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Air Fryer Protein Donuts in Under 30 Minutes

Donuts are easily one of the best desserts out there. I’m a Dunkin’ fan myself, because it’s really tough to beat fresh, fluffy donuts.

And while these protein donuts may not be Dunkin (or Krispy Kreme), they’re going to be better than any other protein donut you’ve tried!

Air Fryer Protein Donuts

These donuts are full of vanilla and butter flavor, and cook in only FOUR MINUTES!

When I set out to make these air fryer protein donuts, I tried to use the same recipe as my air fryer donut holes, but it simply did not work very well. Don’t get me wrong- the healthy donut holes are incredible, and they’re still one of my favorite recipes.

But when they’re shaped into donuts, they just do not rise nearly enough, so we needed to switch them up slightly.

Since I love that recipe, I didn’t want to change it up too much. These air fryer protein donuts utilize Greek Yogurt to help them rise, much like my Protein Bagels or Protein Snickerdoodle Puffs.

The addition of the Greek Yogurt also adds some extra protein, so each one of these donuts has only 160 calories and 10g of protein!

Most protein donut recipes out there will require eggs or egg whites, coconut flour, or other low-calorie ingredients that make the donuts taste like, well, a diet donut. That’s not the case here! These taste every bit as authentic as a true cake donut.

 

How to make air fryer protein donuts

Unlike other donut recipes, such as my Protein Apple Cider Donuts or Crispy Protein Churro Donuts, these protein donuts do not require the use of a donut mold.

Cake donuts (donuts that do not use any yeast) start out as liquidy batter, so they require the use of a donut mold to form them. For this protein donut recipe, we’re going to make a very simple dough, and we can form the donuts by hand just like bagels.

Add the dry ingredients to a bowl, then mix in the wet ingredients. Use your hands to bring it all together into a dough. It will be a very soft dough and easy to work with.

Divide the dough up into 6 pieces, then smooth each out into a ball.

Roll the doughnuts into ropes, then pinch the ends together to form the donut shape. When you cook the donuts they will expand a bit, so don’t worry if they seem small!

Preheat the air fryer at 350 degrees for about 2-3 minutes. You could skip this step, but preheating the air fryer is what allows us to cook these protein donuts so quickly.

See my Air Fryer Donut Holes to see the difference that preheating can make.

Once preheated, place your donuts in your air fryer. I was only able to fit 3, so I did two batches.

Don’t worry if you need to do multiple batches: these air fryer protein donuts only take 4 minutes to cook!

Air fry the protein donuts at 350 degrees F to 4 minutes, flipping them after 2 minutes.

Once the 4 minutes are up, they should be beautifully golden and ready to go. I know, it probably sounds too good to be true, but 4 minutes is all it takes.

At this stage, if you were to eat them as-is, they would taste very similar to a sweet biscuit.

That’s when the glaze comes into play.

Combine powdered sugar & almond milk (or any milk of your choice) in a bowl to make your glaze, then coat the warm donuts on each side.

If you like a thin glaze, you can add more milk to thin it out. Or, if you want to create more of a frosting instead of a glaze, use less milk.

To make the pink frosting on my donuts, I kept the mixture thicker and simply added pink food coloring. Then I just spooned it right over the top of the donuts!

If you find that the glaze isn’t quite thick enough when you dip the protein donuts, don’t be afraid to go for a double-dip once the first coating has hardened. I did that with my air fryer donut holes and it worked out great.

The glaze & frosting should set in about 10 minutes, but it may take slightly longer depending on how thick you choose to go.

These donuts are best eaten fresh (I mean, who doesn’t love warm donuts?) but you can save them at room temperature to enjoy the leftovers for many days.

I saved a couple of leftover donuts and enjoyed them for up to 2 days after making them, and they held up great! While many protein donut recipes out there tend to get dry, these donuts stayed nice and moist.

 

The best type of protein powder for protein donuts

When it comes to high-protein recipes, the type of protein powder you use really makes a difference.

The most popular type of protein powder out there is whey protein powder, but for my recipes, I prefer to use protein powder that is a blend of whey & casein protein.

Whey protein will likely work, but it may lead to a donut that is lacking moisture. I tested my Chocolate Donut Hole recipe with whey protein, and you can see the difference in the final result:

Donut Holes with different types of protein

I can’t guarantee it will work very well in every recipe, but for this one, it should.

If you want to see a full visual guide for protein powder substitutions, be sure to check out my The Ultimate Protein Powder Substitution Guide.

I highly recommend using a blend of whey/casein like I use! If you want to get some PEScience brand protein powder (which I use in almost all my recipes), you can use the code “Matt” to save 15% on any order.

 

Topping ideas for these air fryer protein donuts

While I believe it’s tough to beat a classic glazed donut, I also tossed one of these donuts in powdered sugar to test out a powdered donut.

When you do a dry coating like this, these air fryer protein donuts keep their crispy exterior, which may be preferred depending on how you like your donuts. However, I will say that the powdered donut doesn’t hold up quite as well as the glazed donut when it comes to leftovers. The moisture from the glaze really helps vs the dry powdered sugar.

If you’re a fan of chocolate, you can create chocolate icing as I did with my Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Donuts, or you can toss them in cinnamon sugar like my Protein Churro Bites.

If you want some other ideas, try some of these out:

  • Mix some peanut butter (or almond butter) with almond milk and powdered sugar to create a peanut butter frosting.
  • Add chocolate chips directly into the dough to make chocolate chip donuts.
  • Chop up some Reese’s Cups, Snickers, or any other candy bar to add right on top.
  • Spread Nutella right on top of these donuts, because who doesn’t love Nutella?

 

More recipes for donut lovers

Air Fryer Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

If you want to try out some other protein donut recipes, I’ve get plenty more here on my blog! Whether you want to make quick donut holes or crispy churro donuts, there’s definitely a donut recipe here for ya.

 

Bite of protein donut

Air Fryer Protein Donuts (In Under 15 Minutes)

Yield: 6 Donuts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Inactive Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes

These light & buttery donuts can be ready from scratch in just 15 minutes! That's right- thanks to the air fryer, you can have yourself a delicious batch of protein donuts in no time at all.

Ingredients

Glaze

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients for your donuts.
  2. Add the butter and Greek yogurt, then mix everything up until you have a dough and there is no dry mixture left. I use my hands to mix it all together right in the bowl.
  3. Break the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces, then add to a clean surface. You can eyeball the sizes, or you can weigh the dough and divide that up by 6 to make sure they are all very close in size.
  4. Lightly knead each piece of dough in your hands to smooth them out, then roll each ball into a rope, and pinch the edges together to form a donut shape. This is a very similar process to my Protein Bagels.
  5. Preheat the air fryer at 350 degrees F for a couple of minutes.
  6. Once the air fryer is preheated, add your donuts. I could only fit 3, so I did 2 batches. Air fry at 350 degrees for 4 minutes, flipping the donuts after 2 minutes.
  7. While the protein donuts cook, prep the glaze by whisking together your powdered sugar with milk. If you want to make pink frosting, all I did was add some pink food coloring! Dip the donuts in the glaze, or use a spoon to drizzle the frosting over the top.
  8. Repeat until all donuts are done, then enjoy! These donuts are best served fresh, but can be stored and enjoyed as leftovers.

Notes

  • I recommend getting creative with your toppings! While the frosting/icing is still wet, you can add any toppings you'd like.
  • These donuts can be baked in the oven, but baking time will vary. I suggest baking at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
  • If you are gluten free, you should be able to use a 1:1 gluten-free flour substitute. However, using almond flour or coconut flour will not work because these donuts will lack structure.
  • I have not tested with any other type of protein powder, but whey protein should work okay. It will likely lead to a much more dry donut, but I did experiment with whey protein in my donut holes recipe and it worked out.
  • These donuts keep well as leftovers! Kept at room temperature, they should remain fresh for a few days.
  • Note that I do not count sugar substitute in my carb totals. If you're very strict about your carb counting, be sure to account for the powdered sugar in the glaze.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1 Donut
Amount Per Serving Calories 160Total Fat 5gCarbohydrates 18gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 10g

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