Everyday Eats & Sweets / Recipes

Baked Cinnamon-Applesauce Donuts

Baked cinnamon-applesauce donuts

I didn’t make too many donuts this summer… I don’t know why. Maybe the heat is to blame. And the fact that baking always equates to heating up the house even more with the oven. And that baked goods (especially donuts) always, must, go hand in hand with a hot mug of coffee — neither of which was appealing to me when the weather app kept creeping up toward the triple digits.

But we finally have a week of relief where it’s beginning to feel a little like fall around here… I’m closing the doors and windows at night to keep the chill out, thinking about soup for dinner, and dreaming up all kinds of apple-y desserts now that apple season is in full swing.

I’m not sure you can classify donuts as dessert, but since I heaped a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of one, I’m saying yes. (No evidence as to that actually happening though, as it disappeared almost as soon as I finished writing this.)

These are simple donuts. When you have good ingredients, you don’t need much to adorn them. A spoonful of cinnamon and a dollop of applesauce spruce them up plenty. I’ve made these with golden apples, red apples, green apples… I like them all, both sweet and sour, so follow your tastebuds. You can use store-bought applesauce for this recipe, but homemade (especially when it’s this easy) will make it taste that much better.

Baked Cinnamon-Applesauce Donuts

Makes 6 donuts


For the Applesauce
1 large apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup apple cider

For the Batter
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

For the Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To prepare the applesauce, combine the apple and apple cider in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer uncovered until the apple is softened and starting to break down, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the apple and all the liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Measure out 1/2 cup of applesauce and set aside to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Homemade applesauce

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and egg.

Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the applesauce and incorporate until the batter is smooth.

Incorporate applesauce into batter

Stir with wooden spoon until smooth

Grease a donut pan (I use this one with this oil brush) and divide the batter evenly among the molds, filling them to the rim.

Brush oil into donut molds

Fill donut pan with batter

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely. (It’s hard to resist temptation, but the donuts will flip out of the pan easier once they’ve cooled. Trust me.)

Baked donuts

To make the topping, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish.

Transfer the donuts onto a wire rack or platter. Brush the top of each donut with melted butter, then dip the buttered surface into the sugar and cinnamon topping. Double dip, if you please!

The donuts are freshest when made and eaten the same day, but I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that. Try them with ice cream!

Flip donuts onto wire rack

Brush donuts with melted butter

Dip buttered surface into cinnamon-sugar topping

Dip donuts in cinnamon sugar

Baked cinnamon-applesauce donuts

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »