These delicious lemon baked donuts happen to be gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan, so they're pretty much for everybody! They're my kind of donuts, full of flavor, fun, and nutritious ingredients.
You know that old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too?” Well, I just did. And this recipe proves that you can. Meaning, when we don’t want to stop eating nutritious food but we want something sweet like cake, it’s possible to have both. That's what these delicious baked donuts are all about, made of whole-food, nutritious ingredients without any butter, refined sugar, or white flour. Really! These lemon chia donuts are fluffy, lemony, and so satisfying.
Chia seeds give them a lemon-poppy seed look. My taste testers ate them with great enthusiasm, never knowing that they’re sweetened with coconut nectar and the rose frosting gets its rosy color from purple sweet potato, providing good stuff like Vitamins A & B, potassium, protein, fiber and magnesium. Nutritious frosted donuts - is your mind blown?!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Almond flour: Adds healthy fats and structure to the donuts. A great substitute is tiger nut flour.
Oat flour: If gluten-free is a health necessity, look for oat flour labeled gluten-free, since may processing plants can have traces of gluten in their oat flour. You can also make it by blending it in a high-powered blender until you have a fine grain.
Potato starch: This is important for the structure and texture of the donuts.
Baking powder: You probably have this in your pantry.
Chia seeds: Nutritious while providing that poppy seed effect. You could use poppy seeds instead, if you prefer.
Lemon juice and zest: For that yummy lemon flavor
Plant-based milk: any, as long as it's plain and preferably unsweetened.
Coconut nectar: Maple syrup is a great alternative, but coconut nectar has a lightness and delicious flavor for these donuts and is preferable if you have it. It's also considered lower glycemic and is packed with minerals, B & C vitamins, and amino acids.
Applesauce: For a little more sweetness and nutrition.
Vanilla: I wouldn't skip this, it balances the lemon flavor so nicely.
Salt: Another flavor balancer.
I don't use a nonstick spray. My donut pans are considered nonstick and the donuts come out well if I let them cool completely before trying to remove them. You can use a nonstick oil spray if you prefer.
For an oil-free option, you can try sprinkling the donut pan with water and oat flour before adding the dough to help keep the donuts from sticking.
Here is a list of the equipment needed for this recipe:
Mixer: A large bowl and spoon or a hand/stand mixer with bowl.
Pans: pans that can accommodate 12 donuts cooking at once (I use two 6-donut pans).
Spoon or spatula: to fill the donut pans.
Oven: for baking the donuts.
Zester: For zesting the lemon.
Juicer: For juicing the lemon.
Measuring cups and spoons: Including a liquid measuring cup.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, add the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Set the oven to 350 F.
As mentioned, I don't usually prep my nonstick donut pans. If you'd prefer to spray with oil or sprinkle water and oat flour, do this now.
Fill each section of the pan about ⅔ full.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. If you will be frosting, such as the Sweet Potato Rose Frosting pictured, this is a good time to start.
Let cool completely before removing the donuts from the pan.
To frost the donuts: Place the frosting into a bowl. Hold the donut firmly and dip the top into the frosting, then twist as you lift and remove.
Serve with frosting of your choice. The Sweet Potato Rose Frosting is pictured, which includes culinary rose petals. These make a lovely treat for Easter or Mother's Day!
Store in a sealed container. They will keep in the fridge for up to a few days or in the freezer for up to a few months.
Donuts at a donut shop are almost always deep fried, which creates a different texture than baked donuts. Donut shops often use ingredients that are more processed and high in fat. These baked donuts will have more of a cake-like texture and are far more health-promoting than your average deep-fried donut-shop donut. Each of these donuts contains almost 3 grams of fiber, which you're unlikely to find in the average donut shop.
Yes! I love the rose frosting, but these donuts are great with a simple glaze, a dusting of powdered sugar (if you're ok with a bit of refined sugar), or a vanilla or lemon frosting of your choice.
Gluten-Free Lemon Baked Donuts
- large bowl and spoon or a bowl and hand/stand mixer
- 12-donut pan(s) I use two 6-donut pans
- hand juicer
- spoon or spatula for placing dough in pan
- table knife for testing doneness
- 1 cup almond flour or tiger nut flour
- 1 cup oat flour make sure it's gluten-free if needed
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds preferably black
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest not packed (about 2 medium lemons)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plant-based milk I use oat milk
- ½ cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
- ¼ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 batch Sweet Potato Rose Frosting with culinary rose petals
- vanilla or lemon frosting of your choice
- a glaze of your choice
- powdered sugar
- lemon zest
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, like that of a stand mixer.
- While stirring, add the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined.Set the oven to 350 F.*
- Fill each section of the pan equally, about ⅔ full.
- Bake the donuts for about 15 minutes, until they’re a bit springy and a knife comes out mostly clean. Tip: This is a good time to make frosting. (See above for additional frosting options.)
- Let the donuts cool completely before eating or frosting. This helps prevent crumbling or sticking.
- Frosting: To frost the donuts, place frosting in a bowl. Holding the donut firmly, dip the top of the donut into the frosting and twist, working to cover the whole top of the donut with frosting. Pull the donut away as you twist. If the donut needs more frosting, simply dip again.
- If using, sprinkle the dried rose petals over the top and serve.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.
general food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands and ingredients well before using
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove