Cool fall mornings were made for coffee and apple donuts. These Apple Cider Donut Holes are soft inside with a crunchy cinnamon and sugar coating. Be sure to make a few batches of this baked donut recipe because they disappear quickly!
I was dreaming of cooler days last week, so I bought some apples and apple cider and got to work in the kitchen giving these glazed cinnamon donuts a twist.
Our kids love the Munchkin’s from Dunkin Donuts, so I knew apple cider donut holes would be a hit! These mini donuts definitely stole our hearts this fall. They will be on repeat every week.
Why these are so delicious
It’s all about the apples. These balls of joy are loaded with applesauce, apple cider, and shredded apples. Combine that amazing apple flavor with the right spices, and you have a winner.
Making these apple donut holes is easy. With basic pantry ingredients and a few other things, you can whip them up in no time.
- Butter – We like to use unsalted butter in our baking, so we can control the salt.
- Brown Sugar – Sweetens the donuts.
- Sour Cream – Provides moisture and keeps baked goods soft.
- Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise give it a warm rich fall flavor.
- Applesauce – Adds more apple flavor to the batter.
- Apple Cider – Reduce the apple cider down to get the best flavor.
- Apples – Use a food processor to shred the apple slices into small pieces, so they bake into the donuts easier.
- Flour – All purpose flour is used in most of our recipes. Read our tutorial on how to measure flour, so your baked goods always turn out.
What apples can be used for baking?
The best apples for baking hold their shape in different baked goods. Some of our favorites that hold up to heat and that taste great are Gala, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn.
How to make Apple Cider Donut Holes
A batch of these baked donut holes can be ready to munch on in less than an hour. No frying required!
- Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy.
- Add the sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla and beat the mixture again.
- Stir together the dry ingredients and add them with the apple cider to the batter.
- Shred the apples in a food processor and stir into the batter gently.
- Spoon the batter into a mini muffin pan that was sprayed with nonstick spray. Do not fill them more than half full.
- Bake and cool for a few minutes in the pan; remove and let cool completely.
- Dip the donuts in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Let set.
How to Store
These baked donut holes are best served the day they are made. If you want to prepare them a day before, wait to roll them in the butter and cinnamon sugar. Do that just before you eat them for the best taste.
Keep the donuts in a loosely sealed container at room temperature for 1-2 days.
If you want to freeze the donuts, freeze them plain in a large ziplock bag for 1-2 months. Thaw and then roll in butter and cinnamon sugar before serving.
How are baked donuts different than fried donuts?
Now just in case you were wondering, baked donuts do not taste the same as fried doughnuts. But the melted butter and cinnamon sugar coating definitely add a sweet flavor that you will fall in love with.
Do I have to peel the apples first?
Not at all. You can shred the apple slices with the peels on them. Once they bake, you will not even know they are there.
Can I make these into mini donuts instead of donut holes?
Absolutely. Simply use a mini donut pan to bake these sweet little apple bites in.
What if I have extra apples?
If you have extra apples after baking mini apple donuts, go ahead and make these candy apple nachos for a fun after school snack! Your kids will go crazy for them!
More apple breakfast recipes
- Cinnamon Apple Baked Oatmeal
- Spiced Apple Waffles
- Apple Praline Donuts
- Caramel Apple Scones
- Homemade Apple Cider Donuts
- Toffee Apple Bread
- Apple Cranberry Coffee Cake recipe
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For the Donut Holes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 1 cup shredded apples
For the Cinnamon Sugar coating
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup cinnamon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a few mini muffin tins with non-stick baking spray.
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla and beat again.
- Stir together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the apple cider to the butter mixture.
- Stir in the shredded apples gently.
- Spoon the batter into 48 sprayed mini muffin cavities. Do not fill more than half full. Bake for 9-10 minutes.
- Remove and let cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Roll each donut hole in butter and then in the sugar mixture. Let set. Store in a sealed container.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and are not guaranteed to be accurate. If you need special diet advice, please see a registered dietician.
*The post for Apple Donut Holes was first published on October 17, 2016. The photos and post were updated and republished August 25, 2020.