Moist, tender, and super flavorful, these are the best baked apple cider donuts I’ve ever had, and they are easy to make, too. Their sugary spiced coating makes them irresistible!
Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the amazing sweater weather and all things pumpkin and apple, like pumpkin scones, caramel apple cheesecake, and apple pie bars. It’s the best time of year to cozy up next to a warm fireplace and enjoy everything the season has to offer. I particularly love the chilly nights and seeing all the photos of cozy sweaters, soups and hot chocolate on Instagram and Pinterest and I can’t wait for it to arrive already!
So I couldn’t resist starting to think about fall recipes, like these baked apple cider donuts! They truly are one of my new favorite apple dessert recipes. Ever since I posted this amazing spice cake recipe, I get lots of requests for fall treats. I’ve tried many baked apple cider donut recipes before but I found them to be either dry or lacking in flavor, so my mission became clear: to create the perfect baked apple cider donut that was simple to make.
Flavor and texture of baked apple cider donuts
If you like spice cakes or apple cakes or anything with spices in it, then you’ll love this baked apple cider donut recipe. The donuts have a dense crumb similar to muffins, but they are moist and tender. I love their texture almost as much as I love their flavor. Although they are baked and not fried, they taste just like the donuts you’d buy fresh from a bakery shop, only more flavorful.
How to make apple cider donuts
Use concentrated apple cider
One of the most important parts of producing exceptionally flavorful apple cider donuts is using concentrated apple cider. If you skip this step, your donuts will be lacking in that strong apple cider flavor. If you find store-bought concentrated apple cider, you can use 1/3 cup of it in the recipe, and skip this cooking step.
To make concentrated apple cider, follow these steps:
- Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of apple cider in a pot and place it on the stove.
- On low-medium heat, let the mixture boil for about 20 minutes until it reduces down to 1/3 cup and you’re left with a thick, syrupy liquid that contains less water and much more apple flavor.
- Let the mixture cool slightly before incorporating it into your batter.
Once you’ve made your concentrated apple cider, all you have to do is:
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In another bowl, combine the eggs and sugar and whisk together. Pour in the slightly cooled melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, and reduced apple cider and mix. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and use a spatula to fold the batter together. Mix as little as possible just until the ingredients are combined, otherwise your donuts will be dense and heavy.
I use a donut pan to make baked donuts. Donut pans usually have 6 molds so I recommend buying 2 pans if you love baking donuts. I use a piping bag to pipe out the batter into the donuts. It’s easier and quicker. You can also use a ziplock bag and cut off the corner for a quick fix piping bag.
Once you’ve baked the donuts and they’re still slightly warm, dip them in melted butter, and then in sugar-spice mixture. Be careful at this point because before you know it, you’ll realize you’ve just eaten 4 donuts (I’m talking from experience).
What to do if you don’t have a donut pan
No donut pan? No problem! You can simply create a DIY donut pan. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Muffin pan
- Tin foil
- Cooking spray
Here’s how to do it:
- Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray.
- Take a square of tin foil, about 5x5in works well, and roll it into a thick cylinder the size you want the hole of your donut to be.
- Next, stand the tin cylinder upright in the middle of each muffin tin, pressing it down flat so it stands up straight.
- This will allow you to pipe the donut batter around the tin cylinder in the muffin pan so each donut bakes with a hole in the middle.
More delicious fall recipes you’ll enjoy:
- Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts: These fluffy donut holes are perfect for fall! They’re made in a muffin pan and dipped in cinnamon and sugar.
- Easy Pumpkin Muffins: This is one of my all-time favorite fall recipes. Delicious pumpkin flavor encompasses every bite in these moist and tasty muffins.
- Apple Pancakes: Want a taste of fall in the morning? Try these indulgent cinnamon apple pancakes for a warm and tasty treat.
- Nutella Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins: If you love Nutella as much as I do, you’ll love these Nutella stuffed mini muffins coated in cinnamon and sugar!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360 ml) apple cider
- 1 and 3/4 cups (245g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cardamom , optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (65g) dark or light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons (40g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk (or milk)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg , optional
Reduce the apple cider: In a small saucepan, bring apple cider to a gentle boil and let simmer over medium heat until thick and reduced to about 1/3 cup (80 ml), 15-25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease donut pans with butter or nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the egg, granulated sugar and brown sugar, until well combined. Whisk in the melted butter. Add the reduced apple cider, buttermilk and vanilla extract, and mix until combined. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture and whisk just until combined and smooth. Don't overmix the batter.
Divide the mixture between the donut cavities, filling about halfway full. I recommend using a piping bag to pipe the batter, it will be much easier and less messy. Bake for about 10 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the donuts comes out clean. Let donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the topping: In a medium bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once cool enough to handle, for each donut, dip both sides in melted butter and then generously dip into the sugar mixture.
Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve them warm or at room temperature.