Hard Apple Cider Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Donuts are a huge deal in our house. Mike’s dad is fondly remembered by everyone who knew him as a true donut lover. My dad returns from the beach each year bearing dozens of fresh Marvel’s donuts to share. They both passed their devotion to donuts along to us (and you’ll quickly learn this, as there will certainly be many more donuts featured at our Cider Table in the future). With June 1 being National Donut Day, we had to celebrate Cider Table style!

Homemade donuts can be messy and time-consuming, but a few years ago, I discovered the donut pan. This little beauty makes healthier donuts by baking them, not frying. It also cuts out a lot of the mess.

Cinnamon sugar donuts are one of my favorites and apples and cinnamon go so well together, so I thought making apple hard cider donuts with cinnamon sugar would be out of this world. They are. I love when I am right!

I recommend using a drier cider (the sugar in the batter and on top will provide the sweetness). Because we always have some around, I used Jack’s Original. To concentrate the apple flavor (and to make it kid friendly), reduce the cider down by about half. If you don’t want to use the hard stuff, you can substitute a non-alcoholic cider. I would not reduce it down, though. Just skip that step. I also use a mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose to make it healthier (shh…don’t tell Mike).

These come together quickly. The longest part of the process is reducing the cider. Even with that, these can be ready to serve within an hour, making a fast and easy breakfast treat. They pair nicely with a Cidermosa. Cheers!

Baked Hard Apple Cider Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Makes 6 regular donuts.

Serves 6 regular people. Or just Mike.

Donut Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 12 oz. can of hard cider

  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour

  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt

  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

  • ⅛ tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated, please)

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 2 tbsp. honey

  • 1 large egg

Cinnamon Sugar Topping Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. butter

  • ¼ cup hard apple cider

  • ⅓ cup turbinado sugar (can also use super fine or regular, but the turbinado adds a nice crunch)

  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a small pot, reduce the hard apple cider for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat. Do not let it boil.

  3. Turn off the heat and remove ¼ cup of the reduced cider (reserve for the topping). This should leave about ½ cup of cider in the pot. Add 3 tbsps. of butter and let melt in the hot cider. Swirling it around helps.

  4. While the butter melts and the mixture cools, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  5. Once the butter and cider mixture is slightly cooled (you don’t want to cook the egg), whisk in the sugar, honey, and egg until combined. Tip: Spray measuring spoon with cooking spray before measuring out honey for easy honey removal. I also mix this in a large Pyrex measuring cup to pour easily into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

  6. Stir together wet and dry ingredients until just combined.

  7. Spray your donut pan. I like to use Baker’s Joy baking spray.

  8. Add batter to piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe evenly into the pan. Don’t have a piping bag? You can use a gallon freezer bag with a corner cut off.

  9. Bake for a total of 8 minutes, turning halfway through. Allow to cool in pan for 1 minute before turning out onto a cooling rack.

  10. Make the topping while the donuts are baking. Melt the butter in a small pan and then add the reserved ¼ cup cider. In a flat-bottomed bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar.

  11. Quickly dip each donut in the butter mixture and lightly coat in the cinnamon sugar. Make sure to handle with care as the donuts are still warm and could break. Place back on the cooling rack. Tip: I put the cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with foil. Makes for easier clean up when some of the cinnamon sugar falls.

The donuts are best served warm, same day. If storing leftovers, lightly cover to prevent sogginess. Enjoy!