Baked Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

These moist, tender, better-for-you, baked donuts are loaded with triple apple flavor. Chucks of dried apple are simmered in apple juice until they’re plumb and juicy. Applesauce is also added to the batter to create another layer of appley deliciousness. 

I broke out my fun new donut pans to create a healthy and delicious donut for the new year. This recipe is inspired by the Applesauce Snack Cake recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, and the Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins I posted last year.

They were so moist I didn’t need to dip them in butter before coating them with cinnamon and sugar. (Be sure and dip them while they’re hot.) My guess is they would be even better/more moist the next day, but. I can’t tell you how they tasted cold, because we ate all 12 of them while they were still hot.

This donut has a muffin like texture and could easily be baked in a muffin tin. I loved the big chunks of tender apple in this donut.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Yield: 12 baked donuts

Baked Apple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts


  • 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 3/4 cup (2 ounces) dried apples, cut in to bite size pieces
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Topping
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


In a small saucepan, simmer the apple juice and dried apples over medium heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325º. Lightly grease two 6 count donut pans with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until well combined. Whisk in vegetable oil, applesauce and vanilla extract. Stir in cooled apple mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Divide batter evenly into 12 donut cups, filling each about 3/4 full. (Use a pastry bag or plastic bag with corner cut out to make filling the cups easier.)

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While donuts are baking, in a small bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon for topping.

When donuts are done, cool for a few minutes in the pan, remove from pan and dip donut top in cinnamon sugar mixture. Cool on a wire rack.

More baked donut recipes I’d love to try:

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple-Cinnamon Glaze, Taste and Tell
Mini Baked Lemon Donuts, My Baking Addiction
Baked Mini Cake Donuts, Bakers Royale
Baked Red Velvet Donuts, Taste and Tell
Baked Chocolate Doughnuts, Cooking on the Side

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    Leave a Comment:

  1. FS says

    I’m afraid these were a disappointment! They had an off, oil flavor that overwhelmed. Next time I’d definitely replace with butter, although I don’t think these are worth giving another try when so many other recipes are out there.

  2. megan says

    Is it possible to use just cut up pieces of apples instead of dried apples? I don’t have any on hand and I really want to make these!!!

    • says

      Hi Megan – yes you can substitute fresh apples, they just won’t absorb as much of the apple juice, so use less to begin with (I’d try 1/3 cup) and once the apples are tender, I would drain off any excess liquid before adding the apples to the batter. Or you could try grating the fresh apple and adding it without cooking. The short cook time is just not long enough to cook chunks of apple. Let me know how it goes :) Thanks!

  3. Dee says

    I’m in the middle of making these right now. I wish we could talk! 😀 I noticed there is baking soda, but no buttermilk and the flour is all purpose. This makes me nervous!

  4. Jennifer Allen says

    Hi Barbara! That picture looks AMAZING! I’m so excited to try these! Thank you!
    I did notice (since I’m doing these right now and I am a direction-follower) that a step seems to be missing – you don’t say when to add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon after you have set aside. Maybe it’s just me but I just wanted to let you know. Thanks for the recipe again!

  5. says

    These donuts are amazing and I’ve been inspired to feature them in my Friday Food Fetish roundup. And I’ll be sharing on Pinterest. Please let me know if you have any objections and KEEP IT COMING!

  6. Lenny says

    I really love the taste of cinnamon, it’s one of a kind. Any food that has flavor of it seems to be delicious for me. i love donuts, I’ll try to bake this weekend.

  7. says

    Made these once as fried donuts and they were delicious (and I’m not much of a donut eater–because of their fried-bad-for-you nature), but baked–I could get away with baked! They look de-lish!

  8. says

    I just made these and they’re delicious (even though I forgot the cinnamon)! They definitely don’t have the heavy, greasy taste/consistency of a fried Dunkin Donut. These are a great, easy to make, and serve as a great snack at any point in the day. Thank you! :)

  9. says

    I LOVE these, Barbara! I already rushed here to gawk and drool but when I saw that they were baked and stuffed with apples I knew I had to bookmark this recipe! Scrumptious! And baked, not fried! Love it!