Delight your family with baked applesauce donuts coated in crunchy cinnamon sugar! The easy apple donut recipe is a delicious fall treat and great for Thanksgiving brunch. Make a batch of these apple cinnamon donuts with just 7 ingredients in 30 minutes or less.
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Homemade apple cinnamon donuts
My warming apple donuts are loaded with applesauce and cinnamon for a delicious fall-flavored treat. They are soft and moist, super fluffy and perfectly spiced. Serve these applesauce donuts for parties, potlucks, and whenever you need a cozy and comforting treat.
I like homemade donuts, but I don’t always like dealing with deep frying and dropping things in hot oil. Baked donuts just seem like an easier and more relaxed approach to one of our favorite treats. And the best part is you can bake them up in under an hour!
Why this apple doughnut recipe works
As soon as fall rolls around, these deliciously moist apple donuts go on repeat in my kitchen. It’s an autumn favorite for so many reasons.
- No need to worry about deep frying and hot oil when you are making baked donuts.
- You can use store-bought applesauce or make your own applesauce from scratch!
- My recipe is sweet and simple, with just 7 ingredients that combine to make incredibly delicious apple doughnuts.
Applesauce donuts ingredients
This easy apple donut recipe comes together quickly with a handful of pantry staples and some applesauce. Check out the full list of ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below and get baking!
- Applesauce adds a delicious apple aroma and keeps these baked applesauce donuts soft and perfectly moist. I used homemade applesauce, but store-bought is fine too if you don’t have the time to make your own.
- Brown sugar deepens the flavor and adds a note of molasses and caramel that your sweet tooth will love. You can use both dark brown sugar or light brown sugar.
- Cinnamon: Apple donuts are the ultimate fall treat, thanks to warming cinnamon. You can sub it for apple pie spice, a cozy combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Butter adds richness and flavor, keeping the texture extra succulent. I used salted butter, but unsalted butter + 1/8 tsp salt will work, too.
- Egg: 1 egg binds the ingredients together and gives the apple cinnamon donuts structure.
- Flour: All-purpose flour provides the baked apple donut recipe a soft and fluffy crumb.
- Baking powder gives our apple cake donuts a rise and light texture. I don’t recommend using baking soda.
Along with these ingredients, you also need granulated sugar, extra cinnamon, and melted butter to coat the donuts. I used homemade cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar topping is optional, you may skip it if preferred.
- Mixing bowl and hand mixer to prepare the donut batter.
- Donut pan: Baked apple donuts don’t require deep frying, but you’ll need a nonstick donut pan. This pan is a great investment and comes in handy for any baked donut recipe.
- Pastry bag fitted with a large round piping tip to pipe the batter into the pan. For a makeshift piping bag, fill the batter into a ziplock bag and cut off a corner.
How to make baked applesauce donuts
Step 1: Prep
- Preheat the oven to 325° F / 160°C / gas mark 3.
- Grease the molds of a 12-hole doughnut pan with butter or cooking spray and generously dust the tray with flour.
Step 2: Mix the wet ingredients
- Cream the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon or apple pie spice in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and doubled in volume.
- Add the egg and applesauce and mix until blended. Occasionally, scraped down the sides of the bowl.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients
- Using a spatula or large spoon, stir the flour and baking powder into the batter until just combined. I recommend doing this step by hand to ensure the donuts bake light and fluffy.
Tip: If you like add-ins, you can add raisins or finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter at this point.
Step 4: Fill the donut pan
- Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large, round piping nozzle. The easiest way to do this is by folding the top edges of the bag over a mug or jar.
- Fill each mold 2/3 with batter.
Step 5: Bake
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes, until a cake tester or skewer inserted in the middle of a donut comes out clean.
- Let cool slightly on a wire rack.
Step 6: Coat the donuts
- Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a medium, shallow bowl. Brush each donut with melted butter and then dip in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Tips for the best baked apple donuts
- Work with room temperature ingredients. Room temperature butter, egg, and applesauce are key to light and fluffy donuts. To soften the butter, put it on the counter 15 to 20 minutes before you start baking.
- Use the spoon and level method for measuring the flour. Too much flour will result in dense, flat donuts.
- Don’t overmix the batter to avoid a though and dense texture. I cream the butter and sugar with my electric mixer but stir in the flour by hand to not accidentally activate too much gluten.
- Prep your donut pan. The best apple donuts start with a well-prepared pan because there’s nothing worse than stuck-on doughnuts. For the best results, grease your pan generously with butter and sprinkle with flour. Then turn the pan upside down and knock a few times on its back to remove any excess flour. I do this step over the sink, so the flour doesn’t get everywhere.
- Fill the pan 2/3 full. The batter will overflow and the donuts won’t have holes in the center if you overfill the cavities of your pan.
How to store apple donuts
Store leftover apple doughnuts tightly wrapped in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend refrigerating as this will make them dry and tough.
Can you freeze apple sauce doughnuts?
Yes, you can freeze this baked applesauce donuts recipe. For the best results, wrap each donut tightly in plastic wrap/cling film and place them in a large, freezer-safe bag or food container. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Let defrost at room temperature. Optionally pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm them up.
Sweet apple donuts FAQ
How many donuts does the recipe yield?
This apple cinnamon donuts recipe makes 14 to 18 doughnuts.
Can I glaze these applesauce donuts?
Absolutely! For a quick cinnamon glaze, try this simple recipe:
- Place 3 cups / 360 g / 12.7 oz powdered (confectioners’/icing) sugar into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 2.7 fl oz boiling water
- Whisk together until well combined.
- Dip one or both sides of each donut in the glaze.
- Set on a wire rack and allow the glaze to set for 20 minutes.
Can I add nuts or raisins?
Of course! Feel free to add 1/2 cup mix-ins like chopped nuts (e.g., walnuts or pecans), raisins, or dried cranberries.
Can I substitute applesauce with another fruit puree?
Sure! Pear puree and pumpkin puree make tasty substitutes for applesauce.
Can I make gluten-free applesauce donuts?
Why are my donuts dry?
I can think of 2 reasons why your apple donut recipe tastes dry. First, check that you measured the flour correctly. Too much flour absorbs all the moisture and dries out the texture. Second, watch the baking time and be sure not to overbake the donuts. These applesauce donuts bake quickly.
Can I turn this recipe into muffins?
Yes, you can transform the recipe into applesauce muffins. Simply fill the batter into a lined muffin pan and bake at 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 for 12 to 15 minutes. Dunk the tops in melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix.