Protein Donuts are soft, cakey and fluffy, sweetened with banana and topped with a thick chocolate nut butter glaze. They’re also gluten-free and dairy-free, and made with wholesome ingredients. The recipe includes a vegan version, as well as other substitution tips to make these donuts your own!
This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated with some new text, photos and helpful tips for readers. The recipe remains the same.
What are protein donuts?
They’re just donuts loaded up with protein. Also called pronuts, if you’re into trendy names. I’m not exactly trendy, so I’ll just stick to calling them protein donuts.
While I change up many of the ingredients in my protein donut recipes, some of them are pretty consistent, like plant-based protein powder. It’s just a quarter of a cup added to the recipe, but it’s enough to add a touch of flavour and a little extra protein.
Some other protein donut staples include eggs or egg whites, almond flour, oat flour, nuts and/or nut butter. Adding some of these to your recipe will help boost the protein in your donuts and make them more filling.
Perhaps the best part about protein donuts is that they’re typically healthier. This recipe includes very little refined sugar and they’re baked, not fried, so when the sweet tooth strikes, these donuts are a wholesome go-to snack.
Other protein donut recipes you might like
- Pumpkin Donuts with pure pumpkin, pecans and chocolate drizzle.
- Gingerbread Donuts with molasses, warming spices and dark chocolate glaze.
- Carrot Cake Donuts with walnuts, white chocolate and toasted coconut.
Details on a few ingredients to make this protein donut recipe
Protein powder: Vanilla protein powder adds a hint of sweetness to these donuts as well as some extra protein. It’s just a quarter of a cup, so it doesn’t add an overpowering taste of protein powder. I use plant-based protein powder that’s gluten-free and vegan. This recipe hasn’t been tested with whey protein or unflavoured protein powder.
Nut butter: I used natural smooth peanut butter as I didn’t want peanuts in the donuts, and I wanted the glaze to be smooth. If you use crunchy peanut butter, it will change the texture. The recipe hasn’t been tested with shelf stable peanut butter, however, other natural nut butters such as almond butter, will work in this recipe.
Almond flour: This is just finely ground blanched almonds that have the skins removed. I always have a large bag on hand for grain-free and gluten-free baking. It also adds moisture and protein to baked goods.
Banana: Just a cup of mashed banana adds sweetness and moisture, without an overpowering flavour. Make sure your bananas are overripe as they will be sweeter and easier to mash. If you want to ripen bananas quickly, just bake them on a sheet pan at 300F for 20 minutes, or until the outer banana peel turns black.
How to make protein donuts
- Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients.
- Step 2: In a separate medium-sized bowl, add your mashed banana, peanut butter, honey, almond milk and egg, and whisk together until well combined.
- Step 3: Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until well incorporated. The batter will be thick.
- Step 4: Spoon batter into a greased 12-cavity mini donut pan and bake on 350F for 14-16 minutes.
- Steps 5 and 6: Let donuts cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Step 7 (see below): Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave and stir until smooth. Dip the top of each donut into the chocolate glaze and let any excess drip off before returning to the wire rack. Top with chopped peanuts or sprinkles.
Vegan: Replace the honey with maple syrup and use a flax egg instead of an egg. (See photo below of vegan donuts with sprinkles).
Almond butter: Just replace the natural peanut butter in the donuts and glaze with natural almond butter.
Oat flour: Replace the buckwheat flour with whole-grain oat flour. You can buy it, or just blitz some oats in a food processor or blender until they’re the consistency of flour.
Coconut flour: Omit the buckwheat flour, and use 1/4 cup of coconut flour, increase the almond flour to 3/4 cup and use two eggs instead of one.
Frequently asked questions
How do you store? These donuts are best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How long will they last? They should last for 6-7 days if stored properly.
Can you freeze them? Yes. They will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, just let them thaw in the refrigerator.
What’s the best protein powder to use? I’ve tried a few different brands of plant-based protein powders in this recipe, and they all work well. I always use a protein powder that’s dairy-free so this recipe hasn’t been tested with whey protein powder.
Additional recipe tips and substitutions
- The almond flour and buckwheat flour are naturally gluten-free, so to keep these donuts gluten-free, use certified gluten-free protein powder.
- To keep these donuts dairy-free, make sure the protein powder and dark chocolate chips are dairy-free.
- This recipe makes 12 mini-donuts that are about 3-inches in diameter. If you only have a 6-cavity pan that makes larger donuts, just increase the baking time.
If you make this protein donuts recipe, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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Protein Donuts Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 12 donuts
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Protein Donuts are soft, cakey and fluffy, sweetened with banana and topped with a thick chocolate nut butter glaze. They’re also gluten-free and dairy-free!
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (dairy-free, gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large overripe bananas)
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter, divided
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup chopped raw peanuts
- Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease a 12-cavity mini donut pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, buckwheat flour, protein powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the mashed banana, 1/2 cup peanut butter, honey, almond milk and egg, and whisk together until well combined.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. The batter will be thick.
- Spoon batter into the prepared donut pan and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into a donut comes out clean.
- Let donuts cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Add chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter to a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Once heated, stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Dip the top of each donut into the chocolate peanut butter glaze and let any excess glaze drip off before returning to the wire rack. Sprinkle on the chopped peanuts.
- Transfer donuts to an airtight container and refrigerate until chocolate is set. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy within 6-7 days.
- This recipe makes 12 mini-donuts that are about 3-inches in diameter. You can use a 6-cavity pan that makes larger donuts, just increase the baking time by a few minutes.
- For a vegan version, replace the honey with maple syrup and use a flax egg instead of an egg.
- To make these donuts with almond butter, just replace the peanut butter in the donuts and the glaze with almond butter.
- For an oat flour version, replace the buckwheat flour with whole-grain oat flour.
- To make these donuts with coconut flour, omit the buckwheat flour, and use 1/4 cup of coconut flour, increase the almond flour to 3/4 cup and use two eggs instead of one.
- Be sure to check out the FAQ as well as the tips and substitutions section above the recipe for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this dessert.
Keywords: pronuts, baked donuts, healthy donuts, gluten-free donuts
Really yummy. I added raisins to the batter and then didn’t need to glaze them. Tasted like a delicious banana bread with really good ingredients and no refined sugars. Will definitely make again.
Thanks Tia! I’m glad you enjoyed the donuts. Adding raisins sounds delicious!
Sandra Alexander says
Thanks for the recipe. I used ground up oats instead of buckwheat. Came out delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Sandra. I’m so glad you enjoyed the donuts!
Jen S says
Made these in a mini muffin pan. Froze them in servings of 3 mini’s. Set them on the counter while I workout and by the time I’m done and showered they are ready to eat and taste great. For some reason I enjoyed them more after freezing and thawing vs when they were fresh. Not sure why. Making another batch to have with my protein shake in the mornings. The shake and a couple of these (probably about 1 regular sized donut) keeps me satisfied until lunch and I can grab it while trying to run out the door with a “not so motivated to go to school” three year old. She likes them too which makes mornings go even more smoothly.
Hi Jen. Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m happy to hear that they fit into your morning routine and that your three year old likes them too!
They turned out great. i used rice flour instead of buckwheat and they were delicious. I didn’t even need to do the toppings, the donuts were great without any of the extras. Yummmm
Hi Michelle. Thanks so much for letting me know. I’m so glad you enjoyed the donuts. I’ll have to try them with rice flour next time I make them!
Tasia ~ two sugar bugs says
That peanut butter chocolate glaze is just gorgeous!! My little e was just asking to make donuts so we will have to give them a try!
Thanks Tasia! Hope you get a chance to give these a try!
I love how you made donuts healthy! These are right up my alley as an irreparable glutton, so knowing they contain all these nutrients makes me feel even better!
Thanks Milena! They’re so great to have on hand for when a sweet craving strikes!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I’m totally going to make these for the kids this weekend, Leanne! I finally have protein powder, haha. I’ve been wanting to make these forever! They look so good. That frosting!!
Yay! I hope you and the kids like them Katherine. Let me know what you think if you make them!