Vegan donuts are so easy to make with simple ingredients and they are as delicious as regular donuts.

Our vegan donuts are real yeast donuts, and you can either deep-fry them or bake them in the oven.

vegan donuts

What to expect

oven baked vegan donuts

There are generally two types of donuts: yeast donuts and cake donuts.

In this blog post, we show you how to make yeast donuts. They are soft, delicious, and even vegan.

And while you’ll have to wait for the dough to proof, this recipe is actually really easy, made with very simple ingredients, and you can either deep-fry or oven-bake the donuts.

vegan donuts

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Flour: we use all-purpose flour to make our vegan donuts.
  • Plant milk: you can use soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, or any other milk.
  • Sugar: white or brown sugar will work.
  • Oil: we use sunflower seed oil to replace butter in this dough. It works really well. You can replace sunflower seed oil with any other neutral vegetable oil.
  • Instant dry yeast: that’s necessary to proof the dough. You can replace it with fresh yeast, but you’ll need 3x more fresh yeast than instant dry yeast.
  • Aromas: we like to add orange or lemon zest, grated, in our dough. We also like to add vanilla extract. Those are optional but recommended.
  • If you decide to deep-fry the donuts, you’ll also need frying oil.
ingredients for vegan donuts

How to make vegan donuts?

Start with the donut dough

Warm up 1 cup (250 grams) of plant milk of your choice to lukewarm temperature, then add in the instant dry yeast, give it a stir and set aside.

To a large bowl add the grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or the seeds of a real vanilla pod, the milk with the yeast, ½ cup (100 grams) of sugar, ¼ cup (50 grams) of sunflower seed oil, or another neutral flavor vegetable oil, and whisk to combine. 

wet ingredients for the donuts

Now add 3⅓ cups or 500 grams of all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a spatula till the ingredients come together, then transfer the mixture to a lightly floured worktop, sprinkle with flour, and knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. 

If you prefer you can use a stand mixer to make the dough adding the ingredients in the same order.

Try to add as little flour as possible while kneading the dough. The dough should not stick to your hands, but it should still be soft and moist.

Now shape it into a ball, and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cut a cross on top, cover with a plate, and put it to proof in a warm place for about 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

To help the dough proof, I like to put it in a slightly warm oven. Turn it on for just a minute and then turn it off: the gentle heat will help the dough to proof quickly.

Alternatively, you can proof the dough overnight in the refrigerator. It can stay in the fridge for up to 20 hours. 

Shape the dough

Once proved, transfer the dough onto a worktop without adding any flour. Lightly stretch it with your hands, then fold it twice to give it structure.

Then with the help of a rolling pin roll out the dough down to a thickness of around half an inch or 1 cm.

Cut the dough in discs with a 3 inch or 8 cm pastry cutter. Then make a hole in the center of the discs with a smaller one. 

Use one that is 1 inch or 2.5 cm to make American Donuts or one that is 1.6 inches or 4cm to make Italian Ciambelle. Italian donuts have a slightly larger hole than American ones.

Transfer the donuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, then if you want you can do the same for the donut holes, which btw are delicious too.

Put the leftover dough scraps back together, flatten them and get more donuts out of them, until you run out of dough. You should get at least 12 donuts, and 12 donut holes.

Let the dough prove a second time for 30 minutes in a warm place before deep-frying them or baking them.

Oven-baked vegan donuts

Brush the donuts with plant milk and bake them, one tray at a time, in a preheated oven at 350F or 180C for about 10 to 12 minutes, till lightly golden on top. Bake them in the middle-lower rack of your oven.

oven baked vegan donuts

You can certainly eat the donuts like this, they are incredibly soft and delicious and you won’t believe they are vegan.

You can also lightly dust them with powdered sugar, or dip them in plant milk and coat them with sugar or cinnamon sugar (which is sugar plus a teaspoon of cinnamon).

oven baked donuts

Deep-fried vegan donuts

For the deep-fried version, make sure the oil temperature is at 340°F (170°C) and fry 2 to 3 donuts at a time for about 1 to 1 and a half minutes per donut, and gently turn them around halfway through.

When you take them out, let the oil drip, then transfer them onto a cooling rack lined with kitchen paper. 

deep-fried vegan donuts on a cooling rack

Then while the donuts are still warm you can dip them in sugar, or cinnamon sugar, dust them with powdered sugar or glaze them with sugar glaze or melted chocolate.

I mean LOOK at these. They are absolutely beautiful, golden on the outside, and incredibly soft on the inside. 

vegan deep-fried donuts
vegan deep-fried donuts

Variations

Wholegrain Donuts

Our favorite variation is to make these vegan Italian donuts wholegrain, by adding wholewheat flour and unrefined sugar.

vegan chocolate donuts

How to make wholegrain donuts?

For wholegrain donuts you can use the same measurements and procedure but:

  • Replace all-purpose flour with 50% wholewheat flour and 50% bread flour.
  • Replace the sugar with unrefined cane sugar.

If you make wholegrain donuts we recommend using the melted chocolate topping.

  • Replace the cinnamon in the dough with grated orange zest.
  • Replace the cinnamon sugar topping with melted dark chocolate topping (+ candied orange peel, if you have it).

Melted chocolate topping

  • With a knife, chop up the dark chocolate. You can also use chocolate chips if you prefer.
  • Melt the chocolate bain-marie.
    Bain-marie: in a pot, add boiling water. Then take a bowl that fits in the pot, and place it on top of the hot water (the pot should be off the heat). The bottom of the bowl should be touching the hot water in the pot. Put the chocolate in the bowl and stir it with a spatula until the heat of the water completely melts the chocolate.
  • Dip the top of the donuts in the chocolate. Place on a cooling rack and add a piece of candied orange zest on top.

Donut holes

You can actually bake or deep fry the cut-out donut hole, making delicious little balls of donuts that are bite-size and irresistible.

If you like you can fill the donut holes with vegan custard or with chocolate-hazelnut spread.

donut holes

Glazed donuts

To make this delicious and sweet topping, simply dissolve half a cup of powdered sugar with a little hot water and mix them until you get a smooth white cream.

Dip only the top of the donut in it. This will make the donuts taste even more irresistible!

glazed vegan donuts

Storage

Deep-fried donuts don’t store well, and they are best eaten within 24 hours.

Store oven-baked donuts in a plastic bag for up to 3 to 4 days.

To freeze the donuts, do so before the second proofing, then thaw in the refrigerator and proof a second time in a warm place before baking them or frying them.

Similar recipes

By now, you’ve probably realized that we are big fans of plant-based desserts. If you’re curious to try more recipes like these donuts, take a peek at these easy to follow leavened dough recipes:

vegan donuts

Vegan Donuts

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 15 votes
Vegan donuts are so easy to make with simple ingredients and they are as delicious as regular donuts.
Our vegan donuts are real yeast donuts, and you can either deep-fry them or bake them in the oven.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Proofing Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 16 donuts
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American

Equipment

  • Round pastry or cookie cutter 8cm / 3 inches (or a wide glass)
  • Round pastry or cookie cutter 2,5cm / 1 inch (or a bottol cap)

Ingredients

  • 3⅓ cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for kneading
  • 1 cup plant milk soy, oats, almond, or other
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon the grated zest (optional)
  • ½ gallon frying oil only if you want to deep-fry the donuts

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 tbsp plant milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Melted Chocolate Topping

  • 1 cup dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • candied orange (optional)

Glazed Topping

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plant milk or water

Instructions 

Make the dough

  • Warm up the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds, then when it is warm (not hot) put in the instant dry yeast.
  • To a large bowl, add the grated zest of one lemon, sugar, oil, vanilla and then pour in the milk with the yeast.
  • Add in the flour and stir with a spoon until the flour has absorbed the liquids.
  • Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 5 minutes.
    Try to add as little flour as possible, and keep the dough soft.
    If you like you can do this in a stand mixer following the same order of ingredients.
  • Transfer the dough back to the bowl adding a little oil at the bottom. Brush the dough with a little oil and cover the bowl with a plate or kitchen towel.
    Let proof in a warm place until it doubles in volume (it will take about 2 hours).
    Alternatively, you can make the dough in the evening and let it proof in the fridge overnight or up to 20 hours.
    TIP: to help the dough proof, place it in a slightly warm oven. Turn it on for just a minute and then turn it off: the gentle heat will help the dough to proof quickly.
  • Now transfer it to a work surface, spread it a little with your hands, then fold it over itself twice.
    With a rolling pin roll out the dough with a thickness of around 0.5 inches or 1 cm.
  • Cut the dough in discs with the larger round pastry cutter. Then make a whole in the center of the discs with the smaller one.
    Put the leftover dough scraps back together, flatten them and get more donuts out of them, until you run out of dough.
    TIP: if you don't have the pastry cutters you can use a large glass and a bottle cap instead.
  • Arrange the doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let proof for another 30 minutes before baking.

For oven-baked donuts

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and bake the doughnuts for 10 – 12 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Don't overcook them or they will dry out on the inside.

For deep-fried donuts

  • Bring the frying oil to 340°F or 170°C making sure it doesn't get any hotter than that or the doughnuts will burn on the outside and not cook on the inside.
    Gently dip the donuts into the frying oil and turn them over as soon as they get golden on the bottom. Consider that it takes about 1 minute, 1 ½ minutes max, to cook each donut.
    Let the oil drip off, then lay them on a tray lined with paper towels.

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • Dip the deep fried donuts, still warm, in the sugar mixed with cinnamon until it sticks all around.
    For the baked ones, first dip the top in plant milk, then in sugar.

Dark Chocolate Topping

  • With a knife, chop the dark chocolate. You can also use chocolate chips if you prefer.
  • Melt the chocolate bain-marie.
    Bain-marie: In a pot, add boiling water. Then take a bowl that fits in the pot, and place it on top of the hot water (the pot should be off the heat). The bottom of the bowl should be touching the hot water in the pot. Put the chocolate in the bowl and stir it with a spatula until the heat of the water completely melts the chocolate.
  • Dip the top of the donuts in the chocolate. Place on a cooling rack and add a piece of candied orange zest on top.

Powdered Sugar Icing

  • Mix together the icing sugar with the hot water till you have a smooth white cream.
    Dip the top of the doughnut into the icing and serve.

Notes

NB: Nutritional values are for oven-oven baked donuts with cinnamon sugar coating.

Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Potassium: 73mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 71IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 5mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 1µg, Calcium: 32mg, Folate: 74µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 8mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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13 Comments

    1. Hi Krista,

      Yes they are. We recommend freezing them before the second proofing, then thaw in the refrigerator and proof a second time in a warm place before baking them or frying them.

      I think heart-shaped donuts sound incredible, what a great idea ❤️

      All the best,

      Louise

  1. 5 stars
    Salve Nico. Volevo farti una domanda…nel video tu aggiungi lo yogurt…ma qui, nella descrizione della ricetta, non l’hai messo…io sto aspettando in questo mento la lievitazione delle ciambelle e ho messo anche lo yogurt…potrei chiederti solo di chiarirmi se è più corretto con yogurt o senza?
    Grazie in anticipo se vorrai rispondermi 😊

    1. Ciao Tania,

      si allora, puoi farle sia con yogurt che senza. Senza yogurt vengono più leggere e ariose. Con lo yogurt vengono un pochettino più sostanziose e restano più umide. Dipende un po’ dai gusti 🙂

      Buona giornata!
      Nico

  2. Hi, I just wanted to help you edit your post. You mentioned using a Bain-Marie to heat the chocolate and you instruct people to make sure the bowl touches the water. However that is not how a double boiler works. It uses steam as the heat source, so the bowl should not be touching the boiling water below it. I expect you just had a typo in your post concerning this instruction.

    1. Hi Elise,

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 Both methods of Bain-Marie are correct (steam and water). For this recipe, we think it’s easier and safer for most people to have the bowl touch the hot water in the pot below and keep it off the heat so that the water is hot but not boiling.

      If you prefer the steam method, that will also work well to melt the chocolate.

      I hope this helps clarify things.
      Nico

  3. 5 stars
    You must have been reading my mind! I was looking for a vegan replace for my fave boston cream donuts, and here you are with the recipe for the donuts, creme. and melted chocolate. Woohoo!!!🎉🎉 Just slammed shut the mouths of the vegan naysayers again!! Bravo 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾🎯💯👍🏽
    Katriel

    1. Hi Katriel,
      Thanks so much for the kind comment! I am delighted you could replace your favorite cream donut with something homemade 🙂 ahaha, and wonderful news that you could share them with friends + family – the chocolate-covered ones are pretty glorious. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Cheers, Nico

  4. 5 stars
    Palm oil should be baned by vegans because animals die because their habitat is destroyed to make way for palm trees.

  5. 5 stars
    These came out so soft and perfect and I was very tempted to eat one right out of the oven! I didn’t have soy yogurt so I used almond, and added a whole tsp of cinnamon. Because they aren’t overly sweet, the cinnamon sugar topping complements them nicely. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for the nice message Myra 🙂 So happy you liked them. We love extra cinnamon toooo 🙂