Nourishing Flourishing

The Best Pumpkin Donuts, Donut Holes, + Doughballs — EVER. (GF, Vegan)

25 Oct

Ok, this post has been weeks in the making. Literally. I haven’t been sitting idly on my fanny though — no, no. I’ve been baking about seven (huge) batches of donuts. My personal test kitchen has been a disaster every single day — baking pie pumpkins, testing and re-testing, “forcing” samples on friends and strangers… I think I’ve got it now. I really hope that if you try it, you find it well worth the wait. My photos, as I mentioned, are still disappointing, but for the record donuts, with all their shimmery sweetness, are a downright challenge to capture! (That, at the very least, shall be my excuse…) Just don’t judge this book by its cover; I should illustrate how tasty my testers found this recipe — my husband was told by four different people that he is very lucky to be married to me, just because of these donuts/doughballs. (Trust me, you take away this recipe and I’m probably not worth the headache. Ha! : ) They’re pretty dang good.

Anyway. So, here’s the best part about this recipe: it can be three different types of treat, depending on how you choose to employ the dough/batter. Donuts, donut holes, or doughballs. The only tangible difference between the donut holes and doughballs is that I consider a “proper” (really, Katie?) donut hole to be glazed, whereas a doughball has something like chocolate chips in it. But really, define this for yourself; just enjoy it, whatever you do.

I really wanted to create a recipe that was versatile enough that if you don’t own a mini donut pan (I finally found one at Goodwill for $1 after years of pining) you can still make something outrageously, ridiculously delicious. And I mean that. If you choose to go the mini-donut route, there’s a good chance you’ll be surprised that something gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan can taste and feel like a traditional donut. (Or — dare I say? — better!) I was shocked, to be honest. But really, it’s the shape that’s fun — otherwise, everything will taste the same if you choose to make donut holes instead. I think the icing is what really put it over the top as a bona fide donut product. I don’t usually consume sugarcane products, but this was such a minute amount, I decided to at least see if it made a big difference for the donut experience… WHOA. Yes, yes it does. You will think these are fresh from a bakery.

If you prefer not to have a glaze, throw a handful of dark chocolate chips in the batter. Taste a little of the dough [vegan so salmonella-free!], you know — just to be sure it tastes alright. And then rejoice. Dance. Sing. Call a friend. Pat yourself on the back. Whatever. Just celebrate that deliciousness. Savor it.


This is literally the best donut (and doughball) of my life.

And I used to have one every single Sunday growing up, so these had some serious nostalgia to live up to.

Best Ever Pumpkin Dough for Mini-Donuts, Donutholes, and Doughballs

This might appear more intimidating than it is. Granted, it takes slightly more time than most of my baking recipes, but it is well worth the extra couple of steps, which are a cinch! This batter, whichever way you choose to bake it — mini-donuts, donut holes, or doughballs –, will amaze you. Everything about it is resonant with autumnal comforts — moist, sweet and aromatic, just enough pumpkin and cinnamon to awaken your senses, and a true melt-in-your-mouth finish. Bundle up and savor the taste of fall while you can; all you need is a cup of coffee and someone to share this special treat with. I have never been so proud of, or pleased with, a recipe!

If you choose to forgo the icing/glaze, adding some dark chocolate chips will enhance all the flavors. I used mini-chips, to go with my “petite treat” theme. ; )

2 1/2 C blanched almond flour (click here to make your own)
2 TB arrowroot powder
1 1/2 TB cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C cooked pumpkin puree (how to make your own — so easy, way more tasty, and cheaper!)
1/2 C agave (or honey) + 2 TB maple syrup
1 TB coconut oil
1 TB vanilla
1/4 C dark chocolate chips (if desired)

Batter Recipe:
1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) Mix wet ingredients, and add them to the dry.
3) If chocolate chips are desired, add them now.

(–> Please note that I have not tried this with a full-size donut pan, so I’m not sure if that will work!)

Directions For Mini-Donuts:
1) Grease donut pan (I used coconut oil). Dust with almond flour.
2) Fill a plastic/ziploc bag with the batter, and cut off one of the tips. Pipe through into the donut impressions.
3) Bake at 325* until lightly browned on edges — you will be able to see the edges pulling away slightly from the pan. Keep a close eye on them! (If it looks like the bottom half of the donut [around the impression part of the donut pan] is browning too fast, move to the top rack and watch carefully). If after 20 minutes they are still rather doughy, bump the heat up to 350* and watch closely until done.

–> N.B. They will still be a little moist. Leaving them out overnight, lightly covered but with air flow, will dry them out a touch, if you prefer. This is unavoidable because the concentration of water in every pumpkin varies.
4) After removing, allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
5) I removed the individual donuts by turning the pan over, and evenly hitting the pan on the table. They should pop out intact. If they are too warm, they’ll fall apart, so the cooler, the better. (You can also try to wedge them out with a butter knife, but I didn’t have a lot of luck with that method.)
See below for icing.

Directions For Donut Holes and Doughballs:
1) Roll dough into small, 1″ balls. Try to make them higher, rather than wider, as they flatten a bit from the heat in the oven. You can wet your hands a little if you like.
2) Place each doughball on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325* until lightly browned on edges. (It took mine a little over 15 minutes, but watch carefully, and adjust for longer cooking if needed.)
3) Remove and allow to cool on the sheet for at least 15 minutes.
See below for icing.

Vanilla Glaze/Icing Ingredients:
1/2 C powdered sugar (I used a grain-free, organic brand with tapioca starch, because the cheap brand was sub-par — you could taste the cornstarch. Blech.)
1 TB unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Chocolate Glaze/Icing Ingredients:
1/2 C powdered sugar (
2 TB cocoa powder
2 TB unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla)

Glaze/Icing Recipe:
1) Add almond milk to powdered sugar (and cocoa powder if desired), whisking vigorously with a fork until lumps are gone.
2) If desired, add vanilla.
3) Dip the tops of donuts, donut holes, or doughballs into the glaze. Allow glaze to dry for at least half an hour.

Notes on Icing/Glaze: I used a grain-free, organic brand (365 Organic) of powdered sugar, made with tapioca starch, because the cheap brand was awful. You could taste the added cornstarch. I highly recommend spending a tiny bit extra for the sake of quality! Seriously. I promise it’s worth it.

Also, N.B.: resist the urge to add more milk; you want the glaze to be as thick as possible, because if it is too wet, it won’t dry, it will just soak your donuts and they will be mushy.

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I am honestly in awe that this recipe turned out. I started with no idea what I was doing, and ended up with something I’m really excited about. I had been thinking an almond flour pumpkin donut was needed in the world, but could never find a recipe for one. While I am still unsatisfied with my photos (the main reason for the delay of this post), I think the recipe makes up for any aesthetic disappointment. Try it, and let me know if you agree! These are a perfect holiday sweet, without being unhealthy (in moderation, of course); I already plan to make them for my family over Thanksgiving.

Also, bake these while listening to 40s and 50s tunes — somehow, it will make everything in life seem alright again.

Are there any seasonal treats you are eager to create or make again?

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90 Responses to “The Best Pumpkin Donuts, Donut Holes, + Doughballs — EVER. (GF, Vegan)”

  1. Matt @ FaveDiets October 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    This looks delicious! I would love if you shared it in my Fall Food Blog Hop. Enter it for a chance at a Top Chef cookbook!

  2. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    You know I’m loving this :)

  3. Sophie @ LoveLiveAndLearn October 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    That all just looks so delicious!
    I want a donut pan, it looks like so much fun to bake with :-)
    I love the mini donuts in particular!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

      Thanks Sophie! It really is so perfect for this time of year. I think I’m preferring the mini-donut pan to the regular sized one, if you can believe it! It’s just so nice to justify having a few treats instead of one big donut… ;) xo.

  4. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) October 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Heck yeah! These look amazing! I need a doughnut pan so badly. I’m getting one this weekend…now I HAVE to!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

      Thanks Sarena! Get a mini-donut pan — soo much better than the regular size (more helpings, hehe)! :) I love how cute they are, and how much more quickly they bake! ‘Tis the season for pumpkin donuts :D

  5. Jane October 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    I just got a donut pan and have been loving making donuts! These sound and look soooo good!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

      Awesome, Jane! Thanks so much. I think they are delicious; perfect for fall! Did you get a regular sized donut pan? I haven’t tried making them with a full-size pan — not sure how that would turn out — but if you try it, let me know! :)

      • Jane October 26, 2011 at 7:02 am #

        I actually have both sizes of donut pans .. the regular and the mini one! (just a little donut obsessed at the moment)

        • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

          You have both sizes?! You must be the most popular baker on the block! :D Whoever benefits from your donut obsession is verrry lucky. :) xo.

  6. Evan Thomas October 25, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    With high praises like that, I don’t think I can not make this recipe. I just might use it as an excuse to pick up the donut pans at Bed Bath and Beyond I’ve been eyeing.

    Hope the school year is going well for you! Xaire!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

      I love that we can write little ancient things to each other, ha! :) If you end up trying it, let me know. I haven’t tried it in a regular sized donut pan, but it works great in the mini one. I see that you’ve been on a pumpkin kick, yourself! That pumpkin loaf looks so delicious. The pumpkin seeds…dangerous. But only because they make you sing really bad ’80s songs. (I sing “I Would Do Anything for Love” every time I make a meat lentil loaf… so I guess we are again, a good match.) Hope all is well for you too, my friend. Vale!

  7. Dawn October 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Wow! These sound absolutely awesome! Now, I too need a mini donut pan. Going to find one to put on my Christmas list now… Thanks for sharing!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

      Thank you, Dawn! I hope you get that mini-donut pan, or find one magically cheap at a thrift store like I did, soon! :) They make the cutest little treats. <3

  8. Lou October 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Nice job dude, these look incredible! Your hard work has totally paid off… I’m really excited to try these out. I think your photos are great too!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

      Thanks Lou! If you try them, let me know how it goes. I have been very unapologetically eating all the “crumbled” donuts… that I intentionally crumbled. Muhaha ;)

  9. Cindy October 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Oh my goodness! Your photos are gorgeous! I’m grateful to have another recipe for all those pumpkins we harvested from the garden.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

      Aw, Cindy, thank you! :) Do you grow pie pumpkins, or carving pumpkins? I’d love to hear if you find a difference when you bake them! We used to grow carving pumpkins when I was growing up, and it felt so special to watch them grow all season. :)

  10. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats October 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    This looks amazing. I am definitely going to try these, though I may do a cacao coconut oil glaze and put them in the fridge to chill.

    On other news, you totally inspired me to make pumpkin biscotti – do check them out if you have a chance. I put the recipe up yesterday :)

  11. Liz @ iheartvegetables October 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Oh man these look AMAZING! And one of my good friends is GF so this is perfect!

  12. Kirsten October 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    I’ve JUST finished making these and they are to die for. I couldn’t wait to pick up the ingredients on my way home from work. I definitely wish I’d remembered to look for good quality powdered sugar though, because it does make a difference.

    I think your blog is great, I’ve been following for awhile but this is my first comment :)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Kirsten, this comment seriously started my day off so well! I was just delighted when I read it; I even squealed a little, ha! Thank you so much for letting me know how they went — and trying them so soon. I really appreciate your comment. I’m sorry that the powdered sugar wasn’t great :( I remember that disappointment when I first made them, too. But I hope if you make these again, it works out better (it’s amazing that something so small can make such a big difference, right? Crazy!). Thanks again — much love to you!

  13. Donna October 26, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    These look spectacular…loving the fact that they are baked and NOT fried as well!! Please let us know where those mini-doughnut pans can be found (online?)..Here in France I believe I’ve seen similar, perhaps shallower silicon pans with a round hole-in-the-middle shape…Would these work? Thanks for any advice…Thanks too for “giving us the detail” with regards to tips on ingredient quality (like the powdered sugar)..It helps so much!!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      Hi Donna! I’m not sure the best place to find them, since I got mine at Goodwill, ha — but I did find this one online just now: . I would guess anything similar to that would work. But really, you don’t need one! I totally preferred the donut hole ones to the donut-shaped ones; honest! They are so doughy inside… I’m drooling again. Ha! :) Let me know if I can help more! <3

  14. Kim October 26, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    Love these! I’m off to find a non tephlan mini donut pan…
    Made some GF pumpkin scones yesterday and everyone including me thought they were the best scones we have ever had! And they did not know they were GF…. ( hee hee hee) just a little GF revenge for all the baked goodies we have had to pass over in the past. I have a GF CHALLENGE for you and your viewers let’s perfect the French pastry so we can make GF croissants and eclairs! That’s the only thing that I feel is missing in the GF menu. Or has anyone already perfected it and and are willing to share the recipe???

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks Kim! Don’t worry about the donut pan unless you’re set on the idea of the little donut shape — I actually preferred the donut holes, myself! :) Your GF pumpkin scones sounds amazing! Good work!

      I occasionally get a craving for a croissant, and share your desire to see a GF option. I feel that would be so hard to do, because of the necessary gluten component to achieve that flaky goodness. Hmm…. I just searched and found these recipes: and I haven’t tried either, but if you do, let me know how they go; I really miss my Thanksgiving croissant! :) xo.

      • Kim October 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

        Thanks Katie! My 16 yo GF daughter is heading to Paris next week for a month armed with the gluten free guide to Paris. She will try all the GF French pastries… I’ll keep you posted if she finds anything fabulous! Can’t wait to try these donuts even without the pan. :)

        • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

          Oooooh, I didn’t know Paris was GF friendly at all; I’m so glad to hear there’s even a guide! Let me know what she finds! :D

  15. Jen October 26, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    These sound delish! I also love the idea of listening to music from the 40s & 50s–some of my fave tunes :) need to find a mini donut pan, for $1 please :)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      Thanks Jen! I agree, I would want my life soundtrack to be set to the Rat Pack, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong, etc. :D So doggone good. Trust me — you don’t need the donut pan! Just make the donut holes or doughballs; they were actually my favorite by far! :)

  16. Kylie@OhsoMiscellanea October 26, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    Katie, I honestly can’t get enough of these doughnuts! The fact that they’re pumpkin makes them so much better. I wish I had time to try them before halloween!

  17. Jenn @ Peas and Crayons October 26, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    yay fabulous! I have some almond milk I need to use up!

  18. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat October 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Another amazing recipe – and I LOVE pumpkin everything! Thanks for sharing! :)

  19. Nancy B. October 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    I just made these as dough balls, adding carob chips and pecans. They are SOOOOOO good. I have some glaze that I drop onto them. I’m not sure there’ll be any left cool enough to have the real crunchy glaze on them. I think they’re your best thing ever (or at least yet). The texture is perfect. I like the little bits and don’t think they need a donut pan.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

      Nancy, thank you so, so much for letting me know how they went! It totally made my day to read this! :D I agree; I actually preferred the donutholes/doughballs to the donuts. No donut pan needed! :) Love your adaptations! Pecans + pumpkin = I’m drooling. <3

  20. jessie ann james October 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    These look to die for…Can’t wait to get started on a batch! Thank you!

  21. jessie ann james October 27, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    One more thing…Can I sub out the arrowroot powder? I don’t have that on hand???

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

      Hmm…. you might be able to sub coconut flour (~1 or 1 1/2 TB instead of the 2 TB). But I haven’t tried that so I can’t guarantee it. Sorry! I would say that you could also try it just with a little extra almond flour, but, again, I haven’t given that a go so I’m not sure. I usually buy arrowroot from a bulk spice bin, so maybe you can just grab the amount you need for this recipe if your store has one? Let me know if you try one of these ideas and it works! :) Sorry I can’t be of more help. xo.

  22. MJ October 27, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    These look amazing! I couldn’t stop thinking about them when I was trying to fall asleep last night (sad, right? ). I can’t decide whether to make these or Elana’s choc chip cookies as my first forays into almond flour baking – may have to do both. And I LOVE pumpkin. Won’t mind a chance to use the mini-donut pan I got but didn’t get to try before going GF but the dough balls look sooo good and even easier. These dipped in cinnamon sugar would be awesome too. I’d love to see these in an apple cider doughnut/ball variety too (cinnamon sugar topping) – any ideas on modifying the recipe?

    As far as GF recipes – I miss naan. I’ve only seen one recipe for it so far in all my searching, and I haven’ tried it yet. (I’m not so big into baking as I try not to have too many treats around to tempt me.)

    So glad I found your site, thanks for all the great recipes!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

      Thanks MJ! Haha, I think about these things when I’m falling asleep, too — no shame! ;) Hmm… Elana’s cookies are wonderful, but yes — I say try both, and get the best of both worlds! I love that you already own a mini donut pan — that is beyond awesome. I must say, I think I preferred the donut holes, but not for any particular reason — both methods had their merits! ;) Funny that you mention that — I was thinking rolling them in cinnamon sugar would be out of this world, too! (Great minds think alike…) But, I was planning on trying that with the apple cider donut variety I will (hopefully) be posting soon (< – alluded to at the bottom of this post, ha). I will let you know ASAP when I have this recipe modified for an apple cider variety — cinnamon sugar topping included! :) I miss naan too. *sigh* I haven’t seen a GF kind, but I have been wanting to make roti, which is kind of similar, and made of millet. One of these days… :) xo!

  23. MJ October 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    I don’t have any coconut oil – can I use grapeseed oil?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 27, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

      Hmm… I haven’t tried it with grapeseed, but whenever I bake with grapeseed oil, I find it makes things very bitter for some reason! Might just be the brands I’ve bought, though. But you could probably just sub some butter or vegan butter, I would think. If you try the grapeseed and it works, do let me know! :)

  24. MJ October 28, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    Thanks for both replies Katie – I hunted through my pantry and found I’d hidden some coconut oil so I will use that.

    Also, I now have to make your dark chocolate biscotti – there were some choc pb biscotti I loved before going GF. I’m thinking of subbing pb for the chopped almonds and maybe adding a little more flour, a little less agave to make up for the more liquid of it. So many recipes, so little time! Fortunately my husband is willing to help me test each one. :)

    I think one chocolate chip (either your pizookies or biscotti or maybe both, who knows) and pumpkin donut holes are on my schedule this weekend. And fall weather has arrived to encourage me.

    Re your other comment – I haven’t had roti, guess it’s like naan? I’ve heard I could eat dosa but haven’t found a place that does them yet.

    In case you can’t tell, I’m thrilled to have found your site. Really appreciate all your work and how easy your recipes look. And your photos are beautiful!

    Thanks again, all the best to you

  25. Gena October 28, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    I have to confess, regular donuts hold no special place in my heart, so the latest craze for them in blogland mystifies me a little! That said, Katie, I think these recipes show such tremendous artistry and attention to detail and creativity: beautiful work.

  26. Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa October 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Beautiful. I need to make some of these stat. I was just browsing through a cooking store this morning and was ooohhing over an mini donut pan. Drats, should have picked it up!

  27. Annelies October 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Katie- these look so tasty. Also that combination of chocolate and pumpkin in the doughballs sounds right on for this season. Congrats on seven batches to perfection!

  28. Maryann October 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    These look good. Do you have a version I might use for what’s called pumpkin roll? I guess use a vegan cream cheese for the filling. I’ve been so busy with work all the time and company yesterday I went to bed at 8pm. Now working again and we just had a surprise October snow storm Saturday night.Melted pretty much yesterday so not ready for winter in Eastern PA.

  29. Ashley November 1, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Made these this weekend and they rocked! I’ve been craving a doughnut for a while now, but finding a recipe that’s gf and vegan is darn near impossible! Thanks so much for posting this one, they were delicious! Made my house smell so good and festive. Will be making them again real soon! ( :

  30. Anisa Taft November 7, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    LOVED these! :) We were out of eggs this morning and I didn’t have any thawed sausage… and I had been wanting to make this recipe anyways! Super yummy! I sent a batch with my husband to work and kept only a handful at home (no self control when it comes to things this good.)

  31. November 8, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Haven’t baked donuts for ages! Still have a bunch of pumpkins to put in use :)

  32. MJ November 14, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Wanted to give you an update….my husband and I LOVED the dough balls when I made them. I used some almond flour I’d made myself – had a few little almond chunks in it yet, but we liked that – along with some purchased from NutsOnline, and I had to use cornstarch instead of arrowroot as I was out. (also, I used Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice, which I love instead of just cinnamon) I did not include choc chips, nor did I glaze them – couldn’t wait to eat them. They were very good that day and the next day, and I had to put a bunch in the freezer to stop my DH from eating them all. We went on a trip last weekend, so I pulled the doughballs out of the freezer on Friday when we left, so we could have them Sunday morning. I did not refrigerate them. When we had them yesterday morning and this morning, they were AMAZING! The best way I could describe it is they were like the middle of the best, moistest pumpkin muffin you’ve ever had, wonderful deep pumpkin&spice taste. This means I can make and freeze a batch to take to my in-laws for the holidays as well as making more at my DH’s request. :) I wonder if using arrowroot will change conistency, may hve to try it for comparison first. Now I just need to order more almond flour! Thanks again for the great, so easy recipe!

  33. Julie H November 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Katie, I was wondering if you tried with any other flour besides almond? I’m also trying to stay away from nuts right now, do you think I could substitute rice flour? I am assuming because of the texture this might work best. These looks amazing, this shall be my thanksgiving dessert.


    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing November 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      Hi Julie! I’m so sorry this reply is late — I am literally weeks behind on comments (and posts — gah!)! But I saw yours and wanted to give a quick response. :) Unfortunately, I don’t think this would work with others flours. :( I haven’t tried it, but almond flour is very unique, with completely different properties than other GF flours. Usually you can sub another nut flour for it, but in your case, that obviously wouldn’t work! Rice flour is very dry, whereas almond flour is moist and oily. Also, rice flour (as you may know) really needs a binder to keep it together. I don’t really bake with grain flours, so I’m sorry I can’t help you convert it, but I did want to make sure I warned you before you decided to try it! Let me know if I can help. xo.

      • Julie H November 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

        Thank you so much for the response, I appreciate it. I will probably just make and eat them anyway. Can’t wait they look yummy!

  34. Deanna November 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Okay, I don’t even like donuts. But, these? These I think I need to make. NEED. :)

  35. Erin @ Big Girl Feats November 17, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    I feel like owning a donut pan would only result in massive sugar headaches for me. But you, of course, make it healthy and delicious looking. Fabulous! As always! AND I MISS YOU!!! xoxoxoxo

  36. Kelly V December 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    I had some leftover pumpkin from my first try at these, and (let’s be honest) it’s almost finals week, SO I tried another batch with different substitutions. I subbed corn starch for arrowroot powder and Earth Balance vegan buttery spread (melted) for coconut oil, but this time around I used wheat flour (!) and added two eggs-worth of Ener-G egg replacer as a binder. Both the dough and the final product turned out much gummier than last time (which had almond flour and no additional binder). I made the holes slightly smaller than before, but they puffed up a lot. Cooked 15 minutes.

    They came out somehow a great deal less flavorful than the others. Of course, more than 80% of the contents were different from the original recipe…. Moral of the story: Katie knows best. Almond flour is the way to go!

  37. Ally December 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Katie, where’d you go? Hope you’re surviving school, we miss you!

    • Jamie in Arkansas January 19, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Ditto!!! :)

  38. Frustrated December 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I tried this recipe, but unfortunately, the doughnuts never cooked through the middle? I made two pans with 16 on each. Maybe I made them too big? They cooked for over a 30 minutes in my oven (it’s calibrated) and still never actually set up in the middle. The uncooked dough smelled really good, though.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

      Hi Frustrated,

      I can certainly understand why you are frustrated! I apologize for the (obscenely) belated response; I wasn’t able to get to most comments in the late fall through January. I did notice this question, though, and wanted to be sure to give you a response, despite how late it is. I am so sad to hear that the recipe didn’t work out very well! :( I hope I can help. Here are my thoughts, if they mean anything 3 months later! (I sincerely apologize, again, for such a late reply.)

      My first question is, did you use a mini-donut pan, or a regular size? I am guessing a mini, as I suggested in the recipe, but just wanted to double check, because it might have been kind of buried in the rest of the post. Sorry if that’s an obvious question. This is kind of a tricky recipe because of the pumpkin; each pumpkin will vary a bit in its water content, so I’m wondering if that would be a factor. Did you use canned pumpkin, or a baked and pureed one? If the latter, perhaps draining off any excess moisture would make it less moist (i.e., almost “wringing” it out, by pressing down on it in a bowl or something, and pouring off any water that seeps out, or pressing it through a colander). In regards to size being a factor, I do think that they have to be made rather small to bake through — it’s possible that my donut pan had slightly smaller molds in my pan than the one you used. I bet using less dough would be worth a try, as you mentioned. Another thought is turning up the heat by 25-50 degrees for that last leg, until they are cooked through in the middle. My last idea to move them from the bottom rack to a top rack for the last stretch of baking (checking frequently, of course), until the tops look a little golden. In the case that none of these things help, I would leave them out overnight, slightly covered, to dry out a touch.

      I should mention that these donuts are a bit soft in the middle — much more moist than most regular (and especially gluten-free) donuts. I will go re-read the post and edit it to make sure it emphasizes this more. Thanks so much for taking the time not only to try the recipe, but also to let me know about the issue you encountered. I’m sorry again that it didn’t work out as planned. If you want to continue troubleshooting rest assured I will get back to in a timely manner, unlike this response. Feel free to email if that’s easier (NFKatie[at]


  39. Julie September 11, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    I am allergic to nuts so almond flour is out. Would anything else work? These look fantastic!!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing September 11, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Hi Julie! Thanks for checking the recipe out. I’m afraid that almond flour (and just nut flours in general) are extremely unique in their properties — very moist due the oils, and they don’t absorb much liquid, as with grain flours; as a result I’m not sure what to suggest as a substitute. I’m really sorry! One thought might be to play with coconut flour a bit, but it is very, very different from nut flour. You would use about 2 TB where a recipe would call for something like 2 C of nut flour! It also sucks up moisture like a sponge, another difference. Still, it is something to perhaps explore.

      Please let me know if you think of anything and I’ll do my best to help troubleshoot!


  40. Eliza September 17, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Ok forget the burritos THIS is the next recipe I’m gonna try :) been experimenting with GF vegan treats recently and not found a really good one yet. I made some coconut flour cupcakes the other day and although nice not quite treaty enough!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 3, 2012 at 7:40 am #

      I hope you enjoy them! They are quite soft, but I think they are perfect when paired with some strong coffee or tea. Wonderfully autumnal! :)

  41. Annie September 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    These are WONDERFUL!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve made them several times already & it’s not even officially fall yet, lol. On a whim this week I decided to try something different – I had several bananas getting ready to go bye-bye & I wondered if mashed banana would make a good sub for pumpkin… Verdict: it DOES! Instead of chocolate chips I added unsweetened shredded coconut. Otherwise, left everything the same. So yummy! :-)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 3, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      Annie, thanks so much for your comment, and letting me know how the recipe went for you. I can’t wait to try the banana version — that sounds so, so delicious, and perfect for when I don’t have pumpkin or squash on hand! I’m delighted that you shared your adaptations, and I shall be trying them myself soon! xo.

  42. Belenda October 3, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    I can’t wait to make these. I have everything except arrowroot powder. Not sure where to get that. Hate having to delay making these until I can find it. Another fall treat I miss so much is pumpkin roll with cream cheese. Anyone have a handle on that recipe yet?? Thanks for your hard work in remaking all these recipes for us!!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing October 3, 2012 at 7:45 am #

      Hi Belenda! I hope I can help so you don’t have to delay any longer! :) Arrowroot is usually either with gluten-free baking products, or in the spice aisle. Many stores will let you buy just a little spice jar’s worth of it, so you don’t have to get a huge package. I know Whole Foods sometimes has it in bulk bins, but really you shouldn’t have trouble finding it with gluten-free baking ingredients at the supermarket (the most common brand is Bob’s Red Mill, and one bag lasts for ages). I never had pumpkin roll before I found out I couldn’t have gluten anymore, so not sure what it should taste like, but I’ll let you know if I come up with a good substitute or come across one! xo.

  43. Debbie October 21, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    I just made these this morning and I had to put the leftovers in the freezer, because I wanted to keep eating and eating and eating. Very yummy! Even my daughter, who won’t try anything that looks even a little different than “normal” ate half a donut before declaring that she didn’t like it. (I’m not buying it.)

    For the record, I used a Wilton heart-shaped donut pan, which I think is comparable to a regular size. Definitely not mini. I used the leftover batter for donut holes, and those finished at the same time as the ones in the donut pan. The texture is definitely different from a traditional donut, but they still held together just fine.

    Now I just need to find a way to lock up my freezer, before I eat the rest. ;-)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing November 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Hi Debbie! Thanks so much for letting me know how they went, and your success with the Wilton donut pan. :) Great news for others who are interested in trying it out. I’m so delighted you enjoyed them!


  44. mallory November 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    i have made these twice, and both times, the batter was way too wet to work with! i ended up adding extra almond flour, but it was still impossible to roll them. i ended up just having little pumpkin ‘mounds,’ which were delicious, but not quite doughnuts.

    any ideas why it’s so moist? should i use less pumpkin? more arrowroot?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing November 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Mallory!

      Hmm… These are my initial thoughts — the difficulty with recipes that use pumpkin (well, at least in the case of those that also used almond flour, which isn’t absorbent like grain flours) is that the levels of moisture in the squash/pumpkin can vary significantly, and that can affect the recipe’s outcome. So it might help if you can give me this information: Have you been using home-cooked pumpkin, or canned? And if so, was it a pie pumpkin, or a regular pumpkin (pie pumpkins are much smaller and sweeter)? Maybe that will help us get to the issue.

      Another thought is, regardless of the pumpkin’s preparation (canned or home cooked), you can take the cooked pumpkin, and place it in some tupperware in the fridge overnight, or leave it out for an hour or two, so that the water content pools a bit on top. Once it has condensed like that, you can pour off the excess water. That might help, and I would definitely start there, as I found that when testing this recipe, there was a slight variation in moisture based on the squash I used — they were all fresh pumpkins that I cooked at home, but they were naturally diverse in their water content.

      Another idea would be to add a little more arrowroot, which acts like a starch and absorbs some of the moisture. Be careful with how much you add, though, as it doesn’t really make things “dry” — just more congealed. Another thought would be to sub some sugar in for the agave, and that might just take some experimentation, I’m afraid!

      A final suggestion: my friend Sarah makes these frequently, and substitutes pureed delicata squash, which is drier than pumpkin. Perhaps that would be another alternative to try?

      As I mentioned in the post, these are pretty soft and moist for donuts, so they won’t ever turn out dry. I’m worried that you might be disappointed if you’re looking for a true bakery/supermarket type of donut hole. They probably match up more closely with doughballs than donuts, at least when I make them. The glaze is what really sets them apart as donut holes in my mind. :) I’d love to help, so let me know your thoughts!


      • mallory November 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

        thanks so much for replying! i’ll make them again within the next couple weeks and let you know!

      • mallory November 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

        sorry, meant to also say: canned pumpkin. i’m going to try to get some moisture off beforehand for my next batch.

  45. Kelly July 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    I love donuts! and I can not wait to try this!.

    • Katie August 2, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Yay! I hope you love them! :)

  46. Kristin June 5, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Just made these…..and also ate a crumbled one, while glazing the others in the chocolate glaze. Mmmmm….so. So. Good! The only problem I had….was the shape. Mine started out round (I did the ball version), and ended up flat on bottom, with a little mound on top. I’m not too worried….as they taste deeeelicious! Thanks!

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