Air Fryer Cake Donuts are the perfect way to start your morning. And they are so good!

Drizzle some icing over the top and add some more sprinkles and you have a great breakfast treat, anyone would love, young or old!

Air Fryer Cake Donuts
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My kids love a batch of homemade (semi-homemade in this case) donuts, made with all of the goodness of traditional baked donuts, but only better since this one takes minutes to air fry up!

Air Fryer Cake Donuts are so easy to make. They are topped with vanilla glaze and festive sprinkles for a great dessert or breakfast treat.

If you are looking for even other easy Air Fryer Donut Recipes, some of my favorites are AIR FRYER RASPBERRY LEMON DONUTS, AIR FRYER SOUR CREAM DONUTS, and my kid’s ultimate favorite, AIR FRYER FRUITY PEBBLES DONUTS.

What Are Cake Donuts?

Cake donuts are a type of doughnut made from a sweetened dough leavened with baking powder, as opposed to yeast. This gives them a dense and tender crumb, similar to a classic cake, hence the name “cake donuts.” Unlike their yeast-raised counterparts, which are light and airy, cake donuts have a tighter crumb structure that results in a softer and somewhat crumbly texture.

The batter for cake donuts is mixed until smooth and then either piped into ring shapes or rolled out and cut before being fried. They can be finished in a variety of ways, including glazing, dusting with powdered sugar, or covering with frosting and sprinkles. Cake donuts come in many flavors, from vanilla and chocolate to more elaborate varieties incorporating fruits, spices, and other flavorings.

Because of their distinct texture and the simplicity of preparation (no need to proof like yeast doughnuts), cake donuts are a beloved treat in many parts of the world, enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack, or as a dessert, they’re particularly popular in the United States, where they’re a staple in many doughnut shops and bakeries.

cake donuts

Why You Will Love Making Cake Donuts In Air Fryer

Making cake mix donuts in an air fryer is an approach you’ll love for several compelling reasons, combining the ease of cake mix with the convenience and health benefits of air frying. Here’s why this method is sure to win you over:

  • Simplicity and Speed: Using a cake mix as the base for your donuts eliminates the need to measure multiple dry ingredients, significantly simplifying the baking process. The air fryer then cooks these donuts quickly and efficiently, making it possible to enjoy fresh, warm donuts in a fraction of the time it would take to bake or fry them traditionally.
  • Less Mess: Forget about dealing with deep fryers filled with hot oil. Air frying donuts means you won’t have to manage or dispose of large quantities of used oil, and cleanup is as simple as washing the air fryer basket and any mixing equipment. This method keeps your kitchen cleaner and safer.
  • Healthier Option: Air frying donuts are a healthier alternative to deep frying. It drastically reduces the amount of oil needed, cutting down on fat and calories without compromising your donuts’ delicious taste and texture. You get to indulge in your sweet treat with a bit less guilt.
  • Creativity at Your Fingertips: Starting with a cake mix opens up a world of flavor possibilities — from classic vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous options like lemon, strawberry, or spice cake. Plus, you can customize your donuts with various glazes, toppings, and fillings, allowing for endless creativity and personalization.
  • Perfect Texture: Air frying creates a wonderfully light and tender crumb inside with a slightly crisp exterior, mimicking the delightful texture of traditionally fried donuts. You’ll love the contrast in each bite, which is not always achievable with oven-baking.
  • Convenience: The air fryer’s compact size and ease of use make it perfect for small batches, meaning you can whip up donuts whenever the craving strikes without the commitment of a full baking session. It’s ideal for quick treats, breakfast, or dessert.
  • Fun and Engaging: There’s something undeniably fun about making donuts at home, and using an air fryer adds an element of novelty and experimentation to the process. It’s a great way to get kids and families involved in cooking, making for a delightful and engaging kitchen activity.

Making cake mix donuts in an air fryer is a game-changer. It combines the convenience and ease of cake mixes with the healthier cooking method of air frying, all while allowing for creative expression through flavors and decorations. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the kitchen, this method will bring joy and delicious treats into your home.

Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Dive into the world of delightful treats with a simple and foolproof way to make Air Fryer Cake Donuts. This method marries the convenience of using a cake mix with the innovative cooking technique of air frying, promising delicious results with minimal fuss.

Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Cake Mix: Choose your favorite cake mix flavor to serve as the base for your donuts, offering a variety of taste profiles from classic vanilla to rich chocolate or even something more adventurous.
  • Eggs: Essential for adding structure and richness, eggs bind the ingredients together, ensuring your donuts are moist and tender.
  • Oil: A bit of oil in the batter helps keep the donuts moist and tender, enhancing the texture to make it just right.Water
  • Water: Adds moisture to the donuts, and the water keeps donuts moist during air frying.
  • Butter: The foundation of many decadent desserts, butter adds unparalleled richness and flavor, creating a creamy base for icing that complements any baked good with its velvety smoothness.
  • Powdered Sugar: Finely ground and silky, powdered sugar dissolves effortlessly, providing the sweetness and smooth texture essential for a perfectly spreadable icing.
  • Milk: A splash of milk is the key to adjusting your icing’s consistency, making it effortlessly spreadable or drizzle-ready while adding a subtle hint of creaminess that ties all the flavors together beautifully.

How To Make Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Making cake donuts in the air fryer using a cake mix is a quick and delightful way to enjoy homemade donuts with less mess and less guilt. Here’s a simple guide to creating these treats:

Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Prep the Donut Batter:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water (add vanilla extract if using). Mix until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.
Prep the Donut Batter:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water (add vanilla extract if using). Mix until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

Shape the Donuts:

  • If you have a donut pan that fits in your air fryer, lightly grease it and fill each donut cavity about 3/4 full with batter. If you don’t have a donut pan, pipe rings of batter onto a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the air fryer basket, using a piping bag or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off.
Air Fryer Cake Donuts


  • Place the donut pan or parchment with piped batter in the air fryer. Set the air fryer temperature to 320 degrees F, and set the cook time for 6-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean.
  • Cooking times may vary depending on the air fryer model and the size of your donuts, so keep an eye on them.
Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Cool Down:

  • Once cooked, let the donuts cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Icing:

  • While the donuts are cooling, prepare the icing by whisking the melted butter, powdered sugar, and milk until smooth. Adjust the thickness by adding more milk or powdered sugar as needed. Add food coloring or flavor extracts if desired.


  • Dip each cooled donut into the icing, or use a spoon to drizzle icing over the tops. Add sprinkles or other decorations while the icing is still wet.

Serve and Enjoy:

  • Allow the icing to set for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your homemade air fryer cake donuts with your favorite beverage!

This recipe is quick and versatile, allowing for endless flavor and decoration combinations. Making donuts in the air fryer with a cake mix is a fun and simple treat perfect for any occasion or as a special snack.

Air Fryer Cake Donuts

Pro Tips

Creating cake mix donuts in the air fryer can be fun and rewarding. Here are some pro tips to ensure your donuts come out perfectly every time, turning a simple cake mix into an extraordinary treat:

  • Choose the Right Cake Mix: Opt for high-quality cake mixes for the best flavor and texture. Feel free to experiment with different varieties, from classic vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous flavors like red velvet or lemon.
  • Don’t Overmix the Batter: Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can develop the gluten in the flour, leading to tough donuts. A few lumps in the batter are perfectly fine.
  • Use a Piping Bag for Uniformity: For evenly sized donuts with a neat appearance, use a piping bag or a large zip-top bag with a corner cut-off to pipe the batter into the donut molds or onto parchment paper. This technique helps control the batter’s flow and ensures uniformity in size and shape.
  • Do Not Overcrowd: Place donuts in a single layer with space around each to allow for proper air circulation. Cooking in batches may be necessary, but it ensures that each donut cooks evenly and becomes nicely crispy on the outside while staying soft.
  • Adjust Cooking Times as Needed: Air fryers can vary in their temperature accuracy and efficiency. Start checking your donuts for doneness a few minutes before the suggested cooking time ends. They should be golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed.
  • Cool Before Decorating: Allow the donuts to cool slightly before applying glazes or toppings. If the donuts are too hot, glazes can become runny, and toppings may also not adhere.
  • Get Creative with Toppings and Glazes: Experiment with different glazes, icings, and toppings to find your favorite combinations. The possibilities are endless, from classic chocolate or vanilla glaze to more unique options like matcha or salted caramel.
  • Storage: Cake mix donuts are best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Before serving, you can briefly reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to refresh their texture.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cake mix flavors, cooking times, and toppings. Each batch of donuts is an opportunity to refine your technique and discover new favorite recipes.

By following these pro tips, you’ll be able to easily make delicious, creative, and satisfying cake mix donuts in your air fryer, impressing family and friends with your baking prowess.

Air Fryer Cake Donuts


Can I use any type of cake mix for air fryer donuts? Yes, you can use any type of cake mix for making air fryer donuts, including vanilla, chocolate, lemon, red velvet, or any other flavor you prefer. The versatility of cake mix allows for a wide variety of donut flavors.

Do I need special equipment to make air fryer donuts? While you don’t need specialized equipment, using a donut pan that fits in your air fryer can help achieve the classic donut shape. Alternatively, you can shape the dough into rings on a piece of parchment paper designed to fit the air fryer basket.

How long does it take to cook cake donuts in the air fryer? Cooking time can vary depending on the air fryer model and the thickness of your donuts, but generally, air fryer cake donuts take about 5-7 minutes at 320°F (175°C). Always check for doneness a minute or two early to prevent overcooking.

Can I make these donuts without oil? While the cake mix itself contains fat, brushing the donuts with a little oil before air frying can help achieve a golden and crispy exterior. However, you can opt to make them without additional oil; just note that the texture may be slightly different.

How can I ensure my donuts don’t stick to the air fryer basket? To prevent sticking, you can lightly grease the donut pan or the parchment paper with cooking spray. If using a silicone donut mold, sticking should be minimal, but greasing still helps with removal.

What’s the best way to apply toppings or glazes? For the best results, let the donuts cool for a few minutes after air frying before applying glazes or toppings. If using a glaze, dipping the top of each donut usually works well. For dry toppings like sugar or sprinkles, rolling the donuts or sprinkling them on top while the glaze is still wet will help them adhere.

Can I store air fryer cake donuts? Yes, air fryer cake donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to a month. Reheat briefly in the air fryer or microwave to refresh before serving.

Are air fryer donuts healthier than traditional fried donuts? Air fryer donuts are generally healthier than traditional fried donuts because they require significantly less oil, reducing the overall fat content. However, nutritional content also depends on the cake mix and toppings used.

Can I double the recipe? Yes, you can easily double the recipe to make more donuts. Just be sure to cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, which ensures even cooking and crisping.

Best Donut Pans For Air Fryer Cake Donuts

This will depend on the model of your air fryer. I have used several. Here are my recommendations for the type of air fryer you own. (affiliate links included)

Air Fryer Cake Donuts

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes


Air Fryer Cake Donuts

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
5 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


Such a fun and easy way to make homemade (Semi-Homemade) Donuts in minutes. The air fryer does an amazing job at making a great donut!
YouTube video



  • 1 box Funfetti Cake Mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water


  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  • In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, vegetable oil, water, and egg. Mix well.
  • Spray your donut pan with cooking spray and then pour the batter into the donut molds, filling about 2/3 way full. Set the temperature to 320 degrees F, air fryer setting for 6-10 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before adding the glaze.
  • To Make The Glaze: mix the powdered sugar, milk, and butter until it is at the right consistency.
  • Dip the donuts into the icing, and then sprinkle with the sprinkles.
  • Plate, serve, and enjoy!


  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray
  • Donut Pans, or Donut Molds


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 387kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 371mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 1gSugar: 50gVitamin A: 84IUCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg

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