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Baked Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

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4 from 9 votes

A classic fall favorite, these baked apple cider donuts are coated in cinnamon sugar – and not fried! In less than an hour they'll be ready to eat and your kitchen will smell heavenly. Perfect to serve with apple cider mimosas or apple cider hot toddies.

A stack of apple cider donuts on a white plate with red apples

Today we're diving right into fall with apple cider donuts: the king of New England treats! You don't need any crazy ingredients, there's no frying involved, and if you have a donut pan you're ready to go. This has been my go-to apple cider donut recipe for many, many years.

And even if you don't, you can turn them into muffins or donut holes with the muffin and mini muffin pans you already have (you can find the instructions for making each of those down the page).

The very first thing you want to do is reduce your delicious, freshly pressed, hopefully local apple cider.

Ingredients for apple cider donuts

Apple Cider Donuts

  • Apple cider
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Cardamon powder
  • Egg
  • Light brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • Granulated sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Unsalted butter

How to make baked cider donuts

Apple cider being reduced with a stick of cinnamon in a saucepan

Step 1: In a small saucepan, combine cider and cinnamon stick and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Reduced apple cider in a measuring cup

Step 2: Let simmer until you have 1/2 cup of reduced cider. Set aside and allow to cool.

A clear bowl with flour mixture being whisked

Step 3: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cardamom. Set aside.

Apple cider being poured into flour mixture

Step 4: In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg with a whisk. Add melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add reduced apple cider and whisk until well-combined.

Apple cider donut batter being whisked

Step 5: Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk together until combined and smooth, but don't overmix! The batter will be a light caramel color.

Apple cider donut batter in a pastry bag

Step 6: Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each about 2/3 full. The easiest way to fill them is to use a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with a hole cut into the corner).

A donut pan filled with batter

Step 7: Make sure to wipe the pan of any excess batter!

Puffed up freshly baked donuts

Step 8: Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire racks.

A donut being dipped in cinnamon sugar mixture

Step 9: Place melted butter in a shallow bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk to combine sugar and cinnamon.

A donut covered in cinnamon sugar

Step 10: Dip the tops of the donuts in melted butter, then coat them in the sugar mixture. Set each coated donut on a wire rack, lined baking sheet, or directly to a serving bowl or plate. 

Tips for making the best apple cider donuts

  • Let the melted butter cool a bit. If it's still piping hot when you had it to the egg, you'll risk scrambling them!
  • Don't overmix the batter. You'll end up with dough, dense donuts. Once the batter is whisked smooth and you don't see anymore lumps, stop stirring.
  • Only fill the pan cavities 2/3 full. If you do less, they won't be as fluffy and a little more flat. If you do more, you'll end up with donuts that have no holes :)

Why do I have to reduce the apple cider?

You want it to be heavily concentrated for the best flavor. If you add cider straight from the jug, the flavor in the resulting donuts is going to be too weak and they'll taste pretty bland.

All you need to do is heat 1 1/2 cups of apple cider at a low simmer with a stick of cinnamon (for extra flavor) until you've got 1/2 cup concentrated cider.

A pile of apple cider donuts in a white bowl

How are apple cider donuts different from regular donuts?

Most donuts are made with a yeast mixture and fried, which gives them a very different consistency. Personally, I prefer cider donuts ten fold to anything else!

Apple cider donuts are more cake-like, or muffin-like in texture. They're also baked instead of fried – so, no oil needed.

They're sturdy on the outside, but soft on the inside with a fantastic aroma that makes you want to cozy up with a good book. It's intoxicating, really.

What kind of pan do I need?

I have a Wilton donut pan, and would highly recommend getting two so that you don't have to bake your donuts in batches of six. The more you can bake at once, the sooner you're done baking and the sooner you can dig in!

You can also just use a standard 12 cup muffin pan or mini muffin pan – check out the directions for making them that way below.

Apple cider donuts and donut holes in a white bowl with red apples

Do I have to coat them in cinnamon sugar?

If you have self-control — unlike me — you can devour them plain, without any cinnamon and sugar (I keep a jar of this mixture around the house at all times). I'd recommend adding just a bit more cinnamon to the tops of the donuts after you've poured the batter into the pans just before you bake them if you're going to leave them plain. It just to gives them a little bit more flavor!

But if you're more my speed and want to slather everything in sugar, these are just perfect.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but… well, yes – I do want to toot my own horn. I've seen many recipes that included nutmeg and cloves and I didn't include either. I wanted the cidery goodness to be the showstopper here, and not cover it up with spices.

How to make apple cider donut muffins

Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray, add batter to fill each cavity about 2/3-3/4 full and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when pressed. You'll get 10-12 muffins this way.

How to make apple cider donut holes

Grease or spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray, add batter to fill each cavity about 2/3 full and bake at 350°F for about 9 minutes or until the tops bounce back when pressed.

A pile of apple cider donuts in a white bowl

How long do they stay fresh?

They are by far best when eaten the same day, especially when they're still warm out of the oven!

But they can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature overnight, or up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Can I freeze cider donuts?

Yes! After you've baked the donuts, let them cool completely and then store in a single layer in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.

When you're ready to eat them, let them thaw at room temperature, then coat in the melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture.

A stack of apple cider donuts on a white plate with red apples

What to serve with cider donuts

Here's the million dollar question: Are you a cinnamon sugar-coated donut person, or a plain donut person? I promise I won't judge… probably.

Leaving a comment and star rating is a great (and free) way to support Stress Baking. After you've enjoyed this recipe, click on the stars below and leave a comment to share your experience – thank you!

Baked Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

4.23 from 9 votes
A classic fall favorite, these baked apple cider donuts are coated in cinnamon sugar – and not fried! In less than an hour they'll be ready to eat and your kitchen will smell heavenly.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 donuts

Ingredients
 

Apple Cider Donuts

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Instructions

Donuts:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine cider and cinnamon stick and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Let simmer until you have 1/2 cup of reduced cider. Set aside and allow to cool.
    1 1/2 cups (354 g) apple cider
    1 cinnamon stick
  • Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly.
    2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
    2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) salt
    1/8 teaspoon (⅛ teaspoon) cardamon powder
  • In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg with whisk. Add melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add reduced apple cider and whisk until well-combined.
    1 large (1) egg
    1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar
    1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (122 g) milk
    1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk together until combined and smooth, but don't overmix! The batter will be a light caramel color.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each about 2/3 full. The easiest way to fill them is to use a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with a hole cut into the corner). Make sure to wipe the pan of any excess batter! Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire racks.

Topping:

  • Place melted butter in a shallow bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk to combine sugar and cinnamon.
    1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (56 ¾ g) unsalted butter
    1 1/4 teaspoon (1 ¼ teaspoon) ground cinnamon
  • Dip the tops of donuts in melted butter, then coat them in the sugar mixture. Set each coated donut on a wire rack, lined baking sheet, or directly to a serving bowl or plate. They're best served the same day, but you can store them in a closed container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

Making muffins: Grease or spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray, add batter to fill each cavity about 2/3-3/4 full and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when pressed. You'll get 10-12 muffins this way.
Making donut holes: Grease or spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray, add batter to fill each cavity about 2/3 full and bake at 350°F for about 9 minutes or until the tops bounce back when pressed.
Storage: Best eaten same day, but can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature overnight, or up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freezing: After you've baked the donuts, let them cool completely and then store in a single layer in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat them, let them thaw at room temperature, then coat in the melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.

Recipe created by Leslie Kiszka

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hey just to clarify, if you are tripling the recipe you should be addin 1 1/2 cups of reduced cider (3 x 1/2 cups) correct?

    PS Love this recipe

    1. If you’re tripling the recipe, you’d want 4.5 cups of cider. I have a button in the middle of the recipe card that you can click and will do the math for you! Just click on the “3X” next to the header for the ingredients and it will adjust the quantities for everything for you. Though if you are worried about adding too much moisture, you can totally start by adding 3.5 cups and then slowly add the last 1 cup until it’s at the right texture.

      I’m so glad you love the recipe, it’s a favorite of mine too!

      1. I specifically was talking about this line. “ Let simmer until you have ½ cup of reduced cider. Set aside and allow to cool.”

        The 3x function doesn’t adjust for that.

        However I did put in about 1 and 1 /2 cups and the texture and moisture seems fine.
        Next time I make it I’ll put in more liquid but I fear it’ll be really watery.

    1. Hi Sandy! As noted in the recipe card, this will make 12 donuts. If you want to make more (or less!) than that, you can click on the number next to the servings and use the slider to select the amount you want and it will adjust the ingredients quantities for you :)

    1. Hi Kaitlyn! I haven’t made them as mini donuts myself, but they will probably be around the same time as I’ve indicated for donut holes (about 9 minutes) – maybe less. Give it a try, and let me know what works best for you!

  2. My family used to live in Ohio where we always went and picked apples every autumn. We now live in the South and really miss the experience. When we went we always got a dozen apple cider donuts to go afterwards. This Autumn I will make these and hopefully we won’t miss the apple picking as much as usual. Thank you for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    This was super easy to make and tasty. I did add in a little nutmeg because I didn’t have Cardamone powder.