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The Perfect Fall Treat
Apple Cider donuts give me all the fall vibes. You too, right?
I often wish I lived in a place where we would get to experience real seasons. The snowy winters, breezy springtime, hot summers and the highly anticipated crisp fall evenings.
I want to be able to head over to an orchard, take family photos, pick apples and get an order of Apple Cider donuts to enjoy while there.
I’d then take my apples home and make my favorite Apple Bread. I’m just in love with all the Fall things.
Apple Cider donuts are nowhere to be found here in Miami… at least not the fresh out of the frier kind!
We can get a box at Trader Joe’s, and although that’s good, it’s not quite the same!
When we went to Alaska last year, we had freshly fried Apple Cider donuts in a little Salvation Army run donut pop up shop.
I unfortunately forgot to take a picture before we devoured them 🙁 They were absolutely delicious though, even Gracie enjoyed them!
As I was thinking about these donuts, I went back to see if I had any photos of them, and ran into all the rest of our photos from that day. Look at how tiny Gracie was. Cue the tears.
Why a small batch of apple cider donuts?
Because no one truly needs over a dozen donuts sitting on their counter for a few days. The other option is to eat them all up, but no one’s waist really needs that either. Especially during holiday season.
I really prefer to simply make a small batch, enjoy them for one or two days and then they’re gone. Then repeat as needed. hahaha
This time I purchased a half gallon of apple cider at BJ’s when I saw they were carrying it a couple of weeks ago.
However if you want your home to really smell delicious, make your own apple cider in a slow cooker or just a big pot over the stove.
You can do soooo much with this! Feel free to message me if you have any questions or want other recipe ideas.
Back to the best fall donuts…
These small batch donuts can be made into 6 oversized donuts, or as I prefer to make them: a baker’s half dozen! I
Have you heard of a baker’s dozen? That’s when you get 13 of any given item. A Baker’s Half Dozen is made up by me (or maybe not?) and means you’ll get 7 items.
This recipe makes a perfect 7 donuts. That means you can make 6, coat them in cinnamon sugar and set them aside for dessert tonight… and enjoy that last one during your kid’s naptime.
Really, it’s genius and perfect. A small batch of apple cider donuts. It’s always nice to have an extra. Quality control, ya know?
How to make Apple Cider donuts?
Well, gather your ingredients first. Quality apple cider makes all the difference. The fresher the better! Apple cider’s taste changes as it sits in the fridge so I like to make my batch right when I bring the cider home!
Start by reducing your apple cider. This pretty much gets rid of the water component and makes it almost like a syrup. It’s delish and the perfect base for your donuts.
All you have to do is pour the 1 cup of apple cider into a small pot and simmer over low heat until you’re left with about 1/3 cup of cider. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then check every 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
These donuts are simple: classic stir wet ingredients, add the dry, pour into the mold and bake.
You’ll then prepare that cinnamon sugar topping and once the donuts are cool enough to touch, brush them lightly with melted butter and then dunk in cinnamon sugar (or sprinkle over the top).
Make sure you coat both sides with cinnamon sugar because, really, it’s the best part!!
Little tip: don’t dunk the donuts in butter and then sugar. No matter how quickly you do it, it’ll soak up too much butter and get kind of soggy. It also hides the apple cider flavor.
Not cool at all.
Brush lightly, sprinkle or dunk in cinnamon sugar and you’re ready to dig in. Pour yourself a glass of milk, a cup of coffee, or even another cup of warm apple cider and enjoy!
What can I add to my donuts?
I find these donuts are perfect just as they are, but if you want to experiment, they also are pretty yummy with nuts. You can sprinkle chopped walnuts or pecans and add them to the batter and bake.
Or sprinkle the chopped nuts on the bottoms of the donut pans and then add the batter and bake. It’ll give you almost like a little nutty crust.
Another option is to add some raisins. They pair really nicely with donuts so it’s the perfect sweet surprise inside!
I’d encourage you to try the regular version first though- I’m certain you’ll love them!
After that experiment with add ins if you’d like!
One last note before baking…
No two donut batches will be alike. Since we reduce the apple cider in the beginning, we don’t always yield the same amount or results.
Different ciders leave behind different consistencies or water/apple content. You might find sometimes you get extra fluffy donuts, and other times not so much.
Don’t worry though- the taste is always amazing! Close your eyes and envision yourself in an orchard enjoying freshly fried Apple Cider donuts.
Hope you enjoy these! If you make these, please leave a comment below or go ahead and send me a photo. I’d love to see.
You can also follow me and tag me on Instagram. I’d love to share your pictures there!
Small Batch Apple Cider Donuts
For the donuts:
- 1 cup of apple cider
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 tbsp butter melted
- Reduce the apple cider. Add the cup of apple cider to a small pot and simmer over low heat until reduced to 1/3 cup. Check it at 10 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that until you're left with the desired amount. Set aside and let it cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat your oven to 350degrees F. Grease a donut pan and set aside.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk and vanilla until combined. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk. Then add in the apple cider and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Spoon or pipe into prepared donut pan. Fill only about halfway because they really pop up and grow!
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. The tops will be lightly browned and when you poke one, it'll bounce back up. Grease the pan again and bake that last donut!
- Allow the donuts to cool in the pan for a minute or two and then flip on a wire rack to cool. While they are cooling, prepare the topping.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a shallow dish.
- Once the donuts are cool enough to touch, brush them with the melted butter and then either sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top or dunk them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Make sure to coat both sides and then either let them fully cool or enjoy warm!
- Use a large Ziploc bag to pipe the batter into the donut pan. Pour batter into a Ziplock bag, cut the tip off and squeeze the batter out.
- If the donuts grow too much and the hole in the center gets covered, simply cut out that little section with a small serrated knife. The cinnamon sugar coating will cover any imperfections.
- Store donuts in an airtight container for 2 days room temperature or up to 5 days in the fridge.
If you’re looking for more fall recipes, here are some more favorites!