Churro-inspired, vegan air fryer donut holes are sweet and cakey with a crunchy cinnamon-sugar coating. A perfect treat with coffee or tea!
Just like those air fryer falafel balls, these air fryer donut holes are another reader request.
I was kind of waffling about what kind of donut holes to make, then I watched the episode of Broad City where Abbi waits all day for a Churron. I'm not a big macaron person, but that episode got churros on my brain.
Clearly, I needed to make chonut holes a reality!
Churros are also total nostalgia food for me. That crunchy, cinnamon-sugar coating transports me back to the ice skating rink where my friends and I liked to hang out in middle school. That's where I had my first churro.
The base for these air fryer donut holes is a cake donut with just a little touch of cinnamon. Then, you roll them in plenty of cinnamon sugar just before air frying.
They're very simple to make! Just mix up the dough, roll into balls, coat in that cinnamon-sugar goodness, and air fry to perfection.
Before you arrange the donut holes in the basket, though, make sure that you line it with parchment paper. I must have made these half a dozen times, trying to keep them from sticking, and parchment paper is the answer. Don't skip it.
It's also critical that you do NOT shake these. The dough is not runny, but it is soft. If you shake during cooking, your donut holes will lose their cute, round shape.
The not-shaking is part of the reason that you need the parchment paper. It's all that's preventing these vegan donut holes from sticking to the air fryer basket.
Leftovers will keep for three to five days in an airtight container on the countertop.
Make sure that these are completely cool before you seal them into the container. If you close the lid while they're warm, it will cause condensation to form, which can lead to spoilage.
Air Fryer Donut Holes Recipe
- 1 cup white all purpose flour
- ¼ cup organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons aquafaba I have used white bean and chickpea to make these, and both worked great!
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup soy or almond milk
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, ¼ cup of sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.
- Add the aquafaba, coconut oil, and soy milk. Mix well. I had the best results when I mixed with a fork, then got in with clean hands to knead the dough together for a few seconds when it got too stiff to beat with a fork. When you’re done, you should have a ball of slightly sticky dough.
- Stick the bowl of dough into the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can even make the dough the night before. If you do this, store in an airtight container.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set this aside.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper so it covers some of the bottom of your air fryer but doesn’t cover it completely. Leave about ½" around the edges to let air flow.
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and give it a quick knead. Divide into 12 pieces, forming the pieces into balls. Dredge each ball in cinnamon sugar, and arrange into a single layer on the parchment paper, leaving at least 1" of room around each ball. I air fried mine in 2 batches of 6 donut holes each.
- Air fry at 370° F for 6 minutes. DO NOT SHAKE. Shaking these is a disaster. Trust me.
- Let them cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the basket. You want these cooled completely, and the total cooling time depends on how many you fried at once and the size of your basket.
Frequently asked questions
The air fryer gives these the crunchy-on-the-outside, cakey-on-the-inside texture of a cake donut hole, but without deep frying. And it takes half the time it would take the bake these in the oven!
I haven't successfully made full-sized donuts in the air fryer. Because of the size of the basket, you'd need to do tons of batches. You're better off making full-sized donuts in the oven.
No! These are basically little balls of cake coated in sugar. They're healthier than deep fried donut holes, but these are not broccoli.
Do not use aerosol spray oil in your air fryer. Spray oil and nonstick are a bad combination that can damage your basket. If you need to oil your basket, use a spritz oil sprayer instead or grease it with a paper towel.
In this recipe, greasing the basket won't work anyway. I tried, trust me! Line the basket with parchment paper instead.
You can! Bake at 375° F for 10-14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Think of an air fryer as a super hot, miniature oven that cooks food quickly. If you want to learn more about air fryers, I highly recommend checking out my how to use an air fryer guide!