Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Baked apple cider donuts coated in buttery apple cinnamon spice! Easy and quick baked donuts recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Happy Friday to you! We finally have a week and weekend at home, so we’re getting things ready for Noelle’s 1st birthday party (next weekend!!!) and cozying up while hurricane Florence hits the east coast. Stay prepared and safe.

If you’re also indoors this weekend, I have the perfect treat for you: apple cider donuts. Cakey and dense, intensely flavored, baked not fried. Baked donuts come together much quicker than you realize, so it’s a quick and convenient recipe for your mornings. If you’re getting in the fall spirit like I am, break out your donut pan!!!

Baked apple cider donuts coated in buttery apple cinnamon spice! Easy and quick baked donuts recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked apple cider donuts coated in buttery apple cinnamon spice! Easy and quick baked donuts recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I published my favorite recipe for baked apple cider donuts on my blog almost 5 years ago. I’ve made the donuts at least once every fall season since then, but I updated the recipe this year. They have a stronger apple spice flavor. I also added apple spice to the cinnamon sugar topping– and had a heavy hand while coating them. Who’s complaining there? I would say my dentist, but I actually brought her a plate of these when I went in for a cleaning this week. She loved them. Ha!

What do they taste like?

Have you ever tried my chai spice donuts, crumb cake donuts, or cinnamon sugar donuts? All three are somewhat dense and very muffin-like. Today’s apple cider donuts are a little heavier with a more substantial and moister crumb. Flavor-wise, they’re APPLE and CINNAMON and SPICE all over. They taste like they’re straight from a bakery and I should definitely know because my diet on vacation looked like: black bean burgers and fresh donuts. Balance. 

Reduce apple cider for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

THIS 1 STEP CHANGES EVERYTHING

Let me quickly explain the recipe before you get started. The TRICK to apple cider donuts is to flavor them with concentrated apple cider. Apple cider that’s been reduced down on the stove is thick and potent, adding big flavor without excess liquid. Apple cider, homemade or store-bought, is certainly delicious to drink but it won’t add enough flavor to baked goods. Taking 20 minutes to reduce the apple cider down turns regular donuts into apple cider donuts. You can even do this the night before, which is what I do because the cider must cool down for a few minutes before you add it to the batter. Pour apple cider in a saucepan, place it on low heat, set a timer, give it a stir a few times, and it’ll be reduced down before you know it.

We’re reducing 1 and 1/2 cups of apple cider down to 1/2 cup. It’ll be darker and thicker with heavily concentrated flavor. Here’s my reduced down apple cider:

Ingredients for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Besides that, you only need 2 bowls: 1 bowl for dry ingredients like flour and spices and 1 bowl for wet ingredients like egg, milk, melted butter, and sugars. Everything is whisked together, so there’s no need to break out your mixer. Look at this beautiful caramel colored batter! So much apple flavor hiding in here.Batter for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Donut pan for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

No need for a rolling pin or donut cutter, simply add the batter to a donut pan. My trick for this? Use a zipped-top bag. Add the batter, cut off a corner, and pipe it into the donut pan filling only about halfway. This trick makes transferring the batter easy, neat, and quick. Don’t have a donut pan? Make donut muffins in your muffin pan.

Bake time is just as quick: only about 10 minutes. Once the donuts are out of the oven, let them cool for 2 minutes, invert the pan to release the donuts, then re-grease the donut pan and bake the remaining donut batter. (If you don’t own 2 donut pans! I only have 1.)

COAT THE DONUTS

The crown jewel of the donuts! A dip in melted butter, then a dunk in granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. If you don’t have access to store-bought apple pie spice, you can make your own with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. The melted butter, while adding flavor, also helps the apple spice coating stick.

Topping for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked apple cider donuts coated in buttery apple cinnamon spice! Easy and quick baked donuts recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked apple cider donuts coated in buttery apple cinnamon spice! Easy and quick baked donuts recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

And that’s all I’ve got!

Delivering you your weekend plans on a plate:

Baked apple cider donuts coated in buttery apple cinnamon spice! Easy and quick baked donuts recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) apple cider
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you're left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup (120ml). Mine takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  3. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the wet ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—for ease, I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.
  6. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they're done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.
  7. Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.
  8. Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Make ahead tip: You can freeze the donuts, coated or not coated in the toppings, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up to your liking in the microwave. I usually just zap 'em for a couple seconds.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Note on the apple spice: Do you have apple pie spice where you live? It's pretty standard here in the US. If you don't have access to store-bought apple pie spice, you can make your own with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  2. I usually use buttermilk, but I've found that any milk (dairy or nondairy) works pretty well. For a denser crumb, you can use 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream instead.
  3. Don't have a donut pan? Make donut muffins in your standard 12-cup muffin pan. Grease your pan or use muffin liners, fill each 3/4 full, then bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about 10-12 apple cider donut muffins.
  4. Want to make mini donuts or mini donut holes in a mini muffin pan? Grease your pan, add the batter to the pan only about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 8-9 minutes.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Try pumpkin donuts next!!!

Pumpkin donut holes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Glass Mixing Bowls | Measuring Cups | Whisk | Heart SpatulaDonut Pan

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

76 Comments

Comments

  1. Savannah on September 15, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Aside from my silicone mini donut pan absolutely failing, as in donuts sticking both ungreased and greased, the recipe itself was good! The donuts definitely puff up nicely, and have a good texture. The kids loved dipping them in the butter and the topping, they said they reminded them of mini donuts from the fair. I finished up the last batch as donut holes, and I think I would probably just stick with those in the future.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:17 am

      So glad you all enjoyed making AND eating them! Thanks for reporting back, Savannah!

  2. Shelly on September 15, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Making these now. My apple cider took a long time to reduce (I had to up he heat) and now it’s a half a cup but still not thick? Trying again now…. any suggestions?

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Hi Shelly! It won’t be super thick– as long as it’s a little darker in color and 1/2 cup, you’re great!

  3. Carolyn on September 16, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Made these today! Oh my so delicious. Followed recipe exactly. Came out perfect. Thanks Sally

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Yay! So glad to read this. Thanks Carolyn!

  4. Allie on September 16, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Hi, Sally! Have you ever tried adding chopped or shredded apples to these? I’m considering it, but want to see if I need to do anything in particular to make it work.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Hi Allie! I haven’t, but it’s worth a try! Let me know how they taste.

  5. Birdie on September 16, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Just made these babies this morning..rolling out of the pan like a gem..delish!
    Family woke up the to warning scent of apple spicy donuts! Perfect.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:19 am

      Best weekend breakfast. Thanks for trying them and sharing!

  6. Ricardo on September 16, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Hi, Sally! I live in Brazil and we do not have APPLE CIDER here. can I substitute for apple juice? Tks I LOVE your recipes … your pumpkin cake is THE BEST of life !!!

    • Sally on September 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Hi Ricardo! You can use apple juice instead. Make sure you reduce it down as instructed. You’ll lose a little flavor, but you can add some extra spices if you’d like!

  7. Brenda on September 16, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    That looks so indulgent yet healthier than regular donuts. Will definitely give these puppies a try.

  8. Eric on September 16, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Can I use Apple Cider Concentrate from KA as a substitute?

    • Sally on September 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Hi Eric! I haven’t tried the donuts with that product, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

  9. Jess on September 16, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Sally, in the UK I think our cider is a little different to yours, it’s carbonated for a start! I’m guessing that wouldn’t transfer too well into this recipe? Perhaps I should just try using apple juice instead? What do you think?

    • Sally on September 17, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Hi Jess! You can use apple juice instead. Definitely reduce it down. You could add a little more of the spices for added flavor as well.

  10. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite on September 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I made these for my dad all the time; they are his all-time favorite doughnut!! 🙂

  11. Kay Coward on September 17, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Can this recipe be made as a bundt cake?

  12. Zoe on September 18, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I made these yesterday and we had them last night and are eating them for breakfast now! I am trying to find some really good recipes to make for fall and I think this is on my list! They are so yummy and so easy to make! Thank you!

Reviews

  1. Patti on September 15, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Just made these this morning and they turned out great! I cooked down the cider last evening and while that was happening i pre-mixed the dry ingredients in a zip top bag and mixed up the topping in a lidded container. With those steps ready to go in the morning the donuts came together quickly. Everyone was in love with the finished produt. A keeper for sure!

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Hi Patti! Awesome ways to get a head start on breakfast the next morning. They’re so quick if you prep for 20-30 minutes the night before!

  2. Savannah on September 15, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Aside from my silicone mini donut pan absolutely failing, as in donuts sticking both ungreased and greased, the recipe itself was good! The donuts definitely puff up nicely, and have a good texture. The kids loved dipping them in the butter and the topping, they said they reminded them of mini donuts from the fair. I finished up the last batch as donut holes, and I think I would probably just stick with those in the future.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:17 am

      So glad you all enjoyed making AND eating them! Thanks for reporting back, Savannah!

  3. Carolyn on September 16, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Made these today! Oh my so delicious. Followed recipe exactly. Came out perfect. Thanks Sally

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Yay! So glad to read this. Thanks Carolyn!

  4. Birdie on September 16, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Just made these babies this morning..rolling out of the pan like a gem..delish!
    Family woke up the to warning scent of apple spicy donuts! Perfect.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:19 am

      Best weekend breakfast. Thanks for trying them and sharing!

  5. Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite on September 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    I made these for my dad all the time; they are his all-time favorite doughnut!! 🙂

Questions

  1. Annmarie on September 14, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Hi I’m a follower from the uk and i have a sneaking suspicion that american apple cider is non alcoholic where as uk apple cider contains alcohol , will it reduce down the same way or am i wrong in my assumption ?

    • Sally on September 14, 2018 at 8:53 am

      Hi Annmarie! US apple cider doesn’t contain alcohol unless it’s labeled hard apple cider. You can reduce down the alcoholic version though. The alcohol will cook out.

      • Annmarie Clark on September 14, 2018 at 9:50 am

        Thank you Sally cant wait to try them



      • Nicola on September 15, 2018 at 5:25 am

        Alternatively just use a really good cloudy apple juice, something like Copella – this was a tip from my American friend in the UK.



  2. Shellena on September 14, 2018 at 9:20 am

    The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of apple cider but the directions calls for 1/2 cup. Am I understanding right that you use 1.5 cups to reduce down to 1/2 cup?

    • Sally on September 14, 2018 at 9:24 am

      Hi Shellena! In step 1, you reduce the 1 and 1/2 cups of apple cider down to 1/2 cup, which is what you will use in the recipe. Enjoy!

  3. MJ on September 14, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Could I use this for the cider reduction instead of doing it myself? Same amount?

    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/boiled-cider-1-pint

    • Sally on September 14, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Hi MJ! I haven’t tried the donuts with that product, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    • Birdie on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      I did..works fine!

  4. Wendy Warren on September 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I know you referenced mini donuts, but what about regular muffin pans? Thinking of baking them as donut muffins and wondering what your thoughts would be on that?

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Hi Wendy! I added that to the notes. Thanks for reminding me!
      Don’t have a donut pan? Make donut muffins in your standard 12-cup muffin pan. Grease your pan or use muffin liners, fill each 3/4 full, then bake at 350°F (177°C) for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes about 10-12 apple cider donut muffins.

  5. Shane S on September 14, 2018 at 10:51 am

    When you say muffin pan, do you mean the pan with 6 cups? Or a cupcake pan with 12 cups?

    Is it still the same time for both?

    Thanks! Looks delicious!

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Hi Shane! The standard 12 cup pan. 🙂 See my recipe note!

  6. tammi on September 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Sally! I plan on making these for a reception in November for 150 people so I plan to do some baking and freezing ahead of time. If I bake these donuts and freeze them, do you suggest I coat them before or after the freezing process? Thanks so much!

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Hey Tammi! I’ve done it both ways, but they taste the most fresh if you freeze without the coating and coat after they’ve thawed. Great question and thank you for using my recipe for a large event! Please let me know how it goes!

  7. Brittany on September 14, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    These look wonderful! Great for an after school snack. I don’t have a donut pan. Would I be able to use a mini muffin pan?

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Yes, definitely! See my recipe note.

  8. Katherine Sawyer on September 14, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    What’s the baking time for muffins instead of donuts?

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Hi Katherine! See my recipe note. About 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  9. Kyf on September 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Is it possible to make these if I don’t have a donut baking pan?

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Definitely! See my recipe notes.

  10. Lauri on September 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Is the baking time for regular sized doughnuts? I only have the mini doughnut pan. Just wanted to double check on the baking time. I had some apple cider doughnuts from an orchard a few weeks ago and can’t wait to make my own.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

      Hi Lauri! The bake time in the recipe instructions is for regular size donuts. The notes section includes mini donuts instructions. Enjoy!

  11. Shelly on September 15, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Making these now. My apple cider took a long time to reduce (I had to up he heat) and now it’s a half a cup but still not thick? Trying again now…. any suggestions?

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Hi Shelly! It won’t be super thick– as long as it’s a little darker in color and 1/2 cup, you’re great!

  12. Allie on September 16, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Hi, Sally! Have you ever tried adding chopped or shredded apples to these? I’m considering it, but want to see if I need to do anything in particular to make it work.

    • Sally on September 16, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Hi Allie! I haven’t, but it’s worth a try! Let me know how they taste.

  13. Ricardo on September 16, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Hi, Sally! I live in Brazil and we do not have APPLE CIDER here. can I substitute for apple juice? Tks I LOVE your recipes … your pumpkin cake is THE BEST of life !!!

    • Sally on September 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Hi Ricardo! You can use apple juice instead. Make sure you reduce it down as instructed. You’ll lose a little flavor, but you can add some extra spices if you’d like!

  14. Eric on September 16, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Can I use Apple Cider Concentrate from KA as a substitute?

    • Sally on September 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Hi Eric! I haven’t tried the donuts with that product, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

  15. Jess on September 16, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Sally, in the UK I think our cider is a little different to yours, it’s carbonated for a start! I’m guessing that wouldn’t transfer too well into this recipe? Perhaps I should just try using apple juice instead? What do you think?

    • Sally on September 17, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Hi Jess! You can use apple juice instead. Definitely reduce it down. You could add a little more of the spices for added flavor as well.

  16. Kay Coward on September 17, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Can this recipe be made as a bundt cake?

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