Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Homemade apple cider donuts are cakey, dense, intensely flavored, and baked not fried. These donuts come together quickly and easily– a convenient recipe for crisp fall mornings.

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

Years ago, I published my favorite recipe for baked apple cider donuts on my blog. I’ve made the donuts at least once every fall season since then, but I updated the recipe for even more apple spice flavor. I also added apple spice to the cinnamon sugar topping– and had a heavy hand while coating them. No complaints here!

Break out your donut pan and let’s do this. 🙂

Apple Cider Donuts Video Tutorial

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

What Do They Taste Like?

Have you ever tried my chai spice donuts, pumpkin donuts, or cinnamon sugar donuts? All three are somewhat dense and very muffin-like. Today’s baked 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. (More bakery-style favorites: these muffins and these cookies!)

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

This Trick 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.

Reduce apple cider for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts

In less than an hour, you’ll have an entire plate stacked high with homemade apple cider donuts. These couldn’t be easier to make– no mixer required! Leave yourself enough time 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 all wet ingredients except for the apple cider together.
  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, 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.
  6. Bake. Only about 10 minutes of bake time– told you they’re quick! To test doneness, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they’re done. 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.)
  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. Enjoy!

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

Batter for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

No need for a rolling pin or donut cutter, simply add the batter to a donut pan. Don’t have a donut pan? Make donut muffins in your muffin pan. For about 10-12 apple cider donut muffins, fill each muffin cup 3/4 full, then bake for about 18-20 minutes.

Donut pan for apple cider donuts on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Coat the Apple Cider 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

What to Make with Leftover Apple Cider

If you have leftover apple cider, use it in my honeycrisp apple sangria or apple cider sangria— or drink it plain!

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

This recipe produces the best apple cider donuts I’ve ever had. I have a feeling this fall treat will become your new favorite too.

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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 Spatula | 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 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.

334 Comments

  1. Can I make the batter the night before and bake warm the next day?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Judi, We don’t recommend it. The baking powder and baking soda are activated as soon as the batter is mixed together so for the donuts to rise properly the batter should be baked right away.

  2. 10/31/20 It took about 45 minutes to reduce the cider. I tried the recommended 20 min on low heat with sparse result, so cranked up the heat to a low rolling bowl, then another 20 min for it to reduce to 1/2 c. Used a silicone donut pan to bake them in – took about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and a few of the donuts were still doughy. I’m a batter person, and I loved the batter. I agree with others, couldn’t detect any apple flavor, mostly cinnamon. Husband loves them, may try making them as muffins if I repeat the recipe, and not use silicone baking pan.

  3. I doubled this recipe for our large family’s Harvest Party. One of my daughters declared them the best donut she’d ever had in her life! One son-in-law said he hadn’t had apple cider donuts since growing up in Wisconsin, where his family went to the apple orchard and made their own cider. He couldn’t believe they were baked, not fried! The whole family loved them, thanks so much for this incredible recipe!

  4. Sorry, forget to give it 5 Stars!!

  5. Can I substitute fresh apple juice for the apple cider

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mimi, The flavor won’t be very strong unless it’s spiced juice. You can make Homemade Apple Cider if you wish!

  6. Can I use applesauce for part of the sugar to make them healthier?

  7. used 1/2 cup bottled boiled cider and the flavor was terrific….also sprinkled chopped toasted pecans on top of batter before baking! Big Hit.

  8. Have made them twice. Big hit with my neighbors and family. Will be making again this morning. Thanks for a great recipe.

  9. Any adjustments required if using salted butter? I am leaving town and am planning to bring these with me for the journey. Not buying any more groceries before the trip!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Richa, You can use salted or unsalted butter, it won’t make a huge difference here. If there’s 1+ cups of butter in a recipe, then you would need to make a change to the added salt.

  10. I lived near an orchard that makes the most amazing Apple Cider Donuts, so I looked forward to the autumn flavors with these donuts. I really enjoyed them, and they were very easy to make. I would offer two slight modifications. At the end, rather than dunking the donuts in butter, brush each side with butter before coating with the sugar spice mixture. The first ones dunked had too much butter and were a little soggy. Also, if you have it, use fine granulated sugar for the coating to make the donut less gritty. They are yummy and reminded me of my mid-western roots!

  11. Delicious! We made them into muffins and they were gone in two days.

  12. Can you suggest another topping for these donuts? I thought the donuts were sweet enough without the added sugar on top. The donuts came out delicious. Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, We are happy you enjoyed these donuts! You can take a look at all of our Donut Recipes to see if you would like to try a glaze. But honestly you can either use a lighter hand when coating with the sugar or leave it off completely and they are still great!

  13. Fantastic. Light and tender. Made it in mini muffin pan and needed an extra 10 minutes bake but turned out great.

  14. These are amazing! I’ve made probably six batches at this point. I live in New England and I am an Apple cider donut connoisseur (IMHO 🙂 and these stand up to the best I’ve ever had. Easy to make and so so tasty. I skip the butter at the end and just coat in the sugar mixture when warm.

  15. Can you use coconut sugar in place of granulated sugar?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We haven’t tested these with coconut sugar but let us know if you do!

  16. We made these donuts this morning, and they were awesome! The cider took us 45 mins or so, we had to crank up the heat to nearly medium. Then we cooled in an ice bath so we could get cookin’! They were fantastic!!! Will absolutely make them again soon!

  17. Sheila Calnan says:

    I’ve looked over the comments and asked on the FB group, but can’t get the guidance I need….I’m getting ready to do a double batch of these wonderful things. Is there anything special I need to do? Can I use a hand mixer (on low) to mix, without messing them up?
    Thanks as always.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheila, For best taste and texture, We recommend making 2 separate batches. Working with extra batter risks over or under-mixing, which could ruin the texture of the baked donuts.

  18. Made these today with the hubby. Absolutely scrumptious! Took about 30 min to cook down the cider. I would also agree with one of the above comments that brushing them with melted butter as opposed to dunking them before putting them in the topping is a better option. Will make again!

  19. I know my stove is wonky and cantankerous, but I’ve been trying to reduce the cider down for 40 minutes now and it has only gone down to just under a cup. It’s only supposed to simmer, which it is; if I turn it on any higher I suspect it will boil away and burn. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?

    1. Just keep going, Sabrina. I promise, it will reduce! I had the same problem with my stove and I just stirred and waited. I had a little bit more than a half cup but I just left that out and it was fine! It just takes patience and stirring. Good luck!

  20. These look soooo amazing! Is it possible to make this recipe inside a loaf pan and get the same delicious results?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Poppy, I can’t see why not! We haven’t tested it so we are unsure of the bake time needed. Let us know how it goes!

  21. Hi Sally’s team,

    I was wondering, could I bake these on an air fryer? If so, for how long and at what temperature?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andi, These need to be baked in a pan and we have never tried using an air fryer for them so I’m unsure of the results. A dough that holds its shape without a donut pan, like these Glazed Doughnuts, may be better to try but again, we haven’t tested it!

  22. I’m guessing the answer will be the same as the loaf pan question, but has anyone tried this in a Bundt pan like one big donut? Wondering if it worked out and what the recommended cooking instructions would be? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lauren, There isn’t enough batter for a bundt cake, but you could try making the batter twice (as opposed to doubling it) and see if that works. My recommendation, though, is to make this apple bundt cake. Instead of the glaze, you can generously sprinkle the batter with cinnamon/apple pie spice/sugar before baking.

  23. How do I substitute coconut flour for the all purpose flour?

    Made these last weekend with all purpose flour and they were a hit! Such a hit, I had a request to make them again this weekend!

  24. Can you substitute frozen apple juice concentrate for the apple cider reduction?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, You would miss out on a lot of the spiced flavor from the cider.

  25. These are really delicious! Best donuts I’ve made. I would say they rival the apple cider donuts at our local cider mill, which have a cult following here! Thanks for the recipe!

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