Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

These gluten-free cinnamon sugar donuts, which are vegan and dairy-free, are easy to throw together and can also be made with white whole wheat or all-purpose flour for a non-gluten-free version. They’re baked, not fried, which cuts down on the mess!

I’ve been posting an awful lot of chocolate goodies lately. I figured it was time for a change!

If you missed my recent chocolaty posts, check out my paleo chocolate cheesecake, this vegan chocolate pudding or these chocolate coconut flour cookies.

So here’s something different! They’re not really healthy or even made healthier but they are gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free. If that sounds good to you, also be sure to check out my vegan gluten-free blueberry coffee cake!

If you don’t need these vegan cinnamon sugar donuts to be gluten-free, they don’t have to be! White whole wheat and all-purpose flour work great.

I’ve tried making a number of other gluten-free donut recipes, but I didn’t really like them. And the fried ones are generally so time-intensive!

This baked alternative is quick and easy to throw together and most importantly – super delicious. Just like these paleo gluten-free pumpkin donuts, which are also covered in cinnamon sugar!

On a random note – if you’re like me and always taste the batter, don’t panic when you taste the batter for these donuts. The batter is awful. Once baked, though?! SO good!

For another gluten-free breakfast recipe, try this gluten-free French toast.

Questions about these gluten-free cinnamon sugar donuts?

  • Can you taste the olive oil? I used extra-virgin olive oil and you can taste it in the batter. The batter is actually pretty disgusting.

    But once they’re covered in cinnamon sugar, you don’t taste it. If you’re worried about it, use light olive oil (the light refers to the taste and not calories).

  • Can I use another oil other than olive? You can use canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, etc. Anything neutral tasting. I haven’t tried coconut oil but if you do, I’d recommend using refined coconut oil unless you want some coconut taste in your donuts.

  • Can I use butter? I’m guessing you could use butter in these donuts (for a non-vegan version) but they wouldn’t be as moist because butter is 80-82% fat and oil is 100% fat.

  • Can I use a different gluten-free flour mix? I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour. It’s my favorite! If you have another brand that works as a sub for all-purpose flour that you usually use, then you could probably use it here. I can’t say the texture would be as great as with the flour mix I used.

  • Does they taste gluten-free? If you use the flour I did, these gluten-free donuts taste like they were made with all-purpose flour!

  • Can I use a non-gluten-free flour? White whole wheat or all-purpose flour work. I don’t recommend regular whole wheat flour unless you’re okay with the donuts tasting wheaty.

  • Can I use almond / coconut / other flours? Unfortunately not. Nut flours, coconut flour, etc. that aren’t interchangeable with all-purpose flour won’t work here.

  • Can I reduce the sugar? You could take it down to 6 tablespoons but I wouldn’t reduce it by much more.

  • Do I have to coat them in butter / coconut oil? Nope! But if you don’t, make sure that the donuts are still warm when you roll them in the cinnamon sugar. It helps the sugar stick.

  • I don’t have a donut pan – what can I use?

    You can use a regular muffin pan. I believe this recipe would yield 8 muffins and that you’d need to bake them for 15-20 minutes.

  • Click below for a how-to recipe video for these gluten-free donuts! (if you’re reading this from the newsletter, you have to visit the blog post to see it)

    Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Donuts (vegan, dairy-free)

    Rated 5.0 by 8 readers
    Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
    • Prep Time:
    • Cook Time:
    • Ready in:
    • Yield: 6 donuts


      For the donuts:

    • 1 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons (161 grams) Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour or for a non-GF version, white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 2/3 cup (160 grams) unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/3 cup (78 milliliters) milk of choice1 (but not canned coconut milk)
    • 1/3 cup (78 milliliters) canola oil or another neutral tasting oil
    • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
    • For the cinnamon sugar coating:

    • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted refined coconut oil (or butter for a non-vegan and non-dairy-free version)
    • 1/2 (100 grams) granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190° C) and grease a 6-cavity donut pan very well with baking spray or coconut oil.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the applesauce, milk, oil and maple syrup.
    4. Add the dry mix to the wet and stir just until combined! Over stirring will result in tough donuts.
    5. Fill the cavities completely full and bake for 12 minutes (if using wheat flour, you'll probably need a few fewer minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a donuts comes out clean.
    6. While the donuts are baking, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
    7. Immediately turn the donuts out onto a wire rack (if you let them sit too long in the pan, the bottoms get soggy). If you have difficulties with this, use your hands to carefully remove each one from the pan. While the donuts are still warm, brush each donut with the melted coconut oil and then dip in the cinnamon sugar until well coated.
    8. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Donuts that haven't been dipped in oil and cinnamon sugar can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. If you want to make the donuts in advance, make them and then dip in the oil and cinnamon sugar before serving. Yields 6 donuts.


    1. You can use almond, soy, oat, etc. milk but not canned coconut milk because it's too thick. For a non-vegan version, you could use cow milk.

    Recipe by  |

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31 comments on “Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Donuts” — Add one!

7 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Sutjin says
    May 10, 2020 @ 10:06 am

    For mapple sauce, can i substitute it with others or maybe skip it? Any difference result? Thank u

    • Erin replies to Sutjin
      May 15, 2020 @ 3:09 pm

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! Honey or brown rice syrup should work fine. :)

  • AJ says
    April 23, 2020 @ 6:26 am

    Love doughnuts but don’t have the doughnut pans, possible to use mini cupcake tins? If possible, how long should I bake for? Or another suggestion on tin pans?

    • Erin replies to AJ
      April 23, 2020 @ 4:13 pm

      I talk about using a regular muffin pan in the questions section but I haven’t used a mini muffin pan. I’m guessing 8-14 minutes would be right but I’m not sure since I haven’t tried!

      • AJ replies to Erin
        April 23, 2020 @ 7:24 pm

        Thanks Erin! Heard great things about your site from a friend and really looking forward to trying out a few of your recipes.

  • Mary
    September 13, 2019 @ 7:10 pm

    My little grandson is gluten and egg sensitive. He loves donuts and especially this time of year along with apple cider at the cider mill. Thank you for this wonderful delicious recipe! Made them this morning and he was a happy little guy! Just like the cider mill donuts! Fluffy, moist, yummy goodness!!

    • Erin replies to Mary
      September 16, 2019 @ 8:45 pm

      Aww, yay! I’m so glad that he enjoyed the donuts! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)

  • Kirsten Gerbic
    December 23, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

    I made these for a class treat to cover the various dietary restrictions for different kids. They were a huge hit! Thank you so much for this recipe that made it possible for everyone to safely enjoy donuts.

    • Erin replies to Kirsten Gerbic
      December 24, 2018 @ 10:03 am

      Aww, yay! I was so happy to read that the kids loved them and that everyone could enjoy them. :) Thanks for your comment and happy holidays!

  • Jules Shepard says
    November 6, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

    I love making donuts! Love it! These bring me back to my childhood and make me think of my Dad (the donut maker). Great recipe!

  • Sarah
    September 25, 2018 @ 2:52 am

    Hi ! I just made these and they taste delicious. They came out super moist though. Is that how they are supposed to be? When I think “baked donut” I don’t think moist. I was expecting light and airy but I’ve never made donuts. Thanks!

    • Erin replies to Sarah
      September 26, 2018 @ 10:06 am

      Hi there! I’m happy you like the taste. :) They are pretty moist. I don’t think I’ve ever made light and airy baked donuts but I never use yeast in them, either. Maybe a yeasted recipe is what you were thinking of?

  • Cindy says
    September 3, 2018 @ 3:03 pm

    I did not overmix, and filled them just under full per the instructions, and they ran over the tops. And they are full of holes. A waste of expensive gluten free flour. Ugh!

    • Erin replies to Cindy
      September 6, 2018 @ 9:13 pm

      I’m sorry that you found them to be a waste of ingredients! Did you make any subs or changes at all to the recipe? I’ve made these multiple times as written in the recipe so unless you did something differently, I’m not sure what the issue could have been.

  • Alene says
    June 20, 2018 @ 5:07 am

    I want to make these asap, but I don’t have a donut pan…yet. How do you make donuts in a muffin pan? Upside down?? Thank you!

    • Erin replies to Alene
      June 20, 2018 @ 9:53 am

      You just make them as normal muffins and use muffin liners. :)

  • Kathi says
    June 4, 2018 @ 1:45 am

    Can you recommend a sub for the applesauce?

    • Erin replies to Kathi
      June 5, 2018 @ 8:29 pm

      I wasn’t sure so I googled it and I found people recommending Greek yogurt (if you can have dairy). I haven’t tried it but it might work. Oil was another one given, but I think that’d make these too oily.

  • K says
    May 25, 2018 @ 8:44 pm

    I don’t want refined sugar? What could I use in its place?

    • Erin replies to K
      May 28, 2018 @ 6:12 pm

      I haven’t tried it but coconut sugar should work just fine!

  • Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie says
    May 22, 2018 @ 7:09 pm

    These donuts look so good! Breakfast soon I am thinking!

  • Karlynn
    May 22, 2018 @ 3:49 pm

    Hard to believe that these are gluten-free. They look fantastic.

  • Krista says
    May 22, 2018 @ 3:45 pm

    These donuts!! I have to make them soon! My little man will go crazy over them!

  • Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite says
    May 22, 2018 @ 3:40 am

    My dad is gluten free and LOVES donuts. Especially cinnamon-sugar. I will DEFINITELY be making these for him; he’ll love them!

  • Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious says
    May 22, 2018 @ 3:12 am

    Cinnamon sugar donuts take me back to my childhood! I love that you have updated the recipe so we can have a GF version!

  • I Heart Naptime says
    May 22, 2018 @ 1:27 am

    WOW, these look amazing!! I LOVE anything with cinnamon & sugar!

  • Anna says
    May 22, 2018 @ 12:33 am

    Cinnamon sugar donuts are my favorite! These look so fluffy and delicious! I need to make them soon.

  • Amanda
    May 21, 2018 @ 11:25 pm

    You would never know these are gluten free they are so amazing!

  • Charlotte Moore
    May 21, 2018 @ 11:10 am

    These look so good. The texture is unreal looking for GF food. I bet out great granddaughter would love these. I am still doing low carb and the one I used to cook a lot of GF goodies for is also low carb, Gf, Df, and low fat. Hard to cook for her now. HA!

  • Natalie
    May 21, 2018 @ 7:58 am

    These donuts look amazing! So delicious and so easy to make! YUM!

  • Donna
    May 21, 2018 @ 4:30 am

    Sounds delicious ! I make some using Apple Cider. This would be more convenient as I have lots of applesauce in the freezer. I have to freeze the cider in the Fall so I can make the donuts .


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