Breakfast,  Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Old-Fashioned Vegan Buttermilk Bar Donuts

Old-Fashioned Vegan Buttermilk Bar Donuts are a favorite among many. These donuts are a nostalgic family recipe that you’re sure to love.

Friday just needed something epic this week.

buttermilk bar donut calories

This post is all about Old-Fashioned Vegan Buttermilk Bar Donuts

These donuts were inspired by my mom constantly asking local donut shops where she could find them. I remember her getting quite fed up when she realized that they aren’t easy to find. Apparently these aren’t a recipe that most doughnut shops make anymore.

buttermilk bar vs old fashioned

Inspiration behind the recipe for Old-Fashioned Vegan Buttermilk Bar Donuts

Wow, I’m so excited about sharing this recipe. All right, so Mom had been telling me about these things for ages. Ha, I think it’s been since last Christmas. She’d been subtly hinting about how I want to make some buttermilk bars “for the blog” (Lol, I love her so much). My mom is from California. In case you didn’t know this, LA is one of the most famed destinations in the world for “real” dounts. That kinda makes her a doughnut snob.

Anyway, she’s been describing these buttermilk bars that she adored getting as a kid. It’s taken me a while to get around to it but I finally decided to try them. That’s when I did some scouring of the internet to compare notes on different recipes thinking I’d find a bazillion of them, but to my surprise, there are barely any. A few poor quality photos with ancient recipes and a fair amount of requests for buttermilk doughnut bars on different forums was all I was able to find. How is something as amazing as these bars so unappreciated? It’s beyond me but as soon as realized this it gave me even more incentive to come up with the perfect recipe to share with you.

glazed buttermilk bar

Anyway, she was very sad to find that out so I learned how to make these. Glad I did because these are so good. Crispy on the outside, soft and cakey on the inside. So you might be wondering…

buttermilk yeast donuts

What’s the difference between buttermilk donuts vs old-fashioned donuts?

..And why are these donuts titled with both? Firstly, these are buttermilk donut bars with no yeast. That makes them cake doughnuts. The only real difference between buttermilk bars and buttermilk cake donuts is the shape. I find the shape of a bar style donut keeps the center softer and fluffier, not dry. It also let’s you put more glaze on it. I mean, aren’t we just here for the frosting? The outsides of both types of donuts are crispy and crackly.
The I titled these as old-fashioned donut bars is that they are just as old-fashioned as a normal old-fashioned donut. I don’t see why the old-fashioned donut gets to claim that title alone. ;P

buttermilk yeast donuts

Essentially these are the same thing as a traditional old-fashioned doughnut. To dive a little deeper into the differences I’d say the biggest difference is that frying them in bars gives the center the best texture ever! It’s something you won’t get from the ring shape that produces more edge and less middle. That’s great if you’re wanting the texture of a doughnut, which is delicious in its own way. However, when you want even more fluffy decadence these are the way to go.

Another notable difference I think is the nutmeg. While I’m not completely positive on this, it seems that buttermilk bars don’t usually have it but old-fashioned do. I devoted nearly a whole day to testing different recipes for these bars and ended up making 4 batches in a row so I tried them with and without to see what was more popular. My loyal taste testers told me that they liked it both ways. The census was that the doughnuts didn’t need it added to be good. The amount of nutmeg you add doesn’t stand out very strongly but I personally love it so I’m leaving it as a completely optional addition if you like it as well.

old fashioned buttermilk bar doughnuts

A huge tip to make these the best it to make sure you use pastry flour (also sometimes called cake flour). The final texture is much softer.

Also, these are way simpler to make than I ever realized. In fact, they’re so easy that it may be a dangerous thing later on when I’ve got no excuse not to make them again. I really hope you can try them because, whether you’ve never tasted them before or you’re one of the many people who have been searching for a recipe so that you could make them yourself, you can hardly go wrong with these! Happy weekend!

Old-Fashioned Vegan Buttermilk Bar Donuts

If you're a die hard fans of buttermilk bars then you'll be thrilled to find out you can make them for yourself!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 14 - 16 bars


  • 1/2 cup coconut cream *see note
  • 1/4 cup 4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 1 cup "buttermilk" 1 cup plant-based milk + 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg optional
  • 4 - 4 1/2 cups pastry flour plus more for work surface
  • oil for frying


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 4 3/4 cups powdered sugar


Doughnut Dough:

  1. Stir the wet ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until well mixed and in a separate large bowl, sift 4 cups of flour and the other dry ingredients together. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir well until it forms a thick, slightly sticky dough. If it seems too sticky add a little more flour as needed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to make it easier to work with.
  2. Divide the dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out one half into a rectangle that's about 3/4 inch tall. (The dough may seem a bit sticky so try to keep your hands lightly floured and handle it as little as possible.) Cut the rectangle into bars (I did 8 smaller ones but If you'd like them a bit bigger only do 6) and repeat with the other half of dough. Now you should have 12 to 16 bars. (Alternatively, you can cut them into traditional doughnut shapes and doughnut holes if you'd like.)
  3. Heat a few quarts of oil in a deep fryer, deep and wide skillet, or dutch oven to about 350 degrees F (180 C).


  1. Make the glaze while your oil is heating up. Whisk the salt, milk, vanilla, and syrup together in a medium bowl then add the powdered sugar a little at a time until incorporated into a smooth glaze.


  1. Carefully drop a few bars at a time into the hot oil and fry on both sides, turning once, until golden brown. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate or tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Allow them to cool for 3 to 4 minutes as they are a little bit fragile when hot, then dip each one in your glaze and place them on a wire rack to dry. Serve as soon as possible and store any extras (Ha, as IF!) in an air-tight container.

Recipe Notes

If you have trouble finding coconut cream at your local grocery store it's completely fine to use full-fat coconut milk and scrape the cream off of the top. Just be sure that it's cold enough to separate.

This post was all about Old-Fashioned Vegan Buttermilk Bar Donuts

Here are some other posts that you might enjoy:

Vegan Maple Bar Donuts Homemade

The BEST Vegan Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon & Sugar

Twinkie Clone Doughnuts (Vegan)


old fashioned vegan buttermilk bar donuts


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