Don't Let Dietary Restrictions Spoil Your Festival

Just because you're restricted to a gluten-free diet doesn't mean you can't enjoy delicious doughnuts during Chanukah. These light and fluffy doughnuts are made using an off-the-shelf gluten-free flour mix.  They are filled with chocolate sauce instead of the traditional jam, and you can use jam if you prefer it.

Gluten-free Doughnuts

Gluten-free Doughnuts - Just Right for Chanukah
Credit: Frances Spiegel 2012

During the Jewish festival of Chanukah, known also as the Festival of Light, it is traditional to eat foods, such as doughnuts, fried in oil. But if you're obliged to stick to a gluten-free diet why miss out on something so chocolatey and delicious when recipes can be easily adapted. It took me a few attempts to get this recipe just right so I hope you will enjoy it, not just during Chanukah, but at any other time of year.

Allow plenty of time to make the doughnuts as the recipe calls for 15 minutes for the yeast to activate, one hour for the dough to rise, with 40 minutes additional standing, and 20-25 minutes for cooking.

Recipes from My Jewish Grandmother
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Ingredients for 24 Doughnuts

  • 125 ml/4 fl oz warm water
  • 10 g/½ oz dried yeast
  • 1 tsp clear honey 
  • 300 g/10 oz gluten-free, wheat-free self-raising flour
  • 60 g/2 oz rice flour. (If you can obtain brown rice flour it's even better.)
  • tsp xanthan gum
  • tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60 g/2 oz soft butter cut into small chunks
  • 100 g/3 oz ground almonds
  • tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk
  • 24 gluten-free chocolate buttons dark chocolate looks and tastes best
  • Vegetable oil for frying and greasing
  • 150 g/5 oz caster sugar to dust the doughnuts
  • 20 g/1 oz ground cinnamon to dust


  1. Place dried yeast in a jug and add the warm water. Stir in the honey and leave to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes until the mixture is frothy.

  2. Place the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

  4. Mix in the almonds, vanilla essence, egg, egg yolk and buttermilk.

  5. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir well to form a dough, adding a little extra water if the mixture is too dry.

  6. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap, and leave to stand in a warm place for about one hour until doubled in size.

  7. Divide the risen dough into 24 balls. Place a chocolate button inside each one and place on a baking tray lined with greased baking powder. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 40 minutes.

  8. Mix the caster sugar and ground cinnamon ready for dusting.

  9. Pour sufficient oil into a large pan or deep-fryer and heat to 180-190C/350-375F. If you don't have a thermometer place a small piece of bread in the hot oil.  If the oil is hot enough the bread should brown in 30 seconds. Cook in small batches of 3 or 4 for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

  10. Drain on kitchen paper and roll in the sugar and cinnamon. 


Optional - Chocolate Sauce for Serving



  • 100 g/4 oz plain chocolate

  • 6 tbsp golden syrup

  • 30 g/1 oz unsalted butter

  • tsp instant coffee powder


How to Make the Chocolate Sauce

  1. Place all ingredients in a heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. The bowl must not touch the water.
  2. Allow the chocolate and syrup to soften and then beat until smooth and glossy. Use immediately.

Eat and enjoy as you light the Chanukah candles.  If you're not sure about the correct procedure see the Youtube video below.

Helpful Articles About Living Gluten Free

The Jewish Traditions Cookbook
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(price as of May 21, 2015)
I couldn't be without this cookbook - full of wonderful ideas and recipes.

How to Light Chanukah Candles