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 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 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.

208 Comments

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  1. I just bought King Arthur boiled cider. Do I use 1/2 cup? this will be the first time using this product

    1. Hi Pat, using that should be fine in this recipe. Yes, use 1/2 cup.

      1. Thank you for your reply, I will let you know how they turned out using this product. Pat

      2. OMG!! These are a winner. King Arthur Boiled Apple Cider was good and I definitely will be baking these again.

  2. These were amazing!!! Excellent recipe!

  3. I made these for breakfast this
    Morning and they were so delicious! Honestly, they don’t need the sugar coating on top. They are delicious plain!

  4. Kristina Burjan says:

    Could I make the batter the night before and put it in the fridge then bake them the next morning? I’d like to take them to work but I”m not willing to give up precious sleep.

    1. No, any batter with leaveners such as baking soda and baking powder should be baked right away. The leavening agents are activated as soon as they are mixed with the wet ingredients and won’t rise if left too long after mixing. You can bake the donuts the night before and serve in the morning!

  5. Do you have any suggestions on how to make this egg free? My daughter is allergic to eggs. I have some ideas on what to do but wanted to know if you had any suggestions! Thanks!!

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe with an egg substitute, but let me know if you try it!

      1. I tested this out but did make it egg free for my daughter. I substituted 1/4 cup apple sauce, 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of baking soda all for one egg. It turned out delicious! Better than apple cider donuts I have made in the past from another website with the egg! Thanks for a fantastic and forgiving recipe!

    2. I eat eggless. For a recipe like this with only one egg, a mixture of 2tsp unflavored protein powder, 2tsp oil, 1/2tsp baking soda, and 3Tbsp water should do it. You could be even simpler by adding 1/4 cup yogurt and the baking powder though the binding properties won’t be as strong.

      1. 1 tablespoon of vinegar along with 1 teaspoon of baking soda can be substituted for 1 egg.

    3. Ener-g egg replacer works great in baking to replace eggs I didn’t use For this recipe yet but I used it in other baking recipes that I had and it worked great. I got the ener-g at whole food market.

    4. I have always had success substituting either unsweetened apple sauce (1/4 cup per 1 large egg) or alternatively, 3 TBS aquafaba per 1 lg egg. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  6. Bob’s Red Mill makes an Egg substitute. I’ve used it for years in egg based recipes.

  7. Just using vinegar and baking soda will leave the recipe drier and without the emulsifying and binding properties. The commercial egg substitutes usually use things like tapioca starch that do bind but often end up crispier. They work better for cookies than soft things like this in my experience since they lack the protein to give structure.

    1. I also want to make this and my partner has some egg intolerance. I was going to try a “flax egg”, which he uses in all his baking. 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal and 3 tbsp hot water. Then let it thicken. I will try it as soon as I can (planning on making the donut hole variety after I get some good seasonal cider).

      1. That will give you moisture and binding, albeit with a slight texture/taste change. I don’t love flax eggs for that reason but it will likely work pretty well for this recipe. A touch of vinegar and extra leavening would help too.

  8. The Apple cider I got from the store says it is “spiced apple cider”, do you know if this is different from regular apple cider, or if I should reduce the other spices in the recipe? Thanks!

    1. It’s usually the same thing!

    2. Hi Sally, I am making this recipe now and am so excited! I’m just reducing at this point and noticed I have “unfiltered apple juice” instead of apple cider. Do you think this will have very different results?

    3. I made these tonight- I have a 12 donut baking dish and I took your suggestion to use a bag to pipe it. It made 12 donuts PLUS 12 muffins (in muffin cups). They are absolutely delish! I can’t believe the depth of flavor and not too sweet- but sweet enough. Thanks for this great recipe! I used Trader Joe’s Spiced Apple Cider to reduce…turned out GREAT!

  9. I fell in love with apple cider donuts at Weber’s Cider Mill Farm and couldn’t wait to try out my new donut pans on this recipe. I swapped the milk for sour cream. The donuts came out perfect. Not too heavy and I loved the apple spice mix (I made my own) Great recipe!

  10. Just made this morning – made as directed with no substitutions. Thei were delicious, the family loved them and so much fun for the kids to get involved with. Thanks for the recipe, will definitively make again.

  11. I finally got around to making Sally’s Baked Apple Cider Donuts and oh my are they ever delicious. The next time I make them I may skip the butter and sugar topping and instead make a glaze with reduced cider, confectioners sugar, cinnamon, and APS…just for something different.

  12. I am planning on making this recipe with my pre-K class on Friday. One of my children is allergic to dairy. I would normally use something like Earth’s best butter substitute, but one of our parents is wondering if we could substitute something like an avocado oil. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Beverly, avocado oil or melted coconut oil is fine in the donut batter, yes. Avocado oil may taste a little funny on the outside, so I recommend coconut oil there. Or you can try dipping the warm donuts right into the sugar coating without dunking in oil.

  13. Denise Wilwayco says:

    When I make the donuts and do the butter and sugar topping, I end up with a slight layer of sugar that can be overpowering. Is there anyway to prevent creating a layer of sugar? I put the donuts in the sugar mic and lightly coat it.

    1. Hi Denise, If you want less sugar on the outside, try skipping the melted butter and just lightly coat them with the sugar mixture. Enjoy!

  14. These are just what we need for the beginning of Autumn!! I wish they were a bit more moist, but they have gotten some good reviews from family and friends. Any tips on bringing out more Apple flavor? I reduced the cider, but still needs an apple’y taste. Perhaps some Apple Extract in substitution for Vanilla?

    1. Hi Trevor– apple extract would be an excellent idea. Or you could start with more apple cider (such as 2 cups) reduced down to 1/2 cup. It will take longer to reduce, but will have more flavor.

  15. Hi Sally,
    I came across another blogger’s recipe for an apple cider donut bundt cake so I came here to check if you have one first and I landed on this recipe. Do you think it’s possible to make this in a bundt pan? I think I would probably need to double the recipe but do you think the texture/rise would be ok? I always prefer to go with your recipe over anyone else’s if i have the option =) Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa! I’m happy to help. Thank you for checking my website! 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 my apple bundt cake. Instead of the glaze, you can generously sprinkle the batter with cinnamon/apple pie spice/sugar before baking.

  16. Would these work in an air fryer?

    1. Hi Chelsea! I doubt it– I fear the batter is simply too wet.

  17. Can the batter for these donuts be made a couple of hours before baking or do they need to be baked immediately?

    1. Hi Rachel, the baking powder is initially activated once wet, so it’s best to bake the batter right away.

  18. Deborah Ricca says:

    I made these several times in the past week. What a HIT and so easy to make. I made them just like the recipe said. Yummy.

  19. I’m curious as to why you start out with 1 1/2 cups of cider, cook it to reduce to 1/2 cups. Why not start with the 1/2 cup. What does cooking do to the cider?

    1. Hi Pam, you want concentrated apple cider. Apple cider that’s been reduced down on the stove is thick and potent, adding big flavor without excess liquid. You can see the above post for more details on this!

  20. These are incredible! We went apple picking last week and grabbed some apple cider and donuts from the farm. I used the cider to make these this morning and my whole family agreed these were better than the fried ones at the farm! Thanks for the fantastic recipe – will definitely make these again!

  21. Great recipe!

  22. Can this be made into a quick bread? If so, what tweaks need to be made?

    1. I haven’t tested this exact recipe as a quick bread – it might be a bit dense but would likely work. You can also make it into muffins, see recipe notes!

  23. Gail A Maddox says:

    Your apple cider donut recipe instructions include reducing 1cup apple cider to 1/2 cup but ingredients show 1 and 1/2 cups which is the amount to add?

    1. Hi Gail– this recipe instructs 1 and 1/2 cups of apple cider. Reduce 1 and 1/2 cups to 1/2 cup.

  24. It took alot longer than 20 minutes to reduce the vinegar it’s been about an hour and still not done

    1. Hi Elaina, do not use apple cider vinegar. This recipe calls for apple cider that you drink.

  25. Dianne L Devlin Corbett says:

    I made this recipe today and I love it…..it was fast (after you make the cider reduction, oh and it takes longer than 20 minutes – mine took about an hour on low and I measured it every 20 minutes), and easy! The end product is light and flavorful – not heavy like most donuts. Other than the apple cider – almost every seasoned baker has the ingredients on hand. Thank you Sally – I already shared the recipe with friends. One last thing – the plastic bag suggestion is fantastic – makes getting the mix into the pan easy and clean up a breeze!!!!

  26. I doubled the recipe today. Delicious! Used a shallow muffin top pan and baked 15 minutes.

  27. Did I miss something? The picture shows 6 donuts in a pan but the recipe never said how many it made. Another gestion was to use a 12 tin muffin pan. The donuts puffed too much in the 6 donut pan and would have looked nicer as muffins. Or should I have used 2 pans? The directions weren’t clear

    1. This recipe yields 12-14 donuts. (Find that with the prep/cook times.) Bake the donuts in batches. If you have a donut pan that yields more than 6 donuts, you can definitely use it.

  28. Oh, how I love these! Just made them, and they’re delicious! I’ll be making them again. Who needs to go to the apple orchard and pay through the nose when they’re so easy to make at home? Thank you, Sally, for another great recipe!

    1. What kind of apple cider did you use? The normal grocery store kind?

      1. Yes, 100% Pure Sweet Apple Cider, is what the carton says, and it’s from the grocery store.

  29. What type of apple cider do you use? The real expensive unfiltered fresh cider like 6.99 or just the regular 100% juice apple cider from the grocery store like 1.49 ? I am trying to make it, but not sure I bought the right kind.

    1. Either would be great, but the unfiltered kind will produce a stronger flavor.

  30. Wendy Steuernagel says:

    These are amazing – better than the fried ones I bought on a vacation in New Hampshire! I used honeycrisp apple cider. Thank you, Sally! Delicious

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