Jillian is a mom who has food allergies and years of personal experience to share with the greater food-allergy community.
Mmm ... Donuts
Who doesn't love a good donut? While the thought of making them at home can be rather intimidating, just know that if I can do this, anyone can! I set out on a mission to make donuts because we cannot indulge at the local donut shop due to multiple food allergies, such as egg, milk, peanuts, nuts, and more! I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are actually not too difficult to make.
This recipe is free of most major allergens, with the exception of wheat, and it can be made with a soy- and dairy-free butter alternative. I made notes of substitutions, in case you do not have to eliminate milk from your diet. Hopefully, you can share it with all of your loved ones. If you have a gluten-free alternative or flour mixture that works well with this recipe, please share your thoughts in the comments!
I take full advantage of my bread machine as much as possible to do the laborious kneading and rising of the dough, but alternatively, this recipe can be whipped up with a food processor (using the dough blade) or a stand mixer with the dough hook. You will need a nice warm spot for the dough to rise and a bit of patience.
- 1 cup warm water* (see substitution note below), 100°F
- 1/3 cup melted dairy-free butter alternative, such as Earth Balance Soy Free*
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
- 2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon, (optional)
- Pinch of nutmeg, (optional)
- Mild cooking oil of your choice for frying
- Ingredients for icing or sugaring, see below for recipes and ideas
Notes on Substitutions
- *Substitute with dairy milk/butter if you are not avoiding milk.
- This recipe is naturally egg-free, and the egg is just not necessary, even if you don't avoid eggs in your diet. If you prefer to add an egg, reduce the water (or milk) to 3/4 of a cup, and add 1 beaten egg to the liquid mixture.
Step 1: Prepare the Dough
You have 4 options to prepare the dough: bread machine, food processor using the dough blade, stand mixer, or by hand.
- If using a bread machine, follow your specific model's instructions regarding the order of ingredients. Typically, the liquids go in first, and then the dry ingredients.
- Then set the machine to the dough setting, and let it run its course. My bread machine's dough setting is an hour and a half of kneading and rising.
- Once complete, you are ready to roll out the dough, and no further kneading or rising is necessary. You can skip "Step 2: Let the Dough Rise" and go straight to "Step 3: Shape and Fry the Donuts".
Food Processor or Stand Mixer
- If using a food processor or stand mixer, start by proofing the yeast in the mixing bowl that comes with your stand mixer or food processor. Warm up the water (or milk), add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Then add the yeast, and do not stir. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Combine this with the remaining ingredients, starting with the melted dairy-free butter alternative, and the remaining dry ingredients, and mix well. The food processor will only need to run for a couple of minutes. The stand mixer with dough hook will need to run for about 5 minutes.
If kneading by hand, it may take longer.
- First, proof the yeast as described above.
- Then add the melted dairy-free butter alternative.
- Then make a pile of dry ingredients on a clean surface, and slowly work in all of the wet ingredients. The dough should not be sticky or tacky. If it's too sticky, knead in more flour.
Step 2: Let the Dough Rise
(For Food Processor, Stand Mixer, and by Hand Methods)
- Pre-warm and lightly grease a large bowl.
- Once the dough has been thoroughly kneaded either by hand or with the processor/mixer, form it into a ball and lightly grease it. Place it into the prepared bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
- Place it somewhere warm to allow it to rise for at least 2 hours. When finished resting and rising, the dough should be very soft, loose, and easy to work with. A warm kitchen is needed for the dough to rise properly!
Troubleshooting Dough Problems
If your dough is still too elastic to work with and hasn't risen, try this:
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and place a loaf or cake pan in the bottom of the oven.
- Place the container of dough on the middle rack and pour 3 cups of boiling water into the pan on the bottom rack.
- Close the oven door and allow the dough to rise as instructed.
Step 3: Shape and Fry the Donuts
- To prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and surface, lightly flour your hands and the dough, and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll it out to about 1-inch thickness.
- Cut the dough with a floured donut cutter. I use a large round cutter first, then a tiny one to make the hole in the center. Save the holes to either knead back into larger donuts or fry them together as donut holes at the end (which are equally delicious!)
- Place shaped donuts on a large piece of parchment paper that is lightly floured to avoid sticking. Cover loosely with a towel. Let the donuts sit out to rise again until double, or at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a deep electric skillet to 350°F. The temperature needs to be exact. While it's important not to overheat oil, it is equally important not to underheat it as well. Food that is fried in oil below proper temperatures will not only take longer to cook, but will also absorb more oil, giving your foods a soggy and greasy texture and a higher fat content. Use a frying or candy thermometer when possible to maintain the correct oil temperature from beginning to end.
- Lightly place 3 donuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. The oil will be very bubbly. Be careful not to get any water into the oil, or it will splatter and can burn you. Do not cover the donuts and carefully monitor the temperature of the oil to ensure that it remains about 350°F.
- Gently turn the donuts over after about 30 seconds and fry the other side. I use a butter knife through the center of the hole to gently lift and flip the donuts without splattering too much oil.
- Fry donuts on each side until golden brown.
- Remove from hot oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
Step 4: Dip the Donuts (Optional)
- If you plan to dip the donuts into a sugar or cinnamon sugar topping, have this prepared ahead of time and dip them while they are still warm (a few recipes can be found below).
- If you will be dipping the donuts into a glaze or icing, this can be done after they rest for a few minutes.
Dip and then set to dry on a wire rack. If you are adding sprinkles, dip the donuts into the sprinkles immediately after glazing or icing them; otherwise, they won't stick. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under the rack for easier cleanup.
- 5 tablespoons dairy-free butter alternative
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 to 6 cups of powdered confectioner's sugar
- Melt 5 tablespoons of dairy-free butter alternative (or dairy butter, depending on what you can have)
- Add 1/3 cup water (or if you are not avoiding milk, you can use that) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix in about 5 to 6 cups of powdered confectioner's sugar or to desired thickness
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup dairy-free butter alternative
- 1 cup powdered confectioner's sugar
- Heat 1/4 cup water to boiling
- In a large heat-proof bowl, add the boiling water to 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips, and allow it to sit for a minute to melt the chocolate chips
- Stir this mixture
- Then add 1/4 cup melted dairy-free butter alternative (or dairy butter if you can have it), and stir well
- Add about 1 cup of powdered confectioner's sugar or more to desired thickness
- 1/3 cup dairy-free butter alternative
- 2 cups powdered confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons water, hot
- Melt 1/3 cup dairy-free butter alternative (or dairy butter if you are not avoiding milk)
- Add 2 cups powdered confectioner's sugar and 1 and 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, and mix until smooth
- Add 4 tablespoons hot water (or warm milk if you do not manage a milk allergy) or until desired consistency for a glaze
Other Topping Ideas
- For a simpler treat, dip warm donuts into a bowl of plain granulated sugar or powdered sugar.
- Alternatively, combine sugar or powdered sugar with cinnamon for a spicier taste.
These donuts freeze well between sheets of wax paper and in storage bags. Just take them out about 20 minutes before you would like to eat them, and they will be delicious just like they were freshly made!
Questions & Answers
Question: How many donuts does this recipe make?
Answer: It depends on the size and if you roll the holes into new donuts (this can be difficult), but standard size donuts I would say 6-8 donuts and 6-8 holes.
© 2018 Jillian Erin