Caramel Apple Doughnuts

I love caramel apples. I love dairy-free recipes.

The gooey treat reminds me of the afternoons in the kitchen with my Mom, melting caramel for Halloween apples; and later, the endless hours I spent hanging out at the Calgary Stampede Midway as a teenager.

Those caramel apples were upwards of $8 a pop, but that didn’t stop me!

Suffices to say, I’ve had enough midway treats to last a lifetime.

If I had to choose a favorite, it would have been the mini cinnamon sugar doughnuts. I must have had 2-3 bags a day during the 10 day event for at least 15 years of my life.

There were even a couple of years when I’d asked Santa to bring me a Belshaw Donut Robot so I could prepare them for myself all year round.

Thankfully Santa has some sense in him and never gave me that doughnut fryer.

Plus, where did I think I was going to put that thing, in my room?

Luckily, I’m older and a bit wiser now.

I don’t spend $8 on sugar-loaded caramel doughnuts, and I’d rather get a robot to clean my house than one to make me doughnuts.

But after all these years, I still have a soft spot for any midway treat.

Naturally I saw this as a perfect opportunity to buy a doughnut pan and come up with a recipe that would make any mini doughnut fanatic swoon.

And let me tell you, Imm a swoonin’

5.0 from 1 reviews
Caramel Apple Doughnuts
Recipe type: Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free, Grain free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Caramel apple in doughnut form. zomg.
  • 1 batch of dairy-free caramel topping (below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and oil a doughnut pan with a dab of coconut oil. Set aside
  2. Place all dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine all wet ingredients.
  4. Add dry to wet and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes to thicken up.
  5. Place the batter in a piping bag or large ziploc bag with the end cut off the end so there’s about a ½-inch opening.
  6. Fill each cavity ¾ to the top. Be careful not to overfill or the doughnuts will overflow while cooking.
  7. Place in the oven to bake for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and edges are just beginning to brown.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes before grabbing the pan with an oven mitt and tipping over onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely (about 30 minutes) before adding caramel topping.

View Nutritional Information (once on page scroll down) 

I have to admit, the caramel was an afterthought.

The original plan was to coat the doughnuts with cinnamon sugar, but one taste of the cake-like doughnut with a strong apple flavor and I just couldn’t pair it with plain ‘ol cinnamon sugar.

This doughnut deserved something better…

Oh yes…

Dairy-free Caramel Topping

Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free, Grain free

A 3 ingredient, dairy-free caramel topping that will take you under 10 minutes to make!

Because this is a natural caramel, it will not hold up well at room temperature. Once you’ve dipped the doughnuts, serve immediately or place in the fridge or freezer. The caramel will melt on you if you leave it out! But don’t worry, the doughnuts will still be just as tasty regardless. If you don’t want a hard topping (exactly the consistency of caramel on a caramel apple) don’t cook the honey as long.

Yield: 1/2 cup

Servings: 12, enough to dip 12 doughnuts


  • 6 tablespoon unpasteurized honey
  • 2 tablespoon roasted cashew butter or other nut butter
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place honey in a small frying pan and heat on medium-low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a fork or spoon. The honey will begin to foam. Don’t worry, this is good!
  2. Add nut butter and vanilla and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes, until big bubbles form and the mixture pulls away from the side slightly. The longer you cook it, the harder it will get.
  3. Remove from heat and use immediately before it hardens up on you to the point where all you can do is sit on the couch and snack on the large mass of natural caramel before you…

View nutrition facts

Take that, donut robot.

Pin It
Struggling to lose weight


  1. These were awesome! Could I just make one suggestion? Under the wet ingredients, it looks like you are making “one batch of dairy-free caramel topping” part of the wet ingredients. I was confused for a minute, but then trusted my instincts and figured it out. I guess I’m a little gullible. But it does look like it is part of the wet ingredients. Just saying. My husband said these were the best donuts I’ve ever made! Thanks!

    • Hey, Mandy! Thanks for the feedback- I changed it so it makes more sense now. I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed the donuts :)

  2. Is there a topping I could pu on these for my daughter’s school lunch that wouldn’t melt?

    • Hey! I haven’t tried it myself, but you could try using coconut butter in place of the cashew butter. Coconut butter is much more stable at room temp than cashew butter. Let us know how it goes if you try it!

  3. Will it work if I just use gluten free all-purpose flour instead of coconut flour and almond flour? Or is there a reason for coconut and almond flour? Will using gluten free all-purpose flour alter any other ingredients, like eggs?

  4. I made these tonight and we LOVED them. My only problem was, and I’m very new to cooking this way, is that my caramel didn’t look as thick. It was a little runny and the cashew butter didn’t seem to fully melt. I don’t know if it was the brand I used?? They tasted yummy but I was hoping the “caramel” would have been thick like your photo. Any tips?

    • Hi! The trick is in heating the sugar (honey) to the right consistency. It should bubble as it’s heated which will make it thicker. Did it bubble?

    • Hey Sarah! I do have this… but not on the older posts (like this one!) still have to go back and enter them all in. ah!

  5. Oh my, oh my, oh my, these are the best donuts EVER!!!!! and my children are so thankful for this recipe (and my husband) who have all lived without me baking any sinful sweets since we started our family detox. The BEST thing about these donuts is that they don’t put my head in a fog after eating them and when I woke up the next morning I had the feeling that, even though they are delicious I could live without them (that’s a good sign that I am not feeding the pathogens in my body). THANK YOU, from my whole family.

  6. I was really excited about these doughnuts when I first saw you post last year, and last week, on the first day of fall, I thought it would be a great way to usher in the season. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE and have been satisfied with so many of your recipes. Your creativity is inspiring and constantly keeps me trying new things in the kitchen and finding new ways of doing something in a more healthy way. However, when I made these doughnuts, I felt that they were just missing something. Shared them with 2 friends and they also thought the same. They weren’t very apple-y, and I couldn’t place my finger on what was missing or different (grated apple? more cinnamon?). Racking my brain on what to improve because the concept is a great one!

    • Hey Jenn! Thanks for the feedback. That’s so strange because Kevin and I LOVED this recipe. But, to each their own. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy them! Have a great Sunday :)