Crumb donuts that are baked instead of fried! Soft, fluffy vanilla cake donuts scented lightly with nutmeg, baked in a doughnut pan. The crumb topping is baked at the same time, and you flake it with a fork before dunking the donuts in glaze and pressing it on top. Such a beautiful, delicious donut, in just 30 minutes!
The best desserts have streusel on top, am I right or am I right? Something soft and sweet topped with something crunchy and sweet? We love the way blueberry cobbler for two has a soft, soupy blueberry mixture topped with a crisp sweet topping, right? It's pretty much the absolute most we can ask for in a dessert. Buttery bits of cinnamon and brown sugar clumped together just have a way of making you lick your fingers to pick up every last crumb.
Streusel, or crumb topping, is usually relegated to desserts after dinner, like an easy apple crisp. But what about those of us that want a buttery crumb topping at breakfast time? I think that while coffee cake muffins piled high with streusel are great, muffin tops really lack enough surface area to hold an insane amount of crumb topping.
I'm inspired by the crisp crunchy crumb topping on my sour cream coffee cake muffins when making these crumb donuts. I wanted more crumb surface area--an absolutely insane amount of topping! Crumbs are the best part!
What are the crumbs on crumb donuts?
I'm so glad you want to break down the exact science of buttery crumb topping with me. It's really the best part of life! Crumb topping on baked goods are made out of butter, flour, brown sugar, and a small amount of cinnamon. Sometimes salt is added to balance the flavor. Also be aware that you can sometimes find nuts in crumb toppings. I don't call for nuts, but I've seen them at bakeries with pecans and walnuts.
What flavor are crumb donuts?
This base of this recipe is a basic baked vanilla and nutmeg-scented donut. The nutmeg gives a baked doughnut a unique flavor that can almost pass as fried. It's definitely not exact, but the nutmeg is very welcome here. If you don't have it, still make the recipe--you will love it!
What makes it insane and over-the-top is that the crumb topping that you pop in the oven at the same time the donuts are baking. Making the crumb mixture this slightly unusual way is what makes it EXTRA CRISPY!
Instead of putting the crumbs on the actual doughnuts before baking, we're going to bake the crumbs separately on a sheet pan, and they will flatten out like one big cookie. Look at the photos below for the example, and watch the video, too! Just keep an eye on it so it doesn't turn much past golden-brown. As soon as it comes out of the oven, you flake it with a fork to create the crisp crumbs.
All that's left to do is dunk the warm donuts in a simple glaze, and pile the crumb topping on top. It can be a personal achievement to see who can pile as many crumbs on top! It's also a personal achievement to avoid eating it right off the pan, hah!
The baked donut pan I love the most is this one. It's nonstick, and I love that each pan only holds 6 doughnuts, because that's exactly how many treats we're making today! This is a small batch baking blog, remember? Yes, you can double the recipe!
Ingredients for crumb doughnuts:
- unsalted butter: You'll need this for the crumb topping and the doughnuts themselves.
- all-purpose flour
- brown sugar: I like light brown sugar for crumb toppings.
- granulated sugar
- baking powder
- nutmeg: Just a small amount of nutmeg in baked doughnuts gives them a fried taste. If you don't have it, omit and make the recipe as normal.
- milk: Whole milk is best for baking, but you can use 2%.
- egg white: This recipe calls for just one egg white. Reserve the egg yolk for another use. Here's a list of recipes to use egg yolks that are leftover.
- vanilla extract
- powdered sugar
Steps to make crumb baked donuts:
- Gather ingredients: You'll need ingredients to make the baked donuts, ingredients to make the crispy crumbs, and ingredients to make the glaze to dunk the donuts in. It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but many of them are repeated from the donuts! Overall, it's only 12 ingredients commonly used for baking.
- Preheat and prep: First, preheat the oven to 350. Give the donut pan a quick spray with nonstick spray, and have ready a small cookie sheet, lined with foil or a piece of parchment for the crumbs. We're going to make the baked crumb mixture first.
- Make crumb topping: In a bowl, combine the crumb ingredients: diced cold butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your fingers or a pastry blender to force the butter into small pieces that are evenly coated by the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Spread the crumbs on a foil-lined baking pan. Set it aside. It will go in the oven at the same time as the doughnuts.
- Dry ingredients: Now, let's make the crumb baked donuts! In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Did you know that whisking sugar in with the dry ingredients in a recipe makes the final product super fluffy and soft? I do it in my small batch blueberry muffins recipe, too!
- Wet ingredients: In a small saucepan, add the milk, egg white, butter and vanilla. Heat over very low heat while stirring continuously until the butter is melted. Be careful not to heat this mixture too long because you'll cook the egg. We're really just aiming to melt the butter and mix it very well with the other wet ingredients.
- Combine: Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, and then scoop the batter into the greased donut pan. You can use two spoons to get it in there, or you can scrape the batter into a pastry bag and pipe it into each circle. You can watch the how-to video to see this, if you like. It can be a bit hard to get donut batter into a pan without making a mess, but I promise these donuts are worth it!
- Bake: Bake the crumb donuts at 350-degrees F for 8-9 minutes. Slide the pan of crumbs into the oven at the same time, and bake them for the same amount of time, but keep an eye on them--they definitely need to be removed at or before the 8-minute mark; test the tops of the donuts for springiness before removing from the oven.
- Scrape: Use a fork to break up the crumb mixture. It will be extra crisp, and extra buttery! Try hard not to eat it right from the pan!
- Whisk: Whisk together the glaze ingredients: powdered sugar, milk (or cream) and vanilla extract.
- Dunk: Once the donuts have cooled in the pan for 5 minutes, move them to a wire rack. Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a shallow bowl.
Crumb baked donuts just might be the best way to start your weekend. In my family, 6 donuts are perfect for us. My husband and I each have 1 or 2, and the kids can split a donuts. If I have any leftover, I just rewarm them in the toaster oven to re-crisp the crumb topping.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes, you can make part of this recipe in advance. The night before, bake the donuts and crumb topping. Break up the crumbs, and leave them out (uncovered) at room temperature. The next morning, make the donut glaze, dip the donuts, and then roll in the crumbs. You can also rewarm the donuts before doing this for a few seconds in the microwave.
Other baked donuts to make in your donut pan:
- Mint Chip Donuts
- Pumpkin Donuts with Honey Glaze
- Chocolate Chai Donuts
Make 6 baked donuts with crumb topping.
For the crumb topping:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the donuts:
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 6-donut pan very well with cooking spray.
- First, make the crumb topping. In a small bowl, combine the cubed butter, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mash the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork. Make sure the butter is well incorporated with no patches of flour. Pour the mixture out on a small baking sheet lined with foil. Set aside.
- Next, make the donuts: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, stir together the milk, egg white, butter and vanilla. Stir the mixture continuously over medium-low heat until the butter dissolves completely.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry (but don't over-mix).
- Divide the batter between the 6 spaces in the donut pan and bake for 8-9 minutes. Add the pan of crumbs to the oven at the same time. Keep an eye on the crumbs--the mixture will spread out like one giant cookie. Make sure it doesn't get too dark brown. When the donuts are done, the surface of the donuts will spring back when pressed gently.
- Let the donuts cool in the pan 5 minutes before removing them. Meanwhile, scrape the crumb mixture with a fork to create crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a shallow bowl or plate.
- Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a shallow bowl. To serve the donuts, dip each top into the glaze, then the crumb mixture.
brown sugar: I like light brown sugar for crumb toppings.
nutmeg: Just a small amount of nutmeg in baked doughnuts gives them a fried taste. If you don't have it, omit and make the recipe as normal.
milk: Whole milk is best for baking, but you can use 2%.
egg white: This recipe calls for just one egg white. Reserve the egg yolk for another use. Here's a list of recipes to use egg yolks that are leftover.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 188mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 3g
amy @ fearless homemaker says
Oh holy yum! i love anything with streusel + these look AMAZING. must make soon!
Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says
Every dessert deserves a crumb topping! Can't wait to try these! I'll probably gain some weight but it'll be so worth it!
Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) says
I am working on a donut roundup for my site and would love to link to these! Do you mind if I use one of your pics with a link to the recipe?
Erin | The LawStudent'sWifen says
Craving doughnuts for dinner! Or is it donut? I never can decide.
It's cool if I make an extra pan of the crumb topping to go at with a spoon, right?
WONDERFUL recipe Christina! Just made these now, sampled one and these donuts are PERFECT. Incredibly soft, beautifully spiced, just the right size, and only 6 pieces so no guilt of overeating :) Would compliment a good cup of coffee on a cool, breezy autumn morning. Thanks for sharing, I'll be trying out some more of your recipes soon!
. Add the pan of crumbs to the oven at the same time...
I don't understand, with the donuts? They're on a separate pan right so how can they be done together.
If I attempt to put them in, should they be above or below the donut rack? I'm assuming that would affect things.
Christina Lane says
Two separate pans.
Okay, I’m stumped. Every recipe I’ve tried from your blog has worked flawlessly on the first attempt!!! My first attempt at these donuts didn’t turn out quite right. (A little background: I’m also a Midwest girl who loves to bake/cook, but I moved to Germany and have had a heck of a time adjusting to the minor differences in ovens, ingredients, measurements, etc., etc., etc...). My donuts didn’t rise, and they didn’t brown at all. I’m wondering if it has to do with the butter? Could that be? I’m pretty sure my baking powder is still good... any other thoughts about why my donuts flopped? Silver lining of a small batch?? I’M TRYING AGAIN RIGHT NOW <3
Christina Lane says
Oh no, McKenna! Let me make this recipe again this week...it's been a few years. They just baked up flat, no rise at all? Are you at high altitude?
Thanks for getting back to me! No, I'm not living at a high altitude, and yeah, the donuts ended up looking like little "O" shaped cookies. I ended up just stacking them to give them a little more volume! Which was still delicious!! I'll keep trying, and when I figure it out (if anyone is interested), I'll make a note of what my mistake was.
Soul Treat says
Made these today and absolutely fell in love! They are now my family’s favorite. They were so creamy and delicious. Every recipe I’ve tried from your blog works so well for me. They were so soft and fluffy. They were too good! I can’t stop making your recipes, everything is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. Can’t wait for the next recipe you are going to share. Best wishes to you! You are doing such a great job. This is very very appetizing!