coating, you can repeat the dipping process first in the butter and then the cinnamon sugar to achieve such results.
Enjoy your fresh sugar donuts with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
- Measure your ingredients correctly, especially the flour. The most accurate way to weigh the flour is with a kitchen scale (gram measurements are included in the recipe below). However, if you do not have a scale, use the scoop and swipe technique for measuring your flour. First, stir or whisk the flour in the bag or container it comes in. This helps loosen it up and fluff it a bit in case it was packed down. Next, scoop the flour into a dry measuring cup using a spoon, not the measuring cup itself. Mound the flour without packing it down. Using the wrong end of the spoon (the handle), swipe it across the top of the measuring cup and level with the top of the cup to remove any excess flour. Be sure to place a plate or bowl underneath the measuring cup to catch the excess and pour it back into the container to use again
- My best tip for how to achieve moist and fluffy donut muffins is this: do not overmix the donut muffin batter. It's tempting to keep mixing or stirring the batter once all ingredients are added until it's perfectly smooth. Resist the urge! Mix the batter just until there are few or no streaks of dry flour in the mixture. Overmixing will certainly cause overly dense and dry donut muffins
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Can these donut muffins be made gluten-free?
Yes, these donut muffins can easily be made gluten-free! Simply replace the all-purpose flour with 1-for-1 gluten-free flour in equal amounts. I have not tried this recipe with other gluten-free flour variations such as almond flour, coconut flour, or cassava flour. These gluten-free flour alternatives tend to absorb moisture differently than all-purpose flour, so I wouldn't use them in equal amounts in this recipe.
How do you store muffins so they don’t get soggy?
Line an airtight container with paper towels and place leftover muffins in a single layer. The paper towels will absorb extra moisture, keeping the muffins fresh for up to 4 days.
Can these donut muffins be frozen?
Yes! Freeze the muffins without the melted butter and cinnamon sugar coating. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a ziplock bag. They'll keep for up to 3 months.
To thaw, leave on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes then dip in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Or, to thaw quickly, place in the microwave for 1 ½ - 2 minutes at 50% power or until thawed.
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Check out my video for how to Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins (>1 minute):
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg or ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ cup whole milk plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom.
- In a medium bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
- Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Continue to mix until the mixture lightens in color.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth. Do not over mix
- With a large ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them approximately ⅔ full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and lightly golden.
- While the muffins bake, set up two bowls to dunk them in.
- In one bowl add the melted butter, in the other bowl whisk together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Let the donuts cool enough to handle them.
- Dunk them in the melted butter, then coat with the cinnamon sugar.
- Store cooled muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days
- I would recommend freezing the muffins without the melted butter and cinnamon sugar coating.
- I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them all in a ziploc bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To thaw, leave on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes then dip in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Or, to thaw quickly, unwrap the muffin and place in the microwave for 1 ½ – 2 minutes at 50% power or until thawed. Then dip and enjoy!
- Recipe from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook