Gluten-Free Chai Spiced Doughnuts (Plant-Based)

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Gluten-Free Chai Spiced Doughnuts

After working outside on a cold day, there is nothing as soothing and warming to me as a cup of chai tea. Until now! These gluten-free chai spiced doughnuts are baked, not fried, lower-sugar, and also free from egg and dairy. The perfect warm treat to pair with a cup of tea!

Growing up, my parents owned and operated our small town’s bakery. It was where I worked throughout high school, and doughnut-making was a daily chore.

But after so many years of being in a bakery, I lost my taste for doughnuts. I couldn’t even stand the smell of them anymore. I know, crazy, right?!

But I happen to be married to a man who loves doughnuts.

Before we moved to our farmhouse in the country, our suburban house was a couple blocks from a doughnut shop. Rob used to walk down on weekends and pick up his favorite treat to enjoy while reading the paper in the morning. It was a weekly ritual, but one I never joined in with him.

Once we moved, doughnuts became more of a rare treat for him, and every once in a while, he would reminisce about his weekend doughnut-hunting trips.

Last year, I decided to call upon my baking skills and start making him the occasional doughnut, but I wanted to give my recipes a slight improvement so they were a bit more guilt-free.

Making a doughnut that’s gluten-free, plant-based, and also lower in sugar is a tall order. Especially one that actually tastes good! But after a lot of tinkering, these gluten-free chai spiced doughnuts have become one of our favorites. And the maple glaze is the perfect addition to the chai spice flavors!

Plus, surprise surprise, I actually enjoy them, too! That’s saying a lot since I hadn’t even been slightly interested in doughnuts for a couple of decades.

I think you’ll enjoy these doughnuts just as much as we do, and don’t worry—they’re very easy to make at home.

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Chai spice doughnuts are the perfect complement to a warm cup of tea or coffee

Why you’ll love these gluten-free doughnuts

I doubt that you need a list of reasons to love doughnuts, but I do think it’s worth highlighting the reason why these doughnuts need to be part of your life!

  1. Cakey texture
    Many gluten-free baked goods have a tendency to either be incredibly dense or super crumbly. Not so with these doughnuts. They have a tight crumb, but also a good rise. The texture is just like what a cake doughnut should be.
  2. Fragrant and cozy blend of flavors
    The chai spice blend–cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom–add so much warmth to these doughnuts. Then, to really take it up a level, the maple glaze balances the spice with sweetness. Your kitchen will smell delicious, too!
  3. Low in sugar
    We consume very, very little refined sugar in our home. It has so many negative health effects, and it can also trigger flares of my dysautonomia. I take a great deal of pride in creating recipes that taste good without much sugar. Most doughnuts have at least a cup and a half of sugar for a batch, but this recipe for Gluten-Free Chai Spiced Doughnuts only uses two tablespoons. The maple glaze will add more sweetness, but they are very enjoyable all on their own.
  4. Plant-Based
    Since we’re vegan, every recipe you’ll find on this blog is also vegan. These doughnuts are no exception, so if you have an egg allergy or issues with dairy, you’re safe here!
  5. Baked, not fried
    Doughnuts are traditionally fried, but I find that it takes away absolutely nothing by baking them instead. You save your body from unnecessary oils and fat without sacrificing any bit of flavor.
The maple glaze on these chai spiced doughnuts adds all the sweetness you need and perfectly complements the flavors

What’s in chai spiced doughnuts?

This recipe features two parts: the doughnut, and the glaze. The actual doughnut is not overly sweet because most of the sweetness really comes from the maple glaze, so if you’re concerned about sugar intake, you can certainly enjoy them without the glaze. They’re quite perfect for dunking this way, too!

  • Gluten-Free Flour – I am partial to Bob’s Red Mill. Using the “blue bag” variety means that it will already include xanthan gum, which helps to mimic what gluten provides to the texture of baked goods.
  • Buckwheat Flour – I like to bake with buckwheat because it adds chewiness that’s lacking from many gluten-free baked goods. It also creates a thicker dough, so be careful not to mix up the ratios and use too much or your batter will be virtually impossible to work with.
  • Millet Flour – If you want to help the moisture and chewiness of your gluten-free baked goods, millet flour is your friend.
  • Vegan Egg Replacer – This product from Bob’s Red Mill helps with the chemical reactions needed in baking to help baked goods rise properly and hold their form. Simply mix it with warm (not hot) water a minute or so before adding to the mixing bowl.
  • Butter Vanilla Flavor – While you could certainly use vanilla extract, it will blow your mind what a difference flavor oils make to your baked goods in comparison. Plus, because they aren’t alcohol-based, they don’t cook out, meaning that the resulting flavor is more intense.
  • Maple Glaze – The maple glaze is really very simple to make and comes together in minutes. You’ll want to allow it to cool completely to room temperature before glazing the doughnuts, and you’ll see that the top will harden as it cools. Then, whisk it up again before dunking the doughnuts in to coat.
Lower in sugar and free from gluten, egg, and dairy, these chai spice doughnuts are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea

Step By Step: How to Make Gluten-Free Chai Spiced Doughnuts

  1. Begin by prepping the vegan egg replacer. Mix 2 tablespoons with 1/4 cup of warm (not hot) water in a small bowl until completely dissolved. Then, set it aside to rest and thicken.
  2. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, spices, and salt to a mix bowl, and combine.
  3. Once your dry mix is well combined, add in the wet ingredients: melted butter, vanilla extract, vegan egg replacer, maple syrup, and milk. Stir to combine.
  4. The batter will be quite thick. The consistency is almost more like banana bread or muffins. I find it easiest to scoop it into a pastry bag, then pipe it into your greased doughnut pan. However, you can also carefully spoon it in, then smooth it out with a wet finger.
  5. While the doughnuts are baking, make the maple glaze. Once it comes together, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  6. After removing the doughnuts from the oven, allow them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, but not much longer. Then, gently remove them and let them finish cooling on a wire rack. The easiest way I’ve found to get them out of the pan is just to hold the top of the doughnut and gingerly rock or twist them until they release from the pan. If you leave them in the pan too long, they’ll continue baking and lose some of their chewiness. If you try to remove them too quickly, they are more likely to break apart.
  7. Once the doughnuts have completely cooled, your glaze should also be cool. The glaze will have firmed up on the surface, like a crust. If the glaze is not thick enough, you can add more powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until it’s how you like it. Using a whisk, stir it vigorously to recombine everything into a smooth product. Then, carefully dunk and swirl each doughnut to coat the tops, and return to the cooling rack.

    Tip – Put a piece of waxed paper under your cooling rack to catch any drips from the glaze.
  8. Allow the glaze to set, then enjoy!

    These doughnuts are, of course, best when consumed the same day. However, whenever I test recipes that I’ve created, I always taste test them for several days to see how long they’ll last when stored. I stored them in a sealed container in the fridge, and they were still quite good on the second day after reaching room temperature on a plate. By the third day, they were noticeably more firm, but not crumbly at all and still very tasty. By the fourth day, they were even more firm. Certainly edible, but not the same quality. Perfect for dunking in coffee, though!
The delicious maple glaze completes the flavor palette of these chai spiced doughnuts

FAQs for Gluten-Free Chai Spiced Doughnuts

A: I specifically created this recipe to be gluten-free, so I can’t say how well the ratios of the measurements would work with traditional (gluten) flours.

A: Although I have not tested it, I would imagine that you should be able to sub the Vegan Buttery Sticks (which do contain soy) with an equal amount of coconut oil.

A: I haven’t tested this recipe with other ingredients. If you don’t have buckwheat or millet flour on hand, I do think you could probably substitute a 1:1 Gluten Free Flour blend for the entire recipe. However, I haven’t tried it, so I can’t tell you with certainty if the results will be exactly the same.

Also, any type of plant-based milk is fine: almond, soy, oat, etc.

A: Yes, the buckwheat causes the batter to thicken quite a lot. I find it easier to pipe the batter into the doughnut pan using a pastry bag, but you can also carefully scoop it. Just smooth it out with a wet finger or silicone spatula afterward.

A: In my tests, I stored our doughnuts in a sealed container in the fridge, and they were still quite good on the second day after reaching room temperature on a plate. By the third day, they were noticeably more firm, but not crumbly at all and still very tasty. By the fourth day, they were even more firm. Certainly edible, but not the same quality. Perfect for dunking in coffee, though!

A: I’m sure you can, however there is most likely going to be a decline in quality. Gluten-free baked goods never quite taste the same after freezing as they do when fresh. In my opinion, that’s not always a problem. I would often rather have treats on hand in the freezer, even if they aren’t exactly the same quality as the day I baked them.

Gluten-Free Chai Spiced Doughnuts

Free from egg, dairy, and gluten, as well as lower in sugar, these doughnuts are baked (not fried) for a guilt-free warm and cozy treat!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:12 mins
Total Time:22 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Chai Spiced Doughnuts:

For the Maple Glaze:

Instructions

Make the Doughnuts:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease the doughnut pans.
  • Prepare the vegan egg replacer by whisking the powder with ¼ warm (not hot) water until dissolved. Set aside to rest and thicken while you continue.
  • Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, spices, and salt to a mix bowl, and combine.
  • Once your dry mix is well combined, add in the wet ingredients: melted butter, vanilla extract, vegan egg replacer, maple syrup, and milk. Stir to combine.
  • Pipe batter into baking pans.
    The batter will be quite thick. The consistency is almost more like banana bread or muffins. That's why I find it easiest to scoop it into a pastry bag, then pipe it into your greased doughnut pan. However, you can also carefully spoon it in, then smooth it out with a wet finger.
  • Bake doughnuts for approximately 12 minutes, or until toothpick test reveals doneness. Then, remove from oven to cool on a wire rack. Review the notes included in the above blog post about how to accomplish this without breaking the doughnuts.

Make the Maple Glaze:

  • While the doughnuts are baking, make the maple glaze by combining all ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly.
  • Once the ingredients come together, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Once the doughnuts have completely cooled, your glaze should also be cool. The glaze will have firmed up on the surface, like a crust. If the glaze is not thick enough, you can add more powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until it’s how you like it. Using a whisk, stir it vigorously to recombine everything into a smooth product. Then, carefully dunk and swirl each doughnut to coat the tops, and return to the cooling rack.
  • Once glaze is set, enjoy!

Notes

These doughnuts are, of course, best when consumed the same day. However, whenever I test recipes that I’ve created, I always taste test them for several days to see how long they’ll last when stored. I stored them in a sealed container in the fridge, and they were still quite good on the second day after reaching room temperature on a plate. By the third day, they were noticeably more firm, but not crumbly at all and still very tasty. By the fourth day, they were even more firm. Certainly edible, but not the same quality. Perfect for dunking in coffee, though!
For FAQs, please review the blog post above for more details about substitutions and other helpful tips.
Servings: 10 doughnuts
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These gluten-free chai spiced doughnuts are baked, not fried, lower-sugar, and also free from egg and dairy. The perfect guilt-free treat!

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