Apple Cider Donuts


Overflowing with the flavors of fall, these homemade Apple Cider Donuts are baked, not fried, and then rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture for extra crunch. They are warmly spiced and the perfect chilly morning treat.

Seven apple cider donuts on a gray round plate.

The best baked apple cider donuts have a soft, apple-spiced interior and a crunchy cinnamon-sugar coating. The sweetness comes from the outside more than the inside, and the donut batter is all about that apple flavor.

These apple donuts are infused with apple cider flavor which is fruity without being too sweet. You can substitute apple juice, but the donuts will have a weaker apple flavor and more sweetness. This cider donut recipe is easy to make, too. After cooking down the cider to concentrate the flavor, whisk up the donut batter in a bowl (no stand mixer required).

No matter how you make them, these Apple Cider Doughnuts are a delicious fall treat, especially after a visit to your local apple orchard.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for apple cider donuts.At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Equipment and ingredient notes

  • Donut pan: I own and use this set of two donut pans (shown in the process photos) for baked donuts. I also own and have made this recipe with, this Dash Mini Donut Maker. See Tips and Variations below for instructions on how to make this apple donut recipe in the mini donut maker, and see The Best Donut Makers for all my research and recommendations on the topic.
  • Apple cider: You’ll begin with 3 cups, then cook it down into ½ cup. This concentrated flavor-booster is the secret ingredient to max out the fall flavor in these baked donuts. You can substitute apple juice, but the apple flavor is weaker and the final donuts will taste sweeter.
  • Apple pie spice: If you don’t have a jar of this mixed, it’s easy to make your own apple pie spice. Combine 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon cardamom, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, and a pinch of cloves.
  • Butter: Melt this to act as the “glue” to adhere the apple pie spice, cinnamon, and sugar to the exterior of the Apple Cider Donuts. (Psst… you’ll want some napkins handy when you enjoy these homemade donuts!)

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small saucepan on medium-low heat, simmer the apple cider until you are left with about ½ cup of cider, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
A brown liquid in a ramekin.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a donut pan with nonstick spray, set aside. To combine the dry ingredients, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt.
A brown liquid mixture in a clear bowl next to a clear bowl of dry ingredients.
  1. To combine the wet ingredients, in a medium bowl, whisk together apple cider, melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour cider mixture into the flour mixture. Whisk until smooth.
A brown liquid being poured into a clear bowl with flour and other dry ingredients.
  1. Spoon dough into donut pan, filling each one about ½ way, about ¼ cup. Bake the donuts until lightly brown on top, about 12 minutes. If donuts bounce back to the touch, then they are done.
Donut batter for six donuts in a donut pan.
  1. Remove donuts from pan and cool on a wire rack.
Apple cider donuts on a wire cooling rack.
  1. For the topping, in a medium bowl combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. Place the melted butter in a separate medium bowl.
A brown donut being dipped in a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  1. To coat the donuts, working one donut at a time, dip the donuts into the melted butter then gently roll the donut around in the sugar mixture.
Seven apple cider donuts on a gray round plate.

Can I use a donut maker?

Absolutely! I love using my DASH Express Mini Donut Maker to make smaller versions of these apple cider donuts. It’s quick and easy to use, and you can get it for just $19.99 at Amazon. I’ve also rounded up other donut makers, if you’d want to see some other top-rated options.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 16 baked donuts.
  • Storage: Place in an airtight storage container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Make ahead: While these donuts are best slightly warm from the oven, feel free to make them a few days ahead. Enjoy within 4 days.
  • Drizzle: If the cinnamon sugar topping isn’t your thing, try a simple powdered sugar glaze instead. Or, drizzle with pure maple syrup.
  • Donut maker: To make the Apple Cider Donuts in the Dash Mini Donut maker (the one I personally own and have tested), preheat the maker as instructed. Pipe a few tablespoons of batter into each donut mold (filling about ¾ of the way full). Close and cook for 1 ½ minutes, then open the maker, flip the donuts with a toothpick, close, and cook 1 minute longer. This recipe cooks faster than some of the recipes in the instruction booklet which may take up to 4 minutes before flipping.
  • Finish the bushel: Have extra apples on hand? Make a batch of homemade Apple Pie Filling or Apple Butter, a warm Apple Strudel, or a batch of Caramel Apple Dip with fresh apple slices. Or try Apple Pie ala Mode, a slice of the Best Apple Pie served with a scoop of cool, creamy ice cream. See more apple recipe ideas in The Best Apple Recipes for Your Orchard Haul.
  • Drink pairing: Little feels more “fall” to me than sipping a Brandy Apple Cider Slush alongside an Apple Cider Donut. My Mulled Cider, Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider, or Mulled Wine would also be delicious, or simply enjoy with your morning coffee or tea.
Three mason jars of brandy apple cider slush surrounded by donuts and apples.
Brandy Apple Cider Slush is so perfect with Apple Cider Donuts on the side.

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