Naturally Red Velvet Doughnuts


Cake batters require a lot of food coloring or they end up looking faded. For these un-fried doughnuts, we use both sweet red beets and powdered freeze-dried pomegranate arils to deliver a rich, natural red color along with bonus antioxidants and fiber.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
12 doughnuts
Nutrition Profile:



  • ¾ cup chopped cooked peeled beets

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour

  • ¼ cup freeze-dried pomegranate powder (see Tip)

  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process), sifted

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • cup safflower or canola oil

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To prepare doughnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat 12 standard-size doughnut pan cups with cooking spray.

  2. Process beets in a food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add granulated sugar, egg yolk and salt; process until completely smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add buttermilk and 1 tablespoon vanilla; process, scraping down the sides as needed, until evenly incorporated.

  3. Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, pomegranate powder, cocoa and baking powder in a medium bowl. Beat oil and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thoroughly blended. With the mixer on low speed, alternately mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the oil mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared doughnut cups.

  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of a doughnut in the center of the pan comes out clean, 13 to 16 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the doughnuts from the pan, inverting so the bottoms become the tops, and let cool completely on the rack.

  5. To prepare frosting: Beat confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Dip the doughnuts in the frosting. Let stand for about 5 minutes so the frosting can set.


To make ahead: Refrigerate airtight for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Equipment: Two 6-cup doughnut pans

Tip: Freeze-Dried Fruit for Food Coloring

Freeze-dried fruits have all their water removed in a heat-free, vacuum process that also protects colors, keeps flavors fresh and fruity and creates a crumbly texture (unlike the leathery, traditionally dried ones). Ground into powder, they're ideal for coloring.

Where to Buy: Both freeze-dried fruit and pre-ground powders are readily available. Look for them at the supermarket with other dried fruit or online at

To Prepare Them: Grind freeze-dried fruits in a food processor until they become a fine powder. (If you find dried fruits already powdered, there's no need to grind them.)

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

272 Calories
10g Fat
43g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Serving Size 1 doughnut
Calories 272
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 25g
Added Sugars 25g 50%
Protein 4g 7%
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Vitamin A 120IU 2%
Vitamin C 1mg 1%
Folate 42mcg 10%
Sodium 169mg 7%
Calcium 46mg 4%
Iron 2mg 12%
Magnesium 11mg 3%
Potassium 86mg 2%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles