These one-bowl cornbread donuts are soft, fluffy, and so easy to make. They come together in just 20 minutes. Brush them with melted butter or honey and serve with a comforting bowl of soup or chili!
These baked cornbread donuts are light, moist, and tender. They strike the perfect balance between savory and sweet, making them an irresistible treat for any occasion. With just one bowl, you can whip up a batch in 20 minutes!
These savory donuts are obviously a delicious choice for breakfast. You can eat them alone or with a couple runny eggs. They're great with dinner too! Serve with a warm bowl of chili, soup, or baked beans for dunking or alongside pulled pork, turkey, or any kind of barbecue.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- All purpose flour- This gives the donuts a light and fluffy texture.
- Cornmeal- Yellow cornmeal gives the donuts a beautiful golden color. White cornmeal works in a pinch if it's all you have.
- Sugar- Granulated sugar gives the cornbread just a hint of sweetness. Cane sugar works too.
- Baking powder- This leavener reacts with heat to make the donut batter rise in the oven. Check the expiration date to make sure it's fresh.
- Buttermilk- The acid in this ingredient cuts the gluten strands in the flour, creating a super soft and tender texture. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before baking to reach room temperature. Room temperature dairy ingredients are much easier to mix in.
- Egg- One large egg holds the ingredients together, giving the donuts structure, moisture, and richness. Take it out of the refrigerator with the buttermilk.
- Oil- This recipe uses oil instead of butter. Oil is liquid at room temperature, whereas butter is solid. This is why oil makes baked goods so moist! Use a neutral, flavorless oil like canola oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil.
Substitutions & Variations
- For a gluten free option, substitute the flour for Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour or another gluten free flour of your choice. Also check that the cornmeal is processed in a gluten free facility.
- Substitute plain kefir, Greek yogurt, or sour cream for the buttermilk if you're out.
- Fold in any extra ingredients you like! Some ideas are crumbled bacon, grated cheese, diced jalapeños, chives, or fresh corn kernels.
Helpful Equipment & Tools
The only piece of special equipment you need is a donut pan. I recommend an aluminum or steel non-stick pan. If your pan isn't non-stick, brush the wells with melted butter or apply baking spray before adding the batter. Don't use a silicone pan because your donuts might burn!
Step by Step Instructions
Before you start, preheat a conventional oven to 350°F/180°C and spray a donut pan with baking spray.
STEP 1: First, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
STEP 2: Next, pour in the buttermilk, egg, and oil. Whisk the wet ingredients on top a bit and then fold them into the dry ingredients until no dry streaks of flour remain.
STEP 3: Use a spoon to fill the wells of your donut pan nearly full. You can also fill a piping bag with the donut batter and pipe it into the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
STEP 4: Once the donuts are done, remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully take them out of the pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Brush with butter, drizzle with honey, or sprinkle with sugar and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Measure the flour accurately. Using a kitchen scale to measure the flour in grams is best! Flour is notoriously easy to overmeasure, and using too much will cause dry, dense donuts. If you don't have a scale, fluff up the flour in the bag and gently spoon it into your measuring cup. Don't pack it in! Once it's overflowing, swipe off the excess.
- Don't overmix. Fold in the wet ingredients until the dry patches of flour disappear. The donuts will be rubbery if you overmix the batter.
- Let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes. If you try to remove them too soon, they'll fall apart! If you leave them in too long, condensation will form and make the donuts soggy.
- Add toppings. Try adding different toppings like hot honey, sriracha, pieces of bacon or ham, cheddar cheese, or jalapeño slices to customize the flavor.
Storage & Freezing
Once the cornbread donuts are completely cool, transfer them to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Wait for the donuts to cool and then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.
Frequently Asked Questions
The donuts will be flat if they are still raw in the middle. They can also fall if too much baking powder is added.
The donuts are done when the edges are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Another way to tell if they're done is by gently applying pressure to the center with your finger. If the donut bounces back, it's ready!
Adding too much cornmeal can make the donuts dry and crumbly.
More Breads to Try
One-Bowl Cornbread Donuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease the donut pan with baking spray.
- Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.⅔ cup all purpose flour, ⅓ cup cornmeal, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add buttermilk, egg, and oil. Whisk the wet ingredients on top and then fold into the dry ingredients until no dry streaks of flour remain.⅓ cup buttermilk, 1 large egg, ⅓ cup oil
- Spoon the batter into each well of the donut pan, filling almost to the top. Bake for 10-12 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let the donuts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely and serve drizzled with honey or brushed with butter.