These gluten free Boston cream doughnuts are simply PERFECT: pillowy-soft and fluffy, and filled with a silky-smooth, rich vanilla pastry cream. They’re also super easy to make! The dough comes together in no time and, after a chilling step, is a joy to handle. One thing’s for certain: missing doughnuts just because you can’t eat gluten is officially a thing of the past.
Friends, welcome to gluten free doughnut heaven. It’s the realm of pillowy-soft dough, silky-smooth vanilla pastry cream, luscious chocolate ganache and just an outrageous amount of deliciousness. Yes, you guessed it: today, we’re talking gluten free Boston cream doughnuts.
I adore these doughnuts. Seriously, there aren’t enough superlatives out there to describe just how insanely good they are. And they’re GLUTEN FREE!!!!
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the classic that are Boston cream doughnuts. They’re just pure cosy comfort food – basically a hug in doughnut form – and ever since I developed my Ultimate Gluten Free Doughnuts recipe, I knew I had to make a gluten free version.
So, here it is and it’s GLORIOUS.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these amazing doughnuts – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
The pillowy-soft yeast gluten free doughnuts
Now, let’s make one thing clear: these aren’t cake doughnuts (which are really just cake masquerading as doughnuts and can never reach the same level of deliciousness as the real thing). These are proper fried yeast doughnuts – perfectly golden and with a pillowy-soft, fluffy texture.
They’re also rather easy to make!! I’ve included as many helpful details and tips in the recipe below as possible, which should help you achieve THE PERFECT gluten free Boston cream doughnuts in your own kitchen.
If you’re a visual person and want to see step-by-step photos of the whole process (from the texture of the dough and the best way to shape the doughnuts, to what they look like after proofing and how to fry them to golden perfection), check out the Ultimate Gluten Free Doughnuts blog post.
The silky-smooth vanilla pastry cream
I filled the doughnuts with my favourite, go-to vanilla pastry cream. It’s a super simple recipe that requires only 6 ingredients and less that 15 minutes to make – and it gives you the most luscious, silky-smooth, rich pastry cream every time.
In the pastry cream blog post, I’ve also included all my top tips for preventing your pastry cream from being lumpy, too thick or too runny. You can check it out here!
The chocolate ganache glaze
The finishing touch on any proper Boston cream doughnut is, of course, the chocolate glaze. There seem to be many different variations of the glaze out there: from icings made with powdered sugar and cocoa powder, to glazes made with corn syrup, chocolate and some other ingredients.
I decided to keep it simple and used a dark chocolate ganache made from just two ingredients: dark chocolate and double/heavy cream. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate balances out the sweetness of the pastry cream filling, and rounds off a treat that’s as comforting as it is luxurious.
Top tips for the PERFECT gluten free Boston cream doughnuts
Is it possible to prepare the dough ahead of time?
Yes!! The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the dough one day, keep it in the fridge overnight, and then shape, proof and fry the doughnuts the next day. The doughnuts will be just as soft and fluffy as if you fried them up the previous day.
I don’t recommend keeping the dough in the fridge for longer than one day, though.
Can you prepare the vanilla pastry cream filling in advance?
Of course!! You can definitely prepare the pastry cream a day (or even two) in advance. Just keep it in the fridge in a closed air-tight container until needed. It’s best to cover the pastry cream in the container with a piece of cling film (plastic wrap), so that it’s in direct contact with the surface – this will prevent any skin formation.
On the day you intend to make and fill the doughnuts, take the pastry cream out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Initially, the cream will look rather rubbery and firm, but just give it a thorough whisk (either by hand using a balloon whisk, with a had mixer fitted with the double beaters or with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) until it’s once again silky-smooth and luscious.
What’s the best temperature for frying gluten free doughnuts?
The best oil temperature for frying gluten free doughnuts is 320-330ºF (160-165ºC). In this temperature range, the doughnuts will get beautifully golden brown by the time they’re fully cooked through and they’ll absorb only a very minimal amount of oil (that is, oil absorption is pretty much negligible).
A lower oil temperature can leave them pale and can also result in them absorbing some of the oil, which can make them greasy. A higher oil temperature will cause them to brown too much and too quickly.
How long do these gluten free doughnuts stay soft?
As these are gluten free doughnuts, you might think that they will get hard and dry really quickly… BUT THAT’S NOT THE CASE AT ALL!! In fact, these gluten free doughnuts stay lovely, soft and fluffy for up to 5 hours after frying!!!
Now, they are definitely at their most delicious and fluffiest while they’re still slightly warm or within about an hour of frying. However, you can keep them for up to five hours either lightly covered with paper towels or a clean tea towel, or in a closed container.
I tried storing them until the next day and re-heating them, and while they’re not bad they’re definitely not as soft and lovely as they should be. So, I definitely recommend eating them on the first day – honestly, they’re so delicious that they’ll be gone within the hour anyway.
Although all the ingredients in the recipe should be easily accessible either in your local grocery store or online, I still wanted to include a list of substitutions you can make. (NOTE: all substitutions should be made by weight and not by volume.)
- Active dried yeast: You can use instant yeast, in which case you don’t need to activate it, but just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the milk that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and egg.
- Psyllium husk: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE IT WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the whole psyllium husk, use only 85% of the weight listed in the recipe.
- Tapioca starch: You can use cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot starch instead.
- Millet flour: You can use finely ground/milled brown rice flour instead, but your doughnuts might be slightly less fluffy.
- Sorghum flour: You can use white teff flour, light buckwheat flour or oat flour instead (the latter only if you’re not sensitive to oats).
A note on measurements (tl;dr: if possible, use a scale)
While I’ve included the volume measurements (cups and spoons) in the recipe card below, if at all possible (and I really cannot overemphasise this): USE METRIC GRAM MEASUREMENTS IF YOU CAN.
They’re much more precise and produce more reliably delicious results. This is true for pretty much all of baking – a kitchen scale will invariably give better results than cups and tablespoons.
I really can’t wait for you to try these fabulous gluten free Boston cream doughnuts. They’re definitely something I never thought would be possible to make gluten free… and yet, here we are. The days of missing doughnuts just because you can’t eat gluten are officially a thing of the past.
I think this definitely calls for a celebratory doughnut… or two.
More gluten free bread recipes
If you’re looking for more amazing gluten free bread recipes (that are nearly indistinguishable from their “regular” equivalents made from wheat flour), you’re definitely in the right place!
- The Ultimate Gluten Free Doughnuts (Yeasted, Fried Gluten Free Jelly Donuts)
- Gluten Free & Vegan Caramel Doughnuts
- The Ultimate Gluten Free Bread (Artisan Style Loaf)
- Gluten Free Seeded Loaf (Mixed Seed Bread)
- Gluten Free Poppy Seed Rolls
- Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns
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Gluten Free Boston Cream Doughnuts
Vanilla pastry cream filling:
- ½ batch vanilla pastry cream recipe
Gluten free doughnuts:
- 10 g (2½ tsp) active dried yeast (If using instant yeast, use 8g.)
- 50 g (¼ cup) caster/superfine or granulated sugar, divided
- 90 g (⅓ cup + 2 tsp) whole milk, warm
- 10 g (2 tbsp) whole/rough psyllium husk (If using psyllium husk powder, use only 8g.)
- 140 g (½ cup + 4 tsp) cold water (It doesn’t need to be chilled from the fridge, just cold from the tap is OK.)
- 160 g (1⅓ cups + 1 tbsp) tapioca starch (You can use an equal weight of arrowroot starch, cornstarch or potato starch instead.)
- 130 g (¾ cup + 3½ tbsp) millet flour, plus extra for flouring the surface (You can use an equal weight of finely milled/ground brown rice flour instead, but your doughnuts might be slightly less fluffy.)
- 25 g (3 tbsp) sorghum flour (You can use an equal weight of light buckwheat flour, white teff flour or oat flour instead. Use the latter only if you're not sensitive to oats.)
- 5 g (2 tsp) xanthan gum
- 5 g (1 tsp) salt
- 8 g (2 tsp) baking powder
- 1 US large/UK medium egg, cold from the fridge
- 35 g (2½ tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
You will also need:
- oil for frying (The best oil for frying is one that’s neutral in flavour and has a high smoking point. I like to use sunflower oil.)
Chocolate ganache glaze:
- 80 g (2¾ oz) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 120 g (½ cup) double/heavy cream
Vanilla pastry cream filling:
- Prepare the filling following the vanilla pastry cream recipe. To fill the doughnuts, you need only half of the recipe – so, halve all the ingredient quantities.
- You can prepare the pastry cream a day or two in advance, keeping it in the fridge in a closed air-tight container until needed. It's best to cover the pastry cream in the container with a piece of cling film (plastic wrap), so that it’s in direct contact with the surface – this will prevent any skin formation.
- On the day you intend to make and fill the doughnuts, take the pastry cream out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Initially, the cream will look rather rubbery and firm, but just give it a thorough whisk (either by hand using a balloon whisk, with a had mixer fitted with the double beaters or with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) until it’s once again silky-smooth.
Making the gluten free enriched dough:
- Activate the yeast: In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, 10g (about 1 tablespoon) sugar and warm milk. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture starts frothing.Tip: If using instant yeast, you don’t need to activate it. Instead, just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the milk that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and egg.
- Make the psyllium gel: In a separate bowl, mix together the psyllium husk and cold water. After about 30-45 seconds, a gel will form.
- For the following steps, I recommend using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. You can also make the dough by hand, but the mixer makes it much easier and results in a smoother dough.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, whisk together the tapioca starch, millet flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and the remaining sugar.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the egg, yeast mixture and psyllium gel.
- Knead the dough until smooth and all the ingredients are evenly incorporated, about 5-10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to occasionally scrape along the sides and bottom of the bowl to prevent any dry patches of unmixed flour.
- Add the butter and knead until it’s fully incorporated. The final dough will be very soft and sticky.Tip: If your dough is very soft and sticky at this point, that's perfectly okay! The next chilling step will firm it up and make it much easier to handle.
Chilling the dough:
- Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with cling film (plastic wrap) and chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.Tip 1: Chilling cools down and sets the butter in the dough, which in turn makes the dough firmer and easier to handle and shape into the individual doughnuts. It also gives the gluten free flours time to properly hydrate (that is, to absorb the moisture in the dough), which also makes the dough less sticky.Tip 2: You could even chill the dough overnight, and then shape, proof and fry the doughnuts the following day!
Shaping the doughnuts:
- Once chilled, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (each piece should weigh about 88g). Tip: I recommend using a digital food scale to get all pieces the same weight, as that will ensure that they all cook at the same rate and will therefore prevent any doughnuts from being undercooked.
- On a lightly floured surface, shape the pieces of dough into balls, as you would dinner rolls or burger buns, and finally flatten them.To shape each piece of dough into a flattened ball:First, flatten the piece of dough. Then, take the corners and bring them in towards the middle, until you get something resembling a pouch. Pinch the ends together. Turn the piece of dough upside down, so that the seams face downwards. Form your hand into a “claw” over the piece of dough and move it in a circular motion on the surface (this will essentially rotate the dough in place, which will help to form a perfectly round ball and also seal the seams together). Finally, gently flatten the ball until it’s about 1-1¼ inch (2.5-3cm) thick at the centre point (take into account that it will have rounded edges and it will therefore be thinner towards the edge), and about 3 inches (7.5cm) in diameter.Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.Tip: By shaping the doughnuts by hand into flattened balls (as opposed to cutting them out with a round cookie cutter), the final fried doughnuts have a nicer, rounder shape.
Proofing the doughnuts:
- Place the doughnuts on individual squares of parchment/baking paper on a large baking sheet. Tip: These squares of parchment paper will make placing the proofed doughnuts into the frying oil much easier and pretty much stress-free.
- Proof the doughnuts in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until about doubled in volume. Lightly cover them with a sheet of cling film (plastic wrap) to prevent them from drying out during proofing.Tip: If your kitchen is on the cold side, you can proof them in a lukewarm oven (the ideal proofing temperature is around 79ºF/26ºC).
Frying the doughnuts:
- After the doughnuts have been proofing for about 1 hour, you can start setting up your “frying station”. For this, you can use a large heavy-duty pot or deep pan, a large cast iron pot or a deep fryer if you have one. If you’re using a pot or a deep pan, make sure that you fill it with enough oil so that the oil is at least 2 inches (5cm) deep.Tip: The best oil for frying is one that’s neutral in flavour and has a high smoking point. I prefer to use sunflower oil, but you can use your favourite frying oil instead (so long as it fulfils those requirements).
- Heat the oil to 320-330ºF (160-165ºC), and make sure to maintain this temperature throughout the frying process (you might need to adjust your stove’s heat to maintain the oil temperature at the correct temperature range).It’s best to use a digital food thermometer (or a candy thermometer or a deep-fry thermometer) to make sure that your oil is at the right temperature.Tip: In this temperature range, the doughnuts will get beautifully golden brown by the time they’re fully cooked through and they’ll absorb only a very minimal amount of oil (pretty much negligible). A lower oil temperature can leave them pale and can also result in them absorbing some of the oil, which can make them greasy. A higher oil temperature will cause them to brown too much and too quickly.
- Once the doughnuts have doubled in volume, carefully place them into the hot oil. Use the squares of parchment paper to help you lower the doughnuts into the oil. After 10-15 seconds, you can use kitchen tongs to remove the squares of parchment paper out of the oil.The number of doughnuts that you’ll be able to fry at the same time will depend on the size of your pot, pan or fryer. Don’t crowd them together too much.
- Fry the doughnuts on this first side for about 2½ minutes or until deep golden brown, then flip them over.
- Fry them on the other side for a further 2½ minutes or until deep golden brown.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts out of the oil and onto a large plate or wire rack lined with paper towels. Make sure to drain your doughnuts properly before placing them onto the paper towels. Tip 1: I like to cover them with a layer of paper towels on top as well, just to absorb any oil on top of the doughnuts.Tip 2: Note that the doughnuts will initially have a crisp crust immediately out of the hot oil, but the crust will soften after a minute or two.
Filling the doughnuts:
- Allow the doughnuts to cool until they’re warm or lukewarm before filling.
- To fill the doughnuts, first make a hole in the doughnuts – I like to use a long thin knife for this, but you can use everything from scissors to skewers. Making a hole will make filling the doughnuts much easier.
- Make sure that your pastry cream is smooth and pipeable. Give it another whisk if necessary.Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip (alternatively, you can just cut off the end of the piping bag and use it without a piping tip).
- Fill the doughnuts until the pastry cream starts coming out of the hole – that tells you that the doughnuts are filled to their maximum capacity. I filled each doughnut with about 45g of pastry cream.
Chocolate ganache glaze:
- Place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat or in the microwave, heat the double/heavy cream until it only just comes to a boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir together until smooth and glossy.
- Dip the top of each doughnut into the chocolate ganache and shake off any excess.
- Allow the chocolate ganache to set at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Serving and storage:
- The gluten free Boston cream doughnuts are best served while they’re still slightly warm or within about an hour of frying. However, you can keep them for up to five hours either lightly covered with paper towels or a clean tea towel, or in a closed container.