Air Fryer Lemon Donuts — Donuts are a breakfast staple in America. They’re crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, but they usually require frying oil to achieve that perfect texture.

Air fryers have become more prevalent recently, so I experimented with donut-making without cooking oils! These air-fried lemon donuts are light, moist, and delicious!

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts
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There is nothing better than a homemade donut. Today’s variety is simple lemon donuts with a lemon glaze. Here is my recipe for Air Fryer Lemon Donuts.

If you love spring and the fresh lemons it brings, this is the perfect recipe for you. It is filled with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. The glaze, made with lemon zest, sugar, and melted butter, is fantastic since it adds even more lemon flavor. It is the perfect complement to the donut.

I love fresh donuts. Everyone raves about making the biscuit donuts in the air fryer, but you can do so much more donut-making there. The air fryer is almost like a mini-oven, so if you can make it in the oven, you can make it in the air fryer. And they come out so much better, light, fluffy, and moist. What is better in a donut?

Suppose you are looking for even more donut recipes. In that case, some of my favorites are Air Fryer Strawberry Donut, Air Fryer Blueberry Donuts, and, of course (being from Boston), my copycat recipe for Air Fryer Copycat Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Glazed Donuts.

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

You would love these donuts if you loved my Air Fryer Copycat Lemon Loaf Bread. They have a rich flavor, which is enhanced by the lemon.

You can make these into lemon donut holes for a real treat. Otherwise, air-fry up a batch, and you will be ready. They make a fantastic breakfast, sweet dessert, and a great afternoon pick-me-up.

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Why You Will Love Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

You’ll adore Air Fryer Lemon Donuts for their delightful combination of ease, flavor, and a hint of refreshing zest. Here’s why they’re bound to become a favorite:

  • Burst of Freshness: The lemon in these donuts provides a vibrant, citrusy burst, perfect for brightening up your morning coffee or tea time. The refreshing zest and juice infuse the dough with a light and tangy flavor, making each bite irresistibly fresh.
  • Healthier Option: Air frying donuts is a fantastic way to enjoy the pleasure of homemade donuts without the guilt associated with deep frying. This cooking method significantly reduces the oil content, making the donuts lighter while keeping them deliciously moist and tender.
  • Quick and Easy: Unlike traditional donut recipes that require yeast and extensive proofing times, these lemon donuts can be whipped up quickly. The air fryer also cooks them quickly and evenly, providing instant gratification for your sweet cravings.
  • Versatile Glazing Options: Whether you prefer a light lemon glaze, a rich cream cheese frosting, or a simple dusting of powdered sugar, these donuts can be easily customized. The glaze options allow you to adjust the sweetness and lemon intensity to your liking.
  • Perfect for Any Occasion: These donuts are great for breakfast or a snack and make a delightful treat for brunches, showers, or afternoon teas. Their elegant flavor profile makes them suitable for both casual and special occasions.
  • Enjoy Year-Round: Lemons are available all year, making it easy to whip up a batch of these donuts whenever the mood strikes. Their sunny flavor is especially appreciated during the colder months when a taste of summer is most welcome.
  • Kid-Friendly: Kids love the sweet, tangy flavor of lemon, and these donuts are no exception. Baking with children can be a fun activity, and the air fryer’s safe, simple operation makes it a great way to introduce them to cooking.

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts offers a delightful twist on traditional donuts, combining the ease of air frying with lemon’s fresh, zesty flavor. They’re sure to become a cherished treat in any household, satisfying both the desire for something sweet and the need for a healthier option.

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Indulge in the delightful blend of tanginess and sweetness with these Air Fryer Lemon Donuts, a recipe promising to bring a burst of citrus freshness into your kitchen. Perfect for those who love a zesty twist to their baked goods, these donuts are delicious and a healthier option thanks to the air frying technique. Here’s what you’ll need to create this lemony treat:

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts (3)

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.

  • All-Purpose Flour: The foundation of your donuts, providing the necessary structure and soft texture. It’s versatile and ensures a perfect rise.
  • Cornstarch
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness to balance the tartness of the lemon, creating a harmonious flavor profile in the donuts.
  • Baking Powder: Acts as the leavening agent, giving the donuts a light and airy texture without the need for yeast.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavors of the donuts, contrasting subtly with the lemon’s brightness.
  • Buttermilk: Incorporates moisture into the dough, contributing to the donuts’ tender crumb. Buttermilk is preferred for its richness.
  • Egg: Binds the ingredients together, enriching the dough’s texture and adding golden color to the donuts.
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted butter adds richness and depth to the dough, making the donuts moist and flavorful.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Adds a natural tanginess and brightness to the donuts, complementing the zest and ensuring fresh and vibrant flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract: A splash of vanilla enhances the dough’s flavor complexity, offering a sweet aroma that pairs well with lemon.
  • Lemon Zest: The zest from lemons infuses the dough with a strong, aromatic citrus flavor, capturing the essence of lemon in every bite.

How To Make Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Whipping up a batch of Air Fryer Lemon Donuts is a delightful way to enjoy a sweet and tangy treat with minimal fuss. Here’s how to create these zesty, airy delights perfect for any occasion.

How To Make Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, eggs, butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Mix well until it’s well blended.

How To Make Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Mix until smooth

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Spray your donut pans with non-sticking cooking spray and pour the batter. About 3/4 way full. Set them into the air fryer for 10-12 minutes at 320 degrees F, air fryer setting.

Prepare The Icing: Blend the sugar, lemon zest, and melted butter. Drizzle over the donuts.

How To Make Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Pro Tips

To make your Air Fryer Lemon Donuts even more irresistible, consider these pro tips that will elevate your donut-making game:

  • Use Fresh Lemons for Zest and Juice: For the best flavor, always use fresh lemons rather than bottled lemon juice or dried zest. Fresh lemon zest and juice give the donuts a vibrant, tangy flavor that can’t be matched.
  • 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 light hand ensures a tender, airy texture.
  • Use Silicone Molds or Parchment Paper: If you have silicone donut molds, use them for perfectly shaped donuts. Alternatively, cut parchment paper into squares and mold them into makeshift donut molds for easy removal and cleanup.
  • Check Doneness Early: Air fryers can vary in their cooking times. Start checking your donuts a minute or two before the recommended time to prevent overcooking. They should be golden and spring back when lightly pressed.
  • Glaze While Warm: Glazing the donuts while they are still warm (but not hot) helps the glaze to adhere better and soak in slightly, enhancing the lemon flavor throughout the donut.
  • Adjust Glaze Consistency: If you prefer a thicker glaze, start with less lemon juice and add more as needed. For a thinner glaze, add more lemon juice until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Experiment with Flavors: While lemon is the star, adding a pinch of ground ginger or cardamom to the batter can introduce an exciting depth of flavor that complements the citrus.
  • Decorate with Care: After glazing, add a sprinkle of lemon zest or even edible flowers for a beautiful, professional-looking finish that enhances the donuts’ visual appeal.
  • Serve Fresh: These donuts are best enjoyed the day they are made, as the texture and flavor are most vibrant when fresh. If you have leftovers, a quick reheat in the air fryer can help restore their texture.

Following these tips, you’ll create Air Fryer Lemon Donuts that are not only delicious but also boast the perfect texture and a beautiful presentation. Enjoy the process and the delightful results!

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts


Can I make the donut batter ahead of time? It’s best to make the batter and cook the donuts immediately to ensure they rise properly and remain light and fluffy. However, you can mix the dry ingredients and combine them with the wet ingredients right before cooking.

What if I don’t have a donut mold for the air fryer? You can create your donut shapes on parchment paper or use aluminum foil to make makeshift molds. Another option is to shape the dough into balls for donut holes, which do not require molds.

Can I substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend? Yes, you can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend designed to be a 1:1 substitute for regular flour. Remember that the texture may vary slightly from traditional all-purpose flour.

How do I store leftover lemon donuts? Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. For best results, reheat briefly in the air fryer to refresh the texture before serving.

Can I double this recipe? Yes, you can easily double the recipe to make more donuts. Just cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, which could lead to uneven cooking.

My donuts didn’t rise well. What went wrong? Ensure your baking powder is fresh, as expired baking powder can lose its leavening power. Also, be cautious not to overmix the batter, which can deflate the mixture.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh? Fresh lemon juice is recommended for its superior flavor, but you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch. Remember that the zest adds a significant flavor component and cannot be substituted.

How can I make the glaze thicker or thinner? Adjust the glaze consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken it or more lemon juice to thin it out. Start with minor adjustments until you reach your desired consistency.

Is it possible to make these donuts vegan? To make vegan lemon donuts, substitute the milk with plant-based milk, use a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water) and vegan butter. Ensure your sugar and other ingredients are vegan-friendly.

Can I add fillings to these donuts? While these lemon donuts are not designed with fillings in mind, you can inject them with lemon curd or a vegan alternative after cooking for an extra burst of lemon flavor.

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes

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Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

Air Fryer Lemon Donuts

4.14 from 15 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings


This is such an easy recipe for the entire family, and sure to be a family favorite, with a great taste of lemon, this is the perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert.



  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted and melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
  • 4-5 tablespoons butter, unsalted and melted


  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, eggs, butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
  • Mix well until it’s well blended.
  • Mix until smooth. They spray your donut pans with non0sticking cooking spray and pour the batter in 3/4 way full. Set them into the air fryer for 10-12 minutes at 320 degrees F, air fryer setting.
  • Make the icing mix by blending the sugar, lemon zest, and melted butter. Drizzle over the donuts.
  • Plate, serve, and enjoy!


  • Air Fryer
  • Donut Molds, see blog post for the ones I used
  • Cooking Spray


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 230kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 338mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 1gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 245IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 1mg

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