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Pumpkin Donuts Recipe

Enjoy This Pumpkin Donut Recipe with Family and Friends!

What flavor says fall more than pumpkin? And what better way to celebrate it than with pumpkin donuts? For this fun, easy-to-make recipe, we’re drawing inspiration from the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville, Ohio. 

Famous for big pumpkin displays, the festival features seven parades over four days, starting on the third Wednesday of October and running through the following Saturday. This family-friendly celebration of fall’s favorite gourd includes a baby parade, a children’s tricycle race, a pie-eating competition, and a whole lot of pumpkin-flavored food. Visiting families can peek at the world’s largest pumpkin pie, then chow down on pumpkin fudge, pumpkin cake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin burgers, and—of course—pumpkin donuts.

A map of Ohio featuring the city of Circleville

Some years, more than 400,000 people attend the festival. That’s quite a flood for a city of only 14,000!

On their USA adventures, Sam and Sofia visited Ohio and loved pumpkin donuts. Follow the recipe below to bring a taste of Circleville to your home.

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Pumpkin Donuts Recipe

This recipe for baked pumpkin donuts is great for kids because it doesn’t require frying or hot oil and it has a short cook time. Just mix your batter, pop it in the oven, and decorate for a delicious fall treat.

Pumpkin donuts on a blue plate


(Makes 1 dozen donuts)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • Donut pan
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (for sugar topping)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (for sugar topping)
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (for sugar topping)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. 
  2. In a bowl, have the kids combine the dry ingredients for the donuts (flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda). Stir the ingredients well. 
  3. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, and butter to the mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on a low speed until it forms a smooth batter. Older kids or an adult should perform this step.
  4. Help kids spoon the batter into a greased donut pan. 
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Older kids can try the toothpick test, but only under close adult supervision.
  6. Let donuts cool on a drying rack. While they cool, have the kids mix the remaining brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Help the kids lightly brush the donuts with the melted butter. While the butter is still moist, have the kids sprinkle the sugar and pumpkin pie spice mixture over the top so that it sticks to the donut.
  8. Let the donuts cool completely before serving.

Top Them with Your Favorite Icing!

Sugar and pumpkin pie spice make for a classic frosting-free donut topping. But if your family always heads straight for the donuts with icing, there are lots of options to ice these in a tasty, creative way. Plus, making icing is so easy that kids can join in every step!

Cinnamon Icing

Want the classic taste of cinnamon and sugar in icing form? A simple cinnamon icing makes a great complement to pumpkin donuts. Help the kids measure and whisk together ¼ cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 2 cups of powdered sugar, then dip the donuts top-down into the icing once they’re finished. Then place the donuts on a wire baking rack and allow the icing to set. For thicker icing you can add more sugar, and for thinner icing you can add more milk. (If your kids really want that cinnamon to pop, you can put more ground cinnamon in as well!)

Maple Icing

Maple syrup and pumpkin make a flavor combination perfect for a great donut. To make maple icing, help the kids whisk together 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 3 tablespoons of milk, and ½ teaspoon of maple extract. Then have the kids dip the donuts into the icing top-down and put them on a wire baking rack while the icing sets.

Pumpkin Spice Icing

Double up on the pumpkin goodness by topping your donuts with pumpkin spice icing! Help your kids combine 1½ cups of powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of half-and-half, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla in a bowl. Kids can then whisk the ingredients together. Once the icing is smooth, help the kids dip the finished donuts top-down into the icing and put the donuts on a wire baking rack so the icing can set. As with the cinnamon icing, you can adjust the thickness by adding more or less half-and-half and sugar.

Green Icing

For pumpkin donuts that really look like pumpkins, try plain vanilla icing with green food coloring added to it. Help the kids make the icing by combining 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. If the icing tastes too sugary, adding a pinch of salt can help cut the sweetness down. 

Once the kids like the taste of the icing, make it green by adding a drop of dark green food coloring and mixing. Depending on the kids’ ages (and your tolerance for the risk of stains!), you may want do this step yourself. You can add more food coloring for a darker green, but be careful! A little goes a long way.

Once the icing looks right, help the kids dip the donuts top-down into it and transfer to a wire baking rack. Let the icing set before serving.

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Seasonal Goodness

Pumpkin isn’t just delicious, it’s also a seasonal treat packed with yummy goodness. We wouldn’t go so far as to say pumpkin donuts are healthy (they are still donuts, after all), but the pumpkin puree is full of fiber, iron, potassium, and more. For a truly healthy option, serving cooked pumpkin, with its natural sweetness, can be a great way to get some nutritional variety onto a kid’s plate.

Plus, pumpkins are fun to cook! It takes an adult’s strength to slice them open, but scooping out the seeds and fibrous pumpkin “guts” can get kids thinking about how food has to be worked with before it’s ready to eat. To serve up some tasty DIY pumpkin meals, you can roast pumpkin seeds in the oven with a little bit of salt, add oven-roasted pumpkin to a colorful autumn salad, or even make your own pumpkin puree to put in a second batch of donuts!

Oven-Roasted Pumpkin

To roast a pumpkin in the oven, start by having the adult cut it in half. Kids can scoop out the seeds and “guts,” and then it’s the adult’s turn again. Cook the pumpkin in the oven at 350°F for 45 minutes or until its flesh is tender. Once it cools, you can eat it right off the skin, or remove the skin and cut it into chunks. Let kids dust it with their favorite seasoning, and it’s a healthy treat!

Pumpkin Seeds in the Oven

Roasting pumpkin seeds in the oven is easy. Once the adult has sliced the pumpkin in half, help the kids remove its seeds and spread them out on a baking sheet. Kids can wash them and dust them with their preferred seasoning (salt is a classic, but you can also try spices, chili powder, and more). Then it’s time for the adult to pop them in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes at 350°F. Yum!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

To make homemade pumpkin puree, start by following the directions above for Oven-Roasted Pumpkin. After roasting the pumpkin, remove its skin and cut the pumpkin flesh into chunks. Then puree the chunks in a blender or food processor, adding water as necessary, until it reaches a smooth consistency. Homemade pumpkin puree can be used to make lots of tasty treats, including pumpkin donuts!

Baking Delicious Memories

Family walking into field in fall for a picnic

Pumpkins ripen just as the biggest holiday season of the year starts up in the Northern Hemisphere. Those holidays—and the weeks between them as the seasons change, the days get shorter, the air gets cooler, and the heat comes on indoors—are a great time for making memories, and baking with the kids is a fantastic way to do it.

Try getting up early with your kids on a cold autumn morning and making pumpkin donuts as a special surprise for the rest of the family. Or bake them as the kids’ contribution to a big family gathering or as an after-school snack for their friends. You can even carry a basket over to the neighbors as a gift. The food is good, but it’s the way you (and your kids!) share it that makes for truly special memories.

Looking for fall fun with your family? Try these easy 4-step DIY pumpkin T-shirts. Or try making a batch of delicious pumpkin paratha or pumpkin seed spice mixes from around the world.

And if your kids love making new foods, check out our World Edition subscription box for kids, which includes recipes for delicious global dishes as part of an adventure of worldwide discovery.

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