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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.

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.

By the way, if you’re a fall baking fanatic like me and love pumpkin treats, you might try making your own pumpkin pie spice blend, too! Use it in pumpkin-inspired favorites like pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars, and of course, pumpkin pie.


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: 1214 donuts 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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. If there are any spices or solids on top of your reduced apple cider, leave them. 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 | Donut 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 apple cider 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.

Keywords: Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I just finished making these after acquiring a donut pan for free! They turned out really well, although the process of squeezing the batter through the corner of a plastic bag was really messy! It did work, though. Also, I only dipped the first batch in melted butter and then the topping on one side. With the second batch, I dipped them in butter and topping on one side and then just the topping on the other. It seems to adhere fine without the butter, plus it just looks better…not as messy or clumpy. And I notice some recipes display their donuts turned over, with the underside up. That looks more “donut-like,” I think. Also, I didn’t reduce the cider quite as much as I should have and wound up with 3/4 C. They still taste “cider-y,” though. I’m going to reduce more cider and freeze it for future use. Finally, I used skim milk because that’s what I have and it worked fine…donuts are nice and dense.

    1. Loved these so very much! I will definitely have to try to reduce the apple cider some more next time or else try a different brand. The donuts are really good but not as apple-ly as I would have liked. Great texture though! My whole family loved them and they are just about gone already!

  2. These doughnuts turned out FABULOUS! My family loved them! I didn’t have buttermilk so I used unsweetened cashew milk – turned out light and tasty. I did get a little heavy handed on the coating of both sides with the first 6; lightened up the coating- limiting it to the tops, only (I did dip both sides in the melted butter). The apple cider flavor came through and didn’t “fight” the sugar. YUM!!

  3. I would love to make these but I have a 24 donut pan. Is this recipe good to double or triple without any issues?

    1. Hi Angie, For best taste and texture, we recommend making separate batches. Working with extra batter risks over or under-mixing, which could ruin the texture of the baked donuts.

    2. You can also put water in the extra spaces so the pan doesn’t get ruined while baking. I just had to do that and they turned out great.

    3. These are an absolute crowd pleaser and everyone’s favorite. I totally see why you’d want to increase the recipe. I’ve made this recipe SO many times and I’ve tripled it numerous times without issue! Just be careful not to over mix!

      I’ve also made these gluten free and they come out just as amazing

  4. I reduced 1.5c cider down to 0.5c but it didn’t thicken at all. My donuts were also pretty light. Any suggestions?

  5. I have a skull cakelette pan that I would love to try making these in. If I adjust the baking time, do you think it will work? I’ve made the recipe before in my donut pan and everyone agreed they were the best apple cider donuts they had ever had, and I live in New England!

    1. Hi Sandy, We haven’t tested it but it should work. We are so happy this recipe has been a hit!

  6. Delicious! I used hard apple cider and it turned out just as good. Skipped the reduction stage of the process.

    1. Amazing! I used King arthur gluten free flour and purecane sweetener in the donuts. Real sugar for the topping. They came out amazing. Also I doubled the recipe with success. Double is not enough. Lol. They are so good they will be gone in a few minutes. Also I added the topping right after they came out of the oven and I didn’t need any butter to make it stick

  7. We thought these were ok. Loved the spices and texture. The cider flavor needs to be kicked up a notch and the sugar in the batter could easily be cut in half. Next time, I will omit the milk and start with 3 cups of cider, reducing to 1 cup. I will also cut the sugar in the batter. With the topping, there’s plenty of sweetness.

    This did fill my 20-cavity regular-size donut pan beautifully, so I had to melt a bit more butter and make a bit more sugar topping to coat all 20 donuts.

  8. Just made the “muffin version” of these. Like the taste, not the texture….perhaps they are different because I had to bake them longer as a muffin (?) I’d like to try again…perhaps find a friend who has a mold. Yummy as always though

  9. I just made these and they were stellar! I read a trick that worked great for me – instead of reducing the apple cider, I just used half a cup of frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed. The apple flavor was quite good. I also used a pastry brush to lightly cover the donuts with butter (instead of actually dipping in butter) before dipping in the (deliciously spiced ) sugar mixture. This reduced the amount of butter by just enough to make me feel like I was being wise. The sugar stuck wonderfully. And sooooo very tasty!
    This was the first time I ever made Baked donuts, and I had a tiny bit of a learning curve with a genuine pastry bag. (Don’t overfill it or it will squeeze out the top! This is very messy.). These were so good that I want to make them again this week for friends. I also made an apple pie using the apple pie spice mix, and my husband marveled at my excellent spice choices! I had to confess that it was not my own genius. Thank you- can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  10. These were delicious. I made them for my birthday this morning and they may become a tradition. I did add some sour apple flavored sanding sugar to a few and wow! Next time I think I’ll make mulled cider and reduce that as an experiment. Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  11. This recipe is a hit in my family!
    I substituted buttermilk for the milk & baked in a muffin pan, since I don’t have a donut pan.
    Yummy!!!

    1. Hi, these sound yummy and I would like to try and make them. Why do you need to reduce the apple cider. Why not just use 1/2 cup apple cider.

      1. Hi Lou, You want to adding big flavor without adding excess liquid. See the post above for details.

  12. Hello! These sound delicious. Can I make the batter the day before and bake the next day? Do you think the batter hold up?

    1. Hi Joe, once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, it’s best to bake the batter right away. Otherwise, the texture of the baked donuts will be different after the batter sits for that amount of time. Hope you’ll give them a try!

  13. I just didn’t get any apple flavor from these. I concentrated the cider as stated (“low” was taking forever, but putting the burner on 3 seemed to do the trick) but all I (and anyone else) could taste were the spices. If I make these again, I’m going to cut back on the spices in hopes of getting the apple flavor to shine through. I wonder if it was because I made my own apple pie spice? The donut recipe calls for cinnamon and the apple pie spice recipe also calls for cinnamon, so I wonder if I was just doubling up on cinnamon when I wasn’t supposed to? ‍♀️ Otherwise, it was a tasty spice donut.

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