Fluffy and fruity with all the fall feels – these Baked Apple Cider Donuts are just the cozy thing. Made with oat or almond flour and a delicious dusting of cinnamon sugar!
Comin’ atcha the day before Halloween with something very not candy corn. Not pumpkin shaped. Not chocolate coated or fun-sized. Muffins with a hole poked out of the middle are sounding almost sophisticated now, huh?
In essence that’s all a baked donut really is, a muffin minus the center. But in reality – soft sweet ring of scrumptious reality – they are so much more. More fun. More dessert. More glaze-able or sugar coat-able. More make you smile and reach for seconds 11 times out of 10.
I’m not going to tell you that donuts > candy. That would be a very tough sell considering the current state of the food internet and how good THESE are. But I may show you a few kinda really irresistible donut closeups that say it for me.
Irresistible donut closeup number 1:
So I didn’t know apple cider donuts were a thing. I mean there really are no limits to what can be a donut thing, but apple cider is apparently a classic flavor that people seek out. Like if you type “apple cider” into google “…donuts” is the third suggestion that pops up right after “…vinegar” and “…sangria”.
I blame my ignorance on birthplace since I do believe they are of New England origin, but it’s never to late to try a new donut. Even if Florida may not be the mecca of apple cider mills, Trader Joe’s honeycrisp cider and BYODP (DP = donut pan) and we’re in business.
I don’t know why cider and not juice. I don’t know if what I used was actually cider or juice pretending (honestly either will work). But these Baked Apple Cider Donuts are delightful and have been filing my kitchen with all the fruity fluffy fall feels for the past few days and I don’t ever want it to end. Ever. Endless apple cider donuts plz.
I do not regret a drop of apple cider or speck of almond flour it took to get these deliciously spiced donuts just right. But there were a LOT of drops and specks involved. It wasn’t the ingredients so much as the baking logistics. See the donut pan loved them soooooo much it didn’t want to let them go. Even if I let them cool completely. Even if I generously sprayed with coconut oil. Even if I told the pan if it cooperated I’d give it a cookie. I know, I know – bribery is not the answer.
But here’s the nonsensical thing: the oat flour version DOESN’T STICK. It’s just the almond flour version that only comes out in crumbles. Why? No clue. Logically one would think almond flour = higher fat = less sticking. Not true friends, not true.
So here are your tried and tested options:
- Almond flour in a silicone donut pan
- Oat flour in silicone donut pan
- Almond flour in a mini muffin pan with liners (like donut holes!)
- Oat flour in a metal donut pan
Whether you choose to use almond or oat flour, I suggest spraying or coating the pan with coconut oil just to be safe. The oat flour version has a chewier almost gluten-like texture, while the almond flour version is more delicate and cake-like. Both are incredibly moist and tender courtesy of Medjool dates and almond butter. I love them equally and in a side-by-side would choose solely based on which one is wearing the most cinnamon sugar.
(BTW the minis in these photos are the almond flour and the full size are oat.)
The cinnamon sugar is optional (but totally and completely necessary because cinnamon + sugar ♡). Organic cane sugar mixed with a teaspoon or so of cinnamon works best. Coconut sugar is not the best choice here unless you plan to eat them immediately as it begins to dissolve into the donuts within minutes.
A quick note! I’ve been getting a handful of messages recently about almond flour baked things coming out mushy or not cooking through completely. This is almost always due to the batter being too moist, a.k.a. not enough flour. When measuring almond flour you do want to pack it in the cup a little bit, or better yet go by the weight measurement just to be safe. With these donuts and almost every other almond flour recipe I’ve posted, the batter should be quite thick. If you can pour it as opposed to scoop it into the pan then that’s a problem and you need more flour.
You deserve better than a plastic-wrapped chocolate peanut butter pumpkin. You deserve a damn donut with all the cinnamon sugar as your heart desires. Donut let anyone tell you otherwise.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 donuts 1x
Fluffy and fruity with all the fall feels – these Baked Apple Cider Donuts are just the cozy thing. Made with oat or almond flour and a delicious dusting of cinnamon sugar!
- 1 cup (240g) apple cider (NOT apple cider vinegar)
- 10–12 pitted medjool dates (200g)
- 1/4 cup (70g) nut/seed butter*
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cups (125g) oat flour**
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch***
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add the dates, apple cider, and nut butter to a high speed blender. Blend on high until smooth.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend to combine, being careful to not over blend. The batter should be quite thick and barely able to blend, if not add 1/4 cup more flour.
- Thoroughly spray/coat a donut pan with coconut oil. Spoon the batter into the pan filling each donut cavity to the top. (See post above for pan recommendations/options).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350F. Or if making mini donuts, 15-20 minutes.
- Remove form the oven and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before carefully removing from the pan.
- Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Dunk each donut into the cinnamon sugar to coat. It sticks best while they are still warm, otherwise a light spray of coconut oil will help it stick.
- Enjoy! Keep in the fridge and coat with cinnamon sugar just before serving.
*You can skip this, but the texture and moisture will not be as nice.
**For the grain-free option, replace the oat flour with 1 1/2 cups (180g) almond flour. If not measuring by weight, be sure to pack the cup measure.
***You can skip this for the oat flour option although they may be slightly gummier. I do not recommend skipping for the almond flour version, but you can sub with arrowroot or cornstarch.
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These apple cider donuts look so delicious and I really, really adore your photography, the close-ups are out of this world. I love that you tried out both versions (oat flour and almond flour), do you have a favorite? Happy Halloween 🙂
It’s so so hard to chooooooose!!🙈 If i had to pick probably the almond flour ones, but almond flour is just my jam lately so I may be biased. And thanks Ela, hope you had a lovely halloween too!
The Vegan 8 says
Love apple cider anything and agree, it is so much like apple juice in flavor, it’s funny that the name is different! But the filtering process is different, sooo. I couldn’t care less though, just give me anything apple! Apples, apple juice, apple crisp, I don’t discriminate. And a lovely sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon on top is always a good idea. Such a healthy treat too. They look so dense and hearty thanks to those lovely dates. A donut guilt-free! Love seeing you use almond flour so much now in your baking! Hmm, that’s odd about them not wanting to release from the pan though, lol! Never had that happen. Maybe your donuts just loved that nice warm pan too much, it couldn’t let go, hahaha!
Lol I know right, cider…juice…who cares just gimme the donuts! I know there is a technical difference and some people would probably cry hearing me say that, but as long as it’s apple I don’t care either. Right?! Idk what’s up with the “nonstick” pan issue, I’ve never had that issue with oat flour ones. But actually making almond flour vs oat flour pancakes recently I found the almond ones to stick a lot more easily too. I just hate the look of silicone pans in videos, but they are a nice insurance policy for actually being able to eat your donuts in once piece. Ha yes your explanation is it for sure 😀
Can I use spelt?
Havne’t tried it, but it should be fine. I would follow the oat flour amount in that case and add more only if the batter seems too thin, it should be quite thick. Hope they turn out well!
Alison @foodbymars says
Welp, to no one’s surprise… you’ve done it again. You are literally a wizard with dates and a blender… LOL I propose you rename your blog to “Blender-Date Wizard” (I know, I know… I should consult). These just came out of my oven, and they’re incredibly soft, springy, cake-like and delicious. I’ve had my eye on these since I first saw the Insta-Video and I happened to notice I was coming up on my apple cider expiration date so boy did I use that as an excuse!!
THEY’RE INCREDIBLE. Thank you, MAMA!! XO
Omg YOU MADE THEM!!! You are the best Alison, I am so so happy you liked them! Can’t let good stuff like apple cider go to waste now, and drinking it is not half as fun🤗 Bahaha that would be such an accurate name though and somehow I bet the url is still available😂 Thank you for the amazing feedback and I wish you a lovely evening❤️❤️
Would light buckwheat flour work in this recipe?
I haven’t tried it but I do think so, yes! I would follow the oat flour instructions. Hope they turn out delicious 🙂
This recipe looks incredible! I noticed you use a lot of Medjool Dates to add sweetness. Would you recommend using Maple Syrup or Coconut Sugar as a substitute and if so, how much? I don’t always have dates handy but definitely want to give this a go
Dates add a lot more bulk and moisture than maple syrup or coconut sugar so they aren’t a 1-for-1 swap unfortunately. You would usually need to add something of a similar consistency to date paste like applesauce or pumpkin too to make up for it in addition to the sweetener, but that then throws off the moisture balance of the recipe and so it will always require some experimenting and maybe more flour then to swap one for the other. Sorry! I will keep that in mind though and try to include more recipes without dates too.
Delicious! It’s difficult to find tasty vegan and refined sugar free desserts and these donuts exceeded my expectations. Thank you! I omitted the sugar and used sunflower seed butter and oat flour so my friends with nut allergies could enjoy these.
Sarah, I am so happy to hear you liked these! And great to know they worked with sunflower seed butter too for a nut-free option. I know what you mean–I try to use dates as much as possible to broaden the world of refined sugar-free treats, so hopefully this isn’t the last one you try 🙂
I was just curious what the purpose is for the tapioca starch. Does it help things become less gummy?
Kinda the opposite actually–it helps bind as almond flour by itself is quite crumbly, moist/oily but crumbly. Too much tapioca starch can actually make things gummy, so it’s a balance to find the right amount. But in the correct proportions the texture with this combo is awesome!
Albert Bevia says
This is such a creative recipe, loaded with so many great flavors and healthy at the same time!! I have to make these for my wife, she will absolutely love them!
Thanks Albert, I absolutely agree the spices and fruitiness all meshes so well 🙂 I hope she loves them (and you do too!)
I tried this receipe in cupcakes format (as I don´t have donut pan) and it was perfect!!!! What a good combination of flavors! And the texture was wonderful also! Thank you very much for the amazing receipes!! Hmmmm now excuse me that I´m going to have coffe with this delicious =)
Woohoo!! I am really happy they turned out so well for you. Mmmm yes, one of my all time favorite flavor combos too–just meant to be together 🙂 Thanks for the feedback and enjoy the rest, Wazinha!
I haven’t tested it, but yes that should be fine 🙂
With almond flour, can I sub applesauce for the nut butter?
You can try it, but that will throw off the texture and may make them too mushy. The nut butter is part of what gives them such a nice crumb 🙂
Yay a healthy recipe that doesn’t call for coconut! Was happy to also hear a nut free butter was used successfully. My daughter has nut allergies. Inclusive of coconut. Can’t wait to try this!
Aw yay, well I am so happy you found these and I hope both you and your daughter love them🤗
Can I made these with my food processor? I do not have a high speed blender.
I hope so!! They look awesome!!!
That will work too! It just may take a bit longer to blend the dates smooth and you may have a few little chunks of date left, but they will still be delish😊
Hi! With apple cider you mean apple cider vinegar? The one that goes on the salad? 😉 Thanks!
Nooooooo I mean like apple cider the drink–very different! I used the stuff from trader joes, but any kind will work or even apple juice if you can’t find it 🙂
I made these tonight. Absolutely amazing! Thank you for your hard work in creating them! The only thing I did differently was I used coconut sugar instead of cane sugar and it worked well! My husband and I both are thrilled! M
Woohoo!! I am so happy you both liked them, Melody🤗 Thank you for the lovely feedback, and happy baking!
Looks amazing!! Can you confirm me it’s apple cider vinegar you use in this recipe? Thank you!! Look forward to your reply so I can give it a try 🙂
No no, not the vinegar the beverage! This is the one I used: https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/3905 Or if you can’t find that you can use apple juice instead😊 Hope you love it!
Hi, we can’t find apple cider here I don’t even know what it is. So are you sure I can use the same amount in apple juice? Will be the same? Thanks
Yes apple juice will work, same amount 🙂
Hi there! 2 questions, can I use a loaf pan for this recipe as I don’t have a doughnut pan. And my dates are dry, can I soak them or something to bring them back to life? They were already dry when I opened the package! But I didn’t want to throw them out. Thank you!!!
Hi Vanessa! It depends on which version you are doing, oat or almond? I would not recommend the almond flour one in a loaf pan as it is very moist and won’t cook through properly. But the oat flour could work as a loaf, you’d need to bake it for quite a bit longer though (40-45 minutes probably). And yes, you can soak your dates first, but soak them in the apple cider already measure and then blend it all up so you aren’t adding extra liquid to the recipes. Hope that helps!
Perfect!!! Thank you so much!!!
Made the oat flour version today. I used a silicone muffin pan and made twelve. I called them donut muffins and my picky kids devoured them. Now I have to buy more dates. Thank you for a great recipe.
YAY!! I am so happy they were a hit all around🤗 Totally works as muffins too! Thanks for the feedback, Lauren!
Is it possible to make this recipe with all purpose flour instead of oat flour?
That will work, yes!
Holy CANNOLI these are incredible!!!! Made these in square baking tin (double batch) making these more of a cake and my GOODNESSSSSS they are SO MOIST (but held together beautifully). This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for this blog.
Woohoo!! I am so happy you liked them🤗🍎 Aw love that I could be a part of your thanksgiving gratitude list, and happy holidays to you!
I had to go to three grocery stores to find apple cider, nearly ran out of baking powder, cut myself on the lid of the cinnamon canister (a feat I didn’t know was possible), and my food processer threw up all over me while making these, but it was all worth it because these donuts are AMAZING. I used oat flour and tapioca starch, and the texture came out perfectly – moist but not gummy. Thank you so much for all of your fantastic recipes! You’ve introduced me to baking with oat flour and dates, and I’ve learned a lot of vegan baking tricks from reading your posts.
Nooooooooo! Omg what a hard time the donut making process gave you🙈😭 BUT. I am so so extra glad they turned out perfect🤗 You most definitely deserved perfect fluffy apple donuts after all that. Thank you for the wonderful feedback❤️
Éva (bitesofbaking) says
Hello there! It’s been a while, and made these beauties earlier and…. OMG!!!
I had been wanting apple cider donuts for some time, and was hesitating between classic ones and healthy ones, and decided to try yours first and… ayayay, there were unexpectedly AWESOME! I mean, I know you write great recipes but I didn’t think it would be BETTER than fatty/oily donuts! These ones were between fudgy and cakey and sygary and oh, so good. Enjoyed them under an apple tree, reading HP before going back to work on my computer x) thank you so much Natalie <3
Your description is making me want to make a batch RIGHT NOW😋😋 And what a beautiful moment of enjoyment too, that sounds absolutely idyllic! So so happy you chose these and always appreciate your feedback Eva💞
Annnnnnnnnnnd I forgot to rate them so here wo go 😀
Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve for this Autumn!
Hi Natalie… made these this morning they came out pretty good but still a bit “gummy” ( I used the oat flour). Sadly I can not use almond flour because of nut allergies in the house but wondering if you have had any luck with using all purpose or a Gluten Free 1:1 all purpose blend with these? And if so do I use the same amount? Additionally I want to say that one of my favorite things about this recipe is the no refined sugars in the actual donut… I am already thinking of how I can turn this into a chocolate donut replacing cider with coffee and adding in cocoa and a different flour option ( I hope). Any help/advice on the flour question would be much appreciated. Thank you
Hi Kelly! Bummer they were gummy, that can happen with oat flour quite easily especially in low fat recipes like this. An all purpose GF flour could definitely work here too. The brands vary a lot in results, but I have most experience with the Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 one so I’d recommend that here. Try starting with 1 cup and add the extra 1/4 only if the batter seems reeeeeeally liquidy. And omit the tapioca in that case! Keep me updated on how that turns out!
Re: a chocolate + coffee version. That sounds absolutely delicious!! Keep in mind apple cider is quite naturally sweet so that version might be slightly less sweet without it, but I personally think there are enough dates in there to still taste very yummy! If you add cocoa I’d recommend 1/3 cup and reduce the flour by that same amount. Cocoa powder actually usually really helps decrease gummy-ness so could turn out even better texture!
Thank you so much for your response and tips! Will keep you posted on all. Much appreciated.
can i exchange oat flour for gluten free all purpose flower???
Yes that will work, you can omit the tapioca starch in that case!