Pancake mix donuts are deliciously moist, lemon-flavored baked donuts made with pancake mix and a few other pantry staples. They’re a super simple way to enjoy donuts for breakfast.

Stack of three donuts with glaze.

Grab your favorite pancake mix, some fresh lemon, sour cream, butter and sugar and enjoy a thick, fluffy, bright and zesty donut with the texture of a fluffy pancake. Or is it a pancake in the shape of a donut? Either way, it’s a fun twist on two different classics and your kids will love them!

About this recipe

This easy donut recipe is a cross between a pancake and a baked donut and may just be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! They’re a simple lemon donut made from pancake mix and just a few other basic ingredients. Any time you’re able to have fresh donuts at home while skipping the early morning lineup at your local bakery, it’s a win!

This easy-to-follow recipe includes a simple glaze but you can choose to have it plain or add whatever your family likes on top. All you need is a donut pan, a piping bag (or Ziploc with a hole cut in it), and your favorite “just add water” (or milk) pancake mix. In under 30 minutes, you’ll be biting into a warm donut made right from scratch while you sip on your first coffee of the day!

Overhead view of a donut with white frosting and lemon zest.

What you need

  • Pancake mix – If you have made a batch of Homemade Bisquick go ahead and use that. Otherwise, Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix is great. Whichever one is your usual go-to will work.
  • Lemon juice and zest – Freshly squeezed, you can also opt for Meyer lemons. The lemons will be used for the donuts as well as the glaze.
  • Raw sugar – Also known as turbinado sugar, it has a slight molasses flavor. You can also use granulated sugar if you prefer.
  • Sour cream – Gives these donuts a rich moist texture.
  • Melted butter – You could go the way of either salted or unsalted, the choice is yours.
  • Milk – Any milk will work for this recipe. A higher fat content will lead to a richer texture.
  • Cream & confectioners sugar – Mixing these two is how you make the base of any simple glaze before adding other flavors (in this case lemon juice and zest).
Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe.

How to make it

Preheat the oven and spray a donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside while you make the batter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk pancake mix, sugar, and lemon zest until the zest is all coated.

Dry ingredients with zest  in a mixing bowl.

Then, whisk in the sour cream, lemon juice, and melted butter.

Whisk until everything is combined and there is no more dry flour. 

Pancake batter in a clear glass mixing bowl.

Pour the batter into a piping bag or a zip top bag with the corner cut off, and fill the donut cavities 2/3 full.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and cool for 2 minutes in the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Lemon donuts on a cooling rack.

TOP IT! To make the easiest lemon glaze: mix sugar, cream, lemon juice until it has a smooth texture. Once the donuts have completely cooled, glaze them by dipping top side down, using a fork to hold them.. Sprinkle lemon zest on top if desired.

Donut being dipped in glaze.

FAQs

What can be made from pancake mix?

If you’re thinking about other creative ways to use pancake mix, there are plenty of fun ways people have come up with. For starters, make some crepes, a thin French-style pancake perfect for rolling, folding, and filling! You could also use it for corn dog batter, funnel cake, scones, cookies, brownies, and mini pancakes, otherwise known as little pancake dippers.

Can you freeze donuts?

You can freeze these donuts, much the same way you would freeze pancakes. Make sure they’re completely cooled and without any glaze on top. Keep them in an airtight container or plastic freezer-friendly bag and keep frozen for up to 1 month. Separate each donut with parchment paper so you can take out what you need.

Glazed lemon donuts on a cooling rack.

How to make these easy donuts your own

  • For an easy lemon glaze with no cream try this lemon glaze recipe
  • A tangy cream cheese lemon glaze is also amazing.
  • For a simple donut, dust with powdered sugar or leave it plain.
  • Add fresh blueberries or raspberries to the batter for a fruity lemon variation.
  • If you want to serve a variety of different donuts, drop in some add-ins to the top of each donut once it’s in the pan before baking. Think chocolate chips, diced fruit, and sprinkles.
  • Vanilla or Greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream.

Storage Suggestions

Keep these donuts stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Other donut recipes

Overhead view of a glazed donut with lemon zest.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Pancake Mix Donuts

Pancake mix donuts are deliciously moist, lemon-flavored baked donuts made with pancake mix and a few other pantry staples. They're a super simple way to enjoy donuts for breakfast.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

Donuts:

  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup raw sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon, or Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • lemon zest, optional

Instructions

For the donuts:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a donut pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk pancake mix, sugar, and lemon zest until the zest is all coated.
  • Whisk in the sour cream, lemon juice, and melted butter.
  • Whisk until everything is combined.
  • Pour the batter into a piping bag or a ziptop bag with the corner cut off, and fill the donut cavities 2/3 full.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let donuts cool for 2 minutes in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze:

  • In a mixing bowl, mix sugar, cream, lemon juice until glaze is a smooth texture.
  • Glaze the donuts by dipping them, top sides down, into the glaze, using a fork.
  • Sprinkle lemon zest on top if desired.

Notes

  • If desired, use granulated sugar instead of raw sugar.
  • If desired, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • You can use Meyer lemon or regular lemon for this recipe.
  • A hand mixer can be used for mixing the dough but be careful not to overmix.
Serving: 1donut, Calories: 139kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 130mg, Potassium: 82mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 172IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 1mg