These easy vegan red velvet doughnuts with a cream cheese glaze are the perfect special occasion treat. Baked not fried, these doughnuts are so soft and just the right amount of sweet plus they are super simple to make, all you need is a doughnut pan!
Baked doughnuts are just so much fun to make, not to mention the perfect recipe for beginner bakers as there really is no fancy techniques or equipment needed.
The most common question that is asked when it comes to red velvet is what flavour actually is it? Is it vanilla or chocolate? And the answer is that it’s both and it is neither.
A red velvet cake has the perfect sweetness of vanilla balanced out with a rich undertone of cocoa. The balance here has to be just right otherwise one flavour dominates the other which we don’t want.
Now I hear Valentine’s Day is coming up and these would be absolutely perfect for then (obviously because they are sweet and red), but really, these red velvet baked doughnuts would be perfect for any occasion.
There is just something that I find a little more ‘special occasion’ about red velvet than any other flavour. Do you agree? Let me know!
I love making baked doughnuts because they can be made with simple ingredients that I usually have on hand in my pantry. You only need 7 ingredients to make the doughnuts themselves.
- Vanilla almond milk – yes you could use regular almond milk, but I think the extra flavour of the vanilla almond milk works so well! You could also use soy or oat milk as well here.
- White vinegar – we’re adding a little vinegar to the dairy free milk to make a ‘buttermilk’ – a key ingredient to the red velvet flavour.
- Plain flour – we need exactly a cup of dry ingredients, so carefully measure out 1 cup and then remove 1 tablespoon to account for the addition of the cocoa powder.
- Cocoa powder – just a little bit gives that distinct chocolate flavour.
- Baking powder – to help give our little doughnuts a little lift.
- Brown sugar – I’ve tried this recipe with white sugar and found the balance of flavour is so much better if you use brown sugar.
- Vanilla – the second key ingredient to the red velvet flavour.
- Canola oil – to keep the doughnuts soft and moist. I don’t recommend substituting with coconut oil as the flavour is too strong and will conflict with the chocolate/vanilla combination.
- Red gel food colouring – I always use the Americolor gel food colouring as a little bit gives a strong, bold colour without impacting the texture of the batter, plus it’s vegan. This is of course optional as the colour doesn’t change the flavour, so if you don’t want to use food colouring you can leave the batter as is and it will be a light brown colour.
For the glaze, I love the classic combination of red velvet and cream cheese so we’re using an easy cream cheese glaze. You want to use a good quality vegan cream cheese, dairy-free butter, icing sugar and just a splash of vanilla almond milk.
If you don’t have vegan cream cheese, you can simply leave it out and increase the milk to get the desired consistency. If you don’t have vanilla almond milk, add a splash of vanilla extract to the glaze for some additional flavour.
Baked doughnuts are one of my favourite recipes to make because you don’t need a whole lot of ingredients or fancy equipment to make these.
The most special thing is the doughnut pan itself. I picked mine up at a kitchen store but I’ve since seen them for sale at both Kmart and Woolworths so grab one next time you’re shopping if you don’t have one already!
Start by making your doughnut batter. For this, you’ll need a large bowl and a whisk. A couple smaller bowls will be great as will a rubber spatula.
We’re using a homemade dairy-free ‘buttermilk’ substitute in this recipe, so start by mixing the vanilla almond milk and white vinegar together in a small bow allowing it to sit and curdle for 5 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together all of your dry ingredients so they come together and your baking powder is well incorporated into the flour and cocoa powder.
Finally, in your large, main mixing bowl add the brown sugar, vanilla and canola oil. Add in the milk mixture and mix to combine. Finally mix through your dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter.
This is where you can tint the batter to get that beautiful vibrant red colour. To do this, I just add a few drops of super red americolor food gel. This of course doesn’t affect the taste of the doughnuts, so if you’re not keen on using food colouring you can skip this step and keep the batter as is which will be a soft, pinky brown colour.
Next we need to get the batter into the doughnut pan that’s been lightly greased with cooking spray. This can be messy so I always suggest doing it by pouring the batter into a large piping bag or ziplock bag and filling the doughnut pan that way. You can of course just use a spoon – I just find I can be more precise and make less of a mess when I use the piping bag method!
Fill the doughnut holes up halfway to allow for a rise. Depending on the size of your pan and if you have one or two, you may need to bake these doughnuts in batches. For me, I only have 1 6 hole pan so I need to bake 2 batches to get my total of 9. I find the batter will sit just fine on the bench while the first batch cooks as they do cook quite quickly.
Finish off your doughnuts with a delicious vegan cream cheese glaze. I opted for a glaze rather than a frosting as I wanted the flavour to be subtle and not overpowering of the doughnut itself.
You’ll need to slowly add the milk to the glaze as you’re making it to ensure it doesn’t get too thin. If it does, just add in some more icing sugar until you get your desired consistency. It should be quite thick.
Dunk each doughnut into the glaze and then let sit on a wire rack over some baking paper for the excess glaze to drip off. Top with sprinkles if you want (I always want) just make sure you’re using vegan sprinkles if needing these to be 100% vegan. The ones I used are naturally coloured which is why they are less vibrant than a lot of other ones.
These doughnuts store well in an airtight container for a couple of days, but I always think they taste best the day they are made. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
To do this, I place them straight in the freezer for an hour or two to harden on the wire rack, then just transfer them to a plastic bag so they don’t stick to each other. You can let them defrost overnight in the fridge or on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours.
Because of the glaze I do not recommend defrosting these in the microwave.
More baked doughnut recipes:
Vegan Red Velvet Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
- ½ cup vanilla almond milk
- ½ tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Red gel food colouring
For the glaze:
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon vanilla almond milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly spray a doughnut pan with cooking oil.
- In a small bowl, add the vanilla almond milk and vinegar and mix. Set aside. In a medium size bowl add flour, baking powder, spices and salt and mix gently with a whisk to combine. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, canola oil and vanilla.
- Add the milk mixture to the sugar and canola oil and whisk to combine. Slowly add in the dry ingredients bit by bit, whisking in between each addition until the batter is smooth.
- Pour batter into a large piping bag or ziplock bag and cut off the tip. Pipe the batter into the doughnut pan ensuring each hole is only half full.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the glaze. Using an electric handheld mixer, beat together the vegan cream cheese and butter with the icing sugar. Add a little bit of the milk, a splash at a time, beating completely until the glaze forms. You want it to be thick and shiny. If it gets too thin, add a little more icing sugar.,
- Dunk the top of each doughnut into the glaze and then place on a wire rack with a piece of baking paper under it to collect any excess glaze that drips off, top with sprinkles and set aside until the glaze has set. Store the doughnuts in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.