Cinnamon Whole-Grain Baked Doughnuts {gluten-free and vegan option}

gluten-free whole-grain donuts on a cooling rack

This soaked and baked donuts recipe is probably my family's favorite whole grain recipe of all time.

Did I say, "probably"?  Silly me.  I made two batches yesterday, and there are very few left. This time, it was my oldest son who was mainly guilty of over-indulgence.  Typically, however, I share that "honor" with him.

soaking dough for vegan whole grain doughnuts
Soaking the dough

We took this gluten and sugar-free version (see notes following the recipe) to a doughnut-eating contest at a homeschool gathering recently.  Somehow, we were able to suspend this treasure on a string between the other store-bought doughnuts without it falling apart into crumbly nothingness.

dough for vegan cinnamon baked whole grain doughnuts
Doughnut dough ready to be flattened and cut

My daring husband entered himself in the contest and there he was, coming in second amongst a crowd of men eating those lightweight, devoid of all nutrients, processed rings of nothingness.   Yes, in my humble opinion, he should have won.  One of my doughnuts clearly by weight and amount-of-chews-needed-to-make-before-you-swallow equaled 2-3 of theirs.  But then, I'm really not that competitive :-).

dough for gluten-free baked donuts being cut with donut cutter
Cutting out the donuts--this cutter works great!

Back to the Whole Grain Doughnuts

I have had this recipe for a long time and it is adapted from one by Sue Gregg in her Breakfasts cookbook.  They are easy to make, don't require any special pan, are not deep-fried, and are coated with just a slight bit of oil, milk, or water to make the delicious sweetened cinnamon topping stick.  And they have a wonderful hearty texture and flavor to them.

putting cinnamon sugar topping on gluten-free baked donuts
Topping the whole-grain doughnuts with some water and cinnamon sugar

Non-soaking Method:

Just mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wets in the other.  Then add the dries to the wets.  Continue with the recipe directions.   But you can really step things up a bit in the health department by soaking the grains for at least 12 hours.  You really will get a serious workout for your arms with the soaking method, but then you'll get two health benefits at once :-)!  Let me know how they turn out!

Recipe Notes

  • Flour Choice:  You may find that you need to be flexible with the amount of flour that you use for this recipe depending on the grain that you choose.  You will want a very stiff dough that is not wet at all, like a shortbread. For spelt (if you are eating gluten), you will probably need about 5 1/2 cups. For other grains, you will have to play with it to see what works, but you do not want a runny gooey dough. You want it to be thick.
  • For gluten-free flours, use 25% more baking powder and soda. I typically use whatever I happen to have on hand.   Yesterday I used 3 cups sweet brown rice flour with 1 1/2 cups sorghum with success. I had to increase the liquid to about 1 1/2 cups to make it pliable, however.
  • For a sugar-free version, a mixture of 1/2 xylitol and 1/2 erythritol for the granulated sweetener works great.
  • Egg Alternative: An alternative can be used instead of eggs - see Homemade Egg Replacer. Also a flax, chia, or gelatin egg could be used. I haven't tried those with this recipe, however.
  • Sweetener Options: You can substitute any healthy sweetener for the xylitol in the doughnuts, but if you use a liquid sweetener you may need to use a different amount, so read Substituting Sweeteners. For the topping, any healthy granulated sweetener can be used.
  • Homemade Dairy-free Milks: Here are homemade versions of both coconut milk and almond milk, which will both work great as a milk substitute.
  • Lemon Juice: Here is a great brand of organic lemon juice.
  • Grain-free Option: This recipe should work with a grain-free / low-carb flour like almond flour by increasing the baking soda by 50% and reducing the coconut oil by half. I haven't tried it yet but it should work.
whole-grain doughnuts in pan with parchment paper
whole-grain doughnuts in pan with parchment paper

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts (with gluten free and soaking option)

This Cinnamon Baked Donuts Recipe is one of our family favorites! Say bye bye to Krispy Kreme and make this gluten-free healthier version instead!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: whole-grain donuts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24 doughnuts
Calories: 178kcal

Ingredients

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

  • 4 1/2 cups whole grain flour (I use a gluten-free blend--see notes for how much to use)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs (or alternative--see notes above)
  • 1 cup granulated sweetener (See Recipe Notes)
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 15/16 cup coconut milk (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon; or milk substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

Topping

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sweetener (See Recipe notes)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

For soaking

  • Combine the flour, sweeteners, fats, and liquids together (excluding the eggs.  However, if you are using a powdered egg replacer, you can add the liquid that you would add to the recipe at this point in order to make the dough easier to handle).  Let dough rest for 12-24 hours.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Roll out dough to approximately 1/2" thickness.  Cut with doughnut cutter (this one is really nice). Or alternatively, shape into desired shapes.  Brush tops with melted coconut oil, milk, milk substitute, or water.  Sprinkle with topping.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  • Try not to eat them all in one sitting! 🙂

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 23g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Interested in other Gluten-Free Yummy Treats?  How about:

- "Almond Joy" Bars
- Grain-Free Coconut Macadamia Cookies
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies (taste like store bought)
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Have you ever made Homemade Doughnuts before?

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17 Comments

  1. Hello there. Thanks so much for your website/blog. Really so helpful and generous! Helping me make sense of the whole soaking world. Thank you for bringing in the perspective of not getting to stressed out with making the changes. Just what I needed to hear.
    Question:
    I wondered if you could use something like honey for sweetening in this recipe. I used granulated stevia but it tastes a bit weird. Trying to stay away from sugar.
    Many thanks. Tejomala

    1. No, you don't. BP starts acting once liquid is added to it I believe. Sorry it took so long to get back to you - I am inundated. 🙂

  2. I am having trouble finding 'sweet brown rice flour.' I can only find brown rice flour. Is it the same thing?

  3. DEFINITELY healthier than the donuts you'd find in the pastry section of the grocery store!!! I think I might try them with PEA PROTEIN FLOUR! 🙂

  4. I made these and they are nice but mine had a very strong baking soda flavor. Reminded me of an Irish Soda bread with cinnamon. My dough was also very dry during the soaking time and very wet after I added the eggs. I wonder if I did something wrong.

    1. I'm so sorry - I have never had that problem w/ a baking soda-ey taste. The only thing I can think w/ the texture is that you are going for a very stiff dough. Not horrible but it needs to roll easily and cut well, so I'm going to update the post to reflect that. Then you sometimes need to add more flour to make them the right texture. Once you know how much you are using for a particular grain then you can keep those proportions for the future. I think maybe I should post a photo and that will help folks know what the dough looks like. Please try again and let me know how it works if you try them again.

    1. The recipe says to add lemon juice or vinegar to milk or milk substitute to make a total of 1 cup liquid. Hope that makes sense.

  5. hi!!!
    i want to use gluten free flour...what do u recommend?>i can eat coconut,oat,millet,brown rice flour,
    thank you

    1. I have typically used a mix of brown sweet rice with some millet and maybe oat mixed in. I wouldn't use the coconut b/c it absorbs too much flour. How about a mix of 1 part each of the other flours that you can have? I think that would taste great.

  6. I always shy away from making doughnuts, especially because of the frying. This might and I am saying might, entice me to give it a try. You are one ambitious lady.

    Thanks for sharing this with Bake with Bizzy. I would appreciate it, if you would link back to us, in the future. More folks, more fun.

    1. Hi Chaya! You'll be linked to. My son handles it as part of homeschool, but he's out until later this afternoon. I won't forget you :-)!

    1. You certainly could. When made with whole grains, they will be considerably heavier than traditional doughnuts, but they should work out just fine. Let me know how they turn out!