Homemade baked apple cider donuts with apple butter glaze are moist and rich with apple flavor. The smooth apple butter glaze enriches the apple flavor for a new take on a classic fall treat. Quick and easy, these will become your new fall favorite.
After a fall farmer’s market trip, I brought home some apple butter and apple cider! I wanted to bake something with both and thought of apple cider donuts. The addition of the apple butter to the batter and the glaze have put these donuts over the top! The flavors encompass everything fall is to me: cooler weather, leaves falling, pumpkin picking, a warm cup of apple cider, and a cozy sweater.
What is Apple Butter?
Apple butter does not have any dairy milk butter in it. It is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce. It is produced by cooking apples with cider or water until they break down and the sugars become concentrated. Apple butter provides a pure apple flavor with warm spices. Rich, silky and sweet, apple butter is essentially autumn in a jar. You can usually find it at your local farmers’ market or in the supermarket. If you happen to live close to me in Central Pennsylvania, I buy mine at Mt. Airy Orchards.
Tell me why I will LOVE these apple cider donuts!
Okay let me tell you the ways: here you go.
- Simple: A simple mix of wet and dry ingredients makes these so easy to prepare. No mixer or waiting for the dough to rise.
- Texture: They are moist with a tender crumb topped with an ooey-gooey glaze.
- Flavor: The apple butter in the donuts and glaze enhances the apple flavor along with warm fall spices.
- Time: Donuts in about 25 minutes from start to finish. So many recipes make you boil down the apple cider, I say leave it alone and add it straight up.
- Baked, not fried: Frying food is messy! These bake up beautifully and easy in the oven.
Key Ingredients & Why They Work
- All-purpose Flour: I use Gold Medal all-purpose flour because it has a blend of red and white wheat that provides a well-balanced mix of protein and starches.
- Brown Sugar: I used dark brown sugar for added flavor as dark brown sugar has a higher rate of molasses compared to light brown sugar. They are interchangeable so you can use light if that is what you have on hand.
- Egg: This recipe used to call for 1 egg. I forgot to add to my picture above. Oops. Eggs add moisture and structure to baking.
- Apple Butter: If your apple butter is really thick or cold you may want to put it in the microwave and zap it for about 30 seconds to thin it out. This will make it easier to mix.
- Nutmeg: I use freshly ground nutmeg. I buy whole nutmeg and use a microplane to grind it myself. Fresh nutmeg is more flavorful and aromatic than the commercial variety. Once you grind nutmeg it begins to lose its oil content and much of its flavor. To get the most flavor out of nutmeg grind it yourself.
- Apple Cider: The apple cider helps pump up the apple flavor and adds moisture. Do not substitute apple juice here. This is NOT apple cider vinegar. It is usually sold in the produce section of the grocery store.
For the apple cider glaze, you will need, unsalted butter, apple butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and apple cider. See the instructions in the recipe card below. I also included the traditional cinnamon sugar topping instructions.
How to make Apple Cider Donuts
Bake and Glaze
I use these donut pans.
More Apple Recipes
Apple cider donuts with apple butter glaze
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 250 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ½ cup dark brown sugar (100 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ¾ cup apple cider (6.8 ounces)
- ¼ cup apple butter (2.8 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Apple Butter Glaze
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup apple butter (5 ounces)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (121 grams) sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt (half if using table salt)
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pans with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl until blended. Set aside.
- Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, apple cider, apple butter and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl until combined.
- Pour wet sugar mixture into the dry flour mixture. Whisk everything together until smooth and combined. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Fill the donut pan. Fill each donut cup about halfway. An easy way to transfer the batter is to use a large gallon-sized zipped-top bag. Add the batter to the bag, cut off a corner, and pipe it into the donut pan filling it about halfway.
- Bake at 350°F for 9-10 minutes. Once they are out of the oven, let them cool for 2 minutes, then invert the pan to release the donuts. You can then re-grease the donut pan and bake the remaining donut batter. If you have 2 donut pans, you can bake both trays at once.
- Glaze the donuts. Combine the melted butter, apple butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and one tablespoon of apple cider together until well combined. If the glaze is thick add the second tablespoon of apple cider and mix until combined. Once cool enough to handle, dunk one side of each donut in the glaze. Place them on a wire rack set on top of parchment paper to catch any drips.
Nutritional DisclaimerSass and Salt is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
If you make these baked apple cider donuts with apple butter glaze, be sure to leave a comment and review them here on the blog! I love hearing from you and this helps others find the recipe too!