These irresistible Apple Cider Muffins are made with real apple cider and a blend of warm spices. Soft and fluffy, these treats are bursting with sweet and savory autumn flavor.

Is there anything that says “fall” more than a freshly baked muffin, filled with the comforting taste of apple cider and aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves? With every bite, you’ll experience a delightful balance of sweetness and warmth that’s sure to make your taste buds dance with autumnal joy!

But here’s the best part: you have the option to make either muffins or donuts with this recipe, so you can customize it to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer the classic shape of muffins or the fun and whimsical appeal of donuts, the choice is yours.

And if you’re feeling extra indulgent, you can top these muffins or donuts with a sweet glaze for an added touch of decadence. It’s the perfect finishing touch to elevate these already delicious treats to a whole new level of decadence!

A bowl of apple cider muffins with one split in half.

What Are Apple Cider Muffins? 

Apple cider muffins are sure to become your new go-to treat this fall. A cross between traditional muffins and baked donuts, they’re full of warm spices and real cider for a flavor that is out of this world. 

Made with a simple muffin batter, they come together quickly and bake in minutes. Then, they’re coated with a buttery cinnamon sugar coating or a sweet maple glaze that will leave you coming back for more. Enjoy them for breakfast or dessert with coffee, apple cider, or hot chocolate

Ingredients for Apple Cider Muffins 

This recipe comes together in two parts. The first is a simple muffin batter, and the second is a sweet buttery coating. 


  • Flour – Regular all-purpose flour forms the base of the batter. If needed, a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour can be substituted. 
  • Baking Powder – This helps the batter rise and become fluffy. 
  • Spices – Sea salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg add a sweet and savory flavor that elevates the apple cider theme and simply just screams fall. 
  • Cornstarch – This helps create a soft, chewy texture. 
  • Butter – Unsalted butter is best. 
  • Brown Sugar – Used to help sweeten the batter while keeping the muffins light and fluffy. 
  • Eggs – Allow them to come to room temperature for easy mixing. 
  • Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract for the best results. 
  • Apple Cider – The star of the show! Use any brand you like best. 


  • Butter – Again, unsalted is best. This helps the coating cling to the muffins while adding a rich, decadent flavor. 
  • Cinnamon and Sugar – Whisked together, this is used to coat the outside of the apple cider donut muffins for a bakery-worthy treat! 

How to Make Apple Cider Donut Muffins Better than a Bakery 

Use this recipe to make apple cider muffins or apple cider donut muffins! The instructions are the same — the only difference is which pan you choose to use.

  1. Prepare. Before you begin, preheat your oven, and lightly grease a muffin tin or doughnut pans with cooking spray. Make sure to get all the edges! 
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. 
  3. Mix the wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Finally, beat in the vanilla extract. 
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Working slowly with the mixer on the lowest setting, add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients, and mix just until no streaks remain. 
  5. Add the cider. With the mixer still running, slowly add in the apple cider in a steady stream until the batter is uniform. 
  6. Fill the pans. Spoon the batter into the greased pan, filling each cavity roughly ⅔ of the way full. 
  7. Bake. Transfer the muffins to the preheated oven, and bake just until they’re fluffy and golden brown and a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. 
  8. Prepare the coating. While the muffins are baking, combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Then, in a separate bowl, melt the remaining butter in the microwave. 
  9. Top the muffins. Allow the muffins to cool slightly in the pan. Then, transfer them to a cooling rack, and brush the melted butter evenly over each piece before rolling them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

Optional Topping Alternative

If preferred, add a donut-inspired maple glaze in place of or in addition to the cinnamon sugar coating! 


  • Powdered Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Apple Cider
  • Ground Cinnamon 
  • Salt


  1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. 
  2. Add more powdered sugar to thicken or more apple cider to thin out the glaze until your desired consistency is reached. 
  3. Dip, drizzle, or dunk to coat your muffins, set them aside for the glaze to harden, and enjoy! 

Tips for Success

  • Use a Hand Mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, feel free to use a hand mixer instead. Just be sure to run it continuously when combining the batter, and be careful not to overmix the ingredients. 
  • Don’t Overmix. Combine all the ingredients just until they’re smooth and no clumps remain. Continuing to mix will overwork the gluten, resulting in dense, tough muffins. 
  • Scrape the Bowl! Use a spatula to periodically scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated into the batter. 
  • Don’t Overfill the Pans. Whether you’re using a muffin tin or a donut pan, you’ll want to be careful to only fill each cavity ⅔ of the way full. Otherwise, the batter will have nowhere to rise and expand and will just spill out of the pan. 
  • Avoid a Mess. Instead of spooning the batter into the pan, transfer it to a piping bag or a sealable bag with an opening slit into the corner, and pipe it instead. 
  • Adjust the Baking Time. Every oven bakes differently. So, keep a close eye on your apple cider donut muffins, and remove them from the oven as soon as they’re fluffy and golden on top. It’s okay if they look slightly underdone. They’ll continue to bake and set as they cool! 
Unbaked apple cider muffins in a muffin tin lined with paper.

How to Store 

Room Temperature: Allow the muffins to cool completely. Then, transfer them to an airtight container or plastic bag, and keep them in a cool, dry place for up to two to three days.

To prevent them from drying out, we recommend placing a piece of bread in with them to help absorb any excess moisture! 

Refrigerator: Transfer the cooled muffins to an airtight container, and keep them stored in the fridge for up to five days. Just note that this storage method is more likely to cause the muffins to dry out more quickly! 

To Serve: Enjoy your apple cider muffins cold, or reheat them in the microwave for about ten seconds or until your desired temperature is reached.  

How to Freeze

Transfer cooled muffins to a resealable freezer bag and squeeze as much air out as possible. They will stay fresh for up to six months! 

When you’re ready to eat, let them thaw in the fridge overnight, and warm them in the microwave. 

Common Questions About This Apple Cider Muffins Recipe

What can I use instead of apple cider? 

If you’re not a fan of apple cider, try using plain apple juice instead! 

Does apple juice and apple cider taste the same? 

Typically, apple juice is sweeter while apple cider has a fuller, earthier, spiced taste. 

Can I add real apples? 

Sure! Feel free to chop up any sweet baking apples you like best such as Braeburn, Honey Crisp, or Fuji, and gently fold them into the batter. 

More Muffins to Try 

Half of a maple glazed apple cider muffin.

Apple Cider Muffins

5 from 1 vote
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Indulge in the flavors of fall with these sweet cinnamon sugar apple cider donut muffins! Optional glaze and donut options, too!



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup 225 grams or 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup apple cider

For Coating:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a a 12-cup muffin tin or 2 (6-cavity) doughnut pans with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set this mixture aside.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, 1¼ teaspoons baking powder, ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mixing the Batter:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter, brown sugar, and ¼ cup of granulated sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy (usually takes about 3-4 minutes).
    1 cup 225 grams or 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, Sugar
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract.

Creating the Batter:

  • Add the prepared flour mixture to the bowl, and mix on low speed until everything is well combined.
  • While the mixer is running, slowly add the apple cider in a steady stream and continue mixing until the batter is uniform. Make sure to scrape the bowl to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

Filling the Pans:

  • Spoon the batter into the greased muffin or doughnut pans, filling each cavity about ⅔ full. (Alternatively, use a disposable piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with a ½-inch opening cut from one corner.)
  • Bake until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, which typically takes 12 to 15 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. NOTE: making muffins, divide the batter equally among the prepared cups, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

Coating and Serving:

  • While the doughnuts are baking, combine the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave.
  • Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes after baking. Then, remove them from the pans. Brush each muffin with melted butter, and coat them in the cinnamon sugar while still warm.
  • Serve the muffins immediately, or let them cool to room temperature before enjoying.



OPTION for a Maple Glaze Icing topping:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
Mix together. If the glaze is too runny, add a little more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider at a time until you get the right consistency. Dunk, drizzle or dip to coat. 

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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  1. Hi just wondering why granulated sugar isn’t listed under ingredients but is in instructions. Thanks

    1. Thank you for catching that, Lucy! We updated the recipe card. We hope you enjoy!

      Alia & Radwa

  2. Hi there,
    I’ve joined your email list, and I live in Australia. Since my family lived in California when I was a child, I also remember my mother experimenting with the US ingredients to cook all of the things she knew and loved (eg the best way to replicate our “self-raising flour”. Of course there were also so many differences back then: the price of lamb, a staple meat here, was prohibitive, and my father was pining to come home to “real bread” that wasn’t white and preserved forever 😂! He used to say that if the Americans built pyramids for their leaders, loaves of perfectly intact white bread would be found centuries later in with the mummies, so a “use-by” date was ludicrous!
    Anyway, now my kids will travel far to eat MY American recipes, especially my pumpkin pie and also meatloaf (American friends have preferred it to their own! Made it!!) I’m keen to try the apple cider muffins, as no one makes donuts and muffins like Americans! But is the “apple cider” here alcoholic (as it often is in Australia and the UK) or non-alcoholic? As in, is there an alcohol content or was there ever one? I’m assuming you don’t mean “Apple cider vinegar”, which I also have. Probably most Aussies would hear “apple cider” these days, at least, and assume it’s alcoholic. Thanks for your recipes – I’ve copied and pasted a lot and I’m definitely going to start trying them! Yum….. Roz

    1. Hi Roz! Thank you for sharing part of your storing with us! You can find alcoholic and non-alcoholic apple cider, but we use non-alcoholic. We hope you enjoy!

      Alia & Radwa