Glazed Yeast-Raised Gluten Free Donuts

Glazed Yeast-Raised Gluten Free Donuts

These light and airy glazed yeast-raised gluten free donuts taste like they’re from your favorite bakery from way back when. Now, you can fry them in oil, or make them in your Air Fryer with almost no oil. Either way, don’t forget the glaze!

There’s no shortage of gluten free donut recipes on this blog. But these old fashioned donuts needed an upgrade!

A hand with a donut dripping glaze

Air frying versus oil frying

Oil frying

Old-fashioned donuts like these yeast-raised gluten free donuts are meant to be fried, not baked. If you’d like to begin with baked donuts, I’ve got plenty of recipes for cake donuts from classic gluten free vanilla donuts to gluten free chocolate cake donuts.

When you bake a yeast-raised donut, it mostly tastes like, well, a really light bagel. Deep-frying can be messy and time-consuming, but it shouldn’t result in oily donuts at all.

Just be sure your oil is hot enough, and the outside of the donut will seal quickly once it hits the oil. Then, the inside of the donut will just cook evenly and without any oil for the rest of the time.

A half eaten donut

Oil that is not quite clean is best for frying. Frying a few chunks of old bread in the oil before using it for the doughnuts will help all of your doughnuts come out golden brown and delicious. They brown quickly.

I first published this donut recipe way back in 2012, long before I had ever even heard of an Air Fryer. I fried them, and many of you who have made them over the years have done the same.

The original photo of the fried donuts is just above. They are a bit more tender inside and crisp outside when they’re deep fried in oil. An air fryer is so incredibly easy, though…

Donuts in an air fryer

Air frying

As we discussed when we made our gluten free chicken nuggets in the Air Fryer, an Air Fryer is not really created to “fry” anything at all. I think of it more as a very efficient, rather small convection oven.

But by making fried wontons in the Air Fryer, I learned that you can make foods that taste sufficiently like they were, in fact, deep fried in the Air Fryer. Of course, you don’t use nearly as much oil as you do in deep frying, where you use oil by the quart.

You can still give food cooked in the Air Fryer that “fried” taste. Just spray or brush the food generously with nonaerosol cooking oil spray

You can also use another high-heat-safe cooking oil, like avocado oil. It’s just easiest to evenly distribute it on the food when it’s in spray form. You’ll still be using far less oil than you otherwise would.

Dough on a platter with a donut cutter

Should I let the dough rise twice?

I now recommend allowing this donut dough to have the first rise in a sealed container in the refrigerator. But when I first made this recipe, I honestly didn’t bother.

At the time, gluten free yeast bread dough wasn’t considered stable enough to shape properly. Ever since I developed the recipes for Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, though, I’m more inclined to let yeast dough rise twice.

The first rise, ideally, is slowly in the refrigerator. I find that it not only makes the dough easier to shape, but it allows the dough to develop that yeasted flavor that I really love.

Shaped donut dough rising on a platter with plastic wrap

Ingredients and substitutions


I’ve made these donuts dairy free quite easily by replacing the unsalted butter with virgin coconut oil and using unsweetened almond or coconut milk (in the carton). Those substitutions work perfectly well.

You can also replace the butter with Melt VeganButter or Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, each melted and cooled.


Since there are only one egg and one egg white in this recipe, you can try replacing the egg with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel).

Try replacing the egg white with aquafaba (the brine from a can of chickpeas). I haven’t tried either of these substitutions, so you’ll have to experiment!

Donuts with white glaze on a rack

Apple cider vinegar

In place of apple cider vinegar, you can another neutral or full-bodied vinegar. I would not use a particularly bright, tart vinegar, like white wine vinegar.

White balsamic vinegar is rather mellow. That works well in place of apple cider vinegar. You can also use freshly-squeezed lemon juice.


The donut dough is only lightly sweet, with a mere 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in the whole batch. If you’d like to make the donuts without refined sugar, you can try.

I recommend replacing the granulated sugar with an equal amount, by weight, of coconut palm sugar. The donuts will be darker in color.

If you’d like to try using a sugar replacement, I recommend Lankato monkfruit white sweetener or Swerve granulated sugar replacement. You may have to add some more milk as those sugar replacements tend to be drying.

The glaze is essentially all sugar confectioners’ sugar. If you can’t have refined sugar, I recommend just eliminating it entirely.

These glazed yeast-raised gluten free donuts taste like they're from your favorite bakery from way back when. Now, you can fry them in oil, or make them in your Air Fryer with almost no oil. Either way, don't forget the glaze! #glutenfree #gf #airfryer #donuts

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 12 donuts


For the donuts
2 1/2 cups (350g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling

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

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons (8 g) instant (breadmaker or rapid rise) yeast

1/2 teaspoon fresh finely-ground nutmeg (optional)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), plus 1 egg white (25 g)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 fluid ounces) milk (any kind, just not nonfat), at room temperature

4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter or virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled

Oil for frying or non-aerosol oil spray for Air Frying

For the glaze
1 cup (120 g) confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons (42 g) Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or honey)

2 to 4 tablespoons water


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, place 2 1/2 cups flour, the xanthan gum, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and sugar. Whisk to combine well. Add the yeast and optional nutmeg, and whisk again to combine well. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the vinegar, egg, egg white, milk and melted butter, and mix to combine. Mix on low speed until the liquid is absorbed by the dry ingredients, then turn the mixer speed to high and mix for about 2 minutes or until very well-combined. The dough will be wet but should scrape easily off the sides of the mixer with a spatula.

  • For best results, cover the inside of a lidded bucket or bowl with cooking oil spray, scrape the donut dough into the container, and cover the bucket or bowl. Place in the refrigerator to rise and chill for about an hour, or up to 2 days. You can work with the dough immediately, though, if you prefer. It will just be stickier and a bit harder to handle, and will have less flavor.

  • When you’re ready to work with the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside. Sprinkle the dough lightly with some extra flour and turn over on itself a few times to create a smoother dough. Press the dough into a disk, sprinkle lightly with more flour, and roll it out about 1/2 inch thick. Flour a doughnut cutter or biscuit or large round cookie cutter, and cut the dough into donut shapes. If you’re using a large round cutter, use a much smaller cutter to cut out donut holes from the rounds. Place the shapes on the prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2-inches apart. Gather scraps and reroll, then cut more shapes. Cover the baking sheets with oiled plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise to about 150% of their original size.

  • Air Fryer Instructions. Spray the bottom of the Air Fryer basket with non-aerosol cooking oil spray. Place as many donuts and holes as will fit comfortably in the basket of your Air Fryer in a single layer, without crowding. Spray or brush the tops of the nuggets generously with cooking oil, and place in the Air Fryer. Set the machine to fry at 380°F for 12 minutes. Allow to cook for about 6 minutes. Remove the basket carefully from the fryer and, using heat-safe tongs, flip each of the nuggets over. Spray or brush again generously with cooking oil, and return to the fryer. Finish frying until lightly golden brown all over. Remove the donuts and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining donuts and holes.

  • Deep-frying directions. In a large, heavy-bottom stock pot, heat at least 2 inches of oil to about 350 degrees F. Once the oil reaches temperature, fry a few old chunks of bread in the oil. They will blacken pretty quickly. Discard them. Fry doughnuts and holes in the hot oil in small batches, about 1 minute (or less) per side, until golden brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack lined with paper towels.

  • While the doughnuts are cooling briefly, make the glaze. In a small-to-medium-sized bowl, place the confectioner’s sugar. Add the syrup or honey, and mix to combine into a thick paste. Add water, a teaspoon at a time, and mix well until you have achieved a smooth and thickly pourable glaze. Dip the top of each donut and donut hole in the glaze, allowing any excess to drip off, and then return to the wire rack to set, glazed side up.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Some photos, Air Fryer instructions, and video all new. Recipe ingredients unchanged, method simplified.


Comments are closed.

  • Kathleen
    April 15, 2018 at 11:54 AM

    Carole, when you make a jelly donut, the jelly goes in after you cook so you should be able to make these into jelly donuts oil fried or air fried. I have never made them but I believe you pipe the jelly in using a pastry bag while the donut is still warm. Good luck! Send some my way. I haven’t had a good donut in years! I generally find GF donuts to be on the yucky side. This recipe looks good though.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 15, 2018 at 4:29 PM

      Hi, Kathleen, Actually you can definitely fry the donuts with the jelly inside if you make sure the dough is wrapped around it properly. I prefer them that way myself because the jelly doesn’t seep out, then. But you can definitely fill them afterward—or fill them with pastry cream!

  • Carole
    April 13, 2018 at 3:41 PM

    Could you make jelly donuts in the air fryer using this recipe?

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 15, 2018 at 9:39 AM

      Hi, Carole, I don’t see why not! You’d have to be sure that the jelly was really in the very center of the dough, though, or it could end up all over the air fryer. :)

  • Kim
    April 13, 2018 at 12:41 PM

    Whyfry the chunks of bread? I hate to waste any expensive gf bread

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 13, 2018 at 2:25 PM

      Hi, Kim, As I explain in the post, slightly dirty oil fries better than virgin oil. A couple tiny pieces of bread will dirty the oil a bit. You can skip that step, or put something other than bread in there first, too.

  • Tami
    January 7, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    I made these today and they are yummy! I received a new kitchen scale for Christmas so I wanted to use that, instead of measuring. I think that may have messed me up a little because my dough was really sticky. I ended up using tapioca flour (because that’s what’s in my ap flour) and after a few tries, that helped a lot! I usually have the worst luck with baking but I’m thankful for the yummy end result!=)

    • Nicole
      January 8, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Hi, Tami,
      If the dough was really sticky, it sounds like maybe that was a function of the flour blend you used. But it sounds like you were able to work around it.
      xoxo Nicole

  • January 7, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    I have a 1/2 batch of doughnuts raising right now. I bet this dough would work really nice for sticky pull apart buns too. Hum…maybe I’ll try that tomorrow.

    I got 8 full sized doughnuts from a 1/2 batch of the recipe–to get that I just used the holes and scraps to make the last doughnut. So, I really got 8 doughnuts and 1 hole. :)

    • Nicole
      January 7, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      Hi, Stephanie,
      The dough would definitely be nice for lots of things. It’s nice dough. But it really is best when it’s fried. It’s not nearly as remarkable when it’s baked. I baked a couple of the holes, and they were … just not the same. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • January 9, 2012 at 10:26 PM

        We loved the doughnuts! they were lovely and light with a nice crumb and great flavor. I agree that they are best fried, but I did make some sandwich buns with them tonight and they were very nice too. I used buttermilk instead of the milk and cider vinegar and they raised really well and baked light and fluffy. The trick will be to see what they are like in the morning. :)

        Looking forward to the new cookbook. I’m really enjoying the first book too. Cheers!

        • Nicole
          January 10, 2012 at 8:16 AM

          Sandwich buns? Ooooh interesting, Stephanie! Lovely and light is the perfect way to describe them. If you eat them the next day, I would spray them with a bit of water and microwave them for a few seconds. They’ll be right as rain. The oven dries, but the microwave can moisten.
          xoxo Nicole

  • January 5, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    I am testing 30 days gluten free with my 6 year old whom has bad excema. He will devour these!!

    • Nicole
      January 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Hooray, Susan! Enjoy.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Rochelle
    January 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    wow you made making donuts look so easy…this one I am going to try!

    • Nicole
      January 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      It’s as easy as making rolls, or cutout cookies, Rochelle. Honest.
      xoxo Nicole

  • January 5, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    they look so perfect! I could eat them all by myself without any problem

    • Nicole
      January 5, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      I know how you feel, Beti. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Oh,yummy…these would be good with a nice cup of organic coffee :) :) Oh, tempting :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  • Kristi Clark
    January 4, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    My daughter can have donuts? How cool is that! She is going to be thrilled. Once per week, the car pool stops at either a bagel or donut shop. Now I can send her with either one so she won’t feel left out. BTW, I love to read about food and recipes. What I like about your blog is all the pictures so I am not left guessing what the dough or final product should look like. Thanks Nicole!

    • Nicole
      January 4, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      You better believe it, baby. Thanks, Kristi. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy
    January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Out comes the drool rag! Didn’t realized how much I have missed having a raised donut from time to time. Will enjoy making these! Thanks for providing us with all these wonderful baked goods we thought we would have to give up forever!!! No more cardboard! lol We are so glad you are our bestest friend, Nicole!

    • Nicole
      January 4, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      Pleasure, Peggy. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Elizabeth
    January 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Nicole, I can’t wait to try out this recipe. I love your blog and the dedication you put into this shows in every recipe. You are simply awesome!!!! I do have a few questions. I’ve noticed on your blog and many others the gram weight of your ingredients…what brand of kitchen scales do you use?? I’ve got a couple of scales that simply do not weigh items properly. What oil do you fry in? Thanks for everything! xoxoxox Elizabeth

    • Nicole
      January 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Hi, Elizabeth,
      Thanks for the kind words.
      I use this scale. It has all the essential features, and does me just fine.
      For frying you always want a neutral oil that has a high smoke point, like canola oil or grapeseed oil.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Elizabeth
        January 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Thank you for the scale info. Just curious, do you ever use coconut oil to fry in? And what do you mean by ‘dirty the oil a bit’??? Oh and i think that talking about donuts is SO MUCH more interesting that discussing broccoli!!!! :)

        • Nicole
          January 4, 2012 at 3:11 PM

          You bet, Elizabeth. I never fry in coconut oil, no. It would be great — but virgin coconut oil is the only kind that’s healthy and delicious, and it’s too expensive to use in a large enough quantity for deep frying. By dirtying the oil, just read through the printable directions and you’ll understand.
          xoxo Nicole

  • January 4, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Those doughnuts would go great with a cup of hot cocoa :)

  • Linda
    January 4, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Thanks, Nicole. Holidays were great–one of the highlights was having the time to sit down with your cookbook and just make whatever I wanted. And share the end result with friends. Hope you have a wonderful new year! xoxLinda

    • Nicole
      January 4, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      That sounds wonderful, Linda. I’m honored to have “been there” with you, in a way.
      xoxo Nicole

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    I’d vote for more donuts. Less broccoli and more donuts. Yes.

  • Linda
    January 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    As if you haven’t given us the keys to GF Heaven already, now glazed yeast-raised doughnuts. Sigh. xoxLinda

    • Nicole
      January 4, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Hi, Linda! Nice to see you. Hope you enjoyed the holidays.
      If I could give you the keys to GF Heaven, I’d do it in a heartbeat. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Katie
    January 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Thank You Nicole!! ;-)

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I would take those over broccoli any day! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Yum! MUCH better than broccoli! :)

  • Tracy Kline-Heusinkveld on Facebook
    January 4, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Everything you post looks so delicious! Cannot wait to try so many of them.

  • Holly Hill on Facebook
    January 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Oh my! Those look amazing.

  • Katie
    January 4, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Do you think the recipe will work with Egg Replacer?

    • Nicole
      January 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      Hi, Katie,
      Not sure, since I’ve never done it. The eggs are there for support (through protein) and moisture, so I would say you’d probably be okay if you use a flax seed slurry or a chia seed slurry, which should lend both support (through protein) and moisture.
      xoxo Nicole

  • January 4, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Those are just absolutely beautiful!

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