Chai Spice Baked Donuts are perfect for autumn! Full of warm spices and topped with cream cheese glaze, you get a delightfully sweet and cozy feeling with each bite.
Totally Dunkable Donuts
Really, what’s better than dunking a donut in a cup of coffee, milk or tea on a cool crisp morning? Not having to even leave your house to acquire said donuts!
If you want an instant hit of autumn, these chai spice baked donuts do they job! Shot through with an array of spices, they’ll fill your house with amazing aromas as they bake. A little cream cheese blended into the spiced glaze provides just the right balance to these confections.
But, to take it over the top, grab a hot cup of chai or coffee and dunk that donut! The mix of flavors is incredibly comforting and delicious!
Gather Your Ingredients
The spices used in this recipe can be found, in some combination or another, in traditional chai. I selected all my favorites (going heavier on the cinnamon), but you can customize to suit your tastes. Whether you opt for your favorite store-bought blend or mix it up yourself, you’ll need a total of 2 teaspoons for the donuts and glaze.
- Chai spice mix — a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and clove.
- All purpose flour
- Brown sugar — I think the hint of molasses plays well with the spices.
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Buttermilk + cream cheese — the tang in both these ingredients are a great counterbalance to the sweetness.
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
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Time to Make the Donuts!
(Sorry…I couldn’t resist. And, if you don’t know the reference, then I’m officially ancient.)
A donut pan is kinda helpful here. If you don’t have one, a muffin pan will do (although they might take another minute or two to bake…test them at 10 minutes and adjust accordingly).
- Combine the spices in a small bowl. Reserve 1/2 teaspoon for later to make the glaze.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the spices with the other dry ingredients.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together and add them to the dry ingredients; stir until just combined.
- Fill the wells of your donut pan about 3/4 full, then bake for 10 minutes at 400°F.
To make the glaze, combine softened cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add some of the powdered sugar to combine. Add milk, vanilla extract, the reserved chai spice mix and remaining powdered sugar. Mix everything together until smooth.
Dip one side of the cooled donuts in the glaze and allow the excess to drip off. Set them glazed side up on a rack to set up.
Helpful Recipe Tips
Make sure your ingredients are at room temp — because you’re going to whisk the wet ingredients together, you’ll want to make sure they are all at room temp to ensure they combine well. Nothing worse than whisking melted butter into cold milk to have it go back to a solid! Or, whisking an egg into just melted butter only to end up with scrambled eggs.
Grease the donut pan — if you have a nonstick pan, you may skip this step, but I still spritz mine with just a mist of cooking spray for a little extra insurance.
Halve the recipe — this recipe can easily be halved if a dozen donuts is just too many! But how do you get half an egg? Well, one large egg yields about 3 tablespoons. So, scramble the egg in a small bowl, then measure 1-1/2 tbsp into the recipe.
Make your own buttermilk — pour one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup. Add plain milk up to the 1 cup line. Give it a stir, then let it rest for 5 minutes.
Use a piping bag — a piping bag or zip top bag (with the corner snipped off) allows you to fill the donut pan with accuracy and without making a huge mess…well, maybe!
Fixing glaze that is too thick or thin — if you find your glaze is too thick to dip the donuts, mix in one additional teaspoon of milk at a time until it reaches a consistency you can work with. Likewise, if the glaze is too thin, add additional powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
This is a soft glaze — the addition of cream cheese introduces moisture to the glaze, so it won’t really crust over the way a ‘powdered sugar + milk’ glaze does. But, to help keep the glaze stable, use full fat cream cheese (it has less moisture than low fat)…the butter also helps in this regard.
When to Make This Recipe
While autumn is the perfect time to enjoy these donuts, they are wonderful anytime of the year…especially if you are a fan of chai!
- Make a batch when you’re expecting overnight guests.
- Bring a dozen or two to the kids’ weekend sporting events…along with a thermos of coffee!
- Invite some friends over for breakfast and enjoy these with some homemade chai lattes.
Breakfast Sweets for Days!
- Caramel Apple Pecan Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Sweet Rolls
- Easy Homemade Spiced Apple Waffles
- Caramel Apple Compote with Dried Cherries + Pecans
- Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
- Blueberry Lemon Sweet Rolls with Mascarpone Icing
- Orange Carrot Cinnamon Rolls
- Red Velvet Pop Tarts
Chai Spice Baked Donuts with Cream Cheese Glaze
Chai Spice Mix
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted + cooled to room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk plus more if needed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spritz the donut pan with cooking spray.
- Combine the chai spice mix in a small bowl. Remove 1/2 tsp and save for making the glaze.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, 1-1/2 tsp chai spice mix, baking powder and kosher salt with a whisk.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Transfer the batter to a piping bag (or zip top bag with the corner snipped off). Pipe batter into each of the donut wells.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes before removing from the pans.
- Make the cream cheese glaze by whisking the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and stir to combine. Stir in the milk, vanilla extract, reserved chai spices and remaining powdered sugar.
- Dip one side of a donut in the glaze then place glazed side up on a wire rack. Allow to set up. If there is extra glaze, you can drizzle it over the donuts in a zigzag pattern.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.