There’s nothing better than warm, cakey, homemade apple cider donuts. This recipe is gluten-free, oven-baked, and super fluffy. No deep frying or oil is needed for this delicious Fall treat!
The fluffiest baked apple cider donuts
Fall is my favorite season! I love the cold weather, apple pie, pumpkin cookies, and cozy soups. But let’s be honest, there is nothing that screams fall more than apple cider donuts! That is why I am so excited to share this super easy and insanely delicious gluten-free baked apple cider donuts recipe with you.
These apple cider donuts are cakey, fluffy, soft, and airy. But don’t worry, they are baked and not fried! You don’t need any oil for this recipe, making them a healthier alternative to deep-fried donuts.
These donuts are spiced with apple cider, cinnamon sugar, and apple spice. They are cozy, yummy, and the ideal Fall treat! The best part is that you will be in and out of the kitchen in under 30 minutes, and any level baker can make these donuts.
These donuts remind me of going apple picking in the fall because every time we left, we would buy a dozen apple cider donuts for the road! As you can already tell, I am obsessed with this recipe. I simply love enjoying a donut or two on the couch with some warm apple cider. They make for the perfect sweet breakfast, snack, and dessert.
Why you’ll love this gluten-free recipe:
- Gluten-free apple cider donuts are cakey, fluffy, and super flavorful.
- They are warm, sweet, and have a moist crumb.
- You can’t tell these apple cider donuts are gluten-free.
- No electric mixer, rolling pin, or donut cutter is required for this easy recipe.
- They are ready in under 30 minutes.
- Made with simple baking ingredients.
- Any level baker can make these easy donuts.
- Taste better than the apple cider donuts you buy at an apple orchard!
- The perfect Fall dessert, snack, or breakfast.
- Less oil than other recipes.
- Try this delicious gluten free apple cake for another delicious Fall recipe!
The taste and texture
These gluten-free apple cider donuts are sweet, coated in apple cinnamon sugar, and warmly spiced. They are buttery, cozy, and taste like apple cider. The primary flavors come from apple cider and ground cinnamon.
Once baked, these donuts are super fluffy, soft, and airy. These apple cider donuts have a moist crumb and cake-like texture since they are baked and not deep-fried! Honestly, each bite melts in your mouth.
These homemade cakey apple cider donuts call for very basic ingredients. You need flour, apple cider, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a few other pantry staples. Trust me when I say these are the BEST apple cider donuts you’ll ever eat. Here is a list of everything you need so you are prepared:
- Apple Cider: I love apple cider. We use apple cider instead of milk to create a deep apple cider flavor. It also makes these donuts cakey.
- Flour: I used gluten-free 1:1 baking flour. You can also use regular all-purpose flour.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder: You need both to make these baked donuts airy, cakey, and fluffy.
- Spices: You need ground cinnamon and apple pie spice to flavor these donuts. Read the notes in the recipe card or below in this blog post on how to make your own apple pie spice.
- Butter: To ensure moist and cakey donuts. I love buttery soft donuts!
- Egg: To help hold the donuts together as they bake.
- Sugar: You need both dark brown sugar and granulated white sugar for this apple cider donuts recipe. Both are used to sweeten the donuts and give them a denser, caky texture.
- Vanilla Extract: For flavor!
Kitchen tools required
Baked apple cider donuts are very easy to make. You don’t need an electric mixer! Here is a list of kitchen utensils you will need so you are prepared:
- Two 6-Cavity Donut Pans
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Measuring Tools: 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 Tablespoon, 1 Tablespoon, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make the baked gluten free apple cider donuts
These homemade baked gluten-free apple cider donuts take under 30 minutes to make! They come together in six simple steps, but let’s walk through the process together. Here are step-by-step directions with pictures for visual reference:
First, simmer the apple cider for 10 – 15 minutes until it reduces to about half. Let it cool for 10 minutes, so it reaches room temperature. For the best-tasting apple cider donuts, don’t skip this step – it seriously makes the flavor of these donuts so much better!
Then, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan well and set it to the side.
Whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Don’t add the apple cider just yet!
Then, add the flour to the wet ingredients in 2 different increments switching off with the apple cider. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and make sure all flour is combined; there shouldn’t be any flour lumps.
Now, put all the batter in a large ziplock bag or piping bag. Cut the end & fill your donut tins about ¾ way.
Finally, bake for 10 minutes until golden and the donuts have puffed up. Remove from the oven and toss/dust with cinnamon sugar immediately. I like to put it on a sheet tray, pull the donuts out of the oven with oven mitts, dump them into the sugar, and shake it around that way.
If the sugar doesn’t stick or you want to wait until they cool, you can brush a light wash of butter on the donuts first before tossing in the cinnamon sugar.
Serve warm for the best, cakiest, and airiest texture. Enjoy!
Expert baking tips for baked apple cider donuts
Simmer your apple cider. This step might seem silly, but trust me, it makes a world of difference! Simmering the apple cider down to a concentrate makes the apple cider flavor in these donuts extra intense and strong. Don’t skip this step!
Pipe the filling into the donut pan. This ensures that these apple cider donuts are airy and hold that perfect donut shape, so they don’t have a flat top.
Don’t overbake the donuts. These gluten-free apple cider donuts only take 10 minutes to bake. Keep an eye on the clock and oven because overbaked donuts will be dry!
Coat in cinnamon sugar while the donuts are still hot. I recommend putting your cinnamon sugar on a sheet tray, so when you pull the donuts out of the oven, you can just dump them into the sugar and shake it around that way. This ensures the donuts are fully coated!
Easily make your own apple pie spice. This recipe calls for apple pie spice which is basically just a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and all-spice. Read the next section for a simple recipe.
Use either regular flour or gluten-free 1-to-1 flour. Do not use an alternative flour like almond, oat, or coconut flour – they are not the same!
Enjoy warm! These donuts are best enjoyed warm. They are fluffy, cakey, and moist.
How to make your own apple pie spice:
Apple pie spice is super easy to make at home. Here is my recipe; just make sure to measure out the correct amount called for in this recipe:
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Ingredient substitution recommendations
I love this recipe as is, but if you are out of an ingredient or two, here is a list of the best substitutes. I only recommend making one or two swaps so the original recipe doesn’t change too much!
- Butter: You can substitute with melted dairy-free, vegan butter or melted coconut oil.
- Dark Brown Sugar: You can use coconut sugar or light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar.
- Gluten-Free Flour: You can use regular all-purpose flour if you are not gluten-free. Do not use almond flour, oat flour, or coconut flour.
- Apple Pie Spice: Make your own apple spice with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I wrote out the recipe in the notes on the recipe card below.
What to do if you don’t have a donut pan:
You can still make these delicious gluten-free apple cider donuts even if you don’t have a donut pan! You can use a muffin tin. Here are easy instructions:
- Grease a muffin tin well
- Pipe your donut batter into each cavity about 1/2 to 2/3 full
- Bake for 10 minutes until puffed up and golden
- Follow the exact instructions in the recipe card below on how to coat the donuts in cinnamon sugar
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to reduce the apple cider?
Simmering and reducing your apple cider ensures a strong apple cider flavor in the donuts. Trust me, don’t skip this step!
Are they cakey?
Yes, these donuts are baked, so they are soft and cakey.
Can I use regular all-purpose flour?
Yes! You can use regular all-purpose flour for these apple cider donuts if you are not gluten-free.
What’s the best substitute for dark brown sugar?
You can use coconut sugar instead of dark brown sugar in this recipe. You can also use light brown sugar.
Can I make these apple cider donuts dairy free?
Easily make these gluten-free apple cider donuts dairy free too. Simply substitute the melted butter with melted vegan butter or melted coconut oil.
How long do apple cider donuts last?
Apple cider donuts last about 3 days if stored properly at room temperature in an airtight container or 5 days in the fridge. If you leave them uncovered, they will get stale.
How to store leftovers:
Storing: Donuts are best served warm immediately after baked. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container or bag at room temperature for 2 – 3 days or in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days.
Freezing: You can also freeze apple cider donuts for up to 2 months in an airtight, freezer-safe bag. Simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and warm them up to your liking in the microwave.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- Healthy Apple Crumble
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
- Gluten Free Banana Cake
- Air Fryer Apples
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Cider Donuts:
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp apple pie spice, *notes below on how to make your own
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tbsp apple pie spice, *notes below on how to make your own
- Simmer the apple cider for 10 – 15 minutes until it reduces to about half (¾ cup). Let it cool for 10 minutes. Don’t skip this step because it makes the flavor of these donuts so much better!
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 6-cavity donut pans well and set them to the side.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Don’t add the apple cider.
- In another bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and apple pie spice. Make sure there are no clumps.
- Add the flour to wet ingredients in 2 different increments switching off with the apple cider. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and make sure all flour is combined, there shouldn’t be any flour lumps.
- Put all the batter in a large ziploc bag or piping bag. Cut the end & fill your donut tins about ¾ way.
- Bake for 10 minutes until golden and the donuts have puffed up. Remove from the oven and toss/dust with cinnamon sugar immediately. I like to put the cinnamon sugar on a sheet tray, pull the donuts out of the oven with oven mitts and just dump them into the sugar and shake it around that way. If the sugar doesn’t stick or you want to wait until they cool, you can brush a light wash of butter on the donuts first before tossing in the cinnamon sugar.
- Serve warm for the best, cakiest, and airiest texture. Enjoy!
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