Ready in 15 minutes, Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts scream Fall! They are full of cinnamon, brown sugar, and fresh apple cider! These donuts will transport you to the apple orchard without leaving your home!
Is it even Fall if you don't have apple cider donuts? Fall in New England means apple picking, pumpkin picking, and apple cider donuts!
I've made these a little more healthy, since they are baked and not fried.
Baked donuts have become and obsession in my house. They are easy to make and my kids love them! Check out these peanut butter donuts, Baked Sourdough Donuts, or even Lucky Charms donuts!
Why These Donuts Are Amazing
- They are baked, not fried! No need to break out all the oil and wait for it to heat up. Plus save the calories from the donuts being fried and just have a few more donuts instead!
- No heavy equipment needed! All the mixing is done by hand, so you don't need to break out the stand mixer or hand mixer.
- They bake up fast! Because there is no yeast, there is no rising period. Mix everything together and bake them up!
- These donuts are moist, dense, and cakey. They have a different texture than traditional fried donuts, but they are full of apple cider and cinnamon!
What is Sourdough Discard?
Sourdough discard is the extra sourdough starter that you have leftover when you feed your starter. If you're new to sourdough and need some information on how to keep it happy, check out my post on how to feed a sourdough starter. My starter is 100% hydration, meaning I've always fed it equal parts flour and water. If you have a starter that has a lower hydration, meaning you feed it more flour than water, add more apple cider to this recipe.
The discard is also "inactive or unfed" meaning I took it right out of the refrigerator and added it to this recipe. It has not been fed any new flour and it's not active and bubbly.
If you don't have sourdough discard, you can substitute buttermilk or sour cream instead.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Sourdough discard- unfed or inactive, meaning it hasn't been fed fresh water and flour. This discard came right out of the refrigerator.
- Brown sugar- It adds a depth of flavor to these donuts. Regular granulated sugar can be substituted for brown sugar.
- Melted butter- Adds the fat to the donuts to keep them moist.
- Apple cider- Gives that classic Fall flavor and adds moisture to the donuts.
- Baking powder and baking soda- The sourdough starter adds texture and moisture to the donuts, but it doesn't much in terms of helping the donuts rise. The baking powder and baking soda do all the hard work.
Equipment You'll Need
Step By Step Photos
Let's Make These Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, add the sugar and butter. Mix well until they are combined. The brown sugar might clump, try to get as many clumps out as possible.
- Add the starter and eggs to the same bowl and mix them into the butter and sugar.
- Pour in the apple cider and give everything a good mix. You can't overmix these wet ingredients, so make sure they are well combined.
- Add the "dry ingredients" to the bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until just combined, do not overmix. It's ok if there are a few lumps left in the batter.
- Spray two donut pans with cooking spray so the donuts do not stick.
- Add the batter to a piping bag or to a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off.
- Bake the donuts for 12-15 minutes until they are just slightly brown and a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
- Mix together ⅓ cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Brush the donuts with apple cider and roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Do They Taste Sourdough?
They don't! Because they don't have the traditional long fermentation process like a loaf of sourdough bread, they don't taste like sourdough. The sourdough starter adds moisture and texture to these donuts.
Tips and Tricks
- To make these donuts a little more decadent, brush them with melted butter instead of apple cider and then roll them in cinnamon sugar. That's how the orchards do it, so why not give it a try!
- Instead of rolling them in cinnamon sugar, feel free to roll them in powdered sugar or make a glaze of 1 tablespoon milk, ½ cup of powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Yum!
- These donuts are more of a cake donut, instead of the traditional texture of a fried donut.
- You can spoon the batter into the donut pan if you don't have a piping bag or aren't comfortable piping.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! To freeze them, allow them to cool completely and do not coat them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place them in a Ziploc bag or an air tight container and freeze them. To defrost, place them on the counter to thaw. Then coat them in cinnamon sugar when you are ready to serve.
If you do not coat them in cinnamon sugar, they will last for up to 4 days. Once they are coated in the cinnamon sugar mixture, they really should be eaten immediately, or within 24 hours. That's because the sugar begins to melt and makes the donuts sticky.
Yes! If you don't have a donut pan, you can use a muffin tin instead. You can either eat them straight out of the muffin tin, or you can cut a hole in the middle with a cookie cutter or a small knife.
Other Recipes To Try!
Did you love these Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts? I'd so appreciate it if you would give this recipe a 5 star review! That will help other hungry readers find my recipes!
And don't forget to tag me on Instagram or Facebook and share this recipe on Pinterest! Thanks for sharing this journey with me and enjoy these delicious recipes!
- More Sourdough Recipes
- Oreo Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Sourdough Muffins
- Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
- Nutella Zucchini Bread
- All in One Apple Cake
- Light and Crisp Sourdough Waffles
- Sourdough Pumpkin Waffles
- Death By Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts
- Doughnut Pan
- ½ cup Starter Unfed/Inactive
- ¾ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Apple Cider
- ¼ cup Melted Butter
- 2 Eggs Large
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Cinnamon
For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- ¼ cup Apple Cider
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs, starter, and apple cider to the bowl and mix until everything is well combined.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix at this point. It's ok if there are a few lumps left in the batter.
- Spray a donut pan with cooking spray. Add the batter to a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off and pipe the batter into the donut pan.
- Place the donut pan in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the donuts are just slightly browned and have risen.
To make the cinnamon sugar coating
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
- Brush the donuts with apple cider and roll each one in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
- Serve immediately
- To make the doughnuts a little more decadent, brush the donuts with melted butter instead of apple cider.
- Coconut oil can be substituted for melted butter in the batter.
Hi there, Finally, got around to baking these today. Would have finished earlier today but lost 1.5 hours just looking for my, never used, donut baking pan. The batter made 12 standard sized donuts plus 16 mini-baked donuts. Go to my Instagram page: ol_devildog_marine for the photo. Many thanks for sharing.
Thank you for making the recipe! Enjoy!
These look so good, I'm going to give them a try!
These are delicious. I realized somewhere around filling the 9th hole in my donut pan that I forgot to spray the pan. Ooops. They taste delicious. One of the two pans fared better, so I'm gonna whip up some whipped cream and make a trifle using the ones that fell apart. LOL. They are delicious. Texture, taste. And, I love using the cider as the "glue" for the cinnamon and sugar.
oh no!! But turning them into a trifle is a FANTASTIC idea!! I am so happy you enjoyed them!!
I love this time of the year because of recipes like yours! This is so delicious and easy to make!
I feel the same way!
These are amazing! What a smart wat to use the discard. Donuts are a favorite around here too!
Growing up apple cider donuts were always a favorite! I make a ton of sourdough, this will be a great recipe to add to my rotation.
Oh yay! I hope you love them!
These are amazing, love the use of sourdough, really gives them an extra pop of flavor!
Best use of sourdough discard! I love baked doughnuts, using the discard just takes them up a couple of notches.
Yes! I totally agree!
What a great way to use the discard. I always felt bad just tossing it. Thanks so much for the recipe!
Yes! Me too! Adding it to baked goods is a game changer!
How great are these!?! Perfect for snacking on a cool fall day. Yum!
They look great! Can't wait to try!
I hope you enjoy them!
I've not tried to make doughnuts before but you make it look so easy that I am going to give it a go! They look delicious! Thank you
Thanks! I hope you love them!