12 Donut Pan Substitutes [Best Options]

I have been wanting to make homemade donuts for a long time.

The only problem is that I don’t have a donut pan. There has to be a way to make donuts without a donut pan!

I set out to find the perfect donut pan substitute and I found quite a few.

Hopefully, you too will be able to make perfect, mouth-watering donuts without a donut pan using these DIY donut pan ideas. 

The best donut pan substitute is a muffin tin with a small foil ball in the center. Most of us have a muffin tin making this a very convenient substitute. Mini Bundt pans work really well as donut pan replacements, too. You can also pipe your donut batter onto a cookie tray with a large, straight piping tip. 

Donut Pan Substitutes

1. Muffin Tin – Best Donut Pan Substitute for Baked Donuts

You can definitely make baked donuts in a muffin pan. Standard-sized muffin tin or a jumbo muffin tin makes a perfect donut pan substitute. 

Muffin Pan

Make a small, one-inch ball of foil and place it in the center of the greased muffin tin. Be sure to grease the pan and the foil ball well so the donut batter doesn’t stick to the pan. 

Pour the donut batter into the muffin tin, filling it just halfway. The batter will rise as it bakes and you want to keep that hole in the center! 

Bake the donuts as directed in your recipe. They will take the same amount of time to bake in a muffin tin as they would in a real donut pan! 

2. Four-Inch Cake Pans

Small, individual cake pans make perfect donut pans. They are typically only about 2-3 inches deep which is the perfect size for donuts. 

Add your donut batter to the mini, greased cake pans filling each pan halfway.

If you want a donut with a hole in the center, place a small foil ball in the center of the pan before you add the batter.

You can also skip the hole and make solid donuts, perfect for filling with kelly or cream. 

Bake your donuts for the same amount of time as directed in your donut recipe. Baking in a mini cake pan and baking in a donut pan takes the same amount of time! 

3. Pie Pan

Does the idea of a really big donut sound good to you? A jumbo donut definitely sounds like something I would love!

You can make a huge donut using a pie pan rather than a donut pan. 

Pie Pan

Make a tight ball, about 2-3 inches in size, using aluminum foil. Place the ball in the center of your pie pan. Spray the whole pan and foil ball with baking spray. 

Pour all of your donut batters into the pan, spreading it around the foil ball evenly. Bake the jumbo donut for about 5-10 minutes longer than the recipe requires.

Since the donut is so big, it will take longer to bake. However, once cooked, you will have the biggest, best donut of your life! 

4. Round Silicone Mold

There’s a good chance you already have a round silicone mold in your kitchen.

Round Silicone Mold

Many people use round silicone molds for making chocolates, perfect mini cakes or even to make soaps. They can also be used to make donuts!

Spread your donut batter in the round mold pan. Fill it about ¾ of the way to the top.

Bake the donuts as directed in your recipe, checking that they are baked completely in the center before removing them from the oven. 

Let the donuts cool slightly then push the bottom of the silicone mold upward, popping out the donut.

Fill the donut with some jelly or just dust it with powdered sugar and then enjoy! 

5. Mini Bundt Pans

A mini bundt pan looks a lot like a donut pan. There is a cylinder tube in the center of the pan that creates a hole in the center of the cake. This is ideal for baking donuts.

Mini Bundt Pan

Bundt pans are textured while a donut pan has smooth sides.

You will want to grease your bundt pan well before filling it with donut batter to ensure your donuts don’t stick in the groves of the pan. 

Bake your donuts exactly as if you were using a donut pan. A bundt pan is essentially the same thing!

Mini bundt pans are even the same size as a donut pan- about 4 inches across! The perfect size for a donut. 

6. Donut Cookie Cutter – Best Donut Pan Substitute for Yeast Raised Donuts

You can find donut cookie cutters that will cut perfect donut circles in just one step.

The cutters not only cut out a round donut but also cut the hole out of the center of the donut at the same time. 

Look for a donut cookie cutter in a local baking supply store. You can also just use a 4 inch round cookie cutter and a one inch round cookie cutter to cut out the hole. 

Roll out your proofed donut dough on a floured work surface. Make the dough about one inch thick then use your donut cookie cutter to pop out perfect donut circles. 

Let the cut-out doughnuts rise again and then deep fry to golden perfection. 

7. Cannoli Tubes

Cannoli tubes are small, metal tubes that are used to shape cannolis. However, they are also perfect for shaping doughnuts!

Divide your doughnut dough into small balls about 4 inches in size. Roll the dough into a \long log that is about 1” wide.

Stand a cannoli tube upright on a piece of parchment paper and wrap the doughnut dough log around the tube, sealing the ends together to make a circle. 

Let the dough proof again and then gently lift the dough and cannoli tube into the deep fryer oil.

Fry until golden then remove the cannoli tube. Your donut will have a perfect hole in the center! 

8. Donut Holes

Skip the classically shaped donut and make donut holes instead. Donut holes are super easy to make and the perfect size to eat. They also don’t require a pan!

Use a small cookie scoop to scoop your doughnut batter onto a sheet tray. Bake the donut scoops for about half the time as directed in your recipe.

They will cook faster since they are smaller. If you have ever wondered can you bake donuts on a cookie sheet, here is your answer! Yes!

If you are making yeast raised donuts without a tray, simply make small balls of dough. Let the dough proof and then deep fry it. Perfect warm donuts are the result!

9. Free Form Donuts

Sometimes the best-tasting baked goods are the ones that don’t look quite perfect. Free form donuts will taste fantastic but not be as neat in appearance as donuts baked in a tray. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop some of the doughnut dough on to a sheet tray and spread it into the shape of a doughnut using an offset spatula. 

Free-form doughnuts will bake faster than doughnuts baked in a pan. They tend to be thinner since they are shaped by hand.

Check the donuts after about 10 minutes in the oven. They are baked when they are golden brown!

10. Piping Bag Donuts

Use a piping bag to make perfectly shaped donuts. This method is best for cake donuts or donuts that will bake in the oven rather than yeast-raised donuts. 

Fit a piping bag with a large, round, straight piping tip. Line a cookie sheet tray with parchment paper. Squeeze the piping bag and pipe round donuts onto the tray. 

Make the donuts ads as big or small as you’d like. Since you are making donuts without a donut pan, you can choose how big to make them. 

11. Saucepan – Best DIY Donut Pan for Fried Donuts

Can you fry donuts in a saucepan? You definitely can! Saucepans are great for frying donuts because they are nice and deep. This gives you plenty of space for the oil.


Fill your saucepan with about 2-3 inches of canola oil or vegetable oil. Heat it slowly and then fry your donuts once the oil has reached the cooking temperature.

You may need to cook the donuts one or two at a time since the saucepan isn’t as wide as a fryer. 

12. Skillet

You can fry donuts in a cast iron skillet easily as well. This is a great DIY substitute for a deep fryer to cook donuts. It holds the heat well and will cook your donuts evenly. 

Skillets will not hold quite as much oil as a deep fryer or saucepan. Add at least 2 inches of oil to the pan and heat.

Cook the donuts as directed in your recipe but be sure to flip them halfway through. You want them to be perfectly golden brown all the way around! 

What is a Donut Pan?

A donut pan looks very similar to a muffin pan except each cavity has a raised cylinder in the center.

This cylinder is what creates the hole in the center of the donut. The pans are shallow and typically fit 6 donuts on each pan. 

Donut pans are designed for baked donuts made from a cake-like batter rather than yeast donuts which are fried. However you can use a donut pan with yeast raised donuts, too. 

Add the dough to the donut pan and let it proof before frying. This will create the perfect donut shape for your fried donuts! 

Donut pans are usually made out of metal or silicone. They are oven safe and often non-stick. You can find regular sized donut pans or mini donut pans. 

What Else Can You Make in a Donut Pan?

If you do choose to invest in a donut pan, rest assured that you will get good use out of it.

There are quite a few things you can make in a donut pan. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking

Donut Crayons

Fill the donut pan with unwrapped, broken crayons and bake. The crayons will melt and then cool into the shape of a donut!


Press sweet yeast dough into a donut pan to proof and bake into perfectly round rolls. 

Donut Muffins

Pour muffin batter into the mold and bake donut muffins.

Donut Cakes

Use cake batter in your donut pan to make perfect, individual donut cakes.

Bath Bombs

Make your bath bomb mix and then press it into a donut pan to make fun, whimsical bath bombs. Try this bath bomb recipe from Hip Mamas Place

So many ideas to try! You may want to but that donut pan after all…

Where Can I Buy a Donut Pan?

I recently went on a quest to find a donut pan near me. Once I saw how useful this pan could be, I really wanted one! 

I found a great doughnut pan that was silicone. This makes it very easy to pop the doughnuts out of the pan. Plus, it was delivered in just two days!

My local craft store also sold donut pans and had various sizes available, too.

It shouldn’t be too had for you to find a donut pan so you can start baking perfect, bakery worthy donuts! 

How to Make Donuts Without Donut Pan 

How do you make donuts without a donut tray? Well, you actually don’t need any kind of special pan at all.

You can bake tasty donuts without any special kind of pan or equipment! Let me tell you how. 

Donut Pan Substitutes for Yeast Raised Donuts

Donuts are either made from a batter that is baked in the oven or yeast raised fried. Yeast raised donuts do not require a donut pan at all.

DIY Donut Pan for Fried Donuts

Yeast raised donuts don’t need a mold to shape them. The dough can easily be shaped by hand and then deep fried.

But what if you don’t have a deep fryer? How can you make donuts then?! With one of these DIY donut fryer ideas from this article you can make perfect fried donuts.

Donut Pan Substitutes for Baked Donuts

So, what can I use instead of a donut pan? You will be surprised to learn that you probably have a perfect donut pan substitute in your kitchen right now! 

My baked donut recipe below will make perfect donuts in a donut pan.

Baked Donuts

Delicious Donut Recipe

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Baked donuts are so much easier to make than yeast-raised doughnuts. All you need to do is make the batter and then bake it!

No waiting for the dough to rise or dealing with messy fryer oil. 

My perfect donut batter bakes well in a donut pan, piped onto a cookie sheet tray or in mini muffin cups.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease two doughnut pans (to make 12 regular sized donuts).
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. 
  3. Stir in the remaining wet ingredients. Stir until a smooth batter forms. 
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared doughnut pan. 
  5. Bake the doughnuts for 16 minutes or until they spring back to the touch. 
  6. Let the donuts cool for about 5 minutes before popping them out of the pan. 
  7. Use powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or any kind of icing to frost the donuts. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 204mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 3g

Final Considerations

Donuts are such a delicious treat. I love that they are considered breakfast when really they are a mini little cake!

You don’t need a donut pan to make great donuts.

Any of these donut pan substitutes will help you make wonderful, homemade donuts that your family will love. Give them a try and you will never buy donuts again! Enjoy. 

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