Infused with all the fall flavors of apple cider, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then coated in a cinnamon sugar sprinkle, these baked apple cider donuts are made in a doughnut pan without any deep frying and are so moist and tender!
Anything apple or cinnamon, or a combination of both is one of my favorite reasons to get out from under the warm blankets in the morning! Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal and apple scones are two of my morning staples throughout the fall. The oatmeal is quick and easy on weekday mornings and the scones are a weekend specialty. These apple cider donuts are for any time in between!
Table of contents
Simple Baked Donuts
These apple cider donuts are an easy, baked treat that beautifully encompasses all the fall flavors like apple cider and cinnamon spice. This delicious donut is moist and tender like an old-fashioned donut but it’s made without yeast and there is no deep-frying so it’s more cake-like and slightly denser. It is fantastic! I treat it as much like a breakfast pastry as I do as an afternoon snack or dessert!
One of the most amazing things about this recipe is that it is super simple to come together in a quick 30 minutes or less, all in one bowl! It’s a healthy version of a fried donut but doesn’t skimp on any of the flavors. In fact, it’s loaded with all things apple cinnamon, and spice! It’s made with actual apple cider which only adds to the moisture and depth of autumn essence, so it just oozes comfort and cozy! Homemade baked donuts might just be my new favorite irresistible baked good…and I’m not exactly sure if that’s a good thing or slightly dangerous. That cinnamon sugar coating gets me every time!
Why this recipe works
- Quick and easy. These donuts are a one bowl recipe that are ready to bit into in under 30 minutes.
- There is never a wrong time to eat them! Eat them with your morning tea or coffee, with a cold glass of milk in the afternoon or with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
- Deliciously flavored with warming spices, but nothing overly complicated. All of the ingredients are basic kitchen staples.
- They’re donuts! They’re baked, healthier versions of the classic kind, but they’re still donuts. Maybe even better!
- Your house will smell like a bakery. That alone is reason to bake a batch.
- All-purpose flour – The foundation of the donut, all purpose is a great choice for structure and works alongside the baking powder to create great texture. Cake flour also works wonderful!
- Sugar – Needed for sweetness!
- Baking powder – There is no yeast in these donuts, so the baking powder helps to create the rise needed.
- Cinnamon & nutmeg – Work in conjunction to give us all the autumn feels.
- Egg – Used for binding all of the ingredients together and holding the adorable structure of these baked donuts.
- Whole milk – Full fat is needed for richness and moisture which gives these donuts perfect consistency and texture.
- Apple cider – Readily available at your grocery store, especially when the cooler weather hits. You can substitute with unsweetened apple juice.
- Canola oil – As oil does in baking, it helps keep everything nice and moist!
- Vanilla extract – The perfect flavor that does to sweet ingredients that salt does to savory. It enhances the other flavors.
How to Make Apple Cider Donuts
This recipe will come together before the rest of the house wakes up, or before your kids get home from school. Either way, they’ll be ready (and then gone) in no time!
Step 1: First, combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, add in the wet ingredients on top of the flour mixture.
Step 2: Whisk to combine, just until there are no more lumps. Be careful not to overmix. Overmixing will cause your donuts to be denser than you’d like them to be because you’re getting rid of too much of the air that will keep them light.
Step 3: After preparing the donut muffin tin with nonstick spray, pour ¼ of the doughnut batter in each groove. It should come up to about ¾ full. This Wilton donut pan is my favorite! Don’t have a donut pan. See my notes below on how to make baked donuts in a muffin pan.
Step 4: Bake for 16-17 minutes until golden brown around the edges. To test it out, use a toothpick and insert it into the thickest part of the donut. If it comes out clean, it’s ready.
Step 5: Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a separate small bowl (preferably a shallow one on easier dipping) and once the donuts are out of the oven, dip them into the cinnamon sugar mixture while they are still warm. Place on a wire rack to cool and then dig in!
- Substitute canola oil for vegetable oil.
- For gluten free version, substitute one-to-one gluten free flour or oat flour.
- Substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil for a lower calorie option. Apple sauce is a great swap, not only for moisture but even more apple flavor..
- Substitute whole milk for low-fat milk or non-dairy milk like almond milk, oat milk, soy milk or rice milk. It will change the texture a bit, but they’ll definitely still be awesome.
- Although fresh apple cider is best, you can substitute unsweetened apple juice if needed.
- Use brown sugar or coconut sugar instead of white sugar.
- Use a resealable plastic bag and but a corner out or use a piping bag to fill the donut tin with the batter.
- Dip in a little melted butter before dipping in the cinnamon/ sugar mixture.
- Dipping in the cinnamon sugar mixture is optional. They’re also great plain or glazed.
- Serve warm or cooled at room temperature.
- For a little extra something special, some people enjoy reducing their apple cider to a more concentrated, thicker liquid and using that for a more intense flavor.
These donuts will keep fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days, in an airtight container for maintaining moisture. They’re also freezer friendly, for up to 2 months stored in a ziplock bag. Separate them with parchment paper, so you can take one out as you want it.
The quickest and easiest way to reheat these baked gems would be to thaw in the fridge overnight if they are still frozen and then pop in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time.
Hw to Make Baked Donuts without a Donut Pan?
If you don’t happen to own a donut pan, you can also use a standard muffin tin along with some aluminum foil. Cut 4-5 inch square pieces of foil and place your finger into the center and wrap the foil tightly around your finger. Carefully slide the foil off of your finger. Then place the foil cup into each hole of the muffin tin a press it into place and curl up the sides a little as well.t.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon/sugar mixture
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a donut pan with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir to combine well.
- Add in the egg, milk, apple cider, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk just until there are no lumps of flour remaining, careful not to over-mix.
- Pour approximately ¼ cup of batter in each section of the donut pan, filling it about ¾ full
- Bake for 16-17 minutes until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the thickest section comes out clean.
- While donuts are baking, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small shallow bowl. Dip the warm donuts in the mixture and place them on a wire rack to cool.