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

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

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.

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: 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.

Try pumpkin donuts next!!!

Pumpkin donut holes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

192 Comments

  1. 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 ?

    1. 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.

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

  2. 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?

    1. 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. 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?

    1. 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.

  4. I don’t eat alot of donuts but these look and sound fabulous. I’ve been boiling cider down for years to use over pancakes/french toast and in a bourbon cocktail, similar to an old fashion, w/th 1/2 oz of syrup instead of sugar and 1/2 oz of orange juice and 2 oz bourbon. A note though, my syrup takes around 30 minutes at a medium heat; perhaps it’s thicker than what’s recommended here

    1. Jan, my husband and I love making each other old-fashioneds, curling up on the couch, and scarfing Sally’s recipes. So I felt like your comment was made for me ❤ Just made these apple cider donuts with our toddler – we used Greek yogurt – and they’re definitely the most delicious baked donuts we’ve ever had! Once he’s in bed, out comes the apple cider syrup again, this time for bourbon…

  5. 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!

  6. Sally Sally Sally! I hope you & your family are well! NOW this… I simply ADORE you & your recipes! I have NEVER made any of your stuff & failed NEVER! I love how you make it all so simple & the way you give instructions, NO one should/could mess up. I’ve NEVER altered your recipe’s (didn’t EVER have to). Having said that… I have made your other donuts & my family LOVES them! My son asked me to make various types of donuts for their ride ( 2 hours away) to a powerlifting competitions & he asked for apple ones! While I saw many on other sites, I was so happy to find in my email your apple cider ones as they were ones I wanted to make! Will let you know how the enjoyed them later!

  7. Pursuing my MBA left me no time to bake over the last 15 months and my co-workers complaining. 🙂 I think this will be my first “The baking has returned” treat for them. Thanks for the response to the King Arthur Boiled Cider because I had the same question.

  8. Love your recipes dear Sally and so does my family! Your Raspberry S treudel bars are their new favorite ♥️ So excited … I can’t wait to give these a whirl. Think I may be trying them in my poor lil electric donut maker that’s been sorely neglected in my cupboard

  9. 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!

    1. 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!

  10. I found your recipe last year and made it SOOOO many times! It’s one everyone requests, so thank you for sharing! Also, I buy a from King Arthur a reduced apple cider. I’ve compared my reduced to theirs, it really depends on where you bought your cider as to what tastes better, but both work perfectly in pies, pancakes, waffles, drizzle on ice cream….and these beauties!

  11. I was just thinking on the way home from work that I need to find an apple cider donut recipe and wow it was right here my favorite baking site. Thank you Sally.

  12. I absolutely love this recipe! It brings back memories of going to an apple picking farm in grade school, where I had my first apple cider donut. I also loved that joke about the dentist; you’re a great writer, Sally, as well as a excellent baker!

  13. I just made these and I have to say I’m disappointed. I don’t have a donut mold, so I tried to make holes using your directions. I ended up with mini muffins, which is fine but I was really looking for those cute round “holes”. With that aside, we didn’t get any apple flavor in these. They just taste like cinnamon and spices. We’ll still eat them, but instead of being apple cider donut holes they are just cinnamon muffins.

    1. Hi Susan! Thank you so much for trying my recipe. Did you reduce the cider down enough? And even with the apple pie spice in the muffin and coating, you don’t detect flavor besides cinnamon? Sorry you were disappointed! Appreciate you reporting back.

  14. 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!

    1. 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!

  15. 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.

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

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