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Love sinking your teeth into a warm, soft, fresh-from-the-orchard apple cider donut each fall? Now you can easily bake a batch of cozy apple cider donut muffins in the comfort of your own kitchen — whenever the craving strikes! Laced with the sweet taste of apple cider, seasoned with autumn spices, and coated in cinnamon-sugar, these are muffins that taste like donuts! Serve them with a mug of hot coffee, tea, or wassail on a chilly day.

Front shot of hands serving a basket of homemade apple cider donut muffins

Apple Cider Muffins

The orchards and bakeries here in Virginia sell some amazing apple cider donuts each fall. Since they’re one of my kids’ favorite treats, I decided to create my own version that we could easily bake at home (no deep-frying necessary!). After a handful of failed attempts, I finally landed on the perfect recipe for homemade apple cider donut muffins. These little breakfast treats are rich and cake-like, they rise a mile a high, and they’re full of warm autumn flavor. My boys give the apple cider muffins two thumbs up…and I hope that you’ll love them, too!

Ingredients for Donut Muffins

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of cinnamon sugar donut muffins. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Butter: I like salted butter for more flavor.
  • Vegetable oil: keeps the muffins moist.
  • Granulated sugar and brown sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Eggs: for structure.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: leavening agents that help the muffins crown and rise high.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger: warm fall spices that give the apple cider muffins their classic flavor.
  • Salt: enhances the other flavors in the muffins and balances the sweetness.
  • Vanilla extract: for even more flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the muffins. Make sure that you measure it properly by spooning and leveling or weighing (not scooping directly from the bag).
  • Apple cider: for that sweet apple taste.
  • Milk: a little bit of extra fat and moisture to bring the batter together.
Close up side shot of the best apple cider donut muffin recipe

How to Make Apple Cider Muffins

These apple cider muffins are essentially muffin tin donuts! They taste like an old fashioned apple cider donut recipe that’s baked in a muffin tin instead of deep-fried…because that’s exactly what they are. Best of all, the muffins are quick, easy, and full of delicious fall flavor!

  1. Mix the batter.
  2. Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups.
  3. Bake the muffins in a 425°F oven for about 15 minutes.
  4. Brush the tops of the warm muffins with melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  5. Serve warm!
Process shot showing how to make apple cider donut muffins
Muffin tin donuts before baking
Muffins that taste like donuts on a farmhouse table

What to Serve with Apple Cider Donut Muffins

Donut muffins are such a versatile little treat — especially when paired with butter, apple butter, or jam. You can offer them for a quick grab-and-go breakfast on busy mornings; pile some in a basket as a part of a special brunch buffet; set out a few with a mug of hot coffee or tea for an afternoon snack; or even add them to your bread basket as a side dish with dinner.

Close up square shot of hands holding a bowl of apple cider muffins

Storage

Allow the muffins to cool completely. Store in a large Ziploc freezer bag or other airtight container. The muffins will last for 2-3 days at room temperature, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat

If the muffins are frozen, allow them to sit on the counter for a few minutes while you preheat the oven to 350° F. Frozen muffins will require about 10-12 minutes in the oven; room temperature muffins will only need about 5 minutes to warm through.

Alternatively, you can microwave one muffin at a time for 15-30 seconds or just until warm.

Recipe Variations for Apple Cider Muffin Recipe

  • Don’t have any apple cider? You can substitute with apple juice.
  • Add more nutmeg for an even stronger “donut” flavor.
  • Apple Cider Mini Muffins: the mini muffins are like apple cider donut holes! Bake the batter in mini muffin tins for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Baked Apple Cider Donuts: if you have donut pans, you can make these in real donut shapes rather than in a muffin tin. Spoon the batter into the wells of the donut pans, filling the wells about ¼-inch from the top. Bake in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes and coat with cinnamon-sugar.
Side shot of cinnamon sugar donut muffins with a bite taken out

Tips for the Best Apple Cider Donut Muffins

  • Properly measure the flour. I like to weigh my flour for accuracy, or you can use the spoon-and-level method. Use a spoon to lightly fill the measuring cup, then level off with the side of a knife. Do not scoop the flour directly from the container, or you will pack too much flour into the measuring cups. Too much flour leads to dense, dry muffins!
  • The key to a perfect muffin is just barely mixing the ingredients. You want them to come together, but a few lumps are fine. This way they’ll stay moist and tender!
  • Fill the muffin cups nice and full. I like to use an ice cream scoop to make sure that each cup has an equal amount of batter, ensuring that the muffins bake evenly in the oven.
  • To check if the muffins are done, insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.
Hands holding a bowl of apple cider donut muffins

More Recipes with Apple Cider

If you have some leftover apple cider in your fridge, try these other delicious recipes:

Front shot of hands serving a basket of homemade apple cider donut muffins

Apple Cider Donut Muffins

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 286 kcal
Love sinking your teeth into a warm, soft, fresh-from-the-orchard apple cider donut each fall? Now you can easily bake a batch of cozy apple cider donut muffins in the comfort of your own kitchen — whenever the craving strikes!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE MUFFINS:

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
  • Add the eggs, beating to combine.
  • Mix in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, salt, and vanilla.
  • On low speed, mix the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the apple cider and milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. (So start with ⅓ of the flour, then all of the cider, then another ⅓ of the flour, then all of the milk, and finally the rest of the flour.)
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.
  • Bake the muffins for about 15-17 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  • Transfer the muffins to a wire rack.
  • When the muffins are cool enough to handle (but still warm), prepare the topping.
  • Place the melted butter in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Brush the top of each warm muffin with the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.

Notes

  • Don’t have any apple cider? You can substitute with apple juice.
  • Add more nutmeg for an even stronger “donut” flavor.
  • Apple Cider Mini Muffins: the mini muffins are like apple cider donut holes! Bake the batter in mini muffin tins for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Baked Apple Cider Donuts: if you have a donut pan, you can make these in real donut shapes rather than in a muffin tin. Spoon the batter into the wells of the donut pan, filling the wells about ¼-inch from the top. Bake in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes. Shake the warm donuts in a bag of cinnamon sugar (no dipping in butter necessary).
  • Properly measure the flour. I like to weigh my flour for accuracy, or you can use the spoon-and-level method. Use a spoon to lightly fill the measuring cup, then level off with the side of a knife. Do not scoop the flour directly from the container, or you will pack too much flour into the measuring cups. Too much flour leads to dense, dry muffins!
  • The key to a perfect muffin is just barely mixing the ingredients. You want them to come together, but a few lumps are fine. This way they’ll stay moist and tender!
  • Fill the muffin cups nice and full. I like to use an ice cream scoop to make sure that each cup has an equal amount of batter, ensuring that the muffins bake evenly in the oven.
  • To check if the muffins are done, insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffinCalories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 237mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 226IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: apple cider donut muffins, apple cider muffins, donut muffins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I always make homemade muffins or cookies when we visit our grandsons! We visited them in October of this year, and I made your muffin recipe. It was a hit!!!! In fact, when we came home, our 11 year old asked if I would send this recipe to him so he could make it for his friends!

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    Havent yet made these muffins, but reading about them brought back some fond memories of a restaurant that made these. Late husband & I would go there for these muffins. The restaurant closed many moons ago.
    Never tried making these at home, but your excellent instructions have inspired me to give these a try. Have all the ingredients except the bran cereal.
    Will let you know how they turn out.

    Sandra W.