Best Donut Pans

Updated September 2021
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Buying guide for best donut pans

Have you ever smelled the aroma of freshly baked treats in a donut shop? Donuts are the perfect dessert for parties, special occasions, and indulgent Friday nights. Why not make them at home? Forget having to schlepp to the local bakery or coffee shop to pick up a dozen potentially stale sweets. Baking your own isn’t hard. All you need is a donut pan, a few ingredients, and a reliable recipe.

A donut pan looks a lot like a muffin pan but with a raised cylinder in the center of each cup to create the quintessential hole. The only downside to using a donut pan instead of buying them ready-made or cooking them in a messy fryer? No donut holes!

The BestReviews team wants to set you up with the right tools for making these circular treats. Our shopping guide covers everything you need to know about donut pans, from the advantages to using this baking tool to the features to look out for when shopping. We’ve even included a delicious recipe to get you started. Donut delay – get baking!

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A donut pan makes an excellent gift for the baker who has everything.

Donut pan vs. deep fryer

Why choose to bake donuts in a pan rather than fry them in hot oil? Here are a few compelling reasons.

Less messy: If you’ve ever deep-fried food, you know that cooking with hot oil can be messy. Oil splatters, and it’s tough to clean greasy surfaces. Frying also requires a deep fryer – an extra appliance that takes up room. By comparison, baking donuts doesn’t require flouring the counters to roll out the dough, and donut pans are easy to clean.

More healthful: Whether they’re fried or baked, donuts are an indulgence, but baking doesn’t involve soaking the batter in grease.

Less technical: Frying requires rolling and shaping of the dough. All you need to bake donuts is a batter that you pour, pipe, or scoop into your pans, so baking is a lot simpler. Frying foods correctly also takes some practice. It’s easy to overcook and undercook donuts.

Versatile: You aren’t just limited to donuts when you have a donut pan. You can use this kitchen tool to make any foods donut shaped!

Easier to store: Donut pans are easy to store, unlike a bulky fryer. Don’t bother buying a fryer if you’re only going to use it to make donuts, especially if you have a small kitchen. Donut pans are much more convenient.

Consistent results: Unless you’re using an old oven, your baked goods likely come out evenly cooked every time. It’s easier to monitor and check your donuts in the oven than in a deep fryer. Fryers don’t always heat up reliably, and using cold dough can alter results significantly by cooling the oil.

Higher volume: Chances are that your oven is bigger than a typical deep fryer basket. With donut pans, you can make bigger batches of these tasty treats for parties and bake sales.

Inexpensive: A deep fryer will set you back at least $50, while a set of donut pans needn’t cost more than $10. The pans are cheap and easy to replace if one should get damaged.

"Fill your donut pans with batter about two-thirds full to get a good donut shape."

Donut pan features to consider

Making yummy donuts requires a good-quality donut pan. Consider the following before making your final purchase.

Construction and durability

A sturdy donut pan lets you keep baking without interruption. You have a choice of metal or silicone. Metal is durable, but unless it has a nonstick surface, dough can stick to it. Metal is also easy to scratch. Silicone is equally durable. Because it’s flexible, you can easily pop out the finished baked donuts. But because silicone pans are so flexible, you have to be careful with them. If mishandled, the contents can spill and make a mess on your floor or in your oven.


Pan capacity varies from 6 to 24 donuts. Different pans make donuts of different sizes, from mini to regular-size, bakery-style donuts.

Oven-safe temperature

If you’re going to get creative with your donut pans and use different types of batter, make sure the oven-safe temperature meets your needs. A good-quality donut pan should be safe up to 450°F.

Dishwasher safe

Not all donut pans can safely make it through a dishwashing cycle, so if you want to make the cleanup process super easy, look for pans that are dishwasher safe. Read manufacturer guidelines carefully to avoid warping your donut pan. Some pans can only go on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Nonstick coating

Not a fan of buying and using nonstick cooking spray? Hate spending time greasing pans? Some metal pans are made with a nonstick coating that makes it easier to get the donuts out once baked.

Decorative molds

If you’ve already made traditional donuts before and you want to get creative, look for donut pans with decorative molds to give your pastries interesting shapes.


Some donut pans come with handy accessories. If your kitchen isn’t already fully equipped for baking, choose a donut pan set that comes with a spatula and/or piping bags.

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Be careful not to use sharp utensils when removing your donuts from the pan. You could scratch the pan’s surface.

Donut pan prices

Most donut pans cost about $10. Expect to pay slightly more for pans sold in packs of two or pans that come with accessories such as a spatula or piping bags.


  • Don’t add icing to hot donuts. Adding icing to hot donuts will cause it to run everywhere. Wait till your treats are cool before icing. However, you should add sugar-based toppings immediately when the donuts are still very hot. The sugar will stick better.

  • Opt for a thick batter when baking donuts. A thick batter is more manageable than a thin batter and will make piping easier. A thicker dough will also form a nicer donut shape.

  • Grease a nonstick pan. Don’t forget to grease your pan before filling or you’ll end up with a crumbly, broken mess.

  • Avoid overbaking. Donuts that stay in the oven too long will come out dry.

  • Experiment with flavors and ingredients! Add orange extract to the batter or icing for a citrusy kick.

  • Use your donut pans for other foods. You can use the pans for other types of treats. You can make donut-shaped muffins, cakes, and even savory treats. Donut pizza, anyone?

Chocolate donuts

You don’t need guests from out of town to have an excuse to whip up these mouthwatering chocolate donuts. Treat yourself with some Instagram-worthy confections.

Makes about 10 full-size donuts.


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)


  1. Grease your donut pan.

  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

  3. Mix together wet ingredients in another bowl.

  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.

  5. Fill piping bag with batter and pipe into donut pan.

  6. Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes.

  7. Let cool a few minutes before removing donuts from pan.

  8. Decorate or glaze the donuts.

  9. Enjoy!
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Adorning your freshly baked donut with butter and sugar mimics the taste and aroma of a fried donut.


Q. Aren’t donuts supposed to be fried?

A. Typically, donuts are fried in hot oil, but there’s no reason to avoid the oven when making these round-shaped indulgences. Baked donuts are more healthful and less messy than deep-fried donuts.

Q. What’s the difference between a yeast and a cake donut?

A. Cake donuts are made with baking powder and have a denser, cake-like consistency. Yeast donuts rise with the help of yeast and are typically airier.

Q. My donuts keep sticking to the pan! What am I doing wrong?

A. There might be a few reasons why this is happening. If you’re using a nonstick metal pan, baking on very high heat can cause food to stick. Using cooking spray on a nonstick pan can also damage the pan’s coating. Improperly washing your nonstick pans can cause the coating to perform poorly. If your silicone pan is sticking, check the care instructions. You might need to grease the pan before baking. Avoid using cooking spray with silicone pans. Grease with other fats instead.

Q. Is a donut the same thing as a doughnut?

A. Yes! They’re just two different spellings for the same sugary treat. “Donut” is the Americanized spelling of the word. Donuts are enjoyed in different variations all over the world. No matter where you’re munching on a donut, it will be super tasty, made of dough, and usually enjoyed as a dessert.

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