healthier apple cider donuts

It’s officially fall, y’all! And that means I can dive head-first into all of my favorite flavors (as if I’m not eating these year round…ha!). I’m all about the pumpkin spice goodies, the apple everything, the warm autumnal spices that just taste like comfort.

One of my favorite fall memories is heading to the local orchard, picking apples, sipping fresh cider and mulled wine, and enjoying a delicious apple cider donut. I love the combo of cinnamon sugar with fresh, ripe apple- so much so that I usually end up getting 2.

Up side of apple cider donuts: delicious.

Down side: not great for you.

The average apple cider donut can run you upwards of 400 calories and tons of sugar – woof. So, as always, I had to make it my mission to make these just a little bit lighter, so we can all enjoy them while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Lightening up the donuts

First and foremost – less sugar. Way less. My theory is that if you’re going to roll these in sugar anyway, there’s no need to pack it into the batter too. I chose to use some fresh apples in the donuts as well, which add sweetness and great flavor/texture.

Next, butter. Donuts are typically made with butter in the batter and then they’re deep fried, so it’s oil overload. My version uses coconut oil in the batter as well as unsweetened applesauce, which both add to the donuts moisture without adding a ton of fat/calories/points.

Lastly, dairy! Not an issue for everyone, but I went ahead and made these with a plant-based milk (I used oat) so that the only dairy in them is egg.

And there you have it – apple cider donuts that clock just 4 points per donut when you make 12 (and they are GOOD). If you want fuller donuts, use the same recipe but divide between 10 donuts, for 5 points each. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Looking for more lightened up baked goods?

You’re in luck! It’s kind of my speciality. Check out some of these other lighter desserts:

Let’s make some donuts!

Yield: 12 small donuts at 4 WW SP each or 10 fuller donuts at 5 WW SP each.


  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used oat)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped green apple (approx 1 large apple)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just cinnamon)
  • (optional) 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to roll donuts in


  1. Pour cider into a small nonstick pan and cover over medium high heat until it has reduced to a thick, sticky syrup (you want roughly 1/3 cup). Roughly 20 minutes. Set aside and allow it to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and whisk together
  4. In another bowl, combine milk, egg, apple cider syrup, sugar, apple sauce, and melted coconut oil
  5. Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and stir until just combined (avoid over-mixing). Add in chopped apples and fold throughout the batter.
  6. Grease your donut pans with non-stick cooking spray and fill evenly with batter (about 2 tbsp per donut). I prefer to pipe the batter by putting the batter in a gallon bag and cutting the tip. Just cut it large enough that the apple chunks don’t get stuck.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow donuts to cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled, you can roll them in sugar if you wish. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and/or tagging me on Instagram at @foodbythegram!

Note: There may be affiliate links throughout this post. When you shop through these links, I get a small percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you! I only recommend products I love, and I’m sure you’ll love them too. Thanks for the support!

17 thoughts on “Healthier Apple Cider Donuts

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