Apple Cider Paleo Donuts

paleo donuts

This recipe for apple cider paleo donuts is inspired by the amazing apple orchards in my adopted state of New Jersey. Apple cider donuts are commonly found at farm stands, primarily in the autumn, and usually accompanied by glasses of hot apple cider. Contrary to its image, New Jersey retains its rural and agricultural flavor throughout much of the state. (It is known as “The Garden State” after all.) The apple industry here is vibrant and farms have survived development and other economic pressures by promoting orchards as educational and recreational experiences. Consumers contribute to the preservation of the farming heritage by patronizing local farms. Farms in turn have used festivals, school tours, u-pick operations along with roadside retail to survive and thrive by meeting consumer demands. We enjoy patronizing local farms and have always looked forward to indulging in cider donuts when visiting them. This recipe for cider paleo donuts allows us to enjoy this treat while sticking with our paleo diet.

My husband was initially shocked at the sight of my newly purchased mini-donut maker. He thought I had really gone off the deep end. (Oh, he of little faith!) But in spite of his skepticism, these donuts are grain-free, gluten-free, casein-free, soy free and contain only natural sugars. So I consider them a bonafide paleo treat. And these paleo donuts go great with some eggs and coffee at breakfast. You can also serve them as an after school snack. (Something my boys love.) They are fairly quick and easy to make – you don’t need to drag out your stand mixer. And the $20 for the mini-donut maker seems like a worth while investment.paleo donut collage

Here’s a look at some of the ingredients I used:

paleo donut ingredients

Ingredients (makes 10-12 mini-donuts)

Paleo Donuts

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1/2 cup warm apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or butter or coconut oil), melted – for coating cooked donuts

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (I used Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon)paleo donuts


  1. Preheat mini-donut maker. (Here’s the one I used. And another potential option in white.)mini donut maker
  2. In a small bowl whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, oil and honey.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Add the warm apple cider to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated into the dough.paleo donuts mixture
  6. Scoop the donut batter into the pre-heated donut maker. A cookie scooper makes it easy. (About 1 1/2 tablespoons for each donut)
  7. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove cooked donuts from the pan.
  9. Either brush donuts with melted ghee/butter/coconut oil or dip them in to cover both sides.paleo donuts in ghee
  10. Toss donuts with the prepared cinnamon/coconut sugar mixture until coated.paleo donuts in coconut sugar

Don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is coming up. Why not invest in a mini-donut maker and some coconut flour and surprise your sweetheart?! Here’s a link to a heart-shaped donut pan I found that could be really fun to use with this recipe. The caveat is that I have not tried this recipe in a regular donut pan in the oven. I suspect you would need to add more liquid to make it work. As soon as I give it a try I will update this post. Or if you try it out I would love to hear about the experience in the comments section so we can all learn more.

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85 thoughts on “Apple Cider Paleo Donuts

  1. Oh. My. Goodness!

    Any idea what temp the donut maker is? I’ve got an oven donut pan I’ll give this a whirl on… just wondering if 350 for 15 min is a good place to start?

    Thanks so much for your contribution – don’t forget the logo if you’re doing the Valentine’s Round-Up! :)

    • I can’t vouch for it because I haven’t tried it but I have seen recipes with higher temperatures and lower times. One I saw was 425 degrees for 7-8 minutes and let them cool in the pan for 4-5 minutes. And I’m going to head over to your blog for that logo now. Thanks!

    • Compliments from kids are the BEST! But feel free to take all the credit when you serve your kids donuts. (Reminds me of Bill Cosby’s “Himself” when he talks about the chocolate cake for breakfast for his kids.)

      • Yes! “Dad is great! he gives us chocolate cake!” Love Bill Cosby! I have to try these donuts. They look so good, and I love fall flavor treats.

  2. Oh my gosh!! Cannot wait to try this recipe. Definitely gonna have to invest on a donut maker just to try these. Amazing recipes u come up with!!!

  3. And I thought I had to swear off donuts forever ;) Love your recipe and the fact that the flour is grain-free (can’t get enough of my coconut flour!). Definitely trying this … as soon as I make that donut maker purchase! If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get yours? I wonder if I can find any that are enameled cast iron, since I’m not a fan of the chemical nonstick. But then I’d be forced to use it very frequently to justify the cost :D

    • Heba,
      I thought the exact same thing. I bought mine at Target and I just added some links in the post for a couple of different ones on Amazon. I also saw one on there (put a link at the end of the post) for a heart-shaped pan which looks cool. I’m going to have to invest in one of those pans to test the recipe in the oven. I’ll post the results. See the lengths I will go to for the good of mankind?! :-)

    • Heart-shaped donuts would be so nice. This batter is pretty thick which means it might require some extra liquid if using a regular donut pan. I hope it works out for you. I’m going to retest this recipe using a regular donut pan myself and see how it goes and then update the post. Thanks for your comments!

      • Did you try it out in an oven donut pan? I purchased one this weekend…they didn’t have a donut maker…wondering if there are any adaptations you suggest???
        Thanks :)

        • I suggest you try cooking them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and letting them sit for another 20 minutes before trying to remove them from the pan. Another commenter also had success cooking them this way. Just make sure you grease the pan – I’m sure you know that already though! Good luck

  4. I didn’t think I’d like those donut makers but this recipe makes me reconsider my reservations about them. These look amazing!!! I must try. I can’t help but think that a maple syrup glaze would also go well with them, maybe dipped in some chopped nuts too? Yum, yum, yum. :)

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  6. Lea, I just made these in the oven in my doughnut pan, and they are delicious! I baked them for nearly 20 minutes at 350 until they were browned around the edges, and left them to sit about 20 minutes after taking them out of oven. They were very soft, and remain that way, almost spongey now. To get the doughnuts, I turned the pan over onto a cutting board. Two of the doughnuts broke coming out of the pan. I’ll play around with it some more to see if I can get them firmer (maybe no extra liquid after all), but the taste is in need of NO upgrades! Thanks so much for the recipe inspiration :)

    My modifications:
    Flax gel instead of eggs (2 TB flax meal + 1/3 cup warm water)
    Grade A maple syrup instead of honey
    2/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup apple cider (following suggestion for more liquid in a baked version)
    I brushed on coconut oil and sprinkled sucanat-cinnamon mix instead of coconut sugar-cinnamon mix. (I don’t have coconut sugar yet.)

    I did use a canola oil “no stick spray” in the pan – I don’t usually use that stuff, but figured I’d let it slide today just to test the recipe. I’ll try greasing the doughnut wells with coconut oil next time. And there will definitely be a “next time!” These were so easy and taste so good, the payoff for ten minutes of work is more than worth it :)

    • Wow, Emily. Thanks for the great information! I’m so glad to hear the basic recipe works fairly well in a regular donut pan. I just purchased one myself so I will give it a try as well. The feedback you have given will help me along that path. I appreciate the time you took to let us know what you did with the recipe. Take care!

    • I used your exact recipe (only exchanging the honey for maple syrup 1:1), and used the suggestion above, baking in a doughnut pan at 350 for 20 minutes, and the doughnuts came out perfectly! No need to adjust the liquid. They were so good! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Thanks for posting your mods! My son is allergic to eggs (ugh!) so I also use the flax/chia egg replacer. Another good and beneficial sub is beef gelatin. I wonder how that would work in this recipe. Anyway, got a pan too. I’ll be referring to your specs.

    • Holly,
      I would say they have a cake donut texture. Coconut flour is finicky so you have to get the moisture right so it doesnt turn out like “wet sand”.

      • Thank you! I am new to this paleo cooking and sometimes I want to CRY when things do not turn out right. Is it too wet when it comes out like that? Sorry for the questions? Also sorry if my original post sounded rude, apparently I am a jerk when I type ( per my husband). That was certainly NOT my intention, and I am loving almost everything I have seen on this page. You are awesome for sharing them all with us!!

        • Holly,
          Your post didn’t sound rude. These ingredients are expensive so I understand the wanting to cry when things don’t turn out right. My donuts come out on the dryer side and then the ghee/butter moisten them up more. The dough is closer to a cookie dough than a cake batter. Per discussions in the comments section of my paleo pancakes recipe there is a broad range of experiences with coconut flour. The moisture content varies quite a bit depending on the brand and how it is stored, etc… Some people end up with something closer to crepe batter and others, following the same recipe, get a cookie dough texture and have to add liquid. If your donut batter is too wet then I suggest trying it with less liquid or adding just a bit more coconut flour until you get a thicker batter. I hope that helps. :-)

          • I made them this morning. They were not as pretty as yours ( probably because I had 3 year old trying to eat them as I dipped them in sugar. They were a success! I believe we have found our birthday breakfast meal!! THANK YOU

  7. Our kids loved them. We loved them. Win!!!! And easy peasy to make. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. We wound up not having coconut sugar to coat them in, so I mixed up coconut flakes and cinnamon instead. YUMMMM. My dd ate them sans the topping and loved them plain. Can’t lose. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • Julia,
      Sometimes it’s all about keeping the family happy isn’t it! So glad y’all liked them. I don’t think you can lose with a combination of coconut and cinnamon. Thanks for your feedback.

  8. I made these today in honor of National Doughnut Day =). Used what I had… which meant subbing sparkling apple juice for the cider, and an Æbleskiver pan instead of a doughnut maker. Finished them with a light drizzle of maple syrup, a dusting of cinnamon, and a few sliced almonds… delish! Thanks for all of your coconut flour-based recipes. I have a blast experimenting with them, posting pictures on Facebook, and shocking friends when I tell them the ingredients.

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  10. Can’t wait to make these! Can I sub any liquid (within reason) for the cider.. like milk maybe? I would like to make them a different flavor! Just checking ;-)

      • I actually am very allergic to S.A.D. milk… but there is a raw, pastured dairy close by and I get milk from them. Drink it all the time and have no reaction to it. That’s not true, it’s actually helping to CLEAR UP some of my health issues! Yay!! :-) Thanks for the response. God bless.

        • You’re fortunate to have access to raw, pasture raised dairy. It is not legal in my state. :-( But I buy it every now and then when I’m in Pennsylvania and try to have my oldest son, who has lots of allergies, drink it in the hopes it might help. Silly that we can’t get it here though.

          • Thanks for tips about the cheese. And I’d love to come to Texas. I’m originally from there and all my family is there. (Graduated from Texas A&M) but home is in NJ now so I only get to visit.

          • I knew it :-) I can tell a Texan from a mile away! Anyway, I’m sure you’ll see me on here again, I love your site!

          • Also… when you do buy it, buy lots and make kefir and raw cream cheese (which you can freeze)! That way it doesn’t go bad (which raw doesn’t really anyway)! I made cream cheese yesterday and it is perfect for so many things and you still get all the good stuff too! :-)

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  12. I have recently needed to transition to the auto-immune protocol, eliminating eggs, nuts, and seeds. I’m wondering whether or not you think mashed banana or something similar might work in place of the eggs. I would love for my kids to be able to grow up with some sort of doughnut, pancake, cookie, etc.

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  15. Lea! I just have to thank you so much for your apple cider doughnut recipe! They are fantastic and just as good if not certainly better than the farm stand version! :) I didn’t have a mini-doughnut maker so I made full-size versions in my doughnut pan and baked at 350 for about 15minutes. I also used coconut nectar in place of honey. I’m pretty sure these doughnuts will become a new staple in our household every Fall season! :)

    • Great! We just went to a local farm to buy pumpkins and there were the cider donuts as usual. Guess this means I better make them again soon. Thanks for the description of how you cooked them.

  16. Hi there! I stumbled upon this AMAZING recipe and I must try it!, But I don’t have a mini doughnut maker or doughnut pan. I have a doughnut cutter, like a cookie cutter. I am wondering if I could roll out the dough and then cut it and place on a baking sheet? Thoughts anyone?! I really want to make these, but I am trying to figure out how, with what I have for tools haha. Any thoughts would be great!!!!! Thanks!! :)

    • Hi Rachelle,
      The dough is pretty sticky. I’m not sure if you would be able to roll it out because of that. I know some people have used regular donut baking pans instead of the mini donut maker with success. But rolling it out would be difficult. Maybe you could try shaping them by hand?

  17. I made them! I don’t have a donut pan, and don’t think it would be a good idea to!, so I just scooped it onto a pan cookie style like munchkins. They are good! I made them according to the directions and with extra liquid. I like the taste and texture with more liquid better. I can’t wait to share with my daughter after nap!

  18. Bought one of these Bella mini donut makers today with the intention of making paleo apple cider donuts. Glad I’m not the only one!

  19. Lea, you’ve created a monster! LOL! We love our new donut hole maker! I didn’t have any apple cider, but I did have orange juice, and made orange spice donut holes using your recipe. Wow. Just wow. Perfect cakey texture, and they satisfied those non-Paleo cravings!

    You inspired me to create this savory recipe of Mini Sweet Potato Crab Cakes. So easy, and no mess, and no fuss, with the use of the donut hole maker. Love it!

    Thank you again :)

    Faye @

    • Faye,
      That’s wonderful! I’m so glad you liked the recipe. I checked out your post and those crabcakes look and sound amazing. I will DEFINITELY be trying them. Now for that cake pop maker….

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  21. Wow! These are delicious! Usually I’m disappointed with recipes that use coconut flour because they turn out SO dry, but these are excellent! I made them in a well-greased muffin pan and baked them at 350 for 18 minutes. Thank you!

  22. Hello,

    I’m live in Hungary so it’s impossible to buy organic apple cider. What do you think, is it works with normal 100% apple juice or it’s important to use fizzy liquid?

    Thank you so much, can’t wait to try this recipe with normal donut pan! :-)

  23. what did I do wrong? I made my own coconut flour from coconut flakes and added all the other ingredients but there is WAY too much liquid. My batter resembles runny soup. I baked them and they turned out like wet sand. Maybe my flour is not fine enough.?

    • Baking with coconut flour is very tricky. Making your own flour is likely to not give the same results. Homemade coconut flour is really not the same thing as what you would buy online or in the grocery store. Yours would have much more moisture content.

  24. I found out that I have a sensitivity to coconut… any suggestions for almond flour/arrowroot powder substitution… think I’m going to experiment… I know I’ll have to cut the liquid… the next 6 months is going to be torturous…

  25. My 9 year old had to go on Paleo (so of course our entire family is doing it) 7 weeks ago due to thyroid and sugar problems (and a long list of symptoms) which have all miraculously disappeared. She has been totally compliant and loves feeling great and no longer having depression, rash, mood swings, insatiable appetite etc. Her only complaint–almost daily–is that she wishes she could have a donut. I have had to tell her many times that it may not ever be possible. Thank you so much for this recipe!! I cannot wait to someday surprise her with this!

    • Alicia,
      Your comment makes me so happy. First of all, it’s wonderful that your daughter is feeling so much better! It’s amazing how quickly she has improved. Just goes to show how resilient people can be. And I’m thrilled you think this recipe will make her happy and help her feel good about her new way of eating. I get discouraged when people criticize some “paleo” dessert recipes. As a mom I know there are times when kids need to be able to enjoy treats. It’s great when you can find recipes that won’t make them sick and that help them ultimately stick with the healthy eating program.
      Best wishes to you and your family,

  26. I made the donuts the other day in a donut pan. The taste was yummy but they crumbled quite a bit. Next time I’ll try adding a bit more liquid. The coconut sugar/cinnamon mix was awesome on the donuts. My whole family finished all 6 of them before lunch. Guess it’s time to make some more.

    Welcome to Jersey. I’m just south of you in Jackson. My husband was born and raised in Texas near the Woodlands. We visit there frequently to see family.

    Thanks for all the great recipes. Can’t wait to make some more.

      • I haven’t added this one yet, but I put all my recipes in MasterCook because it calculates all that for you! It’s a great little inexpensive program.

        When I get this recipe entered (I always test them before I add them) I will post the nutritional information.

  27. I made these last night in a full-size donut pan in the oven. It filled the 6 cavities perfectly, and I baked them for 20 full minutes at 350. A few of them crumbled a little on the edges as I tried to coat them, but all in all it went very well! Everyone I have shared them with have loved them — which is why I plan to do mini donuts next time. :)

    45 minutes start to finish. 6 grain-free tasty donuts. Life doesn’t get much better than that!

  28. Pingback: Paleo Apple Cider Donuts | The Clean Eating Mom

  29. I finally invested in a donut pan and have had this recipe bookmarked for MONTHS! I finally whipped up a batch today and I was so impressed with how easy they were and how delicious they tasted!!
    I subbed maple syrup for honey only because I prefer the taste.
    I was honestly so pleased that I bit into the first donut and I could’ve fooled myself into thinking these were the real, non-paleo deal! My mom had the same reaction ;)

    Unfortunately I learned soon after that apple cider (like apple juice…should have known!) doesn’t agree with my stomach :( HOWEVER, my family is going bonkers over the remaining donuts and I’m already planning to make another batch next week for my boyfriend!
    Thanks for a delicious recipe! I hope to try out some more of yours soon! :)

  30. I have a cake pop maker. It’s made just like your donut maker. Do you think the recipe would turn out good if I used the cake pop maker to make donut holes?

  31. So, just made these !! However , I did not have coconut flour, so I ground some coconut to make my own and it did not get as fine as I needed in my magic bullet, but I added a bit of almond flour and in stead of using honey, I used the mashed up apples from the cider I made!! Had to improvise with consistency, but man did it ever work out !! Yummy ! Thank you for this delicious recipe!! Also, next time I make them, I am going to make a oglaze with the cinnamon sugar and apple cider, I hope it works out, owlish me luck !!!

    • Wow Vanessa, you really are creative and able to improvise a recipe! Thanks for the feedback. Good luck with the glaze and let us know how it goes.

  32. And to think I almost put my donut pan on the garage sale because I was never using it. ;) I followed the baking instructions left in the comments and they came out perfect. I coated the pan with coconut oil and not a single donut stuck or separated.

    I just whipped these up this morning. Loved the simplicity of the recipe. I had them made, baked, eaten, and clean-up done in under an hour. Fantastic.

    However, my kids and I found that these left a *really* strong after-taste from the apple cider vinegar. Is there anything I can do to combat this? I hate to decrease the amount of vinegar in the recipe because you need it to make them airy, but the taste is a real turn-off. I don’t mind apple cider, but it just doesn’t go when my heart is set on donuts. Know what I mean? Does anyone else have this problem? What did you do to solve it? We really want to love these!

    • Hi Kristi,
      Thanks for the compliments and I’m glad you thought the process worked well. Here’s the problem – it sounds like you used apple cider vinegar. ? The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of apple cider not apple cider vinegar. You mentioned following some instructions in the comments so I’m not sure if that’s where you got the impression it was apple cider vinegar or if someone recommended a small amount for leavening… Anyway, if you try them again be sure it’s sweet apple cider not vinegar. :-)
      Best, Lea

  33. Oh, good grief! I can’t believe I did that! Hahaha! I have no idea why I read vinegar – I guess I was in such a hurry to make these, my brain vetoed common sense! After I had left that comment I tried the recipe again with 100% apple juice and they were delicious. :) My kids devoured them. So, mental note to self: “No vinegar necessary.” Sheesh. {embarrassed blushing}

  34. I am just venturing in to the foray of all things paleo. Dinner and supper weren’t such a daunting task but breakfast was kicking my butt. I mean I love eggs but don’t want to eat them everyday. I am so glad I found your site. My kids will be thrilled to know that there are recipes out there that will allow them to eat familiar things like donuts and one of your other recipes I saved for blueberry muffins and coconut flour pancakes. I’ve been absorbing all of the comments and feedback which have all been very educational. Now I have to go to target to get a donut maker LOL. Thanks to all of your hard work it helps keep things simpler for the rest of us. God I love the internet!!!!

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