Gluten free donut holes. Just hearing those words makes me drool a little and think wistfully of Saturday morning donuts as a child.
If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’m a big fan of gluten free donut recipes. Maybe it’s because of those fond childhood memories that I have 8 gluten free donut recipes on my site already … if you count gluten free beignets, gluten free churros and gluten free apple fritters (and who wouldn’t? They’re donuts in a different form!) Just use the search bar at the top of the page and type in donut or doughnut. You’re welcome!
But I woke up the other morning with the thought that quite possibly the perfect Saturday morning gluten free donut holes recipe would be one with coffee IN the donut holes dough. Don’t you think? (and by the way, if you disagree, keep reading because you don’t have to use coffee.)
So I set about creating these gluten free donut holes made with coffee and then had another ingenious thought: what if I made these a little bit healthy? Maybe I could eat more without the guilt! Being able to eat more gluten free donut holes is a pretty brilliant idea, wouldn’t you agree?
Now having made these babies as baked donut holes and as fried donut holes, I can tell you that if you love donuts like I love donuts, you need these in your life. Stick with the healthy theme and bake them, or fry them for a more authentic donut shop flavor — I give you instructions for both.
One note on frying donuts though: it’s not difficult, but there are some key points to remember. First, get a deep fry thermometer so you know exactly what temperature your oil is — too hot and your donuts will burn and not cook in the middle; too cold and they’ll just soak up the oil.
Secondly, these gluten free donut holes need to fry for 4 minutes and 4 minutes only. See below for what they look like cooked at the proper temperature for only 3 minutes. I always do a test fry of one donut hole first, so I get the hang of it and don’t waste a lot of dough. Other than that, you’re good to go!
The donut hole on the left has only fried for 3 minutes; the one on the left has fried for 4 minutes — perfection!
Either way, don’t try this recipe with a brown rice-based or bean-based gluten free flour blend. My gfJules Flour blend has been voted #1 by consumers 3 years in a row because it’s light and smooth, has no flavor or grit, and makes recipes like doughnuts taste just light they ought to. Using another blend with heavy, gritty or bad-tasting gluten free flours will only result in disappointment, and I don’t want that for you! I want your gluten free baking to be happy baking! So do it right and reap the rewards!
I also highly recommend using OWYN* cold brew coffee vegan protein drink as the liquid, both for flavor and for nutrition. If you don’t have it on hand though, no worries! Just use your favorite milk, coffee or other protein drink. Just make these gluten free donut holes! You won’t be sorry!
If you are interested in knowing more about OWYN, I have already used OWYN protein powder and drinks in recipes like gluten free Belgian Waffles, homemade vegan yogurt, gluten free Overnight Oats Waffles, gluten free Crepes, gluten free Pistachio Matcha Muffins, and even gluten free Black Bottom Cupcakes, and I’m super loving it in these gluten free donut holes, as well.
In fact, I love them so much that I’ve now also made these using the OWYN vanilla flavor instead, and they’re just as good, so if you’re not feeling the coffee flavor, you still have delicious options!
As I said, of course you can use your favorite milk in place of OWYN, but it’s my new favorite protein drink because it tastes so darn smooth AND offers an entirely plant-based protein blend, Omega-3s, probiotics, trace minerals and superfoods — what’s not to love about all that goodness, INSIDE your gluten free donut holes?
Grab a cookie scoop (if you have one) or just roll them in your palms with a little more gfJules Flour to keep them from sticking. Whatever you do, get to making these delicious portion-controlled donuts this weekend. Or why wait? Who needs a weekend for an excuse to make gluten free donuts, anyway?
So without further ado, I share with you my newest gluten free donut recipe. Make it how you like it — coffee or not, baked or fried — and enjoy them with a little less guilt if you use protein drinks to make them.
Any way you choose, you’ll love them, so what are you waiting for?
Gluten Free Donut Holes
2 Tbs. butter or non-dairy alternative (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar or unrefined coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce
1 egg OR 1 Tbs. flaxseed meal steeped in 3 Tbs. warm water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or paste
2 cups (270 grams) gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
6 Tbs. milk of choice OR protein drink like OWYN protein drink: coffee, vanilla or chocolate flavor OR 2 Tbs. coffee + 4 Tbs. milk of choice
high heat vegetable or peanut oil, if frying
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste or extract
4 tsp. milk of choice or protein drink like OWYN protein drink: coffee, vanilla or chocolate flavor
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes.
Add banana OR applesauce, egg or flax egg PLUS vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then slowly stir them into the liquids, adding milk last, and beating until there are no lumps.
To BAKE donut holes:
Preheat oven to 325° F (or 300°F convection).
Scoop a tablespoon-sized amount of dough out and roll on a clean counter or mat lightly dusted with gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.
Place rolled donut holes onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness (when inserted toothpick comes out clean, donut holes are fully cooked).
Remove to cool on wire racks for 5 minutes, then gently roll in confectioner’s sugar or sugar and cinnamon mixture, or allow to fully cool, then dip in glaze.
To FRY donut holes:
Prepare a small pot by filling at least 1 1/2 inches deep with oil. Heat to medium (no more than 350°F); ideal doughnut fry oil temperature is 325-350°F.
*Note: a deep fry or thermometer is super helpful to ensure the oil reaches and stays at the right temperature. If the oil is too hot, the doughnut holes will burn on the outside and remain uncooked on the inside.
Once the oil has reached 325-350°F, using a small, wet cookie dough scoop or tablespoon measure, carefully drop doughnut dough into the hot oil, boil and flip as necessary to cook until lightly browned on all sides – approximately 4 minutes total.
Once cooked, immediately remove with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a plate covered with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. (I recommend starting with just one doughnut hole and cutting it open after 4 minutes to be sure it has cooked through and not over-cooked, so you know exactly how long to leave the doughnuts in your hot oil.)
Remove to finish cooling and repeat with remaining dough. (For air fryer directions hop to these instructions: https://gfjules.com/air-fryer-gluten-free-cooking-baking/)
To make the GLAZE:
Sift confectioner's sugar into a bowl, and stir in vanilla paste or extract, plus milk. Use a whisk to incorporate the liquid, checking to see that it is not so thick that it can't be drizzled, but not so thin that it rolls right off the donut holes.
If the glaze is too thick, simply add another tablespoon of milk; if too thin, add 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar. Repeat as necessary until glaze is the right consistency.
Swirl each donut hole in the glaze bowl and return to the parchment-lined baking sheets to set.
Using banana produces a strongly banana-flavored donut which is quite tasty ... unless you don't like bananas! In that case, use applesauce for a milder flavored donut.
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*As with any of my posts, some links may lead to affiliate sites or codes. Purchasing anything through those links will not cost you any more, but some small amount of the sale may come back to help fund this site. You can read my full disclosure policy here. *I’ve also partnered with OWYN (Only What You Need) to use their products in order to increase the nutrition in many popular gluten-free recipes. As always, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more information. Working with select brands I love allows me to keep bringing you free recipes, and I hope that in the process, you’ll learn about some of the safe gluten free products I choose for my family. Thanks so much for your support!