I love the crisp autumn air, the leaves changing colors on the trees, the pumpkin spice everything and most of all, these apple cider donut muffins! Packed with real apple cider, and rolled in melted butter and the secret cinnamon sugar blend, this is the perfect fall muffin.

These apple cider muffins are one of our favorite healthy breakfast options. They have the perfect amount of sweet from the cider and brown sugar and the sour cream helps keep them extra tender and moist. 

a photo of several golden, fluffy apple cider donut muffins topped with cinnamon brown sugar.

Does your family have any fall traditions? I’m not sure if it’s like this everywhere else, but when fall rolls around here in Utah, all sorts of pumpkin patches pop up with corn mazes and fun activities for families. One of our favorite places is down in a little town called Santaquin at Rowley’s Red Barn. It is the cutest farm with a red barn where you can buy ice cream, fall produce, the best apple cider on earth AND the most outrageously delicious apple cider donuts. I don’t know what they put in those donuts, but they are dangerous!

These apple cider donut muffins are those donuts but in muffin form because, let’s be honest, muffins are just easier than donuts! Everyone has a muffin tin but not everyone has a donut pan. It’s time to make these donut muffins a new fall tradition in your family!

How to Make Donut Muffins

a photo of the corner of a muffin tin with baked apple cider donut muffins in it that are topped with brown sugar cinnamon.

Ingredients for Apple Cider Donut Muffins

These muffins are going to be infused with apple flavor from apple cider and apple butter, and all the other ingredients are going to be things you probably have at home already! Here is what you will need:

Topping: Sugar, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Butter


  • Apple Cider: You’ll boil and reduce it to really concentrate the flavor.
  • Dry Ingredients: Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt
    • Spices: Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Nutmeg
  • Wet Ingredients: Egg, Brown Sugar, Sugar (or Maple Syrup), Apple Butter, Canola Oil, Sour Cream

Before you ask, the measurements for each ingredient can be found at the end of the post in the recipe card. I like to just give a brief overview of what you will need before you get into all the details.

a photo of several golden baked apple cider donut muffins piled on each other and they are all topped with a crunchy brown sugar cinnamon topping.

What Is The Difference Between Cider and Apple Juice?

Apple cider is made by cutting and grinding fresh apples into a mash. The mash is then squeezed or pressed through a cloth to make juice.

Apple juice is filtered to remove all pulp, and then pasteurized.

Can I Use Apple Juice?

Yes, but still look for a good quality apple juice as it is what’s providing flavor.

a photo of the corner of a muffin tin with baked apple cider donut muffins in it that are topped with brown sugar cinnamon. with cinnamon sticks in sitting to the side of the muffin tin

Can I Use Apple Sauce or Cinnamon Applesauce instead of Apple Butter?

Yes but applesauce and apple butter are not the same thing. Both apple products are made by cooking apples low and slow for a very long time, but apple butter is cooked for quite a bit longer. Apple butter is really thick and caramelized and it becomes spreadable like jam.

Can I Use Yogurt instead of Sour Cream?

Yes, look for plain Greek yogurt. And don’t go for fat free stuff, the fat is what makes the muffins so soft and tender.

a photo of several golden baked apple cider donuts stacked next to each other and they are all topped with a crunchy brown sugar cinnamon topping.

How Long Will Muffins Keep?

Muffins will keep for about 2 days in an air tight container at room temperature. You can also freezes muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 months. They make a great grab and go breakfast. Just zap a frozen muffin in the microwave for 30 seconds to thaw.

Tips for Making the Best Apple Cider Donut Muffins

  • Make sure to reduce the apple cider! That is where most of the apple flavor is coming from.
  • Don’t overmix the batter! When you combine the wet and dry ingredients, gently fold everything together until just combined. You might even have a few streaks of flour in the batter still.
  • Don’t overbake the muffins! The baking time should act as a guide. When the muffins are done, the top will be golden brown, the top middle will spring back when you gently press on it. A toothpick stuck into the middle of the muffin will come up with just a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Let the baked muffins sit in the muffin tin for a few minutes after you pull them out of the oven. This allows the baking process to slow down and for the muffins to rest and set up.
  • Roll (or dip) the baked muffins in the melted butter and then in the brown sugar cinnamon. This step takes these muffins from average to extraordinary! 
a close up photo of the corner cup of a dark muffin tin with a fluffy domed top apple cider donut muffin topped with a brown sugar cinnamon topping.

These are the most tender, fluffy and apple blasted muffins ever! These apple cider donut muffins are what fall breakfast dreams are made of! 

More Delicious Muffin Recipes!

Apple Cider Donut Muffins

5 from 1 vote
Servings: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes



  • 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon


  • 1 1/4 Cup Apple Cider
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar , or maple syrup works
  • 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Sour Cream, see note
  • 1/4 Cup Canola Oil


For the Muffins

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  • Boil the cider until it is only just over 1/2 cup. Set aside to cool (I place mine in the fridge for a bit, but don't allow it to get cold.)
    1 1/4 Cup Apple Cider
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg in a large bowl.
    2 Cups Flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves, 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • Whisk egg, sugar and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. (if using maple syrup add it here.)
    1 Large Egg, 1/3 Cup Sugar, 1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • Whisk in apple butter, cider, sour cream and oil.
    1/2 Cup Apple Butter, 1/3 Cup Sour Cream, 1/4 Cup Canola Oil
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full).
  • Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 18 to 22 minutes. Sometimes an oven may need up to 25 minutes. Just tap the tops and when they don't sink a little upon touching they are all done.
  • Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Loosen edges and dip the tops into the melted butter and then the sugar mixture (I like to roll mine all over in butter and sugar but it is more messy)

For the Topping

  • Melt the butter and set aside. Whisk together the sugars and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside
    1/4 Cup Butter, 1/4 Cup Sugar, 1/4 Cup Brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon


Muffins can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Low fat sour cream or plain yogurt work. 


Serving: 1muffinCalories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 187mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 185IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 1mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: All Your Favorite Fall Recipes to Warm up to

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The Best Apple Cider Donuts