These rainbow donuts are one of the easiest rainbow foods you can make! Basic donuts with vanilla frosting get a rainbow upgrade that makes them so much more fun than regular donuts! These colorful donuts are perfect for a rainbow party, unicorn party, or St. Patrick’s Day!
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I’m seeing rainbows pop up all over the place. I’ve known that I wanted to try my hand at rainbow foods for a while now and knew this would be the perfect time for it and not just because I just threw a Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty party!
Or because I’ve been dreaming about donut party ideas.
While my son was hanging out with grandma all day, I decided to surprise him and make an entire rainbow full of his favorite food – colorful donuts with sprinkles on top.
He’s such a picky eater and donuts are one of the few things he’ll actually eat. I’m planning to make these again on St. Patrick’s Day at the end of this leprechaun hunt scavenger hunt!
Pretty sure I snuck an entire rainbow of donuts for myself while my son wasn’t watching. These were even better than the mini cheesecakes I made last year!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Fun and festive – does it get any more festive than donuts in all colors of the rainbow? While I just made one batch, you could even double or triple this recipe to make an entire rainbow of donuts!
- Easy – there’s nothing to this recipe other than mixing the ingredients than baking, nothing complicated at all! And it uses ingredients you likely already have at home!
- Versatile – while I made these into rainbow donuts, you could easily mix up the colors and make this recipe work for any occasion! Do red and green for a Christmas breakfast party, pink and blue for a gender reveal – you get it!
- Oil – you can use any unflavored oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or even avocado oil (although it’s a bit more expensive).
- Butter – you want to use unsalted butter that’s been melted and cooled. If you only have salted butter, omit the 1/4 tsp of added salt in the recipe.
- Food coloring – I recommend using gel in these so you don’t end up with added liquid from liquid food coloring. I used Chef Master Liqua Gel colors but any bright neon colors should work.
You’ll also need a donut pan for this recipe. I used a 3 inch donut pan like this one and that gave me about 14 donuts.
You can also make bigger or smaller donuts but the number of donuts this recipe serves as well as the time they need to bake will need to be adjusted accordingly.
How to Make Rainbow Donuts
This donut recipe is easy to turn into rainbow donuts by simply adding a bit of food coloring into the batter and icing. I made six different colors – red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple – but you could use any color you want!
1 – make the rainbow donuts
Before you get started, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you’re using a metal donut pan, spray it with non-stick spray. If you’re using a silicone one, they should come out just fine without spraying.
Start by mixing the melted butter, oil, and sugars together in a bowl just until mixed.
Add eggs and vanilla into your butter mixture and whisk until fully mixed.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a separate bowl and set it aside.
Add half of the flour mixture into your butter mixture and stir just until you don’t see any dry flour – don’t over mix.
Add in all of the buttermilk and stir. Then finish it off by adding the rest of the flour mixture – again don’t over mix. The batter will likely be a little lumpy and that’s okay!
Split the batter into six bowls (for me it was about 127 grams per bowl if you want to be exact) and color one each of your rainbow colors using food coloring.
Add one color batter to a piping bag. Repeat with the five other colors so you have six piping bags full of donut batter.
You can also just spoon the batter into the donut pans, but the piping method gives you a lot more control. If you don’t have piping bags, you can also use zipper top bags with the corner cut off.
Pipe the donut batter into the donut pan, filling about 3/4 of the way full with the batter. Don’t fill them completely or the batter will overflow and you’ll lose the hole in the donut.
This recipe should give you enough to make two donuts per color with a few extra donuts to spare.
Tap the donut pans gently on the counter before putting in the oven to get out any air bubbles. This will help achieve that nice round look you’re going for.
Place the donut pan in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
Let the donuts cool in the pan for about five minutes then remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
2 – make the icing
While the donuts are cooling, make a basic vanilla glaze by combining the powdered sugar and water until the mixture is smooth.
If the mixture gets too runny, add another tablespoon of powdered sugar and stir again. If it gets too thick, add a teaspoon of water until you get your desired texture.
3 – decorate the donuts
Dip each cooled donut in the glaze then top with rainbow sprinkles or other ingredients as desired.
Serve immediately and enjoy your rainbow treats! I mean how fun would these be with any other unicorn party decorations or boxed up as a prize for St. Patrick’s Day bingo!
Try out different toppings! These would be delicious with Fruity Pebbles, drizzled with chocolate, or really topped with anything!
Store any leftovers sealed in an airtight container for up to two days (but they are better fresh).
Make your icing glaze thicker than you thick it needs to be so that it doesn’t just run right off the donuts. I always err on the side of thicker is better for these.
Freeze the donuts before glazing them in a freezer safe airtight container. They can be frozen for up to three months and just brought to room temperature to enjoy when you’re ready.
Use gel food coloring in bright colors. I used Chefmaster Liqua-Gel in super red, neon orange, lemon yellow, leaf green, neon blue, and neon purple. Neon and bright colors tend to give you the bright and bold colors you’re looking for in rainbow donuts.
It’s likely that either too much flour was added or the batter was over mixed during the process. Try scooping flour into your measuring cup next time rather than using the measuring cup to scoop the flour – the latter option can actually give you a lot more flour than you need.
More St. Patrick’s Day Treats
Whether you’re looking for rainbow treats or green treats, we’ve got you covered with these fun festive desserts!
- Lucky Charms Cookies – marshmallow filled and marshmallow topped cookies are perfect for enjoying this lucky day!
- St. Patrick’s Day Pudding Cups – layers of green, white, and gold all combined together for one amazing dessert!
- St. Patrick’s Day Marshmallow Pops – these fun marshmallow pops are so easy to make look like your favorite leprechaun or pot of gold!
- Mint hot chocolate bombs – hot chocolate bombs full of Andes Mints, Lucky Charms marshmallows, and more!
- St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Cupcakes – rainbow topped pot of gold cupcakes filled with gold coins inside!
If you’re making this for a Cinco De Mayo party, I always think it’s fun to put a little dessert on the board as well since it’s a fiesta! I added little churro twists and Mexican sprinkle cookies to mine but you could do anything with churros, Mexican wedding cookies, dark chocolate, simple margarita cupcakes, or really anything! Or skip adding them to the board and just serve this sopapilla cheesecake alongside the board instead!
Easy Rainbow Donuts
For the donuts
- 2 TBS unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- gel food coloring red, blue, green, purple, orange, and yellow
- Rainbow sprinkles (optional)
For the icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 TBS water
For the donuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a donut pan (12-14 donuts total) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter in a bowl. Whisk until well combined.2 TBS unsalted butter, 2 Tbs vegetable oil, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.2 large eggs, 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg in a separate bowl and set aside.2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until the flour spots are gone - do not over mix.
- Add the buttermilk and stir until combined.3/4 cup buttermilk
- Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and again stir just until there are no dry spots but do not over mix.
- Spilt batter evenly among the number of bowls you want different colors. Add food coloring to the bowls and mix until you achieve the color you want.gel food coloring
- Fill prepared mini-donut pans about 3/4 full with colored batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the donuts are no longer sticky to the touch.
- Allow to cool in the pan for five minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Icing
- Mix water and powdered sugar together and beat together until smooth.1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 TBS water
- Once donuts are cooled, dip gently into the icing and sit on piece of parchment paper to dry. Top with colored sprinkles while icing is still wet.Rainbow sprinkles