Light and fluffy amazing vegan red velvet donuts that take less than 30 minutes from prep to plate. No yeast and no deep fryer required. These are a breeze to make and are the perfect treat for any occasion.
I have so many fond memories of enjoying warm ring donuts from fayres when I was growing up and couldn’t resist making some new ones with a special twist for valentines day. And these are my husband’s favourite flavour so I just had to make them for him.
All about Red Velvet
Did you know that to make a true red velvet cake you can’t just add red food colouring to your regular cake recipe? The addition of cocoa powder and vinegar adds to the distinctive taste. I am using apple cider vinegar with my plant based milk to create buttermilk which will also add extra moisture to the donuts and the most amazing bubbly texture. To retain that lightness, I am also using cake and pastry flour, which has less protein than all purpose flour and creates a fluffier bake. Check out my ingredients notes for my handy tip to create your own cake and pastry flour and a more detailed post here.
Ingredients and substitutions
To ensure that this recipe is allergen-friendly, I am using a couple of substitutions in place of egg and butter. Not vegan but still want to make these? Check out my ingredient substitutions to see how you can swap out ingredients to suit your own dietary requirements and my FAQ for more questions.
Cake Flour: A lot of donut recipes use all purpose flour but I prefer a lighter consistency. Cake Flour has a lower protein content, less gluten and will create a more gentle texture in your baked goods. I always use it in my cakes and highly recommend it if you’re a fan of fluffy cakes. To make your own cake flour for this recipe, weigh out 240 grams of all purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Sift two times to ensure it is incorporated fully.
Baking Powder and Salt: Baking powder helps the donuts rise. Remember that baking powder adds PUFF to a recipe which is exactly what we want here. I haven’t tried this with gluten-free flour but would recommend using a 1-to-1 GF flour substitute if you want to experiment. Salt is added to cut back on the sweetness, and also to enhance the flavours.
Cocoa Powder: One of the main ingredients of red velvet is cocoa powder. I am using dutch processed cocoa powder. Regular cocoa powder will work just as well if you can’t find dutch processed. There is a theory that regular cocoa will actually enhance your red velvet flavour but I’ve never noticed a difference. Feel free to use whichever one you have.
Sugar: I’m using white sugar in this recipe. If you want a slightly caramelly undertone, you could sub with golden or light brown sugar. You can also substitute with coconut sugar.
Melted Butter: I am using unsalted plant based melted butter to add fat to the donuts. I prefer to use melted butter in donuts to retain that lightness. You can substitute with a light oil such as canola if you prefer or regular unsalted butter if you’re not dairy free or vegan.
Buttermilk: And the secret ingredient to red velvet is…. buttermilk! I’m a huge fan of using buttermilk in my baking as it creates a light and fluffy texture with a little bit of tang that is just Oh So Good. The perfect match for my red velvet donuts. Did you know that homemade buttermilk is really easy to make? Just use one cup (240ml) of milk (I used almond milk) and add 1 tbsp of vinegar (I like using Apple Cider Vinegar) or lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes and it’ll curdle (see below) and be ready to add to your recipe. Read more about buttermilk in this ‘how to’ post.
I highly recommend using buttermilk to elevate your baking. You can just sub with plant based milk if you don’t like the flavour of buttermilk, although your donuts will be less fluffy. If you are not vegan, you can also add an egg to this recipe for extra moisture.
Food Colouring: You can’t make red velvet without adding some sort of food colouring. My preference is Americolor Super Red as it doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste, unlike other brands. You can sub with a natural food dye if you prefer. I will be experimenting with natural food colouring in the future and will post an update here with my findings. Send me your recommendations if you have used any in your baking and I’ll try them out.
How to Make Amazing Vegan Red Velvet Donuts
I am a huge fan of baked donuts especially when I want to ice them as they are lighter than fried donuts and have a similar consistency to cake. And the great thing is that this recipe can also be used to make a batch of cupcakes or a 6″ cake. With basic ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry, these donuts take less than 30 minutes to make. I recommend using a hand mixer to make them as the ingredients come together quickly and there’s no need to lug a big mixer out of the cupboard (totally ok if you want to though). Mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula will work just as well.
To make my amazing vegan red velvet donuts, I start by making buttermilk (see ingredients section above) and then adding the rest of the wet ingredients to it (melted butter and food colouring). Give it a stir then pour the mix into your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar and salt).
Mix until the ingredients are fully combined. Be careful not to overmix your batter as that will add too much air into it and also toughen the gluten. We want to retain a nice, light consistency. Let’s take a moment to gaze at the magical colour of our batter.
My top tip for donut success is to pipe the batter, rather than struggling with trying to pour or spoon it into the pans. I like to pop my piping bag in a tall glass or mason jar so that it’s easier to fill it. Yay for mess-free!
Using a piping bag is a great way to control the amount of batter that you add to the pan. Make sure you grease the pans liberally before adding your batter. Trust me, this will make it much easier to remove them once they are baked.
And then we are finally ready to bake the donuts for 10 minutes at 350°F (175°C). As we’ve added quite a bit of food colouring to the batter, the colour didn’t fade during baking. Look how wonderful they look.
Leave them in the tray to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Seriously those bubbles are a thing of beauty!
How to Glaze Donuts
If you want to glaze your donuts, I highly recommend that you wait for them to cool completely first. If you ice them while they are still warm, the glaze will simply melt and run off the sides. And that’s a huge mess for clean up (trust me, I’ve been there, done that).
The perfect way to complete your donuts is to add a nice glaze to them and a handful of sprinkles for extra colour. And this recipe is super easy and quick to make. We are using just 2 ingredients for the glaze! Icing sugar and plant based milk. I used almond milk but if you’re nut-free, you can sub it with any other milk. You could even use water if you prefer.
My glaze recipe is very easy to make with just two ingredients. Combine the icing sugar and plant based milk until you get a pourable consistency and then drizzle over your cooled donuts. My top tip for easy clean-up is to add a layer of parchment paper under your cooling racks before you add the glaze. Once you’re finished, you can pull the parchment paper away and have mess-free counters. Perfection!
Let’s have another close-up look at our amazing vegan red velvet donuts. Is there anything more satisfying than seeing all those bubbles in the donut? They are light and springy and will make the perfect treat for that someone special in your life. I really hope this has inspired you to give them a go.
This recipe makes 12 ring donuts. It can also be used to make a batch of cupcakes or a 6″ cake.
These donuts are best enjoyed on the day of baking but will store well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Craving more donuts?
For more donut recipes, check out this handy donut page.
Amazing Vegan Red Velvet Ring Donuts
- Donut Pan 2 x 6 cavity pans
- Large Glass or Mason Jar
For the vegan buttermilk
- 175 mililitres Plant Based Milk see note
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
For the donut batter
For the icing glaze
- 200 grams Icing Sugar (1 2/3 US cups)
- 50 mililitres Plant Based Milk
- Sprinkles for decoration
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Gather all your ingredients and equipment.
Making the donuts:
- Make the buttermilk by combining the plant based milk and vinegar in a measuring cup. Let it sit for 10 minutes while it curdles.
- Stir in the melted butter and food colouring to the buttermilk.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to your mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Transfer half of the batter to a piping bag, using a glass to hold the bag.
- Grease your donut pans liberally with plant based butter.
- Cut the end off the piping bag and pipe your batter in to each donut cavity. I usually do two circles per cavity and half the batter will be enough for 6 donuts.
- Refill your piping bag with the remaining batter and fill the next pan.
- Bake both pans at the same time for 10 minutes. They will feel slightly springy on top.
- Allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
Making the glaze:
- If you are glazing the donuts, let them cool completly before glazing.
- Combine the icing sugar and milk to make a smooth, pourable consistency.
- Pop a piece of parchment paper under your cooling racks and then drizzle the glaze over your donuts.
- Add sprinkles if desired.
- This recipe makes 12 ring donuts. It can also be used to make a batch of cupcakes or a 6″ cake.
- Check out the full recipe post for substitution information.
- These donuts are best enjoyed on the day of baking but will store well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.