Vegan gingerbread donuts made with just 6 ingredients and can be prepared in 30 minutes. They're incredibly light and fluffy, are baked not fried and can be made refined sugar free. You can also choose between a simple cinnamon-sugar coating or a thick maple icing.
These donuts are adapted from my popular vegan gingerbread cake which is great for larger gatherings!
Ingredients you'll need
Like most of my recipes, these vegan gingerbread donuts are made of simple and common pantry ingredients including:
Notes about the ingredients
All-purpose flour. For my gluten-free readers, I've included a version for you in the notes of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Brown or coconut sugar lends a caramel flavour that complements the gingerbread spices. I always prefer to use granulated sweeteners in my baked goods as it makes them fluffier (rather than using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup).
Light-tasting vegetable oil. For 'healthier' donuts, you can substitute half of the oil with dairy-free yoghurt.
Gingerbread spices (or a mix of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg). I've included A LOT of spices as it's the main flavour of these donuts. However, the gingerbread is not overpowering!
Making the gingerbread donut batter
Unlike yeasted donuts, you don't have to have to knead or rest the donut batter. Instead, these donuts are made just like a simple vegan sponge cake!
Simply add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.
Add all the liquid ingredients and mix until there are no lumps. The result is a slightly thick wonderfully spiced batter (which smells and tastes so so good)!
Assembling and baking the donuts
If you have silicone donut pans, I'd recommend placing them on a sturdy baking sheet then greasing them. If you have a metal donut pan, you can simply grease them!
I like using a piping bag with a large round nozzle to distribute the donut batter. This allows you to divide the batter evenly, efficiently and with ease. Admittedly, it can be a little messy to spoon/pour the batter into the piping bag.
Alternatively, you can just use a spoon to divide the batter amongst the donut pan!
The donuts rise a bit in the oven and only take around 15-20 minutes to fully bake. They are ready when you can poke a skewer in one and it comes out clean. Or if you press one of the donuts, it will spring back!
Two toppings for these donuts
Similar to my pumpkin spice donuts, these vegan gingerbread donuts are great with either:
- Ginger cinnamon sugar coating OR
- Thick maple icing
I personally prefer the ginger cinnamon sugar coating as it's less sweet and I love the textural contrast. However, my partner prefers the thicker icing!
The pictures above feature half a batch of each of the toppings.
If you don't like desserts to be overly gingerly, you can just use cinnamon and sugar for the coating.
The icing is intentionally thick and creamy, compared to a thinner glaze! Unlike fried donuts, baked donuts (especially when baked in a silicone pan) don't often develop a crusty exterior so often absorbs any coatings/icings. However, having a thicker icing slows down this process.
Common questions and answers
Yes absolutely! You'll probably get around 8 muffins and will need to bake them for longer (around 25 minutes)
If you have a mini cupcake pan, you can dip the baked cupcakes in the cinnamon-sugar coating to make gingerbread donut holes!
Yes, simply use coconut sugar in the donuts. Omit the coating/icing or use coconut sugar in a cinnamon-sugar coating.
Other vegan Christmas desserts
Vegan Gingerbread Donuts
Option 1 - Gingerbread cinnamon sugar coating OR
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Generously grease your metal donut pan or silicone donut mold. If you're using a silicone mold, place it on a sturdy baking tray.
To make the vegan gingerbread donuts:
- Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until there are no lumps. Add all the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined.
- Use a piping bag with a large nozzle or a spoon to divide the batter into the donut pans.
- Bake the donuts for 10-12 minutes if you're using a metal pan, or 15-17 minutes if you're using a silicone mold. The donuts are ready when you can press the surface of one and it bounces back, or when you can insert a toothpick into one and it comes out mostly clean.
- If you used a metal pan, let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. If you used a silicone mold, your donuts will be more delicate, so let them fully cool in the mold then remove them.
Option 1 - Gingerbread cinnamon sugar coating:
- Combine the sugar and spice(s) in a shallow bowl.
- Dip the cooled donuts in the sugar coating (if the sugar doesn't stick, see note 4). Enjoy immediately.
Option 2 - Maple icing:
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt and mix the icing until it forms the consitency of runny nut butter. Add more milk to thin the icing or more powdered sugar to thicken it, keeping in mind the icing will thicken up a lot when it sets. (See note 5)
- Dip the smooth side of each donut into the icing allowing the excess to drip off. If desired, top with gingerbread cookies. Allow the donuts to set at room temperature. When the frosting is dry to the touch, enjoy!
Notes on serving/storing the donuts:
- The donuts are best enjoyed within 3 days of baking. If you'd like to serve them after the day of baking, I'd recommend storing them without the sugar coating or icing and decorating them on the day of serving. The donuts will soak up the sugar coating or icing after 1 day. The undecorated donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- For gluten free donuts, I'd recommend using a high quality 1:1 gluten free flour or 50% almond flour (blanched almond meal) and 50% of any gluten free flour blend by weight.
- To make your own gingerbread spice blend, use 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground ginger and ½ tablespoon ground nutmeg.
- You can substitute up to half of the oil with yoghurt. Instead use ¼ cup (45g) dairy free yoghurt and ¼ cup (65g) oil.
- If the sugar doesn't stick to the donuts, brush them with melted butter then dip them in the sugar. If you bake the donuts the day before, their exterior will become moist enough for the sugar coating.
I'd recommend making a thicker rather than thinner icing as the latter will be more quickly absorbed into the donut after a few hours.
This post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2021.
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