Coconut Crunch Donuts (Hostess Copycat)
Published Aug 08, 2022, Updated Jul 24, 2023
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These coconut crunch donuts taste just like the Hostess donettes, but are made with healthier ingredients. A soft cake donut is baked then dipped in warm honey and finished with toasted shredded coconut.
I’ve already recreated the Entenmann’s chocolate donuts in the form of these chocolate frosted baked donuts and now I’m sharing another healthier recreation of a childhood favorite… coconut crunch donuts, which are my spin on the Hostess crunch donettes.
These delicious donuts are baked to golden perfection and then dipped in warm honey and coated in toasted coconut flakes. They’re soft on the inside and have a sweet crunchy texture on the outside.
I love having one of these donuts as a sweet treat after dinner, but they’re also healthy enough to have for breakfast and are especially delicious when served alongside a hot cup of joe. Warm coffee + coconut donut = pure perfection.
Making Healthier Hostess Copycats
While the the Hostess donettes are delicious and the convenience is nice (no baking required), they’re made with lots of not-so-good-for-you ingredients.
They’re loaded with white sugar (that’s the first ingredient on the list!), white flour, corn syrup, nonfat dry milk, palm oil, lots of soy (soy lecithin, soybean oil and defatted soy flour) and so many other ingredients that I have no idea what they even are. For example, mono and diglycerides, agar, dextrin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, sodium acid pyrophosphate, karaya gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, dextrose, sodium propionate, natamycin, ferrous sulfate, degermed corn flake and niacin. That’s too many ingredients for a donut if you ask me!
For this recipe we’re using just 12 simple, real-food ingredients like whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, coconut sugar and coconut oil. And to achieve that sweet coconut crunch topping we are dipping these donuts first in a warm honey glaze and then in toasted shredded coconut.
Why You’ll Love These Donuts
- The combo of a soft cake donut topped with warm honey and toasted coconut is chef’s kiss!
- They’re healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast but decadent enough for dessert.
- They’re made with healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour, coconut sugar, Greek yogurt and coconut oil so you’ll feel better about serving these to your kids. No artificial flavor or preservatives over here!
- whole wheat pastry flour – whole wheat pastry flour is great for light and fluffy donuts while still getting nutrients from the whole wheat! My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. Cake flour and all-purpose flour will also work.
- baking powder and baking soda – to help the donuts rise.
- sea salt – brings all of the flavors together.
- coconut sugar – to keep things refined sugar-free we’re using coconut sugar instead of white sugar. White sugar or brown sugar also works in a pinch!
- full fat plain Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt keeps these donuts moist without a lot of added oil. I recommend using plain whole milk (full fat) yogurt for the best results. If you need this recipe to be dairy-free, a vegan yogurt should work just fine!
- unsweetened almond milk – I used unsweetened almond milk, but any type of milk will work, including cow’s milk.
- egg – helps bind the ingredients together and provides structure for the donuts. I haven’t tested this recipe with a flax egg, but I bet it would work. Let me know if you try it in the comments below!
- vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
- coconut oil – instead of butter we’re using coconut oil. You want the oil to be in a liquid state so warm a bit if necessary. Melted butter, ghee or another oil like avocado oil will work as well.
- honey – to help the shredded coconut stick to the outside of the donuts.
- shredded coconut – the star of this recipe! You can’t have coconut crunch donuts without the toasted coconut flake. We’re using unsweetened shredded coconut and then toasting it (check out my full guide for how to toast coconut), but feel free to grab coconut that is already toasted. Just make sure there’s no added sugar!
How to Make
Toast coconut – Spread unsweetened shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 325°F until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Toss the coconut 1-2 times while baking and watch closely so it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven, let cool and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients – Start by mixing the dry ingredients together. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until well combined.
Whisk together wet ingredients – In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut sugar, Greek yogurt, almond milk, egg, vanilla and coconut oil. Reminder to make sure the yogurt and egg are at room temperature! Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Bake – Spray donut pans with cooking spray and spoon or pipe the batter into the cavities. Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes or until the donuts spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Coat donuts – Once the donuts are completely cooled, dip or coat each side in melted honey and then in toasted coconut. Gently shake the donuts so the excess coconut falls off. Place donuts on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator or freezer until the coconut crunch has set.
How to Store
These coconut donuts don’t usually last long, and they’re best when enjoyed immediately. But if you happen to have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container or resealable bag (these Stasher bags are my favorite) in the fridge for 4-5 days. I would just recommend storing them in a single layer or with parchment paper in between each donut so that the coconut topping doesn’t fall off.
For longer storage, you can also freeze these donuts for up to 3 months. If you do store them in the freezer I recommend keeping the donuts plain without the honey and coconut. When you’re ready to enjoy them, defrost and then dip in the honey and toasted coconut.
I haven’t tested a gluten-free version of these donuts, but I would imagine using a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour would work just fine in place of the whole wheat pastry flour. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour. I don’t recommend using almond, oat or coconut flour as I haven’t tested it and it will likely change the texture of these donuts.
It’s super important to make sure you’re using a room temperature egg, milk and yogurt! If any of these ingredients are too cold, the coconut oil will solidify and create clumps. If you notice this happening, you can set the mixing bowl on the warm part of your stovetop as the oven preheats or set the mixing bowl in a larger bowl of hot water until the coconut oil melts again.
You just want to make sure you don’t get the batter too hot or the eggs will start cooking. Here’s a guide for how to bring things like butter, eggs and yogurt to room temp.
I prefer to pipe my batter into my donut pans by scooping the batter into a plastic baggie and cutting the corner to make a piping bag. It can also be handy to have a large icing piping tip for adding the donut batter into the pan, but it’s not 100% necessary. You can also always spoon the batter into the pan and then shake it to make sure the batter is even.
Luckily, donut pans are really inexpensive! You can get a set of 2 non-stick, six cavity Wilton donut pans on Amazon for less than $15.
More Donut Recipes to Try
- Chocolate Frosted Baked Donuts
- Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- Protein Donuts
- Baked Almond Flour Donuts
- Healthy Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
- No Bake Blueberry Muffin Donut Holes
- Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Popular Desserts to Try
- Almond Flour Cupcakes
- Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake
- Chocolate Covered Snickers Stuffed Dates
- Easy Healthier Butterfingers
- Homemade Samoas Cookies
- Healthier Peanut Butter Cups
- Healthy Almond Joy Bars
- Crispy Chocolate Rice Cake Bars
- Vegan Chocolate Pie
Be sure to check out all of the dessert recipes on EBF!
Coconut Crunch Donuts (Hostess Copycat)
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour or cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt, or dairy-free yogurt, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup honey, melted
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut out on a rimmed baking sheet. You can line the sheet with parchment if you’d like. Bake until coconut is lightly golden and fragrant. This should take about 5-10 minutes. You’ll want to watch it closely so it doesn’t burn and toss the coconut 1-2 times while baking to ensure it browns evenly. Remove from oven, let cool and set aside.
- Turn oven temp up to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir until combined.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, Greek yogurt, almond milk, egg, vanilla and coconut oil.
- Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and stir until just combined.
- Spray two (6-cavity) donut pans with cooking spray. Spoon or pipe batter evenly into the 12 cavities.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until donuts spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan for 2 minutes. Invert donuts onto a wire rack.
- While donuts are cooling, add honey to small microwave-safe bowl (just make sure it’s big enough to dip the donuts in the bowl) and microwave for about 30 seconds until thin and melted.
- Add toasted coconut to a small plate. Dip both sides of a donut in the honey and then in the toasted coconut until donut is coated. Repeat until all donuts are coated.
- Place donuts in the fridge or freezer to set for a few minutes. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.