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Donut Pan Substitute: A Variety of Options

Are we looking for a donut pan substitute or is it a substitute for doughnut pan that we should be searching for? Actually, both words work if we’re trying to name this delicious dessert. Donut is just an alternate spelling of the original word.

However, since we’re all lazy, let’s declare that we’re looking for a substitute for donut pan. Speaking of being lazy or very comfortable, are substitutes for this bakeware amazing or are we better off just getting a donut pan and be done with it?

That’s what we’re here to find out. Let me tell you that if you just want to experiment a few times a year with some recipes but you’re not into the habit of making them regularly, then a replacement might be the way to go.

In order to better understand our options for a donut pan substitute, I turned to YouTube, which is basically the land the holds solutions to everything we don’t know or need help with. I’ll link the videos that have served as inspiration.

Donut Pan Substitute: Use a Muffin Pan

fresh baked donuts in a muffin pan
This is the most popular method that people end up using as a donut pan substitute. Obviously, it implies that you first need a muffin pan.

Besides that, you’ll also need some parchment paper or aluminum foil and a pair of scissors.

I’m partial to using parchment paper because it has the non-stick feature, while aluminum foil doesn’t. That’s why we don’t line our baking sheets with aluminum foil as a substitute for parchment paper.

This video shows us how the whole process goes. I will just give you a warning that you’ll be seriously salivating as soon as the video starts.

This is how you transform your muffin pan:

  • grease the cavities – you can use whatever you prefer, non-stick spray, coconut oil, melted butter
  • pour your batter into a pastry bag/decorating bag
  • take a sheet of parchment paper and cut it into 3 approximate smaller sheets
  • roll each small sheet of parchment paper into a ball that’s about 1 inch in diameter and then place it in the center of each cavity
  • wait until the doughnuts have cooled down before removing the parchment paper from the center – and that’s how you get the hole in the middle

So, the secret is to use something that will get you that hole in the middle.

If you’re using aluminum foil instead of parchment paper, make sure to grease the knob of foil well so that it comes out nicely after the doughnuts have cooled down for 10 minutes or so.

What If You Don’t Have a Muffin Pan?

Well, in that case, here’s another video that can help us with our problem.

The trick is that you will need an object that closely resembles a doughnut to serve as the mold for your foil. The person in the video has a really cool looking small jar. You’ll find something similar around the house.

Or you can shape it with your fingers, it might work.

You’ll need a sheet of aluminum foil pressed gently over a small bottle of water. Now, take the object that kind of resembles this dessert and place it over the foil. Then, bring the foil over this object and mold it over the object.

The bottle water pushes the aluminum foil up and it creates that needed shape for the empty hole.

Is a Donut Maker the Needed Donut Pan Substitute?

First of all, did you know that a machine like a donut maker exists? I must be living under a rock or in a cave somewhere because, until recently, I wasn’t aware of such a maker. It resembles a sandwich maker a bit but it bakes doughnuts instead.

What a strange world, where so many foods have their own machine. Bread maker, pasta maker, dough roller machines, and now a donut maker. Well, a pizza maker is just an oven for outdoors or indoors so, it doesn’t count.

Is a donut maker something you should consider getting? Let me tell you that it’s not much more expensive than a donut pan so, the price won’t be something to stop you if this is the substitute you decided on.

What I love about these machines it that they make mini doughnuts, they’re lovely. There’s one where you can make 7 at the same time.

We can even use cake mix, brownie mix or whatever batter we prefer. That’s really nice, to be able to bake multiple recipes, even if they all end up having the same shape.

Donut makers are capable of baking the batter in a matter of minutes. And they’re non-stick, although you should still spray the cavities, even the ones on the lid.

The awesome thing is that kids can use it, too. If they’re used to using sandwich maker, they’ll be experts already, the learning curve is quite similar.

Should You Just Get a Donut Pan?

I must be honest: if you’re into making baked/cake doughnuts regularly then I recommend getting a donut pan. An amazing one, like the set of 2 from Ballmain, is very cheap, less than $20 so it can be a good investment. Those from Wilton are just as great.

That’s a choice you can make if your kitchen is not so full that you can’t find storage space for it.

But you should know that donut pans are just used for baked doughnuts.

If you’re frying them, you won’t need one. In that case, you just need a cutter.

Moreover, yeasted doughnuts are not usually made in a pan, they’re fried.

Cake doughnuts work both ways: baked or fried.

Obviously, we all think that baked is the most adult-like option because we might be eating sweets but at least they’re not fried dough sweets.
The beauty of using a doughnut pan is that you just coat the wells of the pan with non-stick cooking spray and then you just fill it in with batter.

For filling in, you can use a 16 inches decorating bag with about 1 inch of the tip cut off. The cavities will end up being 2/3 to 3/4 inches full.

Another option

After talking about the perfect donut pan substitute that hopefully you already own, let me tell you what I did before starting to write this article.

Let me give you a hint. I’m a hoarder of cookbooks – books about bread, Dutch oven cookbooks, and cookbooks for bread machines are some of the most important in my library, both in physical and electronic forms.

So, I went and consulted The Doughnut Cookbook because it’s the perfect book for starting anyone into making these awesome desserts.

However, I had one very startling realization: I’m more into frying when I make them because this book definitely doesn’t have a lot of recipes for the baking kind. It seems that I’m not a responsible adult.

The doughnuts recipes that require a pan are: cinnamon crumb, strawberry, lemon doughnuts with pistachios, peppermint bark chocolate, pumpkin, and savory cheesy-jalapeno. Just a few of them.

So, if you don’t want to bother with finding or making or buying a donut pan substitute, just get this cookbook because it has a lot of recipes where you just have to fry them.