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 Sally,
    These tasted delicious! My sugar kind of melted into the butter, so looked kind of sludgy, not like yours above. Any suggestions?
    thanks!
    Liesl

    1. Hi Liesl! An extra sprinkle of apple spice/sugar on top of the wet topping helps cover it up! Some of my donuts were a little darker from this happening as well.

  2. These rated five stars. Better than the ones I remember getting after apple picking in Michigan. Will be making them again when I visit the grandkids in a couple of weeks.

  3. In step 4, you say to mix all the wet ingredients together and then say, “Pour into the wet ingredients”. I’m not sure if it matters in this recipe, but would you mind clarifying if you mean to add the dry ingredients to the wet or the wet ingredients to the dry? Thank you!

    1. Hey Megan! Thanks for catching this. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s easiest to pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

  4. Instead of apple cider can I use applesauce? We’re currently stationed in Japan and I haven’t come across any apple cider.

  5. I made them and they taste really good!!
    I only switched for non-dairy butter and almond milk to make them dairy free.
    I wasn’t sure if the apple cider I used was the one you recommend here (concentrated). I used one that says Old Fashioned apple cider 100% juice. Would you mind sharing the brand(s) you used and where you buy it, please. I think the donuts taste delicious, but I wouldn’t mind extra apple cider flavor.
    Thank you for sharing!!

  6. Hey Sally,
    I saw this recipes and sent my husband to target to get a donut pan! I just had some issues reducing my apple cider . . . It took over an hour and didn’t really reach a syrupy consistency I was expecting. And then; I must confess it took so long, I got impatient and put it in the batter probably still a little too warm. Still delicious but I feel like I didn’t get that concentrated apple taste. Any tips?

    1. Hi Tabi! My tip is to just keep simmering until it thickens and reduces. Try it the night before if you can remember so it’s ready when it’s bake time.

  7. Ok another great recipe from Sally! I think if the butter needs to drip off well before the sugar dip to avoid the sludge – but delicious either way ! I used almond milk:)

  8. Made these last night for a teacher luncheon today. So so good! Used the KA boiled cider which worked well, and doubled the recipe for about 40 donuts.

    Also, used salted butter for the dunking before the sugar/spice coating. Loved that slight salty flavor in the end result.

    Absolutely do not try to be healthy and skip the butter/sugar dunk! They actually taste a bit dry without it. Guessing very little butter is used in the actual donut due to the added butter later. Awesome recipe!

  9. I made these this week for work. We decided on apple cider donut holes for a charity kick off event and taste tested 4 different recipes. This one won so we will be making 300 mini donuts later this month. The reduction did take a bit of time but the flavor is so worth it. Next time I will reduce it the night before to speed up the baking the next day.

    1. I’m so happy you decided on this recipe! Yes, you can absolutely make the reduction the day before to save time. Good luck! 🙂

  10. These look delicious! I’m making them for an upcoming family cider/donut party… would it be possible to make the batter ahead of time, and just keep in the fridge? Or will that be bad at all?

    1. Hi Heather! Baking powder is initially activated once wet, so I don’t recommend making the batter ahead of time. You can freeze the baked donuts though! OR you can make the wet ingredients and dry ingredients, then combine and bake the donuts when you need them.

  11. Hi! I was super excited to make these, and when I was done baking they seemed wet and sticky. Almost like they weren’t baked all the way. I used a silicone baking mold rather than a metal pan. Do you think that this significantly changed the bake time? Have you ever used silicone?

    1. Hi Alexandra! The apple cider donuts definitely bake quicker in a metal pan. It sounds like yours where not baked long enough. If you try them in your silicone pan, bake for a few extra minutes.

  12. hi Sally! does it matter how much apple cider i have in the pan when I’m reducing it? Like I’m planning on quadrupling the recipe. is that too much apple cider to reduce at one time?

    1. More volume in the pan means the apple cider will take longer to reduce, so keep that in mind. Try making the apple cider donuts in batches instead.

    1. Hi Shompa! I’m unsure about coconut flour, but whole wheat flour works. The donuts taste a little heavier + heartier with it.

  13. Of course if You don’t have the time to reduce your cider you can buy boiled cider (I get mine from King Arthur Flour) super thick and flavorful and really brought out the flavor of these wonderful donuts

  14. Hi,
    I made these today with a few modifications, I used splenda for the white sugar and brown sugar. I also didn’t have a donut pan, so I used a mini bundt cake pan instead. I left a few unsugared for my husband (he’ s borderline diabetic), but sugared mine…They are delicious! Thanks for the recipe, I will be making these again

  15. Hi! Will it work in a loaf pan? if so, the entire amount? also, any suggestions on the dip and sugar concept in a loaf? it’s for a work event and they prefer a cake to donuts but loved the flavor when i brought in the donuts.
    Thank you, in advance!

    1. I can’t see why not! You could fill the loaf pan halfway with batter, sprinkle some of the apple spice coating on top, then spread the rest of the batter on top. This will create a lovely swirl in the center of the loaf. You can also sprinkle the top with more apple spice coating before baking.

  16. Hi Sally. I just reduced the cider to a half cup but it never got thick like a syrup. It was still like cider..just darker in color. Would this be ok to use? Thank you.

  17. These are delicious! I reduced the Apple cider last night. I would not say it really thickened, though maybe slightly thicker this morning. I used the mini muffin pan and got 34. Another fall recipe to hold onto. Thanks Sally!

  18. These donuts are seriously AMAZING. I made them last weekend for our team before walking in the Breast Cancer walk in Central Park and had a request to make them again this weekend because they were so good! These just might be a weekend staple around the house! Thank you for the recipe Sally – it’s a big winner!

  19. Hi Sally! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I’ve made these mini donuts twice now and all friends who have tried it love it!

    One question on the cider: I was really excited to reduce down the cider, but both times I barely taste any apple at all 🙁 The first time I did 1 1/2 cups down to 1/2 cup, the second I did 1 2/3 cups down to 1/2 cup, and both times most people just guessed it was a cinnamon / snickerdoodle donut. Don’t get me wrong, still delicious, but any idea what I might be doing wrong?
    I do find it takes me longer than 20 minutes to reduce it down. It also seems like the consistency stays the same – doesn’t really thicken or darken much at all. Maybe it’s the wrong brand? I’m using the Safeway generic brand of 100% juice apple cider.

    I also found that for mini donuts, filling the pan to 2/3 made it too puffy (and the donut hole very small!) 1/2 filled worked better for me. Thanks also for the piping tip – made it a lot easier!

    Going to make these a third time this weekend for a potluck 🙂 Thanks again!

    1. Hi Veronica! Thank you so much for baking my apple cider donuts and your observation about the mini donuts. Some readers have found that added shredded apple (about 1 cup) to the batter helps bring out the apple flavor. If doing so, reduce the milk down to 1/4 cup.

  20. These look amazing!! I can’t wait to make them but I have a question. Could I use self rising flour with this?
    Thank you!

  21. Made as per the recipe with the exception of subbing sour cream for the milk and adding about 1/2 cup grated green apple (squeezed of excess moisture). Dipped half the batch in the sugar/spice mix as per the recipe, dipped the other half in a sugar/spice mix with extra fresh-ground cardamom. Major hit with kids and adults alike. My typical experience with baked donuts is that they end up tasting like a muffin with a hole in the middle – these are NOT those typical baked donuts. Another stellar recipe, thank you!

  22. I just went apple picking recently. With the apples that I picked, I decided to turn them into cider. And with the cider, I wanted to make apple cider donuts. I’ll be using this recipe. Sounds delicious. I usually have milk on hand (for coffee), so I almost always substitute buttermilk recipes with the regular milk and some sort of acid. But this time, I actually only had buttermilk on hand (and no milk!) after the last time I actually bought some just to use half a cup, then I froze it (why can’t they sell buttermilk by the pint?!). So I thought that this was going to be the first time having to try the reverse substitution, which I haven’t tried yet. And then I read your side note about you usually using buttermilk. So I was safe. I guess with some recipes, it’d make a difference. But for donuts, buttermilk does sound like the better option since it’d be giving it that extra tang and moistness!

  23. I made these for a Halloween party last evening and they were a HUGE hit! I made the recipe exactly as written, and used both my regular and mini donut pans. Thanks for the awesome recipe, Sally!

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