baked apple cider donuts

About These Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Baked apple cider donuts taste are the perfect fall dessert! This homemade version is intensely flavored, thanks to a neat trick: boil down the apple cider to increase its strength and flavor. The donuts are then tossed in butter and cinnamon sugar. The best part? The apple cider donuts are baked in a donut pan, allowing you to avoid the mess of deep-frying at home!

Why You Should Make The Recipe

Now let’s talk about all the reasons why you should make this recipe:

These donuts taste intensely like apple cider thanks to an easy, boiled cider technique.

Most apple cider donut recipes are content to instruct you to use apple cider as is. However, when I tested these recipes, I found that the donuts didn’t really taste like apple cider! I figured out that boiling down the apple cider—that is, reducing it—before using them in this apple cider donut recipe makes much more intensely flavored donuts.

The donuts are baked—no frying necessary!

I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely *hate* deep-frying food at home. It’s always messy, scary (seriously—all that oil splatter!), and a little bit wasteful. As a result, I made sure to avoid deep-frying completely! Instead, I instruct you to bake these apple cider donuts in a donut pan. The end results are just as delicious. Especially since the donuts are dipped in butter and sugar at the end. 😜

baked apple cider donuts

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make these baked apple cider donuts, here’s everything you need for the recipe:

Shopping List For Baked Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

  • apple cider
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • light OR dark brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • pure vanilla extract

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Common Ingredient Substiutions For The Recipe

Here are common substitutions for the ingredients in the apple cider donuts recipe:

  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the cake gluten-free!

  • Kosher Salt. No kosher salt? No problem. Replace the ½ teaspoon kosher salt with a ¼ teaspoon table salt.

  • Unsalted Butter. You can substitute the unsalted butter with salted butter without any noticeable difference in taste. You can also use vegan butter sticks to make it dairy-free.

  • Brown Sugar. Either light or dark brown sugar works in the cake recipe.
baked apple cider donuts

How To Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Here are the basic steps to make the recipe from scratch:

  1. Prep the ingredients. (Prep Time: 5 minutes)

  2. Reduce the apple cider. (Work Time: 5 to 10 minutes)

  3. Make the donut batter. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  4. Pipe the donuts. (Work Time: 10 minutes)

  5. Bake the donuts. (Bake Time: 12 minutes)

  6. As the donuts bake, make the donut topping. (Work Time: 5 minutes)

  7. Coat the donuts. (Work Time 10 minutes)

Best Recipe Tips

Tip About Baking Equipment

  • To make this recipe, you need at least one donut pan and a piping bag. You can also substitute the piping bag with a ziptop bag instead. Simply pour the batter into a ziptop bag and snip off the corner to use it for piping!

Best Technique Tips

  • This recipe instructs you to reduce ½ cup of apple cider to ¼ cup by boiling the cider for about 5 to 10 minutes. Doing so gives the donuts a more intense apple cider flavor. However, it can be difficult to tell how much of the cider is being reduced. If you pour it out into a liquid measuring cup and find you’ve overdone it, no worries! Simply top off the reduced apple cider with more apple cider until you have ¼ cup of the stuff.

  • When piping the donuts, don’t overfill the cavities! Donut pans make the best donuts when the cavities are only half or two-thirds of the way filled with batter. If you over do it, the donuts will be overly puffy and won’t have their signature hole in the middle.

  • This recipe works best if you coat the donuts while they’re still warm, about 5 to 10 minutes after pulling them out of the oven and turning them out of the donut pan. Warm donuts absorb more butter and hold onto the cinnamon sugar topping better.

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Get the Recipe: Baked Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

These baked apple cider donuts are the perfect late fall dessert! The donut batter is made with apple cider, giving it a subtle, tangy taste. The donuts are then tossed in butter and cinnamon sugar.
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Ingredients

For The Donut Batter

  • ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) apple cider
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons (3.95 ounces or 112 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 Tablespoons (2.5 ounces or 71 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cup tightly packed (2.5 ounces or 71 grams) light OR dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For The Donut Topping and Assembly

  • 3 Tablespoons (1.5 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • cup (2.35 ounces or 67 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Equipment

  • piping bag with a tip
  • mini donut cake pan

Instructions
 

  • Reduce the apple cider. Pour the apple cider into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until reduced to ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams). Pour into a liquid measuring cup to cool slightly.
  • Prep your oven. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix the dry ingredients for the donut batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Beat the butter and sugars for the donut batter, then add the eggs, vanilla, apple cider, and dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixer to low and add the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
    With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Slowly pour in the apple cider. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, and beat on low for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Assemble the donuts. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small tip.
    Generously spray the cavities of a donut cake pan with cooking spray. Use the piping bag to fill each cavity of the donut pan with batter until ⅔-rds full.
  • Bake the donuts. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a donut comes out with a few crumbs attached.
    Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto the wire rack to assemble. Repeat with the remaining donut batter.
  • Make the donut topping. Pour the melted butter into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Coat the donuts. Quickly dip the top and bottom of a donut in the bowl of butter to coat it completely. Immediately place the donut in the bowl of sugar and cinnamon and toss until coated completely. Repeat with the remaining donuts.
  • Serve and store. Serve warm or at room temperature. The donuts can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • To make this recipe, you need at least one donut pan and a piping bag. You can also substitute the piping bag with a ziptop bag instead. Simply pour the batter into a ziptop bag and snip off the corner to use it for piping!
  • This recipe instructs you to reduce ½ cup of apple cider to ¼ cup by boiling the cider for about 5 to 10 minutes. Doing so gives the donuts a more intense apple cider flavor. However, it can be difficult to tell how much of the cider is being reduced. If you pour it out into a liquid measuring cup and find you’ve overdone it, no worries! Simply top off the reduced apple cider with more apple cider until you have ¼ cup of the stuff.
  • When piping the donuts, don’t overfill the cavities! Donut pans make the best donuts when the cavities are only half or two-thirds of the way filled with batter. If you over do it, the donuts will be overly puffy and won’t have their signature hole in the middle.
  • This recipe works best if you coat the donuts while they’re still warm, about 5 to 10 minutes after pulling them out of the oven and turning them out of the donut pan. Warm donuts absorb more butter and hold onto the cinnamon sugar topping better.
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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.