Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Homemade baked apple cider donuts are infused with concentrated apple cider and perfectly flavored with cinnamon and sugar. They’re moist and cake-like and the perfect fall treat for breakfast, snack, or dessert!
These cinnamon sugar dusted donuts are a baked version of an old-fashioned donut, with the familiar essence of everything we loved about visiting apple orchards to pick our own apples as kids. Remember when you were given a sip of cider to try? Well, imagine that goodness in a donut!
About these baked donuts
These apple cider donuts are amazing. The use of concentrated apple cider (which is super easy to make yourself!) in these donuts brings out such a delicious and intense tart apple flavor, perfect for this time of year. Apple cider, cinnamon, and brown sugar give this cake-like donut a sweet and spiced flavor that is truly special.
They’re not fried, so they’re a bit denser than a typical donut recipe, but biting into that cider-infused baked good is about as heavenly as you’re going to get. They’re so much better than anything you’d get at a store and making them from scratch has the incredible bonus of having your house smell like a bakery for the better part of your day.
It’s an easy recipe that comes together in 30 minutes and is a fun indoor baking activity to get the kids involved with, especially on those really cold days.
What you need
- Apple Cider – Apple cider can easily be confused with apple juice as they look quite similar in appearance. Read the label, of course, but keep an eye on the color. Cider is usually darker than apple juice. If you can’t get your hands on apple cider, apple juice can be used instead. IMPORTANT: DO NOT USE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! That will make your donuts taste….not good at all.
- Baking Essentials: You’ll need to grab all-purpose flour, baking powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, an egg, and vanilla extract.
- Ground Cinnamon – Cinnamon and apple go hand in hand creating a spectacular flavor duo perfect for these fall weather treats! You could also use an apple pie spice mixture if you have that on hand.
- Whole Milk – The fat in whole milk is needed for richness as there is no oil or butter in the donuts themselves. It’s a liquid that isn’t quite as thin as apple cider so it’ll keep the batter nice and thick.
- For the Topping – White granulated sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Can’t get much better than that trio!
How to make them
Reduce apple cider to about 1/2 a cup by simmering over high heat in a small sauce pot. This will take about 10 minutes of active simmering. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, light brown sugar, and white sugar until well incorporated.
Add the egg, vanilla, milk, and cooled cider and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick.
Pipe or scoop the batter into the prepared donut pan and fill each mold halfway.
Bake for 10 minutes in a 350ºF preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Turn out donuts onto a cooling rack. While they’re baking, prepare the topping.
They have the sweetness of a donut, the consistency of a cake, and the flavor of apples, cinnamon, and sugar. In a word, mouthwatering. You’ll just have to see for yourself!
You can! These donuts are freezer-friendly and will be just as fresh when you’re ready to thaw and eat them. Make a double batch so you can look forward to a future treat.
Apple cider is unfiltered and sometimes unpasteurized when you buy it directly from the orchard. It is stronger in taste and color and less sweet than apple juice, which is lighter in color, has been filtered, and has a sweeter taste to it.
Unless it’s specified, you can usually substitute one for the other. As long as you’re aware that the flavor won’t be exactly the same. You’ll still get a lovely apple flavor, albeit a lighter one that’s less concentrated.
How to make these baked apple donuts your own
- For a little extra something, make them with apples! Add about a cup of fresh apples, either grated or diced, to the donut batter.
- If you don’t have a donut pan, by all means, use muffin tins and make baked apple cider muffins instead. You’ll need to increase the bake time by 5-10 minutes.
- Instead of the cinnamon, add a bit of pumpkin spice for a really spiced donut!
- Top off your breakfast, snack, or dessert with any of these: Pumpkin spiced hot chocolate, apple cider mimosa, caramel iced coffee, cinnamon dolce latte, iced vanilla latte, or warm Christmas punch with rum. You can’t go wrong with any of them!
Make Ahead Ideas
You’ll want to consider making more than one batch and freezing a second one for later! They’ll come in very handy around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and all the days in between. These crave-able donuts freeze well for up to 2 months.
If you’re lucky enough to have any leftover donuts, they’ll stay fresh in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days, but anything longer than that you’ll want to transfer them to the fridge for a few extra days.
More apple recipes
Get the Recipe: Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- 1 cup apple cider (not apple cider vinegar!)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare a donut pan by greasing with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pot, simmer the apple cider over medium high heat until it is reduced to a ½ cup. This will take about 10 minutes of active simmering. Remove from heat and cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, light brown sugar and white sugar until well incorporated.
- Add the egg, vanilla milk and cooled cider. Stir just until combined. Batter will be thick.
- Scoop or pipe the batter into the prepared baking pan, filling each mold halfway full.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn out the donuts onto a cooling rack.
- While the donuts are cooling, mix the white sugar with cinnamon.
- Dip each cooled donut in melted butter and then into cinnamon sugar.
- These are great served with chilled apple cider or warm apple cider.
- If you’re lucky enough to have any leftover donuts, they’ll stay fresh in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days, but anything longer than that you’ll want to transfer them to the fridge for a few extra days. These donuts also freeze well for up to 2 months.