Naturally Green Doughnuts! (aka Baked Vanilla Doughnuts)

 Alternative Titles: Shrek Doughnuts, Nickelodeon Doughnuts, Kermit Doughnuts

After my two successes using beets to make a natural pink food color, once to color buttercream frosting and once to make pink sugar cookies, I started thinking about what other fruits or vegetables I could use to get colors other than pink.  I’m all for abolishing gender stereotypes in parenting my son and daughter, but, seeing as how my son wants a Ninja Turtle cake for his upcoming birthday, I’m thinking I should expand the available color palate for future baking projects.

Then I read this naturally colored rainbow cake post at Itsy Bitsy Foodies.  First I  feel like a total slacker for never attempting such an impressive kitchen experiment (check out all the colorants she screened). Then I think ‘score, someone has done all the work for me!’   I think it was Einstein (Happy Birthday, by the way, to Mr Einstein) who said “A hundred times every day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of men, living and dead,and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received. “

 So, in the spirit of exerting myself to give as much as I have received, I took the idea of using spinach as green food coloring from the Itsy Bitsy Foodies and applied it to a baked doughnut recipe.   Because Einstein was totally talking about green doughnuts.

To make the natural green color, I juiced about 3 cups of fresh spinach.  I can’t think of a way to create a smooth, concentrated green colored liquid without a juicer, so if you are juicer-less, you can use store-bought food color or just let the doughnuts be naturally off-white.

I added spinach juice to both the batter and the frosting, but got a much bigger color impact in the frosting.   I couldn’t add more than 3 Tbsp of spinach juice to the batter without needing to compensate for the added liquid.  As you can see below, the 3 Tbsp didn’t add too much green to the finished baked good.

 If I try to make a more green baked good in the future (like, say, some Ninja Turtle green cupcakes), I will use my dehydrator to further concentrate the green spinach juice so I can get more color into the batter without adding to much liquid.  See Husband, I really do need all those random kitchen appliances.  Really.

Baked Vanilla Doughnuts with a Naturally Green Glaze


 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
3/4 c buttermilk – can also use 3/4 c milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1/4 c honey
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly coat a donut pan with cooking spray.

2.  Combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir well with a whisk.

3. In a second bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter and vanilla, stirring well with a whisk.

4.  Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Don’t over-stir, as it will make the donuts less tender.

5.  Either spoon batter into the donut pan, or, if you’re a perfectionist like me, pipe the batter into the pan using a large plastic bag with the corner cut off.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until donuts are slightly golden on bottom.

6. Cool in pan about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Green Glaze  

  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh spinach juice (or milk, for a white glaze)

Mix sugar and juice/milk together until smooth and thick.  Add more liquid or sugar as needed to get consistency right.  Spread over cooled doughnuts.

These work equally well as muffins:

The spinach juice is absolutely taste-less in the frosting.  My husband and kids loved these and they’d be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

9 thoughts on “Naturally Green Doughnuts! (aka Baked Vanilla Doughnuts)

  1. I am SO making these tomorrow. They’ll be the perfect “prize” for the end of our Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt I am putting together. I haven’t had time to devote to any St. Patty’s day food for the blog and am now having to use our ancient back-up computer due to major problems with *my* computer, so thank you for saving St. Patty’s day for my kiddos.

  2. Pingback: Warm Roasted Vegetable Salad « Dinner « Healthy In Candy Land

  3. Pingback: Apple Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts | The Lively Kitchen

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