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.
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
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 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!)
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.
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:
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.
- 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).
- Combine the dry ingredients together.
- Combine all wet ingredients except for the apple cider together.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
Look at this beautiful caramel colored batter! So much apple flavor hiding in here:
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.
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.
What to Make with Leftover Apple Cider
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.Print
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.
- 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
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice*
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls | Measuring Cups | Whisk | Heart Spatula | Donut Pan
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.