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Pumpkin Doughnut Holes: Vegan-Style

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.


Published on October 21, 2010

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  1. 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 :)))

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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!!

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      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 :).

  13. 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 🙂

  14. Pure2raw Twins says

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

  15. 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. 🙂

  16. Frances says

    I actually really hated donuts growing up…and I continue to dislike them. What is my PROBLEM? Ha! I guess I never really had much of a sweet tooth. That said, I can really put away certain dessert-y things now… Larabars and other raw-type bars, and the occasional sweet-potato muffin from a favorite local cafe… ack!

  17. Bianca- Vegan Crunk says

    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!

  18. Kelly says

    Ha, I was all about the glazed Munchkins, too! I’d eat the chocolate ones, too, but I never loved them as much as I wanted to. Glazed, on the other hand… ooh boy; I could eat tons in one sitting!

  19. Kiersten says

    You are very creative Katie! I used to like doughnuts as a kid (plain with chocolate frosting, maybe sprinkles). I haven’t had one in so long though I don’t even know if I like them anymore. My boyfriend keeps saying he wants to make homemade vegan doughnuts sometime, so I guess I will find out then.

  20. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    The donuts look awesome! And thanks for your email yesterday…too sweet 🙂

    I noticed that you only used 1 tsp of canned pumpkin…isn’t it amazing how adding too much can just turn the whole recipe into…mush. haha! I may have done that once or twice 🙂 Clearly you perfected your recipe..the look awesome!

    And I love the last pic of the pumpkin pie ball. I can almost see flecks of zucchini maybe (need to check the recipe) in it…sort of like a healthy carrotcake, zucchini bread, all in one type thing. YUM!!!

  21. Moni'sMeals says

    Perfect! I am going to try them out. Simple and fast, my type of treat.
    Was never a big doughnut type. I love the ideal of holes just like your taunting “babies” that you show us-the perfect size it what I like. 😉

  22. Namaste Gurl says

    I have so many memories as a kid with donuts– sunday school, rewards, having sleepovers. Ahhh, memories. I used to look forward to when my dad would bring home those doughy, sugary holes. Now, however, I look forward to other, healthier things. Like new nut butters, getting free samples in the mail, eating yummy veggies, pumpkin oats…. 🙂

  23. caronae says

    For some reason I have always hated doughnuts! I love desserts, as you might know, hehe :), but would rather use my dessert budget on cookies or chocolate. But doughnuts involving pumpkin and peanut butter are a whole other ball game…hmmmmm…I just might have to try it!

  24. BroccoliHut says

    I actually just wrote an assignment about doughnuts a few weeks ago–we were to describe our earliest food memory. Mine was going to Graham’s Bakery every Sunday after church where I ALWAYS got a jelly doughnut, with powdered sugar of course:)

  25. Rachael says

    It might be sacrilegious, but I don’t like doughnuts. Never have, though the amount that people wax poetic over them makes me feel like I’m missing something. I’ve veganized cake doughnuts before (my grandmother loved apple cider and gingerbread doughnuts, so I made them for her) but the texture of the pastry kind creeps me out…

  26. Rachel says

    Tried the recipe out, but it turned out strange. The two tablespoons of peanut butter and two tablespoons of oats made for a very messy pumpkin ball especially once the pumpkin was added. Stuck to my hands. Tasted relatively good, but not completely sure that the measurements were correct. They look so good on your blog, wish they would turn out the same for me 🙁

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hmmm, maybe it’s a difference in pbs? My pb is very dry (whole foods brand). And when I used the cinnamon one, I didn’t add any of the raisins, so it was all pb. But if it is still too wet for your liking, add less pumpkin and more oats. Or, did you use a liquid sweetener?

  27. Taylor says

    Katie, I would love to see you tackle the challenge of making a doughnut reminiscent of Dunkin’s munchkins. Since becoming vegan a little over a month ago, the ONLY food I’ve been craving that’s not vegan is a doughnut! Specifically munchkins! (Made harder by the fact that there’s a Dunkin on my campus!) Any flavor you make would be grand, I’d love to see what you come up with!

    Thank you for being my vegan support everyday! =)

  28. gill says

    Hi Katie,
    Your blog is MY favorite! I want to make these for a Vegan Bakesale this weekend in Chicago. How many balls does this recipe make & can I double it? Thanks for making my Vegan tummy happy 🙂 Peace & Love, Gill

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