Perfect Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts coated with crunchy Cinnamon Sugar. These Baked Ring Doughnuts have a light, doughnut texture and are both wheat free and optional dairy free.
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Incredible gluten free Pumpkin Donuts whether it’s pumpkin season or not
It’s only April and I’m posting a recipe for gluten free Pumpkin Donuts! Have I gone mad? Absolutely not! Because donuts that are THIS good can, should (and indeed, MUST) be eaten all year. Light, with a perfectly tender, moist crumb, coated in an absolutely ‘have to lick your lips and fingers’ cinnamon sugar coating.
While it’s a recipe that is, without doubt, perfect for using seasonal squash in Autumn (or Fall if you are one of my lovely American friends), the availability of pumpkin puree in tins, means that this (and any other pumpkin-based recipe) can be enjoyed all year. And if you can’t find pumpkin, there are alternatives… I’ve covered these further in the post below!
This particular Pumpkin Doughnut recipe was created out of season specifically because of the need to use up one such tin. In updating my post for rather wacky ‘Upside Down’ Baked Doughnuts with apple (otherwise, affectionately known as ‘Upsidedownuts’), I had some puree left over. Of course, I could have made a lovely pot of Pumpkin Leek Soup, but the weather has finally started to warm and I’m a bit ‘done’ with soup season. So gluten free Pumpkin Donuts it is!
Pumpkin Donuts or Pumpkin Doughnuts and does spelling matter?
Oh, the joys of language! So… Is it Pumpkin Donuts or Pumpkin Doughnuts? Autumn or Fall? Cans or tins? It seems this post will be spattered with references to the same things with different names, thanks to the geographical language differences around the world. Does it matter? Absolutely not! Difference is the joy that makes the world such an incredible place and it should ALWAYS be celebrated.
But wherever you are and whatever you call things, just bear in mind that I have a tendency to use terms interchangeably so as not to discriminate. If there’s anything that doesn’t make sense, just ask!
Is this recipe for Baked Donuts or fried doughnuts?
While fried doughnuts are on my list to develop, this particular recipe is most definitely for Baked Donuts. Exceptionally good baked donuts. Nonetheless, they are very different from the fried variety and without doubt WAY healthier. Indeed they are made the traditional ‘cake’ way using a bowl, whisk, doughnut pan and oven. No fryer required!
In fact, they are SO easy to make that you can have a batch from scales to plate in 45 minutes. The perfect baking project for anyone with less time and the need for a treat!
Why you’ll LOVE these baked Pumpkin Donuts
There are plenty of recipes for gluten free baked pumpkin doughnuts on the internet, so why choose this one?
- They are super quick and easy to make.
- Are light, fluffy and moist, yet without doubt, ‘doughnut’.
- Because they are baked, they are healthier (no frying required).
- They are packed with cinnamon flavour (both in the batter AND in the irresistible finger-licking cinnamon sugar coating)
- Shaped to perfection.
- The MOST beautiful colour.
- Can be made with store-cupboard ingredients.
- And are gluten free and optional dairy free.
Bet you can’t eat one without licking your lips though… 😂
Ingredients you’ll need…
The ingredients needed to make my gluten free baked doughnuts are pretty straightforward. And should be largely available in most good supermarkets. I’ll break them down into dry ingredients and wet ingredients as this is how they will ultimately be added to the bowl…
- Gluten Free Flour Blend – I use my home-mixed gluten free, rice free flour Blend B (which you will find at the bottom of my Gluten Free Flours and Flour Blends page). But any other well-balanced commercial flour blend will also work fine. I have advised on liquid levels for ‘thirstier’ flour blends on the recipe card.
- Ground Almonds (ground blanched almonds that you find in the UK… Or blanched almond flour that you find in some other countries). This adds moisture, shelf-life and texture to the sponge.
- Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda) for rise. While you can alternatively use just baking powder (an extra ½ teaspoon in place of the ¼ teaspoon of bicarb), the particular qualities of baking soda give the doughnuts an extra upwards boost and airiness.
- Ground Psyllium Husk OR Xanthan Gum – While only a very small amount is used (quantities defined on the recipe card), one or the other helps to ensure the best texture and robustness of the crumb.
- Spice and Salt – I just use ground cinnamon, although you can vary to pumpkin pie spice, add a hint of ginger, a sprinkle of cardamom or anything else that you love. The pinch of salt is just enough to enhance all the lovely donut flavours on your taste buds.
Wet Ingredients (and sugar)
- Butter (or dairy free alternative) – For this particular recipe, I tested using the butter either melted or softened. Using SOFTENED butter won out for texture. So make sure you bring the butter to room temperature first.
- Soft Light Brown Sugar – Because this is creamed into the butter, I’ve included it with the ‘wet’ ingredients. Brown sugar offers the BEST caramel-sweetness and softness to the doughnuts. But it can be subbed for coconut sugar if you prefer.
- Vanilla – Either as paste or extract offers an extra comforting depth of flavour.
- Egg – I use a combination of whole egg and white… I’ve specifically covered eggs used in the section below, as ultimately, adding by weight gives more consistency.
- Pumpkin Puree – Either homemade or tinned. See below for the best alternative…
- Apple Juice or Milk – You will need the tiniest amount of one or the other to loosen the dough VERY slightly.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- Butter (or dairy free alternative) – This is needed to brush the outside of the doughnuts for texture and to make sure the cinnamon sugar sticks.
- Granulated Sugar for the best crunch and donut-eating experience.
- Cinnamon Spice
A note on using egg to make your baked Pumpkin Donuts
I tested these baked doughnuts with one egg, two eggs and with weighed egg. To ensure the best consistency in texture when making them, ultimately I settled for using eggs that were weighed in their liquid state.
So… It actually doesn’t matter how large your single whole egg is at the start, as long as your final liquid egg weight (with additional egg white added) comes to the amount stated in the recipe card (83g for a standard 6 donut batch). Thus…
- Crack and weigh the whole egg into a bowl
- Add enough additional egg white to make up the 83g
- Mix the whole lot into the doughnut batter
What to do if you can’t find pumpkin…
Cans of pumpkin seem to be increasingly available all year in supermarkets (often in the American food section). However, there are times when you can’t find them for love or money… Usually when you want one!
If you can’t find any pumpkin puree, the best alternative to use is sweet potato. This is easy to make by cooking sweet potato flesh, before popping it in the blender to puree. The potatoes can be roasted (in their skins, before peeling). Or can be peeled and boiled. You can check out your options using this post on How to Make Sweet Potato Puree.
Or alternatively… Use a pouch or two of pure, unseasoned baby food puree. Or some Full Green Riced Sweet Potato. The ‘rice’ should break down perfectly when whisked into the doughnut batter. But you do have the option to blend it in advance if you prefer.
Is this recipe safe for people with Coeliac Disease?
Absolutely! Providing your baked doughnuts are made using certified gluten free flours and all ingredient labels are checked to be sure there is no hidden gluten or risk from cross-contamination, then yes… These Pumpkin Donuts are safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease) and any other gluten intolerance.
If you are new to label checking, then head over to my guide on Coeliac Disease + Food, for a helpful rundown.
Can I make Pumpkin Doughnuts that are dairy free as well as gluten free?
Yes again! The only substitutes that are needed to make the recipe dairy free are butter and (if using) milk.
The best dairy free alternative to the butter I use would be a block dairy free creamy butter such as either Stork block or Flora Plant B+tter in the UK. If using a salted option, leave out the salt listed in the recipe.
Equipment to make doughnuts…
If you bake regularly, you probably already have the equipment you need in your kitchen… with one possible exception being the Doughnut Pan. Either way… this is the key equipment I use to make the recipe:
- A Non-Stick standard 6-hole Doughnut Baking Tin – To make ring donuts, a specifically-designed pan is essential. Your alternative is to make lots of mini muffins and coat those in butter and cinnamon sugar instead.
- Accurate Kitchen Scales – I can’t emphasise enough how important an accurate set of digital scales is when baking gluten free. Cups and Spoons will NEVER produce the accuracy of measurement needed for consistent success. These are the scales that I use (with both a main and micro scale).
- Measuring Spoons – For accuracy in adding the leavening and psyllium husk or xanthan gum.
- Mixing Bowls
- A hand-held Electric Whisk for creaming the butter and whipping in the eggs and puree.
- Mixing Spoon or Spatula. I LOVE my dual-purpose Spoon-Spatula from Zing.
- Piping Bag or clean plastic food bag for piping the batter into the doughnut pan (it’s the easiest way!).
- Pastry Brush to brush the butter onto the doughnuts before coating them with Cinnamon Sugar.
Tips for making the BEST gluten free baked Pumpkin Donuts
This is a really easy recipe that is honestly a mix-in-the-bowl-and-bake job. However, to make sure your Pumpkin Donuts are PERFECT, here are a few extra tips to help you…
- If your doughnut pan is not non-stick (or is old and tetchy), make sure you very lightly grease the holes with a little oil or a smear of butter.
- Weigh the eggs for consistency of texture (see the notes above and the recipe card).
- Use the tiniest amount of apple juice or milk to loosen the batter. I’ve given clear instructions on the recipe card. The mixture should have a soft dropping consistency and should NOT be runny.
- Pipe the donut batter into the baking tin… It’s honestly the easiest and least messy way to do it.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the doughnut holes. The batter is the right amount for 6 standard-sized ring doughnuts. If you have any left after piping the six, divide the remaining batter where you think the holes are unevenly filled and gently even out the tops using a flat knife.
- Before baking… Gently tap the base of the donut pan on the work surface to settle the batter and knock out any large air pockets.
- Keep an eye on the doughnuts in the oven, so they don’t over-bake. They should take 13 to 15 minutes. But all ovens vary!
- Once baked (and after turning out onto a wire rack), cover the cooling donuts with a clean tea towel to ensure the moisture stays in while preparing the cinnamon sugar.
Tips for coating Baked Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar…
- For the best crunch, use coarser granulated sugar.
- Prepare the cinnamon sugar and melt the butter so that BOTH are ready for dipping and coating, side by side.
- Have ready a sheet of baking paper to place the doughnuts on once freshly dipped.
- Coat and dip ONE donut at a time.
- Brush the WHOLE surface of the donut with melted butter so that the sugar coats evenly and completely.
- Use plenty of melted butter… It not only ensures the sugar sticks, but supports the donut texture by gently soaking into the outer edges of the sponge.
- Double dip! Once all the donuts are coated… Dip them a second time in the cinnamon sugar, for the best crunch and doughnut-eating experience ever!
How long will these baked gluten free Pumpkin Doughnuts last?
Like all doughnuts (gluten free or not), these are at their very best eaten the day they are made. However… As they have a good moist sponge, they will stay soft for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container. The only issue is that the sugar will (as with ALL doughnuts) take on moisture, dissolve and become a little sticky and less crunchy. To compensate for this, you may wish to dip again in cinnamon sugar to perk them up.
Ready to make Pumpkin Donuts?
You can find the recipe for my epic Gluten Free Baked Pumpkin Donuts below… Just scroll an inch or two further.
If you make them, do let me know. I love hearing from you guys with your kitchen tales. You can leave a comment at the bottom… Rate the recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ or message me through social media. The links for my accounts are Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Do send over a photo too, if you take one.
For more delicious pumpkin bakes and makes, why not have a look at the following:
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll
- Pumpkin and Walnut Cakes
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Upside-Down Baked Doughnuts with Apple
- Pumpkin Mini Rolls
- Red Lentil Dahl with Roasted Pumpkin
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
And for everything else… Our Gluten Free Recipe Index is your hub for the most amazing selection of gluten free recipes. Let me know if there’s anything you can’t find!
With my love
Baked Pumpkin Donuts (with Cinnamon Sugar)
- 6-hole ring donut (doughnut) pan
- piping bag (or clean polythene food bag)
- clean tea towel
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- 100 g plain gluten free flour blend eg. Gluten Free Alchemist Blend B – See NOTES
- 20 g ground almonds (coarse almond flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp ground psyllium husk (or ¼ tsp xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch fine sea salt
- 35 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 65 g soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
- 1 medium egg ) (at room temperature) Or 1 large egg… But see note below ↓↓
- 1 medium egg white ) IMPORTANT NOTE: The total LIQUID egg weight (egg + egg white) should = 83g. So, weigh the whole egg and then add egg white to make up the total weight.
- 100 g pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
- 1 tsp apple juice (or milk)
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 30 g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative (melted) approx weight
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Prepare a doughnut pan by lightly greasing with butter or oil. If the pan is non-stick, greasing may not be necessary.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix together the dry ingredients: Flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, psyllium husk (or xanthan gum), cinnamon and salt. Set aside. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- Using an electric whisk, beat together the softened butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light, fluffy and well-bended.
- Add the egg (83g) and beat the mixture well until even and airy.
- Add the pumpkin puree and beat again until blended.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold through with a mixing spoon until even. Part-way through folding, add the apple juice (or milk) to slightly loosen the mixture. NOTE: Some flour blends may be more 'thirsty', so if the mixture feels very stiff, add an additional ½ to 1 teaspoon juice/milk. The mixture should have a soft dropping consistency and should NOT be runny.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or a clean polythene food bag) and snip off the end (or corner of the bag) to make a hole about 2 cm across.
- Pipe the mixture into the doughnut pan. There should be the right amount of mixture for 6 standard-sized ring doughnuts.
- Gently tap the base of the doughnut pan on the work surface to settle the batter and dislodge any large air pockets and then place in the oven (it may help to place the doughnut pan on a baking tray to bake).
- Bake the donuts for 13 to 15 minutes until the top springs back and a cocktail stick inserted comes out clean.
- Leave the donuts to cool in the trays for about 5 minutes, before loosening the sides (if stuck) with a small flexible spatula or alternative, and turning out onto a wire rack.
- Lightly cover with a clean tea-towel to keep the moisture in, while preparing the cinnamon sugar ingredients.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- In a suitable-sized bowl (eg a cereal bowl) into which a whole doughnut can be dipped, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Melt the butter either in a microwave (set at medium, stirring frequently) or in a small saucepan on a low heat.
- With the sugar and butter placed side by side, use a pastry brush to completely coat one of the doughnuts, before immediately dipping and rolling in the cinnamon sugar. Make sure it is well coated and then set aside on a sheet of baking paper.
- Repeat the sugar-dipping process for each doughnut in turn.
- Once all 6 doughnuts are coated, re-dip them in the cinnamon sugar only (no more butter!) for the best crunch.
- Eat ravenously and store any left overs in an airtight container for up to a couple of days. If the sugar has dissolved and become wet and sticky in storage, dip again in cinnamon sugar to 'perk them up'.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Baked Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts shared with
- Fiesta Friday with Angie
- Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s for Dinner with The Lazy Gastronome
elizabeth a fraccaro says
can I just grind whole raw almonds for this recipe? I’m in the US and most recipes use almond flour, which is blanched almonds fairly finely ground but no skins. Thanks in advance for the clarification. These doughnuts look and sound delicious, but I get the best results when I follow the recipe developer’s recipe EXACTLY. Many times substitutions change the outcome, and not always in a good way!
The almonds I use in the UK are blanched, de-skinned almonds that have been ground into ‘meal’. They may even be the same as your almond meal, but I’m not certain whether US meal is made with almonds that have skins left on or not?
Actually, it would be helpful to know from someone ‘on the ground’ as I have read conflicting definitions! If you get a chance to help me out on that one, I would be grateful.
But… in answer to your question, providing you blanch and de-skin the almonds before you grind them, they should be good.
Having said that… given the amount of almonds used, I would be tempted to try making them with the finer ground almond flour. I am pretty sure they will still be good (although it’s not something I’ve tried).
I hope that helps a little