Embrace all the fun and flavor of fall with these baked Apple Cider Donuts! Topped with buttery cinnamon sugar, these are the best donuts to celebrate the season.
Table of Contents
Why these Donuts are Best
It’s officially apple cider season and I couldn’t be more excited. Hot and mulled with spices or sipped cold, apple cider just tastes like fall!
Especially this Apple Cider Sangria!
Hands down, my FAVORITE way to get my cider fix is in donut form. It took me a while to get these perfect, but the effort was well worth it.
- Flavor. Using an apple cider reduction gives these donuts rich apple flavor in every bite.
- Easy. Because these are baked vs. fried, you can make them at home with no mess or fuss. Just the aroma while these bake makes your kitchen smell like a cider mill!
- Texture. Did I mention that each one is dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar? The slight crunch with the soft, moist donut is perfect.
- Apple Cider- The key to apple cider donuts that actually taste like apple cider is simmering the cider to reduce it before using it in the donut recipe. Use real, fresh apple cider for this recipe (not apple juice or instant cider from a packet). You can make the reduction in advance to save some time when you’re ready to bake the donuts. You can also use the cider straight out of the carton instead, but reducing it definitely brings out more flavor.
- Fresh Apples- This recipe also gets its unbeatable taste from fresh apples shredded then folded into the batter before baking. I tried several versions of this recipe, with and without the fresh shredded apple, and hands down, it was so much better with the fresh apple.
- Granny smith are best for this, balancing the sweetness of the apple cider reduction with some tartness.
- To spice these donuts, use your favorite apple pie spice. Alternatively, substitute 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg and allspice for the teaspoon of pie spice in the recipe.
- Greek yogurt keeps the baked donuts moist, even a day or two later. An equal amount of sour cream or 1/4 cup buttermilk can be used in its place.
Step by Step Instructions
- Make the apple cider reduction. Simmering the cider to 1/2 cup takes about 30 minutes. Set it aside and let cool.
- Prepare the donut batter. Made the batter, adding the fresh apples too! Then, sSlowly pour in the reduced apple cider and beat until batter is smooth.
- Bake. Spray your donut pan with baking spray. Or grease with homemade cake release. Spoon the donut batter into a large ziploc bag. Snip off the corner and pipe into prepared donut pan, filling each cavity about half full. You should have enough batter for 12 donuts.
- Dip in topping. Melt butter and set aside. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a separate small bowl. Dip each donut into the melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover all sides completely!
Enjoy warm for peak flavor and cozy fall feelings.
Tips and Tricks
- You can make these as apple cider muffins too! Use a mini muffin tin and reduce the baking time to 8 – 10 minutes.
- Make the apple cider reduction the day before and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- To check if the apple cider donuts are done baking, lightly touch one with your finger tips quickly. If it springs back, the donuts are ready to come out of the oven.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Love Apple Recipes? Try our Homemade Apple Fritters for a fried treat the whole family will love!
Yes. After coating in cinnamon sugar, slide into a ziploc freezer safe bag or airtight container. Freeze up to three months, thaw at room temperature for 2 hours.
For best flavor, store apple cider donuts in airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds if desired.
Yes. Skip the reductions and use the 1/2 cup of juice. You’ll lose out on some of the rich, deep apple flavor, but it will still be delicious.
More Easy Dessert Recipes
Apple Cider Donuts (baked)
For the Doughnuts
- 1 ½ cups apple cider**
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt**
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 apple peeled and shredded (about 3/4 cup)
For the Topping
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- In a small saucepan, simmer the apple cider over low heat until all the remains is 1/2 cup. This process takes about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and start checking it at about the 20 minute mark. Set aside and cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6 cavity donut pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the melted butter, egg, sugars, yogurt, and vanilla extract until creamy (scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed).
- Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Slowly pour in the 1/2 cup of apple cider and beat until batter is smooth. Fold in shredded apples.
- Spoon the donut batter into a large ziploc bag. Snip off the corner and pipe into prepared donut pan, filling each cavity about half full (recipe makes 12 donuts).
- Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned and donut springs from the fingertips when touched.
- Remove from oven, cool one minute in the pan, then invert onto a wire cooling rack.
- For the topping, combine the sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl (or pie plate).
- Dip slightly cooled donuts in the melted butter (coating both sides), then dip in cinnamon sugar mix. Return to wire rack and repeat for remaining donuts. Enjoy warm.
- Apple Cider reduction can be done the day in advance. You can also use apple cider as it is straight from the store, but reducing it brings out more flavor! Make your own apple cider recipe and reduce that!
- Greek yogurt can be replaced with sour cream or 1/4 cup buttermilk (make your own buttermilk substitute if needed).
- Mini muffins can also be made. Spray a mini muffin pan, fill half full with batter, bake 8-10 minutes. Coat with topping as directed.
- Store donuts in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze in ziploc freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Brew a pot of coffee, put on your favorite cozy sweater and get ready to enjoy the best ever apple cider donut you’ve ever tasted!