• Gutsy Baker

Apple Cider Donuts (Gluten & Dairy Free, Low Fodmap)

When I moved to California, my first apple picking experience was in the middle of who-knows-where. It was hot, dusty, dirty and in the middle of the desert. But you know what, being a New England native, I was determined to make fall happen! Let’s just say it wasn’t the same but it was still a bit of home.

Don’t get me wrong I love pumpkin and everything, but I feel like pumpkin is an October/November flavor. I think apples need to get some cred in September. These apple cider donuts are true to the old New England favorite (typically we’d stand in line for an hour to get a fresh, hot cider donut and apple cider before apple picking. Too much apple? Not for the die hards). They are cakey and buttery with a hint of apple cider and a cinnamon sugar coating. As always, these are gluten free and dairy free. My paleo version failed but I am trying again because I have months of fall to recipe test! But if you can do gluten free flour, you must try these!

There is a cider donut recipe from the New York Times that my mom and I used to make on repeat. So I wanted to use this recipe as a guidance when creating my gluten free/dairy free version. I can say they came out pretty dang good.

It’s time to put on your sweaters, pour your favorite warm drink, turn on the oven and get donut making!! Even if it’s hot outside!

What is in these cider donuts?

  • Apple cider: of course! There is only 1/2 cup of cider in the whole batch so this remains a fodmap friendly recipe. If you want an even more apple-flavor to your donuts, you can reduce/simmer your apple cider down on the stove for 20 minutes so it becomes more an apple syrup. That will bring your donuts from delicious to epic!

  • Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend: I used King Arthurs and that one is tried and true. I haven’t tested Bob’s yet but I’m sure any will work here

  • Dairy Free Butter: Of course you can use real butter here. I highly recommend UNSALTED butter. I used Earth Balance, it was a bit salty for me in the recipe. I remade with Mikoyo’s and they had less salt. Any dairy-free butter will work, though. Unsalted DF butter is hard to find!

  • Eggs: I haven’t tried a vegan sub here, I’m not sure it will work. The eggs give these a nice soft cakey texture. You can try it, though. They may just be more dense or flat.

  • Coconut Sugar or Maple Sugar: Maple sugar is divine in these. I used a mix of coconut and maple but coconut will be less glycemic and safer for a Candida/low sugar diet. (Coconut sugar does not taste like coconut!)

  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg: The traditional apple spices, you can also use an apple pie spice blend in replacement for these

  • Baking Soda: Gives the donuts a nice rise

  • Sea salt

What you’ll need:

  • A hand mixer or stand mixer. Unfortunately you will need to beat this recipe. Cue Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’

  • A donut pan. If you do not have a donut pan you can make these into muffins! I’d just add 5-8 minutes more on your bake time

  • An oven!


  • 1 3/4 cups of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 1 cup (2 small sticks) of softened unsalted butter or non-dairy butter. Make sure your butter is near room temp

  • 1 cup of coconut sugar or maple sugar

  • 2 large eggs, ROOM TEMP*

  • 1 tsp of vanilla

  • 1/2 cup of apple cider*

The coating:

  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon

  • 3 tbsp of maple sugar or coconut sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare your donut pan by spraying it with a non-stick oil spray, I use coconut oil. Set aside.

  2. In one bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

  3. In other larger bowl add the softened butter and your sugar and beat with a hand mixer on high until this is creamy and peaks form. About 3-5 minutes. Then add in your vanilla, keep beating

  4. Making sure your eggs are at room temperature (this is important because it will harden the butter and make it clumpy if they are cold), add in one egg at a time while still beating. Beat for a minute until mixture is nice and fluffy.

  5. Now add in your dry mixture. Scrape the sides until well mixed and beat this as well until a dough forms.

  6. Now you want to add in your apple cider* and mix well.

  7. Spoon in your batter into your donut pans, about 2/3 the way up the pan. You can also put this in a piping bag and pipe it in if you want your tops to be more round.

  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the tops are brown and the middles are set. You can also use a toothpick to make sure the insides are done. The toothpick will come out clean.

  9. While these are baking, prepare your coating by mixing together the cinnamon and sugar on a flat plate. While the donuts are hot, roll them in the mixture. If it’s not sticking you can spray the donuts with a bit of cooking spray before rolling.

  10. Dip in your favorite tea or cider and put on a comfy sweater!

Recipe notes:

-Makes 12 donuts. You can also make these in a muffin pan if you do not have a donut pan. I’d increase the baking time by 5-8 minutes.

-The apple cider can be reduced to a thicker syrup, therefore giving a more strong apple flavor to your donuts. You can do this by simmering it on the stove for 15- 20 minutes. This will boil off the water in the cider and leave the natural syrups in the apple behind. It’ll make your donuts amazing if you take the time. If you do this, make sure you boil down 1+ cup since it will reduce in volume, giving you about 1/2 cup of reduction needed for the recipe.

- It is important that you soften your butter and warm your eggs to room temp. You can place them in a cup of warm water for 3 minutes to do so. Otherwise your batter will be clumpy and won’t mix together. This was a mistake when I was recipe testing and they were a fail!

- I don't recommend replacing the eggs with a flax egg or replacer but if you try it, report back!

- I used Gluten Free King Arthur Flour, so that is tried and true but I think any all purpose gluten free flour will work here. Regular all purpose will work too! I am working on a paleo version next.

Leave comments or questions below, I’d love to hear how these came out!

xo Stephanie