These gluten-free chocolate donuts have the best texture ever and they’re topped with a sweet glaze that makes this recipe feel complete. Get ready to impress your friends with these melt-in-your-mouth chocolate donuts that you can’t tell are gluten free. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
I think we can all agree that any day is a good day for a chocolate donut. And I honestly don’t need an excuse to make or eat these bad boys.
I have played with this recipe a lot to make them perfect in both taste and texture, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor when you make these warm and delicious chocolate-glazed donuts.
Before I share with you how to make them and what ingredients you’ll need, let me start by telling you why I love these donuts.
- The Texture. I’ve fiddled with this recipe to ensure the donuts turn out light and moist vs. dense and dry. I have a feeling you will love the airy and spongy texture of these donuts.
- The Versatility. These chocolate cake donuts are perfect for a morning brunch with friends, as a tasty dessert with your kids, or dressed up with sprinkles for a special occasion. You can enjoy them any time it feels right.
- The Chocolate Glaze: I love the decadent chocolate glaze that coats each donut and completes the overall recipe.
About that Donut Pan
You’ll need a donut pan to make these donuts. The batter will be wet and liquidy, so the donut pan is necessary to ensure the donuts hold their shape.
A donut pan is very versatile, and it’s something I think every gluten-free baker needs. You can also use the donut pan to make gluten-free bagels. I purchased two six-cavity donut pans to make one dozen donuts in a single bake.
Alternatively, you could make this recipe in a muffin tin, although that would just be chocolate cupcakes vs. chocolate donuts.
Other Special Ingredients
You’ll also need a quality gluten-free flour blend to make these donuts. Remember, you can’t use basic rice flour or almond flour; rather you need a blend that contains a variety of flours, starches, and xanthan gum.
I use and recommend Bob’s 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. It’s free from dairy and cornstarch, so if you’re baking for someone who cannot eat dairy, this will always be a good go-to blend.
I also highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale when measuring your flour. You would be shocked at how much excess flour you use – and how it affects your recipe – when you scoop your flour vs. measure it with a kitchen scale. If your donuts are dense, it’s likely because you added too much flour.
I also recommend using full-fat yogurt and whole milk for this recipe. These ingredients will add good fat and ultimately affect the texture of the donuts. The recipe will work with low-fat or non-dairy versions of these ingredients, but you may notice the texture is different.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Donuts
Once you gather all your ingredients, you’re ready to make these cravable gluten-free chocolate donuts.
Step #1: Sift together the flour, cacao, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the sugar and whisk everything together.
Step #2: In another bowl, combine the milk, egg, oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Mix until the wet ingredients are well combined.
Step #3: Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated. Your batter will be thick but still pourable.
Step #4: Divide the batter evenly into each of the greased 12 donut cavities. I use a measuring cup with a spout to pour the batter into the donut cavities, but you could carefully spoon the batter into each donut cavity, then use a small spatula to even out the batter. You could also use a piping bag, but I think the batter is a bit too runny, so be careful when using this method.
Step #5: Bake the donuts for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a donut comes out clean. Allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes in the donut pans before flipping them over onto a wire rack to continue cooling. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the donuts in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Step #6: Once the donuts are cool, it’s time to prepare your glaze. I recommend first sifting together the powdered sugar and cacao powder to make sure there are no lumps. Next, add the milk and mix until the glaze is the just-right texture. If the glaze is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too stiff, add more milk.
Step #7: Dip the top of each fully cooled donut into the glaze and place it back on the wire rack with the glaze side up. (I recommend adding a piece of parchment paper underneath the wire rack to catch the glaze drippings.) You could alternatively use your spatula to spread the glaze on top of each donut. The donuts are fragile, so be gentle as you dip them into the glaze.
Troubleshooting and Tips
Do I have to use a donut pan? These are donuts, so I highly recommend using a donut pan. It’s a wise investment and will be a useful pan for many of your gluten-free baking projects. Some people say you could use a muffin tin, but then would be making chocolate cupcakes vs. chocolate donuts, right?
Can I use another flour brand? This recipe has been tested with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. If you use another blend, results may vary. Just make sure your blend contains xanthan gum or simply add 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum to the flour mixture.
The donuts are too dense? If you didn’t measure your flour in grams with a digital scale, chances are you added too much flour. These donuts are forgiving, so they’ll probably still taste good. But use a digital scale whenever possible from now on, ok?
How can I make this recipe dairy free? I recommend making the following swaps when making this recipe dairy free:
- Milk: While whole milk will provide the fat and add texture to the muffins, you can use a dairy-free milk alternative like almond milk or cashew milk.
- Yogurt: You can use a dairy-free full-fat yogurt alternative. I have also tested this recipe with pumpkin instead of yogurt and it works, but again, the pumpkin affected the texture of the donut and I thought the texture was too light and a bit weak.
Can I make the donuts egg free? Yes, instead of using an egg, you can use an egg replacer or 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons warm water – mix together and let it sit until a gel forms). The texture will vary from the egg version.
Is this recipe corn free? Yes, this recipe is corn free as is if you use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free flour and if you use powdered sugar made with tapioca starch for the glaze. Remember, most store-bought powdered sugars contain cornstarch.
Can I freeze the donuts? You can freeze these donuts so they last longer. You can freeze them before glazing and then glaze them just before serving. Or, you can glaze them, allow the glaze to set, and then flash freeze them for 60 minutes on your baking tray before stacking them in a zip-top freezer-safe bag. Defrost them at room temperature for about an hour before you’re ready to eat them.
More Gluten-Free Recipes
Try these delicious recipes too:
- Favorite Gluten-Free Chocolate Applesauce Cake
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze
- Amazing Gluten-Free Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten-Free Chocolate Donuts
- 2 6-cavity donut pans
- 1 3/4 cups Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour 259 grams
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder 50 grams
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sugar 150 grams
- 1 cup whole milk or dairy-free milk substitute
- 1/2 cup whole milk full-fat yogurt see notes
- 1 egg large
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- 4 Tbsp milk
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease two 6-cavity donut pans with cooking spray and set them aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cacao, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the sugar and whisk gently. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, egg, oil, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture and mix well with a whisk until the ingredients are well combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter into each of the 12 donut cavities. I recommend adding the batter to a piping bag (or zip-top bag) and then piping the batter into each cavity. You could also pour or spoon in the batter.
- Bake the donuts for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for five minutes, then flip the donuts onto a cooling rack to fully cool. You could place the donuts in the fridge to cool faster.
- Once the donuts are cool, make the glaze by sifting together the powdered sugar and cacao powder into a large bowl, then adding the milk. Use a spatula to mix everything together until smooth.
- Place the wire rack on top of a large piece of parchment paper. Dip the top of each fully cooled donut, one by one, into the glaze to coat the top of the donut, then place the glazed donut back glaze-side up on the cooling rack and allow the glaze to drip off onto the parchment paper. If you run low on glaze, you can use your spatula to spread it on top of the remaining donuts. Be gentle with the donuts.
- Optional: While the glaze is wet, top the donuts with decorative toppings like sprinkles, coconut shreds, crushed candy canes, mini chocolate chips, bits of pretzels, or chopped nuts.
- Allow the glaze to set for 30 minutes, then place the donut tray in the fridge to fully cool and set before enjoying.