Oh my goodness! These gluten free apple cider donuts are UNBELIEVABLE!! They’re full of apple flavor from both apple cider and butter, but they’re incredibly easy to make.
I have to be honest. I’ve never had apple cider donuts until now. So I can’t compare these to the real thing (gluten-filled), but I can say without question that these little babies are truly SO tasty!!
In my quest to find a good recipe to convert to gluten free, I looked at several recipes. Some of those were baked while others were fried. In the end, I chose to use a recipe from Southern Living that is fried, which I think is the true method for making these donuts.
Apple cider donuts are similar to my gluten free buttermilk cake donuts in that they also don’t require yeast for rising. If you’re interested in a yeast donut, you HAVE to make my gluten free yeast donuts as they are just FABULOUS!!
- Apple cider — you definitely need apple cider to make apple cider donuts. In this case, the apple cider is boiled down to almost a syrup, which concentrates the flavor.
- Apple butter — this adds moistness, but also adds more apple flavor.
- Buttermilk — tenderizes.
- Gluten free flour blend — I use my own blend (Kim’s gluten free flour blend), but you can use any blend that contains xanthan gum (Cup4Cup is a good one).
- Baking powder — helps the donuts rise.
- Salt — flavor booster.
- Baking soda — works with the baking powder to help with rising.
- Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice — wonderful fall flavors that go perfectly with these donuts.
- Butter and shortening — fat foundation for the donuts. I used organic palm shortening.
- Granulated sugar — for sweetness.
- Eggs — provide structure.
- Cinnamon & sugar — for dredging.
BOILING THE APPLE CIDER
There are online places to purchase boiled cider, but it’s really super simple to do it yourself. Simply pour the apple cider into a small saucepan, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat and allow it to boil down to 1/3 a cup. This process takes about 30 minutes.
TIME TO MAKE THE DONUTS!
- After boiling the apple cider, whisk the apple butter, buttermilk, and vanilla into the cider and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy and lightened, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.
- Begin adding half the dry ingredients into the egg and butter mixture on low, mixing just until incorporated. Add half of the cider mixture and mix to combine. Continue alternating until both mixtures are incorporated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle heavily with flour. Dump dough onto flour and sprinkle more flour on top. Pat dough into 3/4-inch thickness.
- Cover with plastic wrap and either freeze for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dip a donut cutter (or a round biscuit cutter and a smaller round cutter) into flour and cut out donuts and transfer to second baking sheet. Re-roll scraps as needed.
- Cover donuts in plastic wrap and again freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
FRYING THE DONUTS
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven or deep fryer to 365 degrees. Remove donuts from freezer and carefully fry 3 donuts at a time for about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer donuts to a paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly before dredging in cinnamon/sugar mixture.
- Fry remaining donuts in batches of 3, dredging in cinnamon/sugar.
If you’ve never had apple cider donuts, you’re in for a real treat with these gluten free apple cider donuts!! They’re soft and sweet and perfect for a crisp fall morning.
Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts
- 2½ cups (600 ml) apple cider
- ½ cup (60 g) apple butter
- ¾ cup (180 ml) buttermilk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3½ cups (490 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or any blend with xanthan gum)
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 4 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tbsp shortening (I used palm shortening)
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- canola oil from frying
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Boil apple cider over medium-high heat until reduced to ⅓ cup, which will take about 30 minutes. Add apple butter, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld mixer, combine butter, shortening, and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, followed by half of the apple cider mixture. Continue alternating dry/wet until all fully combined.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set one aside. On the other, generously flour and dump dough onto flour. Sprinkle more flour on top and pat into a ¾-inch thick rectangle and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove baking sheet and use a floured donut cutter to cut out donuts. Place donuts on other baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Re-roll scraps as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In shallow bowl or on a plate, mix cinnamon & sugar together and set aside.
- Heat oil in Dutch oven or deep fryer to 365°. Fry donuts 3 at a time for 2-3 minutes per side, or until deep golden brown. Remove and place on paper towel-lined plate briefly to drain before dredging in cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Adapted from Southern Living’s Apple Cider Doughnuts recipe.
12 thoughts on “Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts”
Hi Kim –
I loooove all your recipes! I’m wondering if you can make these ahead of time (like the night before) and keep them in the fridge until ready to fry. Have you tried that? Thanks so much!
I haven’t tried it, but yes, that should be no problem 😊
I spotted a recipe on Pinterest for apple cider donut cake. I want to make GF. The recipe suggested a GF cake mix, but I would like to try with your flour mix. Any thoughts?
Hi, Kathy! If you want to share the recipe with me, I’d be happy to take a look at it and see if there’s some tips I could give you, but I’d really have to experiment, like I do with all of my recipes. Usually they require making and remaking at least a couple of times, tweaking ingredients here and there, before I get it right. 😊
Hi Kim- I have never fried donuts before but want to try this recipe. About how much oil do you use in the Dutch oven? Even how many inches high of oil would be great info for a newbie like me. Thank you!
No more than a couple of inches, but it depends on how deep your Dutch oven is. If it’s more shallow, then I would do only an inch.
I would love to see a baked variation on this recipe! I have donut pans for baking, but I almost never deep fry anything, so I wouldn’t want to use so much oil just to try this recipe as currently written, as it would likely go to waste after frying the one batch. They sound delicious, though – I’d jump at the chance to try a baked version!
Hi, Melissa! I totally understand not wanting to use the oil. When I was researching apple cider donuts, almost all the recipes on the internet were baked. But as I researched further, I found that true apple cider donuts are fried, so I wanted to create a gluten free version of what the true donut is. That’s what I always strive to do, create gluten free recipes that are as true to the original recipes as possible.
If you have an air fryer, I think these donuts would work perfectly in the air fryer. You may also be able to use this same dough in a donut pan for baking by adding 1/4 cup more buttermilk and NOT refrigerating or freezing the dough/batter, but instead scooping or piping it into the donut pan. The dough is a pretty loose dough and I think adding 1/4 cup more buttermilk would turn it into more of a batter than a dough without refrigeration necessary.
I hope this helps, Melissa 🙂
Thanks so much for your suggestions, Kim! I’m looking forward to trying them. Thanks for everything you do to help recreate favorites in GF versions. I’ve become a regular visitor to your site and enjoy your posts.
You are so welcome, Melissa 🙂 That’s so nice to hear and I really appreciate the support!!! Having celiac disease has been a blessing in disguise for me because it’s forced me to create recipes that I can then share with all of you, and I won’t give up on recreating those foods I remember having before my celiac days.
If you think of anything you’re missing that I haven’t made yet, let me know. I’m always looking for new ideas 🙂
I tried them baked and they didn’t turn out. I added extra buttermilk as suggested but they were lead hockey pucks..
Good to know. They’re meant to be fried or air fried, not baked.