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Pumpkin Doughnut Holes: Vegan-Style

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Hello vegan chocolate doughnuts!

Normally, when I think about doughnuts, I think about Boston Cream Pie. Boston Cream Pie was one of my sister’s and my favorite doughnut flavors when we were little. I even turned it into oatmeal one day:

boston cream pie oatmeal

Boston Cream Pie Oatmeal

But today’s little creations are more along the lines of Dunkin Donuts’ munchkins. Do you remember those? Kids often brought them in for birthdays, at least in my elementary school. I actually didn’t like the chocolate ones. Can you believe it? They tasted too cake-y and not chocolate-y enough. Hehe even as a little kid, it was all about the chocolate with me! So my favorite munchkins were the glazed doughnut holes. And now that Alexandra’s planted the doughnut idea in my mind, I’m thinking I should perhaps try my hand at healthy glazed doughnuts… stay tuned!

Honestly, today’s recipe doesn’t really taste doughnut-like. But the pumpkin balls sure do look like doughnut holes. Observe:

pumpkin doughnut holes

They were fantastic! I might like ’em better than the 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Balls!

I wasn’t the only one who loved the doughnut holes, though. A friend stopped by in the afternoon, so I gave her a few to take home. She could not stop raving about them. I think she sent no fewer than three text messages thanking me for the little gems.

pumpkin donut holes

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

  • Very scant 2 tbsp oats or oat bran (12g)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative (30g)
  • Optional, depending on the sweetness of your nut butter: 1-2 tsp agave or a few stevia drops
  • 1-2 tsp canned pumpkin (5-10g)
  • Optional: salt (once again, depending on your pb)

Directions: First measure the oats into a bowl and crush them a bit (with your hands, a fork, or even the Magic Bullet). Then add the pnb, pumpkin, and optional sweetener. If you take the pb straight from the fridge, you might want to microwave 20-30 seconds (or just leave the pb out for a bit so it gets soft enough to mix). Mix well, then form into balls… or eat the dough! Here are the ingredients I used for the doughnut holes I made yesterday:

doughnut ingredients

I also added a dash of salt, so my doughnut holes were really four-ingredient balls. I can’t recommend the Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl variation highly enough!! If PB&Co butters aren’t available in your area, simply use regular pb and add cinnamon and sugar (and raisins if desired).

If you’re still in the mood for balls…


Don’t forget Pumpkin Pie Babies.


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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Ilana says:

    Donuts!!!! Ahhh! I haven’t had one since being vegan but who can resist the doughy-chewy insides? I loved French crullers and anything cream filled – in high school I had a chocolate-glazed custard filled Krispy Kreme donut for breakfast at LEAST once a week (which probably explains why I was usually in such a bad mood by the afternoon haha) but mmmmmmmmmm soooo good. Gotta work on a vegan donut – my goal this year is to make vegan versions of all the traditional Jewish holiday foods and jelly-filled donuts are traditional for Hanukkah! Thanks for the idea – gonna go start researching 🙂

    1. You could make a vegan Jewish cookbook! Jelly-filled doughnuts… mmmm, I hated them as a kid, but for some reason they sounded really good when I read your comment lol!

      1. Ilana says:

        vegan Jewish holiday cookbook is totally one of my dreams 🙂
        …i should stop writing about it on the internet and start writing it in real life haha

        1. Ilana says:

          also I never liked jelly donuts either but I bet a good vegan donut with a fantastic jam would be AMAZING. omg. ON IT RIGHT NOW.

  2. you should make a vanilla bean donut with pumpkin glaze!!!

  3. as a chocoholic, i also didn’t like the choc donut holes!! I agree– too cakey… maybe if they tasted more like a brownie, i’d enjoy…

  4. I loved and STILL LOVE donuts — my favorite is classic glazed. But who am I kidding — any donut is a good one (unless its covered in coconut, blech…)

  5. Oh that looks so good! I don’t normally like doughnuts (they just make me feel sluggish and yucky) but these look good!

  6. Christina says:

    Well I dunno about doughnut holes, but we have a family recipe for drop doughnuts that’s been handed-down, and it’s one of those “you have to be taught how to make it to get it right” recipes. My momma and I are the only ones who actually know how to make them, which is pretty cool 🙂 They’re sooo unhealthy (because they’re fried in Crisco, lol), but soooo delicious. We only make them on very, VERY special occasions because it creates such a mess, but it’s a nice treat because everyone in the family enjoys them.

    The one exception is Christmas…starting when I was 8 or so, my godfather has gotten a batch every year because they’ve always been his favorite (never mind the long running joke about how he was a cop and just wanted coffee and doughnuts :P). I didn’t start making them without my mom’s help until I was 18, but now that I know how to make them it’s just a little more special 🙂 And never fear…he always gets a little something to enjoy with his morning doughnut, like a prayer or meditation book – and this year he’s gonna get coffee from the coffee shop I work at too because it’s the BEST coffee in town :)))

    1. Aww you’re so sweet to your godfather. And lol yeah, I think everyone knows that cop stereotype! But sometimes it’s true ;).
      We have a similar family recipe: called “Zepole” which are deep-fried. My grandma makes ’em for Christmas and Easter.

  7. Caitlin says:

    OMG they really do look like doughnut holes! Maybe it’s just the lighting, but that close-up photo even looks glazed. Yum yum!

  8. Melissa says:

    Vegan Essentials sells vegan donuts made in my hometown of Racine, WI!
    Frosted, BOSTON CREAM and jelly filled. Plus cinnamon rolls. I always have my folks get me some Boston Creams when I come to visit them in Racine and they are the BEST. I tried the Portland Cream at Voodoo and it wasn’t anywhere near as good.

    Vegan Essentials is mail order, btw.
    ORDER SOME DONUTS! 😉 Support Larsen’s so they keep making vegan goodies!

    1. Boston Cream? Vegan? Off to check it out :).

  9. Barbara says:

    I’m still dreaming of those coconut macaroons I made yesterday with the dates and coconut butter. Coconut butter!!! Who knew??!! It may be in the category of “too good”… Incredible.

    1. Yay, another coconut butter lover! We may just take over the world yet ;).

  10. VEGirl says:

    Donuts? That can basically be crossed the list when you are gluten-free. A few times in the past we have made them ourselves (watching the oil disappear from the pot into the donuts the whole way. EEW!) But it had been a LONG TIME when I was in New York with the school trip in June. A tour guide went with me to Babycakes bakery and (eek!) I loaded up on goodies, one of which was a real live DONUT (well, ok it wasn’t actually alive. Although it was called the animal donut. hmmm). It was freakin- delicious too!
    SO yeah, I like donuts.


    1. I went to Babycakes! Apparently, I ordered wrong, though. I got a bad cupcake, and people told me I was supposed to try the banana bread or brownies. Ah, another trip is needed!

  11. Caroline says:

    Mm, as I had no pumpkin myslf, I was wondering how Alexandra’s version would turn out. Only thing is I might use cashew or almond butter instead because I feel like they could be more complimentary.

    As far as vgan donuts go, I would love to see a seasonal flavor like: 1. pumpkin; 2. gingerbread; or 3. apple cider!

    1. Gingerbread doughnuts… ooh that sounds good. I have molasses on hand, too!

  12. Yummers! I must try this! My Whole Foods actually sells vegan pumpkin donut holes, but these are more guilt-free….and I’ve been totally pigging out on birthday cake, margaritas, beer, pizza, chips, everything bad. I need a guilt-free snack!

    1. My Whole Foods has never sold those… I know which ones you’re talking about. I thought they were only available online! Jealous of Tennessee!

  13. Nichole says:

    My Great Grandpa always used to get a box of donuts on Sunday after church! I always indulged and my favorite kinds where the long johns filled with custard! Now that would be a vegan challenge!

  14. spoonfulofsugarfree says:

    Yum! Those look good!

    I actually never really enjoyed donuts…Even in my sugar-eating days, they made me feel sick! I always got headaches after eating them….blech!

  15. EmbraceYourSkin says:

    These look sooo good! And I have all the ingredients on hand, score!
    I’m actually not much of a doughnut fan, with one exception: Voodoo Donuts in Portland, OR. My family got a dozen during my marathon and I may have eaten like, 3 donuts. Plus they have vegan ones!

    1. I’ve heard about these mythic doughnut shops in Portland that sell vegan doughnuts. Sadly, they are far away from Texas!

  16. A Sparkle A Day says:

    lemon filled and a chocolate twist. always, even now.

    I ate my last one (and I don’t eat them often, but we just found a donut shop nearby and it’s fun on a Sunday morning to take JJ in and grab a coffee and donut).

    but anyway with sugaring down I fear I’ve seen my last lemon filled in a while (OOOOH, should make lemon flavored donut-ball thingy)


    last year I made a donut hole remake out of raw nuts, cinnamon, orange zest coconut etc, dates…

    they take me back to my childhood and those old fashioned donut holes.
    PLUS they are raw, loaded with healthy stuff and great for workouts.

    they are not low in sugar. boo.

    I have almost finished a large can of libbys this week, but I made a 12 count batch of almond butter balls and I have 10 left. haha

    ps I liked chocolate sprinkles too ! way cute

  17. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says:

    I loved the chocolate twisted doughnuts as a know what I’m talking abut? Specifically the ones from WalMart 😛

    These look so good! I love the fact you used cinnamon raisin swirl in them- yumm!!

    1. Hmmm… lol I have no idea what doughnuts you mean, but you just reminded me of the chocolate covered cake doughnuts they sell at walmart. Entenmenns or something like that.. I used to like those. They were more chocolate-y than the chocolate glazed ones :).

  18. thedelicateplace says:

    d’nuts are way too sweet for me these days but i used to like the french cruller and maple glaze over a plain one. hmmm the cinnamon raisin swirl pb and co i’ve never had..though i’m a texture person so i’d prob add dried raisins with plain nut butter 🙂

    1. Caitlin says:

      Crullers! LOL I can’t spell them, but I sure do like to eat them!

  19. Pure2raw Twins says:

    Love doughnuts! I live cinnamon sugar and pumpkin flavored ones 😉 Love the little pumpkin holes too cute! ~ Lori

  20. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan says:

    I was never that big on doughnuts. When I did eat one, it was always just a plain glazed. The hardened frosting and sprinkles on the others never tasted good to me. (An early sign of my taste buds reacting negatively to artificiality? Maybe.) But that reminds me of a story…

    This stoner kid Josh in my high school was strolling the halls one day with a box of doughnuts. (Stoner + doughnuts, surprise surprise…) He stopped me and asked if I wanted one. I took a peek and saw they were all frosted kinds. “No thanks,” I said, “I only eat the glazed ones.” He looked at me incredulously and said “What are you, a vegetarian or something?!”

    Oh, stoners.
    The funny thing is that now, a decade later, I can say “Why yes, yes I am…and then some.” And it has nada to do with doughnuts. 🙂

    1. LOLOL! I wonder if it was “special” frosting and that’s why he was disappointed you didn’t want any… ;).

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