Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts w/ Powdered Cinnamon Sugar

Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts w/ Powdered Cinnamon Sugar | Well and Full | #vegan #plantbased #recipe

One morning the other day, as I sat down at my desk at work, I was just HIT by the most intense craving for apple cider donuts. It may have been because the air was deliciously cool and crisp as I walked to my building, hinting at the first signs of autumn. Be that as it may, sweet cravings are usually unexpected for me, because I’m not the biggest fan of sweets. I know, I know, I’m crazy. But get this – for my birthday growing up, I’d always ask my parents to get me one of those huge tubs of cheese balls – you know, the synthetic orange kind – which I would then hoard away and eat on the sly. In fact, I remember vividly this one time my mom caught me hiding behind the couch, shoveling cheese balls into my face, fingers sticky with orange powder.

Every year for my birthday party, my mom would always bake a cake, but I never had any. I just blew out the candles and let my friends eat it. And it’s weird, because my parents both like sweets, especially my mom. This was further proof, they insisted, that I was sent by aliens. (Ha. Ha.)

A part of me likes to think that my love of all things salty comes from my grandmother (who died of breast cancer when I was nine). My mom always said she salted and oversalted her food -which may not have been the healthiest thing to do, but was a distinct quirk that stood out to my mother.

My grandmother was such a special lady. Think of the kindest, most loving, and most thoughtful person ever, and then multiply them times fifty. That was my grandma. I could write for hours about the infinitely thoughtful things she did for me, my sister, and my cousins. Something that really stands out in my memories are the times I’d stay over at my grandparents’ house for the weekend. My grandpa would always fall asleep on the couch with the TV blaring, without fail, and would sleep there the whole night, snoring loudly. As a child I was always an early bird, but no matter how early in the morning I would awaken, my grandma would always be up before me. I’d go out of my little bedroom and find my grandma in the kitchen in her pastel-striped night robe. For breakfast, I was allowed to have a bottle of Sprite, Lucky Charms (just the marshmallows, of course), and a few clementines. It felt wickedly wonderful having such a sugary breakfast, knowing that my mom would keel over if she knew what I was eating!! Nothing like having breakfast at grandma’s.

That morning the other day when I really wanted an apple cider donut, I thought of my grandma again. Every fall, she and my grandpa would take me to the apple orchard + pumpkin patch. Grandma would always get me some apple cider donuts, which I would snack on with reckless abandon. Everything always tasted better when it came from grandma.

I miss her so much. When I was with my grandma, it felt like magic was alive in the world, and that happiness was not only attainable but a natural state of being. Her being gone is even harder on my own mother, who I know thinks about her every day. My mom and grandma used to call each other on the phone every day, just to say hi. But it makes me happy to think that my mom and I talk every day now, too, and that we’re never too far away from each other. And although my grandma has joined the angels, I know her spirit stays alive in our hearts and through the memories we treasure – and that we will be reunited in infinite joy, one day, through Him.

This recipe is for you, Grandma. I know if you were here you’d be so proud of me. I love you, always.

Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts | Well and Full | #vegan #plantbased #recipe


Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts w/ Powdered Cinnamon Sugar

Enjoy the best of autumn with these fluffy, vegan apple cider donuts, topped with powdered cinnamon sugar.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


Dry Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Spelt Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp Allspice

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Applesauce
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Coconut Oil melted

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cane or Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until evenly combined.
  • In another bowl, combine all wet ingredients except coconut oil. Mix.
  • Once wet ingredients are fully mixed, stir into bowl of dry ingredients and combine. Note – the donut batter may fizz up a little, that’s just the baking soda reacting with the apple cider vinegar!
  • After stirring for a bit, add in the melted coconut oil and stir in completely.
  • Spray your donut pan with coconut oil or another nonstick spray.
  • Pour batter evenly between 6 donut molds.
  • Bake donuts in the oven for 15 minutes. Once done, let cool for a few minutes.
  • While donuts are cooling, combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a high-speed blender, spice grinder, or coffee grinder. Blend until sugar is a fairly powdered consistency.
  • Once donuts are cooled, toss in cinnamon sugar.
  • Enjoy!

Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts | Well and Full | #vegan #plantbased #recipe

68 responses to “Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts w/ Powdered Cinnamon Sugar”

  1. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine Avatar

    I loved your memories! Seriously, childhood memories and childhood foods are the best! (Those cheeze balls…o I remember them..so good!)
    I just made powdered doughnuts a few weeks ago and the nostalgia of those mini packaged ones came back for me! Haha!
    Anyway, I love the apple cider take! These are so lovely! <3 Your grandma would be very proud!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thank you so much Rebecca <3 :)

  2. Sophie | The Green Life Avatar

    This is so sweet Sarah! I loved reading about your childhood memories and your grandma. I’m sure she was a very special lady, and she would be very proud of you.
    These donuts look incredible! I’ve never had apple cider donuts but now I’m really intrigued!! P.S. I laughed out loud when I clicked on the photo of those cheese balls! haha

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Haha!! Those cheese balls were so bad but so good. And I forgot that you’re in Canada – are apple cider donuts a thing over there? Here in New England, apple cider donuts are very popular during the fall!! :D

      1. Sophie | The Green Life Avatar

        I don’t know about the rest of Canada but in French Canada it’s definitely not a thing. I’d never heard of them before reading your post. :) It’s so fascinating to see how culinary traditions can be so different from one place to another! I’ll have to give these donuts a try for sure!!

      2. Sarah Avatar

        And it really makes you realize how insular your own knowledge can be! For example, I just assumed everyone in Canada would know about apple cider donuts! Which was pretty ignorant of me!! Thanks for opening my eyes a bit ;)

      3. Sophie | The Green Life Avatar

        Haha my pleasure! And thank you for opening my eyes to the world of apple cider donuts! ;)

  3. Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist Avatar

    These doughnuts look divine! Such a sweet story about your childhood memories of your Grandmother. I have a family full of salt fiends too. People usually cringe when they watch my father salt his food. I need to get a doughnut pan ASAP!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      You should definitely get one!! It took a while before I took the plunge but having a donut pan is a ton of fun!! :D

  4. Clem @ The Vegan Cookie Fairy Avatar

    This post was an absolute joy to read. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe, it looks divine!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thank you so much Clem!! :D

  5. Little Vegan Bear Avatar

    Yum, these look great! I’ve never been able to justify getting a donut pan, but one day….

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I bet this recipe would work out as a muffin / cupcake though!! :D

  6. Susannah (Lemon and Coconut) Avatar

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for sharing your memories, I miss both my grandmothers so much. I love the way the donuts look like lichen, they’re fantastic! I’m mad on lichen I’m always taking photos of it! :)

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Susannah!! :D

  7. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan Avatar

    Grandmas are the best, aren’t they? I love this post about your grandma, especially since it involves so many lovely memories and sweet treats :) I’ve had a hankering for donuts lately too, so I need to give your recipe a spin today for a Monday treat!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Grandmothers are the absolute best :)

  8. dixya | food, pleasure, and health Avatar

    grandmoms are the best and this is such a sweet story/memory. Im pinning this and waiting for the weekend because i havent baked donuts in forever!!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Dixya!! I’m glad you liked it :)

  9. madeline | madeline marie Avatar

    I love donuts and love that these are healthy! Yum!!!. I wish I had some right now.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Madeline! :D

  10. Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet Avatar

    Beautiful doughnuts! That cinnamon sugar … YUM!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Cinnamon sugar = tha best!! ;)

  11. Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures Avatar

    Such a nice tribute to your grandma! I wasn’t a big sweets person growing up but now I can’t get enough of them. I used to just request a bag of potato chips for my bday cake when I was little. hehe

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Hahaha no way!! A kindred spirit!! ;) I must say though, I still would pick potato chips instead of a birthday cake!! :D ;)

  12. Sina @ Vegan Heaven Avatar

    These look amazing, Sarah!! They’re just perfect for fall! :-)

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Sina!! :D

  13. Erica Avatar

    Truly beautiful post!! Grandmothers are so special, this post really touched my heart. And the color on these donuts is incredible, so perfect for the change in seasons :)

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Erica :) It was very nice for me to write about my grandma <3

  14. genevieve @ gratitude & greens Avatar

    Aw Sarah, my grandma died from lung cancer (even though she was a non-smoker) when I was around 8 and it was rough. My mom and grandma were really close, too. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and since then I have missed my mom so, so much. I’m sure your grandma is smiling down from heaven knowing you are thinking of her and that you are able to enjoy these apple cider donuts in her place.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I love always finding ways to keep her memory alive. These donuts are a great way for me to remember the time I spent with her <3

  15. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen Avatar

    What a sweet tribute to your grandma – she was clearly a very special lady! Isn’t it wonderful when we associate certain foods with such happy memories with our loved ones?

    These donuts look absolutely amazing. I’m not usually a donut kind of gal (I’m like your grandma – a complete salt addict), but these don’t seem cloyingly sweet like so many other donuts. I bet the tartness from the apple cider really brightens up the overall flavor, too. So perfect for the autumn!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Salt Addicts Unite!! ;) I love being able to remember my Grandma through certain foods – they can be so evocative of dear memories. :)

  16. Emilie @ The Clever Carrot Avatar

    I can so relate to the wonderful memories of your grandma!!!! I was thirteen when my Meme passed away and she was my BIGGEST positive influence, especially when it came to cooking. She was the best cook beyond words and is the reason I do what I do to this day. Love these “Grandma” doughnuts! And I can picture you (even though I barely know what you look like :) sitting at the table relishing in Lucky Charms!!!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Hahaha maybe I just seem like a marshmallows-only Lucky Charms kind of gal ;) It’s so nice that you were able to cook with your Meme! She sounds lovely, and I’m sure she’d be so proud of you. Especially with the Clever Carrot Cookbook!! :D

  17. Jessie Snyder | Faring Well Avatar

    Your words about your grandma made me choke up. I feel the same about my current grandmas, there is nothing like a treat when it comes from them. So sweet, so special. Those memories are so vivid, and thank heaven we have them from when we were children. Some of the best times. My grandpa had a sweet tooth that has trickled down to us all, and I would always wake up to the smell of cinnamon rolls at grandma’s because of it. I love your memories of these donuts at the orchard, it sounds magical and wonderful – everything our memories should be! On day you will be reunited, and I hope there is a plate of these donuts involved <3

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Waking up to cinnamon rolls at grandma’s sounds so lovely! You’re so lucky to have two grandmas still, next time you see them give them a big hug for me :D

  18. Audrey @ Unconventional Baker Avatar

    Not a sweets person?! Whaaaat? Well, actually I’m not that surprised, I guess. My husband is not a sweets person either. I just can’t fathom how that’s even possible haha. I’m such a sweet tooth. I’d pretty much trade everything for fruit and chocolate. But these donuts look impeccable, so maybe there’s hope you’ll come around to the other side… ;)

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I know, I know, I’m crazy! You know what’s weird? The one thing I really crave from time to time is s’mores flavored luna bars!! That’s about the extent of my sweet tooth ;)

  19. Ruby Avatar

    What beautiful memories you have of your grandma, this was a really beautiful post to read. I am so pleased I have discovered your blog. And these donuts looks so tasty x

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Ruby!! :D

  20. Sara @ Cake Over Steak Avatar

    What a sweet memory about your grandmother! These apple cider donuts sound awesome, and I love that they’re vegan too.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Sara!! <3 :D

  21. dana Avatar

    WANT. Also, AMAZING PHOTOS, girl! xoxoxoxoxoxox

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks Dana!! <3 :D

  22. Margo Avatar

    These look amazing! But I need to make them GF. What flour would you suggest using instead of splet?

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Any gluten-free all-purpose flour blend would do, I believe! Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour both have gluten-free blends :)

  23. […] //I’m not the only one who has serious cravings for donuts . . . Apple Cider Donuts. […]

  24. Megan @ The Cherry Zest Avatar

    Wow! I found this on Pinterest, and I have to say that everything about this looks amazing! I love that you use applesauce to make the apple cider donuts. It must really bring out the apple flavor in a big way. Totally adding this to my fall baking lineup. Thank you!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by, Megan! :D

  25. Jennifer Avatar

    Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try!
    I don’t have spelt flour on hand…do you think oat flour would work?

    1. Sarah Avatar

      If you want to use oat flour, I would try a 50-50 blend of oat and whole wheat flour instead of just oat. Or a gluten-free all-purpose blend would work too! :D

  26. Phil Avatar

    5 stars
    Perfect Saturday morning recipe. Thanks for this post and recipe. I made these for my wife and kids with a little alteration of substituting more cider and applesauce for the oil (since we are Whole-Food Plant-Based, which means oil free). These are fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing this. You rock my friend!!!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I’m so glad they came out well!! Thanks for your note, Phil :)

  27. Anastasia Avatar

    5 stars
    What a delicious autumn apple treat! I can’t wait to try these! I love baked doughnuts – and I don’t think these will last long in our kitchen either ?

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I hope you like them, Anastasia!! :D

  28. […] Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts w/ Powdered Cinnamon Sugar […]

  29. […] Fluffy Vegan Apple Cider Donuts by Well and Full […]

  30. JA Avatar

    I made the apple cider doughnut recipe as written using AP flour (as I’m not gluten sensitive), the texture was nice but the apple
    Flavor was lacking to my family’s taste. I plan on making the apple cider doughnut again in the morning using boiled cider, I hope reducing the cider will intensify the apple flavor. If I can achieve a good balance of apple flavor I may experiment using 1/4 c of
    Graham flour in the future. Thanks for posting recipe I have missed the cider doughnuts I used to buy at the Brooklyn farmer’s market years ago.

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thanks for the honest feedback, JA! Please let me know how it works out with boiling down the cider… I’d be interested in hearing how it goes! :)

  31. Nicole Avatar

    Would this recipe work with buckwheat flour or banana flour?

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I haven’t tested it with either of those flours; I’d imagine buckwheat would work but I’ve never heard of banana flour!

    2. Miranda Avatar

      I used brown rice flour and they were amazing!

      1. Sarah Avatar

        I’m so glad to hear you liked them Miranda!! Thanks for leaving a note :)

  32. GlutenFreeMj Avatar

    5 stars
    I made these doughnuts and they were AMAZING!! I did make some minor substitutions; because I have celiac disease I used brown rice flour instead of spelt. I also subbed the applesauce for pumpkin but still used the apple cider. They were so yummy I ended up making 2 dozen! 😊 I love this recipe

    1. Sarah Avatar

      I’m so glad to hear you liked the recipe! I’ll have to try making these with pumpkin too :)

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Hi friends! I’m Sarah, and welcome to Well and Full. Here, you’ll find seasonal, plant-forward recipes and lifestyle inspiration rooted in New England charm.