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Love sinking your teeth into a warm, soft, fresh-from-the-orchard donut each fall? Now you can easily make a batch of cozy baked apple cider donuts 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, they’re the perfect morning treat. Serve them with a mug of hot coffee, tea, or wassail on a chilly day.

Overhead image of a pan of baked apple cider donuts

Apple Cider Baked Donuts

The orchards and bakeries here in the mountains of Central 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!). These donuts are rich and cake-like, they rise high, and they’re full of warm autumn flavor. My boys adore them…and I hope that you’ll love them, too!

Why do they call them apple cider donuts?

These cake donuts get their warm, cozy fall flavor from the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and apple cider used in the batter — hence the name!

Close side shot of a pan of baked apple cider donuts

What makes apple cider donuts different?

Unlike other cake doughnut batter, these include apple cider. This special ingredient not only provides a unique fruity, tangy, apple flavor, but the cider’s acidity also gives the donuts a soft, tender texture and keeps them moist.

Why are apple cider donuts so good?

The donuts are so delicious because they’re almost always baked fresh at the orchard, with flavorful local cider, plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a generous coating of cinnamon and sugar. Whether they’re baked or fried, it’s tough to beat an old fashioned apple cider donut recipe!

Mixing donut batter in a bowl

Can I bake donuts without a donut pan?

Yes! You can bake apple cider donut muffins using a muffin tin and this recipe. If you prefer baked apple cider donut holes, use this recipe in a mini muffin tin!

Piping donut batter into donut pan

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of baked apple cider donuts. 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 donuts moist.
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar: for just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Egg: for structure.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: leavening agents that help the donuts rise high.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger: warm fall spices that give the apple cider donuts their classic flavor.
  • Salt: enhances the other flavors in the donuts and balances the sweetness.
  • Vanilla extract: for even more flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the cake donuts. 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, a touch of tang, and a more tender donut.
  • Milk: a little bit of extra fat and moisture to bring the batter together.
Coating donuts in cinnamon sugar

How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts

My donut-loving sons have declared these baked apple cider donuts even better than their fried counterparts from the local orchards! Best of all, the homemade fall treats are quick, easy, and full of delicious fall flavor.

  1. Mix the batter in a large bowl, gradually alternating the wet and dry ingredients.
  2. Pipe or spoon the batter into the cavities of a donut pan.
  3. Bake the donuts in a 400°F oven for about 10-11 minutes.
  4. Dip the warm donuts in melted butter, and then coat with cinnamon-sugar.
  5. Serve warm!
Square shot of apple cider baked donuts on a white tray

Serving Suggestions

These donuts are such a versatile little treat! 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. While the donuts bake, simmer a small saucepan of remaining apple cider on the stove top to prepare a batch of wassail. It’s a delicious companion for the warm apple cider doughnuts.

Overhead shot of a pan of baked apple cider donuts

Storage

Homemade donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.

Square side shot of a pile of apple cider baked donuts on a wooden board

Recipe Variations

  • Don’t have any apple cider? You can substitute with apple juice.
  • Add more nutmeg for an even stronger “donut” flavor.
  • If you don’t have a donut pan, follow this recipe for apple cider donut muffins.
  • For a larger batch of baked donuts, double all of the ingredients.
  • Instead of the cinnamon sugar topping, dip the donuts in a maple glaze like this.
Close up shot of stacked apple cider donuts on a wooden board

Tips for the Best Baked Apple Cider Donut Recipe

  • 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!
  • This recipe yields about 7-8 donuts. You’ll need at least one 6-cavity donut pan. If you have two doughnut pans, you can bake all of the donuts at once. If you only have one pan, add the remaining batter to the pan to bake a second batch once your first batch is done.
  • Spooning the batter into the donut cavities can be tricky, so I always transfer the batter to a large Ziploc bag or piping bag, snip off a corner of the bag, and pipe the batter into the pan.
  • When the donuts are done the edges will be lightly golden brown and the donuts will spring back when you gently press on the tops. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.
  • You probably will not use all of the melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture. As a result, the nutrition information for the amount used on each donut will vary, and is hard to calculate. Nutrition facts provided are estimated for the plain baked donuts without any coating.
Baked apple cider donuts in a metal tray with a mug of coffee

More Recipes with Apple Cider

If you have some leftover apple cider in your fridge from your latest visit to the apple orchard, try these other delicious recipes:

Square side shot of a pile of apple cider baked donuts on a wooden board

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total: 41 minutes
Servings 7 – 8 donuts
Calories 183 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 at home!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE DONUTS:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ground allspice
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅓ cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup milk

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 6-cavity donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

BAKE THE DONUTS:

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
  • Add the egg, 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.)
  • Spoon the batter into the donut cavities, filling ⅔ to ¾ full. It helps to put the batter in a large zip-top bag, cut a corner off the bottom of the bag, and pipe the batter into each donut cavity.
  • Bake the donuts for about 10-11 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
  • Let the donuts cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, and then flip them out onto a wire rack. Bake the remaining donut batter (there is usually enough batter for 1-2 more donuts).
  • Allow the donuts to cool for about 10 minutes before coating in cinnamon-sugar.

COAT THE DONUTS IN CINNAMON-SUGAR:

  • When the donuts 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.
  • Dip the donuts in the melted butter, and then dunk them into the cinnamon sugar to coat on all sides.
  • The donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes

  • Don’t have any apple cider? You can substitute with apple juice.
  • Add more nutmeg for an even stronger “donut” flavor.
  • If you don’t have a donut pan, follow this recipe for apple cider donut muffins.
  • For a larger batch of baked donuts, double all of the ingredients.
  • Instead of the cinnamon sugar topping, dip the donuts in a maple glaze like this.
  • 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!
  • This recipe yields about 7-8 donuts. You’ll need at least one 6-cavity donut pan. If you have two doughnut pans, you can bake all of the donuts at once. If you only have one pan, add the remaining batter to the pan to bake a second batch once your first batch is done.
  • Spooning the batter into the donut cavities can be tricky, so I always transfer the batter to a large Ziploc bag or piping bag, snip off a corner of the bag, and pipe the batter into the pan.
  • When the donuts are done the edges will be lightly golden brown and the donuts will spring back when you lightly press on the tops. Don’t cook them for too long, or they can dry out.
  • You probably will not use all of the melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture. As a result, the nutrition information for the amount used on each donut will vary, and is hard to calculate. Nutrition facts provided are estimated for the plain baked donuts without any coating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1donut (not including topping)Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 227mgPotassium: 109mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 143IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: apple cider baked donuts, baked apple cider donuts
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
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. Hi, Alli! I think you could use extra oil instead of butter in the batter, and use a non-dairy milk alternative. I’m not sure about the coating, though. Maybe if you coat the hot donuts in cinnamon-sugar while they’re still nice and warm, some of the mixture will adhere…even without butter. It won’t be quite the same, but I bet they’ll still taste good. 🙂