Donuts in general are a fabulous food group, and apple cider donuts are some of the best of them all. Turn the classic New England treat into muffins and not only are they quick and easy to make, there’s no mess (or additional calories) from frying. The sweet and subtle apple and nutmeg notes in the tender dough plus the cinnamon sugar they’re rolled in while still warm combine to create a perfect taste of fall—but honestly, these are just as great on any spring or summer morning.

Since an apple a day keeps the doctor away, try our Apple Quick Bread with Pecan Streusel recipe, and our Apple Dapple Cake recipe too. (That still counts as eating fruit, right?)

  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 20 min

Ingredients (13)

For the muffins:

  • 2 cups sweet apple cider
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted


To make the muffins:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set a rack to the middle position. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Put the apple cider in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Set aside to cool.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each. Add the vanilla extract and blend.
  4. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add a third of this mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Add half the reduced cider and beat to combine. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the cider, then the remaining flour mixture. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups and transfer to the oven. Bake until tops are firm and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes.

To make the topping:

  1. While muffins are cooling, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Melt the butter in a separate bowl and keep warm. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush their tops and sides with the butter, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.