Brown Butter & Lemon Berry Doughnuts

If you’ve seen recipes with brown butter but were reluctant to try because you thought it was too complicated, let me assure you it’s really simple to make and can take your desserts and even savory dishes to another level. I used brown butter in this recipe, but you can make these doughnuts without browning the butter.

Brown Butter is simply butter that has been melted and cooked until it becomes brown in color. The aroma is nutty and the flavor is deep, rich and complex. I attempted to take pictures of my brown butter, but I baked this recipe before the sun came up and the pictures were less than ideal. For better pictures of the color and more detail about brown butter and all of its uses, please visit this page.

You will need two standard doughnut pans for this recipe. If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can make this recipe in a muffin pan…you just won’t have doughnuts 🙂

It takes about 15 minutes to brown the butter once it melts, so do that first when preparing this recipe. Zest your lemons while the butter browns.

lemon zest

I used a bakery emulsion instead of an extract in these doughnuts. An emulsion is basically an extract, but without the alcohol, so none of the flavor bakes out. It’s completely optional, so feel free to use regular lemon extract if you’d like.

Bakery Emulsion

My favorite part of this recipe is pouring the brown butter into the batter. It’s smells incredible. This batter is really thick and you may have to use your fingers a little to spread the dough evenly into the doughnut pans. The finished doughnuts are rich and cakey.
Brown Butter

Doughnut Batter

Doughnut Batter

The lemon glaze will harden slightly.  The recipe was adapted from one I found on Food Network. The thicker glaze is perfect for this dense, but bright and fruity doughnut. Enjoy!

Brown Butter & Lemon Berry Doughnuts

Brown Butter & Lemon Berry Doughnuts

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 1hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1¾ cups (263 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 large lemon (1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 cup (227 g) plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs (room temp)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter (melted & browned)
  • 1 cup (126 g) fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray 2 standard doughnut pans with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Once butter has melted, let it continue to cook until brown in color. Approximately 12-15 minutes. Do not let the butter become too brown.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, vanilla and lemon extracts. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add melted butter and combine thoroughly. Add blueberries and turn gently into batter.

Spoon batter evenly into doughnut pans. Batter will be thick.

Bake 15-17 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if done. It should be completely dry when pulled out of doughnut.

Let cool for 5 minutes and then gently run a butter knife around doughnuts, remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. While doughnuts cool, prepare the glaze.

Lemon Glaze
Adapted from Alton Brown at Food Network

  • ¼ cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1½ cups (180 g) powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan over low heat whisk half & half, vanilla extract and lemon zest until warm. Do not let mixture boil. Once warm, slowly whisk in powdered sugar. When lumps are gone, mix in lemon juice. Remove from heat and place pan on a towel. Dip doughnuts into glaze and return to wire rack for another 5-10 minutes so glaze can harden. Store doughnuts at room temperature in a covered container for up to 3 days.

Brown Butter & Lemon Berry Doughnuts


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