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Homemade apple cider donuts are cakey, dense, and intensely flavored. Baked, not fried, these fall treats come together quickly and easily – a convenient recipe with no mixer required. The trick for big flavor is to use concentrated apple cider. Make the morning less hectic by reducing the apple cider the night before. Read on for all the tips you need to make this Fall favorite!

Baked apple cider donuts

I love those delicious donuts that you get at the bakery…they’re rich, dense, and smell absolutely amazing. If you’ve ever tried my chai spice donuts, pumpkin donuts, or cinnamon sugar donuts, you know that those bakery beauties definitely inspired my donut recipes. They are somewhat dense and very muffin-like. These baked apple cider donuts are no exception, though they are a little heavier with a more substantial and moister crumb.

Tell Me About these Apple Cider Donuts

  • Texture: If you like cakey, moist, and dense donuts with a crumbly cinnamon-sugar coating, then look no further than this recipe. 
  • Flavor: Flavor-wise, they’re APPLE and CINNAMON and SPICE all over. They taste like they’re straight from the bakery! 
  • Ease: A simple mix of wet and dry ingredients plus the apple cider concentrate makes these a snap to prepare for crisp fall mornings. No mixer, rolling pin, or donut cutter required! Simply add the batter to a donut pan– I use and love this one. If you only have 1 pan, just bake a batch at a time. 
  • Time: In less than an hour, you’ll have an entire plate stacked high with homemade apple cider donuts.

Apple Cider Donuts Video Tutorial

Baked apple cider donuts on a white plate

This Trick Changes Everything

The trick to apple cider donuts is to flavor them with concentrated apple cider. Apple cider that has been reduced down on the stove is thick and potent, adding big flavor without excess liquid. Apple cider, either store-bought or this homemade apple cider, is certainly delicious to drink but it won’t add enough flavor to baked goods. Taking 20 minutes to reduce the cider down transforms regular donuts into amazing apple cider donuts. If you like to keep things simple in the morning, reduce the cider the night before. That will save you cooling time, too, because the cider must cool for a few minutes before you add it to the batter. 

To reduce your apple cider, simply follow these simple steps:

  • Pour 1½ cups apple cider into a small saucepan. We will reduce this to ½ cup. 
  • Place on low heat and set a timer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Begin checking at 10 minutes, and then every 3-5 minutes after that until you have ½ cup of cider reduction (approximately 20 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before using in the batter.

It’s that easy! If you have leftover apple cider, use it in my honeycrisp apple sangria or apple cider sangria— or drink it plain.

Here’s my reduced down apple cider:

Ingredients for apple cider donuts

Choosing the Right Ingredients: Melted Butter & Apple Pie Spice

  • Melted butter. The crown jewel of these donuts is the dip in melted butter, then a dunk in granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. Not only is it delicious, but the melted butter helps the sweet coating stick to the donut.
  • 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.

By the way, if you’re a fall baking fanatic like me and love pumpkin treats, you might try making your own pumpkin pie spice blend, too! Use it in pumpkin-inspired favorites like pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars, and of course, pumpkin pie.


Overview: How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts

These couldn’t be easier to make– no mixer required. Leave yourself enough time (at least a half hour) 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 the wet ingredients together, except for the apple cider.
  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 to the bag, cut off a corner, and pipe it into the donut pan filling only about halfway. This trick makes transferring the batter neat, quick, and easy.
  6. Bake. Only about 10 minutes of bake time – told you they were quick. To test doneness, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they’re done. Once they are out of the oven, let them cool for 2 minutes, then invert the pan to release the donuts. You can then re-grease the donut pan and bake the remaining donut batter. (If you have 2 donut pans, go ahead and bake both trays at once.) 
  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 coat generously in the apple spice topping.

Look at this beautiful caramel-colored batter! So much apple flavor hiding in here:

apple cider donut batter in a glass bowl
apple cider donut batter in a donut pan before baking
a donut in a glass bowl of apple cider donut topping
stack of apple cider donuts

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Baked apple cider donuts

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1214 donuts 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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. If there are any spices or solids on top of your reduced apple cider, leave them. 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 | 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 apple cider 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.

Keywords: Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Great recipe I will make again but added chopped apple that increased flavor and left out butter when rolling in sugar.

  2. THESE WERE SO AMZINGLY DELICIOUS!! Though I used apple juice instead and I made them for my sisters birthday and everyone loved them! They were so soft, had the perfect texture and so easy to make! I loved these so much, If i could I would give this a 10 instead of a 5

    1. Hi DJ, 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. Our recommendation, though, is to make this apple bundt cake. Instead of the glaze, you can generously sprinkle the batter with cinnamon/apple pie spice/sugar before baking.

    2. I guess.. you’d have to change the temp & baking time. I wouldn’t recommend it. Look up “Apple cider loaf cake” that might be better for you.

  3. Rainy day fall project. I made your apple cider recipe yesterday then reduced it down today. Totally worth the effort. I only made 1/2 the recommended topping recipe thinking 1c of sugar seemed like alot. I ended up just dipping only the tops of the donuts into the sugar mixture. It was the perfect fall spiced donut treat. Thank you for another amazing recipe. Sally never disappoints!

  4. Have made these delicious donuts that rival farm market donuts at least 3 times. Easy and wonderful! Today, instead of boiling down apple cider, I used 1/2 cup of King Arthur’s boiled cider. Nice shortcut!

    1. Hi Alexa! The fresh apple cider that we use and recommend is spiced.

    1. Hi Geena, it’s best to stick with all-purpose flour here. Whole wheat flour would make these donuts very dense. If you wanted to, you could try 1/2 all-purpose flour and half whole wheat and then adjust as desired for future batches.

  5. My boyfriend’s little sister made these for us, and I am not kidding when I say these are probably some of the best donuts I’ve ever had. Moist, delicious, and the perfect amount of sugary crumble. She subbed out butter and milk for dairy free alternatives as she and bf are both dairy-free folks (plant butter and almond milk) and it came out great nonetheless.

  6. I bought I donut pan just to try this recipe. And like all Sally’s recipes- this was a winner! I made just a half batch and used apple juice since I had some on hand. And I used buttermilk. They were super moist and tender. You don’t mistake a baked donut for a fried one – but still delicious. And they were even great the next day. Thanks, Sally!

  7. Have used so many of Sally’s recipes with great success. This one was just ok. The donut itself (I thought) didn’t have a ton of flavor, even with the addition of more spices and I didn’t use butter at the end, I brushed on left over cider before rolling in the cinnamon and sugar. My husband LOVED them however and ate almost all of them, but I probably won’t make again.

  8. These are outstanding! I had been making the apple cider donuts from The NY Times Cooking and the family thought the reduced cider made for a much more flavorful donut. I used 1/3 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of butter with the same amount of spices for the topping. A keeper and repeater! Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

  9. So delicious! I made the muffin version since I don’t have a doughnut pan. I always cut the white sugar a bit and I swear you can never tell the difference. It really allows the other flavors to show through because they aren’t overwhelmed by sweetness.

    My main change was adding apple pieces. With Paul Hollywood in the back of my mind warning about stodginess, I put them into just half the batter (1/2 medium apple, diced). The apples didn’t impede the rising at all, and they added a nice texture differential—I find myself biting into the ones without apple pieces and wishing they were there!

    My other tip is that for the topping, 4 tbsp melted butter and 1/2 c sugar are plenty. I used a brush to paint the butter on instead of dipping. This made it so the muffins didn’t get too oily but still had enough butter to give them that decadent flavor. For the sugar mix, I halved the sugar but kept the spice amounts the same, and I still had plenty of sugar mixture left over once I coated them all.

    Overall, I would highly recommend this recipe and I will definitely be making it again (this time with plenty of apples in the entire batch!)

  10. I have never made baked doughnuts, thought I would give it a try. My apple cider did not thicken like I thought it should have but I had 1/2 cup & it worked. They were delicious! The doughnuts looked like a bakery product. Very impressive. Will make again.

  11. I just made these donuts for a fall party and they were a big hit! Thank you for another great recipe.

  12. Can you reduce the apple cider days in advance and keep in the refrigerator or is it best to do the night before?

    1. Hi Katie! You can reduce the apple cider the day before, but we haven’t tested making it ahead more than that.

    2. I buy my apple cider a few gallons at a time, boil it down to ⅛ the original volume, put it in mason jars with regular screw on lids (not processed and sealed) and keep it in the fridge all year long until I run out close to the next season. It’s homemade boiled cider and can be used in soooooo many things!!!

  13. Made these today and found them way too sweet. How much could I reduce the brown and white sugars in the batter before affecting the recipe too too much?

    1. Hi HB, Sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended.

  14. Would there be any benefit to creaming the butter and sugar for the batter instead of using melted butter in that step?

    1. Hi Dominic, We love using melted butter in our donut recipes because not only do you get more flavor, but it also creates a texture that is more dense (typical of donuts). You can certainly try creaming room temperature butter if you wish but expect a texture that is a bit more cakey.

  15. Easy and a huge hit! So fun to use cider from a local farm, and then serve the rest of the batch of cider with the donuts. I realized too late that I was out of brown sugar, but I added about a tablespoon of molasses to the batter with white sugar, and it was great. Thanks for a wonderful, easy recipe! You are a household name in DC, and we love your recipes!

  16. These donuts were delicious. I’ve never made any kind of donut before, but the recipe was easy to follow. Always love the videos too. It did take much longer to reduce the cider but it gave great flavor. Will
    definitely make these again.

  17. If you use apple juice would you cook it down before you use it?
    What spices would you use to spice up store bought cider and the amount of spices?

  18. These donuts are delicious. However, the topping made them too sweet for me, so I left it off. The donuts themselves are awesome!

  19. Followed directions, tasteless except for sugar, I think the only good part of this recipe, is that they came out of the pan easily… good thing my husband is my guinea pig.

  20. This recipe is fantastic. My son is gluten-free and I only had to make a couple of modifications to create perfect doughnuts! I’ve made them four times this season. They are gobbled up by gluten-free and gluten-eaters alike. Everyone loves them!

    1. Alexia, did you use a 1:1 gluten free measure for measure flour? I, too, have to make these gf for my child and was wondering what you used for awesome results? Thank you!

  21. Your doughnut cutter hyperlink to Amazon cutter does not work anymore on a couple of recipes that have it that I could not post a comment which is why I did it here. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much for letting us know, Jim! The links have been updated.

  22. Can you freeze separate portions of the concentrate? I want to make batches of donuts later. How can I increase the flavour? I have Pumpkin Spice?

    1. Hi Erika, Thank you for trying this recipe. Make sure you are using a spiced cider for the best flavor. You can freeze portions of the concentrate for future donuts. Enjoy!

  23. They are so amazing that I’ve made these 3 times in 2 weeks and everyone has loved them! I have a friend that I visit in Michigan and she took me to a cider mill where I had some Apple cider donuts and this recipe brings we back to cool days and warm donuts. I must have a smaller donut pan as this recipe makes 18 donuts, but that’s ok. I still get the delicious flavor in a smaller treat. I put the recipe into a popular fitness tracker and found that they’re only 186 calories each with 31 grams of carbs, 5.7 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein when using this recipe to make 18 donuts. It’s a perfect way to enjoy a tasty donut without all the calories. I found gallon jugs of apple cider on sale for less than $2.00, so I bought 4 gallons, reduced the cider down and frozen them so I can make these for months to come. I hope this gives you an idea of how much I love these donuts and this recipe. I have followed the recipe exactly as written other than using my smaller donut pan and they’ve come out perfectly each time. I’d highly recommend this recipe to any donut lover out there. Thank you, Sally!

    1. Hi Sarah, We haven’t tested any egg substitutes in this recipe but let us know if you do! Here’s all our egg-free recipes if you’re interested.

    1. Hi Hepzi! We haven’t tested it but please let us know how it goes if you do! Our recommendation, though, would be to make our apple crumb cake instead – it’s a favorite!

  24. Can the dough be made the night before so you just have to put it in the pan to bake?

    1. We don’t recommend it! The raising agents will activate too soon and the donuts won’t rise when baked. Best to bake right away!

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