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If you’ve ever found yourself torn between the sweet, sugary embrace of a doughnut and the cozy, crumbly allure of a muffin, my Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins are here to save the day. Featuring a crispy, sugary exterior that gives way to a moist, tender interior bursting with cinnamon flavor, this sweetly spiced duffin recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

About these cinnamon sugar muffins

Muffins and donuts, in one convenient package. In case you need an excuse to make this cinnamon sugar muffin recipe, here are three:

  • They’re doughnuts in muffin form! The good folks at Fresh Market had me when I saw a promise of muffins that taste like doughnuts. My homemade version is even better, plus it’s made with love and without any artificial ingredients!
  • Perfect for sharing. I love that these cinnamon brown sugar muffins are already portioned and ready. As an added bonus, I’ve included instructions to make either regular or mini doughnut muffins so you can feed a bigger crowd. 
  • If you wanna win the bake sale, this is the recipe to do it with. In case you missed it, these are cinnamon sugar muffins that taste like donuts. DONUTS, PEOPLE!!!! 😉

If you love donuts, try these recipe next: Mini Powdered Donuts, Baked Maple Donuts with Pecans, Baked Apple Cider Donuts, and Raspberry Vanilla Baked Donuts.

What are duffins? 

If duffins are a new discovery for you, get ready for a delightful surprise! These delightful cinnamon sugar duffins are the adorable offspring of doughnuts and muffins. They possess all the tender, fluffy qualities of a classic muffin, but with a sparkling sugary cinnamon coating that will make your tastebuds break into a joyful jig.

Here’s the secret: start with a traditional muffin batter, infuse it with a generous helping of cinnamon and sugar, and then bake it to a glorious, golden brown perfection that’s absolutely irresistible. 

Once your little gems emerge from the oven, they take a delightful dip in melted butter and a roll in even more cinnamon sugar. Voilà! Cinnamon sugar muffin donuts — a match made in baking heaven.

Ingredients for muffin donuts 

Perhaps my favorite part about this recipe for cinnamon sugar muffins is that it’s made with primarily pantry staples. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted, just cut back on how much kosher salt you add. You’re also welcome to swap in vegan butter if needed.
  • Granulated Sugar & Light Brown Sugar – You’ll need both types of sweetener to achieve the perfect doughnut muffin consistency and flavor. 
  • Eggs – I use large eggs. If you’re using liquid eggs, you’ll need about ¼ cup per egg.
  • Greek Yogurt – If possible, use full-fat yogurt for the tenderest crumb. 
  • Vanilla Extract – For a whisper of aromatic warmth.
  • You’re also welcome to use an equal amount of vanilla paste or vanilla powder. 
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda – You need both raising agents to get the light, fluffy crumb we’re after. 
  • Nutmeg – If possible, purchase whole nutmeg and grate it fresh for the most potent flavor.
  • Ground Cinnamon – Make sure it’s nice and fresh!
  • Cake Flour – For an extra tender crumb. If you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own by sifting together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (or potato starch) and enough AP flour to make a cup.
  • Whole Milk – Using whole milk adds a bit of fat, which yields extra moist cinnamon muffins. 
  • Kosher Salt – Adding a bit of salt helps make your cinnamon donut muffins taste even sweeter.

Recipe variations and dietary adaptations

While I love this duffin recipe just the way it’s written, there are plenty of ways to make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Regular AP Flour These cinnamon sugar donut muffins are very soft and tender in texture. If you prefer a traditional, denser cake donut texture, omit the cake flour, and use 2 2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour (320 grams).
  • Powdered Sugar Doughnut Muffins – The great thing about these old fashion donut muffins is there are lots of flavor varieties to choose from. Try swapping in another coating like powdered sugar instead!
  • Gluten-Free – I haven’t tried it, but I think this doughnut muffin recipe should work with your favorite cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free flour mixture. Just make sure to choose a blend with xanthan gum and give the batter a 30 minute rest before baking. 
  • Dairy-Free – You can make these easy cinnamon sugar muffins dairy-free by swapping in your favorite vegan butter, Greek yogurt, and unsweetened plant-based milk.

How to make doughnut muffins

  1. Cream butter with sugars: In a large bowl, cream the butter and both sugars together on high speed
  2. Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla: Next, add the eggs), yogurt, and the vanilla extract to the bowl. Beat the batter on medium, stoping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. Add leaveners and spices: To the bowl, add the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Then, mix on low to combine.
  4. Add flour and milk, alternating the two: To the bowl, add half of the flour and mix on low to barely combine. Next, add half of the milk and mix again on low to barely combine. Repeat the process, adding the remaining flour, barely mixing, and adding the remaining milk, before mixing again.
  5. Add batter to muffin pan: Grease muffin tin before carefully pouring the doughnut muffin batter into the pan.
  6. Bake the muffins:
    1. Mini muffins: Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 11-13 minutes, or until the mini muffins are golden in color and a toothpick comes out clean.
    2. Standard muffins: Bake at 425-degrees for 5 minutes. Keeping the oven door closed, reduce the oven temperature to 350-degrees. Continue to the bake muffins at 350-degrees for 14-16 minutes, or until the donut muffins are pale gold in color and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool: Remove the muffin doughnuts from the oven and place the pan on a wire cooling rack. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin pan.
  8. Make topping: Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in the microwave on 50% power and then set aside to let cool. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon and then set it aside.
  9. Dip in butter, roll in cinnamon sugar: Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter all over the muffins. Then, roll the muffin in cinnamon sugar before transferring the donut muffin to the wire rack and repeat the process with the remaining muffins.
  10. Serve and enjoy: Serve your baked doughnut muffins warm or at room temperature.

Expert tips for the best cinnamon sugar donut muffins

  • Butter: Take the butter out of the refrigerator, cube it, and let it sit on the counter at room temperature while you measure the remaining ingredients. The butter doesn’t need to be completely softened, you just want to remove the chill and let it soften slightly.
  • Accurate Measurements: Baking is a science, so use precise measurements for your ingredients. Invest in a good kitchen scale if you haven’t already; it can make a huge difference!
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure your eggs, milk, and butter are at room temperature before you begin to help with even mixing and better texture.
  • Don’t Over-mix: When combining your wet and dry ingredients, mix only until they are just combined. Overmixing can lead to tough cinnamon sugar donut muffins, which is not what we’re after. A few lumps in the batter are perfectly fine.
  • Uniform Size: Use a cookie scoop or measuring cup to ensure that you fill each muffin cup with an equal amount of batter. This will help ensure the duffins bake evenly. 
  • Cinnamon Sugar Coating: As soon as your muffins come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter while they’re still warm. This helps the cinnamon sugar mixture adhere better. Feel free to coat a second time for extra crunch!
  • Cooling Rack: Place your cinnamon muffins on a cooling rack after rolling them in cinnamon sugar to prevent them from becoming soggy on the bottom.

FAQs: frequently asked questions

Are doughnuts and muffins the same thing? 

Traditional doughnuts are like sweet, fried circles of pure joy. They typically boast a soft, airy dough, often yeast-y or cake-like, that gets deep-fried until it transforms into a glorious golden and crispy exterior. You’ll often spot them glistening under glazes, adorned with colorful sprinkles, or dusted with tempting powdered sugar.

Muffins are baked in the oven, resulting in a denser, more bread-like texture. They’re a blank canvas for flavor, coming in a variety of tastes, from fruity and nutty to indulgently chocolatey. They’re the versatile pals you can enjoy for breakfast, as a snack, or as the perfect sidekick to your morning cup of joe.

What’s the difference between doughnuts and muffins?

So, when it comes down to it, the main distinctions are in their cooking methods – frying for doughnuts and baking for muffins – as well as their textures and sweetness levels. Both hold a cherished place in the wide world of breakfast pastries, depending on whether you’re yearning for that crispy, sugary euphoria or the warm, comforting embrace of a muffin. 

And if you find yourself torn between the two, well, that’s when you should definitely give this cinnamon doughnut muffin recipe a whirl!

Serving muffin doughnuts 

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various settings. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

  • Brunch Bonanza: Set these snickerdoodle muffins out on your brunch table for a sweet, crowd-pleasing treat. They pair wonderfully with a refreshing fresh fruit salad, yogurt parfaits, and a steaming cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa in a slow cooker. These warm, cinnamon-sugar muffins are a heavenly way to start your day.
  • Coffee Break Bliss: These muffins make a delightful accompaniment to your morning or afternoon coffee break. They’re the perfect match for a creamy cappuccino or a hot latte. The sweet and slightly spicy flavor of the muffins complements the rich, roasted notes of your favorite java.
  • Picnic Perfection: Pack these muffins for a picnic in the park or a day at the beach. They’re easy to transport and can be enjoyed as a sweet snack amidst the natural beauty of the outdoors.
  • Bake Sale Superstars: If you’re hosting a bake sale or charity event, these muffins are sure to be a hit. Wrap them individually in colorful paper or cellophane bags to entice buyers. They pair wonderfully with other baked goods like cinnamon cookies, brownies, and your favorite muffin recipes.
  • Lunchbox Love: Pop a Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffin into your kid’s or your own lunchbox for a delightful surprise. It’s a wonderful way to brighten up any day, whether you’re at school, work, or just on the go.
  • Holiday Treats: During the holiday season, these muffins are a festive addition to your dessert table. They pair beautifully with apple pie bites recipes and spiced cider drink, hot chocolate, hot white cocoa, sugar cookie cocktails, or eggnog. Dust them with a touch of powdered sugar for a snowy, seasonal look and serve with the best no bake sweet dip made with cream cheese.

Storing donut muffin leftovers

  • If you plan to gobble up these sugar muffins within a day or two (which is super tempting, by the way!), here’s the easy-peasy storage scoop: once your muffins have had a chance to cool down from their oven adventure, pop them into an airtight container. That’s it! Just make sure they’re completely cool before sealing them up.
  • When it’s time to save your donut muffins for another day, the freezer is your preservation superhero. Wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or give them a cozy home in a resealable freezer bag. The key is to seal them up really well to fend off freezer burn. These little gems can happily chill in the freezer for up to 2-3 months!
  • When your muffin craving strikes, and those frozen wonders are calling your name, let them thaw out in the warmth of your kitchen. Give them a few hours at room temperature or let them rest overnight. They’ll be back to their tasty selves in no time
  • Want that fresh-from-the-oven sensation? You got it! Whether your muffins were napping at room temperature, chilling in the fridge, or catching some z’s in the freezer, a quick warm-up in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds will do the trick. Just be gentle; we want them to stay tender, not tough.

As you embark on your cinnamon sugar duffin adventure, remember: life is short, so eat dessert first (or at least as soon as possible). These muffins are here to turn your day from “meh” to “muffin-tastic!” So, go forth and bake, devour, and share the sugary love. Until our next culinary escapade, stay sweet and keep those ovens fired up! 🧁✨😄

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More cozy bakery breakfast treats!

If you love these sugary cinnamon muffins that taste like donuts, try these sweet sensations next:

The best cinnamon sugar duffin recipe👇

Overhead photo of bakers dozen cinnamon sugar muffin donuts on a parchment lined kitchen tray.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Total Time: 26 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 18 Muffins
If you've ever found yourself torn between the sweet, sugary embrace of a doughnut and the cozy, crumbly allure of a muffin, my Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins are here to save the day. Featuring a crispy, sugary exterior that gives way to a moist, tender interior bursting with cinnamon flavor, this sweetly spiced duffin recipe is sure to become a family favorite.
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.

Equipment

  • 1 Medium Bowl
  • 1 Hand-Held Electric Mixer OR Stand Mixer
  • 1 Rubber Spatula
  • 1 Standard Muffin Pan OR Mini Muffin Pan

Ingredients 

Doughnut Muffins:

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

Instructions

  • Preheat oven: Arrange your oven rack to the middle position. Preheat your oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit for mini muffins and 425-degrees Fahrenheit for standard size muffins. Lightly grease the tins of your muffin pan and set aside.
    (Why? Greasing your muffin tin will ensure your muffins release easily. I don't recommend using paper liner as the muffins will stick to them.)
  • Cream butter with sugars: In a medium size bowl with a hand-held mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on HIGH speed for 1 minute. Stop and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Then, continue to beat the mixture on high until creamy and smooth, about 2 additional minutes.
  • Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla: Add the eggs (2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk), yogurt, and the vanilla extract to the bowl. Beat the mixture on MEDIUM speed for 1 minute. Stop and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue to beat on medium speed for 1 additional minute, or until combined. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl again before moving on to the next step.
  • Add leaveners and spices: To the bowl, add the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Mix on LOW until combined.
  • Add flour and milk, alternating the two: To the bowl, add half of the flour (1 ½ cups) and mix on LOW to barely combine. Then, add half of the milk (½ cup) and mix again on low to barely combine. Repeat, adding the remaining flour, barely mixing, and adding the remaining milk, before mixing again – but this time mix until the batter until the ingredients are JUST combined. The batter should be thick and relatively lumpy.
    (Tip: Take care not to over-mix the donut muffin batter. Over-beating will lead to dense, dry muffins. I like to pulse the ingredients together to prevent over-mixing.)
  • Add batter to prepared muffin pan: Carefully spoon or pour the doughnut muffin batter into the prepared muffin tins. If making mini muffins, fill each about ¾ full. If making standard muffins, fill the cups all the way up to the top, but don’t overflow them.
  • Bake the muffins according to the instructions below:
    Mini muffin baking instructions: Transfer the raw donut muffin batter to the oven and bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 11-13 minutes, or until the mini muffins are pale golden in color and a toothpick inserted into the center of a doughnut bit comes out clean.
    Standard muffin baking instructions: Transfer the raw doughnut muffins to the oven and bake at 425-degrees for 5 minutes. Keeping the oven door closed, reduce the oven temperature to 350-degrees. Continue to the bake muffins at 350-degrees for 14-16 minutes, or until the donut muffins are pale golden in color and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • While doughnut muffins are baking, make topping: Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in the microwave on 50% power and then set aside to let cool. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon and then set it aside.
  • Cool: Remove the donut muffins from the oven and place the muffin pan on a wire rack. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tins.
  • Dip in butter, roll in cinnamon sugar: Working with one donut muffin at a time, use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter all over the muffins, or simply dip the muffins into the melted butter. Next, roll the muffin in cinnamon sugar or simply sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the muffins. Then, transfer the cinnamon sugar donut muffin to the wire rack and repeat the process with the remaining muffins.
  • Serve and enjoy: Serve your baked doughnut muffins warm or at room temperature. Alternatively, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple days.

Notes

  • Butter: Take the butter out of the refrigerator, cube it, and let it sit on the counter at room temperature while you measure the remaining ingredients. The butter doesn’t need to be completely softened, you just want to remove the chill and let it soften slightly.
  • Flour: These cinnamon sugar donut muffins are very soft and tender in texture, like cupcakes. If you prefer a traditional denser donut, omit the cake flour, and use 2 2/3 cup All Purpose Flour (320 grams) instead.
Nutritional information is an estimate based upon 18 servings (18 standard muffins). Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcal    Carbohydrates: 29g    Protein: 4g    Fat: 7g    Saturated Fat: 4g    Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g    Monounsaturated Fat: 2g    Trans Fat: 0.2g    Cholesterol: 44mg    Sodium: 59mg    Potassium: 97mg    Fiber: 1g    Sugar: 14g    Vitamin A: 239IU    Vitamin C: 0.01mg    Calcium: 49mg    Iron: 0.4mg

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