With a concentrated apple cider reduction and spiced sugar coating, this Apple Cider Donut recipe packs all the flavors of fall in one tender bite. These donuts come together easily with just a few ingredients–no yeast or frying required! Watch the how-to video for step-by-step instructions.
Nothing says “fall is here” like warm, spiced apple cider donuts.
While today may be the unofficial last day of summer, I know we likely have a few more weeks of hot, humid weather to go. However, this pregnancy has me exhausted (next-level, ridiculous exhausted) by the summer heat and I could not be more ready to jump into cool weather, fall recipes, and everything pumpkin spice.
If you’re also ready for fall baking, I highly recommend that you make a batch of these apple cider donuts ASAP. One bite will have you transported to chilly bonfire nights and crunchy leaves beneath your feet…even if it’s still 80 degrees and sunny outside. Let’s get to it!
What You Need
This apple cider donut recipe is similar to my baked donuts recipe, but instead of buttermilk, I substitute in apple cider and a few seasonal spices. The end result is a tender, cake-like donut that practically melts in your mouth.
- Apple cider. Perhaps the most important ingredient in this recipe, apple cider adds flavor and helps bind the dry ingredients together. By reducing the cider on the stove, you will get a more concentrated apple flavor–we’ll go over this in more detail below!
- Sugar. I use a combo of granulated white sugar and light brown sugar in this apple cider donut recipe. Brown sugar is great for adding flavor and moisture, but too much would make them heavy and dense. For balance, we mix in granulated sugar as well.
- Spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice accentuate the apple cider flavor in these donuts. All three of these warm spices are essential in fall baked goods!
- Corn starch. One of my favorite “secret ingredients” this helps keep the donuts tender and soft, making them nearly melt in your mouth.
- Vanilla. Just a splash of vanilla helps smooth and balance out the spices in these apple cider donuts.
- Butter. I use unsalted butter in the batter and salted butter to brush over the donuts before dipping them in cinnamon sugar. If you don’t have salted butter, you can just add a pinch of salt before brushing.
SAM’S TIP: To save time, you can always prep and chill your apple cider a few days in advance.
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Apple Cider Donuts
The key to getting that authentic apple cider flavor in these apple cider donuts is creating a reduction. This concentrates the apple flavor by reducing the water content of the cider. We start with this step!
- Cook your apple cider over medium heat until the liquid has been reduced to just ¾ cup (175ml). This usually takes about 10 minutes. Once you have your reduced cider, cool it down by placing it in the fridge.
- Combine your dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl (I like to use a large measuring cup), whisk together your wet ingredients, adding the melted butter last(this will separate from the cider, that’s fine). Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients until you have a uniform batter–do not over-mix or your donuts will be dense.
- Spoon or pipe batter into prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the donut comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool for several minutes before (carefully) removing to a cooling rack.
- Brush donuts on both sides with melted butter (don’t dip them or they’ll be soggy).
- Dip in cinnamon sugar and enjoy while still warm.
SAM’S TIP: It’s easier (and cleaner) to pipe the batter into the donut molds. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can always make your own by cutting a corner off of a large ziploc bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Reducing the cider cooks out some of the water, ultimately providing a more concentrated apple cider flavor that you expect in an apple cider donut.
I don’t recommend it! If you dip the donuts in butter, they’ll get soggy and fall apart (or if they don’t fall apart they’ll be quite mushy). Stick to brushing them!
Yes! Check the recipe notes for my instructions for making apple cider “donut holes” in a mini muffin pan.
And P.S. Thank you to those of you who follow me on Instagram and gave your feedback while I was developing this recipe! I originally thought the majority of people would prefer a fried recipe, but after an overwhelming vote in my stories I learned that baked apple cider donuts were more popular!
More Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Apple Cider Donuts
- 2 ¼ cups apple cider (530ml)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- ¼ cup light brown sugar (50g)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice optional, but brings out the apple cider flavor!
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar (50g)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter melted
- Pour apple cider into a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat until the liquid has been reduced to just ¾ cup (175ml). You will need to keep a liquid measuring cup handy and pour the cider back into the measuring cup to be sure it has reduced enough. How long this takes will vary depending on your particular stovetop, for me it usually takes about 10 minutes.2 ¼ cups apple cider
- Allow apple cider to cool completely before proceeding. You can speed this up by placing it in the refrigerator. If you prepared the apple cider in advance, simply store covered in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and lightly grease a 12-count donut pan with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice until well-combined.2 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- In a separate bowl (I like to use a large measuring cup), whisk together reduced apple cider, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in melted butter (this will separate from the cider, that’s fine).1 large egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and use a spatula to gently stir everything together until just combined (don’t over-mix or your donuts will be dense and dry).
- Spoon or pipe batter evenly into prepared donut pan (I like to pour the batter into a large piping bag or large Ziploc bag and then just snip off one corner for easy piping).
- Transfer to 350F (175C) oven and bake for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the donut comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Allow donuts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.
- Whisk together granulated sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside.½ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Use a pastry brush to lightly brush donuts on both sides with melted butter and then immediately dip on both sides in cinnamon/sugar mixture.2 Tablespoons salted butter
- Serve warm! Donuts will keep in an airtight container for up to two days but are hands-down best served warm.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Really, really good. These were much more moist than most baked donuts. Notes: I did not have apple cider, but I did have “boiled cider.” It is highly concentrated cider, almost a syrup. Sold at King Arthur. I used about 1/4 cup with 1/2 cup apple juice. Also, I only got 6 donuts, not 12. I followed the recipe, maybe very slightly overfilled. No biggie, as 12 would have been too many for my family of 2.
I just made these donuts and they were delicious and so easy to make. My husband loved them and so did I. I will be making these again for sure
I’m so happy to hear this, Bev! Thank you so much for letting me know how they turned out for you!
Can these be made by frying them?
Hi Susan! Unfortunately I’m afraid the batter would disintegrate in the oil 🙁
Can I use sparkling apple cider?
Worth a shot! Let me know how it turns out!
The BEST apple cider donuts I’ve ever had. I usually don’t like baked donuts because they tend to be dry/crumbly however these were very moist and the flavor is amazing!!! Will absolutely be making them again. Thank you for this recipe!
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed, Colleen! Thank you so much for letting me know how they turned out for you! <3
Could I make these in a muffin tin?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Nicole! That should be fine, but we’re not sure how long they’ll take to bake. We do provide instructions on how to bake in a mini muffin tin in the recipe, if you’d like to try that 😊
I have a vague recollection that what is called Apple cider in the US is different from what I would call Apple cider in the UK! Here Apple cider is an alcoholic drink that is generally lightly sparkling (due to fermentation in the traditional drink, or with added fizz in a commercial drink). Is the Apple cider that you used a non alcoholic version? Similar to what I might call Apple juice? I am very much looking forward to trying this out, thank you!
Hi Bitsie! Apple cider is not inherently alcoholic here, although some people do make it alcoholic. The apple juice you would find in the US, however, is very different from apple cider. I’m not sure if that helps clear it up at all.
Haven’t made them yet, but I’m eager to do so. Question: How long do they stay fresh? I’m guessing not long. There are just two in my household, so I’m thinking of halving the recipe.
Hi Mary! They are really best enjoyed fresh/warm, so I would probably recommend halving the recipe. That being said, my family enjoyed them two days later stored in an airtight container.
Hello again Sam!
After some further research – and discussion with an American living in the UK – it seems that Cloudy Apple Juice is the closest to Apple cider. And so, I used some to make these doughnuts, and they were just delicious! Suffice it to say, your storage instructions were not necessary. Thank you again.
Thank you so much for the feedback! It’s always good to know what different ingredients are available around the world and how they work. I’m so glad everyone enjoyed them so much. 🙂
I can tell you how thrilled I am to see these donuts now available in your recipes. I am absolutely love apple cider donuts and honestly only trust your recipes! I am a HUGE fan of yours, my daughter in law and I are hooked with your recipes, we have tried so many and you have never failed us. Thank you so much for your dedication, you can’t even image you much we love you! 🙂
Special request when you can, Penne A La Vodka sauce. 😉
Thank you so much Damaris! I’m so glad you have enjoyed everything and I hope you love these donuts too! I will definitely add your request to my list. 🙂