Brown Butter Donuts have a fluffy brown butter donut base dipped in a simple vanilla glaze.

A stack of three brown butter donuts

One of my favorite things to do when I have a little extra time in the morning is to whip up homemade baked donuts. They are quick enough to not take up my whole morning while still being extremely delicious. They impress every time! These Brown Butter Donuts are one of my favorite variations!

A stack on plates with two donuts on top

What is brown butter?

Brown butter is unsalted butter that has been cooked down so the water in the butter evaporates and the milk solids in the butter turn brown. It gives the butter a nutty taste and smell. Adding brown butter to dishes in place of regular butter will amp up the flavor.

Brown butter sounds fancy, but it is very simple to make. You will learn how to make brown butter below! If I want to change up a recipe, but don’t want to worry about testing out the recipe changes, I am going to brown the butter. It will totally change the taste of your baked good without changing the way it comes out of the oven.

How to brown butter:

For this recipe you will have to brown a small amount of butter. It is very simple, but if you have never done it before it can be a bit daunting.

  • First, you will melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. If you have the heat too low it will take a while for the butter to brown. If you have the heat too high the butter might burn.
  • After the butter has melted it will start to get foamy and make crackly noises, this is normal. You can stir the butter occasionally, but you don’t need to do it constantly.
  • Little brown bits will start to form at the bottom of the pan and the butter will take on a more orange color. It will start smelling nutty.
  • Let the butter continue to brown for about a minute, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. This whole process should take about 5 minutes.
A pan of brown butter

Ingredients for Brown Butter Donuts:

Ingredients for Baked Donuts:

  • Unsalted butter.I always make sure to use unsalted butter when baking because there is no “standard” for the amount of salt they can add to butter. So if you add salt to a recipe and then use salted butter you could end up with a very salty end product.
  • All-purpose flour. Measuring the flour correctly is very important. I suggest weighing your flour out (I use this scale). If you want to use a measuring cup, make sure you spoon the flour into the cup and level it off with a knife. Don’t use the cup to scoop directly from the flour.
  • Light brown sugar. Brown sugar adds flavor and a softer texture to the final product.
  • Salt. Salt is a must in baked goods. It will help to balance out the sweetness and improve the overall flavor.
  • Baking powder. Baking powder will help the baked donuts to rise.
  • Full-fat sour cream. Sour cream will make the donuts extra moist and fluffy. You can replace it with unflavored yogurt if you’d like.
  • Egg. It will be easier to incorporate the eggs into the batter if they are at room temperature. 

Ingredients for Glaze:

  • Powdered sugar. This will give our glaze the sweetness we are looking for while also giving us a smooth texture.
  • Vanilla Extract. Vanilla is a must in baked goods just like salt. Real vanilla adds a better flavor than imitation vanilla.
  • Milk. You can replace this with non-dairy milk or water, we really just need a liquid to thin out the glaze.
All of the ingredients needed for this recipe

How to make Brown Butter Donuts

Brown Butter Baked Donuts

Step 1: Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. The butter will start to foam and you will see orangey-brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. This will take about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the pan from heat and allow the butter to cool.

Step 3: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray your donut mold with non-stick spray and set it aside.

Step 4: In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make sure there are no lumps.

Step 5: In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients. Make sure the melted butter has cooled or it will curdle the sour cream and cook the egg.

A bowl with the dry ingredients and a bowl with the wet ingredients

Step 6: Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are well combined. The dough will be much thicker than you think it will be, so don’t be alarmed. Also, be sure not to overmix your dough or your donuts will be tough.

The wet and dry ingredients combined to make a batter

Step 7: Next, you will spoon or pipe the batter into your molds and fill them up to the top. If you’re using a silicone mold, place it on a cookie sheet before you put them in the oven, this will make it easier to get them in and out of the oven.

Step 8: Place your donuts in the pre-heated oven. They usually take about 20-25 minutes to bake, but I started checking them around 10 minutes to see if the pan needs to be turned. You’ll know they are finished when you lightly press on a donut and it springs back. Remove from the oven and let cool in the molds until cool enough to remove. Then cool completely before glazing

Vanilla Glaze

Step 1: In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients. Whisk until free of lumps.

Step 2: The glaze should be pretty thin and runny. So if it is too thick you can add more milk to thin it out.

A bowl of vanilla glaze

Step 3: Dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze.

Looking down on brown butter baked donuts

More Donut Recipes

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5 from 5 votes

Brown Butter Baked Donuts

Soft and cakey brown butter baked donuts topped with a sweet maple glaze
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked donuts, brown butter, Donut, maple, maple glaze
Servings: 6 donuts
Calories: 232kcal
Cost: $5

Ingredients

For Donuts:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (107 grams) light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (114 grams) full-fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

For Donuts:

  • Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. The butter will start to foam and you will see orangey-brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. This will take about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray your donut mold with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Spoon the batter into the donut pan. Bake the donuts into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they spring back when lightly pressed.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before glazing.

For Glaze:

  • In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients and whisk until free of lumps.
  • Add more milk if the glaze is too thick.
  • Dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze.

Nutrition

Serving: 1donut | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.3g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.9g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 21.9g | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg
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