Growing up in western NC, we were surrounded by apple orchards and there was an "apple festival" every fall right near my house. I loved going to get fresh apples and homemade apple cider; it's the best! So to me, nothing says autumn has arrived quite like these brown butter apple cider donuts! Unlike my sourdough donuts, these cake donuts are baked in the oven and super easy to make!
Tips for Baked Donuts
I use this Nordic Ware donut pan* and a little bit of Bakers Joy pan spray* and the donuts slide out perfectly every time!! I also find it's easiest to fill the donut pan by using a piping bag with the tip cut off. However, you can just as easily spoon the batter into your donut pan.
I also make these donuts using an apple cider reduction instead of just plain apple cider. Reducing it down makes the flavor much more concentrated and extra delicious!
How to make brown butter
Browning the butter is optional but I highly recommend it! It adds that extra toasty flavor that compliments the apple cider and spices so well!!
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Once melted, stir frequently and watch closely for the formation of brown specs on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma.
- Once you see brown specs, stir for just a few more seconds (it browns super quickly).
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a different bowl to prevent it from burning.
- Let the butter cool slightly (5-10 minutes) before using.
More fall recipes
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Brown Butter Apple Cider Baked Donuts
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- ½ cup unsalted butter, browned
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups cake flour, substitute all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Make the apple cider reduction: In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the apple cider until it reduces down to ½ cup (be sure to stir occasionally). This usually takes about 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool slightly.
- Make the brown butter: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir frequently and watch closely for the formation of brown specs on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma. Once you see brown specs, stir for just a few more seconds (it browns super quickly). Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a different bowl to prevent it from burning. Let the brown butter cool slightly (5-10 minutes) before using.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the brown butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. Pour in half of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Then add in ½ cup of the apple cider reduction and the remaining dry ingredients Mix until fully combined and smooth.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag, then cut of the tip and pipe into the donut pan, filling about halfway. You can also just spoon the batter into the pan if desired.
- Bake at 350°F for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Invert the donut pan on a cooling rack, and the donuts should slide right out!
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. While the donuts are still warm, brush the donuts with the melted butter then toss in the cinnamon sugar.
- The donuts are best served warm! I like to reheat the leftovers in the microwave for about 15 seconds!
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