These extra tender gluten free donut muffins with jam filling taste like an old-fashioned cake donut, but they’re baked easily in a muffin tin.

Unlike yeasted donuts, these donut muffins are baked simply in a standard 12-cup muffin tin, never fried. These donut muffins are extra tender, with the fragrance of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon in the batter, and satisfy your fresh donut cravings the easy way.

How are these donut muffins different than regular muffins?

Waaaay back in 2011 (nearly a lifetime in Internet years), I created a recipe for gluten free donut muffins for what was then called Living Without Magazine. It’s still out there and actually ranks quite well in search results, so if you’re interested you can still find it.

When you write for a magazine, you tend to have very little creative control. The recipe works, of course, or I wouldn’t have allowed them to put my name on it. But it’s just not my favorite donut muffin recipe.

But what makes a gluten free muffin recipe different from a gluten free donut muffin recipe? A donut muffin should taste more like a cake donut than a lightly sweet mini cake (which is largely what a muffin is).

To me, that means more moist and tender than a regular muffin, with a lighter texture. Plus, the jam in the center of these muffins gives them an entirely different texture and flavor. It gives the muffins more moisture, which leads to more tenderness—and a more ragged top. 

Why this is the best gluten free donut muffin recipe

You know that feeling when you’re craving something but don’t have it on hand, so you try something else in an attempt to satisfy your craving? Sometimes it works, lots of times it doesn’t.

That is never the case with this recipe. Whether you’re craving a donut or a muffin, these gluten free old fashioned donut muffins really hit the spot. Gluten free muffins that taste like donuts! You can’t make this up! (Though I did perfect the recipe.)

And they’re really easy to make too. You’ve likely got all the necessary ingredients in your pantry or fridge, and this gluten free donut muffin recipe takes just 30 minutes to whip up.

Honestly, that’s quicker than it would take you to grab your stuff, head to the store, grab donuts, and get back home — so what are you waiting for? Let’s go!

Gluten free muffin tin donut ingredients

  • Gluten free flour – Better Batter is my all purpose flour of choice, and it’s what I used when developing this recipe. Don’t use a cake flour or single ingredient flour as your final results won’t be anything like mine.
  • Baking powder – This is what gives these muffins their lift, so make sure yours hasn’t passed its freshness date.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg – These two spices are essential for giving you that delicious fried donut taste and aroma. Nutmeg should be freshly grated, if at all possible, for the full effect.
  • Butter and buttermilk – These ingredients add moisture, and also help with a tender crumb. Be sure you’re using store-bought buttermilk, which has the perfect thick texture and just enough moisture, but not too much.
  • Sugar – The sugar adds sweetness, but it also helps makes the muffins tender.
  • Eggs – These add incredible richness to the recipe and help with structure.
  • Jam or preserves – These are my go-to fillings as they really sell that “donut” taste, but you’re free to experiment with other fillings. Be sure to avoid anything with seeds, though, which will create an unpleasant texture and get caught in yoru teeth!
  • Coarse sugar – I love how the sugar topping gives these gf donut muffins a slightly crispy crust.
These extra tender gluten free donut muffins with jam filling taste like an old-fashioned cake donut, but they're baked easily in a muffin tin.

How to make these gluten free donut muffins

You can take almost any plain muffin recipe, add a bit of jam to the very center, and call it a donut muffin. But if you only have a tiny dab of jam in the center you won’t even reach the jam in the first bite.

Unlike our vanilla cake donuts which we dip in melted butter and sugar after baking, I sprinkled these donut muffins with coarse sugar before baking. It still creates a nice bakery-style crust on top, but makes the muffins easier to freeze as a make-ahead breakfast.

Also unlike our versatile mix-in muffins, these donut muffins aren’t made in one single bowl. The dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) are whisked together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.

Then, the wet ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla) are placed in a large bowl and beaten until light and fluffy. Finally, the dry ingredients are added with the buttermilk, alternating between the two and beating until just combined. 

More tips for making gf donut muffins

If you’ve ever shopped for different brands of gf flour, you’ve surely noticed that many say they can be used “cup for cup” with any other kind of flour.

If you’ve used different brands of flour, you know that is absolutely not true.

While most gluten free all purpose flour options are comprised of the same ingredients, the ratios are often different. Some may use more rice flour or use a gritty rice flour (the worst!), while others go heavier on starch, creating an unbalanced blend that absorbs too much moisture and has too little structure.

It’s for this reason that I insist you use Better Batter for this gluten free donut muffin recipe. It’s the only one I’ve ever used for this recipe, so it’s the only one I can promise will give you the same results.

How to keep the jam filling in place

Since the batter is quite thick, it’s able to absorb some additional moisture from the jam in the center.

Using a wet index finger or wooden dowel, and create a well in the center of the batter in each muffin well—but be sure to leave at least a thin layer of plain batter on the bottom of each well. Place the jam inside, and then top with a bit more muffin batter.

Smooth the tops of the muffins, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake until mostly firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached. But you’ll want to avoid poking it into the jam, which will remain wet even once the muffins are fully baked.

Don’t overfill your muffin cups

As these gluten free doughnut muffins cook, they’re going to rise quite a bit. Don’t worry, they’ll sink later for the perfect consistency, but if you overfill your muffin liners… well, later isn’t going to be much fun.

My advice is not to fill your muffin cups more than 75%. This will give your donut muffins room to expand and rise without the messy overflow that’s such a pain to clean up.

How to store gluten free doughnut muffins

Because my gluten free cake donut muffin recipe only makes 12 muffins, I don’t tend to have leftovers in my house, so I don’t have to worry about storage.

Should you find yourself with lots of self-control, you can safely store these muffins in an airtight container on your counter for up to 2 days. Whatever you do, don’t put them in the fridge to try to extend their life — they’ll dry out quickly.

Can I freeze donut muffins?

Absolutely! If you’ve made a double batch or want to save your muffins for much later, you can freeze them.

First, make sure they are completely cool before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap or small zip-top bags. Place them inside a larger airtight container, and then freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw, leave them on the counter for an hour or two, or if you’re in a rush, pop them into the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

These extra tender gluten free donut muffins with jam filling taste like an old-fashioned cake donut, but they're baked easily in a muffin tin.

Gluten free donut muffins: substitution notes

Gluten free, dairy free: donut muffins

To make these muffins dairy-free, you have to replace both the butter and the buttermilk. Good news, though! You should be able to replace each of them quite easily.

Try replacing the butter with my favorite vegan butter replacement, either Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand. Since each of those has more moisture than butter, you may need only 2/3 cup of liquid, rather than the full 3/4 cup that the recipe calls for.

Instead of buttermilk, a mixture of half unsweetened nondairy milk and half nondairy plain yogurt should work well.

If you can have dairy but don’t have buttermilk on hand, using half milk and half unsweetened plain yogurt is a great substitute for buttermilk as well. 

Gluten free, egg free donut muffins

Since there are 3 full eggs in this recipe, it’s a tough as to make the recipe dairy-free.

You can try using a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) in place of each egg, but I’m afraid I’m not too optimistic. 

How to choose a filling

You can use any jam, jelly, or preserves as the filling in the center of these donut muffins. Keep in mind, though, that if you use a filling that is loose and thin, your muffins may take longer to bake and be a bit more unstable.

If you’re using strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry filling, be sure it’s seed-free or you’ll have an unwelcome crunch in the center of each muffin.

Try some tasty mix-ins

While I get antsy about substituting some ingredients, I wholeheartedly love recommending dried mix-ins! So long as you don’t go overboard, mixing in a few things rarely hurts a recipe. Here are some of my favorites for these gf donut muffins:

  • mini chocolate chips to make chocolate donut muffins
  • finely chopped soft nuts, especially walnuts
  • chopped dried fruit, especially cranberries

Choosing a sugar for your topping

I really like adding coarse sugar crystals to the top of muffins, cookies, and sometimes even cakes. They create a really lovely sugar crust with just a few grains. I have found it difficult to source a white coarse sugar crystal that is reliably gluten free, though.

Sugar in the Raw brand coarse sugar is great, but I really prefer white crystals. The brand I’ve found online that I love is Chef’s Select Granulated Sugar Crystals (that’s an affiliate link, but shop around!)

These extra tender gluten free donut muffins with jam filling taste like an old-fashioned cake donut, but they're baked easily in a muffin tin.

FAQs

What’s the best gluten free flour for donut muffins?

I have only ever tested this recipe with Better Batter, so that’s the one I have to recommend for this great recipe.

If you don’t have Better Batter on hand, you can make your own using my mock Better Batter recipe. It contains the same ingredients in the same exact ratio, so you’ll enjoy the same fabulous results whether you use the real thing or my DIY recipe.

You can also try using Cup4Cup (your muffins will be a bit fluffier, but still good), or my Better Than Cup4Cup blend, which is the best blend there is (but you’ll have to build it yourself since it’s not sold anywhere, at least not yet!). You’ll find all the details about my recommended blends on our all purpose gluten free flour blend page.

Do I need a donut pan for these gf donut muffins?

Not at all! This recipe is for donut muffins, so you only need a muffin pan.

If you’ve never had them before, I’d love to hear what you think about these incredible treats that look like muffins but taste like donuts!

Can I use a mini muffin pan to make gluten free mini muffins?

Yes, you can make mini muffins in a mini muffin tin rather than full-sized ones, but you’ll need to adjust the amount of jam you add to each cup, as well as your cook time so they don’t brown too much or burn.

I’ve not made mini donut muffins myself, but they generally require half the cook time, so set a timer for 10 minutes and then check them often.

Can I use this recipe to make gluten free cinnamon donut muffins?

If you’re a fan of cinnamon sugar donuts, you can make one easy adjustment to convert this to a type of gluten free cinnamon muffin recipe.

There’s already cinnamon in the batter, so all you need to do is add some cinnamon sugar! To do this, add just a little bit of cinnamon to the sugar mixture topping for an added boost of that spicy goodness.

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Easy Gluten Free Donut Muffins Recipe with a Jam Filling

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Try these gluten free donut muffins the next time you're craving a deep fried treat. These gf doughnut muffins can be ready in as little as 30 minutes.
Course Breakfast, Muffins
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free donut muffins, gluten free muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Author Nicole Hunn

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter; click thru for full info on appropriate blends)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • ¼ cup seedless jam or preserves
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the butter and sugar, and beat with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth and lighter in color. The batter may appear a bit curdled, which is fine.
  • Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. 
  • Once you add the final dry ingredients, the mixture will be quite thick and a hand mixer may not be able to handle it. Just mix by hand until combined.
  • Fill prepared wells of muffin tin half full, and then press a small hole in the batter with a moistened fingertip or dowel.
  • Place 1 heaping teaspoon of jam in each hole, and then divide the remaining batter evenly among the wells, on top of the jam.
  • Using wet fingers, spread the batter into an even layer and sprinkle each lightly with coarse sugar.
  • Bake until mostly firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (other than the jam, of course), about 22 minutes.
  • Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool further. They will sink a bit as they cool. Serve them warm.

Video

Notes

Originally published on the blog in 2019; in 2022, recipe unchanged, some photos new, text resources added.
These extra tender gluten free donut muffins with jam filling taste like an old-fashioned cake donut, but they're baked easily in a muffin tin. #oldfashioned #donuts #muffins #glutenfreerecipes

The post Gluten Free Donut Muffins | Jam Filled appeared first on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

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