gluten-free glazed yeast doughnuts

These are doughnuts.

Yeasted doughnuts with a honey glaze, to be exact. They are light with a little heft, sweet but not too sweet, and have the feel and smell and taste of doughnuts.

That’s because they are doughnuts.

The fact that they are gluten-free doughnuts doesn’t matter one bit.

You don’t need gluten to make doughnuts.

I haven’t eaten a doughnut in almost a year. Last year, we made cinnamon sugar doughnut holes, to celebrate the publication of our friend Lara’s Doughnuts book . I loved eating them again, after all those years without that sweet, soft taste. But after making those doughnuts holes, and enjoying them thoroughly, I found I didn’t need them again.

Lately, I’ve had less and interest in sweet things, especially if they are fried. It’s not that I’m trying to be high and mighty. I just listen to my body. Give me raw kale salad or a whole-grain muffin any day. That’s right. I have turned into one of those people. I still like sweet things, sometimes, but it’s strange how much my sweet tooth has diminished since I had to cut out gluten six years ago. The need for sweetness used to rage in me. Now, it’s a quiet whisper.

I know how to listen to it now, instead of being pummeled by it.

Even the baked goods we create for this site have less hold on me than they would have in the past. When we make cookies or cakes, I enjoy the piece I eat. I love the feeling of completion, of a job well done, of the challenge met. And then I try to slow down and taste that joy in butter and sugar form. After that is done, and Danny and Lu have eaten too, I give away the rest to friends.

So I haven’t been craving doughnuts.

However, this month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally is doughnuts and fritters. I could have opted out of the sweets and made vegetable fritters instead. But it just didn’t feel right.

And besides, Lucy wanted us to make doughnuts.

So, doughnuts.

(For all the gluten-free takes on doughnuts and fritters, check out the lovely Gluten-Free Boulangerie.)

Here’s the funny part about the ratio rally this month. No one could seem to find a solid ratio for doughnuts.

For fritters? Yes. That’s 2 parts flour to 2 parts liquid to 1 part egg. Easy.

But doughnuts? There are so many different ways to make them that there is no one way.

(That’s good. I like to remind myself of that.)

So this time, I worked backwards. I looked at a dozen recipes for yeasted doughnuts, because I love their distinctive taste. I wanted cake doughnuts. I wanted to glaze them. So I read.

Based on the reading and my instincts, I went with an Alton Brown recipe for yeast doughnuts. He’s all geeky chemistry guy combined with baking fiend. I like his style.

And I just converted and tried to figure out the recipe from there.

6 parts flour: 3 parts liquid: 1 part egg: .5 parts fat.

It worked for me.

And that means, if you are working in ounces, that 12 ounces of flour, 6 ounces of liquid, 1 large egg, and 2.5 ounces of fat will make you some doughnuts.

This means you can use whatever combination of flours you like, whatever liquid you can drink, an egg (or its counterpart in weight in applesauce or flax), and butter/coconut oil/shortening to make your own doughnuts.

Play with it. We did.

These doughnuts mixed up easily but a little wet. I was tempted to throw in more flour, but that has never led me anywhere good. Instead, I let it rise in its own way. The final dough was more coherent but still a bit tacky. (Like a drunken friend whose voice you know well but whose cadence is racing.) This made me remember our friend Lara’s great suggestion.

Instead of adding more flour to be able to roll out the dough, and thus make the final doughnuts more stiff and dense, instead I pulled out the pastry bag. Lara showed me how (and you can learn it too in her book) to pipe doughnut dough onto squares of parchment paper, then toss them (paper too) into the hot oil. Take the tongs to the parchment paper after a moment and watch it peel away.

Doing this led to perfect cake yeasted doughnuts. Hooray!

After the first four, however, I found myself tiring of the piping. I was home with a curious toddler, a pot of hot oil, a crummy cold leaving me from all the sweating over the hot oil, and the need to take photographs before it grew dark. So I floured up my hands and rolled the dough into small balls and plopped them into the oil.

Beignets. These were the texture of beignets.

Lucy quickly decided that the doughnuts, after I had glazed them with honey and powdered sugar, should be topped with blueberries.

I agree.

And in the end, I had that feeling again. That feeling of accomplishment, of the rush of knowing these had turned out right. That feeling of completion as the glazed doughnuts stood on the plate, waiting for my camera.

More than that, however, I enjoyed the heck out of the afternoon of doughnuts. Why?

Take a look at this photo. That’s Lucy and her friend Cisco, clutching their favorite dolls to their chests, their hands grabbing homemade doughnuts.

This once-a-year tradition is more than worth it.

GLUTEN-FREE GLAZED YEAST DOUGHNUTS, adapted from Alton Brown

Okay, so here’s the deal. We’re leaving for Alaska in the morning and I’m trying to finish this post before midnight. I have ten minutes.

So I’m going to send you to the original recipe. From there, here’s what you do.

Use 24 ounces of flours, in whatever combination works for you. (We used equal weights of sweet rice, sorghum, buckwheat, and potato starch.)

Add 3 tablespoons ground chia seed.

After the dough has risen, it will be wet, too wet to roll. This is good. It will keep the final doughnuts lighter if the dough is wetter than you expect.

So, pipe a circle of dough onto a small square of parchment paper. Follow the directions for frying in the recipe.

Or, flour your hands and make small balls of dough — don’t aim for big here — and plop them carefully into the hot oil. Cook until browned, about 1 minute.

After the doughnuts have cooled a bit on a cooling rack, glaze them with the following glaze.

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons water

Put the powdered sugar, honey, and water into a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir constantly until everything is well blended and smooth. Turn off the heat. Using your tongs, dip each doughnut into the glaze and cover completely.

64 comments on “gluten-free glazed yeast doughnuts

  1. Rayanna

    So. Excited to make these– haven’t had a donut in probably a year, maybe longer and miss them. Especially with fall weather– donuts and cider? um, yes.

    Precious picture of the kids– LOVE the looks of contented joy!

  2. Jeanette

    Precious pictures of Lucy and her friend, just love those little hands! My son really missed his doughnuts after he went GF, so this event was the perfect excuse for me to try making some. Thank you again for starting this monthly event — it has really opened my eyes to GF baking/cooking. Have fun in Alaska!

  3. katie @KatieDid

    oh my the picture of the two little ones is just precious. Lucy’s dirty legs and sheer energy. Cisco’s complete contentment with the donut and just being with his friend. I love it!

  4. Melissa

    Wait, I don’t understand — if you pipe the wet donut batter onto parchment paper, how do you get the donut into the oil without it all falling apart?

    1. Kate Lam Sam

      Shauna mentions a clever trick to stop them falling apart — ‘then toss them (paper too) into the hot oil. Take the tongs to the parchment paper after a moment and watch it peel away.’ :D

  5. Kate

    Did you say Alaska??? We love you here! If you go to Anchorage, try Spenard Roadhouse, Ginger, and Crush. I eat amazing gf food there all the time.

    1. Zaftig

      Thanks for recommending Ginger– I haven’t been there yet because I was unsure how GF-friendly they are.

  6. Allegra

    Gorgeous photos of Lucy and her friend chomping on those tasty doughnuts! Lucy looks just like you and is utterly adorable.

  7. Allegra

    PS Shirtless eating was a big part of my life growing up. My parents realized it was far easier to pop us three girls in the bathtub than wash all the various spills out of our clothes repeatedly. And it continued until I was probably 9 or 10! There’s a hilarious photo of me eating an ice cream cone wearing only jeans (and ice cream all over my face), and I am practically a decade beyond the adorable-toddler-all-messy phase…

  8. Caneel

    I love that you piped them — I think that might have worked for my first yeast attempt on mine, but then I added more flour. I shouldn’t have. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right? I’ll be trying again, for sure. And I’ll be trying this recipe, too. Have a blast in Alaska! :)

    1. Caneel

      Meant to also say that these look fantastic (which is why I’ll be trying them!) — and I love that Lucy wanted to put the blueberries on them. How yummy!

  9. Stephinie

    I read your book ages ago & loved it.….. we weren’t wheat or gluten free.… just foodies. A few weeks back we finally ditched wheat in hopes to clear up our youngest boy’s chronic belly issues.… He has lamented each time we pass the doughnut shop “that’s where my dad used to get me doughnuts, when we ate the wheat flour.” {insert mama heartache}. So today when I searched for your blog and then found THIS post.… it was too surreal. Saturday doughnuts are back.… and you are my hero!

  10. InTolerantChef

    You know, I never would have thought of popping the paper in the oil too, what an elegant solution! Love the sneaky little hand reaching for more, already smeared with jamminess and probably covering the dollies in it too. Bliss!

  11. Maggie

    Oh my these look so yummy. What looks even better though is your adorable daughter. Love the red nails.. She reminds me so much of my almost-three-year old. So adorable, so messy, and so full of love for life.

  12. Beth

    I don’t have a gluten allergy but I have cut way back on bread and starchy food in the last few years, and I had the same thing happen. My sweet tooth isn’t anything like it used to be. Also being aware of emotional eating (which I believe you mentioned in your last past?) helps a lot to cut back on that as well. A third thing I’ve found that makes a big difference is ending my meals in the same way: a piece of fruit and tea. I’ve trained my brain to know that that’s the signal.

    That’s my two cents. :)

  13. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been on the gluten free journey with my son for almost 2 months. Today, when my son was at school, I took my daughter to get donuts. Nope, I did not cheat. I wanted one, but I did not have one. But, I have been thinking about them most of the day. I cannot wait to try these!

  14. Victoria

    Just as I believe that if you are one of the few women with arms like the First Lady you should be allowed to enjoy a burger and a milkshake every once in awhile… heck YEAH if you have to live a gluten-free diet, you should be allowed to and enjoy making homemade doughnuts once in a blue moon. It is one of those things people who don’t have to deal with this do not understand the enomity of.… we can’t just decide on the way to work that we’d like a doughnut and hit a drive thru. Unless you are lucky enough to live near a gluten-free bakery (and even in the Chicago metro area of the ‘burbs I am not that lucky) you need to make them yourself. And given these instructions, I think even I may be able to do this one.

  15. Baylie

    I just picked up your book at the Library a few days ago! I am so happy to have found this website. The doughnuts look amazing. I will be sure to give them a whirl soon. The first post I have ever read says you are heading to my home state! Kinda neat. If you make it to Fairbanks, we have 3 gluten free friendly restaurants. Solstice Cafe, Take 5 and Ivory Jacks. I went to school in Anchorage, the gluten free restaurants there I like are Middle Way Cafe, and Lahn Pad Thai. Have an amazing time, I have traveled around quite a bit and coming home to AK, I always believe it to be the most beautiful.

  16. Karriann Graf

    Holy Smokes these doughnuts look scrumptious! I’ve been following you for sometime on Twitter … I love your energy! I’m recently discovering that gluten makes me feel sluggish.

    @KarriannGraf

  17. Amanda @ Gluten Free Detroit Metro

    We loved them and the paper trick. My first two didn’t look so great but like crepes they just got better.

  18. Tara

    You know, it’s interesting for me to realize that the more I’m working with sugar every day (at the restaurant), the less I want to consume it. I would have expected the opposite, actually. But when I sat down to figure out my doughnut recipe, I swapped the sugar out for honey at the last minute, and then decreased the amount, because I suddenly felt that I wanted doughnuts I could eat for breakfast, and the idea of something overly-sweet was wholly unappealing as a first-of-the-morning food.

    I love that you made beignets out of your batter. It’s great to know that if you don’t have the patience for piping rings, you can still turn out an awesome product!

    And Lu’s fingernails are adorable.

  19. Julie Melin

    oh boy and I just started my plan for nifty by fifty 51 weeks to lose 100 pds wahhhhh I want doughnuts!!!! thank you for the virtual ones anyway they looks so yummy. Thank you also for the new picture of Lu she is very wonderful. She is beautiful like her parents and the love she lives in shows.

  20. Bellingham Barb

    Looking forward to trying these out for Hanukkah sufganiyot! Last year’s GF ones were a flop.

    Barb

  21. Rhonda

    My daughter, who was diagnosed with celiac 6 yrs ago when she was 4, has missed donuts. Gluten donuts cannot be replaced with processed, store bought GF ” donuts”. (at least not that we have found… we think they are subpar). Hubby has made a GF recipe similar to this one and it is so worth the work. They are denser than the white, processed wheat donuts, more like the mini donuts from the fair. But the good news is…real GF donuts are possible! We will be giving this a try next time we have a Saturday morning donut fest. Thanks

  22. Mary

    Alaska in the fall is a great time to visit. If you come to Denali Park
    229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern will make you gluten free food with no fuss. The donuts look great.

  23. Melissa Lillie

    She is precious and you are brilliant. When I was a young child I would take cook books to bed with me to read because I loved reading them so much. My mother, however, hated to cook. I cant help thinking that Lucy has so many cool memories already attached to food, seasons, friends and her family and you have them captured in such beautiful prose. What was gift to her and to us! Thank you.

  24. waggie

    Thank you SO MUCH! We are new to gluten free eating and my son requested to have doughnuts instead of cake for his birthday. YIKES! Thanks to you I can now make a little 3 year old happy on his first birthday gluten free.

  25. Joelen

    Hi Shauna & Dan! I’m happy to report that I’ve been GF now since last Thursday night, starting at the airport in Anchorage. My last meal with gluten was pizza, shared with Beth & her boys lol. I’m anxious to learn more about GF baking, especially with the holiday baking season just around the corner. These doughnuts look amazing and I’ll probably try my hand at them when I have a better understanding of all the various flours to work with — it’s slightly overwhelming lol! Thank you for helping me understand the gluten free lifestyle. I’m already ready seeing and feeling a positive difference physically and emotionally…and my husband/family also thanks you both. Much love & kisses to Lucy, Joelen…

  26. Merideth

    I am loving the picture of those happy kids, dirty, probably sticky– life is good, right? Exactly how kids should be! I’m also loving, after initial hesitation (okay, for a long time) using a kitchen scale to measure out flours. That method pretty much rocks. So much so that I now somewhat resent having to measure in cups.… sigh. I first attempted the scale method when looking for a pancake recipe that included ingredients that I had on hand– teff, sorghum, but no sweet rice. Well, I stumbled across the spiced teff pancakes by Britt (thank you for directing me to that) from the ratio rally (March, I think?) and we are now addicted to them. Yummy. So, now I’m looking forward to trying some more baking this way. Maybe I will get over myself yet again– fear of frying, you know– and try your amazing looking donuts!

  27. glutenfreeforgood

    I just wanted to say how much joy the photos brought me this early morning in Colorado. LOVE the picture of the kiddos and Lu’s happy hands, complete with nail polish and donut mess. Such a good way to start my day! =)
    Melissa

  28. gluten free gift

    If only I could eat a few donuts (or doughnuts as we call them in Canada) and give the rest away — I might give this a try.…

    Shauna — I’d like to link to you on my my blog glutenfreegift. While I am an advocate for healthy living and home cooking — the blog is NOT about cooking, rather the other aspects of living life as a celiac — I’ve been living gluten-free for more than 40 years so have a few thoughts on the topic :). I hope you’ll swing by for a visit — I’ll send you a link to the post when I publish it.

    I love your blog — and your unique voice — mille grazie!
    Claudine

  29. sarah

    I’ve never had such an urge to tell a stranger I love them. This makes my heart sing. Guess what I’m making tonight?

  30. Barbara

    I’ve been having a mighty doughnut craving lately. What a relief to finally fulfill it! I used palm oil instead of shortening and went easy on the buckwheat flour since I get the standard strong tasting stuff. Next time I’d up the sugar in the dough a bit. I was able to fashion a decent doughnut shape in the palm of my hand but just needed to slowly lower the doughnut into the oil right after making the hole. Oh, and a swap out of 3 T ground flaxseed instead of the chia worked just fine.

  31. Zooie

    I’m excited to make some doughnuts! Boy, have I been craving one lately, for whatever reason, lol.

    I did want to give you a heads up — I think there is a typo in the fat ounces in this section of the post: “12 ounces of flour, 6 ounces of liquid, 1 large egg, and 2.5 ounces of fat.”

    Did you mean 1.25 ounces (or 1) since it’s “6 parts flour: 3 parts liquid: 1 part egg: .5 parts fat?” Just call me a math geek. :)

    Thanks much for all of your hard work and sharing it with so many people! Gluten-free would be a lot more daunting for many of us without you.