These healthy baked apple cider donuts are made extra light and moist with applesauce and are spiced with boiled apple cider and warm cinnamon. They are topped with a maple glaze and make for a delicious fall breakfast treat!
About the recipe
The possibility of baking donuts at home is nothing short of a miracle for the Hight side of my family. If you follow any of us on social media, you are probably well aware that our love for donuts runs deep. We are pretty particular about our donut selection, however.
Krispy Kreme is the golden standard, and our rule is to indulge only if the "hot" sign is on. Thankfully my parents have always lived 30+ miles away from a Krispy Kreme, so indulgences were limited to about once per quarter of the year! Shipley Do-Nuts is a close second, and we will usually consult Trip Advisor for "best donut" recommendations whenever we travel.
But back to baked donuts - have you ever tried these at home?? The fact that muffin or cake batter can be baked into the shape of a donut is just crafty enough to trick my mind into thinking that I'm eating a real bakery-made donut.
You can make these as healthy or indulgent as you want, but I'll go ahead and say that these "healthy" apple cider donuts suited my hot ring of fried heaven cravings just fine. I mean, seriously, just look at that drippy gooey glaze! It takes every shred of willpower not to eat one before you've finished glazing them all.
If you really want to enjoy them fresh out of the oven, shake a few warm donuts in a bag of cinnamon sugar and inhale them (with the help of others) right then and there. You can then patiently wait for the rest to cool and glaze whatever you have left. Warm cinnamon sugar donuts vs. cooled maple glazed donuts. It's your call!
- Granulated sugar, powdered sugar
- Apple cider
- Vanilla extract
- Maple syrup
- Cinnamon, salt, baking powder
- White whole wheat flour
Step 1: Prep work - grease a baked donut tin with cooking spray and set the oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Make the batter - combine the oil, eggs, sugar, applesauce, reduced cider, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder with a whisk until smooth. Add the flour, and stir until just incorporated.
Step 3: Carefully spoon the batter into the wells of the donut pan tin. Sometimes I use a piping bag for this! Bake the donuts for 12-15 minutes.
Step 4: While the donuts bake, make the glaze by combining the maple syrup and powdered sugar with a whisk. Add a splash of milk as needed until the glaze reaches a pourable consistency.
Step 5: Cool the donuts completely before dipping in the glaze and setting the donuts out to dry.
- To make them gluten-free, I recommend an all-purpose gluten-free baking flour mix.
- Homemade applesauce made with spiced apple cider really lends the best apple flavor in this recipe. Don't worry about having leftover applesauce - you can use it for snacks, oatmeal topping, muffin/pancake batters, or as a delicious accompaniment to dinner.
- Try to make them on a day that you can share them with family/friends - they are definitely best when enjoyed the day that you bake them.
If you are looking for more delicious fall apple flavor, be sure to check out my recipes for Whole Wheat Cinnamon Apple Cake and Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes!
Are you ready to make this Sesame Roasted Broccoli? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you!
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Apple Cider Donuts
For the donuts:
- ⅓ cup neutral-flavored oil (canola, avocado, grapeseed, walnut)
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup applesauce (I made a homemade batch using Pioneer Woman's applesauce recipe)
- ½ cup spiced apple cider, boiled down to about 2 tablespoons of syrup (See notes)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
For the glaze:
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons milk or enough to make a spreadable glaze
Making the donuts:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a donut pan with cooking spray. My pan makes 6 donuts, so I had to fill it twice.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugar, applesauce, cider syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
- Add the flour, stirring until just smooth.
- Fill a pastry bag or a sturdy gallon-sized plastic bag with the batter. Use scissors to snip off the tip of the bag, creating about an ½''' hole.
- Pipe the batter into the wells of the doughnut pan nearly to the rim.
- Bake the doughnuts for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. .
- Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and loosen their edges by running a knife along the outer circle. After about 5 minutes, transfer them to a rack to cool completely before glazing.
Making the glaze:
- Mix together all of the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Glazing the donuts:
- Dip the donut tops in the glaze. Let any excess glaze drip off before you flip the donut right side up. Set on a wire rack to dry completely; this will take about 30 minutes.
- Donuts are best enjoyed on the day that you make them. If you need to store them, it's best to store at room temperature on a wire rack covered with a lid that allows air to circulate above and underneath the donuts. They will keep for about 2 days before the glaze starts to melt. Stacking the donuts on top of each other or refrigerating them will cause the glaze to melt into the donut.
Alex Caspero says
I just bought a donut pan this weekend!!! Yay for blog excuses! I do it all the time 😉
Almost Getting It Together says
I have been cravvvvving apple cider donuts and want to make my own but literally I am so clueless on the donut front, I didn't know where to start. Now I do!! I wish I had one of these right now!
Whitney Reist says
These are a great place to start because it's just like making a muffin batter 🙂 No rising needed!
genevieve @ gratitude and greens says
These donuts look and sound so good! I don't have a doughnut pan because I don't eat them very often, but I'd love to have one anyway 😛
Whitney Reist says
It's a fun little novelty thing to add to your kitchen supplies - great for a brunch or party 🙂
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
A doughnut pan is still on my list to buy!