gluten-free doughnuts

doughnuts from Silvana's book

Doughnuts. You know you want some.

When I lived in New York, my friend Gabe and I often met on the corner of 86th and Lexington, late at night. Neither of us lived in that neighborhood. But when we got the jones for perfect doughnuts, he got on the subway from Brooklyn, and I took the cross-town bus from the Upper West Side. We were always so excited when we met outside.

Inside awaited doughnut heaven. It was such a tiny shop. The men behind the counter looked tired but indefatigable. I think each of them had been there for dozens of years apiece. Once in awhile Gabe and I splurged with a crazy idea and went for chocolate-frosted doughnuts. Mostly, though, we always ordered the same thing: 2 old-fashioned doughnuts (the edges crisp, the inside soft) and a big glass of milk. Then we sat there, savoring, as we sat on stools by the window, talking.

I can no longer order doughnuts from that place. Not only because I can’t eat gluten anymore, but also because I read that it has closed since I moved away. (The tired men must have grown weary.) However, I can still taste those doughnuts.

You may be thinking — Shauna, this isn’t fair. Why are you talking about doughnuts when I can’t have any? You can’t have any good doughnuts, gluten-free.

Oh yes you can. Just hush. You can have great doughnuts, gluten-free. And dairy-free. You can make them in your own kitchen in less than 30 minutes.

See that picture above? Those are baked doughnuts, gluten-free and dairy-free. They’re from a new book by Silvana Nardone, who has become a friend of ours lately. Her new book, Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals, is lovely. Confronted by the need to make gluten-free and dairy-free meals for her darling son, Silvana tackled it all with grace and humor. Her cookbook is a beautiful record of what love can do.

You’ll see that her emphasis is on kid-friendly and family-friendly meals. Her recipes are attempts to replicate standard kid favorites, with a pretty white flour mix to match those expectations. If that’s what you are looking for, you’ll like this book.

She has several baked doughnuts recipes in her book. Sugar and spice! And these chocolate glazed espresso doughnuts. Yum.

(I’m going to be honest. That photograph up there? I took a photo of a photo from her book. We made the doughnuts last week and enjoyed them, but too late in the evening to get a photo. I would have re-made them, but we are leaving for NY tonight and I am still writing this post!)

Good gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate-glazed espresso doughnuts? Of course you can make those.

doughnuts frying in oil

The book that we will baking doughnuts from most often is just about to be published: Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.

Our friend, Lara Ferroni, wrote and photographed this book. We are so proud of her.

You see, Lara is not just our friend, but she is also the photographer for our cookbook. Those of you who own the cookbook already — and thank you for your beautiful emails and blog posts and Twitter messages about it — know what a gorgeous book it is. We owe so much to Lara.

When we first got our book deal, and found that we had a modest art budget for the book, we only thought of one photographer: Lara. She takes such striking photos, filled with light and fresh food. She really is an artist and it has been a privilege to work with her. (And we hope we’ll be working with her on another book. And another. And another.)

You see, in a not-traditional manner, we worked with Lara for over two years on this book. Most books get two to four days of photo shoots in NY, after the manuscript is done. We started shooting photographs with Lara when I was 7 months pregnant with Lu. We walked around farmers’ markets, stood in our kitchen, and shopped at our favorite seafood purveyor, all with Lara and her camera. All the plated dishes you see in the book? Danny cooked them in Lara’s kitchen. I ran them upstairs to her studio. She did her magic.

So we want to say, very publicly, how deeply grateful we are to you, Lara. You are amazing. We could not have done this without you.

And she wrote a doughnut book! When Lara signed the deal for this book, she had never made a doughnut before! Now, because of her dedication to learning and making things beautiful, you could soon be making Date and Walnut Doughnuts, Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Doughnut Holes, Bacon Maple Bars, and Huckleberry Cheesecake Dougnuts. Oh yum.

Lara came to our kitchen last year, to work on gluten-free recipes for the book. They work! They’re delicious. We love that she put those in her book. (Others of you will be happy for the vegan doughnuts.) We’re honored that her carrot cake doughnut recipe is a riff on the carrot cake in our book.

(Is it okay for me to pause and say that more than a dozen gluten-eating folks have said that the carrot cake in our book is the best they have ever eaten? Well, I just did.)

But I want you to know that, if you have the right flours and a kitchen scale, you could make any doughnut in Lara’s book, gluten-free. Buy it. You’ll see.

Doughnuts.

Don’t let anyone tell you that something is impossible, gluten-free.

Say yes instead.

cinnamon doughnut holes, gluten-free

Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes, Gluten-Free

Besides that place on 86th and Lexington, my favorite doughnut spot in the world is in Seattle. At the tiny stall in Pike Place Market, a machine drops splotches of doughnut batter into the hot oil. Someone spoons them out. Steaming hot, the doughnuts get thrown into a brown paper bag with a skim of cinnamon sugar on the bottom. Then, the seemingly interminable wait while the guy behind the counter shakes the bag, vigorously. You hand some ridiculously small amount of money to the person taking change, then you grab the bag full of hot cinnamon doughnuts.

Shut up. Those doughnuts are so good.

I can’t have them anymore, of course. I watch my friend Sharon eat them whenever she comes into town. I eat vicariously.

Now, however, I can have cinnamon doughnuts. And so can you.

This is an adaptation from Lara’s book, Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home. Lara’s gluten-free cake doughnut recipe is great. Make it! But we wanted to show you that you could make any of the doughnuts in the book gluten-free. (Lara has the recipes in grams. Genius.)

So, we’ve made a couple, and they all work splendidly. You can use our AP mix, or your favorite gluten-free mix, or separate flours. We highly recommend that you use the ratio of 40% whole grain flours to 60% starches. Just make sure you use the same weight of flours as Lara does in her recipe, add a bit of xanthan or guar, and you have doughnuts.

Heck yeah! Doughnuts.

240 grams Ahern AP flour mix
3 grams (about 1/2 teaspoon) guar gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
75 grams (about 1/3 cup) superfine sugar (and really, use the superfine)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter or shortening
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, scalded and divided (we used soy milk here)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegetable oil for frying (we like canola or safflower)

Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the AP flour into the bowl of a stand mixer (if you don’t have one, you can do this by hand). Add the guar gum, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix well to combine.

Adding the butter. Add the butter (or shortening) in pieces. Blend until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Finishing the dough. In another bowl, combine the egg, 1/2 of the milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Slowly, with the motor of the stand mixer running, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape down the sides from time to time. Pour in the rest of the milk, slowly, until the batter is as thick as a good cookie dough. It will be slightly tacky to the touch. (You might not need all of the milk, depending on different conditions.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Frying the doughnuts. Pour at least two inches worth of oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. (We like a Dutch oven for this.) Heat until the oil registers 360° on a deep-fat thermometer.

Drop tablespoon-size dollops of doughnut dough into the oil. (And drop them gently. You don’t want oil burns here. Keep the kids away.) Try to keep the dollops of dough of uniform size, so the doughnuts cook evenly. Fry until the doughnuts are a light golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. (The ones in the photo above, the ones in the oil? Those are not done yet. Just after that.)

Finishing the doughnuts. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a paper-towel-covered plate. While the next batch is frying, put the hot doughnuts into a paper bag with cinnamon sugar. Shake.

Voila! Doughnuts.

Makes about 24 doughnut holes.

68 comments on “gluten-free doughnuts

  1. jennigma

    Can I make yeasty doughnuts, though? I miss Kruellers. I’ve never made a GF dough that would open up in wonderful airy holes like that.

  2. Lara

    Yeasted doughnuts — yes and no. I have a yeast raised gf doughnut recipe in the book, and it’s quite delicious, but it won’t be exactly like the wheat flour yeast raised. I use some chia flour in the flour mix to give a bit more elasticity to the dough.

    –L

  3. Shauna

    Hey Jennigma, I bow to Lara here. Except that I have been playing with the yeasted ones with our AP mix, and they are much better than the ones we worked on before. Those air pockets may not be quite as tall, but they are there!

  4. Coconut and Vanilla

    Haha that’s funny. Just yesterday I blogged about gluten-free donuts, too. And they were great!

  5. Rach

    My apologies if this posts more than once.

    I’ve made GF raised (yeast) doughnuts using this recipe as a base: http://www.foodireland.com/recipes/Bakery/DOUGHNUTS.htm

    It is very very hard to shape them so I don’t make traditional rings. But they are great! I just make dough logs and fry them. Then I glaze with a standard glaze. If there are extras, I freeze them unglazed and then thaw in the toaster oven and drizzle glaze on top of them.

  6. Susan

    Oh — my– stars! I can’t wait to try this!

    BTW, if you don’t have time for making from scratch, Kinnickinick Donuts are great warmed in the microwave.

  7. Lisa

    Yum! Thanks for sharing these delicious resources. We love doughnuts in our house, and I look forward to trying these.

    Happy Birthday to me!

  8. Mike

    I have been soooo craving an old fashioned gluten free donut. Seems I have a direction now, as I was scouring the internet for a base recipe to create my own from.

    I’ll have to see if I can find that book here in the Redmond area.

    Thank you,
    Mike

  9. Jasmine

    Um.….how do i love thee? Let me count the ways:

    1) Doughnuts
    2) Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
    3) Pasta

    Thank you! You are the Julia Child to my Julie Powell.

  10. Anna Lear

    OMG, I’ve been craving donuts and just about cried last time I was out and realized I couldn’t get my lifetime favorite, the eclair… Dare I try to make an eclair with this recipe???

  11. That Girl

    I LOVE YOU LADIES!!!!

    I’ve been craving donuts for so long now, and I’m dairy/sugar/corn/oat free on top of the wheat free… so this recipe is fantastic! I can sub coconut sugar for the real sugar, and instead of making the cinnamon sugar dusting for them, I can use my carob frosting (sugar free from scratch baby!). Oh my, I so can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow! Thank you so so much!

  12. Laura

    Check out the donuts in the Newlywed Kitchen. Holly at mytartlette.com turned the nutella doughnuts from that book into a gluten free version and I can attest they are so easy and delicious!!!
    Laura

    glutenfreeinthe713.blogspot.com

  13. amy

    Oh! The donut cart in the market! Be still my beating heart! It’s been almost two gluten-free years and I can still vividly taste those cinnamon-sugar-encrusted, crisp on the outside but oh so creamy on the inside gems of heaven.

    So, needless to say, I’m stoked to see your recipe. Just for sentimentality’s sake, I may even cinnamon-sugar them in a paper bag. =)

    Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

  14. Johnna

    I was mid-way through my 52 Donuts project (www.52donuts.com) when I was diagnosed and thought donuts would be a thing of the past. So glad they are not…and now I’m very, very hungry. These look amazing! I made Lara Ferroni’s chocolate baked donuts this week (switched to g-free flour) and they were divine. Can’t wait to try these!

  15. Becca

    Oh Shauna, cinnamon doughnuts are like my badge of motherly sacrifice. You are saying I don’t have to wear it anymore? I can have my own?! Oh! Hooray! After years of avoiding even looking at doughnuts because I was so sad that I couldn’t have them, I let my little girl have one at the coffee shop. And of course she loved it. And I felt so self-righteous in my mother-love, that I could stand by while she enjoyed it and I had to go without. I will happliy discard that pride and make some we can all have. Thank you!!

  16. Jennifer

    My only regret with this post is having read it at midnight. I was wondering where you were in the night skies and decided to pop in for a visit before I could see you in person. In person, how much fun will it be!

    Safe travels and can’t wait to see you. Now, tomorrow donuts are at the top of my list.

  17. blue.bell.beat

    When I was a kid my dad used to get me hot — burning hot, right from the fryer — mini donuts rolled in liberal amounts of sugar and cinnamon. I miss them. BabyCakes in NYC makes a crispy, light, not-too-sweet baked donut (although you’d never know it wasn’t fried), and they even have a cinnamon-sugar flavor. I had a moment the first time I ate one… Major! Can’t wait to try to create some of my own.

  18. cielo

    ok… first, I get to cross fresh pasta off of my “sad cielo food list” and now DONUTS? man. THANK YOU AGAIN!

  19. Candace

    Those look delicious! We’d love to post your recipe on our website. Most of our food products cater to the gluten free community.

  20. Best Wishes, Marie

    i happen to be in guadalajara right now. on the breakfast buffet, i had a quinoa granola today. it was amazing. from what i could taste it was drizzled with honey, had chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, etc… it was really good.

  21. flora

    WOW! Your post came at the perfect time. I just tried to make gluten free doughnuts yesterday and they were not so great.Thanks for the post,it’s nice to know we can have gf doughnuts again. I’ll have to go buy the cookbook now.

  22. Lara

    Kristin — on baking these… I haven’t tried it, but my recipe for baked doughnuts is a bit different than the one for fried. The batter needs a bit more oil in it since it doesn’t get any during cooking. I’d recommend giving the baked chocolate doughnut recipe a try, using Shauna’s AP mix, if you prefer baked doughnuts.

    –L

  23. MsG

    Oh, those Pike Place Market doughnuts are AMAZING!
    I’m sad my daughter won’t be able to have them, but I’m going to make your recipe for her. (And, um, I might have a few, or ten.)

  24. Julialuli

    Oh my donut goodness Shauna & Lara! We usually do a big brunch at our house on the weekends and today, we didn’t have brunch…just doughnut holes and coffee! These are perfect. GF bliss. My 14 year old son is my greatest critic (and greatest supporter) because he doesn’t like GF food unless it tastes non-GF. And on this point, I have to agree with him! Wheat, shmeat! Definitely buying the book. No more pining for donuts from this family. Super easy! They are perfectly crisp on the outside and the inside is cake donut heaven.

  25. Amy

    I have been a reader for awhile but have never left a comment until now. My 27 mth old daughter was diagnosed with Celiac when she was 10mths old. She is at the age when she definitely notices what her 2 older brothers and everyone else around her are eating and wants the same as them. Last week, her preschool teacher told me a classmate was bringing in donuts for a birthday treat. I thought I was going to have to buy the frozen ones from the store which I was sure would be as mediocre as most other store bought gluten free goods we’ve tried. Perfect timing for your recipe! I just finished making them and could almost cry at how good they are. To know she will be able to not only eat what those around her are eating but that it is really, really good couldn’t make me happier. Thanks you so much!!

  26. Erika

    Oh! I used to go to that doughnut shop on 86th and Lex with my college boyfriend. It did close about three years ago, and I still get a pang when I’m at that corner.

  27. Rachel

    So I finally caved, acknowledging your expertise in these matters, and bought a kitchen scale. While I’ve got cookies down pat, I’ve been struggling with gluten-free cake and muffins, so hopefully this purchase will help me find the fluffy cake nirvana I seek.

    However, I thought it might amuse you to hear that since I ordered the scale (a small, cheap digital one), all of Amazon’s recommendations for me seem directed at the home chemistry/meth lab… as in bottles of chemicals and butane stoves and lab glassware. Is that really the biggest market for this little scale?

    Also, this recipe looks great for those of us with multiple allergies! The yogurt might be a bit tricky for us soy-and-dairy allergic types, but I could see coconut milk yogurt working there.

  28. BellWookie

    Damn. Now I am adding donuts to the list of things I want to make for my wheat, soy, corn and milk allergic little guy. This all looks fantastic, and I am headed to put a couple of cookbooks on my wish list. :)

  29. Teresa

    Dear Shauna and Danny
    I just received my copy of your book and it is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s! so much so that I don’t want to bring it into the kitchen ’cause I’m afraid of getting it dirty but since I have your permission I’ll :) you should see the shape of your other book :)
    thank you so much for sharing

  30. Gratefully Gluten Free

    Ohhh yummm! These are wonderful and thank you for sharing a great recipe for something we all crave! I used your recipe and my all purpose gf flour blend with millet and they turned out fabulous! I had planned on freezing some but none were left by the time my family gobbled them all up! :)

  31. Karen

    For the scale-impaired and impatient folks like me (how I ever succesfully cook anything, I’m not sure), I used 240g of King Arthur’s All-Purpose GF Flour and they turned out fantastic. Great recipe, and the nutmeg does away with any of the :gluten free: taste you might get.

    Many thanks — years of going into Voodoo Donuts in Portland with my friends and just watching them eat was wearing on me… This recipe hit the spot!

  32. Violet

    Thankyou!!!! You two are inspiring, for a coupla reasons.
    1. You are doing what you love.
    2. Letting us get to know you.
    3. Making the world a better place for those of us who can’t eat wheat.
    What a delight it is to see gf recipes for ‘frivolous’ foods like donuts!!!!!
    Thanks again.

  33. Devan Hambrock

    Hey there!
    I just read your book and am sooo happy I found it! Your writing is incredible, your story is inspiring and the blackberry glaze for the pan seared salmon is OUT OF THIS WORLD!

    Thanks for the GF donut recipe, I will be sharing it with my GF buddies for sure!

    devan
    http://www.nomorecheeze.blogspot.com

  34. kristin

    Oh my! I need to make donuts. Just got the book, a donut cutter, and the donut pan. Ready to get started!! Thanks for always sharing the latest with us! I am going to attempt a pumpkin donut now that it is the fall! The book looks great!!! :-)

  35. CDM

    Yummy.…

    Also, I just received your cookbook for my birthday this past wkend and I can’t wait to start cooking! I have enjoyed your blog for the past year or so! Thanks for being such a beautiful writer and a great chef :)

  36. Charlie Smoothy

    Thank you so much for the dairy free recipes! I trawl all over the place trying to find good tasting food I can eat, which is often hard, now you’ve made my life so much easier — I can cook it myself! Thank you :) Charlie xxx

  37. Style Your Food Recipes

    yes yes give to me. I want them now. LOL. Excuse me while I go and take care of this doughnut craving. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Adam

    One of my favorite treats growing up was gluten free doughnuts, but they were always such a process for my parents to make. They were also mini, which just wasn’t the same. Maybe I’ll give this recipe a go!

  39. kario

    I can’t wait to make the doughnuts in Silvana’s book. So far, we’ve tested many of the recipes and I love her cookbook. Your new one is going on my birthday list which, I am reminding my family, is in a few short weeks.

    Thanks so much for blazing this trail! The three gluten free girls in our house are very grateful!

  40. Gree

    oh my, my little gluten free girl misses doughnuts so much..not that she had them frequently but now she can’t have them at all. I will be making these for her birthday, but maybe not the espresso ones..

  41. Anonymous

    My mother-in-law and I made these doughnuts for my 7 year old son who has celiac and hasn’t had a doughnut since his diagnosis in January. These were a HUGE hit, and he had fun shaking them in the paper bag full of cinnamon and sugar. Thank you. Thank you.

  42. Fashionably Bombed

    Hey,

    It was great to see you speak at Blogher! I am a huge doughnut fan, and I recently started making them at home. I will definitely try out this recipe! Lara’s book sounds amazing too!
    ~Katherine

  43. Miss B

    Oooh…I was so hoping you were going to post the oven-baked gluten & dairy free doughnut recipe. Any chance of posting that one, too? (I know, I know — buy the cookbook. But I’m just not willing to shell out for expensive cookbooks without a chance to try at least a few recipes first. I lack both the cash and the space.)

  44. Elyse

    Yes! I was just thinking I wanted to explore the art of doughnut making… sans the gluten! Thank you! Can’t wait to try!

  45. GlutenFreeChickadee

    Shauna — I have been following your blog for about a year and a half now, and I’m always really happy with the way that your recipes turn out!

    But can I just say that these doughnuts are AMAZING?!?! My sister and I were craving doughnuts, and remembering that I had seen your post awhile back, I searched it and was delighted that they would only take 30 minutes.

    Made them. Dusted some with cinnamon sugar and some with icing sugar. My mom devoured them. My brother devoured them. My sister devoured them. Have I mentioned that I’m the only one who’s gluten-free in my house? My sister even went so far as to say that she would prefer to eat THESE doughnuts over ones from Tim Hortons because they were light and not too sweet.

    To top it off, I don’t even remember the last time I had a doughnut… but as soon as I ate a bite.. it was heaven in my mouth and belly.

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Lara, your recipe is fantastic, and Shauna, thank you for adapting it! Keep up the great work guys — love your website!

    p.s. Please come to Canada. Specifically Montreal. We would all be so greatful!

  46. Becky

    Ahhh! I’ve made these before-AMAZING-and I want to make them again. But when I clicked on the link for the Ahern flour mix, my browser couldn’t find it! O_O Does anyone know that flour mix? I’m dying to make donuts for Saturday! Please, please, help!

  47. Stephenie

    These were delicious. We subbed full fat coconut milk for the yogurt and used our vita-mix to make the coconut palm sugar super fine. Also added 1t. cinnamon. Everybody loved it! Used 40% millet and sorghum to 60% tapioca starch for the flour mix.
    Thank you, Shauna!

  48. Laurie Lepsch

    Can you use egg replacer instead of the egg. My toddler is newly diagnossed egg allergic and celiac.

  49. KJRaven

    OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! my mum has been wheat-intolerant for 10 years now and i was yet to find a recipe for donuts that sounded this enticing, will definetly be making them for her. she misses soo many foods now, especially since my nan was forever cooking and baking in the kitchen.

    thankyou soo much for testing the recipe and tweaking it to taste soo amazing!!!! my mum and her coeliac friends will go absolutely nuts for these. xoxox <3