The perfect fall treat, these healthier baked apple cider donuts are made with whole wheat pastry flour, coconut sugar, Greek yogurt, and coconut oil.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of fall I immediately think of apple picking. It’s something Isaac and I enjoy doing every year around September. There are a couple of orchards relatively close to Richmond, but the one we usually go to is called Carter Mountain. It’s just outside of Charlottesville and they have the best apple cider donuts. They’re particularly delicious when you get them fresh and they’re still warm!
I decided to try my hand at making homemade baked donuts. And of course, in true EBF fashion, I worked to make them a bit healthier using real food ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour, applesauce, coconut sugar, coconut oil and Greek yogurt. A major upgrade from the traditional recipe that uses melted butter and brown sugar.
How to Make Donuts at Home
First things first, to make baked donuts you’re going to need a donut pan. Luckily, they’re really inexpensive! You can get a set of 2 non-stick, six cavity Wilton donut pans on Amazon for less than $15.
It can also be handy to have a large icing piping tip for adding the donut batter into the pan, but it’s not 100% necessary. You can always spoon the batter into the pan and then shake it to make sure the batter is even.
Once you have your materials, you’re ready to get started and to be honest, making baked donuts is really similar to making muffins.
Ingredients in Healthy Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Cider Donuts
unfiltered apple cider – no, I don’t mean ACV, I mean apple cider! I prefer getting mine from a local orchard but a lot of local grocery stores carry it as well.
unsweetened apple sauce – any kind works great and you can use cinnamon unsweetened apple sauce for more cinnamon flavor. I like to use my recipe for homemade applesauce.
egg – a binding ingredient, plus a little protein boost.
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
coconut oil – again, the perfect sub for butter. You can certainly butter if you prefer!
organic cane sugar – the sugar topping is what makes an apple cider donut so delicious!
cinnamon – adding cinnamon to the sugar topping makes these the ultimate fall treat.
Substitutions and Tips
yogurt – I’ve only tested this recipe with Greek yogurt, but you could try with your favorite non-dairy yogurt instead to make these dairy-free or vegan. Others have tried it and said it worked great! I love Culina coconut yogurt.
eggs – I haven’t tried this recipe with flaxseed eggs, but it could work well as a replacement binding ingredient to make these egg-free or vegan. Let me know if you try it! To make a flaxseed egg, mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 Tablespoons of water and let sit for a few minutes to create a gel-like consistency.
sugar – This recipe calls for coconut sugar for the donuts, and regular cane sugar for the sugar coating. You could certainly use coconut sugar for the sugar coating as well!
whole wheat pastry flour – You can always just use all-purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand! You can also sub in 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour to make these donuts gluten-free. I always recommend Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF baking blend.
donut pan – If you don’t have a donut pan, you can try making muffins instead! Someone else tried this and said they turned out perfectly. You’ll just need to double the cook time.
How to Make Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Prep – Preheat your oven to 350°F. Then, prepare your two (6-cavity) donut pans by spraying with cooking spray.
Combine ingredients – Mix your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt) together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (the apple cider, apple sauce, sugar, yogurt, oil, and egg) until combined. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until everything is mixed together.
Pipe batter – Pipe or spoon the batter evenly into the 12 cavities.
Bake – Bake in a preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While baking, mix together ingredients for your cinnamon sugar topping.
Cool and coat – When finished baking, let donuts cool for about 2 minutes in the pan before inverting the donuts onto a wire rack too continue cooling. Brush each donut with coconut oil on both sides and dip into a cinnamon sugar topping to coat.
Storing and Reheating Donuts
They’re best served fresh, but you can store leftovers in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. I like to reheat them in the toaster oven so they get nice and crispy!
In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir until combined.
In another medium bowl, whisk together apple cider, apple sauce, sugar, yogurt, oil and egg until combined.
Add wet mixture to flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
Spray two (6-cavity) donut pans with cooking spray. Spoon or pipe batter evenly into the 12 cavities.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until donuts spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan for 2 minutes. Invert donuts onto a wire rack.
While donuts are baking, mix together sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
Brush each donut with coconut oil on both sides and dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Repeat until all donuts are coated.
Best enjoyed immediately but can be stored in an air-tight container for 2-3 days and reheated in the microwave or toaster oven.
Yogurt – I’ve only tested this recipe with Greek yogurt, but you could try with your favorite non-dairy yogurt instead to make these dairy-free and/or vegan. Others have tried it and said it worked great!Eggs – I haven’t tried this recipe with a flaxseed egg, but it could work well as a replacement binding ingredient to make these egg-free and/or vegan.Sugar – This recipe calls for coconut sugar for the donuts, and regular cane sugar for the sugar coating. You could certainly use coconut sugar for the sugar coating as well!Whole wheat pastry flour – You can always just use all-purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand! You can also sub in 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour to make these donuts gluten-free.Donut Pan – If you don’t have a donut pan, you can try making muffins instead! Someone else tried this and said they turned out perfectly if you double the cook time.Recipe inspired and adapted from Cooking Light.