Apple Spice Donuts {Gluten-free, Vegan}

Donuts can be a hard thing to Healthify. First of all, I don’t want to assume people have a donut pan. Not everyone does. I have been a baker for years, and it was probably the last baking vessel I bought. Additionally, donuts are the ultimate indulgence. Think about it: they are basically flour and sugar circles coated in more sugar and probably dipped in liquid sugar, and then sprinkled with…sugar. Or chocolate (sugar). When I think of donuts, I think of digging into a box of two dozen Krispy Kremes with my friends the morning after a sleepover, only to be sent home either mid-sugar high, or post-sugar crash.

Donuts these days have gotten more sophisticated. There are boutique bakeries doing nothing but donuts, in all sizes, shapes, and flavors. When we go to the beach, there is a line around the block every morning for their local donut shop. I wonder how anyone functions the rest of the day (although I guess you don’t technically have to function too much at the beach). I would have to go back to bed. And you can bet I am not feeding my toddler a sugar circle. That is the last thing he needs.

Before I yuck your donut yum too much, please know that I think they are very fun to eat. It is why I love to create healthier donut recipes, yet find myself doing so more in the fall than any other time of year. Apple spice donuts might be my favorite. You can’t help but smile when you think about walking the farmers market, sipping cider or coffee while enjoying an apple spice donut. I have actually never done this before, but it seems nice. If only the food cart at the farmers market had gluten-free vegan apple spice donuts. That’s where these come in.

When it comes to what kind of donut pan to use, I love my 6-cavity non-stick donut pan. I recently got a silicone donut mold as well, and I have only baked with it once. I wanted to see what the difference would be if I baked the same recipe in both.

I still prefer the non-stick pan. I like the size and shape a bit better. The silicone mold can be great for no-bake donuts, or if you want a smaller donut for your child. The size is almost closer to the white powdered sugar donuts you would buy in the bag at the grocery store. Oooh – there’s an idea…

I will admit, when I taste tested these donuts, it caught me by surprise in the best way. At first glance, they didn’t look like they would have much flavor. I mean, they looked kind of bland. But my tastebuds sang another song when I took that first bite. It kind of stopped me in my tracks. So much so, I don’t think they even need to be coated in anything. Alas, I polled people on Instagram, and you told me to coat them, so that is what I did. If you fall into the uncoated category, enjoy them plain, you don’t need to take the extra step. Otherwise, carry on with the coating. I offer the monk fruit glaze option below, but know that you can simply combine coconut sugar and cinnamon and coat them that way.

Planning and prep

There is not much to prep with this recipe at all. They are gluten-free and vegan, so no butter or eggs to bring to room temperature. I even used the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, so when I say easy, I mean easy. The only thing you need to do is make the DIY vegan “buttermilk” by whisking together your dairy-free milk and white vinegar. Let that sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and you are good to go!

I love one of these donuts in the morning with some coconut yogurt and peanut butter drizzled on top. My toddler loves them too, and having him enjoy lower sugar treats makes my heart very happy. I even served him one for dinner the other night when his pickiness made me desperate. I found myself thinking oh amazing, he is eating his dinner donut. What mom says that?? Me I guess. Good thing it is Healthified.

Apple Spice Donuts {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

These donuts have subtle hints of fall spice in every bite! Made with a gluten-free flour blend and lower glycemic coconut sugar.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 8 servings


  • Donut pan
  • Mixing bowls
  • whisk


For the donuts

  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or dairy-free milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour 185g
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the monk fruit glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered monk fruit like Lakanto brand
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar optional
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon optional


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the gluten-free baking flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and sea salt. Stir to blend.
  • To the bowl with the almond milk and vinegar mixture, add the applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until creamy.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour mixture and beat until a batter is formed. Allow the batter to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6- or 8-cavity donut pan with cooking spray.
  • Spoon the batter into each cavity of the donut pan, filling each one to the top. If you have a 6-cavity donut pan, and you have batter left over, you can bake a second batch.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the donuts to cool in the donut pan for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Once completely cool, make the coating. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered monk fruit, almond milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. In a separate small bowl, blend the coconut sugar and cinnamon.
  • Dip each donut in the monk fruit glaze and set on a cutting board or plate. Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and cinnamon mixture if desired. Enjoy right away, or allow the coating to set in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Store coated donuts in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Keyword Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Oil-free, Soy-free, Tree Nut-free, Vegan