This Baked Apple Cider Donut Muffin Recipe is an easy and quick way to still enjoy the traditional fall favorite without the mess, hassle, and calories of frying.
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Fall is my absolute FAVORITE season. Cool, crisp air. Bright blue skies. Beautiful foliage. Cozy sweaters. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Apple picking. APPLE CIDER DONUTS.
For me, Apple Cider Donuts signify fall.
Thankfully, there is an easy and quick way to enjoy the same taste and experience at home in the form of…
Baked Apple Cider Donut Muffins
I would love to say that I originally intended to make apple cider donut muffins, but I didn’t. My goal was to bake apple cider donuts. Unfortunately, I don’t have a donut pan.
I’ve been wanting one for awhile. They just seem so expensive. You can definitely make this recipe in a donut pan though. This Wilton Non-Stick 20-Cavity Donut Baking Pan seems to be the best value that I’ve found so far. It won’t fit in my oven though. 😂
Soooo, I decided to bake my apple cider donuts in a mini angel food cake pan. This is how they came out:
They weren’t the best looking “donuts”, but omg, they tasted DELICIOUS.
They also reminded me of muffins. Moist, soft, tender muffins. So, I made the recipe again with a cupcake pan. Best decision ever.
For some reason, using a cupcake pan results in Apple Cider Donut Muffins that have a slightly crisp outside like traditional apple cider donuts.
You get to enjoy the fall classic with none of the mess, hassle, or calories of frying!! Or needing a donut pan!
I’m a huge fan of Wilton products for baking. I use this Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Muffin and Cupcake Pan. It has 12 cups, which is exactly what this recipe fills.
You could also use a mini-cupcake pan, like this Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Mini Muffin and Cupcake Pan. These apple cider donut muffins look like donut holes when made in a mini-cupcake pan.
The MOST Important Tip for Apple Cider Donut Muffins
REDUCE THE APPLE CIDER.
I admit I really, really did not want to do this. I hate extra steps. My recipes are usually very simple.
If you’re interested in more simple recipes, please check out the following:
Simple Banana Bread Recipe – Easy, Moist, & Delicious
Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Cookies
Easy, Delicious Almond Joy Cookies
BUT, to actually taste the apple cider in apple cider donut muffins, you need to reduce it.
This is easily done on the stove. You can even do it beforehand then store it in the fridge. You have to let it cool down before adding it to the batter anyway.
Reducing the cider results in a more potent flavor while removing excess liquid (the water evaporates).
To do this, pour the apple cider into a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat without a cover. Stir occasionally.
For this recipe, it took about 25 minutes to reduce 2 cups of apple cider into 1 cup.
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How to Add a Cinnamon Sugar Coating
One of the best parts of a traditional apple cider donut is the fun, messy cinnamon sugar coating. These apple cider donut muffins obviously needed it too!
I only added the cinnamon sugar mixture to the top of my muffins. You can do the entire muffin though. It’s super easy.
When the apple cider donut muffins are completely cool, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon then melt some butter. Brush the butter onto the muffin wherever you want the cinnamon sugar to stick. I use my finger to do this. Please don’t use your finger if the butter is crazy hot though. I don’t want anyone to get burned or singed or feel any discomfort in any way.
You could also use a brush to apply the butter. Dipping the muffin isn’t the best way. I tried this… it resulted in soggy muffins. 😂
After applying the melted butter, dip and roll the muffin in the cinnamon sugar mixture. You could also shake the mixture onto the muffin. I recommend doing this over another plate or bowl though.
Gluten-Free Baked Apple Cider Donut Muffins
This recipe can easily become gluten-free by using gluten-free flour, like King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, instead of all-purpose flour.
I did this for my first batch and they were just as AMAZING.
Just make sure that the gluten-free flour that you use already contains xanthan gum. It helps to hold gluten-free baked goods together.
For other delicious gluten-free recipes, please check out:
Easy, Chewy, and Soft Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
The BEST Gluten-Free Banana Bread Recipe
Delicious & Easy Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Ingredients for Baked Apple Cider Donut Muffins
For the Muffins:
2 cups Apple Cider (reduced for 25 minutes to make 1 cup)
1.5 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Almond flour*
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
*The almond flour contributes to the slightly crisp exterior that is similar to a traditional apple cider donut. If you do not have any, you can substitute it for more all-purpose flour. (No almond flour = use 2 cups of all-purpose flour)
How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donut Muffins
- Reduce the apple cider by simmering it on low heat in a small saucepan without a cover for about 25 minutes or until it measures to 1 cup. Let cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray the muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray, like Pam No-Stick Cooking Spray.
- Stir together the egg, vanilla extract, and cooled reduced apple cider. If the apple cider is too hot, it will cook the egg. It’s important to let it cool first.
- Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Mix until just combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon, but it’s easier with a scoop), divide the batter evenly into the cups of the prepared muffin pan.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool completely, preferably on a cooling rack. This Stainless Steel Baking Rack & Cooling Rack is heavy-duty and safe to use in the dishwasher and oven. You can cool baked goods on it without worrying it’ll tip over and you can cook meats on it for crispy perfection. I love multipurpose items!
- Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl.
- Brush each muffin with the melted butter then coat with the cinnamon sugar. I like to dip and roll my muffins in the mixture.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! I would love to hear what you think!