Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

by Dorothy Reinhold on May 16, 2020

Print This Post Print This Post Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins: Sweet, spiced, heavenly nuggets are reminiscent of cinnamon-sugar doughnuts without the deep-fat frying or mess, and perfect for breakfast or brunch.

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins: Sweet, spiced, heavenly nuggets are reminiscent of cinnamon-sugar doughnuts without the deep-fat frying or mess, and perfect for breakfast or brunch.

Doughnut Muffins — rich with pure butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar straight out of the oven – make any day a party just by showing up in the bread basket. And since they are from a cookbook called “Seriously Simple Parties,” by Diane Rossen Worthington (Chronicle Books), {affiliate link} I knew I could pull them off without a hitch.

You see, I have been her fan since 1983, when I read her “The Cuisine of California{affiliate link} from cover to cover, gaining inspiration and confidence in the kitchen as she reinterpreted traditional dishes for our newfound lighter desires, adapted recipes from the state’s talented chefs and created her own originals. I was smitten by her talent!

Seriously Simple PartiesFlash forward 30 years, and here she was back on my bookshelf, still teaching a new generation of eager cooks, only this time the topic was how to take it easy, and make it easy. She began in 2002 with “Seriously Simple,” then followed that with “Seriously Simple Holidays,” and now has weighed in with “Seriously Simple Parties.”

She wants us to know how to throw a party without being overwhelmed by all the planning, shopping, prep work, cooking and serving. This book is aimed at reducing party anxiety, and we can all take a page from her playbook to entertain rather effortlessly.

I have bookmarked her CC Cooler (cucumber, vodka and my beloved St. Germain liqueur), her Parmesan Artichoke Dip, her Quinoa Salad with Pomegranates and Persimmons, her Deli Frittata stuffed with leeks and chard, and her Israeli Couscous with Caramelized Leeks, Carrots and Zucchini, just on the first pass through. Anyone want to come to my party?

Alas, I will get to those, but first, we’re eating breakfast. And we’re having these delicious muffins, heady with cinnamon and coated with crunchy sugar.

Life is sweet!

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 regular muffins, or 48 mini-muffins

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins: Sweet, spiced, heavenly nuggets are reminiscent of cinnamon-sugar doughnuts without the deep-fat frying or mess, and perfect for breakfast or brunch.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1/2 cup (1 stick), melted
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter and flour four mini-muffin pans or one regular muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk, and eggs until well blended.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the room-temperature butter and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar together on medium speed until light yellow and the sugar granules can’t be seen, 4 to 5 minutes. Decrease the mixing speed to low and add the dry ingredients and milk mixture in thirds, alternating between the two and beating after each addition to incorporate it into the batter. Stop beating once the batter is completely mixed. Do not overmix or the muffins will be tough.
  4. Using a small ice-cream scoop for mini-muffins or a regular ice-cream scoop for large muffins, fill the prepared muffin cups, just up to the top, with the batter. Bake for 13 minutes for mini-muffins or 17 to 18 minutes for regular muffins, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Do not worry if the tops of the muffins have not browned. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack lined with foil or wax paper.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Set up an assembly line with the muffins, melted butter, and sugar mixture. Dip a muffin in the butter or brush the muffin with butter, coating it lightly all over. Try to get the sides of the muffin, so it will have more topping. Then coat all over liberally with the cinnamon-sugar. Shake off the excess and transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining muffins. Serve immediately.
  6. Makes 48 mini-muffins or 12 regular muffins.


Recipe source: “Seriously Simple Parties,” by Diane Rossen Worthington (Chronicle Books, $24.95). Recipe and photo used with permission. Disclosure: Chronicle Books sent the book for review.


Diane Rossen WorthingtonHints from author Diane Worthington

  • These are best eaten warm.
  • You can make them 1 day ahead and keep them in an airtight container.
  • The Clever Cook could fill a pastry bag fitted with a small tip with a mixture of peanut butter and jelly for kids, or just jelly. Use the tip to poke a small hole in the bottom of each muffin and fill it. This works best with large muffins.
  • When she can’t decide between mini-muffins or large ones, she bakes 6 large doughnut muffins and 24 mini-muffins.
  • If she is having young children over, she times the muffins to come out of the oven when they arrive, so they can help roll them in cinnamon sugar—a fun activity for kids and adults.



areyoupinningIf you like this recipe and want to save it, pin the image below to your Pinterest board.

The easiest Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins in the oven on

3 mini loaves of Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins made into bread loaves, on a cooling rack.

Would you like to bake these as mini loaves?

My daughter didn’t have a muffin tin at her apartment (you better believe I am going to remedy that!), but she did have those little foil mini loaf pans you get from the supermarket. She snapped a photo of her results, at right ⇒. Here’s what to do:

1. Cut the recipe in half to make 3 mini loaves.

2. Bake at 350F degrees for about 20 minutes. Check a couple of minutes earlier than that, because everyone’s oven bakes differently.

3. After baking and allowing to rest for 10 or so minutes, remove loaves from pans and place loaves on a cooling rack.

3. Brush melted button on top with a silicone brush (if you have it), and then sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar. The butter adheres the sugar to the top.  Voila!

This post was originally published Nov. 1, 2013 and has been refreshed and republished today.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Allyson Zea November 29, 2017 at 8:32 am

This is such a good idea for a spin on the classic donuts!!


Abeer November 29, 2017 at 5:07 am

These look crazy delicious! Yummy!


Catalina @ Peas & Peonies November 29, 2017 at 4:25 am

Absolutely delicious! Perfect texture and full of flavor!


Jen November 28, 2017 at 6:12 pm

I’m going to surprise my kids by making these this weekend…might sneak a few for myself too 😉


Jamielyn Nye November 28, 2017 at 11:22 am

These look perfect for Sunday brunch! YUM!


David Miller April 21, 2015 at 9:18 am

Thanks for sharing this recipe it’s delicious..This is a perfect recipe for me..i love muffin..


SeattleDee November 17, 2013 at 9:42 am

These little bites do sound “shockingly delicious”, and positively addictive. Mini muffins dipped in butter and rolled in sweet cinnamon – OMG, pass the plate, please.


Renee - Kudos Kitchen November 4, 2013 at 3:21 am

These donut muffins sound divine! What could be better than a muffin dipped in butter and then into cinnamon and sugar? Oh yeah!


Geez Louise! November 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm

This is one of my favorite books… the recipes, styling, and photography are gorgeous!


Dionne Baldwin November 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

I could use that book for sure, although I am doing much better with my party anxiety. I have grown to love doughnut muffins! These are a perfect treat to bring for holiday brunch with family too, I would imagine!


Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories November 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for introducing me to this author! How cool that you had her book from 30 years ago! Pinned your fabulous muffins!


Dorothy Reinhold November 2, 2013 at 8:16 am

If it is a Diane Worthington recipe, you KNOW it is going to work!


Lora @cakeduchess November 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I’ve never heard of her book and am intrigued. Love these donuts, Dorothy. That photo is so tempting…I can just smell the spice and think it would be dreamy with a hot cup of coffee right about now. Thank you for being a part of #TwelveLoavs!


Dorothy Reinhold November 2, 2013 at 8:17 am

It is my pleasure to bake along with all of you each month!


Renee November 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm

The idea of dipping a muffin in butter and rolling it in cinnamon sugar has me totally distracted and obsessed until I make it happen here. Oh wow. Oh heavenly goodness wow.


Dorothy Reinhold November 2, 2013 at 8:19 am

Butter and cinnamon sugar. Hard to beat that!


Holly November 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I am going to look for this cookbook– it is right up my alley! I am always looking for a simple way to enjoy food with friends. Now– these muffins– I could eat a dozen right now, with or without friends! Yum.


Kath November 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

I love Diane Rossen Worthington’s style! I have all three of her Seriously Simple books. I have eyed the Doughnut Muffins recipe but haven’t tried it yet. Your photo makes me want to make them today! 🙂


Liz November 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

I’ve made similar muffins…to rave reviews! Looks like a fabulous cookbook…I love her entertaining philosophy!


Rossella November 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

Doughnut Muffins: two words to introduce a fantastic recipe.
I really want to try them.


ConnieK November 1, 2013 at 8:06 am

This book looks amazing!


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom November 1, 2013 at 5:55 am

Dorothy, these look fabulous and so cute! yum!!


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