Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Doughnuts

Behold the luscious, lemony version of the old fashioned doughnut. This gluten free doughnut recipe is sure to become a family favorite. It’s also surprisingly easy to make, so you can FINALLY have real-deal gluten-free donuts!

Lemon Poppy Seed Doughnuts

Author Shannon Mercado


For the Doughnut Dough:

For the Glaze:

  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • Poppy seeds for garnish
  • Lemon zest, for garnish


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. Stir in the poppy seeds and lemon zest and juice.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to 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.
  3. To shape and cook the doughnuts, follow the instructions below.

Make the glaze:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, lemon juice, corn syrup, and half of the hot water and whisk until smooth. Slowly add more hot water until the glaze is slightly thick.
  2. Dip each doughnut, cracked side down, into the glaze, submerging only one side of the doughnut. Let excess glaze drip back into the bowl. Set the doughnuts, unglazed side down, on a cooling rack. Garnish with poppy seeds and lemon zest and let dry before serving.

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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