These apple cider donuts have the same consistency as fried donuts and are jam-packed with fall’s flavors – just like the ones sold at apple orchards alongside caramel apples. They are baked rather than fried and can be made as standard donuts, donut holes, or apple cider donut muffins!
My aunt says that these baked donuts might be the best dessert she’s ever had. I don’t really play favorites, but this is a winner for sure. They smell SO good coming out of the oven!
What Makes These Apple Cider Donuts Special
Reduced Apple Cider
I cook the apple cider down on the stovetop until it’s reduced by half. This makes it more of a concentrate and gives it a stronger apple flavor.
Not only do the donuts have apple cider in the recipe, but they are loaded with fall spices:
I use the spices in two ways in this recipe:
- There are spices mixed into the batter.
- The donuts are dusted in a blend of the spices and brown sugar instead of powdered sugar.
What Tools Do You Need to Make Baked Donuts?
Oven baked donuts never excited me in the past. “A donut isn’t a donut unless it is fried,” I thought.
Well, I’m officially a baked donut convert! Don’t get me wrong, I still love the fried version – you must try my spudnuts! But, these taste just as good as the fried ones and you don’t need to mess with a deep fryer!
I love how both of these pans make really small treats! I’ve even used donuts made in the donut pan to top my coffee cupcakes.
Wouldn’t these apple donuts be really cute on top of apple cupcakes?
Once you have these pans, they can come in handy for all kinds of donuts! I love making mocha donut holes!
Like the pans you use for making madeleines, and specialty bundt cake pans, donut pans are not essential baking tools and you may not want to invest in them. You could use a mini muffin pan in a pinch. Donuts made in a mini muffin pan are technically called apple cider donut muffins. They end up less round than they would in a donut hole pan when using a mini muffin pan – that’s the only difference.
Tips for Baking Apple Cider Donuts
- Make sure to grease the pan well so that the donuts easily pop out. You can use a non-stick cooking spray or melted butter or oil.
- Roll the donuts in the spices while they are still hot. The spices stick better to warm donuts.
Can You Use Apple Juice Instead of Apple Cider?
You may wonder if you can use apple juice in an apple cider donut. Apple cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. Because of this, it generally has a stronger apple taste than apple juice.
Raw unfiltered apple juice is a good substitution as it is essentially the same thing as cider.
You could also make these with frozen apple juice concentrate. Let the concentrate come to room temperature before using it, just use 1/2 cup, and skip the step of reducing it.
Freezing Apple Cider Donuts
If you aren’t eating the donuts right away, loosely cover them and eat them within 24 hours.
Baked donuts freeze SO well! I pop a huge pile of them into my freezer in an airtight container and take them out whenever I want a taste of fall – just microwave them in 10 second bursts to heat them up!
Other Must-Try Apple Desserts
- Apple butter caramel icing goes on everything! I love it on my pumpkin bundt cake!
- Apple crumble pie (sometimes called Dutch apple pie)
- Apple cider ice cream
Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Cider Spice Mix Ingredients
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon spice mix from above
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Donut Topping Ingredients
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- remaining spice mix from above
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
Apple Cider Spice Mix Instructions
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a small saucepan on high heat, bring apple cider to a boil and reduce by half. It's OK to cheat and pour the apple cider out into a heat resistant liquid measuring cup periodically to see if the cider is down to a half cup; you could also use a pot with internal markings.
- Remove cider from heat and cool until warm to the touch.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture from above.
- In another medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract, and the reduced cider.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Grease wells of a mini donut or donut hole pan with non-stick baking spray. Fill wells 3/4 full.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the donuts bounce back when lightly touched.
- Remove donuts from pan.
Donut Topping Instructions
- Mix brown sugar into the remaining apple cider spice blend from above.
- Dip each donut hole into melted butter and roll in spice blend to coat.
- Serve warm.