Buttermilk Orange Donut Muffins

CATEGORIES: Breakfast Breads, Easter, Kate

I think sometimes when I’m hosting parties or major family events, people are often kind of surprised when I don’t make all of my most favorite, very best recipes. I usually pick one or two things that are really delicious and then go simple on everything else.

This was not always the case.

There was a time when I used to kill myself making food for parties and holidays and events. And then I realized that I kind of hated and dreaded those special times because I was so stressed about the food that I forgot to enjoy the holiday or the fun times with our friends and family.

One of my favorite Easter foods growing up was orange rolls. I reallyreallyreallyreally love orange rolls a lot (I know that was pretty hard to deduce there). And I still make them a few times a year. But…orange rolls are one of those things that make a mess and require time and forethought and me either staying up late or waking up early, both of which are kind of a bummer.

Enter…Orange-Buttermilk Donut Muffins.

Super quick Orange Donut Muffins from Our Best Bites! Perfect for Easter Morning!

I love this basic recipe from King Arthur Flour because not only does it leave itself open to adaptation, but it pretty much encourages it. You start with a recipe for a perfectly vanilla, slightly crumbly muffin that is reminiscent of cake donuts, and then you can add whatever suits your fancy. I used it as a jumping off point to make orange donut muffins and I’ve gotta say that when you factor everything into the delicious recipe equation, I love it at least as much as I love orange yeast rolls.

You’ll need white sugar, brown sugar, an orange, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, oil, and buttermilk.

orange donut muffin ingredientsPreheat oven to 425. Line a muffin tin (I actually get about 15 standard-size muffins, so plan accordingly) with cupcake liners and set aside.

lined muffin tins

Zest the orange and set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs and orange rind and beat until smooth. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, mixing completely after each addition.

Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins (I used a 1/4 cup cookie/ice cream scoop and it worked perfectly).

orange donut muffin batter

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until the muffins are golden on top. Remove from oven and cool completely on cooling racks.

baked orange donut muffins

When the muffins are cool, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small mixing bowl. Add the zest of another orange. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. When you’ve added 1 cup of powdered sugar, it should look like moist frosting. Whisk in a few tablespoons of buttermilk until a smooth glaze consistency is reached.

orange donut muffin glaze

Grab each cooled muffin by the bottom and dip it into the glaze. Allow the glaze to set up before serving (or don’t…we’re talking about glazed donut-like things here…it’s hard to go wrong). Makes 12-15 muffins.
Super quick orange donut muffins from Our Best Bites! Perfect for Easter morning!



      1. Um, I have to agree. We have so many OBB recipes we love, but the taquitos are definitely a family favorite (like birthday dinner request favorite).

  1. Those look amazing!
    What size scoop do you use for the batter? Looks like the perfect amount and the one I have is way too small!

  2. I have made orange rolls once a week for the past 9 months. It has been a huuuuuuuuuuge pregnancy craving for me. That and limeade (citrus much?) But now that I’m 41 weeks, and my kids are home all day for spring break, I have no more energy to make orange rolls. But my craving is still there with a vengeance. Thanks OBB, for once again providing the very recipe I had no idea I needed! They are in the oven as we speak and smell divine. I’m seriously so excited right now, it’s kinda pitiful.

      1. I had to update……my husband took one bite and raved about how good they were. Then he suddenly and suspiciously remembered a potluck brunch he had going on this morning, so he requested the entire batch, schmoozing me with the whole “they’ll be such a hit!” They all walked out the door before they even had time to cool completely. I just finished baking batch 2 because I couldn’t bear to miss out! They really are that delicious. I was pleased with how light and fluffy they were. Yum! And yes, my function levels vary at this stage in the game. Yesterday was a lay around and moan type of day. Why oh why oh why does pregnancy have to last soooooooo long?! Thanks for all the yummy treats that make it all a bit easier!

  3. These sound delicious! And I am totally this stressed out person on making everything perfect and homemade. It’s not only killing me, but now I have 3 out of 4 of my adult children moved back home. They may have moved back because they are all out of work, but I’m suspicious it’s my bad habit of overdoing everything. I think I’ll take your lead and relax a bit.

  4. These look great! Perfect timing too because I was looking for something to make for an Easter luncheon. I may have to make a double batch after reading all these notes. 🙂 Thanks for the post.

  5. Do you have an orange roll recipe? Or something that uses a lot of orange juice or oranges? I have bags of oranges! Family fruit off the tree sharing 🙂

  6. I just want to declare my love for Our Best Bites. Your food is the ymmiest. (Though, I think I’ve gained 5 pounds since discovering the buttermilk caraml syrup.) I can’t wait to try these muffins.

  7. IS that two 2/3 cups of flour or the full 2 2/3 cups of flour in the recipe? You say “Alternately add the flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour,…” so are you dividing the flour in half or thirds or ??? Sorry, I’m confused.

    1. Yep! And it doesn’t really matter how much you add at a time–shake in about 1/2 cup flour, add a little buttermilk, add some flour, add some buttermilk. Just as long as you start and end with the flour, you’re good.

  8. Now if we could just get them to look as cute as those bunny shaped orange rolls, it would be perfect! JK…I love this easier substitute, because I was dreading waking up early, too! 🙂

  9. Can I use this with lemon… I am making some lemon pound cakes and will have leftover lemons and buttermilk.. Thoughts. Love love your blog..

  10. These look so easy for a Sunday morning breakfast. With 9:00 church, (crazy!!!) these will be perfect to have ready for everyone in the morning. These look delicious, thanks for sharing!

  11. Kate, I am right there with you about lovelovelovelovelovelovelove-ing orange rolls. I just wanted to tell you that I use your everyday cinnamon bun rolls recipe and add orange zest to the batter and then use fresh squeezed orange juice and more orange zest in the icing and they make awesome orange rolls. 🙂

  12. Yeah went to the store to this morning to buy some orange Rhodes rolls since the orange rolls seemed too daunting in my pregnant state. But lo and behold… They were out. This recipe is the answer to my morning frustrations! Thank you!!

  13. Just made these and they were a huge hit with my family. Delicious! I doubled the recipe and got 44 muffins but that may be a high altitude thing (6500 ft).
    Thank you!

  14. Made these this morning, they were PERFECT. So yummy. I did not use the additional orange extract and while it might have been good I really enjoyed the subtle orange flavor. I got exactly 15 with my 1/4 cup scoop.

  15. Made these last night for Easter morning…all was well until I smelled burning about 11 minutes into baking. I quickly turned the temp down to 400 and let them finish baking because the tops were not done yet. They still tasted great this morning…I did nuke it for about 10 seconds. Muffin tops are my favorite part anyway! In the future I would bake them at 400 the whole time and I’m sure they would be fine. Thanks for all the great recipes…I love your blog and appreciate your hard work.

  16. Yum! Made these today, with a few variations. What a great recipe! I cut out the white sugar, and added a little orange juice. Super delicious, even without the glaze! And my almost toddler LOVES them. Definitely saving this and making again!

  17. I made these on Saturday morning for the family. They were wonderful, and everyone loved them. There were no leftovers!

  18. I have fresh oranges just picked off the tree and couldn’t wait to make these muffins. I had some trouble with the glaze, though. The buttermilk curdled it. I used it anyway and it didn’t affect the flavor but it didn’t look all smooth like glaze should. Did I add too much? Or should I just have added some orange juice to the zest and butter? Thanks for all you do.

  19. I just made this and it was AMAZING! Seriously… I can’t wait to make this for like everyone I know! Thanks for such a good recipe!

  20. SAY WHAT?! Orange-Kissed Cookies muffin style?!!
    I made these for Easter morning and I must say they MADE the morning. They were super quick to whip up….Which saved the children from trying to eat every bit of candy they could get their hands on before breakfast came out. I did have some trouble with the glaze, mine turned out lumpy and ugly…so I melted down some white chocolate and added it in and WIN!!
    Thanks for another go to recipe, you ladies rock.

  21. this might seem like a stupid question, but can i make this without using the cupcake liners? i dont want to make them then have them turn into a (delicious) pile of crumbs the minute i try to get them out of the pan. if i butter and flour the tin would it work? thanks

  22. I have a word of warning for anyone desperate like myself… I somehow managed to let myself run really low on flour. No biggie, I’ll just make half the recipe, right?.. still not enough flour. So, if you happen to be in my situation and also happen to have cake flour and whole wheat flour, step away from the mixer, because your muffins won’t have the texture of any kind of donut ever. (I used both cake flour and whole wheat flour, secretly hoping they would somehow balance each other out. Nope!) And then the glaze is so delicious it totally overwhelms the totally ordinary muffin until you find yourself wishing you were only eating that concoction of butter, sugar, and zest. Mmm. I might give these another shot since they were quite easy, but for the moment I require another orange. And more flour.

  23. Made these for Gen Conf morning. My family loved them! I did not have any problems with the glaze curdling. In fact, even though I’m not really a glaze person, I loved the stuff and kept swiping little tastes of it off the sides of the bowl. I had leftover glaze and finally had to just tell myself to STOP and get rid of the extra rather than eat it! I did order the same scoop for the batter that you recommended to an earlier commenter. I love it! It will be great to have for all future muffins.

  24. Oh. My. Gosh. Just tasted one of these, still warm from the oven (no glaze)
    and it was soft and moist and fluffy. I thought, “Who would ever need glaze on there? It’s awesome without it!” Oh boy. Was I WRONG! The glaze is as awesome, if not better than the muffin itself. There was leftover glaze, and I ate it straight out of the bowl, and had about 3 muffins in the last 10 minutes. These are now my official favorite muffins. Thank you so much Kate!

  25. Update: Just offered some of them to my siblings. (6 & 7)Took one look at them, “Um, actually I don’t want one.” HOW?! Well no problem there with me! I’m not stopping them! But seriously, who could refuse a fluffy, warm, orange glazed muffin? Not me, thats for sure. But the bottoms of the muffins WERE slightly burnt. What went wrong there? I baked them for 15 minutes on 425! To fix it I just sliced a sliver of the bottom off, and they were fine.

  26. These were sadly not as good as the photo looks! I guess I expected a more citrusy flavor with all that orange zest. Maybe lemon juice in the glaze would have done it for me? Not bad, but not a new favorite or anything. Mine burned on the bottom a bit, too.

  27. Hey Kate. I know this post was way back when, but I’m making these for my daughters class and wondering if you think mini size muffins would work for this recipe? Thank you so much!!

  28. Question–I bought some buttermilk for another recipe that I never ended up making. The person who stamped the expiration date on the buttermilk, must have been distracted and dreaming of eating muffins like yours, as it is unreadable. After searching online for awhile to see about how long unopened buttermilk lasts, or how to tell if it is expired and seeing such a discrepancy between answers–thought I’d just ask the girls who know. How do you tell if its bad, assuming it is not moldy or chunky? And if cooked, will it be ok? And, I can’t wait to try these!

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