Domestifluff - Food.Craft.Etc


  • I'm Kristen, a clumsy but determined home cook and crafter living in the Boston area with my husband, B, and I have an interest in all things food and craft.

    This blog was created to keep track of my various projects and adventures. They may not all be successes, but my goal is to remain unintimidated by whatever engages my curiosity.

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Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts

This year was my third annual attempt at making a great apple cider donut. I’ve tried four recipes over the past two years and haven’t been satisfied with the results. Maybe I just don’t know what an apple cider donut should taste like, but I want at least some apple flavor in the finished product, and no recipe that I’ve tried has given me that. I’ve always ended up with somewhat dry, not apple-y at all donuts, most of which have been tossed in the trash. And it really pains me to throw out food, especially donuts.

Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts

This time around, I had the added challenge of making not just a good donut, but a good gluten free and sugar free apple cider donut. Part of me wondered if I should even be trying this, but over the past year I’ve gained so much confidence in what gluten free flours can do if used in the right combination for the recipe at hand. I figured that I wasn’t going to find a ready-made gluten free apple cider donut recipe, and I didn’t, but I did find a promising looking recipe for gluten free buttermilk donuts over at The Baking Beauties.

To start, I halved the original recipe because I couldn’t bear having to throw out dozens of donuts if the recipe didn’t work out for me. I reduced apple cider to a thin syrup to concentrate the flavor and to give me a good shot at an apple flavor note, used less xylitol (or sugar) as a result of the added sweetness of the apple cider syrup, and lowered the amount of buttermilk to compensate for the added liquid. I’m very happy to report that these were my best homemade apple cider donuts yet. Actually, they were quite good — nice and moist (potato flour is one of my gluten free secret weapons for added moistness), and I definitely detected an apple note. It was subtle, but it was there! The donuts also reheated nicely…just pop them into a 350 degree F oven for 5 minutes, or slightly longer if the donuts are frozen.

If you want to use wheat flour in this recipe, I can’t guarantee that it will work out the same, but it should be pretty close. Just replace all of the gluten free ingredients (both types of rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and potato flour) with 2 1/2 cups of wheat flour, though I’d recommend leaving in the potato flour if you have some on hand.

Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts
adapted from The Baking Beauties


4 cups apple cider
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 Tbsp. potato flour
1/4 cup xylitol (or sugar)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
vegetable oil for frying

for cinnamon sugar coating

1/2 cup xylitol (or sugar) – use a food processor or coffee grinder to break up the large crystals if using xylitol
1 tsp. cinnamon

Notes: Make the apple cider syrup the night before and refrigerate overnight to save time during the day that you make the donuts.


1. In a medium saucepan, heat the apple cider to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to one cup. The process should take 35-45 minutes, and you’ll be left with a thin syrup. Cool the syrup to room temperature or refrigerate overnight.

2. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with oven parchment or foil. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Line a second cookie sheet with paper towels to absorb the oil from the finished donuts.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, buttermilk, apple cider syrup, sugar, and melted butter.

4. In a second bowl, combine the flours, starches, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until a sticky, wet dough forms.

5. Pour the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread using a knife or rubber spatula which has been coated with cooking spray. You can also coat your hands with the spray instead and just pat the dough until it’s at the desired thickness, about 1/2 inch thick. There will not be enough dough to fill the entire cookie sheet, so focus on getting it to 1/2 inch thick and don’t be concerned if there’s not enough dough to reach the edges of the pan. Place the pan of dough into the freezer for 30-45 minutes, until it’s firmed up but not until it’s completely frozen.

6. In a deep fryer or Dutch oven, heat oil to 375 degrees F. As the oil is heating, remove the firmed dough from the freezer and cut using a donut cutter, circular cutters, or a round glass and the opposite end of a large pastry tip. Carefully drop the dough into the hot oil and fry until brown on one side. Turn over and brown on the second side. Donuts will take 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, and donut holes will take 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

7. Remove the donuts from the oil and briefly drain on paper towel lined cookie sheet. Toss donuts in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat while still hot. Serve warm.

Posted in Alternatively Sweetened, Desserts, Food, Gluten Free | 16 Comments »

16 Responses

  1. Jeanine says:

    yeah! So happy that these donuts were a success for you. :) You’ve got me thinking apple now, I wonder how it would work to grate apple straight into the dough? Make it sort of a cross between a fritter & a donut. Sounds like another experiment waiting to happen. :)

  2. Jeanine says:

    By the way…your photos are FANTASTIC! Beautiful!

  3. Kristen says:

    Thanks for posting the great recipe! I think that a fritter/donut with grated apple would be fantastic, and a combo of apple cider and grated apple would make it super apple-y. I may have to experiment, too, though my hips aren’t too happy with all of this donut eating! ;)

    And your scrumptious looking picture is what sold me on the recipe, so I’m very flattered that you enjoyed my photos. Thanks!

  4. Hillary says:

    I always love the doughnuts from the apple orchard. I bet these taste just like them – thanks for the recipe and photos!

  5. Laurel says:

    So glad your doughnuts were successful. Here’s a tip though. Go to the food philosopher’s website that Annalise Roberts has up. There’s a recipe for these in her new cookbook and I believe on her website as well.

  6. Kirsty says:

    These look amazing! My daughter and I are going to have a go at them this afternoon. Thankyou.

    I love the photos too.

  7. Kristen says:

    Hillary – Donuts and warm apple cider from the orchard in autumn…is there a better autumn outing? Yum!

    Laurel – Thanks for the tip! Can’t believe I didn’t know about that site before, but it’s in my bookmarks now.

    Kirsty – Thanks so much, and I hope that you and your daughter enjoy!

  8. Lisa says:

    Wow! This is great! I’ve been tempted on eating the sugar version apple cider donuts from Stew Leonards and here’s a sugar free gluten free rendition of the donut. Looks great in the photo too! Can’t wait to try them.

  9. Sophie says:

    I went apple picking a few weeks ago and EVERYONE had cider donuts but me (b/c they weren’t gluten free :P)…after discovering this recipe, and drooling over that delectable photo, I don’t feel so bad ;). Thanks for sharing this! I’m making these very very soon!

  10. Wolfster says:

    So glad to see GF apple cider donuts! I LOVE cinnamon-n-apple flavored donuts and look forward to making these. A note about the xylitol: it can be fatal to dogs so don’t let your canine friends anywhere near these.

  11. Kimo says:

    Cider doughnuts really don’t need to taste like apples (though they are generally made with cider), it’s more about the texture you get from using a slightly acidic sugary liquid to make a cake donut.

    To be more honest -it’s really about eating a hot, crisp sugary treat with a mug of apple cider on a crisp fall day when you’re traipsing about leaf-peeping.

    If you do want that flavor, you should use your apple syrup at the end and then roll in sugar/xylitol, otherwise it will most always get overwhelmed by the tang of the buttermilk (also key to the rising/texture). Besides that, the usespices generally associated with apples (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc) go a long way as well -ie, mock apple pie)

  12. auntie says:

    oh my! these look so delicious!

  13. Sophie says:

    Believe it or not, I still have not made these :P. This weekend is my birthday and I’ll be making these instead of a cake…I like the idea of an apple syrup.

  14. Diane- The WHOLE Gang says:

    Thanks for doing the work for me. Do you think this would also work dairy free? They look so yummy!

  15. Harmony says:

    These look great. I’m thinking about making them this weekend. I’ll be having guests. How many do they make?

  16. maria says:

    THANK YOU my dear, this recipe has made me VERY happy! Made them exactly as you said, except I made them dairy free as well using almond milk and organic earth balance, and I decided at the last minute to bake them instead of frying in muffin cups. They were AMAZING, the texture was perfect and my daughter urged me to make melted “butter” and dip the tops in sugar and cinnamon. This is a keeper! Thanks for giving us back apple cider donuts!

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