An easy recipe for Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes coated in either cinnamon and sugar or an apple cider glaze. Plus instructions for how to make Baked Apple Cider Donuts too!
It’s officially October and there’s a small hint of fall weather in the air. The stores are lined with tons of fresh apples and apple cider is everywhere now. This is by far my favorite time of year because I love creating fall desserts, especially anything with apples or apple cider in it.
These Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes were actually requested by a reader earlier this year. I loved the idea so I jotted it down in my little book of notes and held onto the idea until fall was finally here. I’m so glad I held onto this recipe idea too because this may be one of my favorite baked donut hole/donut recipes to date.
These donut holes are jam-packed with apple cider flavor thanks to a little trick I use to really enhance the flavor. And because I couldn’t just leave you with a donut hole recipe, I’ve also included instructions for how to make baked apple cider donuts and an apple cider glaze. If you love apple cider, then this is definitely one recipe that you will want to try before fall is over!
Ingredients for Apple Cider Donuts
This recipe can be used to make either apple cinnamon donuts or donut holes. The ingredients list is the same for both, all that changes is how you cook the batter! Here’s what we’ll need to make this apple cider donut recipe:
- Apple cider: You want to buy plain apple cider, not the kind that’s already spiced.
- All-purpose flour: Make sure to spoon and level the flour so you don’t end up with dense donuts.
- Baking powder: Helps the apple cinnamon donuts rise in the oven.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, & ground cloves: All three spices pair wonderfully with the apple cider flavor in these donut holes. Plus, a little extra spice never hurts.
- Salt: Balances out the sweetness of the donut dough.
- Greek yogurt: My trick to keep desserts from drying out (the worst!) is to incorporate some Greek yogurt or sour cream along with brown sugar whenever I can.
- Brown sugar: Sweetens the dough and also adds some flavor.
- Egg: Needs to be at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Unsalted butter: I recommend using unsalted butter since the amount of salt in salted butters can vary between different brands.
How to Make Apple Cider Donuts
The first step to making these apple cider donut holes is to reduce some apple cider in a saucepan. I found that the best way to really get the apple cider flavor in these donuts holes was to reduce it before adding it to the batter, this way you get a more concentrated flavor in your donut holes and donuts. It takes an extra 10-15 minutes, but it’s certainly worth it so I don’t suggest skipping this step!
Once the cider has reduced and had time to cool down, whisk it into the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
You’ll be baking the donut holes in a mini muffin pan. Sounds weird, I know. But once you add the glaze or cinnamon sugar coating, they end up looking more like donut holes. If you have a donut hole pan, then that would also work wonderfully for this recipe too!
For the coating, you can either use cinnamon and sugar or an apple cider glaze on these donuts. I personally love both and couldn’t choose which one I liked best. Both taste wonderful on the donut holes and donuts, but the apple cider glaze does add more cider flavor if that’s what you’re looking for.
Can I Make Baked Apple Cinnamon Donuts in Advance?
Baked donut holes and donuts are best eaten the same day, but these still taste wonderful on day two.
What Type of Apple Cider Should I Use?
I use Musselman’s fresh pressed apple cider, but you can use any brand you’d like. Just make sure to buy plain cider, not spiced cider.
- Make sure to reduce your apple cider before getting started with this recipe. It usually takes about 7 minutes for the cider to reduce in half for me once it comes to a boil.
- Be sure not to over mix the batter once you combine the wet and dry ingredients. You may still see a few lumps in your batter, this is okay.
- For the cinnamon sugar coating, start with 4 tablespoons of butter and melt an additional 1-2 tablespoons if needed. If you prefer a little less sugar on your donut holes, start out with 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.
More Fall Dessert Recipes to Try!
- Apple Cake
- Apple Coffee Cake
- Baked Pumpkin Donuts
- Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes
- Apple Hand Pies
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes
For the apple cider donut holes:
- 1 cup (240ml) apple cider (reduced to 1/2 cup - 120ml)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter , melted and slightly cooled
For the cinnamon sugar coating:
- 4-6 tablespoons (65-85 grams) unsalted butter , melted and slightly cooled
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
To make the donut holes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 24-count mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Add the apple cider to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 7-10 minutes or until the apple cider has reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat, pour the apple cider into a heatproof bowl, and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cooled reduced apple cider, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and melted butter until fully combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between all 24 cavities of the mini muffin pan. I prefer to use a piping bag to make this step easier, but a ziplock bag with the corner cut off works well too.
- Bake at 350°F for 11-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the donut holes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the cinnamon sugar coating:
- Add the melted butter to a small heatproof bowl and set aside. Start with 4 tablespoons and melt 1-2 more tablespoons of butter if needed to coat all of the donut holes.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Take each donut hole and dunk it into the melted butter, making sure it is fully coated. Then dip it into the cinnamon and sugar mixture, making sure to coat well. Repeat until all of the donut holes are coated, then serve and enjoy!