Easy gingerbread donuts dress up a box of cake mix and turn it into tender, perfectly spiced gingerbread donuts. The perfect holiday treat for Christmas morning breakfast and a great way to use pumpkin after Thanksgiving.
Post originally published December 7, 2017. Updated November 18, 2019. Post may contain affiliate links. To read my affiliate policy click here.
I’ve definitely been on a kick this year. A donut kick. Maybe because I bought a donut pan. That could have something to do with it. Or maybe because Goose loves donuts and likes to help make them. But either way, these easy gingerbread donuts with a maple buttercream glaze are part of the kick. They are so easy to make and super delicious and just perfect to put out for Christmas entertaining.
Semi Homemade Gingerbread Donuts
These semi homemade gingerbread donuts are one of my greatest box cake mix hacks. Since having kids, I don’t often have the bandwidth left over to bake from scratch. So I like to hack box mixes and make them special. Some of my best box mix hacks? Kahlua brownies, Bailey’s cake, honey vanilla cake… Like I said I love a good box mix hack.
And part of the hack for these perfectly spiced gingerbread donuts? The secret ingredient. Drum roll please…
The Secret Ingredient!
Pumpkin! The same good old canned pumpkin you use in all the other delicious pumpkin baked goods.
I just wasn’t ready to see pumpkin season end. Being the unashamedly basic girl that I am, I think it gets pushed out too fast. Don’t people still enjoy pumpkin through the winter holidays? Am I the only person who sort of expects to see some sort of pumpkin pie on the table after Christmas dinner? So pumpkin lovers, this one’s for you.
I know it sounds kind of weird to have a full can of pumpkin in gingerbread donuts, but hear me out. I use the pumpkin in place of oil the way I did in these easy pumpkin donuts. The pumpkin is kind of like the applesauce substitution trick. It just fades into the background and offers a little extra sweetness and a lot of extra moisture. It makes for incredibly light and fluffy donuts, which I prefer over the densely cakey kind.
How to Make Easy Gingerbread Donuts
And these donuts are incredibly easy to make. Like my pumpkin spice donuts, you use a box of gingerbread cake mix as the base. Then, add a little extra cinnamon and ginger to the cake mix to bring out those warm holiday flavors. Next stir in pumpkin, eggs, and milk to finish the batter. Once the batter is made you can either spoon it into your sprayed donut pan or you can fill a piping bag and pipe it into your sprayed donut pans. Then you can pop the donuts into your preheated oven. That’s it! Then you can let them cool and enjoy them or ice them.
If you follow me on Instagram and watched my stories the other day, you know Goose helped me make these. We had a pj baking day- so much fun. She cracked the eggs into the mix (no egg shells this time!) and stirred in the pumpkin. She even helped spoon the mix into the donut pans.
And of course she taste tested.
Both before and after the donuts were iced.
Speaking of the icing. It’s sort of a glaze. Just powdered sugar, butter, maple syrup (paging Buddy the Elf) and some half and half, cream or milk. Nothing fancy, but seriously Buddy knew what he was talking about with maple syrup being its own food group. It really makes this glaze special and so delicious. I couldn’t stop tasting it myself.
The Yummiest Maple Glaze
Of course, I highly recommend icing these gingerbread donuts because the glaze is absolutely delicious. And it’s so simple. You just mix together powdered sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, a bit of milk or half and half and a sprinkle of cinnamon until it reaches your desired consistency. Then you just dunk the donuts in the glaze.
And you have options with it. To get a thinly glazed donut dunk it in the glaze right away then let the donuts dry. For thicker glaze, either do two coats of the icing right away or let the icing firm up for about 20 minutes and then dunk the donuts in. Totally up to you.
So tell me, what’s your favorite holiday flavor and how do you feel about pumpkin after Thanksgiving?
Other Holiday Treats You Might Love
Looking for other easy treats for the holidays? Try these:
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Butter Bars
- Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
- Stuffed Cookies 3 Ways
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Boozy Pumpkin Sheet Cake
Easy gingerbread donuts dress up a box of cake mix and turn it into a tender, perfectly spiced gingerbread donuts. The perfect holiday treat for Christmas morning breakfast and a great way to use pumpkin after Thanksgiving.
- 1 box of gingerbread cake/bread mix
- 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk or half and half
For the glaze
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 tbs butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tbs maple syrup
- 3 tbs of half and half or milk
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 425. Spray a donut pan with nonstick spray. While the oven is preheating stir together all the ingredients for the donuts until they are well combined. Spoon or pipe batter into the donut cavaties. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and remove from pan.
- While donuts are cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. When glaze is made, dip top of donuts in and return to cooling rack. If looking for a thick glaze, either double dip the donuts after the first dip has set slightly or let the glaze cool for about 20 minutes prior to dunking. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired. Enjoy!
Let donuts cool prior to icing
- Category: dessert
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 donut