Apple Cider Donuts are old-fashioned fried cake doughnuts that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and packed with apple flavor!
These apple cider doughnuts are made like old-fashioned buttermilk donuts with the added bonus of apple cider! They are so delicious that you will understand why they are popular at state fairs, fall festivals, and apple orchards!
What You’ll Find In This Post
Apple Cider Donuts Ingredients
- Apple Cider: Add for flavor and moisture.
- Flour: It provides structure and gives them texture.
- Leavening: Use both baking powder and baking soda.
- Spices: Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Salt: Enhances the flavor.
- Butter: Adds fat and moisture.
- Sugars: Use both brown and granulated sugars.
- Eggs: Adds moisture and structure.
- Buttermilk: Use whole milk buttermilk for fat and flavor.
- Apple Butter: Adds more apple flavor.
- Cinnamon Sugar: Use to coat the donuts.
How To Make Apple Cider Donuts
Start by reducing the apple cider. Bring the apple cider to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until the cider is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Remove from heat, transfer to a heat-proof bowl, and stir in the apple butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, apple butter, and apple cider reduction mixture. Set aside.
Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Stir in 1/2 of the dry ingredients until moistened. Then, add 1/2 of the apple cider mixture and stir to combine. Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients.
Turn out onto a well-floured, parchment-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough. Flatten or roll out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat oil in a deep fryer (or large pot with a thermometer) to 360˚F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a 3-inch, floured doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts. Save the donut holes and re-roll the scraps to use all of the dough. Return the cut doughnuts to the fridge until ready to fry.
Fry two donuts at once for 3 minutes, carefully turning halfway through cooking. Fry apple cider donut holes for 2-3 minutes. The exteriors should be a deep brown color. Drain the fried apple cider donuts on a paper towel-lined plate.
Coat the apple cider doughnuts with cinnamon sugar. All of those wonderful craggy edges and cracks help the cinnamon sugar coat the donuts!
Store the apple cinnamon doughnuts in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw frozen doughnuts at room temperature. You can reheat them in the microwave before serving if desired.
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
Although fried donuts are the apple orchard doughnuts everyone loves, you can make baked apple cider donuts if you prefer. The exterior texture is smoother, and they don’t have a deep-fried flavor, but they are still delicious.
- After mixing up the dough, transfer it to a pastry bag with the tip cut off. You can also use a gallon-sized ziptop bag.
- Squeeze the dough into a greased doughnut pan.
- Bake the donuts at 350˚F for 11-14 minutes.
- Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
- Dip the donuts in melted butter before coating them with cinnamon sugar.
Apple Cider Mini Donuts
You can also use this recipe to make mini donuts! For fried mini donuts, use a 2-inch donut cutter and fry them for 2-3 minutes. Or, for baked mini doughnuts, use a mini doughnut pan and bake them for 8-10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
To get really good apple flavor in these apple cider doughnuts, a lot of apple cider needs to be added. But if you just added the plain apple cider, it would be way too much liquid for the dough. By boiling the apple cider, the amount of liquid is reduced, leaving a thick, concentrated syrup that is packed with flavor.
No, apple juice should not be substituted for apple cider in this recipe. For the most flavor, look for fresh apple cider that is found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Otherwise, some grocery stores sell apple cider in the juice aisle as well.
Although the donuts can be fully made, stored, and served the following day, freshly fried, still-warm doughnuts are the best! But you can prepare the dough the day before and store it in the fridge overnight. When ready to fry the apple cider donuts, remove the dough from the fridge and continue with the recipe
Apple Cider Doughnuts Coating
We went with the classic cinnamon sugar coating on these fried apple cider doughnuts, but other toppings or glazes would be good as well! Here are a few ideas:
More Apple Recipes To Enjoy
- Our Dutch Apple Pie is so easy to make, and it has a fantastic crumble top!
- Try our homemade Apple Pie Filling recipe and enjoy apple desserts all year long.
- This Apple Cobbler Recipe is the perfect thing to enjoy during the fall!
- Easy Apple Crisp is amazing, served warm with ice cream and caramel sauce.
Apple Cider Donuts
- 2 cups apple cider do not use apple juice
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup apple butter
- 1 cup cinnamon sugar find my recipe here
- peanut oil for frying
- Bring apple cider to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced to about ⅓ cup. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl if desired. Stir in the apple butter. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and the apple cider/apple butter mixture. Set aside.
- Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with a stand mixer.
- Stir in ½ of the flour mixture. Add ½ of the apple cider mixture and stir to combine. Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients. (See notes for how to make baked donuts at this point.)
- Turn onto a well-floured, parchment-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough. Flatten or roll out to about ¾ inch thickness. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour (or overnight).
- Heat oil in a deep fryer (or use a large pot with a thermometer) to 360˚F.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator. Use a 3 inch, floured doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts. Save the donut holes and re-roll scraps. Return the cut donuts to the fridge until ready to fry.
- Fry a couple of doughnuts at once for about 3 minutes, carefully turning halfway through cooking, until deep brown on both sides. Fry the holes for 2-3 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Coat with cinnamon sugar.