Home ยป Honey Cornbread Doughnuts (or Muffins!) with Lemon Sugar Topping

Honey Cornbread Doughnuts (or Muffins!) with Lemon Sugar Topping

I made these weeks ago…I am so behind! After yesterday’s carb fest (um, do ya’ll like peanut butter cups? 😉 I couldn’t tell…), I decided to continue the party. But you should head back on over tomorrow for Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Southwest Cream Sauce -yum!

As usual, I am off topic already.

It’s very clear I have a passion…obsession, even…with all things doughnuts. I would choose a doughnut over any junk food. I’ve said this before, and I stick to it. I would even choose a doughnut over a Peanut Butter Cup Blondie. I loooove doughnuts. And the fact that I can bake doughnuts for a healthier option sends me over the moon in elation.

I also love honey. If a recipe calls for maple syrup or agave or honey, I would choose honey in a heartbeat. No competition there. I am lucky enough to pass by a raw, local honey stand on my way home from work — one of the very few perks to working in boofoo.

However, I know many people don’t own a doughnut pan. Heck, even *I*, the self-proclaimed doughnut hussie lover, didn’t know of doughnut pans a year ago. But muffin tins, I think we all know those. And chances are, if you don’t own a doughnut pan, you probably own a (mini) muffin tin. In which case, you can make this recipe 😀


Honey Cornbread Doughnuts (or Muffins!) with Lemon Sugar Topping adapted from Stylish Cuisine and The Neelys

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated or raw sugar
1 cup fat-free milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Lemon sugar topping:
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)


Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, eggs butter, and applesauce. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Evenly divide the batter into a lined muffin tin (fill 2/3rd full) or into a doughnut pan (fill half-way). If baking doughnuts, bake for approximately 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. If baking mini-muffins, bake approximately 11-12 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. While the doughnuts/muffins are cooling, combine the lemon zest and sugar in a mixing bowl. Rub the lemon zest and sugar together with your fingers, releasing the oils from the lemon zest into the sugar (approximately 1 minute). Sprinkle the lemon sugar generously over the doughnuts/muffins and enjoy. Yield: 52 mini muffins or 26 doughnuts.

Nutrition Information (per mini muffin): 42 calories; 0.6 g. fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 77 mg. sodium; 7.6 g. carbohydrate; 0.13 g. fiber; 0.7 g. protein

Nutrition Information (per doughnut): 83 calories; 1.2 g. fat; 17 mg. cholesterol; 154 mg. sodium; 15.1 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 1.4 g. protein

Result: Fragrant, crumby, and light as a feather. I love that these work well as mini muffins or doughnuts, and that while they’re not “healthy”…they’re also a perfect pre-portioned treat for either the morning time…or as dessert. The honey and lemon are definitely the star ingredients and their flavors dominate – definitely a good thing! Enjoy!


These pictures are making my Greek yogurt and granola breakfast seem rather boring. Glad there’s just one day left between me and the weekend so more baked doughnuts can come to be 😉

Question: Do you prefer the flavors of lemons or limes? Which do you prefer: honey, agave, or maple syrup?

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Alida
    September 8, 2011 / 6:35 am

    Your pictures are making my Greek yogurt w/ peach breakfast seem rather boring as well! I like that you made a muffin alternative here, but seriously one of these days I must get a doughnut pan so I can make all of your tasty baked doughnuts. What a delicious recipe!

  2. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    September 8, 2011 / 7:13 am

    Love this! I’m a huge sucker for anything that uses cornmeal… it’s sooooo good!

  3. Joanne
    September 8, 2011 / 7:56 am

    I wish I had one of these in front of me for breakfast. I’m pretty sure that alone would make my day much more exciting!

    Limes…and maple. ๐Ÿ˜› Probably not together.

  4. Samantha @ Bikini Birthday
    September 8, 2011 / 8:43 am

    I like maple syrup most out of the three, but date molasses is my go-to liquid sweetener.

  5. Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    September 8, 2011 / 9:00 am

    Mmmmm…I LOVE baked goods that use cornmeal. Such great texture!

  6. Liz
    September 8, 2011 / 9:38 am

    I prefer lime and maple syrup (just not together). I love cornbread but I’m not a huge fan of lemon. I’m sure this would be equally delicious with orange zest.

  7. Joelen
    September 8, 2011 / 11:01 am

    I need to make some doughnuts soon because the pan I recently bought has yet to be used! Thanks for sharing – looks like a sweet way to start the day!

  8. Andrea@WellnessNotes
    September 8, 2011 / 11:05 am

    I love lemon everything. Your doughnuts sound great. I really think I’ll have to get a muffin pan; hubby and the toddler would appreciate it a lot, I think! ๐Ÿ™‚ But in the meantime, I guess I can always make the mini muffins. I do have a mini muffin tin!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole
      September 8, 2011 / 8:57 pm

      In my brief doughnut-making career, men do tend to go CRAAZY for the doughnuts. And the fact that they’re healthy is just an excuse to have…just…one…more ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Faith
    September 8, 2011 / 11:07 am

    Oooh, do these look good! Mike has been asking me to make donuts (ever fall he goes crazy with donut cravings, lol!) and I think he’d really enjoy these — bookmarking!

  10. Lindsay @ The Gluten-Free Baker
    September 8, 2011 / 11:30 am

    Those doughnuts look incredible, I love anything with cornmeal. I bought a doughnut pan last weekend and it’s already changed my life ๐Ÿ™‚ Maple syrup is my favorite!

    • Nicole
      September 8, 2011 / 8:56 pm

      It is rather life-changing…couldn’t agree more ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian
    September 8, 2011 / 11:44 am

    Wow, this looks amazing! I also have a love for doughnuts!
    Another reason why I shouldn’t get a pan..think I’d be making them weekly.
    For me, I would have to say honey! I use it more than anything else.

  12. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    September 8, 2011 / 11:53 am

    Ok – this post just made me SO hungry! These look amazing. I love cornbread, so the idea of cornbread donuts kind of blows my mind.

  13. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    September 8, 2011 / 12:09 pm

    They look amazing!

  14. Biz
    September 8, 2011 / 12:50 pm

    Your pictures are getting so great Nicole! Love lemon/limes – the zest – it wakes up so many dishes.

    And my favorite growing up was buttered toast with lots of honey – love!

  15. Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather
    September 8, 2011 / 1:26 pm

    These are the days when I’m happy to be a proud donut pan owner! Honey cornbread… Oh yes please! If I want leaving for the beach tonight I’d make these in a heart beat.

    • Nicole
      September 8, 2011 / 8:55 pm

      Have fun! The recipe will be just as delicious when you return ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Erin
    September 8, 2011 / 5:59 pm

    I’m so glad that you liked these and I love that you made them healthier. Beautiful pictures!

  17. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    September 8, 2011 / 9:48 pm

    Even though I rarely bake, I really want a doughnut pan!!! They are so cute!

  18. Jill
    September 9, 2011 / 10:52 am

    Ohhhh….yum. I don’t have a donut pan but I bet these would make fantastic muffins. I might or might not be drooling looking at these. I’m always glad when I can find somewhat healthy dessert (or breakfast) choices. These will work well! Hooray for honey!

    • Nicole
      September 9, 2011 / 11:19 am

      They were perfect as mini muffins!

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