Gluten-Free Pumpkin Donuts

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Donuts, darling
Tender and light, gluten-free pumpkin donuts, darling.

Pumpkin Crazy

You might think I'm on a pumpkin bender, glancing through recent recipes here on Gluten-Free Goddess®. And you'd be right. I do this. Every October. I go on one long, crazy, pumpkin love affair. I am head-over-heels nuts about it. Because pumpkin is magic. In fact, if pumpkin was in a fairy tale, it would be the Fairy Godmother- not the humble buggy. It makes gluten-free baking transform, you see, as if touched by a star-tipped sparkling wand.

That's why I knew I had to tackle pumpkin donuts. Because donuts can be tough to replicate gluten-free. But I knew pumpkin would bring me luck, and sprinkle good fortune on my baking endeavors today. So, yes. I am pumpkin crazy. Crazy in love.

And you know what?

If pumpkin be the food of love, play on.

Nibbling fresh-baked pumpkin donuts- all in a day's work. Gluten and dairy free.
Nibbling fresh-baked pumpkin donuts- all in a day's work.

Karina's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Donuts Recipe

Originally published October 2012. 

Gluten-free donuts can be, shall we say... a wee bit on the heavy side. Without the stretch and lift of gluten, g-free donut dough can be stubborn, baking itself into a tough, dense, disappointing mouthful of dust. But not these, Sugar. These donuts are light. Tender. Delightful. Promise. Thanks to PJ Hamel at King Arthur Flour for the inspiration.


1 cup sorghum flour 
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour) 
1/2 cup hazelnut flour 
1 cup light brown sugar 
1/4 cup cane sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1 teaspoon sea salt 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
3 organic free-range eggs, beaten 
1/2 cup organic expeller-pressed canola oil 
1 14-oz can pumpkin 
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract 
For sugar dusting: 
Granulated cane sugar 


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a 6-donut pan and set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, potato starch, hazelnut flour, brown sugar, cane sugar, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt and spices. 
Add in the eggs, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla; beat well for two minutes. The batter should be smooth and slightly sticky. 
Spoon the batter into the donut molds, filling almost to the top- I'd say, roughly 5/8 full. Smooth the tops. 
Bake in the center of the oven for 18 minutes, until firm but slightly springy to the touch.
When the donuts are cool enough to handle, loosen the sides and remove from the pan. 
Place the donuts on a cooling rack.

Gluten-free pumpkin donuts cooling, ready for sugaring
Warm pumpkin donuts unadorned, ready for sugaring.

Meanwhile ...

Pour about a half cup granulated cane sugar into a sandwich bag and sprinkle in some cinnamon, to taste. Shake to mix. 
When the donuts are still a bit warm, sugar the donuts one at a time, by placing them in the bag and turning it to coat the donut on all sides. 
Place the sugared donuts on a cooling rack. 
Repeat the process for the remaining batter. 
Makes 15 donuts. 

Recipe Source: 
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GFG Notes: 

This is the donut pan I use
This gluten-free donut recipe has no rice flour, or soy flour, and no dairy. 
If you need to switch out the hazelnut flour, almond flour will work, and chestnut flour is worth a try. If you need to avoid all nuts and tree-related sources, you'll need to experiment. 
This gluten-free flour blend produces a donut that is light, tender and springy. If you change out the flours, your results may vary. 
These donuts have sugar. Sugar brings out the pumpkin flavor. If you need to limit your sugar intake, these donuts are probably not for you. You might like these Crispy Kale Chips
For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.

xox Karina


MommyM said...

Do you have a recommendation for a substitute for the potato starch? Would a 1:1 tapioca replacement be advisable? I am presently avoiding nightshades.

Kelly Scott said...

I have all the ingredients except a donut mold. I wonder if it would work in a muffin tin? The look so good and I NEED a donut!

Karina Allrich said...

MommyM- Using only tapioca might make the donut tough- and over-brown. You may want to blend starches to create a soft starch that matches potato starch. Use some cornstarch, and maybe some sweet rice flour in the mix.

Kelly- You could make muffins from this batter- they might need a tad longer to bake- but I'm not sure. Check at 18 to 22 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on an alternate to potato starch as I too have to avoid nightshade sources...Can you perhaps give me a ball park ratio of cornstarch to tapioca and would arrowroot in the mix work or would that be too gummy? Thanks, Karina!

Karina Allrich said...

I'd only be guessing- half and half? Tapioca and arrowroot are basically the same. So I'd mix in another starch, as I mentioned above. It's hard for me to be precise because I created this recipe with potato starch- and I know that the substitution will change it a bit. It is perfect this way. You see why I hesitate to guess?

Anita D'Souza said...

Holy moley! These sound amazing! Can't wait to try them. Thanks so much, Karina!

Anonymous said...

I'm just thrilled to have decent ideas/recipes to work with and so far all yours that I've tried have beyond the norm and are into the realm of superyum, hehehehe...I'll work with the half&half combo of starches and see how it goes...Not your fault I'm a potato wimp *_*

Unknown said...

Travesty...but what would you recommend to replace the pumpkin puree? I can't get pumpkin puree here. Would any other fruit puree like banana do?

Anonymous said...

Hi Karina,
I'm in the UK and I can't tell what's potato starch or flour, because it's labelled as both in the supermarket (Tesco). They sell Community Foods Potato Flour 500G but it has in brackets (starch) on the label, so I don't know what it is? Are there any brands in the UK you could recommend? or a way to tell the difference so I can work out what this is? The other question I have is the pumpkins sold here, are not tinned, only fresh and only at this time of year. They make horrible pies or deserts because they are a different variety, more like spagetti squash on the inside. When you dig into the flesh it comes out in very small strips and they contains lots of water which doesn't bake or cook out. Could I substitute butternut squash for pumpkin? Thanks for your help. Kelly

briita said...

Could I deep fry these? My mom made home made fried donuts the other day with wheat, and I have been craving them since....

Jennifer Whetzel said...

Oh how I miss real donuts. The fried kind - cake or yeast raised. With some sort of sugary glaze. These pumpkin donuts look delicious!

Anonymous said...

How much is this 1 14 oz can pumkin in cups?

Wildmama said...

Hi Karina! I've been craving these since I saw the post. Well okay, long before I saw the post, lol. You are my go-to gal for gluten-free baked goods (among your many other oh-so-delicious recipes.)
So, I'm baking these today using a homemade egg-replacer similar to Ener-G, by The Whole New Mom. It worked for me in banana bread so well, I thought I'd give it a shot.
Mine didn't turn out as beautiful as your (I'm only getting familiar with homemade donuts) but very promising! It's absolutely doable with the egg-replacer! My teenager gives them 2 thumbs up! (Yay!)
Thank you again for bringing us yet another winner=)

Mark said...

I bought a donut pan yesterday and just ate two this morning. They are awesome!

About said...

If someone tries frying these, will you post your results? I never fry anything but these make me want to try!

Suzanne @Roll With It said...

Thanks for the tip about the sugar bringing out the pumpkin flavour...I think you've solved my problem with the muffin recipe I've been trying to develop!

Kate said...

Love it...I'm going to try this next!

Anonymous said...

I just ordered the donut pan and printed off the recipe for my husband, who is GF and feels so denied at times. I just know he will love these donuts, and they look so easy to make. Thank you!

Lisa T said...

Love the beautiful pics. I can relate to the pumpkin bender, although mine's a squash bender this year!

Anonymous said...

Do you think coconut sugar would work or does it need to be real sugar?

Anonymous said...

I made these last night with corn starch instead of potato and buckwheat instead of hazelnut- that's what I had on hand. I saw this recipe last week and had to have it. I got a wild hair and bought a Sunbeam mini donut maker and they came out beautifully! The recipe made about 24 minis....I think. They were getting gobbled by the hubs and kiddos so fast that I didn't get a good count.

Kalyn Denny said...

I am not a big fan of pumpkin (gasp) but I don't think I could turn these down.

Fork and Whisk said...

This looks and sounds delicious. We have a lot of gluten allergies in my family so it is great to find tasty recipes that the whole family can enjoy. Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

WOW! First time I've ever made donuts, and first totally from scratch GF baking I've ever done and they turned out AWESOME!

I had to make a few modifications to the recipie due to lack of certain ingredients and allergies for others, but the recipie still turned out delic!

In place of the hazelnut flour I used fine ground wild rice flour and instead of potato starch I used tapioca. I also substituted the eggs with my usual flax meal combo - 1T flax seed & 3T water per egg.

The first batch was thicker than I had thought it should have been but being that I'd never made donuts before I choose to trust it. The donuts taste great but they're definitely not the pretties I've ever seen. For the second batch I added between 1/2 - 1 cup of coconut milk, to thin things down and add flavour.

I used powdered (icing) sugar to coat as we were having a halloween party the other nigth and 'bobbing' for donuts instead of apples and half the fun it watching the kids get COVERED in powdered sugar.

I can't wait to keep looking through your site and finding more AWESOME recipies! Thank you!!!

Mary @ Fit and Fed said...

Look at the color on the inside of the donut, yum! It's a perfect fall donut recipe, wouldn't it be great with a glass of cider? I've been getting into baking with pumpkin puree this month, too-- just made some gluten-free pumpkin chia cookies that turned out great.

Mary Sweeting said...

These look incredible! Haven't had a donut since going gluten free and will definitely be trying some now, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I made these today and they are very good. I used bob's red mill gf flour and potato starch. I couldn't get the sugar/cinnamon mixture to stick to them though so going to get some powdered sugar and make a maple glaze to dip the tops in instead (if any last till I can get to the store) :)

Anonymous said...

Hi-Have you ever used Rice Bran Oil?? It is super healthy and has a smoke point of 490!
Love your recipes.

Gretchen said...

they sound wonderful and I have all the ingredients except the hazelnut flour and I can't find it around here in Springfield, MO. What can I use as a substitute - maybe almond meal; teff?

Help please, they really look delicious.

Satori said...

Where do you buy Hazelnut flour? I can't find it anywhere.

Immy Wood said...

Hi Karina,

I would just like to say thank you for all your wonderful recipes! Ever since I happened upon your blog by chance I have been trying them all out, and every one is amazing. My man is finally a convert to the gluten, wheat and dairy free lifestyle!

Eli said...

I made these last night and they are wonderful. I made a few substitutions, and thought the info might be useful to others.

I used a cup of dates pured with some of the pumpkin and a bit of water and 1/2 tsp stevia to replace the sugar.

I only had two eggs, so I used a chia "egg" for the third.

I don't have a donut pan (yet!) so I used a mini muffin tin to make (approx 48) donut holes. They were perfect after about 10 mins in the oven.

I used coconut sugar and cinnamon to dust the outside. The coconut sugar didn't stick very well (I let them cool a bit too much, so that could have been part of the trouble), but they were yummy simply coated in cinnamon.

Thank you, Karina, for such thoughtful and delicious recipes. I have only made two so far, but they are the only gf recipes I've tried that I've been happy with. It's nice to have food that came from someone else's brain sometimes, though not in a Hannibal Lecter sort of way, mind you. :) I've been in a bit of a cooking/baking funk and you snapped me right out of it.

Helen said...

I just made these and was declared the "Best Mum EVER" by my children ! I only had 1/2 cup of potato starch so I did 1/2 cup of tapioca and I used almond flour instead of hazelnut. they were so light and fluffy and wonderful warm out of the oven. The whole lot were gone in 5 minutes ! Thanks again for another failproof amazing gluten free recipe karina. I never use anyone else's website for my GF baking now, it's not worth it.

Emily said...

These are amazing! I made my first batch this weekend and made another batch last night to bring to work. So far they have gotten rave reviews from my coworkers. Your recipes are amazing, I have never been disappointed when I try your recipes. Thank you!

valerie dunn said...

Made these yesterday morning for my gluten intolerant boyfriend, and out of all of the delicious things I have made for him from this website, these were his "hands-down favorite" treats yet. Can't wait to make them again, but instead I am going to substitute pumpkin puree with sweet potato puree and make a molasses infused icing. Also, I made these with Pamela's Pancake and Baking mix and the donuts were dense and cake-y, but moist and bouncy like a "real" cake donut. Thank you so much, Karina!

Kristin's Creations said...

I can't wait to try this! I love pumpkin anything and I just got a mini donut machine so I plan on making a big batch to share. Thank you for this!

Leslie Randle said...

Thank you so much! I cannot do hazelnut or potato either.

Donna L. said...

Hi, would you know what I can change if the outside is done & the inside is gummy/gooey? I followed the recipe exactly. This happens whenever I make small things, i.e., cupcakes, doughnuts. Cakes always work perfectly fluffly and light. Thank you in advance. ��

Karina Allrich said...

Donna- If the inside is gummy it is under cooked. Try baking longer, or adjusting the temp of your oven (it might run cooler than you think). Also- if eggs/other ingredients are cold, this may affect the baking time (needs longer); start with batter at room temperature. Or if the rack is too close to the top smaller items may bake faster on top but be underdone; bake in the center of the preheated oven.

Karina Allrich said...

Wonderful! So glad. Thank you.

Karina Allrich said...

Thanks so much Helen- I appreciate it!

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you kindly Immy- so glad!

Karina Allrich said...

Thanks so much for the detailed response! Take care.

Karina Allrich said...

Almond flour will work instead of hazelnut flour.

Karina Allrich said...

I find it at local natural market, or Whole Foods, or Amazon. Almond flour will also work (instead of hazelnut flour).

Karina Allrich said...

1 cup is 8 oz.

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