These Baked Cinnamon Roll Donuts taste exactly like a cinnamon roll! They have a delicious cinnamon donut base that's layered with a brown-sugar cinnamon mixture and are topped with a rich, decadent cream cheese icing.
I'm back again with another baked donut recipe- I just can't stop myself! These donuts are so good and every time I'm blown away with how easy they are to make.
These Cinnamon Roll Donuts are baked (not fried) and taste exactly like a cinnamon roll. They have a fluffy cinnamon donut base that has a layer of brown sugar-cinnamon right the middle, exactly like how a cinnamon roll has that filling the middle.
Then they are topped with an amazing cream cheese icing that just puts it over the top! You have to try this recipe, I promise you won't be disappointed.
This donut batter is actually very similar to my Crumb Cake Donut batter, but I will point out a few things below:
- greek yogurt- this is used in our donut batter, you could definitely swap it for plain sour cream as well.
- milk- I used whole milk for this recipe. You can try non-dairy milk, I just didn't test with any non-dairy milk.
- brown sugar- light brown sugar is the way to go- make sure to pack it when measuring to remove the excess moisture.
- cream cheese- the real star of the show! I like using the bricks of cream cheese when it comes to baking. Just make sure to not used whipped cream cheese.
- butter- I always use unsalted butter when baking, but if you only have salted that is totally fine!
How to make these donuts:
step one: make the donut batter
Start with making the brown sugar cinnamon mixture by whisking together the browwn sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside for later.
After you preheat the oven and grease your donut pans, you will start making the batter by mixing the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, milk, yogurt, melted (and cooled) butter, and vanilla. Make sure your ingredients are room temperature!
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully incorporated.
step two: fill donut pan
I like to pipe the batter into the donut molds using a ziploc bag- spoon the batter into the bag and cut off one corner. You can also just spoon the batter into the donut molds and spread it out.
Fill the donut molds about ¼ of the way full. Sprinkle 1.5 tsp of the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture onto the donut batter. Then go back around with more batter, filling the donut cavity ½ full. You don't want to overfill them because they do rise while baking.
If you only have 1 donut pan, save some of the batter because this recipe does give you about 9 donuts.
Place the donuts into the oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on top. Once done, transfer them to a wire cooling rack and let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove them to allow them to cool completely.
step three: make the icing
In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. You don't have to use an electric mixer, but it makes it much easier. Also, be sure to work with room temperature butter and cream cheese!
Add in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Then mix in the vanilla and ½ tbsp of milk. If you want the icing to be thinner, add in another ½ tbsp of milk.
step four: ice your donuts and enjoy!
You can either dip your donuts straight into the icing, or you can use a knife to spread it on the top. I dipped mine and it worked great! If your icing is really thin, you might need to dip them twice.
- Don't overfill the donut pan- Overfilling the donut pan can cause your donuts to rise and spill out over the tops- trust me, I've done it a million times. Try to fill your donut mold ½ way or just a little more.
- Every oven is different- be sure to watch your donuts carefully in order to not over bake (or under bake). I also tested this recipe using silicone donut molds, baking times may vary for metal pans. I also put my donut molds onto a baking sheet while baking.
- Warm them up for a true cinnamon roll experience- nothing is better than a warm cinnamon roll, so pop one of these bad boys in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy it warm!
Are cinnamon rolls and donuts the same?
Nope! While these donuts take on the flavor profile of a cinnamon roll, they are not cinnamon rolls shaped like donuts. Cinnamon rolls are made from a slightly denser dough and have a cinnamon sugar paste rolled in the middle. Donuts aren't as dense, and we added a layer of brown sugar-cinnamon to these to get that cinnamon roll flavor/effect.
Is it better to bake or fry donuts?
There is no denying that any donut is delicious, and the typical donut that you buy from bakeries is fried (that's why they are so good). Baked donuts can actually be a bit healthier for you! While this recipe still contains sugar and butter, we skip the deep frying in oil and go straight to the oven instead.
That being said, eat whatever kind of donuts make you happy 🙂
These will stay fresh stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to 1 month.
pro tip: warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds to really get a full cinnamon roll feel!
Want to try more recipes?
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Cinnamon Roll Donut Recipe
brown sugar cinnamon filling
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup milk at room temperature
- ¼ cup plain greek yogurt at room temperature
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
cream cheese icing
- 3 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray donut molds with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Make the donut filling by mixing together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Add in the cooled melted butter and mix until all combined. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Scoop this mixture into a large ziploc bag to pipe into the donut molds. You could also just spoon the batter into the molds if you prefer.
- Fill the donut mold ¼ full with batter. Sprinkle 1½ tsp of brown sugar cinnamon filling over each donut, and then add more batter on top to fill the donut molds about half-way full. If you only have 1 donut mold, just save some batter/filling for a second batch. Don't overfill the donuts because they rise while baking.If you are using silicone donut molds, place them on a baking sheet before putting them into the oven.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Transfer the donut molds to a wire rack and allow them to cool inside the donut molds for about 5 minutes. Carefully take the donuts out of the mold and allow them to cool before icing.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. You can do this by hand but it'll take a little extra elbow grease. Add in the cup of powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Once it comes together, beat for another 1-2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and a ½ tbsp of milk to start. Mix until smooth. If it seems too thick still, add the other ½ tbsp of milk.
- You can either dip the tops of the donuts straight into the icing or use a knife to spread the icing onto the donuts. I dipped mine and it worked perfectly! If your icing is thin, you might need to dip them twice.