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I wish this recipe was my own because it’s so smart. Substituting protein shake mix for a bunch of the high calorie ingredients found in donut recipes is genius! A friend passed it on to me, and I feel obligated to share it with you.

The original recipe can be found at Kinda Healthy Recipes. I don’t know Mason Woodruff, but I love his goal of taking heavy foods and making them healthier. This post is a review of his recipe and what I changed to suit what I had in my kitchen at the time.

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Pumpkin Spice Protein Donuts (courtesy of Mason Woodruff)
Makes six donuts

Donut Ingredients:
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 scoop (32g) vanilla protein shake mix
2 egg whites
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. stevia or similar 0-cal sweetener
1 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Protein Frosting:
2 oz. fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. fat free evaporated milk
1 scoop (32g) vanilla protein shake mix


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Depending on protein powder consistency, you may need to add more applesauce or pumpkin until it’s smooth.
  3. Spoon donut batter into pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Mix frosting ingredients together while you wait for donuts to cook. If you need to soften your cream cheese, you can microwave it for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Once donuts are cooled, frost and enjoy!

My Recipe Modifications

Flour: To suit my family, I used the same amount of Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour and it came out beautifully.

Protein Mix: I’m quite partial to the Arbonne Protein Shake Mix. I used the Vanilla flavor in this recipe, but for a limited time there is a Pumpkin Spice variety. If you use the latter, I’d suggest omitting the pumpkin spice called for in the recipe.

Egg Whites: While separating the egg whites, I let one yolk slip into the batter. So my recipe was one egg white, and one full egg and the calories below reflect this change.

Cream Cheese: I used reduced fat cream cheese, only because it’s what I had on hand. With the low calorie count in these donuts, having a little more flavor and better texture to my frosting was worth it to me.

Toppings: The original recipe didn’t call for any sprinkles, but after frosting the donuts, I thought they needed a little something to dress them up. I had some cinnamon crumb topping on hand from another recipe and sprinkled it on top. It was perfect and gave it a little extra spice and flavor.

Overall Review

If you’re expecting typical, full-fat and calorie donuts, these are not for you. But if you’re someone who loves a good donut but can’t stand the calories in your daily diet, then these are a perfect fit.

The texture is comparable to a cake donut and is dense and moist thanks to the pumpkin and applesauce. The pumpkin flavor does not overwhelm you, and the vanilla protein shake powder blends right in and doesn’t taste grainy. Granted, that may be only when using the Arbonne mix, but again, I’m biased. 😉 Shameless plug!

The frosting made a ton more than I needed (see in the main photo above how much was left in the bowl), so I calculated the calories for my donuts separate from the estimated amount of frosting I used.

I knew that six donuts would not be enough, so I doubled the recipe. My calorie counts are based on the recipe modifications listed above. The donuts have only 56 calories, which means you can have more than one and feel oh, so happy. If you didn’t use the egg and kept his original recipe for two egg whites, the calories drop to 47 per donut!

The frosting adds a few calories, but not enough that you feel guilty eating these as a snack. Using my frosting recipe modifications, you can add 41 additional calories to your donuts. However, that’s assuming you use all of the frosting, which I didn’t even come close to using. I estimated about 1/3 of the frosting was leftover. When you take this into account, my estimations (keep in mind that I’m no calorie scientist, folks) put the frosting at about 27 calories per donut.

Why am I rambling on and on about calorie counts? Because even with frosting on donuts, you can eat one of these delicious, moist, protein packed, pumpkin spice DONUTS for 83 calories (give or take a few)!!

Load. Me. Up.

Well done, Mason Woodruff, well done.

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