Delicious maple doughnuts, flavoured with maple syrup and finished with a maple glaze. These are cake donuts, so no yeast is required!

maple doughnuts on white tray

Why you’ll love these maple donuts

Doughnuts or donuts? I like donuts, since I’m a lazy typer :) Whichever you prefer, you’ll love these delicious maple ones.

These are maple cake donuts, meaning there is no need for yeast. These are leavened with baking soda and baking powder only.

The donuts themselves are made with maple syrup and finished with an easy maple donut glaze. Alternately, you can just toss the hot donuts in white sugar. And for garnishing, you could top with walnuts or chopped, cooked bacon.

You’ll love the wonderful light texture of these donuts and how they are perfect for enjoying any time of day.

Key Ingredients

Maple Syrup – real maple syrup will give you the best results, though maple-flavoured syrup will work here.

Maple Extract – I’ve confessed before that I don’t love most extracts (except vanilla). I’m just more of a fan of the real flavour. That said, real maple flavour can be subtle and if you want a definite “maple” flavour, maple extract is answer. If you don’t have any or prefer not to use it, it’s fine to omit. The maple flavour will just be less pronounced.

These donuts have the most maple flavour in the glaze, so if you aren’t planning to use the glaze, you might consider adding a tiny bit of maple extract to the donut dough, to heighten the maple flavour a bit.

Shortening – this is the solid, vegetable shortening. you can substitute an equal amount of softened butter

Buttermilk – ideally, use real buttermilk. Alternately, you can use soured milk, which would involve adding lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk. Instructions are in the Recipe Card below.

Making Maple Donuts: Step-by-Step

Here is a quick walk-through of the process of making these maple donuts. Always refer to the complete instructions in the Recipe Card when making this recipe.

photo collage of steps to make maple donuts 1

Start by mixing together the maple syrup, shortening, egg and buttermilk. The mixture may have small chunks of shortening remaining. That’s ok.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the maple syrup mixture and stir together. The mixture will be quite wet. Cover the dough and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

photo collage of steps to make maple donuts 2

After chilling remove the dough to a well floured work surface and knead in a bit more flour, as needed, so the dough is not sticky.

Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick round and use a donut cutter to cut out rounds. Work quickly so the dough doesn’t soften up and remove each cut round right after cutting. You can re-roll the scraps and cup more.

Place donuts onto a floured piece of parchment on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.

Fry the donuts in hot oil, straight from the fridge. While still hot, dip in the glaze.

maple donuts inside crumb photo


What is the difference between a cake donut and a regular donut?

A cake donut is leavened with baking powder and/or baking soda, while regular donuts are yeast-raised. Cake donuts are a bit heavier, but not heavy. A good cake donut can be quite light and well … cake like!

Do I need to use real maple syrup?

No. You can use maple flavoured syrup, if that is all you have access to.

Can I bake cake donuts instead of frying?

You can, though I’m not going to suggest that a baked donut is anywhere near as nice as a fried donut. If you prefer and are good with the compromise, it is an option.

Simply bake the cut rounds in a 425F for 10-15 minutes.

(*Note, I have not baked these particular donuts, so the suggested temperature/time is based simply on general guidance for baking cake donuts.)

Can I air fry cake donuts?

No. I’m afraid this dough cooked in an air fryer will turn the donuts into quite hard, cracker-like disks and nothing resembling a donut.

Top Tips for Making Cake Doughnuts

  • Cake donut dough is soft and prone to being sticky. The best way to work with it is to keep it cold and to use flour, as needed.
  • The dough will need to chill for about 2 hours after mixing. Once chilled, it will still be soft-ish, so use a generous dusting of flour, as needed, to prevent any sticky.
  • You’ll want to roll and cut the dough quickly, removing the cut rounds right after cutting, so they don’t melt back together. If the dough gets too sticky at any point, pop it back into the fridge.
  • If you don’t have a donut cutter, you can use a 3-inch cutter to cut the round and a smaller 1-inch cutter to cut out the centre. Alternately, you can just use the 3-inch cutter (or a 3-inch glass) and make donuts without a hole.
  • Once cut and placed on a baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours/overnight before frying.
  • Remove the donuts directly from the fridge and place into the fryer, leaving those that aren’t going in the fryer in the fridge.

Top Tips for Deep Frying

  • Use fresh oil. Old oil can be off-tasting and donuts will easily pick up that off taste.
  • Never deep fry with children around. Keep them out of the room completely.
  • A deep fryer is the best way to deep fry, as it regulates the temperature for you.
  • If you don’t have a deep fryer, heat about 3 inches of oil in a heavy, large pot (such as a Dutch oven) and use a candy thermometer to gauge the oil temperature.
  • Keep a lid handy to the stove. In the rare case where you have a fire, use the lid to cover the pot, which will extinguish it immediately. Never put water on a grease fire or attempt to move it to a sink.
  • Don’t overcrowd the fryer, as this can reduce the oil temperature. Add only 3 or 4 at a time, depending on the size of your frying or pot.
  • Adjust the oil temperature up or down slightly, if the donuts are browning too quickly, or not quickly enough. They need about 3-4 minutes in the oil to cook through.

Making ahead, storing and freezing

You can make the donuts through to cutting them and placing them on the baking sheet, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours before frying. You can fry them straight from the fridge.

You can also freeze the dough, well-wrapped, for up to 1 month.

Donuts are best on the day they are made, but keep reasonably well stored in an air-tight container for 2 days or so. (Donuts completely covered in glaze seem to stay fresh longer).

Baked and glazed donuts can be frozen up to 1 month. Ideally, these are best frozen before glazing, but even glazed, they freeze pretty well.

maple donuts on white tray

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maple donuts on white tray

Get the Recipe: Maple Glazed Maple Donuts

Delicious maple doughnuts, flavoured with maple syrup and finished with a maple glaze. These are cake donuts, so no yeast is required!
5 stars from 1 rating
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time:: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 12 donuts


Maple Syrup Donuts:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon solid shortening, or softened butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, or soured milk *see Note 1 below
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

For frying:

  • Neutral oil, for frying , vegetable oil, canola or peanut oil recommended

Maple Donut Glaze:

  • 1 3/4 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup or golden syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water, plus more as needed
  • Chopped walnuts, for garnish optional


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, egg, shortening and buttermilk. The mixture will have small bits of shortening. That's ok. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the maple syrup mixture and stir together until combined. The mixture will be quite wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  • Once chilled, remove the dough to a well floured work surface. Knead briefly, adding a bit more flour, as needed, so the dough isn't sticky. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick round. Dip the bottom of a 3-inch donut cutter in flour, then cut out rounds, remove the cut round right after cutting to the prepared baking sheet. Continue cutting rounds, then re-roll the scraps and cut more.
  • Cover the tray with the cut donuts tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  • When ready to fry, heat the oil in a deep fryer (or heat about 3-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot) to 375F. Use a candy thermometer to gauge the oil temperature if not using a deep fryer.
  • (If glazing, prepare the glaze right before you start frying, by whisking or mixing together the glaze ingredients. Add additional splashes of hot water, if needed to thin the glaze to a good dipping consistency. Set aside).
  • Remove 3 or 4 cut rounds from the tray in the fridge (leaving the rest still on the tray in the fridge) and add to the hot oil. Fry about 2 minutes per side, until nice and golden. Remove to a cooling rack. If glazing, while still hot, dip in the glaze to cover and return to the wire rack to set. If using walnuts, sprinkle on donuts while the glaze is still wet and press down gently with the palm of your hand. (Alternately, you can toss the hot donuts in white sugar)


  1. Make soured milk by adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1/3 cup of regular milk and letting stand 5 minutes before using.
Nutritional information is approximate, due to the uncertainty of the amount of oil absorbed during frying. Nutritional information includes the maple glaze, but does not include the optional walnut.
Donuts are best enjoyed on the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container for about 2 days. You can also freeze the donuts after making (either before or after glazing). 
Cuisine: Canadian
Course: Snack
Calories: 241kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 134mg, Potassium: 96mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 34IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 1mg
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