Orange buttermilk donuts on parchment paper on a wooden board with a floral tea towel in the background and three oranges in the top right corner.

Best Little Baked Buttermilk Orange Donuts

5.0 from 3 votes

I love making baked donuts at home. They come together quickly and make the perfect little treat. I had buttermilk left over from Addie’s birthday cake last week which works great in donut batter. I also had some oranges that my dad sent to us for Christmas, so it seemed like it would make the perfect combination! I used the orange glaze recipe that I use for my cranberry orange scones and my cranberry orange cookies, so if you like that, then you will love these baked buttermilk orange donuts!

I made a mmix of traditional donuts and mini heart-shaped donuts since Valentine’s Day is coming up! The heart donut tin makes the cutest mini donuts that take half the batter of a standard donut. I have the donut pans that I used linked int he recipe below.

I’ve made baked donuts a lot and one of the live and learn lessons that I’ve lived and learned is not to over-fill the donut tins. The batter should only fill the donut cavities halfway. Donuts rise a lot while baking and you lose your shape if there’s too much batter.

Another important thing I’ve learned while making donuts is that it’s really hard to pour or spoon the batter directly from the mixing bowl. I’m someone who prefers to get as few things dirty as possible, so I don’t like adding extra equipment into the mix, but I find that the process goes much more smoothly if I use a piping bag or a freezer bag to squeeze the batter into the donut pans. I also use an unconventional tool (a vase) to hold my freezer bag upright while I pour my batter in. Really anything tall and not too wide will work here!

These donuts really don’t darken too much while baking, so you’re not looking for a browning or golden color. They’re done when you can see that the surface has puffed a bit and if you tap it with your finger, it should spring back. You can also do a toothpick test like you would with a cake, but I don’t find that to be necessary.

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Best Little Orange Buttermilk Donuts

Recipe by Sarah
5.0 from 3 votes
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snacks, DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time




Total time



These donuts are so easy and they taste amazing, with orange zest in the batter and freshly squeezed orange juice in the glaze. You’ll want to make them again and again.

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  • For the donuts:
  • 2 c all purpose flour

  • 1/2 c granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp fine pink Himalayan sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 c vegetable or canola oil

  • 2 tsp orange zest

  • For the glaze:
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar

  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)

  • 1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice

  • Other:
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (melted) to brush the donut pans before baking. See notes.


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon) and whisk them together.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients (buttermilk through orange zest) and whisk them together until smooth.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix until full incorporated.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set a rack in the center of the oven.
  • Prepare the donut pans. This recipe will make 24 standard size donuts. I used a mix of round standard donut pans and a heart mini donut pan. I made 18 standard circle donuts and 12 mini heart donuts because the hearts take half the batter of a standard donut. To prepare the pans, I brush each donut cavity with melted butter.Donut pan with batter halfway filled, on a floral tea towel.
  • I like to cut the corner off of a freezer bag or use a piping bag to get the batter into the donut pans. Trying to pour it or spoon it directly from a mixing bowl gets messy. I actually use a tall vase to hold my freezer bag in place, pour in the batter and then carefully squeeze the batter into the donut pans. Baked donuts will rise, so remember to only fill the donut cavities to half full or your donuts will over-rise and won’t be the shape that you intended them to be.Mini heart donut pan with donut batter filled halfway.
  • Bake the donuts for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. I usually bake them in batches, one to two donut tins at a time. These donuts don’t really brown, so you’re not looking for a golden color to let you know they’re done. You’re looking for a rounded top that springs back when you press it gently. They really don’t take long.Mini heart donut pan with freshly baked donuts in it, on a tea towel with flowers and oranges and two oranges in the top right corner.
  • Carefully remove your donuts from the pans once they’re done and transfer them to a cooling rack while you prepare your glaze. If the donuts don’t easily release from the cavities, use a small silicon spatula and run that around the edges gently. The donuts should come right out. Freshly baked donuts in heart and circle shapes, cooling on a wire rack. There is a floral tea towel in the background.
  • To make the glaze, combine all ingredients and whisk together until smooth.Freshly squeezed orange juice glaze in a small silver mixing bowl on a floral tea towel with a wooden board in the top right corner and in the top left, there is a cooling rack with donuts on it.
  • Once the donuts have cooled a bit, dip the tops one by one into the glaze and then set them out on a tray so that the glaze can set. Serve and enjoy!Orange buttermilk donuts on parchment paper, on a wooden board. There is a mixture of circle and heart shaped donuts.


Recipe Video


  • I use melted butter for my donut pans, but you could also use cooking spray.

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  1. Is it ok to use regular milk? Its whole milk, organic. I have everything I need if so! These look awesome! Also, is regular OJ ok too?

    • Hi! Great questions! Regular oj is fine, yes! I used the freshly squeezed since I was using the orange zest in the batter. But regular milk does not replace buttermilk for two reasons. Buttermilk is much thicker in consistency, so using regular milk instead of buttermilk will result in a much thinner batter and a much more dense end result. Secondly, buttermilk actually has acidity which regular milk doesn’t have, so that will also change the end result of the fluffy donut that you get when you use buttermilk. I hope that helps!

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