Enjoy these delicious, light, and fluffy gluten-free vanilla cake donuts that are also vegan and dairy-free. Great for special occasions, birthdays, or a fun weekend treat.
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If you’re a fan of donuts and you follow a gluten-free diet, you may have noticed that options are limited. You can either spend over $6 or $7 on a box of premade donuts that you can buy in the freezer section of your grocery store, or you can make your own at home. There aren’t many other options unless you have a local gluten-free bakery near you.
What’s one to do under such circumstances? Figure out how to make gluten free donuts at home while using ingredients that you already have stocked in your pantry and fridge.
That’s my method at least, and I’m going to share how I make gluten-free (and vegan) donuts at home for myself and my family.
My family loves donuts, and often when we’re grocery shopping on the weekends, my son will ask to get a donut from the bakery and I’ll oblige. But the unfortunate thing is that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t just grab one for myself to indulge in. Or I could and pay for it later…
Something I’ve done recently is make a batch of gluten-free donuts to have on hand for when these occasions arise. It’s not too common, but it does happen enough where I feel a little left out from the family fun of having a treat just because of my diet.
I’ve started to make a batch of donuts here and there and then stock them in the freezer so I can partake in the fun alongside my son and husband when they get Sunday morning treats from the store.
Is it the same thing? No.
Did I have to put in extra work for a donut than I want to? Yes.
But in the end is a delicious donut that doesn’t make my stomach hurt or send me to the bathroom worth it? Absolutely.
So here we are. Let me share with you some of the basics of my gluten-free donuts and then I’ll get to the tasty recipe at the end.
How do you make donuts gluten-free?
To make donuts gluten-free, you’ll want to use a gluten-free flour or gluten-free flour blend. The gluten-free flour that you use may change how this cake comes out.
Choose one that is a blend with xanthan gum included, or if you make your own gluten-free flour blend at home that includes xanthan gum. This ingredient is vital for the binding nature of your cake, so that it’s not too crumbly.
I like to use my standby King Arthur Measure for Measure flour blend in most of my baking, and I used it for this recipe too.
What do you make your gluten-free donuts in?
I like to bake my donuts using a 6-cavity donut pan. You can find donut pans for baking in both 6 and 12-cavity options in many big box stores or craft stores. You can also find them online through Amazon or other baking websites.
Do I have to use a donut pan?
If you don’t have a donut pan or don’t want to buy one just for making donuts occasionally, try one of these ideas for your gluten-free donuts.
Use a muffin tin and some foil to create a muffin tin out of items you already have. Poke your finger to form the foil around it then place it in the center of a muffin cup in your tin, leaving the elevated part in the center. When you pour the batter in, it will fill in around the center, leaving a donut hole.
You can also bake the gluten-free donut batter in a mini muffin pan instead of forming them into donuts. They will taste the same, but have a different shape than donuts.
Another idea for making donuts without a donut pan is to roll the dough out to about half an inch thick, then use cookie cutters to cut them into circles, and another smaller circle cutter to cut out the center. You can then have donuts and donut holes if you bake both of them on a baking sheet.
Are these gluten-free vanilla cake donuts dairy-free?
These gluten-free vanilla cake donuts are dairy-free, because they don’t include any milk or other dairy products. I’ve swapped milk out for dairy-free milk, almond milk in this case. I’ve also used dairy-free milk in the vanilla glaze, making it safe for a dairy-free diet.
Are these gluten-free vanilla cake donuts vegan?
These gluten-free vanilla cake donuts are vegan, because they contain no dairy products or eggs. I don’t eat eggs in my diet, as well as being dairy-free, so I’ve opted to create this recipe without both. These donuts are still light, fluffy, and delicious without the eggs or dairy!
Do these gluten-free vanilla cake donuts freeze well?
I have had success freezing these gluten-free donuts, which is exactly why I made them. I like to make a batch of six, then freeze five for later. The big thing to know is that putting the glaze on before freezing doesn’t work as well as freezing without the glaze.
I like to wrap these donuts in plastic wrap, then place them in a plastic freezer storage bag. When it’s time to eat one, I take it out of the freezer bag and plastic wrap, and microwave it for about 30 seconds. If I want to make a small amount of glaze for the donut at this time, I will. Otherwise, I’ll enjoy it plain.
What should I decorate my donuts with?
These donuts can be made for any occasion and while I love to enjoy them when they’re simple with the vanilla glaze, they’re also great for decorating with sprinkles and colored sugar.
These are great for just about any holiday and you can get creative with the color of sprinkles you use. Try some of these fun and festive ideas!
- Red and green sprinkles or sugar for Christmas
- Red, orange, or yellow sprinkles or leaves for a gluten-free Thanksgiving option
- Red and blue for the 4th of July
- Sprinkles in your favorite color for your birthday
- Black and orange sprinkles for Halloween
How to make gluten-free vanilla cake donuts
Now that we have all the basics covered about these gluten-free donuts, let’s talk about how to actually make them.
Prepare the oven and donut pan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the donut pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
Mix together the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, add gluten-free flour blend, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
Mix in the wet ingredients
Next, add the vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, dairy-free milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk together until smooth.
Transfer the donut batter to the donut pan
Spoon or pipe the donut mixture into the donut pan, being careful not to overfill them. The mixture should only reach the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, you can fill up a few silicone baking cups for a couple mini cakes to bake alongside the donuts.
Bake the gluten-free donuts
Place the donut pan in the oven and bake for 10 to 13 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
Cool the donuts completely
After the donuts have cooled about a minute, transfer them to cool completely on a wire rack. This may take about an hour.
Make the glaze
To prepare your glaze, add powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vanilla to a bowl and whisk together. If the frosting is too thick, add one more tablespoon of dairy-free milk until it’s the consistency you like.
Dip in the glaze
After the donuts have cooled, dip them in the frosting and transfer to a wire rack. I like to put a towel or piece of parchment paper under the rack to make for easier cleanup later.
Decorate and enjoy
Enjoy your donuts plain or decorate them with sprinkles, shredded or flaked coconut, or colored sugar.
For the Donuts:
- 1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
For the Glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, add gluten-free flour blend, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together.
- Next, add the vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, dairy-free milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk together until smooth.
- Prepare a 6-cavity donut pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
- Spoon the donut mixture into the donut pan, being careful not to overfill them. The mixture should only reach the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, you can fill up a few silicone baking cups for a couple mini cakes to bake alongside the donuts.
- Place the donut pan in the oven and bake for 10 to 13 minutes. You'll know they're done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
- After the donuts have cooled about a minute, transfer them to cool completely on a wire rack. This may take about an hour.
- To prepare your frosting, add powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vanilla to a bowl and whisk together. If the frosting is too thick, add one more tablespoon of dairy-free milk until it's the consistency you like.
- After the donuts have cooled, dip them in the frosting and transfer to a wire rack. I like to put a towel or piece of parchment paper under the rack to make for easier cleanup later.
- Enjoy your donuts plain or decorate them with sprinkles, shredded or flaked coconut, or colored sugar.
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I hope you love these donuts and find a way to make them for yourself and your family soon. Try making them unique for different holidays or gatherings by swapping out the color of the sprinkles or colored sugar for something a little fun!