Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Homemade apple cider donuts are cakey, dense, and intensely flavored. Baked, not fried, these fall treats come together quickly and easily – a convenient recipe with no mixer required. The trick for big flavor is to use concentrated apple cider. Make the morning less hectic by reducing the apple cider the night before. Read on for all the tips you need to make this Fall favorite!

Baked apple cider donuts

I love those delicious donuts that you get at the bakery…they’re rich, dense, and smell absolutely amazing. If you’ve ever tried my chai spice donuts, pumpkin donuts, or cinnamon sugar donuts, you know that those bakery beauties definitely inspired my donut recipes. They are somewhat dense and very muffin-like. These baked apple cider donuts are no exception, though they are a little heavier with a more substantial and moister crumb. (More bakery-style favorites: these chocolate chip muffins and these peanut butter chunk cookies!)

Tell Me About these Apple Cider Donuts

  • Texture: If you like cakey, moist, and dense donuts with a crumbly cinnamon-sugar coating, then look no further than this recipe. 
  • Flavor: Flavor-wise, they’re APPLE and CINNAMON and SPICE all over. They taste like they’re straight from the bakery! 
  • Ease: A simple mix of wet and dry ingredients plus the apple cider concentrate makes these a snap to prepare for crisp fall mornings. No mixer, rolling pin, or donut cutter required! Simply add the batter to a donut pan– I use and love this one. If you only have 1 pan, just bake a batch at a time. 
  • Time: In less than an hour, you’ll have an entire plate stacked high with homemade apple cider donuts.

Apple Cider Donuts Video Tutorial

Baked apple cider donuts on a white plate

This Trick Changes Everything

The trick to apple cider donuts is to flavor them with concentrated apple cider. Apple cider that has been reduced down on the stove is thick and potent, adding big flavor without excess liquid. Apple cider, either store-bought or this homemade apple cider, is certainly delicious to drink but it won’t add enough flavor to baked goods. Taking 20 minutes to reduce the cider down transforms regular donuts into amazing apple cider donuts. If you like to keep things simple in the morning, reduce the cider the night before. That will save you cooling time, too, because the cider must cool for a few minutes before you add it to the batter. 

To reduce your apple cider, simply follow these simple steps:

  • Pour 1½ cups apple cider into a small saucepan. We will reduce this to ½ cup. 
  • Place on low heat and set a timer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Begin checking at 10 minutes, and then every 3-5 minutes after that until you have ½ cup of cider reduction (approximately 20 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before using in the batter.

It’s that easy! If you have leftover apple cider, use it in my honeycrisp apple sangria or apple cider sangria— or drink it plain.

Here’s my reduced down apple cider:

Ingredients for apple cider donuts

Choosing the Right Ingredients: Melted Butter & Apple Pie Spice

  • Melted butter. The crown jewel of these donuts is the dip in melted butter, then a dunk in granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. Not only is it delicious, but the melted butter helps the sweet coating stick to the donut.
  • 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.

Overview: How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts

These couldn’t be easier to make– no mixer required. Leave yourself enough time (at least a half hour) to reduce down the apple cider before beginning. I like to do this step the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning.

  1. Reduce the apple cider. In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer the apple cider until you’re left with about 1/2 cup. Begin checking at 10 minutes, then every 3-5 minutes after that until you have 1/2 cup of cider reduction. Mine takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes (or complete this step ahead of time).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients together.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients together, except for the apple cider.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Add the apple cider. Whisk everything together until smooth and combined. You’ll notice the batter will be slightly thick. We want thick batter for cakey and dense donuts.
  5. Fill the donut pan. Fill each donut cup about halfway. My trick for this? Use a zipped-top bag. Add the batter to the bag, cut off a corner, and pipe it into the donut pan filling only about halfway. This trick makes transferring the batter neat, quick, and easy.
  6. Bake. Only about 10 minutes of bake time – told you they were quick. To test doneness, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they’re done. Once they are out of the oven, let them cool for 2 minutes, then invert the pan to release the donuts. You can then re-grease the donut pan and bake the remaining donut batter. (If you have 2 donut pans, go ahead and bake both trays at once.) 
  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 coat generously in the apple spice topping.

Look at this beautiful caramel-colored batter! So much apple flavor hiding in here:

apple cider donut batter in a glass bowl

apple cider donut batter in a donut pan before baking

a donut in a glass bowl of apple cider donut topping

stack of apple cider donuts

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Baked apple cider donuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 donuts
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Baked, cakey, and delicious apple cider donuts are made with apple cider reduction to intensify its flavor. Warm and dipped in cinnamon sugar and apple pie spices, this fall treat will become your new favorite too.


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 (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  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 dry 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 or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowls | Measuring Cups | Whisk | Heart SpatulaDonut Pan
  3. Apple Pie 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.
  4. Milk: 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.
  5. No 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.
  6. Minis: 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.

366 Comments

  1. I substituted gluten free flour and these were great! I had to turn up the heat and cook the cider longer to cook it down enough. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Kim Strenger says:

    This looks great! I think I would try filling them with apple butter.

    1. Love love love this recipe.. sometimes I add a few chips in.. but it’s terrific! Tu Sally!!!

  3. I made these today and they turned out very well! I used a cupcake pan and baked them about 16-17 minutes. One thing I will do different next time is, once you dip the tops in the melted butter, allow the doughnut/muffin to sit about 4-5 minutes and then dip them in the sugar topping. Also, after I tried one I wondered what it would taste like if I added some brown sugar to the topping mix. I did the last few this way and will update my comments later. Another thing, I have an awesome oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that calls for the raisins to be marinated in the eggs and vanilla for at least one hour prior to making the cookies. I want to try this with this recipe. I can almost taste them already! WOW!!! This would really kick up the flavor and moistness. More like an applesauce raisin cake. This is a keeper recipe as it is, but I’m always looking to enhance any recipe, if I think I can improve on it. Some recipes you just don’t mess with!

  4. These were amazing! I had to turn the heat up to reduce the cider, but no other issues. So good, they are dangerous!

  5. Great recipe! I modified it for my lactose intolerant family – almond milk instead of dairy, and Greek yogurt instead of butter. I don’t often find baked donuts worth the effort, but I’ll be making these again!

    1. Ellen Grant says:

      Amazing and so tender and delicious! Quick and easy. Recipe is great! A definite keeper.

  6. Excellent donut recipe. I didn’t bother with the butter for dipping and plenty of the sugar and spice mix stuck. I enjoyed them and will make them again.

  7. Theresa Woodford says:

    I just made these and Ohmygosh so good!! I replaced the milk with Ellenos apple cinnamon greek yogurt. I did make the mistake of dipping both sides in the butter/sugar which was overly sweet. I think next time I’ll use powdered sugar, no butter. But there will definitely be a next time!

  8. Hello, just a small question. I have Boiled Cider that I purchased from King Arthur flour. Can I use that in this recipe? Thank you

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bonnie, using that should be fine in this recipe.

  9. Thank you very much Trina. I want to make this today.
    B

  10. I made these once and they were great. It also took me over an hour to reduce the apple cider. I was wondering if I can freeze the reduced apple cider in half cup batches so I can save what’s left of the cider for a future batch of donuts rather than drink the left over cider?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Donna, Yes that should work!

  11. Could I do all the mixing and the apple cider reduction the night before and bake the next morning?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stacey, You can reduce the apple cider the day before but once the batter is mixed it should be baked right away.

  12. Great recipe. Made these today. I used Boiled Cider that I purchased from King Arthur Flour Co. This is a keeper. Delicious with cup of hot tea

  13. Lovely recipe , very easy to follow– thanks to the specific details from Sally on each of her every recipe. I used the muffin pan as well, adding a rigatoni pasta at the center of the muffin cup gave the donut the required hole! I had to reduce the portion ( half instead of 3/4) to each muffin cup though.

  14. annick paquet says:

    We love this recipe. it’s quick and easy. We had some unsweetened apple sauce and reduce the milk. So good!

  15. Heath Tanner says:

    I have cooked and baked professionally for over 25 years. I made these today and they are out of this world good! I don’t usually have dark brown sugar on hand, but I always have light brown sugar. I had bought the apple cider back in the fall with the intention to make these but life got hectic when mom was diagnosed with stage one lung cancer and my father who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident had his knee replaced and because I am there full time caregiver there just weren’t enough hours in a day so I drank a glass of cider and then froze the rest of it. So today I had a sweet tooth craving and it hit me that I still had the cider in my stand up freezer. Besides the light brown sugar I only added one other thing to this recipe: One packet of powdered hot apple cider mix (I put one teaspoon into the apple cider reduction and the rest of the packet went into the cinnamon sugar topping). My official taste tester is my mom (she got me started baking and dad, a trained chef, gave me my love of cooking) so I called her out to the kitchen and we split one. She said she thought she died and went to heaven and told me to save this recipe that they are better than her favorite cider doughnuts from Lyman Orchard here in CT. So thank you for this recipe!!!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re thrilled these donuts were such a hit for you and your family, Heath! Thank you for giving them a go.

  16. I’ve made these several times and they are a favorite!! However… it always take much longer than the recipe indicates for reducing the apple cider. Nothing like a fresh apple cider donut and a cup of coffee in the morning!!

  17. These are delicious. Could you freeze the concentrate to use later??

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