These Baked Apple Cider Donuts are soft and tender, full of warm Fall spices, and covered in a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating! Everything you love about apple cider, in a fun donut!
This is one of my Breakfast recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
So I have to ask… when it comes to Fall flavors, are you team pumpkin, or team apple? Honestly, I don’t know that I can pick one! I love them both way too much.
Apple cider is one of my favorite things to buy at the grocery store this time of year. Or better yet, from an orchard where they make their own!
There are so many things you can do with it. You can use it to make some homemade apple butter, a spiced caramel apple martini, candied yams, a poisoned apple cider cocktail, or apple cider grilled pork chops!
So many choices, and now I’m throwing one more into the mix… these apple cider donuts!
Baked instead of fried, these donuts are super easy to make, there’s no mess from frying, and they are like taking a bite of pure Fall flavor.
How to make baked apple cider donuts?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Reduce apple cider. Just simmer for about 15 minutes, until it reduces down to 1/2 cup.
- Whisk dry ingredients. Use a big mixing bowl for this, since all the batter will be in this bowl by the end.
- Whisk wet ingredients. I know it’s a pain to dirty two bowls, but you want them mixed separately at first.
- Combine wet and dry. Pour the wet mixture into the big bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Transfer to bag. Piping bags are great, but if you don’t have one, a big zip top bag will work just fine. Snip off a corner.
- Fill donut pan. Pipe the batter into the cavities of the pan.
- Bake. These don’t bake long, so don’t wander off.
- Brush with butter. Alternatively, you could dunk the donuts in the butter, but I felt that left me with a greasy glob of sugar on the donuts.
- Dip donuts in cinnamon sugar.
Reducing the apple cider is a crucial step in enhancing the flavors of these donuts, but it doesn’t have to make baking these donuts take forever. You can make it ahead by reducing the cider, letting it cool, and storing it in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Variations of this recipe
- Cake flour substitution – if you have cake flour on hand, you can use 2 cups of it, and omit the all purpose flour and cornstarch.
- Buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own! Mix 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar with whole milk and let it sit about 10 minutes. It will look a bit curdled. Stir and use.
- Apple pie spice – if you have apple pie spice on hand, you can substitute 2 tsp of it in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg. I don’t normally have it in my spice cabinet, but I know some people do.
- Non-reduced cider – while I recommend reducing the cider, for the best flavor, it is possible to make these donuts without that step. Just use 1/2 cup of apple cider straight from the container.
Apple cider donuts are a seasonal treat for most of the Midwest and Northeast United States. However, they may be available in other regions as well.
If you can find apple cider, I highly recommend using the rich cider, but sometimes cider can be difficult to find. Apple juice will work too, just use 1/2 cup.
No need to buy a special pan, you can make donut muffins! Scoop batter into a greased muffin pan, filling about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350°F for about 17-20 minutes. Brush with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Making apple cider donuts ahead of time
We think these donuts have the best texture when made fresh, but they can be made a day or so in advance if you prefer.
The reduced apple cider can absolutely be made ahead of time. Just reduce it down to 1/2 cup, then cool and refrigerate.
Leftover donuts should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Baked donuts can also be frozen for longer storage! Add baked and coated donuts to a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in freezer for an hour, or until frozen solid.
Add frozen donuts to freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
To make donuts, you really need a donut pan. The good part is they’re inexpensive, nonstick, and this version has held up really well for me (and they get a lot of use!). It’s a two pack, so you’ll have enough cavities to make a full batch of a dozen donuts!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup full fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
Reduce apple cider
- Add apple cider to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over MED HIGH heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to LOW/MED-LOW and simmer until cider reduces to 1/2 cup, pouring into a liquid measuring cup to be precise. This process usually takes me about 15 minutes.
- Let cider cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a donut pan with cooking spray. Set pan aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk together to combine well.
- In another mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla and cooled apple cider reduction. Whisk to combine well.
- Pour the milk mixture into the large mixing bowl with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined and no flour streaks remain.
- Transfer batter to a piping bag, or large zip top bag. Cut about 1/2 an inch off of the corner of the bag.
- Pipe the batter into the donut cavities of the prepared donut pan, filling the cavities about halfway.
- Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the donut comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Another way to tell if they are done is to lightly touch the top of a donut. If it springs back, it's done.
- Transfer baked donuts to a wire cooling rack. Re-grease donut pan and repeat with any remaining batter.
Top the donuts
- In a shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp ground cinnamon.
- Brush donuts, one at a time, with melted butter, coating all sides. Dip the donut into the cinnamon sugar mixture, then transfer donut back to the wire rack. Repeat with remaining donuts.
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- Recipe makes approximately 12-16 donuts.
- You can reduce the apple cider in advance. Reduce to 1/2 cup, let cool, then refrigerate for a day or two, until you’re ready to bake.
- If you don’t have a donut pan, and don’t want to buy one, you can make donut muffins! Scoop batter into a greased muffin pan, filling about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350°F for about 17-20 minutes. Brush with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar.
- You can also make mini muffins (or baked donut holes), by scooping batter into a greased mini muffin pan, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350°F for about 8-9 minutes.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.