Whip up a batch of these soft baked apple cider donuts for a classic Fall breakfast or dessert. The healthy recipe will make your entire kitchen smell like cinnamon sugar!
The best baked apple cider donuts
Apple donuts are completely taking over social media.
From Facebook, to Instagram, to Pinterest, these donuts seem to be everywhere!
With so many reminders taunting me, I finally gave in last weekend and made my own.
And these donuts are everything I hoped they would be – soft, moist, and wonderfully fluffy, with apple cinnamon goodness packed into each and every bite.
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A simple Fall breakfast recipe
My first introduction to apple cider donuts was many years ago, during an October road trip that took us through Upstate New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
We stopped at a New England farm that could have been straight out of a movie, complete with a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, and the best glazed apple cider doughnuts you could ever imagine.
Over a decade later, I began seeing apple cider cake donuts pop up as a seasonal menu item at local bakeries, Dunkin Donuts, and Krispy Kreme.
Now the festive autumn donuts can be found all over, from coffee shops, to Trader Joe’s and regular grocery stores, and even at Costco.
However, there is still nothing like making your own at home.
Apple donut recipe video
Watch the step by step recipe video, above
Healthy apple baked donuts
With no yeast and just 100 calories each, these baked apple cider donuts are a surprisingly healthy option.
The recipe can be vegan, gluten free, cholesterol free, and refined sugar free, with over three grams of both fiber and protein.
Because they are baked instead of fried, the donuts can also be low fat and oil free.
Yet they are just as soft, fluffy, flavorful, and delicious as anything you could ever buy from a fancy donut shop!
Homemade apple cider donut ingredients
Here’s what you need: flour, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, pure vanilla extract, vinegar, optional oil or nut butter, salt, sweetener, baking powder, and of course apple cider.
You may use regular white flour, whole grain spelt flour, or oat flour. Some brands of gluten free all purpose flour work as well.
I have not tried the recipe with almond flour, coconut flour, pastry flour, or whole wheat flour. Feel free to experiment with substitutions as long as you are okay that there is no guarantee the results will be yummy.
Most basic liquid sweeteners work, including pure maple syrup, honey, or agave. If you prefer to use granulated sugar or a no sugar substitute like xylitol, increase the amount of sweetener to one third cup. Add three and a half tablespoons of water or additional apple cider.
For vegan apple cider donuts, simply use pure maple syrup or agave instead of honey. The donuts are already naturally dairy free, with no eggs or butter.
To make baked donuts without oil, substitute an equal amount of applesauce or canned pumpkin puree or sweet potato puree for the oil. You may also use almond butter or cashew butter, adding protein and healthy fats.
How to make baked apple cider donuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a donut pan or mini muffin pan. Set this pan aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the apple cider, vinegar, pure vanilla extract, oil or applesauce, and sweetener.
Once the oven is preheated, stir in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder until just evenly mixed.
Divide the donut batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan on the center rack of the oven.
Bake for eight minutes or until the apple doughnuts have risen and are golden. A toothpick inserted into the center of a donut should come out mostly clean.
Let cool, then use a knife to go around the sides of each pastry and pop the baked donuts out of the pan.
After cooling on a plate, you can glaze the donuts or dip them in a bowl of cinnamon sugar if desired.
The recipe makes six large donuts. If you wish to make a larger batch to feed a family or guests, double the recipe and use two donut pans.
Apple cake donut holes
If you do not have a donut pan or prefer mini donuts to larger ones, you have multiple options to turn the recipe into your very own apple cider donut hole munchkins.
The first option is to bake the donut batter in a mini muffin pan instead of a donut pan. For smaller munchkins, only fill the muffin pan up halfway.
Or you can use a Donut Hole Baking Pan.
I would think you could also pour the batter into a cake pop machine if you own one.
I sadly do not own one and therefore cannot try it for myself, so be sure to report back if you experiment. This Babycakes Cake Pop Machine gets very high reviews.
Can you use reduced apple cider?
Reducing the apple cider before using is a popular technique in apple cider baked goods because of the strong apple flavor it imparts into the finished desserts.
If you wish to reduce the cider beforehand, that is perfectly fine here. Be sure to still measure out one third cup of apple cider after reducing.
Cinnamon sugar apple doughnuts
If you wish to coat the donuts in cinnamon sugar, simply stir two tablespoons of ground cinnamon into half a cup of sugar.
You can choose white sugar, unrefined coconut sugar, date sugar, or cane sugar. Or use a granulated sugar free substitute like xylitol.
I like to first brush the donuts with oil or butter (or spray with oil) so the cinnamon sugar adheres better. This step is not required.
Dip the donuts into a bowl of the homemade cinnamon sugar while they are still warm.
Frosted or glazed apple cider donuts
Instead of a cinnamon sugar coating, store bought vanilla frosting or homemade apple cider glaze are both wonderful topping options.
To make your own apple cider glazed donuts, whisk one cup of powdered sugar, two tablespoons of apple cider or apple juice, and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or apple pie spice in a bowl until thick and non lumpy.
Dip each donut into the apple glaze, then place on a wire rack and let the apple pastries sit about ten to fifteen minutes or until the glaze has set.
Tip: Make an extra batch of glaze to use for Applesauce Muffins.
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 1 tsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp oil or almond butter, or applesauce or pumpkin puree for low fat
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey or agave (an option to use granulated sugar is listed above)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Whisk all liquid ingredients together. Grease a donut pan or mini muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Stir remaining ingredients into the wet ingredients to form a donut batter. Bake for eight minutes or until the apple cider donuts have risen and are cooked through. Let cool before removing from the pan. If desired, top with cinnamon sugar coating or apple cider glaze. Both of these recipes are included above.The recipe works with white, spelt, oat, or some brands of gluten free all purpose flour. I have not tried almond flour or or whole wheat flour and therefore cannot recommend them here.View Nutrition Facts