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, 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!)

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: 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.

259 Comments

    1. You sure can, though the flavor won’t be as strong. Try adding more spices (cinnamon, apple pie spice) to boost the flavor.

  1. Hi Sally, sorry if you’ve been asked this already but I’m from the UK and a bit unsure about the term apple cider possibly being different here. Apple cider here would be alcoholic, in a beer-type bottle and would be drunk like a beer. Is that ok to use? Or maybe if I try to find a low/non-alcoholic version of this cider? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Jo! We have that here too and it’s called hard apple cider. Do you have any super spiced apple juice you can use instead? Though a low alcohol version of apple cider could work here because the alcohol would be cooked out during reduction.

  2. This recipe is AMAZING! I have already made it 2 times! Awesome! This takes me back to when I used to live in NJ and we would go to “Delicious Orchards” and they would have the most amazing apple cider donuts. These remind me of them! And now that I have Celiac’s Disease I made them with Gluten Free Flour- increased the baking soda by a half a teaspoon and they were so delicious! Thanks for the recipe! Jenny

  3. There is no apple cider where i live. Can i puree apples, then concentrate the liquid from the squeezed puree? Would this provide concentrated flavor or do i have to add some commercial apple juice( from concentrate)?

  4. Hi! I am getting ready to buy a donut pan so I can make these 🙂 If I bought a silicone pan noting that these are for large donuts, I assume that is the correct size (vs. small donuts)?

    1. Hi Erica! I’m unsure of the measurements of your pan, but these donuts are NOT mini size. They’re about 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter.

  5. Hi Sally! If I wanted to make double the amount of donuts, could I just double all of the ingredients in the recipe in one big batch, or would you recommend making two separate single batches?

    1. Hi Anna! For best taste and texture, I recommend making 2 separate batches. Working with extra batter risks over or under-mixing, which could ruin the texture of the baked donuts.

  6. Hi Sally! Made these a few times already and are the best thing we have ever made. I wanted to make a huge batch tomorrow morning. JUST noticed I am just about out of all brown sugar….. Would coconut sugar be an ok substitution before I start bothering the neighbors? Thank you!!!!! If yes, and adjustments?

    1. Hi Christina! Coconut sugar would be an excellent substitution for the brown sugar. So glad you love these apple cider donuts too!

  7. Not a super strong apple cider flavour but loved the donut. It was light and fluffy and the cinnamon sugar coating was delicious.

  8. I measured 1 1/2 cups of apple cider, but after 30 min on low, it’s only down to 1 1/4 cups. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong? I’m sure it’s baker error on my part, just can’t figure out what!

    1. Hi Susan! Not doing anything wrong. Your heating element may not be as fast. No problem there. Simply keep simmering until you reach 1/2 cup. 🙂

  9. Hi Sally. I want to make these this weekend and freeze them until Christmas. Can I defrost them and then dip them in the butter and sugar? Thank you and Merry Christmas

    1. Hi Stephanie! Yes, that’s my preferred method of freezing these apple cider donuts. Let the baked donuts cool completely, then freeze. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight, then coat them.

  10. My mother-in-law is undergoing chemo right now and very little tastes good to her. I made her a batch of these last week and she’s been happily munching them down! I just finished cooking a second batch for her. 🙂 Thank you so much for thos recipe. Note to loved ones of chemo patients: You’ll want to use mini muffin tins to produce bite-sized treats… full-sized servings may be off-putting. This recipe yields 48 mini muffins! 🙂

  11. Hi Sally.

    I’m making these donuts for the first time any trying to reduce the cider. It’s reducing down but not getting thicker. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Caroline! It doesn’t thicken much, only gets a little darker. Let me know how you like the apple cider donuts. Thank you for trying the recipe!

  12. My family loved loved loved these donuts! I had no problems with the recipe. Only after they were done in trying to keep everyone grabbing them as I shook the cinnamon/sugar off. They went pretty fast. Oh, I used 1/2 yogurt and 1/2 milk. instead of milk. Delish!!thank you!

  13. Hi Sally. Probably someone asked this question already. I was given a donut maker (an electric one) the other day and I wonder if I can use this recipe for baking them in the maker? Thank you
    P.S. By the way do you have or know some other trusted baker who has a ricotta donut recipe? I’d love to try that;))

    1. Hi Oksana! I can’t see why this batter wouldn’t work in the electric donut maker! I don’t have a ricotta donut recipe, but please send if you ever find one you love. YUM!

  14. Oh. My. Lord. These were probably the best things I’ve ever made. I’m originally from Upstate/Western New York where these babies are available all Fall (heck basically all year) and now I live in Nashville, where I can’t find them. I decided to take a chance and make these and DAYUM. Just. Damn. They are so easy to make and I became all my neighbors favorite human by delivering them some fresh out the oven. MAKE THESE PEOPLE. They are heaven.

  15. King Arthur flour makes an apple cider concentrate that I keep around all the time. Would be great for this recipe and I use it in apple pies to intensify the apple flavor. Easier than boiling regular apple cider.

  16. Woops, I just read thru the recipe and saw that’s BEFORE the reduction, so thinking to make half a cup it’d be 1/3 cup concentrated apple juice, pour it into a 1/2 cup measure and add enough cider vinegar to fill the cup…

      1. Yes, Tonia, I did know that. I was correcting a previous post I made about how a little apple cider vinegar can be added to apple juice concentrate to sub for apple cider, if one cannot get vinegar, but I don’t see where that post ended up, I’m sure it’s here somewhere. Sorry for the confusion. You do know that when apple cider ages more, it becomes apple cider vinegar, right?

  17. Could you fry these? My family loves going to this farm every year around the fall season, where they have hayrides and a corn maze, and the best part of the whole experience is their apple cider donuts! That same farm has been bought out by a health care system and this year is their last season So I have been wanting to recreate those donuts so we can still enjoy them even after the farm has been closed. (They are fried donuts, by the way.)

      1. Thank you! I am going to make some of these tomorrow morning for a business meeting in the afternoon, and now I can do it confidently!

  18. Hi! I can’t wait to try this recipe out. Quick question… Would it be possible to substitute real butter with vegan butter and almond or cashew milk for regular milk? My daughter is highly allergic to dairy and I wouldn’t want her to miss out. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lizy, The almond or cashew milk should be just fine – I haven’t tested this recipe with vegan butter but please let me know if you do!

  19. Great recipe! Delicious and so easy ❤️
    I dipped some in the sugar mixture and made a maple glaze for the rest

  20. Hello!

    I am all about fall right now and I can’t wait to make these. May I ask how many standard sized (3 1/2″) donuts this makes? And could I substitute unsweetened apple sauce for the butter in the donuts?

    Thank you!

    1. This recipe yields between 12-14 donuts. There is only 2 TBS of butter in the recipe and I don’t recommend skipping it. I find when I completely remove the fat, baked goods end up with a rubbery texture!

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

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

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