Apple Cider Doughnuts

apple cider doughnuts

Note: This post has been updated. Click here for the newer version.

Happy fall! Yesterday was the first official day of fall, which happens to be my favorite season. I thought the best way to welcome the season would be to make a quintessential fall food (only because there aren't any piles of leaves to jump in yet).

apple cider doughnuts
And so there I was on the first day of fall, frying up apple cider doughnuts -- those doughnuts I crave at the first sign of cool weather, when thoughts of apple picking fill my head. While I haven't had a chance to go apple picking yet, when I got together with my mom last weekend, she brought me apples and cider from an orchard she had gone to in Connecticut, an orchard I used to go to every year as a kid, an orchard where I used to eat apple cider doughnuts.

It only seemed logical that I take my new gifts and turn them into these doughnuts. And it just so happened that I had actually dog-eared a recipe for them in the Food Network Magazine a few days earlier.

Apple Cider Doughnuts (from Food Network Magazine, October 2009)


1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 red apples, such as Cortland or McIntosh
2 1/2 cups apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder


Core and coarsely chop the apples (do not peel).

chopped apples
Combine with 1 1/2 cups cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

Uncover and continue cooking until the apples are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5 minutes.

simmering apples in cider
Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 1 cup. (Boil to reduce further, if necessary.) Let cool slightly.

apples in food processor
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Beat 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer on medium speed until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, then gradually mix in the applesauce, scraping the bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix to make a sticky dough; do not overmix.

dough for doughnuts
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and pat into a 7-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Definitely use parchment. I had run out of it, so I tried to substitute wax paper. Even though I floured the paper, the dough really stuck, making it a bit difficult to lift off the doughnut cutouts.)
Meanwhile, make the glaze: Simmer the remaining 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar until smooth and glossy, then set aside. Mix the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside for the topping.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Cut the chilled dough into 12 rounds, using a floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter, then cut out the middles with a 1-inch cutter (or use a doughnut cutter). Slip 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

doughnut cutouts
apple cider doughnuts
Dip one side of each doughnut in the cider glaze, letting the excess drip off; dip just the glazed side in the cinnamon-sugar or roll all over in cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Serve warm.

apple cider doughnuts
When you bite into these doughnuts, you first experience the crunch, then the swirled flavor of cinnamon and sugar, then the slight tanginess of the cider glaze, and then finally the warm, soft, apple-y inside.

apple cider doughnut - inside view
The flavor and texture of these doughnuts are amazing. The texture is virtually the same as that of the doughnuts I used to eat at the orchard. The only difference is that the apple flavor is stronger in these, which is clearly not a bad thing.

I definitely recommend eating them warm (if you have leftovers, try microwaving them for about 10 seconds). If you're lucky enough to be the one making the doughnuts, you can fry and eat the scraps as you go. No one will even know how many you ate or how much sugar you loaded onto them! Not that I'm saying that's what I did or anything...

apple cider doughnuts
What's your favorite fall treat?


Mike said...

Man, these look tasty.

Alicia said...

OH Man - I just went apple picking this weekend, and had my first apple fritters. Those were delicious. I also love cider donuts from this place near Amherst back home.

By far my favorite fall treat is anything pumpkin. I had a pumpkin donut this weekend that was to-die for!!!

These look delicious! YUM!

Anne said...

Yes! These look amazing. I have never, believe it or not, had an apple cider doughnut. But I plan to start with these! Ever since I realized earlier this year how easy it was to make doughnuts, it's been a struggle not to fry up some dough every chance I get. I've been saving my doughnut-making for fall, so that I can make cider doughnuts and pumpkin doughnuts. Yum!

tastestopping said...

I am so with you on fall being my favorite season. Perhaps simply because of its connection with apple picking and cider doughnuts (eaten, usually, just after apple picking). I've never tried to make cider doughnuts myself, so I will be bookmarking this recipe to try right away! Thanks.


brandi said...

i just had to wipe drool off my face :) these look AMAZING! And I have NEVER had a cider donut ,but I think I need to.

stephchows said...

OOOOOOOO!!!!! Great minds do think alike haha hooray to doughnuts!! Yours look perfect! I always have to get cider doughnuts when I go and pick apples... mmm I need to get on it and go apple picking soon! SO GOOD!!!

The Duo Dishes said...

Wow, how can one say no to at least 4 of these in one sitting?

Erika said...

I love apple cider doughnuts! Something about fall in new england!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

I had forgotten all about these! How delicious! My favorite thing has to be the pumpkins, apples are close behind!

Z said...

Oh man, I miss apple cider doughnuts.

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Ohhhh these look amazing!!

Amy I. said...

These look heavenly, Megan! I went to college in Upstate New York, and fall is really the only time I miss it there... these donuts really remind me of that time.

the ungourmet said...

These are my most favorite doughnut! My kids and I go to the pumpkin patch every autumn and they sell these at the farm. There is always a very long line to wait in to get some.

I would love to try and make them. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

The Chickenless Chick said...

Maybe this is due to my Floridian upbringing, but I've never even heard of an apple cider doughnut. They look delicious! Makes me wish we could grow apples down here. I'll trade you, if you'd like... how do you feel about grapefruit? ;)

Shannon said...

ooh!!! i so need to make these :) perfect fall treat!

Cate O'Malley said...

Oh man, do those ever look good! My favorite Fall treat is a Cinnamon Apple Cake - delish!

mimi said...

I have never heard of apple cider doughnuts. In Southern California, we do have apple orchards, but no doughnuts. On the first rainy day of fall I make my kids torte, a Swiss drop doughnut, for an after school treat. I am sure they would like me to add your yummy apple cider doughnuts to the doughnut pile.

Kerstin said...

Oh wow, these look amazing! I can't wait to go apple picking!

Eric Brown said...

The donuts look sooo good. I used to get these and apple dumplings at a farm near my house growing up. My mom's birthday is coming up and I am cooking for the party. These would make a good treat to pass around. I'm going to try these this week if I can just find the time.

Jessica said...

Those doughnuts look so tasty. I'm going apple-picking this weekend, and I'm definitely making a note to pick up some cider and give these a shot.

Sara said...

Fall is my favorite season, too. I love the food and the weather, and the reprieve from all those summertime bad hair days!

I bookmarked these doughnuts before I even read the whole post. You had me with the title! Can't wait to try them, and the boyfriend will be so happy when he hears we will be frying things.

Eliana said...

I read about these but wasn't too sure about making them. Now that I see yours turned out so well, I'll probably make some this weekend.