Recipe : Baked Apple Donuts

I absolutely love this time of year!  The crisp chill in the air and leaves turning every shade of golden.  Apples and pumpkins are at their prime and ready for picking.  Now that we live in Florida…. most days are sunny, bright and about 85 degrees.  Warm skies and palm trees do not make for a typical fall.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not complaining about beautiful weather.  After spending several years in Illinois, I certainly do not miss the zero degree, grey-skied winters.  But I do miss sweaters and tall boots… the smell of leaves burning in the distance and the feeling of Autumn.

Last fall, we took advantage of our northern locale and hit the local orchard for some apple picking fun.  We came home with a bushel of fresh-from-the-tree apples and a box of freshly fried apple donuts.  Oh my goodness!  I’m not sure what was gone first.  Okay, truth be told…. we enjoyed apples for weeks but the donuts were gone fast!   This year, we can’t just gaunt over to the nearest apple orchard.  So I was thrilled to see the large displays of Honeycrisp Apples at the market.  Into my basket went many large, gorgeous apples with the intent of recreating those delicious apple donuts at home.  So that’s what I have for you today!  Baked and delicious.  Soft and tender on the inside with a serious cinnamon crunch on the outside.  Filled with cups of grated apple, cinnamon and nutmeg.  My recipe for Fresh Apple Donuts!

Baked Apple Donut Recipe  |

After several variations of less apple, more apple, apple juice, applesauce, apple chunks… frying verses baking… I finally narrowed it down to this.  A batter packed full of grated apple goodness with a serious cinnamon kick.  I see it this way.  If you’re going to the effort of making donuts at home, they should be noticeably different than something you can easily pick up at Dunkin.

My original plan for these donuts included a salted caramel glaze.  Which I still think would be absolutely incredible.  But somewhere along the way, I decided less was more.  I wanted this to be a recipe that you could easily make for breakfast.  Without waking up at 5am to get started.  So the end result is a recipe simple enough for your kids to help.  My two year old daughter assisted me from beginning to {almost} end.  Once the first batch came out of the oven, she was more interested in sampling than baking up the remaining batches.  But hey, can you blame her?

Baked Apple Donut Recipe  |

Funny thing about these apple donuts.  I’m not about to call them healthy because the words donut and healthy just aren’t meant to be together.  But, they are filled with a cup and a half of fresh apple (fiber and all) and unsweetened, natural apple sauce.  And they’re baked not fried.  So I guess if you stretch it… you might be able to say these are a little better than something you pick up at the store.  Can I call them healthy?  Probably not.  Can I call them delicious?  Absolutely!!

Baked Apple Donut Recipe  |

Baked Apple Donut Recipe  |


recipe by Carrie Sellman
(makes 20 to 22 donuts)


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1  1/2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, from jar
  • 1  1/2 cup fresh apple, peeled and grated

For the Coating:

  • unsweetened applesauce, from jar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg

STEP 1 :  Preheat oven to 375.

STEP 2 :  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

STEP 3 :  In another large bowl, stir together melted butter, eggs, sugar, buttermilk and applesauce.  Stir in fresh apple.

STEP 4 :  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Stir with wooden spoon.  Add another 1/3 of flour mixture and stir.  Add remaining flour and stir just until combined.

STEP 5 :  Spoon batter into a large ziplock bag.  Seal and snip the corner off one end.  Squeeze batter into the cavities of a donut pan sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Fill each cavity 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full {to help donuts keep their pretty shape when baking, use a clean finger to gently even out the batter in each cavity and clean off the center knob of the pan}. Bake at 375 for 12 to 14 minutes, until the tops of donuts spring back slightly when touched.  Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

STEP 6 :  For the outside coating, combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.  Brush each donut with a light coating of applesauce.  Then dip into cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.  Let cool completely before eating, if possible.  A second dip into the cinnamon sugar creates an extra crunchy coating.   Best enjoyed the same day!

Baked Apple Donut Recipe  |

Package donuts in individual brown paper bags for a special treat at your next picnic or football tailgate.  They’d be equally delicious served with a cup of hot coffee or a cold beer.  Surprise the kids with apple donuts this Halloween!  Or simply celebrate an ordinary Autumn morning at home with this fresh taste of fall.  Perhaps I’ll try a salted caramel version in the future.  But for now, I hope you enjoy these simply delicious Fresh Apple Donuts!

Carrie Sellman , Founder & Editor

Carrie Sellman is the Founder & Editor of The Cake Blog. Her work has been published in BRIDES Magazine, Country Living Magazine and featured online at People, Today, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Redbook, Real Simple, TLC, The Cooking Channel and more.


    • 2

      Carrie Sellman says

      Thanks Holly! This recipe makes 20 to 22 donuts. Thanks for asking, I forgot to include that in my write up!

      Hope you love if you give it a try!

  1. 5

    Cilla says

    Do you have any suggestions as to how to modify the baking time for this recipe if I use a mini or regular-sized muffin pan instead? I don’t own a donut pan but would love to try this recipe out!

    • 6

      Carrie Sellman says

      Cilla – I only tested this batter in donut pans but think it would work in a muffin pan as well. I’d do a little less time to start off if you’re using a mini muffin pan. And then check them out. If you’re using a regular muffin pan, they will take longer.

      If you try it out, be sure to let us know!

  2. 7


    Homemade donuts are on my Fall bucket list. These may have just jumped to the top of the list of possible recipes to make. Now to get myself a donut pan.

  3. 8

    Yuri says

    These look scrumptious!!and since they are “baked doughnuts” my waistline is gonna thank me?!
    Thanks for the recipe Carrie!
    In any case, it’s going on my “Cakes To Do List” :p

  4. 11

    Megan says

    I baked 50 of these today, some for Christmas morning with my family and some as a “dessert” for Christmas dinner with my husband’s family. I taste-tested two, and they were yummy!

    The most difficult part for me was putting applesauce on the donuts before dipping them in the cinnamon sugar. I used a silicon basting brush. Any other ideas that would work well?

    • 12

      Carrie Sellman says

      Happy to hear you gave them a try Megan! I used a silicon basting brush for the applesauce coating as well.

  5. 14

    Susan says

    I can not wait to try these….my kids have fall break coming up soon and i think this would be a great thing to try during their break. thanks for the recipe.

  6. 15


    I made these yesterday with great success! They are sooooo good! For just me, I made half the recipe and was able to control myself and not eat too many by freezing them after eating just one. I’ll have another today . . . maybe two. Thank you!

  7. 16

    Katie says

    These were delicious! I doubled the recipe because I had so many apples on hand. If I save some of the batter in the fridge so that I can make fresh donuts again later this week, do you think they will turn out just as good?

  8. 17

    Carabee says

    Followed the directions exactly and I found the dough to be extremely thick. There was certainly no piping it out into the pan. It was thick enough to form into shapes on a sheet. The result was tasty but more muffin like than donutty. The applesauce glaze and cinnamon/sugar were a must. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. 18


    These are OUT-OF-THIS-WOLRD delicious!

    I don’t own a donut pan (but I’m going to change that pronto) so I used the bag to deposit nice thick rings of batter onto a baking sheet. I ended up with what looks like half donuts. Not quite a visually stunning but they go down just as well.

    I’ll be writing up a glowing review along with my modifications on my blog.
    Keep on cooking!

  10. 19

    Stephanie Gildea says

    Looks like a great recipe! If I made the batter the night before and chilled it in the fridge overnight, do you think they would still come out okay?

  11. 20

    Penn Barry says

    I made these donuts today and my husband and I love them. I think i made them a bit bigger than I should have because I only got 16 out of the batter. I love the flavor of these donuts! I ate two right away along with my husband, lol. I am keeping out a couple for tomorrow but have already put the rest in the freezer before the whole batch disappears. I don’t want to hear my husband tomorrow after he weighs himself in the morning and say its my fault! Ha ha. Thanks again. I love your recipes!

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