Apple Cider Doughnuts (Donuts)

Gluten-free Apple Cider Doughnuts (Donuts!), perfect for Fall! more »

Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts

Every Fall, we go apple picking. And every fall, the smell of apple cider donuts hangs in the air and has the power to make my gluten free son and me downright miserable. So we do the only thing that makes any sense at all: bring our own gluten free apple cider donuts. And pick up some more apple cider while we’re at the orchard, so we can make more donuts when we get home!

For a whole batch of these baked Apple Cider Donuts, you only need 6 fluid ounces of cider. You can make the donuts with plain/regular all-purpose gluten-free flour, like Better Batter, and they’ll still be lovely. But gluten-free cake flour is a simple mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch (if you can’t have corn, try substituting tapioca starch), and gives these doughnuts just the right amount of lightness.

Plus, using more starch makes the dough easier to pipe or squeeze into the wells of your doughnut pan. I find it easiest to use a restaurant-style squeeze bottle (they sell them at all restaurant supply stores and even at most kitchen supply stores) with the top cut off to widen the opening. This batter is really too thin for a pastry bag. Anyway, a squeeze bottle also comes in very handy for gluten-free pancakes.

Be sure to roll these doughnuts in cinnamon-sugar when they’re still warm, so the sugar sticks.

If you can’t bring a batch of these donuts with you to the orchard, rest assured that you can make ‘em fresh as soon as you get home!

Prep time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 8 minutes       Yield: 4 dozen very mini doughnuts

1 1/2 cups (210 g) gluten-free cake flour (172 g high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour + 38 g cornstarch)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 extra-large eggs (120 g) at room temperature, beaten

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz.) apple cider

Cinnamon-sugar mixture, to taste, for rolling the doughnuts

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a super-mini doughnut pan (I have a 12-doughnut mini pan made by Wilton) and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the cake flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, salt, cream of tartar, nutmeg and 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, eggs and cider, and mix to combine well. The batter will be thin. Continue to mix until it begins to thicken.

  • Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip or a squeeze bottle. If using a piping bag, be careful not to let the batter come out of the tip where you don’t intend it to. Squeeze the batter into the prepared doughnut wells until they are each about 2/3 of the way full. Shake the pan back and forth horizontally until the batter is in an even layer in each well.

  • Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when pressed (about 8 minutes). The underside will be browned, but the tops will still be relatively pale. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the doughnuts to cool for about 3 minutes, or until they are no longer too hot to touch.

  • While the doughnuts cool slightly, place the cinnamon sugar mixture in a shallow pan or bowl. Gently remove the slightly cooled (but still warm) doughnuts from the doughnut pan with your fingertips and turn them around in the cinnamon sugar until they are well-coated on all sides. Place the finished doughnuts on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Repeat the above steps for the rest of the doughnut batter and resulting doughnuts.

  • Serve immediately, or at least within a day or two stored uncovered at room temperature. Freeze any remaining leftovers in a sealed, freezer-safe container.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

  • lettergirl

    Seriously?  About an hour ago I said to myself, “If only I could think of something to make with all that leftover apple cider in my fridge.”  (I had an open house at my new art studio, there were snowflakes, I kind of overdid it on the volume of cider….)  So thank you for being on target — again.  (Any other suggestion?  Made homemade applesauce yesterday.)   And while I’m at it, thank you for the deep dish pizza recipe in your e-book.  I made it for the first time last Friday night and liked it so much we are having it again tonight.  And it’s not even Friday!  Gina

    • Gerry

       Make cider sauce for your pancakes.  I slice or chop apples in a pot with butter.  cook them until tender add part of the cider.  With about a cup of the cider add some corn starch  or arrow root powder ( the amount depends on how much cider you use) which ever you can tolerate.  Add it to the apples and rest of cider. Cook this on medium heat until it has thickened adding more butter if desired, and serve hot over the pancakes. 

      • lettergirl

        Thanks, Gerry, that sounds perfect.  Tomorrow night:  pancakes for dinner!

    • gfshoestring

      Stop that right now, Gina! We are so in synch, you and me. Congratulations on your new art studio! So glad you’re enjoying the deep dish. That’s my husband’s favorite all-time pizza! Oh, and for the applesauce, why not blind bake a bottom pie crust in a pie plate, pile in the applesauce, top with some crumb topping and bake for another few minutes until the crumb topping is browned? Easy & fast apple pie. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • lettergirl

        Sold!  Now if only I could finish those Halloween costumes!

  • Tara

    I am so excited about these! I have combing over my new Quick & Easy GF on a Shoestring cookbook since it arrived and I have already more pages flagged with stickies than I can count….! Now I get to add these to my list!!! Yummmy! Thanks so much.

    • gfshoestring

      I’m honored to be flagged, Tara! That is the highest cookbook compliment a cookbook could receive. :) Thank you so much for your support in picking up a copy of the new cookbook!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Holly Wydeck

    These look delish!  I happen to have an old doughnut (donut?) maker that was my moms.  It is seriously ancient but makes great doughnuts (donuts?).  They are triangle shaped donuts so more could fit in the maker at one time.  I will have to give these a whirl!  My cookbook should arrive today.  I’m so excited!!!

    • gfshoestring

      Triangle-shaped doughnuts, Holly? That sounds like fun! Hope you enjoy the cookbook! Thanks so much for your support. It really means a whole lot to me.
      xoxo Nicole

  • El

    Is there a way to make the gluten free cake flour without using grams? I would love to make these, but I don’t have a scale.

    • gfshoestring

      There really isn’t, with any degree of accuracy, El. You can make an educated guess by doing the math (1 cup = 16 tablespoons = 140 g Better Batter) (1 tablespoon cornstarch = 8 g), but I don’t recommend it. I would just use all Better Batter (or whatever high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour you prefer).
      xoxo Nicole

      • El

        So I was shopping in the grocery store looking for some apple cider and a scale just jumped out at me! I’m so excited to try these!

  • Jackie Fretwell

    I am so making these tonight for breakfast tomorrow, I just bought my donut pan yesterday at Bed Bath and Beyond to make the glazed chocolate donuts from your new Quick and Easy cookbook, these just look totally warm and cozy!!

    • gfshoestring

      They are exactly that, Jackie! So warm and cozy. Perfect for a crisp Fall day. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer S.

    I want to know why we didn’t use the donut maker you have on your counter – that I’m contemplating putting on my christmas list?? : )

    Got the cookbook on Saturday and have been stealing away time each day to read it AND I made my own pita bread last night for dinner!!!  They were good and will get better the more I make them, I know it!

    • gfshoestring

      Good question, Jennifer! Most just because I assume that most people don’t have it — and I used a super mini doughnut pan to make super mini doughnuts – even smaller than the Babycakes Donut Maker ones. But of course, that little dream machine would work a treat. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Cynthia

    I was just about to ask about babycakes but see someone beat me too it. :-)  I assume the regular 4-6 min in babycakes for these? My diet is in BIG trouble with these. Thanks!!!

    • gfshoestring

      I would say 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, Cynthia, in the doughnut maker. Love that thing!
      xoxo Nicole

  • anna

    What timing! My roommate and i were just talking about our donut craving (bear claws to be exact)! Im GF and she isnt so Im sure shes gone already gone and bought one by now but I cannot stand those frozen GF donuts so I guess ill be making these. Thanks!

    PS. Your cookbook came in the mail last week and i am so excited to start making stuff! I just wish there were more pictures…

  • RebeccaLB

    Your new book came on Friday and as soon as I got my hands on it I sat down and read it cover to cover.  You would have thought it was Christmas or my birthday!  I don’t have a donut pan (yet – but it is on my Christmas list) so will sub in my mini muffin pans and make donut holes.

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Rebecca! Donut holes sounds perfect! Thank you so much for always being so kind and supportive. It means a lot to me!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Ahuffman

    I have been  gluten free for over 2 years.  Before that, we loved our quesillas, cheese or spinach flavored, with a chicken filling.  I cannot find any GF wraps or tortillas to make quesillas.  I have not tried making my own yet, but would love a cheesy tortilla.  Any ideas?

  • AliciaML

    Time to go buy a donut pan!   YUM!   Just got your new book this AM!   Can’t wait to dive in!

    • gfshoestring

      Thank you Alicia, for your support in picking up a copy of the new book! I really appreciate it. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Amanda Ingraham

    Do you think these would bake up well in a larger doughnut pan? I am looking at the super micro ones and they are just so tiny! I wondered if the texture would be off with a bigger doughnut, though. I have had trouble in the past with my Better Batter baked goods ending up raw in the middle. When they cook through they are TDF, but when they don’t – blech. So, do you think it’s smarter to stick with the super de duper ultra tiny micro mini doughtnut pan? :)

  • Margaret

    Is the batter stable enough to use just one pan and then refill it when each batch is done?  Some GF batters should not sit for awhile before baking.

    • gfshoestring

      Yes. It is, Margaret. The use of cake batter helps.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carole

    Oh boy, when I go into town wednesday i”m getting a digital scale and a mini donut pan..My husband is having a great time gaining back the 46 lost pounds.We both Thank You and are enjoying both of your cookbooks.Now if I could just not be to tempted to try everything.

  • GClark

    These sound yummy! I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy the USA Pans donut pan!

    P.S. – Love your new cookbook! Even more than I love the first one!

    • gfshoestring

      I wonder if you are the same GClark who left one of the very first reviews on the new cookbook on Amazon? I was so grateful to read that you are enjoying the new book, and that you really “get it.” I cried a little (relief!) but don’t tell anyone. ;) Thank you for taking the time to write a review. It really helps!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Olivia

    Beautiful donuts, Nicole! I will definitely have to buy a donut pan and fast-track these up my “to-make” list. Congrats on your new cookbook, too :) 

  • Dana Schwartz

    So, I’m one egg short for this recipe (talk about unprepared for the storm, I know). It’s wrong to send my husband out to the store in a hurricane, right? :) ok I’m joking but only just cause I really would love these right now! We even have cider fresh from a lovely mill upstate. Sigh.

    In other news, LOVE the new cookbook!!

  • Chris

    Ugh…I was BB&B today to get a donut pan to make the chocolate donuts in my lovely new cookbook and opted for the regular pans over the mini pan set they had. Do you think these would be ok in the regular pan?

  • Lelia

    I love the make or buy idea! I’m thinking pasta. I buy soooo much gluten free pasta. Thanks for all your hard work!

  • wendy

    These look great! Btw, I just got my copy of your new book (this time I got a hard copy instead of the kindle). I love it!!! Trying to decide what to make first, too many great choices. I especially like that your personality comes through even more in  this book – its one of the reasons I love reading your blog. I can’t wait till school gets out so I can try some of these. Thanks!

    • Margaret

       I have been reading the new book as if it were a novel–and loving it just as much.  I have to take dinner rolls to a few GF attendees at a conference in Fort Worth on Friday night and I was struggling to find the perfect recipe that will compare with what everyone else is eating at the conference.  The Dinner Rolls with Yeasted Refrigerator Bread is the perfect recipe.  And what’s even better is that the rolls still tasted good on the second day while most GF dinner rolls just get heavy a few hours later.  These are still delicious.  I have to take some other meal items on Friday and Saturday too.  All of my recipes are from Nicole or the Better Batter site. 

  • MeridithE

    With every doughnut recipe you post or have in your book, i’ve thought “hmm, I don’t really need a doughnut pan in my life” but you did it!  You got me!  I’m getting a doughnut pan.  :)  

  • Erin

    One year ago today, on the day before Halloween, I decided, “Hmmm, I think I’ll try this recipe for apple cider donuts that I’ve never made before so the adults have something to munch on when we come home from trick or treating.”  I was so excited about them, and they were a huge FLOP!!  And this was back before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, so they contained all purpose flour in all its gluten-y glory.
    YOUR recipe, on the other hand, looks awesome…I think you’ve given me the courage to try again!  How cool would it be if my very first successful homemade apple cider donuts were GF? 

  • TammyP

    I just made these in a mini square shape like brownie bites.  Very light and everyone loved them.  I made the first batch in a pan for 6 large donuts, and they were kind of cakey and spongy, but done all the way through at 10 minutes.  The smaller bites are less flimsy and easier to eat.

    • TammyP

      I also used tapioca starch instead of corn starch and swapped apple pie spice for the nutmeg.  Delish.

      • Amanda Ingraham

        Super helpful posts, thank you!

  • Margaret

    Not every GF recipe I try is successful, but more often than not, Nicole hits the spot.  This one was my test recipe for today.  There are only 2 of us here so I halved the recipe but that’s the only change I made.  And they were absolutely positively scrumptious!  I didn’t have a donut pan so I have been shopping since the recipe was posted.  Two stores I visited were out.  Then I went to Kohl’s and with coupons and Kohl’s cash, I bought the babycakes donut maker for all of $7.24.  That’s a deal I couldn’t pass up.  And in my Texas kitchen, not turning on the oven is usually a good thing.  I can see many wonderful donut memories made with my grandkids, Nicole’s GF donut recipes (including the chocolate donut recipe in the new book), and my new kitchen appliance.  Thank you Nicole!

  • Candaceiw

    I’m a bit late here, but I cannot find and would LOVE a recipe for GF syrian bread. Trying your donuts today ;)

  • AslraVen

    I just got your Gluten Free Shoestring Quick & Easy Book from Amazon — liked the variety, but was disheartened that there were no step by step photo – being a visual person, photos of cooking/baking food is important for me.  I thought there was also going to be the pop tart recipe in this book but apparently not.  Otherwise – I hope I can follow through with ease and look forward sampling the GF recipes. :) 

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, AsIraVen,
      I’m sorry you are disappointed with the book. It is exceedingly rare for cookbooks to have step-by-step photos, as they are incredibly expensive to produce and most publishers are unwilling or unable to provide that. I asked, and was repeatedly denied by the publisher. Authors have little to no control over such decisions.
      However, I am writing a third book on gluten-free bread, and since I believe strongly that bread needs both finished and step by step photos, I pushed very hard for a full-color book next time. However, my insistence nearly tanked the entire deal!
      I never indicated that there would be a pop tart recipe in the book. There is one in my first book, and two on the blog.

  • Sandra Elsner

    I just made these with the help of my kids. We used a mini muffin pan and  I substituted tapioca starch for the corn starch. I cooked them a bit longer because I still haven’t gotten that silly oven thermometer and i know that it runs low. I put the cinnamon sugar in a baggie and tossed to coat the donuts a few at a time. My son called them cinnamon muffins but i could tell the “donuttyness” of them.  It only came out to 2 WeightWatchers points per donut/muffin which is right up my alley. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Candaceiw

    My gluten free goddess! how in the world did you patiently get that thick batter into the squeeze bottle? I am making a mess,..yummy, but a mess! too thick for a funnel or unless I am not measuring correctly, my batter is really thick, like waffles…using better batter…

  • Levka

    I made these tonight to keep me distracted from the election news. I did some minor substitutions (I know!) using King Arthur GF Flour (I know, you don’t like it) & dairy-free butter replacement. Perhaps because I used KA flour, the batter was less runny and more thick, so I spooned them in instead of piping them. I made them in a full-sized doughnut pan & miniature muffin tins, and baked them about 10 minutes. Instead of cinnamon sugar I mixed up sugar & pumpkin pie spice. They came out COMPLETELY AMAZING. I might have a new favorite doughnut, which is hard for me, I was completely in love with the cinnamon doughnuts you posted on Living Without, but these come out so light and cakey, it’s like a whole new game. Thanks for this recipe so much. 

  • Lorraine

    Oh Nicole I made these last night and they were delicious!  Even my husband who is not GF and VERY fussy, said “MMMMMmmmmmm!!!!!”.
    One thing I found was that the sugar/cinnamon wouldn’t stick very well.  I even took them right of the pan with some and rolled them thru it and it wouldn’t stick.  Then I tried brushing with a bit of veg. oil and then rolling them and still no luck.  Am I doing something wrong?

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring:
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