Spiced Squash Doughnuts

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

With fall upon us there's no reason to let pumpkin have all the fun. Squash lends a light sweetness and mild earthiness to these doughnuts and it also happens to make for a very tender and fluffy cake.

Note: If you don't have a doughnut cutter you can use a 3-inch round cutter with a 1-inch cutter for the center hole. Let doughnuts sit for about ten minutes before frying so that the exterior will have a chance to dry slightly and absorb less oil. The dough is sticky by nature, so the surface won't feel dry to touch but a few extra minutes of resting will help the doughnut absorb less oil and contribute to a lighter texture. While doughnut holes are fun to make and eat, the timing of frying them can be challenging. I recommend combining the scraps to make more full sized doughnuts.

Any pumpkin pie spice blend should pair well with the squash here. I'm particularly fond of the blend from Trader Joe's that uses cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @BlondieBrownie.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Spiced Squash Doughnuts

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen doughnuts
Active time:1 1/2 hours
Total time:3 1/2 hours
Special equipment:dutch oven or electric fryer, doughnut cutter, wooden chopsticks, heat resistant spatula, frying thermometer
This recipe appears in: American Classics: Spiced Squash Doughnuts


  • 5 cups (22 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) squash puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 quarts canola oil, for frying


  1. 1

    In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

  2. 2

    In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, 1 cup sugar, and brown sugar, beating until combined and slightly foamy. Add buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, and squash puree. Stir until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Lay out two large sheets of plastic wrap. Spritz plastic wrap with canola oil. Divide dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap then flatten into discs. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight.

  3. 3

    Generously flour a large work surface. Take one of the discs and turn out the dough to coat with flour, sprinkling the surface of the dough with flour to lessen stickiness. (Note the dough is sticky, don't be shy about adding flour until it's workable). Gently pat the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Use a floured 3-inch doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts and place cut doughnuts on a well floured sheet of parchment paper. Collect any scraps and roll out dough to cut more doughnuts until all the dough is gone.

  4. 4

    Fill a Dutch oven or deep fryer with 2 inches of oil. Heat oil over medium high heat to 360°F. Using a shallow, heat resistant strainer, drop doughnuts in the oil and fry until a deep golden brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side, use the color as your guide as the oil temperature can very with time). Use wooden chopsticks to turn the doughnuts. Be careful not to crowd the doughnuts in the pan (no more than 2 to 3 doughnuts at a time). Remove doughnuts immediately from the pan using a heat resistant strainer or tongs. Set on paper towel lined baking racks to cool. Once cooled slightly, toss in a paper bag with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Serve immediately. Doughnuts are best the day they are made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for a day.

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