Played by Verity Rushworth, Donna will arrive back in the Dales to threaten the happiness of Marlon and his new fiancée Laurel, and the soap's producers said there will be more to her return than first meets the eye.
Rushworth will reprise her role of the much-loved character in February and will be on screen from March.
The actress said: "I'm thrilled to be re-joining the wonderful Emmerdale team.
"The emotional journey my character is set to experience will be wonderfully challenging to play, and of course working with some of my oldest friends is going to be a real treat.''
Emmerdale series producer, Kate Oates, added: "I'm delighted to welcome Verity back to the show.
"Donna left under a real cloud with Marlon - so her return should ruffle some serious feathers in the village.
"I'm really excited to see the impact she has on the friends and family she left behind!''
Emmerdale airs on UTV weekdays from 7pm.