apple cider donut muffins

these apple cider donut muffins are mini muffin versions filled with classic flavors of an apple cider donut. soft and fluffy on the inside, with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating on the outside for even more fall flavor and texture.

first day of fall! my favorite season has started. in celebration of this, I think it’s time for all things baked and spiced! for the handful of years I lived in NYC, one of my absolute favorite things to do was to go apple picking. sure, the picking of apples was fun, but the best part was enjoying fresh apple cider donuts. they’re truly one of life’s simple pleasures. these apple cider donut muffins are an ode to (one of) my favorite autumn treats.

these cute little muffins have a light and fluffy inside, with a crunchy sweet and spicy outside. with all the traditional flavors and textures of their namesake, they are made for fall snacking and breakfast eating. honestly, these apple cider filled muffins are so good, you’ll find yourself popping them into your mouth all day long!

apple cider donut muffins

in a few words, these apple cider donut muffins are:

  • sweet
  • soft
  • light
  • fluffy
  • crunchy
  • filled with apple flavor
  • perfectly spiced
  • the best little muffins for all your fall breakfast, brunch and snacking needs!

what ingredients do I need to make these muffins?

with just a handful of simple ingredients, these apple cider donut muffins are super easy to make!

  • apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
    • NOT apple cider vinegar!
    • if you can’t find apple cider, use unfiltered apple juice
  • all purpose flour
  • cake flour
    • see the recipe notes for an easy diy version
  • chai spice, pumpkin spice or ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • sour cream or greek yogurt
  • vanilla extract
  • unsalted butter
  • eggs
  • granulated sugar

do I need any special baking tools to make these mini muffins?

these cider filled mini muffins use basic kitchen tools. here’s what you’ll need:

  • 24 ct. mini muffin pan
    • this recipe makes about 36 mini muffins
    • you can use two pans or make them in two batches
    • (1) 12ct. muffin pan also works well for this recipe
  • small or medium sauce pan
    • to make the reduced apple cider or apple juice
  • various sized bowls
    • large for mixing the batter
    • medium for mixing the dry ingredients
    • two small bowls for mixing the apple cider/sour cream and the spiced sugar coating
  • whisk, spoon, silicone spatula
    • for mixing the batter
  • a small or medium cookie scoop
    • use a small one for mini muffins
    • a medium works well for regular sized muffins
  • food scale
    • this is the most accurate way to make this recipe
    • I use one for all my recipe development
    • less dishes to clean up!
apple cider donut muffins

how can I make these “bakery style”

in order to get those gorgeous dome tops you’ll need to do the following:

  • decide to make these as regular muffins
  • rest the batter for 1 hour at room temperature or in the fridge overnight
    • if the latter, bring to room temperature for 15-20 minutes
  • alternate muffin wells
    • 6 total muffins for a 12 ct. pan
    • alternate: 1 full, 1 empty
  • fill each muffin well to right below the top
  • bake at 400 F (204C) for 10 minutes. THEN REDUCE the oven temperature to 350 F (177C) for the remaining time. for regular muffins, this will be 18-22 minutes.
  • cool the muffins in the pan for 5-10 minutes or until they can be removed easily
  • roll in the cinnamon sugar as written in the recipe

tips and tricks for the perfect apple cider donut muffins:

  • read through the recipe before starting 
  • for the MOST apple cider flavor, you have to reduce it!
    • reducing gives a concentrated flavor without all the liquid
    • if you don’t want to reduce it, use 1/2 c (118ml) fresh apple cider
  • use a “light hand” when folding the ingredients together 
  • look for the signs the muffins are done rather than stick strictly to the baking times 
    • the sides will pull gently from the edges of the pan
    • the top will be golden brown, but not burned 
    • toothpick inserted into the center will come out with a few moist crumbs 
  • cool in the pan on a cooling rack for no more than 5-10 minutes for mini or 10-15 minutes (regular)
  • cool to room temperature on a cooling rack 
  • it’s HIGHLY recommended to roll the muffins in the spiced sugar to give them the classic flavor and texture of an apple cider donut
  • keep the muffins stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days
apple cider donut muffins
apple cider donut muffins

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apple cider donut muffins

apple cider donut muffins

these apple cider donut muffins are mini muffins filled with classic flavors of an apple cider donut. soft and fluffy on the inside, with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating on the outside for even more fall flavor and texture.
4.42 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cooling Time 5 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, brunch, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 36 mini muffins


  • mini muffin or regular muffin pan
  • non stick spray
  • small or medium sauce pan
  • large, medium and small mixing bowls
  • whisk and spoon/spatula
  • small cookie scoop/ melon ball scooper or small spoon


apple cider donut muffin

  • 2 c (473ml) apple cider, reduced and cooled to Luke warm (not apple cider vinegar) see recipe notes
  • 1 c (120g) all purpose flour
  • 1 c (120g) cake flour
  • 1-2 tsp chai spice, pumpkin spice or ground cinnamon see recipe notes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c (120g) sour cream or greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 (106-114g) large eggs, room temperature

spiced sugar

  • 1/2 c (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp chai spice or pumpkin spice


  • Pour the apple cider in a small or medium sauce pan. Heat over medium heat to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the cider has reduced to about 1/2 c of concentrated apple cider. This takes about 30-35 minutes.
    Remove from the heat to cool until warm, but not hot to the touch. This takes about 15 minutes.
    It is recommended to make this about 1 hour (up to 1-2 days) before using in the recipe.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
    Lightly spray a 24 ct. muffin pan or 12ct. regular muffin pan with non stick spray. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flours, spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until well combined.
  • Once the reduced apple cider has cooled to warm, pour this into a bowl with the room temperature sour cream and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale yellow and frothy, about 2 minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in the melted butter. Whisk the eggs, sugar and melted butter until well combined and emulsified.
  • Alternate stirring in the dry ingredients with the apple cider/sour cream mixture into the wet in this order: dry, apple cider mixture, dry, apple cider mixture, dry.
    Stir until JUST combined with no flour streaks.
  • Using a small cookie scoop (about the size of a melon ball scooper) or small spoon for mini muffins or medium cookie scoop for regular muffins, fill each muffin well of the prepared muffin pan about half way to the top.
  • Bake the muffins in a 375F (190C) for:
    10-12 minutes for mini muffins
    18-22 minutes for regular muffins
    The edges will be set and golden brown. The tops of the muffins will dome, have slight cracks and a toothpick inserted in the center will yield a few moist crumbs.
  • Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Gently run a butter knife around the edges of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Gently work each muffin out of the pan to cool on a cooling rack.

spiced sugar

  • Mix the spice mix used in the muffin batter with the sugar until well combined. Taste and adjust the balance of spices as needed.
  • Once the muffins have cooled until warm or room temperature, roll the muffins in the sugar mix until fully coated.


reduced apple cider: As noted in the recipe, this process takes about 1 hour from start to recipe ready. This can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store the reduced apple cider in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use in the recipe. bring to room temperature. 
  • Unfiltered apple juice can also work well in place of the apple cider
  • if using unfiltered apple juice, it is suggested to use 2-3 tsp of a spice blend
  • if using apple cider, this is already generously spiced, so 1-2 tsp is plenty
pumpkin spice blend:
  • 1/3 c ground cinnamon (32 g)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground ginger (15 g)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground ginger (15 g)
  • 1 tsp ground allspice (4g)
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg (4g)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon (1g)
  • mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until well combined
  • store in an airtight container such as spice jar or small glass mason jar
chai spice blend:
  • 3 tbsp ground ginger (16g)
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (15g)
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice (6g)
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamon (6g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground nutmeg (3.5g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cloves (3.5g)
  • place all ingredients in a bowl. mix well to combine
  • store in a spice jar or small mason jar
cake flour: to make your own DIY cake flour, measure out 1 c all purpose flour. scoop out 2 tbsp flour. add back in 2 tbsp cornstarch. sift together 3-4 times. 
Keyword apple cider donut muffins, apple cider muffins, cinnamon sugar muffins, mini muffins
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