Easy Baked Apple Donuts are sure to please

An apple donut a day …


Photos: Kristi Bissell
A deliciously moist apple donut made with homemade apple compote, brushed with melted butter and rolled in a sugar and spice mixture. The perfect fall treat!

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

There is nothing quite like an apple donut in the fall. Like a trip to the pumpkin patch or raking leaves, enjoying a good apple donut with a cup of coffee is for many an autumnal rite of passage.

The best apple donuts near where I live come from a local orchard that makes cider donuts from scratch, frying them in hot oil and dipping them in cinnamon sugar. They go so quickly, you are almost always assured that your batch will still be warm.

But what if a trip to the apple orchard isn’t in the cards for you this year? My suggestion: bake up a batch of these Easy Baked Apple Donuts at home instead. They are moist and cakey with true apple spice flavor, just as a good apple donut should be.

Yes and speaking of spices, it’s a special mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves that give these donuts their irresistibly delicious Nordic flavor—it’s hard to eat just one with your coffee or a glass of fresh cold milk.

And the best part? No frying. Just a quick bake in the oven and they are ready to brush with a little melted butter and roll in sugar and spices.

Have I convinced you that this is an easy baking project worth trying? Read on!

As I said, these donuts are quite simple. No need for a mixer, they come together quickly and easily by hand. But you will need a couple of nonstick pans for baking donuts. You can find them at many stores nowadays, as baked donuts have become a more popular thing, or you can buy them from online retailers. The ingredients are very straightforward.

The Caramelized Apple Compote is especially nice in this recipe if you are willing to take the time to make a batch. Cooking and caramelizing the apples really brings out a deep apple flavor with toasty notes that makes these donuts a little extra special.

Give them a little whirl in the food processor and you have a delicious caramelized apple sauce, just perfect for these donuts. If you want to keep things easy and save yourself a step, store-bought unsweetened applesauce will also work just fine.

Remember, these are definitely best the day they are made, a bit warm from the oven. If you would like to save some for the next day, wait until you are just about to serve them to brush with melted butter and roll in the sugar and spice mixture.

Makes 12 donuts


For the donuts:

  • 2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. fine salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsps. canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup puréed Simple Caramelized Apple Compote (about 1 ½ cups of compote processed in a food processor until smooth or 1 cup store bought unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 4 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted + more butter for the pans
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves

Special equipment:

  • Nonstick donut pans for 1 dozen donuts each


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease pans with butter or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk sugar, brown sugar, egg, oil, buttermilk, apple compote, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until completely smooth.
  4. Add dry ingredients and combine with a rubber spatula until the batter just comes together.
  5. Transfer batter to a large zipper bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe the batter into a nonstick donut pan, filling each donut space about three-quarters of the way up with batter.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake until donuts spring back when touched, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  7. Meanwhile, make the topping. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves in a shallow bowl.
  8. When donuts are cool enough to handle, brush each donut with melted butter and toss in sugar and spice mixture until donuts are fully coated. Serve warm.

Simple Carmelized APPLE COMPOTE
Makes 2 cups


  • 3 tbsps. unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • ¼ cup water
  • Squeeze of lemon juice


  1. Melt butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon and cook until bubbling, about 1 minute.
  2. Add apples, vanilla bean paste, and the pod and sauté, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and caramelized, about 15–20 minutes.
  3. Add water, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice.
  4. Serve warm or allow mixture to cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator to store. Compote will last for about one week in the fridge.

This article originally appeared in the September 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.