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Chocolate Donuts with Salted Caramel Icing

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How do you make chocolate donuts even more delicious? Add luscious salted caramel icing.

Whenever Monday is a holiday, it royally screws with my week. I’ve been so confused as to what day it is, and it also messes with my blog posts, which is why you haven’t seen a blog post since Tuesday – my apologies on that! I usually post MWF but this past Sunday, I got home from Seattle super late and I was exhausted so I didn’t have the energy to write a blog entry for Monday so I decided to share one on Tuesday but then I decided to hold off on posting another one until today so we could get back on schedule.

Yeah, maybe I’m just thinking too much into it, but surely you don’t mind because now you get these amazing donuts that Megan and I made while I was in Seattle visiting her. We were inspired by all the donuts and sweets we ate while in Seattle and Portland. I swear we must’ve put each other into a diabetic coma. We had so much sugar this past weekend. It was kind of ridiculous, but ridiculous is always awesome. I was so happy this tripped worked out. Even with the snafu of moving the trip a week later, it was for the best and I had an AMAZING time. Thanks for having me Megan!!! Can’t wait to see you next month!! xoxo

We were inspired to make these donuts because we have the same affinity for the salted caramel mocha and toffee nut latte at Starbucks and because we clearly needed more donuts in our life. We’re pretty dang proud of these as we literally came up with the icing recipe and doughnut recipe by just standing in the kitchen going, ‘oh yeah, throw a little of that in there. 2/3 cup? Ok, that works.” Haha, trust me though, they turned out delicious and her coworkers gobbled them all up.

Chocolate Donuts with Salted Caramel Icing

Salted caramel icing is the best way to top chocolate donuts!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 1 dozen
Author: Julie Chiou
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For the donuts

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • cup sugar
  • cup cocoa powder, heaping
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons milk

For the caramel icing

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup powdered sugar
  • Kosher salt, for topping

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.


  • Preheat oven to 450 °F and grease two donut pans (if you have one, just bake them in 2 batches). Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk well to incorporate.
  • Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and whisk or mix together with a spoon until well incorporated.
  • Evenly divide batter amongst the donut wells. Bake for 9 minutes then remove and let cool completely on wire cooling rack.
  • While donuts are cooling, make your icing.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar together then add cream and vanilla extract. Let mixture gently bubble and caramelize for 5-7 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar (you might want to sift it in). Stir until mixture is thick, you may need to add more than 1/3 cup. You'll want the mixture to be kind of thick so let it sit on the heat until the consistency thickens on the back of your spatula. Remove from heat and as it cools, it'll thicken up some more. Don't let it get too thick that when you dunk the donuts in, the donut top gets ripped off.
  • Take a donut and dip the top of it in the icing. Immediately sprinkle kosher salt on top and set aside to cool. You might want to put parchment paper under your wire rack so the extra icing can drip on there.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1 donut | Calories: 301 kcal | Carbohydrates: 63 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 5 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 47 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Donut
Cuisine: American
Keyword: donut recipe
Recipe Rating


Saturday 16th of October 2021

Sigh...I tried this doughnut recipe twice and they didn't turn out well :( I can't even explain the texture/consistency. Almost like a dense toffee. This makes me sad as this time I was baking for a potluck. HELP.


Saturday 2nd of May 2020

The frosting did not turn out properly for me. I think it’s the use of brown sugar, possibly? It refused to fully melt and there were little pieces of crunchy sugar all through it.


Sunday 8th of July 2018

Made these lovely light donuts today and filled them with caramel jam. Fantastic. Thank you so much for the recipe.


Monday 9th of July 2018

Thanks for the feedback!


Sunday 1st of February 2015

I tried to make these donuts with my young daughter. The donut batter was insipid and incredibly liquidy. The icing recipe ratio was off.. I should have known better 2 cups of brown sugar to 3 tbsp. butter. This almost ruined an expensive pan. Please check the recipe.


Friday 12th of December 2014

Those CINNAMON rolls are unbelievable :D