Of course you need more baked apple cider donuts in your life. Baked donuts flavored with homemade apple butter, apple cider, chunks of fresh apples, and rolled in cinnamon sugar are a staple autumn treat. The smell of spices and warm apples is all I need to know that fall is here. Enjoy this easy to mix, bake, and oh so delicious fall donut recipe.
Main Ingredients for Apple Donuts
To create this fun twist on apple cider donuts, I partnered with Starr Ranch Growers, a group of multi-generational farming families who raise premium, wholesome conventional and organic fruit. I’m so excited to showcase their sweet and delightfully tart JUICI apple. The JUICI apple is a versatile vibrant red variety with a thinner skin, great crunch, and long shelf life. All wins for an apple that can be used in so many fall and seasonal recipes.
Supporting farmers who give back to the community, use sustainable farming practices, and deliver consistent quality products is why I love Starr Ranch Growers. Their JUICI apples can be found at most major grocers.
I really wanted to make these donuts scream apple donuts. So I cored , then chopped a fresh apple, leaving the skin intact and folded the chunks into the donut batter. Now every bite has apple cider, apple butter, and chunks of fresh apples. Yay!
It wouldn’t be an apple cider donut without fresh apple cider. The trick to getting the best cider flavor for these baked donuts is to reduce the cider over heat before adding it to the batter. Allow the concentrated apple cider to cool before mixing into the wet ingredients.
This step can be done ahead and stored in the fridge to make your donut baking quicker in the morning. All you need is a bout 20 minutes to reduce the cider on the stove. Use store bought or homemade apple cider.
Apple butter is staple in my kitchen once the temperature outside starts to drop. A super easy to make spiced applesauce that adds moisture and flavor to your baked goods. Apple butter is used just like applesauce in a recipe, meaning you can substitute it for oil and butter. It gives your recipes a rich depth of flavor, and makes everything smell like fall.
My homemade apple butter is made in a crockpot and simmers all afternoon. I suggest making a batch with JUICI apples to keep in the fridge.
How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Baked donuts are so easy to make, no mixer or hot oil required. Allow for time to reduce the apple cider, which can be done the day before. If you choose to make homemade apple butter, I would also make this a day ahead.
- Reduce the apple cider. Using a a small saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it has reached a ¼ cup. This step takes about 10-15 minutes, but so worth the extra flavor. Allow the cider to cool for 10 minutes before adding it to the batter or store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Remove the stem and core from one JUICI apple, then chop into pea sized chunks. Set aside.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and hand whisk together.
- Combine all of the wet ingredients together in a large bowl and stir together until evenly mixed.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Add ½ of the dry mixture into the wet mixture and slowly whisk to combine. Repeat with the second half of the dry mixture. Fold in the apple chunks to evenly distribute.
- Prep and fill the donut pan. Lightly spray the donut pan with non-stick baking spray. Spoon the batter into each donut cup about ⅔-3/4 full.
- Bake the Donuts! These donuts bake fast in about 10-12 minutes. To test for doneness, gently press your finger onto the top of a donut and if it springs back, then they are done. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for a couple of minutes. Tip the pan on its side and release warm donuts directly onto a cooling rack. Wipe out the pan with a warm dish towel and coat again with baking spray if you are only using one pan. Repeat with remaining donut batter.
- Cinnamon Sugar coating for the donuts. Stir the granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a shallow medium bowl. Place a warm donut in the bowl and twist, then flip to coat all sides in sugar.
How to Store Baked Donuts
Apple donuts are best enjoyed the day they are baked. If you have a few left over, store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Cider Donuts
- 1 cup (240 grams) apple cider
- 2 cups ( 250 grams) all purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¼ cups apple butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 JUICI apple core and stem removed, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Place apple cider in a small saucepan, on medium heat. Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer. Allow cider to simmer for 15 minutes or until it has reduced to a ¼ cup. Remove from heat to cool.
- Prepare the topping to set aside. Stir the granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a shallow medium bowl. Save for coating warm donuts.
- Remove stem and core from one JUICI apple, then chop into pea sized chunks. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and prepare two of the 6 capacity donut pans with a light coating of baking spray.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and whisk to mix.
- Place brown sugar, egg, apple butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then hand whisk to combine. Stir in the reduced apple cider until distributed evenly.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and slowly whisk to combine. Repeat with the second half of the dry mixture. Fold in the apple chunks with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to evenly distribute.
- Spoon the thick batter into each donut cup about ⅔-3/4 full.
- Place the donut trays on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops spring back with a gently press of your finger tip.
- Place trays on wire cooling rack for about 2 minutes. Then, invert pans to release donuts directly onto wire racks.
- Go ahead and coat these warm donuts with cinnamon sugar before cleaning pans and baking remaining batter. Totally optional, I just prefer to roll my donuts in cinnamon sugar while they are warm.
- Place a warm donut in the bowl and twist, then flip to coat all sides in sugar. Repeat with remaining donuts.