Abuela Doughnuts Gluten-Free Recipe

Its name and its layered flavors give a nod to the delicious chocolate and cinnamon duo that is integral to a Mexican grandma’s traditional hot cocoa. Only here, these gluten free doughnuts are modernized to meet your mouth in the form of a moist, dense, gourmet doughnut coated with cinnamon and sugar and a surprising cayenne kick.

Abuela Doughnuts Gluten-Free Recipe

Author Shannon Mercado


For the Sugar And Spice Mix:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Doughnut Dough:


Make the sugar and spice mix:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until fully incorporated. Reserve.

Make the doughnut dough:

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar, shortening, egg yolks, and salt with a wooden spoon or a power mixer on medium speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix until smooth.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  3. Gently mix the flour mixture into the sour cream mixture, 1 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. The dough should be slightly tacky but not too sticky to handle; add more flour, if needed.
  4. To shape and cook the doughnuts, see below. While still hot, dip each doughnut into the sugar and spice mix, generously covering all sides. Allow to cool, then serve.

Doughnut Shaping and Cooking Instructions

  1. The temperature of the oil is important: too hot and the outside will cook too quickly. And don’t overcrowd the pot with doughnuts; add only a few at a time.
  2. In a large pot, heat 3 inches of canola oil to 350°F on a candy thermometer; track and adjust the heat to maintain the temperature. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Scoop the dough into 16 (1/4-cup) portions. Shape each into a ball. Roll each ball into a 5-inch snake and pinch the ends together to make a ring 3-1/2 inches in diameter. Set the rings on the prepared sheet pan and slightly flatten them to 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Gently drop a few dough rings into the oil. After they sink to the bottom and rise back to the surface, wait 20 seconds, then, using a slotted spoon, flip them and let cook for 90 seconds longer. Flip them again and let cook for another 30 seconds. (The tops of the doughnuts will begin to crack open; that’s okay.) With the slotted spoon, lift the doughnuts from the oil, transfer to a cooling rack, and cool for at least 10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Flour Facts
The amount of GF flour blend you need for these doughnut recipes may vary depending on the brand you use: Shannon uses Pillsbury Best Multi-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend, and we also like the results using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. (Cup4Cup didn’t work well.) If your dough is still too sticky to handle after mixing in all the dry ingredients, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is slightly tacky but easy to shape with your hands.

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Photography Paul Mehaffey

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