A refreshing apple flavor, these Apple Cider Donuts can easily be made at home from scratch with some basic pantry ingredients and apple cider. These deep fried donuts use no yeast and instead use baking soda and baking powder to give them their rise.
Nothing speaks more of fall than some flavorful and moist, melt in your mouth apple cider donuts with a cinnamon sugar crust.
Fall festivals happen all over during this wonderful season. Apple are a popular main attraction at all the farmers markets and apple orchards, along with corn mazes and pumpkin patches. If you are lucky enough, you can find a local apple orchard in your area and experience picking a variety of different apples from the trees. Our local orchards are packed with a ton of little kids creating memories and it’s almost impossible to pass up the freshly fried hot apple cider doughnuts coming from the kitchen.
No matter what part of the country or world you are in, there becomes a seasonal shift that usually involves everything full of apple flavors and spices.
How to Make Apple Cider Donuts
- Boil apple cider to concentrate the flavor.
- Mix together dry ingredients.
- Whisk together wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until dough forms.
- Pat dough out and place on baking sheet. Freeze in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil to 350°F.
- Cut donuts with a donut cutter.
- Fry donuts in oil in batches.
- Coat in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
When is the best time of year to pick apples? Apple harvest typically takes place during the cooler months of the year from September through October. Many apple orchards sell apple cider. It’s usually made fresh from their apple orchard and may taste different than store bought apple cider. Many of the apple ciders I have tasted from orchards, use apple varieties that they grow in plentiful and many times they don’t contain any preservatives.
Apple Cider Ingredients
Apple Cider: Apple cider is a must for this recipe. Apple juice is not the same and I do not recommend using it. Look for apple cider by the specialty drinks in the fresh produce aisle of the grocery store or by the juices. Apple cider give that wonderful flavor. In addition, the acidity helps to make them tender and soft. I like to buy my apple cider freshly squeezed with no preservatives from our local apple orchard. However, use whatever apple cider is available near you. The apple cider will need to be boiled down into a concentrate. This will incorporate a more intense apple flavor into the doughnuts. It doesn’t take long and makes all the difference.
Flour: Basic all-purpose flour is used in this recipe. While I do love bread flour in donuts, all-purpose still gives these donuts a classic soft center.
Leavening: Both baking soda and baking powder work well with this donut recipe. These apple cider donuts are more cake like with these two leavening agents. No yeast is required to make this recipe which makes it so much easier and faster to work with in the kitchen.
Spices: Ground cinnamon, and nutmeg add a warm, earthy flavor that’s unbeatable. It’s used in the donut dough and the cinnamon is used in combination with sugar to coat the donuts at the end.
Buttermilk: Gives the donuts a moist texture and rise. Skip using whole milk or heavy cream and use buttermilk with these donuts. The difference is very noticeable. Buttermilk can be found near the milk.
Eggs: The eggs work to bind the ingredients together.
Butter: I use unsalted butter. This process also requires that the butter is melted and then cooled, but not solid. This could take 15-30 minutes.
Oil: To fry the donuts, I like to use peanut oil. However, canola or vegetable oil work well, too. After frying the donuts, be sure to allow the grease to soak through paper towel before coating them in cinnamon sugar.
What’s the Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Juice
Apple juice has a smoother texture and sweeter taste. It often contains added sugar. It also has a longer shelf life because it is filtered and pasteurized. Apple juice does not need to be refrigerated until it’s opened.
Apple cider is cooked down fresh apple juice, which uses more apples. Because it uses fresh apples throughout the process, it is unfiltered and unpasteurized and thus has a shorter shelf life. Apple cider needs to be refrigerated.
What Apples Make the Best Apple Cider?
Blend both tart and sweet apples to create sweet-tart flavor that is sure to appeal to everyone.
Sweeter Cider: Use Fuji, Gala, Courtland, Golden Delicious, or Red Delicious.
Tart Cider: Try Pink Lady, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Braeburn apples.
Storing apple cider donuts: These dessert or breakfast pastries are best eaten fresh, while they are fluffy and warm. They will keep fresh on the counter in an airtight container for 2-3 days or refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat them in a microwave for 100-15 seconds or in a warm oven.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Apple Crisp
- Caramel Apple Bars
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- Classic Caramel Apples
- Homemade Applesauce
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip
- Caramel Sauce Recipe
Apple Cider Donuts
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour (more for dusting)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups vegetable oil (vegetable, canola, or peanut oil)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ tbsp ground cinnamon
- Bring apple cider to a boil in saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil until it is concentrated and reduced to ¼ cup liquid; about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Whisk in vanilla extract, and melted and cooled butter.
- Pour apple cider reduction and wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture.
- Mix ingredients together to form a soft round dough.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, Sprinkle with flour. Pat dough out to ⅜-inch to ½-inch thickness.
- Freeze baking sheet with dough for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour.
- In a large dutch oven or stockpot, pour in frying oil.. Heat oil to 350°F.
- Cut donuts out with 3-inch donut cutter. Dip cutter into flour in between each cut. Pop out center donut rounds.
- Reroll dough to produce about 18 donuts.
- Fry 3 to 4 donuts at a time for about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown.
- Place donuts on paper towel lined baking sheet.
- Coat donuts in cinnamon and sugar mixture.