These perfectly spiced gluten free pumpkin donuts are the best dessert for fall. Topped with a maple brown sugar glaze, you can whip up a batch in just over a half hour with just one bowl!
Move over apple cider donuts, these gluten free pumpkin donuts will be a new autumn favorite!
Why you'll love this recipe
Once the leaves start to change color, the cardigans come out and so do the pumpkin spice recipes!
With cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger, this gluten free pumpkin donut recipe screams autumn, but here are a few other reasons why you’ll love them:
- You only need one bowl. Add in the wet ingredients first, mix, then add the dry ingredients. It’s that simple! One bowl for less mess.
- The donuts are freezer friendly. Store plain, uniced donuts in an airtight container or freezer bag for a few months. Defrost on the counter whenever you’re ready and top them as desired. (Eating them plain is great, too!)
- There are multiple topping options. This recipe comes with a maple brown sugar glaze, but you could also roll these pumpkin donuts in either powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. You can’t go wrong with any of those choices!
- Use this recipe to make mini donuts. Instead of using a regular-sized donut pan, opt for a mini version. Adjust the bake time as necessary (they won’t need as long). Mini gluten free pumpkin donuts would be perfect for lunchboxes or gifts to loved ones!
- This is a gluten free pumpkin donut without yeast. Yep, you heard that right. This version is a cake donut, so no yeast needed!
This list may seem long, but most of these ingredients are gluten free pantry staples! And the recipe comes together quickly in just one bowl!
- Unsalted butter: if you need a dairy free version, use your favorite dairy free substitute.
- Granulated sugar
- Egg: I haven’t tried it, but you could try substituting a flax egg in this recipe, if needed. Just add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2-3 tablespoons of water.
- Canned pure pumpkin: don’t use pumpkin pie filling - it’s not the same. Pure pumpkin is what we’re after!
- Vanilla extract: you can use pure or imitation vanilla extract
- Milk: substitute with your favorite non-dairy version, if needed.
- Gluten free flour: I use a homemade blend of white rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour. Check out the gluten free flour blend recipe for other substitutions if you can’t use those specific flours.
- Baking powder: to make these donuts light & fluffy
- Xanthan gum: to bind the ingredients together. If you happen to try a premade blend for this recipe that contains xanthan gum, omit it from the recipe.
- The classic pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger
- Brown sugar: for the maple glaze. Learn more about brown sugar right here.
- Maple syrup: it’s naturally gluten free!
- Water: to thin out the glaze a bit.
- Icing sugar: also known as confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar.
Dairy free donuts
If you’re on a gluten free & dairy free diet, this recipe can easily be adapted to fit your lifestyle! Here’s what you’ll need to substitute to make the recipe dairy free:
- Substitute the unsalted butter for a dairy free version. I personally like the Earth Balance brand, but this post provides a few more alternatives.
- Skip the cow’s milk and use a plant-based version instead. Almond, cashew, or oat will work well in this recipe! (If using out milk, check out this post on what to look out for to keep yourself safe on your gluten free diet.)
How to make gluten free pumpkin donuts
Making your own cake donuts is much easier than you think!
In a large bowl, add unsalted butter, granulated sugar, egg, canned pumpkin, vanilla extract and milk. Mix until smooth and add gluten free flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and all spices (cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger). Mix well.
Using a piping bag, pipe dough into each well of a donut pan, filling about ¾ full. (You’ll need either 2 pans or use the same pan twice for this recipe - it makes 12 donuts.) Bake in the oven at 400℉ for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool donuts on a wire rack before glazing.
To make the glaze, mix all ingredients in a small bowl: unsalted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, icing sugar and pinch of salt. Mix until super smooth! Using another piping bag, pipe thin lines of glaze across each donut.
And that’s it - you just made gluten free pumpkin donuts (with an amazing maple glaze)!
Tips for making this recipe
Making cake donuts may seem intimidating, but I promise it’s not! Here are a few helpful tips to ensure the fluffiest, sweetest, pumpkin spiciest gluten free donuts!
- Grease the donut pan with a bit of butter, if not using nonstick pans. Full disclosure: sometimes I still use a tiny bit of butter even with nonstick! There’s nothing more annoying than when a donut gets stuck in the pan, so avoid this catastrophe by greasing it first.
- Pipe the dough into the donut pan. This tip is written right into the instructions, but it’s one that shouldn’t be ignored! This gluten free dough is sticky, so spooning it into the pan would be an absolute nightmare. Skip the mess by using a piping bag. Pipe each well until almost full.
- If you don’t have a piping bag, use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off. Ziploc-style bags work, especially the larger freezer types. Cut a small bit of the corner off, load up with either dough or icing and get piping!
- Use parchment paper when adding the glaze. To simplify clean-up, roll out parchment paper onto your work surface, add the donuts on top, then pipe the glaze over each one. Excess icing will collect on the parchment paper, which you can just roll up and throw away when you’re done.
Donut topping ideas
One of the reasons this gluten free pumpkin donut recipe is the best: you can change the toppings!
- Maple brown sugar glaze: this is the topping that comes recommended with the recipe. Maple syrup and brown sugar are the perfect flavor pairings for warm spices and pumpkin. Pure autumn, right here!
- Cinnamon sugar: just like my Gluten Free Baked Donuts, this pumpkin version can also be rolled in cinnamon sugar. Mix 2 tablespoons of cinnamon in ½ cup of granulated sugar, then roll the donuts in the mixture. If needed, you can coat the donuts with a bit of melted unsalted butter to help the cinnamon sugar stick.
- Powdered sugar: messy to eat, but so worth it! Once the donuts come out of the oven, roll them in a few cups of powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar). Great news - icing sugar is naturally gluten free!
Store plain donuts in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. For longer storage, place into an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze uniced donuts for a few months.
If donuts have been glazed, store at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-5 days. You can also store them in the fridge, but it may dry them out quicker.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts
For the donuts:
- ¼ cup (55g) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup (105g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup (235g) canned pure pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (130g) milk
- 2 ⅓ cup (280g) gluten free flour (see note)
- 2 ½ teaspoon (14g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2g) xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the maple brown sugar glaze:
- ¼ cup (55g) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup (80g) brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons (50g) maple syrup
- 1 cup (110g) confectioners' (icing) sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- In a large bowl, mix unsalted butter and granulated sugar until thoroughly combined. Then add egg, canned pumpkin, vanilla extract and milk. Mix well.
- Into the same bowl, add all of the dry ingredients: gluten free flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Mix until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
- Grease two 6-well donut pans using a bit of melted butter (if not using nonstick). Using a piping bag or a plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off, pipe the dough into each well of the pans. Ensure the dough is even and fills ¾ of each well.
- Bake donuts for 10 minutes. They are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool donuts on a wire rack.
- Once donuts are cool and ready to be iced, make the maple brown sugar glaze by mixing melted unsalted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, icing sugar and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Glaze should be smooth and free of any lumps.
- Add glaze into a clean piping bag (or sandwich bag with the corner cut off) and pipe across the tops of each donut. A small hole in the piping bag will result in a thinner icing strip.
- Enjoy immediately, or allow donuts to sit for a few minutes for icing to set.
- Gluten free flour: I used a blend of 50% white rice flour, 30% tapioca starch, and 20% sorghum flour. You can blend your own by following this recipe: Gluten Free Flour Blend (All Purpose). Another blend can be used; however, results may not be the same.
- To make it dairy free: substitute the unsalted butter and milk for dairy free alternatives.
- Storage: store plain donuts in a sealed container for up to 5 days, or freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for a few months. Glazed donuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. If donuts start to dry out, warm them slightly in the microwave prior to eating.