Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes

Use this recipe to make donut holes or donuts. Super-moist, soft, and perfectly apple cider flavored for cozy fall mornings!

apple cider donut holes on a white plate

apple cider donuts on a white plate

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apple cider donut holes on a white plate

Apple Cider Donut Holes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 14 donuts or 32 donut holes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Easy baked donuts made at home! Use this recipe to make donut holes or donuts. Super-moist, soft, and perfectly apple cider flavored for cozy fall mornings!



  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) apple cider
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature*
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60g) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Simmer apple cider over low-medium heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 15-20 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, spices, and/or orange slices for flavor if desired. In this step you are reducing the apple cider for a stronger flavor. You will need 1/2 cup from this reduced cider. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a mini muffin pan or donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. Toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of concentrated apple cider.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and very gently mix together with a whisk. Be very gentle as overmixing will develop the gluten and result in a tough textured donut. Whisk until all ingredients are *just combined.* Some small lumps may remain, but not many.
  5. Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling 3/4 full. You’ll only need a couple teaspoons of batter for each. Or, if making donuts, follow my instructions in the post above about filling the donut pan. Bake the donut holes for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The donuts will take the same amount of time.
  6. Make the topping by mixing the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Dip the top of the donut holes or donuts lightly into the melted butter. Then dunk them all the way into the cinnamon sugar, using your hands to mix it around so the entire donut hole (or donut) is coated generously. Repeat with all the donuts. You may need more cinnamon-sugar. Donuts taste best on the same day, though they may be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Prepared donuts freeze well up to 2-3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave if desired.
  2. Egg: Room temperature egg is best so it mixes evenly with the warm melted butter. Bring an egg to room temperature quickly by letting it sit in warm water for 5 minutes.
  3. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the donut holes won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.

Keywords: apple cider donut holes, apple cider donuts


  1. I just baked this donuts and they turned out awesome very moist and light. i just made some changes . I omitted the clove, I used two eggs whites cuz i don’t bake with the yolks . and at the end I didn’t dip them on butter instead brush some apple cider and then dipped them in the sugar mixture.

  2. Today was my 5th or 6th time making them, people seem to really enjoy them and they always taste so good.

  3. Can’t wait to make these! Just curious if you know of anything that could substitute for the mini muffin tin for the donut holes.

    1. I don’t– but you can make into regular size muffins instead.

  4. Made these and everyone loved them. I wasn’t so sure they were the right feel/consistency of donuts but I and everyone loved them so it worked out well! I made them in a mini muffin pan and they looked like mini muffins, not circles like donut holes. Also had double the amount of batter needed to make 32 donut holes. Didn’t use the butter to add the cinnamon sugar, it stuck just fine without it. I made homemade apple cider using Sally’s recipe and used it for the donuts! They turned out delicious and I will make them again!

    1. Glad they are good enough to repeat 🙂

  5. Hi I was planning on making these today, would it be possible to use Apple Juice instead of Apple Cider?

    1. You’ll lose some flavor– I strongly suggest cider!

  6. Do you think it would be possible to make the batter ahead of time and freeze it?

    1. Hi Amy! No, I don’t recommend freezing this batter but you can freeze the apple cider donut holes after baking.

  7. Hi Sally. I have the same donut pan but only one. Is it better to have two or can I bake them one pan at a time?

    1. Hi Stephanie! I only have 1 as well and I just bake them in batches. I let them cool for a couple minutes, then invert the pan to get the donuts out, spray the pan again with nonstick spray, then add more batter to make another batch.

  8. These were awesome dipped in butter and freshly grounded cardamom!

  9. Hello! I have a friend who is allergic to gluten. Do you think I could substitute the flour with gluten free flour?

  10. Have you ever experimented with making these gluten free?

    1. I haven’t tested these with gluten free flour but let me know if you try!

  11. I want to make these . I just want to make sure. Adding cinnamon sticks AND the spices to the cider? Or do i add the spices to the dry ingredients? Thank you!

    1. Hi Peggy, I like to simmered my store-bought cider with a couple cinnamon sticks and orange slice to give it a stronger flavor, but this is optional! The spices listed in the recipe will be added to the flour in step 3.

      1. Thank you. Making these this weekend!

  12. Hi Sally, these are delicious. With all the quarantine issues going on, I am planning on making several batches and delivering them to friends in the morning. Can the dough be made the night before and refrigerated so I can just cook in the morning so they be delivered warm? Can I even already have them in the pans covered? Thanks

    1. What a nice thing to do! Unfortunately you need to bake the batter right away. As soon as it’s mixed together the leaveners are activated which means they won’t rise properly if you wait too long to bake them.

  13. Delicious! I added 1 finely shredded apple to the batter. After they cooled, I dipped in apple cider instead of butter and then dipped in cinnamon sugar mixture with 1 T. Brown sugar added.

  14. The batter is great, but the sugar topping is WAY too much (and we like sweet things)! We scrapped off almost all the topping and it was much better. If I did use topping again I would only dip the tops of the donuts with the sugar otherwise you only taste crunchy sugar when you take a bite. I did reduce the apple cider with a whole cardamom, wholes cloves and a cinnamon stick which I think really helped with the flavor.

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