Pumpkin Yeast-Risen Gluten Free Donuts (Picarones)

I have been wanting to make some yeast raised gluten free donuts, but was so excited when I discovered picarones. They are also risen donuts, but made with a sweet squash (pumpkin in this case) and sweet potatoes. They are also known as Peruvian donuts as they are popular in Peru. You can make these gluten free donuts using fresh or canned pumpkin. Just note that fresh pumpkin tends to vary in moisture and may not turn out the same. Meanwhile, enjoy these delightful treasures. Picarones leave a lasting impression to tourists who visit Peru.

Pumpkin Raised Gluten Free Donuts (Picarones)


Yield: Make 1 to 2 dozen donuts.

Pumpkin Raised Gluten Free Donuts (Picarones)

Yeast raised gluten free donuts made with pumpkin and sweet potatoes. A Peruvian favorite, served with a molasses or maple tropical cinnamon syrup.


  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup gluten free pumpkin puree (Libby's) (or 1 lb. fresh pumpkin, cubed)
  • 2 teaspoons aniseed (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (or agave or granulated sugar)
  • 5 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups Carla's Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Blend Recipe
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Cooking oil, for frying
  • For the Syrup:
  • 1 cup molasses (or dark amber 100% maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup chunk pineapple (Dole Tropical Gold or fresh) (or more fresh orange)
  • 1/2 of an orange's rind, cut into wedges (or more pineapple)


    To Make the Donuts:
  1. Add sweet potatoes and fresh pumpkin (if using) in a saucepan, cover with water and cook over medium-high heat until tender. Drain, reserving the water, and puree in a food processor or using a handheld immersion blender.
  2. Place 1 cup of squash water in a bowl and allow to cool to 100°F. (Do not yet discard the remaining water.) Add 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast, stir until sugar dissolves, and set it aside until a thick foam (sponge) forms on top, about 10 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, add the pureed sweet potato, pumpkin, and yeast mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Add flour blend and an additional 1/2 cup squash water and beat on medium speed until the dough is less sticky and smoother, about 4 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm environment until at least double in size, for about two hours.
  6. Once the dough is almost risen, preheat a skillet with oil to 350°F. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels and set it aside.
  7. Using wet hands, grab a piece of the dough. Using a finger, create a hole in the center. Using additional fingers make the hole wider. Immediately drop it into the hot oil and deep-fry for 1 - 2 minutes (depending upon thickness), turning it over once. Repeat with remaining dough, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the skillet lowers the temperature of the oil and prevents them from browning.
  8. Using tongs, transfer the fried donuts to paper towels to drain.
  9. Serve with the syrup (see recipe below).
  10. To Make the Syrup:
  11. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, pineapple pieces, and orange rind, if you using, in a medium saucepan, cover, and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thick. Strain and cool to room temperature. Use this syrup to pour over picarones.


Though aniseed is in traditional picarone recipes, I am not a fan, therefore, left it as an option.

A traditional ingredient used in the syrup is molasses. You can replace the molasses with pure, organic, maple syrup, if you are not a fan of molasses. If you prefer, you can also use a light flavored molasses or substitute some of the molasses for dark brown sugar.

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