Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins


Most days if you were to ask me if I like my job I would without hesitation tell you, of course I love my job. I have the best job in the world, I get to eat food for a living (well more or less :). Then there are those days where I’m working on a recipe and things just aren’t going my way. I’m very picky about the recipes I post (my husband would probably say, annoyingly picky), if I don’t approve of a recipe I don’t post it. I don’t want my name slapped across a bad product after all :).

Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins | Cooking Classy

I’m happy to say, finally, with the third batch and minor tweaks between each one, these came out to be exactly what I was looking for. With plenty of gingery goodness, a soft and moist texture and just the right amount of deep molasses flavor to go along with the sugar ratio. I played around with different amounts of molasses, different levels of the leavening agents (more/less baking soda or baking powder), different types and amounts of fats, different levels of liquid (and types) and even the amounts of the spices were adjusted each time. Making recipes is so fun but can also be challenging when it comes to baking (if you are ever interested in learning more about baking and the sciences behind it, I’d highly recommend the book Bakewise┬áby Shirley O. Corriher. I love that book).

These are perfect for the upcoming season. I couldn’t decide if gingerbread was more of a Christmas season kind of thing or if it would land in the Fall category too. I’m going to say it could fit into Fall. If not who cares :), I like gingerbread all year long (besides, the holidays are just around the corner). And these taste just like those cute little gingerbread cookies in glazed doughnut muffin form. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins | Cooking Classy

Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins | Cooking Classy

Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins | Cooking Classy


Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil , divided
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/4 cups milk


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 Tbsp fresh orange juice or milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 12-hole muffin tin. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip brown sugar with butter, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and the orange zest on medium-high speed until mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Blend in remaining 3 Tbsp vegetable oil and the applesauce. Add in eggs one at a time and mix just until combined after each addition while adding in 1 tsp vanilla with second egg. Stir in molasses.
  2. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and fold into batter with a rubber spatula, while scraping sides and bottom of bowl (don't over-mix, batter should be lumpy and a few streaks of flour are fine before going on to next addition) then add 1/2 of the milk and fold just until nearly combined, then repeat process and end mixing in last 1/3 of the flour mixture and fold just until until combined (batter should be lumpy).
  3. Divide batter among 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each well nearly full. Bake in preheated oven 8 minutes then reduce oven temperture to 375 and continue to bake 8 - 11 minutes longer until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from oven and run a knife around muffins to remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly (I also transferred the muffins on cooling rack to a cool microwave to seal in some moisture while they cool). When muffins are slightly warm, dip into glaze or spread over tops, then return to cooling rack and allow glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
  4. For the glaze:
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and enough orange juice to make a smooth glaze.
  6. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: They’re gorgeous! Love the drippy glaze running over their cute tops.

    And about testing recipes with molasses, leaveners, flours, sugars – I went through it with some soft ginger-molasses cookies I posted last pre-Xmas and can relate to the variable. And of course, with ANY recipe, testing and tweaking is always a must and sometimes you hit paydirt right away and other times, meh, well….you know how it goes :) And good for you for not posting things that are at all iffy!

    Pinned! October 21, 2013 at 10:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Averie :)! October 22, 2013 at 6:37am Reply

  • Deborah: Jaclyn – these look absolutely perfect!! I am totally drooling over that glaze! October 21, 2013 at 11:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Deborah :)! October 22, 2013 at 6:36am Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: I love this job too but sometimes it can get so annoying – like bad photo shoots and recipes that just aren’t cutting it! I’m so glad you perfected this though – you make the best doughnut muffins! October 21, 2013 at 11:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Chung-Ah! October 22, 2013 at 6:36am Reply

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar: I am all over this! LOVE! October 22, 2013 at 4:18am Reply

  • Ali @ Inspiralized: These pictures are STUNNING! October 22, 2013 at 5:23am Reply

  • Jocelyn @BruCrew Life: Those look incredible! I think gingerbread is one of those things that can go either fall or Christmas. October 22, 2013 at 6:14am Reply

  • Shawn @ I Wash You Dry: Yum! I am so glad you figured out the recipe, cause these look fantastic! I love all the recipes of yours that I have tried, so I’m sure this one will be another winner! :) October 22, 2013 at 7:19am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you’ve liked my recipes Shawn! Definitely a huge compliment coming from an amazing food blogger! October 22, 2013 at 7:34am Reply

  • Valerie: These look AMAZING and I can’t wait to make a Gluten Free version of these for myself! October 22, 2013 at 7:34am Reply

  • Ann Baker: Just curious…what happens to the rejects? Bet you have a lot of friends who are happy to be your test tasters! October 22, 2013 at 2:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I don’t usually like to give the rejects away so I usually toss them (such a waste of food I know) but I often do give away the good ones because I have a small family and I’d just be tempted to eat all of them :). October 22, 2013 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Shari Kelley: Every recipe of yours that I have tried has been fantastic, no doubt due to all the time you spend in perfecting the recipes. Thank you so much! I definitely want to read that book (Bakewise) and try these muffins. October 22, 2013 at 6:53pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed the recipes Shari! Thanks so much for leaving me comments :)! October 25, 2013 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Dina: they look yummy! October 23, 2013 at 9:13am Reply

  • Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen: I have fallen deeply in love! Gingerbread is an all time holiday favorite of mine!!!! October 29, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Paula – bell’alimento: This might make a breakfast eater out of me yet. Swoon. October 29, 2013 at 7:03pm Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: I’m really picky about recipes too but it’s clear why these made the cut! I want some for breakfast! October 29, 2013 at 8:00pm Reply

  • Angela: Hi! These look great and i plan on making them but was wondering if you could give me some advice on storing them. In the past I have made muffins with glaze on them and stored them in a covered plastic container and the next day they are soggy. Any recommendations? Thanks! November 16, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I think the refrigerating might help prevent that, and just allow them to come to room temp before enjoying. November 16, 2013 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Rebecca: These turned out amazing!! If I were to make them again i would add a little more brown sugar, but they are still delicious! November 25, 2013 at 6:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear you liked these Rebecca! Thanks for leaving a comment and suggestion. November 25, 2013 at 7:00pm Reply

  • Krista: These were the perfect brunch on a wintery day today! Thank you! I added some Trader Joe’s cookie butter to the glaze…OMG they were divine! December 7, 2013 at 12:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked them Krista! December 7, 2013 at 1:37pm Reply

  • 40+ Christmas Desserts: […] Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins from Cooking Classy […] December 12, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

  • Lauren: I am really impressed with this recipe! I live in Seoul and made these muffins for a “Breakfast with Santa”. Boy, were they a hit! I accidentally put the whole stick of butter in (8 T.) and substituted a blob of honey for the applesauce and they still turned out! Thank you for the time you take to perfect a recipe, these were perfect indeed!! I also made my glaze a little thicker, like yours here – so it stayed on the top of the muffin and didn’t soak in. Yes, perfectly delicious! Thank you! December 14, 2013 at 11:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad they were enjoyed Lauren! Thanks so much for your comment! Happy Holidays! December 15, 2013 at 11:05am Reply

  • Kris: I made these today. They are divine. I see why you call them doughnut muffins. My husband loved them. December 15, 2013 at 10:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you think they’re divine and happy to hear your husband enjoyed them too! Thanks for your comment Kris! December 15, 2013 at 10:22pm Reply

  • Dana: These were great! I just made them this morning, it took me a little longer than I thought it would (almost an hour), but that is probably b/c it was my first time making these so I read the recipe over and over haha!

    For anyone reading the comments before baking these the first time, don’t worry about completely filling your muffin cups. I used two muffin tins because I thought these were going to be too big but they didn’t rise as much as I thought they would and I ended up with kind of smallish muffins. They still tasted great though!! January 4, 2014 at 8:28am Reply

  • Mackenzie @NeverSkipDessert: Oooooh, cannot wait to try these this fall! July 21, 2014 at 6:41pm Reply

  • The Best Muffins Ever | Weekend in the Southern States: […] home make mulled wine compelled me to bake something fall related. So I turned to a trusted recipe,, that I knew would satisfy my unseasonable desire, at least for the day. PS – still want […] July 22, 2014 at 7:32am Reply

  • Marie: I am so glad I found this recipe . . . They are divine! I didn’t even get the glaze on before people were grabbing seconds! October 9, 2014 at 11:45pm Reply

  • Cathy: Oh my gosh, exactly as described! Phenomenal! I made mini-muffins for the office, and the recipe made 50!! They are so, so, so good! Everything good about Christmas food, all rolled into one! Thanks for the recipe! December 23, 2014 at 11:28am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad they were enjoyed! Thanks for your feedback Cathy! December 24, 2014 at 4:59pm Reply

  • Kristin Hawkins: These muffins are SO delicious! Thank you for doing all the tweaking for us, so the rest of us can try a perfect recipe. I love a good muffin recipe where I can get big, beautifully-rounded tops. I also loved the hint of orange with the gingerbread. Your pumpkin doughnut muffins are equally delicious. Thanks for the time you put into tweaking your recipes and being willing to share them with the rest of us. September 4, 2015 at 11:54am Reply

  • Holly: Could these also be made as traditional doughnuts? June 17, 2016 at 9:38am Reply

  • dottie l. jarrell: yes, i havent made these yet but would love an original donut version thnk that would b great to have with santa clause or neighbors or friends staying the weekend with coffee.could u give a few pointers if i need to add or suntract a few ingredients, to make a good doughnut. thank u so much. December 4, 2016 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Rachel: Hi! Do these freeze well at all? I have a small crowd coming but don’t want to waste!what if I don’t glaze them all right away and freeze some? Thoughts? January 4, 2017 at 6:23pm Reply

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