Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Apple cider donuts should be full of sweet apple flavor, be tender and delicate and filled with bits of apple. Rolled in cinnamon and coconut sugar, these delicacies could almost be called healthy but we’ll always say they are absolutely delicious.Jump to Recipe
I’ve always loved a good fried donut. I have a great recipe for my own homemade yeasted ones right here. And they are great if you have the time to make them.
But there’s no reason to turn your nose up at a good cake version either. As easy as mixing a batter you can skip the rising, kneading and rolling but still create a version that’s just and comforting.
How I made these donuts healthier
These donuts were made with coconut sugar which has half the glycemic index of white sugar. That means when you eat it your blood sugar goes half as high. Not to mention coconut sugar doesn’t have the inflammatory response in the body that processed white sugar does.
*Keep in mind though that we are using a boiled down concentrate of apple cider here and sugar–whether from fruit or a 5 pound bag– is still sugar to your brain. To me it’s still better than the white stuff.
I also used gluten free flour in these but you can use a regular all purpose and it will work just fine.
Tips for making your apple cider donuts the best they can be
- Fill your donut pan up to the top. I didn’t and I felt like mine were a little thin.
- Don’t skip the little sautéed apples. They add moisture and a nice burst of flavor.
- Make sure you use apple cider and not apple juice here. The flavor of cider is much more complex and tastes better.
- Put your donut batter in a zip lock bag and pipe the dough into the donut pan. If you don’t have a donut pan you can make these as “donut muffins” in a muffin tin and roll them in cinnamon sugar just the same after they’re baked.
How to make an apple cider reduction for amazing flavor
To make your donuts truly taste like apple cider we need to make some adjustments. If we just pour cider in the batter it won’t provide enough flavor so the secret is to reduce the cider and concentrate its flavors.
To do that, pour your cider into a pot and reduce it from 2 cups to 1/2 cup. Just let it boil and pour it in to a measuring cup to see when you’ve reached 1/2 cup. Let it cool slightly before using it in the recipe.
How to make apple cider donuts step-by-step
Step 1: Sauté diced granny smith apples with butter and add them to the dry ingredients. Toss to coat them in the flour so the apples don’t sink to the bottom.
Step 2: Beat the honey and softened butter together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and apple cider reduction. Beat well. It may look curdled but that’s okay.
Step 3: Add the wet ingredients into the apples and flour mixture and mix until just blended
Step 4: Lightly grease the donut pan or muffin tin with avocado oil. Transfer the batter to a zip lock bag or pastry bag, trim the end open and pipe the batter into the donut pan until 3/4 full.
Step 5: Bake at 350 12-15 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Step 6: Brush melted butter over the donuts and dip into a mixture of cinnamon and coconut sugar (granulated sugar will also work).
How to store your donuts
These donuts will store really well in an air tight container for up to two, maybe three days at the most. Warm them in the oven or the microwave to bring them back to life if needed.
Craving more baked donuts? Try these versions! Or if you’re after more apples check out my classic apple dumplings or Apple crumb pie.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- Donut pan or muffin tin
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 medium granny smith apple peeled, cored and diced into 1/4" pieces, about 3/4 cup
- 1 teaspoon butter
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour gluten free also works
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick butter softened (1 stick=1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the cinnamon sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar granulated sugar also works
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a donut pan or muffin tin with avocado oil and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, bring the apple cider to a boil and cook until the cider is reduced to 1/2 cup. This may take 20-30 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool slightly while you finish the other steps.
- In another small pan over medium heat, add the butter and melt; add the diced apples and pinch of salt and cook until the apple soften, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add the apples and toss to coat.
- In another bowl, beat the honey and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and cider. It's okay if this mixture looks clumpy. Add to the flour and apple mixture and use a spoon or hand mixer to blend just until no flour remains. Do not over beat.
- Transfer to a zip lock bag or piping bag and trim the end. Squeeze the batter in to the pan until 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean–12-15 minutes or so depending on your oven. Turn out on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.
- Melt remaining butter and set aside. Blend sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush donuts with butter and dip the tops in the cinnamon sugar. Serve warm or store in an air tight container for up to three days.