The Best Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Cakey, tender baked apple cider donuts with a generous coating of cinnamon-sugar (and a dash of other fall spices). So warm and delicious you won’t even notice they’re not fried!

overhead view of 3 rows of apple cider donuts on wax paper

It’s finally here! Thanksgiving week is upon us. Which means there are only a few more days for me to indulge in all things involving pumpkins, apples, pears, and warm spices before swiftly shifting to scrumptious Christmas cookie recipes.

I’m currently living in bakery heaven. countertops and freezer are already currently stockpiled with various fall-flavored baked treats, but I just couldn’t resist coming up with one last perfect Autumn recipe. Get ready to impress your friends and family at this week’s holiday festivities.

These baked apple cider donuts are super easy to whip up and are absolute cinnamon-sugar perfection. I personally see no issue with baked donuts. Many fear that baked donuts will turn out dry and bland. That’s simply not the case. Remember that we are essentially making a cake batter here. We’ve got melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and lots of cider. As long as they aren’t over-baked, these donuts will be moist and delicious.

stacked apple cider donuts on wax paper

Tips for Incredible Donuts

  • Reduce the Apple Cider: This step is crucial and will provide you with superior apple flavor. To reduce the cider, you will simmer it in a saucepan for 20-30 minutes, until it’s thickened and concentrated. This will allow you to get lots of flavor while minimizing any excess liquid.
  • Add Some Extra Spice to Cinnamon-Sugar Topping: Instead of going with the classic cinnamon-sugar topping, I’m adding a healthy dose of warm spices by including an extra dash of allspice, nutmeg and cardamom (optional).
  • Always More Vanilla! Similar to the previous tips, this one will help to amp up the flavor a bit. If you happen to have it, I highly recommend adding some vanilla paste in addition to the vanilla extract in the batter.
  • Try Not To Over-Mix: While combining the wet and dry ingredients, make sure only stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Over-mixing will result in a tougher texture. We want tender and cakey!
  • Don’t Over-Bake: This one may seem obvious, but I just want to remind you to keep a close eye on these donuts in the oven. The wells of the donut pan are pretty shallow, which makes the donuts bake more quickly than you might think. \. Be sure to remove them as soon as they spring back a bit when poked with your finger. About 10-12 minutes.
stacked apple cider donuts with a glass of milk

The Best Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Cakey, tender baked apple cider donuts with a generous coating of cinnamon-sugar (and a dash of other fall spices). So warm and delicious you won't even notice they're not fried!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins

Ingredients

Donuts

  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (optional)

Topping

  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • dash cardamom (optional)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

Reduce the Apple Cider

  • Pour apple cider into a small saucepan and bring to bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, until it has reduced to about 1/2 cup.

Make the Donuts

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare donut pans with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
  • In a larger bowl, whiske the butter, egg, sugars, milk, vanilla, and apple cider until well combined. Add the dry ingrdients and gently stir until incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick.
  • Pour your batter into a large ziploc bag. Snip the corner of the bag and pipe the batter into the prepared pans until 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until donuts are lightly browned and spring back when gently poked with your finger. Let them cool for a 2 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack.

Coat the Donuts in Topping

  • In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom. Set aside. Melt the butter in a separate bowl.
  • Once donuts are cool enough to handle, dunk both sides in the melted butter, then coat generously with the cinnamon-sugar topping. Don't be shy! These are best served same day, but store nicely on the counter in a airtight container for 2-3 days.


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