These homemade Apples Cider Doughnuts are so addictive. Fresh apple cider is boiled down to a thick syrup and then added to a batter that's fragrant with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves. These final doughnuts are moist and tender the way a cake doughnut should be and absolutely delicious.
Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
The balance of liquid to dry ingredients ensures a tender and moist doughnut. The apple cider, brown sugar, and apple pie spice (a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom) ensure a doughnut that tastes like apple and cinnamon. The maple glaze is sweet, but flavorful because of the combination of maple syrup and apple cider.
If you love baked doughnuts check out my recipes for Toasted Coconut Doughnuts and Strawberry Lemon Doughnuts. And if you prefer fried doughnuts then you'll want my recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts.
Apple Cider Doughnut Ingredients
I love baked doughnuts. They are so easy to make and the base recipe can be easily modified. Here are the ingredients for the doughnuts:
- All-Purpose Flour. The flour provides the structure for the doughnut.
- Whole Egg. The egg adds structure and fat to the final baked doughnut
- Baking Powder. The baking powder is the leavening agent and causes the doughnut to rise in the pan.
- Apple Pie Spice. The Apple Pie Spice is a combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and allspice. The recipe is below. You can adjust the amjount of spices according to your tastes, but cinnamon should be the dominate flavor.
- Light Brown Sugar. The sugar adds moisture, sweetness and slight molasses flavor.
- Apple Cider. These are apple cider doughnuts, so reduced apple cider is used to bump up the flavor.
- Unsalted Butter. Adds flavor and richness to the batter.
- Buttermilk. Helps tenderize the final baked doughnut.
How to Make Baked Doughnuts from Scratch
Baked doughnuts, no matter the flavor, are relatively easy and quick to make. The base recipe takes 45 minutes from start to finish including allowing the doughnuts to cool before glazing them.
The recipe for apple cider doughnuts starts with reducing the apple cider from 2 cups to 1/2 cup. Reducing the cider takes about 10 minutes (longer if doubling the recipe) plus time to allow the reduced cider to cool to room temperature. I usually reduce the cider the night before to save time on the day I'm making the doughnuts.
Prep your doughnut pans by lightly brushing them with a little melted butter. You will need about 1 teaspoon in total for this step. Even if the doughnut pans are described as nonstick, still butter them to ensure that the doughnuts come out clean. Don't use nonstick spray because over time the nonstick spray can leave a residue.
Combine the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk for 30 seconds.
In a second bowl whisk one egg. Add the brown sugar to the egg and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the buttermilk, whisk to combine, and then whisk as you add the melted butter.
Pour in all the flour-spice mixture all at once and use a spatula to mix it in. Only mix until there are no visible bits of the flour mixture. The batter will still be a little lumpy which is okay.
How to Bake the Doughnuts
Once the doughnuts are placed in the oven they bake in 10-12 minutes. The easiest and neatest way to fill the wells in the doughnut pan is to place the batter in an 18-inch pastry bag or large sealable Ziploc bag, cut off the tip, and pipe the batter into the pan.
This recipe is designed to fill the doughnut wells up to the edge. The doughnuts are done when you press one with your fingertip and it bounces back. Remove the doughnuts from the oven and immediately turn them out onto a cooling rack. Toss the doughnuts immediately into the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
How to Glaze the Doughnuts
The maple-apple cider glaze for these doughnuts is so good. It has the richness of maple syrup with the sharp tang from apple cider. This glaze can also be used for fried doughnuts or cookies.
Once the doughnuts are cooled, make the glaze. The recipe calls for a specific amount of maple syrup, however, you can use less or more depending on your desired thickness.
Take each doughnut and dip it into the glaze halfway up the sides of the doughnut. If you want a really thick glaze, it will be easier to use a spoon or offset spatula to spread the glaze over the doughnuts.
Your doughnuts are now ready for eating.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Don't overmix the batter. If you overmix, the final doughnuts may be chewy instead of tender. It should only take a few turns to incorporate the flour. The batter will be still be lumpy.
- Sift the powdered sugar with. afine-mesh strainer to ensure the glaze lump free.
- The buttermilk and egg should be at room temperature. When adding the butter, it should be melted, but barely warm.
- Lightly coat each doughnut well with oil or melted butter to ensure the doughnuts easily release from the pan.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the doughnuts can be made dairy-free. Replace the butter with an equal amount of vegetable oil. You can also make it a little special and use a nut oil, like hazelnut oil. Replace the buttermilk with almond milk. Omit the butter from the glaze.
Yes, the doughnuts can be made gluten-free. Replace the all-purpose flour with Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour.
Yes, this recipe is for 6 doughnuts and can easily be doubled to make 12. If using only one pan to make the doughnuts, make sure it's completely cooled before adding the batter. If making 12 doughnuts start with 3 cups of apple cider and reduce it to 3/4 cup. For 18 doughnuts, reduce 4 cups of cider to 1-1/4 cups.
I hope you try these doughnuts because they are so good and you deserve a delicious treat. If you've never made baked doughnuts before I think you'll be surprised at how easy it is. Please let me know if you have more questions. If you make these doughnuts and post to Instagram please tag me @bakesbybrownsugar. I would love to see your bake.
More Apple Treats
If you're looking for more ideas for apple desserts check out these favorites:
Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
Apple Pie Spice
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
Apple Cider Doughnuts
- 2 cups apple cider reduced to 1/2 cup
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple spice
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter melted, plus additional to butter pan
- 1 (50 grams) large egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (63 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
Maple Syrup Glaze
- 1 cup (115 grams) powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2-3 tablespoons apple cider
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Apple Pie Spice
- This is the recipe for the apple pie spice called for in the recipe. Place all the ground spices in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. It should smell heavenly. This recipe for apple pie spice makes 2-1/2 tablespoons. The leftover can be used for other desserts and recipes.
- Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Use your fingers to break up any clumps of brown sugar.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
- Place the apple cider in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil the cider until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. As the cider reduces the bubbles will get larger. Once it is reduced pour it into a heatproof measuring cup and cool to room temperature.
- Once the cider is cool preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly butter the wells of a doughnut pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter (for the batter) in a small saucepan until it is just melted. Don’t let it get too hot. You want it just barely warm for this recipe.
- Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the apple pie spice into a small bowl and whisk for 30 seconds to thoroughly combine. Place the egg in a medium-sized bowl and whisk.
- Add the brown sugar and whisk until the brown sugar is dissolved. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the buttermilk, w 1/4 cup of the reduced apple cider and whisk to incorporate, Continuously whisk as you slowly pour in the melted butter.
- Add the dry ingredients and use a silicon spatula to gently combine by stirring from the bottom until no bits of flour remain. The batter will be lumpy, which is a good thing.
- Spoon the batter into an 18-inch pastry bag. Twist the top to close it and cut an 1/2-inch opening in the other end. Pipe the batter into the 6 doughnut wells of the doughnut pan.
- Bake the doughnuts for 10-12 minutes. Rotating the pan halfway through the baking. The doughnuts are done when the you press them with your finger, and they spring back. Turn the doughnuts out on a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the doughnuts are still warm toss in the bowl with the sugar cinnamon mixture and allow the doughnuts to cool.
Maple Syrup Glaze
- Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the tablespoon of butter and use a spatula to work the butter into the powdered sugar by using the spatula to press and smear the butter. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining reduced apple cider and 4 tablespoons of maple syrup and stir with a tablespoon. Continue to add maple syrup 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze is at the desired consistency.
- Dip the doughnuts in the glaze by holding it on the side and dipping the doughnuts in the glaze until the glaze goes halfway up the side of the doughnut.
Sherry Smart says
I look forward to making cider doughnuts every fall. The reduced apple cider is used only in the glaze, none in the doughnuts themselves? It seems most of it should go in with the wet ingrdients?
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you so much for writing and pointing out that error in the recipe. Yes, 1/4 cup of the reduced cider is added to the batter along with the buttermilk. I have corrected the recipe.
Nicola Boram says
I followed the instructions carefully and the overall flavour of these donuts was great but the texture was off. The unbaked batter felt a bit loose. Once baked, rather than a cakey texture they were a bit flat and had a kind of spongy texture with large open holes. The bottoms also got really brown. I wonder if a slightly lower temperature might have helped with that. The glaze was also really thick and I had to add a bit of water. If I did it again I would probably try melting the butter before incorporating it.
Cheryl Norris says
First of all, I want to say thank you for visiting the blog and trying this recipe. Now let's troubleshoot. The spongy texture with large holes was most likely caused by overmixing. With regard to the brown bottom, every oven is different (food bakes quicker in my new oven than it did in my old oven), so you're on the right track about lowering the oven temperature. You can try baking the donuts again at 400F, but start checking for doneness after 7-8 minutes, or lower the temperature to 375F to see how the lower temperature works. But even at the lower temperature check for doneness after 7-8 minutes.
I hope this information helps.
Cheryl this recipe was stellar! The doughnuts were delicious and had so much flavor! And that glaze literally had me doing the happy food dance! I can't wait to make these again.
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you for trying this recipe. I'm so glad you enjoyed them and happy to hear you plan to make them again. And thank you for taking the time to leave this compliment.