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!
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
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:
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.
- 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 the wet ingredients together, except for the apple cider.
- 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 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.
- 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.)
- 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:
More Apple Recipes
- Apple Crisp
- Homemade Apple Cider
- Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Baked Apples
- Apple Cinnamon Muffins
- Salted Caramel Apple Galette
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 12-14 donuts
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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. If there are any spices or solids on top of your reduced apple cider, leave them. 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 (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowls | Measuring Cups | Whisk | 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 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 Comments & Reviews
Good donut recipe, but I was expecting a more prominent apple flavor. I think maybe the spices overpowered the apple and it was more like a spice donut. Because I wanted more apple flavor, I made a glaze with powdered sugar, melted butter and apple cider and dipped the donuts in the glaze. This put them over the top for apple flavor!
I loved everything about this recipe. The flavor was great but even more do I loved the consistency and moistness of the donuts. My question is … can I use this cake donut recipe to make other cake donuts? Like maybe blueberry?! I didn’t know if I could replace the apple cider with something else to vary the recipe. The consistency of these was just perfect!
Hi Christy! We’re so glad you enjoyed these donuts. We haven’t experimented with other flavors of this donut, but let us know if you do. It may take some trial and error to come up with different flavors! Or, here are all of our donut recipes — many of them are cake donuts like this. Let us know if you give any of them a try!
I reduced apple cider yesterday to make donuts but I don’t have a time to make them today..
Could I just left it in the refrigerator one more day?
What apple cider should I use? Any specific brand?
Hi Britney, any brand should do the trick as long as you’re using apple cider (not juice). You can also make your own apple cider!
So easy and croud-pleasing. Happy to find a donut recipe that doesn’t involve frying. Having these in the house make’s it feel like fall. 100% going to male this again.
Good Morning Sally & fellow Sally Addicts! Yesterday my family & I had the “pleasure” of making homemade coder from an OLD press! It was a HUGE even as a dear friend passed away a few months ago & YET before he passed, he made sure of a few things…have a yearly party at the beginning of Oct to have a party in which we ALL help preparing the cider. What a LABORING of love! My hands are slightly better from all the chopping but AGAIN…what a wonderful experience. Going home with 5 gallons of cider, GUESS what I’m doing now? YES, reducing it for these AWESOME donuts! I’ve made them before but didn’t comment, as I’d be sending comments DAILY! I talk about you as if we were best friends! When asked where I come up with these delicious treats I say…Sally of course! I can’t even imagine how many “friends” I have given your “number” to(LOL). THANK YOU for making cooking fun!
These tasted nice, but they didn’t come out like donuts — they were like muffins. Baked donuts should be dense and cakey; these were light and fluffy. I would recommend making them like muffins instead.
Never can seem to go wrong with your recipes! These were delicious! A beautiful taste of Fall! Thankyou for sharing your fantastic recipes with all of us!!
These donuts were amazing! I don’t have a donut baking pan, so made them in my mini Bundt pans. They made 12, and they were thoroughly enjoyed! Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I am wondering how this might work for one large Bundt cake? Any suggestions or recommendations for modifications?
Hi Maureen, We are so happy you enjoyed this recipe! We haven’t tested this recipe as a larger bundt cake, but you may enjoy this apple bundt cake.
I couldn’t find my donut pan, so I made cupcakes. My grandson came home from school and asked if he could have one. Of course, they are for family. He gave two thumbs up! This is a chocolate loving boy. Thank you once again for a winning recipe.
Such a great recipe! I recently moved to Ireland and was missing fall, especially New England apple cider donuts. I was so happy to find fresh apple cider and knew I had to make my own donuts. I couldn’t find any cardamom for the apple pie spice, so I just increased the amount of other spices. I also didn’t have a donut pan, so they came out a bit like small muffins, but they are delicious!!!!
So glad these donuts were like a taste of home, Annette — thank you for giving them a try!
I made these yesterday for a special family breakfast and took the leftovers to a ladies church meeting last night. Everyone raved over them! I used Pampered Chef’s Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend for the apple pie spice and baked them in my Pampered Chef donut hole pan; it made 2 dozen. I did use twice the amount of butter it called for to dip them; it wound up being more of a “dunk” than a dip, though! They were the perfect treat for both events and I’m so glad I tried them!
My family absolutely loves these donuts. my grandmother is diabetic and was wondering how I could make these safe for her to eat. Suggestions please? 🙂
Hi Adriana, so happy to hear that these donuts are a hit! We’d love to help but we are not trained in baking with sugar substitutes. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!
Have you ever tried using gluten-free flour for these donuts?
Hi Becky, we haven’t tried using gluten free flour in this recipe so we’re unsure of the results. Although some readers report using an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour in many of our recipes with success, you should expect slightly different results anytime you substitute ingredients. Let us know if you give it a try!
These were delicious- I’m just wondering if I should bake at 325 degrees if I’m using a non stick donut pan?
Hi Cynthia! We use and recommend non-stick pans at the stated temperature.
Great recipe! How much cocoa would I add and how would it alter any other ingredients to turn these into chocolate cider doughnuts? Made a chocolate applesauce cake recently that we loved, so seems it would work really well here with choc. ganache and ermine icing dribbled over surface!!!
Hi K, cocoa powder can be a finicky ingredient and isn’t always a 1:1 swap with flour, so it would take a bit of recipe testing to determine how best to incorporate it in into these donuts. You could try making them as is and adding the chocolate glaze from these donuts on top, or ganache as you mention. Let us know if you do any experimenting!
I know this is a really silly question but I was wondeirng if there is any other way to make these if you don’t own a donut pan??
Hi Railee, You can use a muffin pan or a mini muffin pan. See the recipe notes for details.
If making muffins, would you dip warm muffin top in butter then in the topping as per the donut instructions? Thanks – can’t wait to try this recipe. Sally has never let me down!
Yes – enjoy!
Thanks for sharing! These turned out well although the amount of sugar coating is overwhelming. I’ll modify my recipe to use maybe a half a cup of sugar in the coating next time. But I did discover a delicious way to use up the rest of the sugar coating: cup up some granny smith apples and coat them with the sugar topping! The apples’ tartness and crunchy sweetness is a perfect combo.
This recipe was my introduction to baked homemade donuts several years ago and the results are fantastic! I’ve found, however, that the amount of butter used in coating/topping is excessive and completely overpowers the other spices in the dough and makes the donuts soggy. It works better to only brush butter on one side of the donut instead of dunking them. That way they’re not a huge gooey mess and you can actually taste the apple spice!
I love making baked donuts and the donut cakes was very good. The butter and sugar were way too much for me and overwhelmed the donut flavor. I dipped the donuts in the sugar without the butter and I found them to taste much better!
I also thought the butter was too much. I dipped them in the sugar and it was just right. They are also good without any sugar coating!
Yes!!! I noticed the same thing and stopped dunking in butter after the 2nd one, did what you did-just barely brushed one side.
This looks so interesting! Can I use applesauce and cook that down? I have a lot of home made applesauce on hand but no apple cider.
Hi Heather! Unfortunately applesauce will not work as a replacement to apple cider in this recipe. Here are all of our recipes using applesauce, if you’re interested.
These look delicious. Could I use Boiled Cider from King Arthur Flour Co. instead of reducing cider?
Hi Kathleen, using that should be fine in this recipe.
Thank you for asking this–I was wondering the same thing!
This recipe is amazing. I will never use another.
Question: has anyone tried recipe with gluten free flour? Thanks!
Yes I have used it with Gluten Free flour ( Namaste Brand) and it works wonderfully- I double the apple cider. When using gf flour you always need more liquid or less flour.
Hi! I would love to try making these donuts but don’t have any apple cider. Can you use apple juice instead?
The flavor won’t be very strong with apple juice. You can make Homemade Apple Cider if you wish!
These were outstanding. I have people asking me to make many more
I haven’t baked it yet but what is an egg substitute that I can use for this?
Hi Toma, we haven’t tested this recipe with any egg substitutes so we’re unsure of the best replacement here. Let us know if you give anything a try. Here are all of our egg-free recipes, if you’re interested: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/category/special-diet/egg-free/
I just made these donuts with Aquafaba (3T = 1 large egg) and dairy free butter, and they turned out spectacularly! So yes, these can be “veganized” or modified for food-allergic families (like mine!).
I absolutely love apple cider doughnuts and have tried many different recipes. This is by far the most favorable recipe I have found. I make them for family and friends and everyone loves them. I guarantee that if you make these apple cider doughnuts you won’t ever use another recipe!
Can you make the apple cider reduction ahead of time and how long will it last? Looking forward to making these this fall with my kids as apart of our homeschool!
Absolutely! I’d say a few days in advance, probably up to a week is fine. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
These donuts were outstanding, and as others have stated, very easy to make. I had put a little too much batter in each mold in the pan, so they didn’t quite have the perfect donut shape, and will reduce the amount put in next time I make these. These were very well received by my friends.
Can this batter be made the night before use?
Hi Erin, we don’t recommend it. The leaveners are activated once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, so it’s best to bake the batter right away. You could try baking the donuts, storing overnight without the butter and topping, and then slightly warming them in the microwave the next morning before dunking and coating. Hope this helps!
Oops! Good to know. I just refrigerated my leftover batter since I don’t have time to use the rest now – I’ll give it a go soon and see how they turn out but will be prepared for mixed results.
If you don’t have the apple pie spice would you use nutmeg and cinnamon and how much of each?
Hi Sondra, here’s a recipe to make your own apple pie spice: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/19438/apple-pie-spice-mix/
I made these donuts for my family today and they are delicious! The recipe was so easy to follow and make. I will definitely make these again! Thank you!
Delicious! Easy! Happy!
Just took a bite…wow!!
First day of fall…great recipe!
Very good and easy to make. The texture of mine was more like a cake. I was expecting it to be more dense. Has a great fall flavor and I’ll definitely make again.