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These homemade pumpkin donut holes are a delicious twist on traditional, fried yeast donut holes. A tried and true recipe with pumpkin spice, fried to perfection, dipped in a cinnamon sugar mixture and filled with homemade pumpkin cream filling.
I’m absolutely in love with these donut holes. I love spiced pumpkin pie, but these take the prize as my favorite pumpkin treat.
I’ve been searching around for a good recipe for these for a while. I realized, I already had it. I just needed to make a few adjustments. So many donut holes are baked. And while those are delicious, they’re not the true light and fluffy ones I’ve come to love.
And they use yeast. Which makes them perfect for filling. Yes, I said yeast and fried. I know… but they’re treats. And they’re good. Eat them for breakfast or dessert.
Eat them for both. I won’t judge.
Why Deep Fried, Yeast Pumpkin Donut Holes Are the Best
- They’re more like a traditional donut hole.
- They’re lighter and fluffier than their baked, cake counterparts. Making them perfect for filling.
- Contrary to popular belief, they are really easy to put together.
- They’re ready in about an hour.
- You don’t have to turn on the oven.
Frying these makes the texture perfectly crisp on the outside and nice and fluffy on the inside. They’re really easy to drop into the oil and fry in less than a minute a piece.
I always throw quite a few in just as my grease gets hot enough. It makes it easier to turn them all at once and then dip them out.
Tips for Frying
- I fry everything in a cast iron dutch oven. With just enough grease to fry whatever it is I’m frying. It heats more evenly.
- I am old school and fry in lard. Not the kind you get from the grocery, but the real kind, like your grandma probably used. Lard is actually a healthy fat to fry in.
- You do NOT have to use lard. You can absolutely use vegetable shortening instead.
- Use a thermometer to keep your oil at an even temperature. Otherwise they’ll overcook.
- Don’t drain your fried foods on a towel lined plate. They just sit in the grease. Instead, I suggest using a cooling rack and place it over a cookie sheet. That way the grease can drip right off.
Oh, and don’t forget to let them drain off and cool a bit and immediately swirl them in the cinnamon sugar before they’re too cold. If you wait too long, the mixture won’t stick and we’ll all cry with you that you have unsugared donuts. Is that a thing, unsugared? It is now….
For The Donut Holes:
- 3/4 Cup Warm Milk
- 1 Package Instant Yeast
- 1 Tablespoon + 2 1/4 teaspoon Cup Warm Water
- 1 Egg Room Temp
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 Tablespoon + 2 1/4 teaspoon Lard or Vegetable Shortening
- 11 1/2 Ounces Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
For the Coating:
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
For the Filling:
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese (room temp)
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
For the Donut Holes:
- Heat milk and lard (or shortening) in a small saucepan over medium heat until lard is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a bowl, proof yeast with warm water for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, measure out all of your ingredients.
- Check the temperature of your milk mixture and make sure it is under 110 degrees. If it is, pour your yeast mixture into a stand alone mixture. Add milk mixture, egg, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and half of the flour. Combine on low speed with the paddle attachment.
- Add in remaining flour and combine on low speed at first, increasing to medium speed until well incorporated.
- Switch the mixer attachment from the paddle attachment to dough hook. Beat on medium speed just until the dough begins to pull away from the sides. It will be sticky, do not add more flour, it will make the final product too dense.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Heat the grease to around 350, keep it there. Grease up your hands before handling the dough, it will be sticky, it makes it easier to handle. Grab small handfuls and roll them into balls. They will double in size, so keep that in mind.
- Fry them on each side about 30 seconds, or until golden brown. Remove them to a wire rack lined baking sheet.
- Once cool enough to handle, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.
For the Filling:
- Once they are cool enough to handle and rolled in sugar, it's time to fill them. Place all ingredients in a stand alone mixture and combine over medium speed.
- Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a filling attachment, insert the tip into each donut hole and fill with cream.