During my junior and senior years of college, I worked in a graduate-level organic chemistry lab on campus. Nearly all of the organic chemistry professors, including the one in charge of my lab, expected their graduate students to come into work at least one day each weekend.
However, my boss brought in a box of donuts almost every Saturday to make those weekend lab hours a little nicer. He stopped by one of the smaller mom-and-pop donut shops in town, located on the west side fairly close to his house, and selected a wide variety of their pastries.
Those gigantic pink cardboard boxes often contained classic donut flavors, like plain glazed, maple twists, and old-fashioneds… But that particular store also slipped in more exciting flavors too, ranging from donuts covered in cinnamon sugar crumbs or rainbow sprinkles to ones stuffed with banana cream filling or topped with Fruit Loops (yes, the popular children’s breakfast cereal!).
The grad students definitely appreciated Boss’s kind gesture… They quickly gathered in the break room for the pastries and freshly brewed cups of coffee as soon as that iconic pink box arrived!
Although not required to come into lab on the weekends as an undergraduate, I still occasionally popped by to check on an overnight reaction or run a quick purification and identification test. Before I headed home on those afternoons, I took a little peek inside of the box, purposely waiting until all of the grad students had claimed their treats so I wouldn’t steal their weekend bribes…
But if I found lots of extra donuts inside, I occasionally took one to go!
I normally gravitated towards the more classic flavors. I always checked for a plain, unglazed old-fashioned donut first (I loved its dense cake-like texture and iconic flavor!), but if those had all disappeared, I reached for a chocolate frosted donut instead. Because they were so sweet and a little greasy from being fried in oil, I almost always ate those donuts for dessert after dinner!
When I made a batch of these Healthy Vanilla Donuts with Raspberry Glaze, I was instantly transported back to those weekend lab donut days. They have that same cake-like texture and iconic flavor as my favorite old-fashioned donuts, and the gorgeous naturally pink glaze on top was such a sweet and fun finishing touch!
Yet unlike the ones inside of those pink boxes, these healthy homemade donuts are baked (not fried!). They also taste more like true breakfast food — not overly sugary desserts! — so I never get a sugar crash after eating these to start my day!
And with how yummy they taste… I kind of wish every day started with these healthy homemade donuts! 😉
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY VANILLA DONUTS
Let’s go over how to make these healthy homemade vanilla donuts! You’ll start by making the donut batter. Because these homemade donuts are baked (not fried!), it’s definitely more of a wet cake-like batter compared to the firm yeast-based dough that you often need for traditional fried donuts.
The batter requires white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and a secret ingredient. (More on that in a moment!) In the meantime, I want to share a little reminder with you about white whole wheat flour.
Despite what it sounds like, white whole wheat flour is not a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour! Instead, it’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!). Regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat, but they both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!). White whole wheat flour also has a lighter taste and texture, which lets the moist and tender texture of your healthy homemade vanilla donuts really shine!
Tip: I’ve included my recommended gluten-free options in the Notes section of the recipe, if you’d prefer to make these healthy baked vanilla donuts gluten-free instead!
Remember, it’s really important to measure the flour correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own and love!) Too much flour will make your batter stiff and make your donuts dry, rather that moist and tender. I promise it’s worth taking the few extra moments to measure correctly!
Bonus: If you buy a kitchen scale (like the one I have), then you usually end up with fewer measuring cups and dishes to wash!
Ready to know that secret ingredient? It’s something you probably keep in your pantry already…
Nutmeg! I learned this trick many years ago. When you add a pinch of nutmeg to your healthy homemade donut batter, it imitates the classic old-fashioned donut flavor and gives your baked donuts a very similar flavor. Something about its rich nuttiness mimics both the flavor of the old-fashioned donut dough and the flavor of the oil the donuts are fried in.
Such a neat trick, right?? You get the same classic “fried donut” flavor for WAY fewer calories!
And another thing that makes these healthy homemade donuts so low calorie? You only need ½ tablespoon of butter or coconut oil. Yes, that’s it! And no oil for frying either!
It’s a mini donut miracle! 😉
Then to help your healthy homemade vanilla donuts taste exceptionally cake-like and tender, you’ll mix Greek yogurt into the batter. Greek yogurt is one of my favorite ingredients in healthy baking! It adds the same moisture to your batter as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories. It also gives your healthy homemade vanilla donuts a protein boost!
And that extra protein is really important because…
Your healthy homemade donuts have no eggs! My brother is allergic to eggs, so I tried making these baked donuts egg-free so he could enjoy them too. It worked beautifully! The big protein boost in the Greek yogurt replaces the protein of the eggs, so these healthy homemade vanilla donuts still hold their shape while baking and cooling!
There’s another secret ingredient in these baked vanilla donuts that helps them rise and gives them a really tender texture…
Distilled white vinegar! I know, it sounds weird… But there’s a reason for using it! The vinegar (an acid) reacts with the baking soda (a base). When they react, it creates air bubbles. Those air bubbles force your healthy homemade donuts to rise higher while baking in the oven, and it also gives them a more tender texture.
Delicious and nerdy baking science like that is pretty cool, isn’t it? 😉
You’ll sweeten your healthy homemade vanilla donuts with another one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also really concentrated. You just need 1 ½ teaspoons to sweeten this entire batch of healthy baked donuts!
Since many stevia brands and products have a slightly different sweetness level, they’re not necessarily 1-for-1 substitutes for each other. I highly recommend using the same one I do for the best results. I love this one because I don’t notice any strange aftertaste like with some other stevia products. I buy it online here because that’s the best price I’ve found, and you’ll use it in all of these other recipes of mine too!
Almost time to bake! You just have to transfer the batter to your donut pans first. I bought donut pans online here! They’re really easy to use. Because they’re silicone and a bit flimsy, I set them on top of light-colored metal baking sheets to make it easier to slide them in and out of the oven.
For the best shape, pipe the batter into your donut molds! Just transfer it to a gallon-sized zip-topped bag, cut off a small piece of one corner, and fill each cavity. Easy as pie! (Or… Easy as donuts??)
Then once your donuts have baked and fully cooled, it’s time to move on to…
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY RASPBERRY GLAZE
Making the glaze! This healthy raspberry glaze is great for donuts, cakes, cookies, scones, cinnamon rolls (need to make those again ASAP!)… You name it!
To start, you’ll need — you guessed it! — raspberries. I used frozen and thawed raspberries because my grocery store was all out of fresh, but both work equally well.
For the smoothest glaze, blitz your raspberries in a blender or food processor first. Then smoosh (yes, a very technical term!) the purée through a sieve (aka a mesh strainer). The sieve should catch all of the raspberry seeds. Just remember to scrape the purée off of the bottom side of the sieve — it tends to cling!
If you’re feeling lazy (that’s normally me!), this healthy raspberry glaze still tastes delicious, even if you don’t strain out the seeds!
Then you’ll stir the raspberry purée together with confectioners’ style erythritol. Erythritol is another plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (so it’s clean eating friendly too!). By using erythritol, it also means this healthy raspberry glaze is sugar-free! (And your healthy homemade baked vanilla donuts are sugar-free too!)
Once you’ve reach a nice consistency, not too thick and not too thin (Goldilocks would approve!), then dip each donut into the sugar-free raspberry glaze, shake off the excess, and place it back onto your wire cooling rack — just in case some of the glaze drips down the sides — or straight into your mouth.
I won’t judge either way! And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amys.healthy.baking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy baked vanilla donuts with raspberry glaze!
Healthy Baked Vanilla Donuts
FOR THE DONUTS
- 2 cups (240g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp (15mL) vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp liquid stevia (see Notes!)
- ¾ cup (180g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt, room temperature (see Notes!)
- 2 tbsp (30mL) distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup (240mL) nonfat milk, room temperature
FOR THE GLAZE
- ½ cup (70g) raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
- ½ cup (72g) confectioners’ style erythritol (see Notes!)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat 32 mini donut cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- To prepare the donuts, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and liquid stevia. Stir in the Greek yogurt. Stir in the vinegar and ½ cup of milk. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and remaining milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.)
- Transfer the batter to a large zip-topped plastic bag, and cut off one corner, Pipe the batter into the prepared donut cups. Bake at 350°F for 13-16 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch. Cool in the muffin cups for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Just before serving, prepare the glaze. Add the raspberries to a blender or food processor, and pulse until they form a smooth purée. For the smoothest glaze, gently press the purée through a fine mesh strainer or sieve with the back of a spoon to remove the seeds. Stir together the confectioners’ style erythritol and 7 teaspoons of raspberry purée (or use less purée for a thicker glaze, or use more purée for a thinner glaze). Working with one donut at a time, dip one side into the glaze, gently shake the donut to remove the excess, and return to the wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining donuts and glaze.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts
♡ Healthy Baked Banana Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
♡ Healthy Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
♡ Healthy Baked Chocolate Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze
♡ Healthy Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Maple Glaze
♡ Healthy Baked Snickerdoodle Donut Holes
♡ Healthy Baked Blueberry Almond Donut Holes