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

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

214 Comments

  1. Aside from my silicone mini donut pan absolutely failing, as in donuts sticking both ungreased and greased, the recipe itself was good! The donuts definitely puff up nicely, and have a good texture. The kids loved dipping them in the butter and the topping, they said they reminded them of mini donuts from the fair. I finished up the last batch as donut holes, and I think I would probably just stick with those in the future.

  2. Making these now. My apple cider took a long time to reduce (I had to up he heat) and now it’s a half a cup but still not thick? Trying again now…. any suggestions?

  3. Hi, Sally! Have you ever tried adding chopped or shredded apples to these? I’m considering it, but want to see if I need to do anything in particular to make it work.

  4. Hi, Sally! I live in Brazil and we do not have APPLE CIDER here. can I substitute for apple juice? Tks I LOVE your recipes … your pumpkin cake is THE BEST of life !!!

    1. Hi Ricardo! You can use apple juice instead. Make sure you reduce it down as instructed. You’ll lose a little flavor, but you can add some extra spices if you’d like!

    1. Eric, as I commented below, I tried this and I did not work out well! The KA boiled cider is too concentrated, I think, and throws off the recipe.

  5. Hi Sally, in the UK I think our cider is a little different to yours, it’s carbonated for a start! I’m guessing that wouldn’t transfer too well into this recipe? Perhaps I should just try using apple juice instead? What do you think?

    1. Hi Jess! You can use apple juice instead. Definitely reduce it down. You could add a little more of the spices for added flavor as well.

  6. I made these yesterday and we had them last night and are eating them for breakfast now! I am trying to find some really good recipes to make for fall and I think this is on my list! They are so yummy and so easy to make! Thank you!

  7. I really enjoyed the way these came out. Soft and dense, with a nice sugary coating. I doubled the batch (got 42 donuts out of it using Wilton standard donut pans) and it took around an hour to reduce the cider from 3C to 1C (I think I had the heat too low to start). Get it to a heavy steam, just shy of boiling. I would pour the cider from the pan into a glass measuring bowl every so often to check how much I had until I got to 1C. I was worried while whisking the batter at its final stage that I would mix it too much and cause the crumb to be too dense, but they came out really well balanced. Just a little lighter than a muffin. I had to use around 3 sticks of melted butter and 4 batches of the coating to adequately coat the donuts, which was mildly frustrating. I could do with a stronger apple flavor, but all the spices are about right I think. Maybe using a more flavored cider would help. Glazes would be good, like the brown sugar glaze from Sally’s “Glazed Apple Bundt Cake”, or a straight caramel glaze.
    Overall a great recipe. Thanks again Sally!
    PS I think in step 4 you mean “Pour into the *dry* ingredients”, right? The dry is in the larger bowl, and historically I’ve added wet to dry in muffins, donuts etc.

  8. can these be made ahead .. a day or two ?? i would like to sell then at the Farmer’s Market .. i live in SW FL where it is still hot in the fall . will they hold up ?????

      1. so , if i baked them the day before they should be ok the next morning .
        Do you have any other good recipes that will hold up to SWFL heat ????
        I do quick breads and cookies ..
        any tarts , mini pies ?? or 8 ” cakes ??
        thanks ,
        Mimi

      1. They sell it at an apple orchard in my area. It is 100% pressed and reduced pure apple juice. We like it on pancakes, but I bet it would work in this recipe?

  9. My husband requested I make something special to share since he was training for his job. I decided to make this recipe. I would recommend reducing the Apple Cider the day before needed. This process took over 45 minutes. The first 1 1/2 c. Only produced 1/4c. So I repeated the process and should have gone longer for a thicker concentrate. The donuts smell like fall when pulling out of the oven. What a bonus! Thank you for this delicious recipe. I may cost them in maple icing the next time.

  10. These looked so good, and I was so excited to make them, as mini-donuts (in a mini-muffin tin)!

    Unfortunately, they did not turn out well–I think because I tried using King Arthur Flour’s boiled cider for some of the cider. I reduced 3/4 c. of apple cider to 1/4 cup, then added in 1/4 c. of the boiled cider. The boiled cider is quite syrupy and I think this resulted in some odd reactions in the batter. They were dense and sticky, not light and fluffy.

    I’ve had great success with your other recipes, and I really don’t think the recipe was the issue here. I would just warn your other readers, though, that substituting with the boiled cider does not work. I would love to try them again with just the regular reduced cider, because I think they’d be great!

    Also, one quick note–in the sugar topping, you call for 1 cup sugar, but indicate 150 grams by weight. I think that should be 200 grams by weight. 🙂

  11. I made these today. They turned out awesome! Once I boiled down the apple cider I had a lot left over, and on accident I put just a little more than a cup of cider in my batter. They still worked out good though!

  12. Made these today and they were absolutely delicious!! My family loved them, but preferred the ones that I dipped and coated on one side only since they were a little less sweet. I used apple juice instead of cider because that’s what my grocery store had, but still turned out great. I will definitely be making these again this Fall! Another wonderful recipe, thanks Sally!! xo

  13. These turned out great, my family loved them for breakfast! Ours actually made 18 donuts, but no one complained about the extras. Thanks for the great recipe!

  14. Just wanted to compliment you on your blog writing and photo incorporation. I am in the first baby steps of getting my own blog up and running, and yours is one I keep referencing for style and flow. Anyway, I randomly clicked on this post to see a full post, and… I don’t even like “cake” donuts generally, but all your photos and your peppy writing about them have me telling myself maybe I would like These! Haha! I think your website is so lovely. And happy birthday to your baby girl! peace

  15. So I made these and I wasn’t too happy these didn’t taste like apple cider donuts. I used apple cider from a farm so I’m not sure what else I could have done to make them more “apple cidery”

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe, Kris! Feel free to use more apple cider and reducing down to the 1/2 cup. It will take longer, of course, but should be more potent.

  16. Delicious! I used 1/2 cup of the King Arthur apple cider concentrate to save time and it worked perfectly. It only took a few minutes to whip these together and another 10 to bake them. These taste just as good or better than the ones I buy from the bakeries at the apple orchards!

  17. My daughter and I made these this morning. She is eating her second one now (4 years old). Delicious. I did notice the 150 g weight for the 1 cup of sugar in the topping mixture. I actually halved the topping sugar and butter and only dipped the top of each donut and worked perfectly for us. I boiled down cider from local orchards. I don’t think the taste was as intense as I expected so maybe next time I’ll reduce starting with 2 cups of cider.

  18. I baked these tonight and they are delicious. They turned out wonderfully.

    My only concern is that the weight of the ingredients in grams does not match the measurements in cups. I measured my ingredients using cups, then weighed them and found a tremendous difference between the two. I suggest weighing everything (always in baking) but especially this recipe because I am not sure how it would have turned out otherwise.

    Other than that, 10/10. The Apple flavor really is so much better this way, worth the extra effort for sure. I will definitely bake these again.

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