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Easy Baked Lemon Donut Recipe

This baked lemon donut recipe is the perfect breakfast or dessert to kick off Spring! These baked lemon donuts are soft and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness from the lemon glaze.

Lemon donuts stacked on a white plate with lemon and more donuts in background.

Making homemade doughnuts doesn’t have to be an all-day endeavor. These only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, don’t require the use of hot oil, and are such a sweet treat!

We baked these Christmas donuts over the holidays and they are insanely good! And if you’re here for the lemon flavor, you’ve got to try these blueberry sweet buns with lemon glaze.

And you must try this Jamaican Easter Bun recipe! It’s scrumptious!

If you are looking for a quick, delicious, and pretty breakfast or dessert to set on the table for Easter, this baked donut recipe is perfect. Fresh lemon flavor combined with a pretty yellow pastel color makes them a must for this special time of year! 

Why This Recipe Works

This easy recipe adds a punch of flavor. I use lemon juice, fresh lemon zest, and lemon extract to give these donuts a bright lemon flavor. How many times can I say lemon in one sentence? Quite a few apparently. Lemon lovers rejoice!

The poppy seeds that are folded into the donut batter give it a nice nutty aromatic flavor.

These homemade lemon donuts can be made ahead of time and stored in airtight containers to be eaten the next day. The best part about this recipe, surprisingly, isn’t the sweet donut fix, it’s the simplicity. 

These are not fried donuts. No deep fryer is required. All you need is an oven and about 20 minutes for baking time. 

What Goes into This Recipe?

Ingredients for lemon donuts.

Key Ingredients

Dry ingredients: flour, baking, powder, and baking soda are the base for these delicious donuts

Sugar: gives this treat sweetness

Lemon flavoring: zest, juice, and extract give these donuts their lemony flavor

See recipe card for quantities and full directions.

Do I Need Special Equipment to Make This Recipe?

This baked lemon donut recipe does not require any special equipment, but here is a list of some things you will need to make this recipe even easier.

How to Make This Recipe

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

STEP 2: Grease two doughnut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

STEP 3: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a glass bowl.

STEP 4: In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, lemon extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk until well combined.

Sugar, eggs, lemon extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk in a glass bowl.

STEP 5: Add the butter, and stir to combine.

Butter, sugar, eggs, lemon extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk in glass bowl.

STEP 6: Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. 

Flour and butter and other donut ingredients.

STEP 7: Gently fold the poppy seeds into the donut batter.

Batter with poppy seeds.

STEP 7: Pour the batter to a piping bag using it to pipe the batter into the donut pans.

Lemon donut batter in pan.

STEP 8: Bake the donuts until tops spring back, around 18 to 20 minutes. 

STEP 9: Allow the donuts to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon donuts on a wire rack.

STEP 10: Once the donuts are cool, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add the yellow food coloring and gently stir until combined.

Powdered sugar and lemon juice.

STEP 11: Place paper towels, wax paper, or parchment under the rack to catch drippings.

Lightly dip each donut in the glaze, placing it on the wire cooling rack until the glaze hardens.

Lemon donuts in lemon glaze.

Serve.

Lemon donuts stacked on a white plate with lemon and more donuts in background.

Variations

You can easily turn this lemon donut recipe into donut holes if you prefer. Instead of a donut pan, you can use a donut hole pan. If you don’t have one of those available, try using a mini muffin tin instead.

Just pipe batter into the muffin tin and adjust the baking time to around 15 minutes. Roll in the glaze once cooled.

For an even healthier version, you can replace the eggs with egg whites, swap out the butter for Greek yogurt, use coconut sugar instead of regular granulated sugar, change the all-purpose flour to almond flour, and substitute the regular milk for almond milk.

An important thing to remember is to adjust bake time as needed. Healthy and delicious breakfast!

If you are not a fan of the citrus flavor in this lemon donut recipe, use a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead. You could also change the lemon glaze to a cream cheese frosting to spread on top.

These lemon sugar-baked donuts can also be turned into regular fried donuts. Just heat up some vegetable oil or canola oil and pipe or drop the doughnut batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do these resemble Krispy Kreme lemon glazed donuts?

I would say these are a healthier spin on a regular donut. Krispy Kreme uses a frying method for their donuts. They also fill their lemon glazed donuts with a tart lemon curd. An easy way to recreate this would be to fry some donut holes, fill them with lemon curd, and then roll in the lemon glaze.

How long do homemade donuts last?

These donuts will keep for 3 to 4 days if stored properly in an airtight container at room temperature. You could also freeze them and they will last for a few months.

Why do donuts get hard?

without covering them and they got stale or you put them in the microwave. Homemade donuts don’t heat well in the microwave because they turn into a solid dough mass. The best way to reheat donuts is to put them in the oven for a few minutes.

Lemon donuts stacked on a white plate with lemon and more donuts in background.

Top Tips

As oven temperatures vary, be sure to check the donuts at about 18 minutes, sooner if your oven runs hot. 

Mix the dough until just combined. Don’t overmix cake doughnuts as they will get gummy and be too chewy.

If you ever make donuts and fill the pan so much that the hole disappears, simply use a coring tool like you would use for apples. Especially if you are going to ice them, no one will ever know!

Be careful when mixing your glaze ingredients. Add just a little bit of liquid at a time to the powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar. This will ensure the glaze won’t be too runny.

Glaze can be tricky to work with. You will want to make sure the glaze is room temperature and the donuts are slightly warm, but not too warm. Also, I know it’s tempting, but it’s best to wait to serve them until the glaze has set which can take up to an hour.

More Delicious Breakfast Ideas

Lemon donuts stacked on a white plate with a black and white cloth.

Lemon Doughnuts Recipe

Amazing blueberry doughnuts with a light lemon glaze.
5 from 3 votes
Print this Recipe Pin this Recipe Rate
Course: Breakfast or snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 226kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Donut pan 
  • 1 Wire rack/cooling rack
  • Baking Sheet
  • Separate bowl: large and small
  • Piping bag
  • paper towels, plastic wrap, and parchment paper For easy cleanup and storage

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Donuts:

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • teaspoons lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • cup milk room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • yellow food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease two doughnut pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, lemon extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk until well combined.
  • Add the butter, and stir to combine.
  • Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  • Gently fold the poppy seeds into the donut batter.
  • Pour the batter to a piping bag using it to pipe the batter into the donut pans.
  • Bake the donuts until tops spring back, around 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Allow the donuts to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the donuts are cool, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Optional: Add the yellow food coloring and gently stir until combined.
  • Lightly dip each donut in the glaze, placing it on the wire cooling rack until the glaze hardens.
  • Serve.

Notes

As oven temperatures vary, be sure to check the donuts at about 18 minutes, sooner if your oven runs hot. 
Mix the dough until just combined. Don’t overmix cake doughnuts as they will get gummy and be too chewy.
If you ever make donuts and fill the pan so much that the hole disappears, simply use a coring tool like you would use for apples. Especially if you are going to ice them, no one will ever know!
Be careful when mixing your glaze ingredients. Add just a little bit of liquid at a time to the powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar. This will ensure the glaze won’t be too runny. If it’s not thin enough for your preference, feel free to add a little more lemon juice or a splash of milk.
Glaze can be tricky to work with. You will want to make sure the glaze is room temperature and the donuts are slightly warm, but not too warm. Also, I know it’s tempting, but it’s best to wait to serve them until the glaze has set which can take up to an hour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg
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