Apple Cider Doughnuts

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Apple Cider Doughnuts are the perfect fall sweet treat.

When fall arrives, so do those glorious apple-picking days. And big jugs of unfiltered apple cider are easy to come by. This technique is easy to follow and only takes about 30 minutes to make!

A white plate with three apple cider doughnuts on it with an apple and a glass of cider next to it.


Making apple cider doughnuts at home is really easier than you might think.

You don’t need a deep-fryer, a sturdy pot with a candy thermometer will work just fine. But…a deep-fryer is great because it maintains the correct temperature as the doughnuts quickly cook.

Watch us show you how easy it is to make homemade apple cider doughnuts!



Apple cider doughnuts are cake doughnuts and should be moist, but a little more dense than regular “old fashioned” yeast doughnuts. There are so many types of doughnuts, and we love them all.

But there is something so satisfying about a cake doughnut. Combining the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients brings together the moist wonderful batter.  Another favorite doughnut of ours is Jelly and Custard-Filled Doughnuts!

EXPERT TIP: Measure out the dry ingredients first in a small bowl, and then add them to your sifter to sift into a larger bowl. Sifting the dry ingredients makes them lighter and easier to mix into the wet ingredients, therefore, preventing your batter from being lumpy.

Two hands holding a large sifter while sifting flour into a glass bowl.

We use our stand mixer to incorporate the dry mixture into the wet, but you can certainly use an electric hand-mixer, or a non-electric hand mixer (with a lot of elbow grease!).

You’ll need to first cream the softened butter with the sugar. That simply means to mix the two together until they are completely combined, and fluffy in texture, about 3 to 4 minutes.

With the motor running, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar.

A bowl of flour and cinnamon being poured from into a large stand mixer for apple cider doughnuts.

The combination of egg yolks, apple cider, apple butter, and buttermilk results in a deliciously moist cake doughnut.

Simply add the wet ingredients to the mixture until you have a sticky batter.

EXPERT TIP: Once the batter has come together, you can chill the batter for up to 1 day before frying the doughnuts. If not frying immediately, let the batter return to room temperature before proceeding.

A hand pouring two eggs yolks in a glass bowl into a stand mixer.


It’s now time to make the doughnuts!

There are several ways you can do this. Using lightly oiled fingers, you can remove the dough from the bowl and roll it out on a lightly floured cool surface, then use a 2-1/2-inch cutter to cut out the doughnuts, and then use a bottle top to cut out the centers of the doughnuts.

Or..the way we do it, is just pull out about a 1/4 cup of the dough, and, again, with oiled fingers, slightly flatten the dough on your counter, and use your thumb to create a hole in the middle.

EXPERT TIP: Don’t worry if your apple cider doughnut is not perfectly shaped. Just make sure you make a whole that’s at least 3/4-inch to 1-inch in diameter. As the dough cooks, the doughnuts will expand and even crack a little. They’re not meant to be perfectly circular in shape.

Two hands holding a doughnut shaped piece of batter for apple cider doughnuts.


We think a quick fry in 350°F oil produces the best tasting doughnut. Again, you can do this in a deep-fryer or in a sturdy skillet or pot (a Dutch oven works very well). It’s important that the oil is at the correct temperature.

If the oil is not hot enough, the doughnuts will absorb oil and not be pleasing in taste. If the oil is too hot, the outside will burn and the inside won’t be cooked through.

Fry the doughnuts for only 2 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. They will become somewhat dark in color, which is normal.

EXPERT TIP: Don’t overcrowd the doughnuts in the oil! Fry the doughnuts in batches and let them rest on a rack placed on a baking sheet to slightly cool before proceeding.

Apple cider doughnuts on a baking rack and baking sheet just after being fried.

The perfect apple cider doughnut has a delicious cinnamon-sugar coating all over it.

Simply take a medium-sized bowl and mix together 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon.

We love to add in a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, but that’s completely optional. After the doughnuts have cooled somewhat, just dredge them in the sugar mixture until beautifully coated.

A hand dredging an apple cider doughnut in a bowl of a cinnamon sugar mixture.


  • What kind of oil is best for frying? Peanut oil is good, but vegetable oil works perfectly fine, as well. These fry at 350°F, which either of these oils can handle with no problem. Canola is another option. Don’t use any type of fragrant oil, including olive oil, as it will impart that flavor to the doughnut.
  • Can I bake the doughnuts instead of frying? Yes. Place the formed doughnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes until golden. We can’t guarantee they will still have that classic apple cider doughnut texture and taste, but they will still be yummy.
  • What if I can’t find apple cider? No problem! In a pinch, you can substitute apple juice. The apple butter helps to bolster the apple taste, too.
  • How long do the doughnuts keep? Place the cooked (and cooled) doughnuts in an air-tight container, and they will stay delicious for up to 1 week! You can freeze them for up to 2 months, but they won’t be as delicious once thawed as fresh, but you probably knew that already.

Just look at this apple cider doughnut, just begging for a dunk in a hot cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk!

A hand holding an apple cider doughnut that has been split in half.


How about:

And when you make a batch of these apple cider doughnuts, be sure to take a picture, post it to Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and #howtofeedaloon!

Three apple cider doughnuts on a white plate with an apple and apple cider next to it.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

These Apple Cider Doughnuts are sinfully delicious. Crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. Perfect weekend treat to make for family and loved ones. Don't forget to set your butter out to soften before you begin. You can make the dough up to a day ahead, just keep covered and refrigerated until ready to fry. So good!
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Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Breakfast
Keyword: appe cider cinnamon doughnuts, Apple Cider, cake doughnuts recipe, Doughnuts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 313kcal


  • Stand-mixer, or electric hand-mixer, or hand-mixer
  • Deep fryer, or Dutch oven and candy (high temperature) thermometer


  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat graham flour
  • tsp cinnamon ground, divided: 2 tsp for batter, 1½ tsp for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • cups sugar divided: ½ cup for batter, 1 cup for dusting
  • 2 large eggs yolks
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup apple butter
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for frying and oiling fingers
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice optional


  • Place the flours, 2 tsp cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Scoop the mixture into a sifter, and sift into a separate large bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer, or electric hand-held mixer, or hand-mixer, beat the butter with ½ cup of sugar until creamed. It should be light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, stopping halfway through and scraping down sides.
  • Add yolks, cider, apple butter, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Continue mixing, and slowly add the flour mixture until a slightly wet, sticky batter comes together.
  • Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or Dutch oven to 350°F.
  • Using slightly oiled fingers, pull about a ¼ cup of batter from the bowl and roll it into a small ball. Gently flatten the ball with the palm of your hand on your work surface. Use your thumb to make a hole that is about 1½-inches wide. Repeat several more times.
  • Working in batches, gently lift the formed doughnuts, one at a time, and carefully lower them into the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until somewhat darkened and cooked, about 3 minutes in total.
  • Use a metal spatula or two forks to carefully remove the cooked doughnuts from the oil to a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. The doughnuts are somewhat soft when they first come out of the oil, but then firm up as they cool. Continue this process with the remaining batter.
  • Meanwhile, combine the 1 cup of sugar, 1½ tsp of cinnamon, and the pumpkin pie spice (if using) in a shallow bowl.
  • After the doughnuts have cooled, gently toss them in the sugar/cinnamon mixture until fully coated.
  • Serve at once or store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.



If you can't find whole wheat graham flour, you can substitute whole wheat flour.
Beat the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  It won't be creamy, at this point.
If you can't find apple cider, then go with apple juice.
Make sure you have a small bowl of vegetable oil to dip your fingers into.  This makes handling the sticky dough much easier. 
If you do not have a deep-fryer, use a large sturdy skillet or pot (a Dutch oven is ideal), and pour in about 2 inches of oil.  Heat over medium-high heat and use a candy thermometer to gauge and maintain a temperature of 350°F. 
You can bake the doughnuts rather than frying them by placing the formed doughnuts on a large baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  They won't have the exact same texture as fried doughnuts, but will still be delicious. 


Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 317mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally posted in February, 2016, but was updated with slight improvements to the recipe, new photograph, and an awesome new video in October, 2019!


  • Hey Guys,

    Great post and great recipe. The doughnuts look extraordinarily good right about now. It’s 8:07 pm and I haven’t eaten anything since this morning. Now, picture me stumbling across something such as your doughnut photo and imagine the rumbling in my stomach because of it. The Chocolate Yummy photo at the side of my screen (your slide in) isn’t helping much either. (I hope I’ve made you laugh.)

    I’m going to be making an “Apple-Cinnamon Muffins” recipe in a few days and I’m discovering that the better recipes, such as yours, offer techniques to coax the most flavor out of the apples and the cider as possible. I love the way your recipe reduces the cider. I can only imaging how that tastes. The recipe I’m planning on putting together substitutes buttermilk with a combination of apple cider and plain yogurt. To me, this is genius. I could probably write posts all day long that exclusively talk about apples and everything that can be made from them. We’ve got tons of orchards up here in Maine, so I’ve got a lot of experience.

    Anyway, thanks for a superb recipe. It’s gone in my favorites and after I prepare it, I’ll report back to you with my experience.

    Take care,


    • Awesome,Jay!! Those doughnuts were really good. And definitely something I will be making time and time again. It was my first attempt (as far as I can remember) at creating a cake doughnut, and it took me several tries to get it just right. The dough is sticky, and the trick is to not let it get too warm, as you handle the dough..just makes it really difficult to get into the hot oil. I found if I returned the baking sheet with the dough back to the fridge periodically to firm back up again, it helped a lot. Good luck. My last batch was super delicious, and I think I got all the steps indicated correctly. So, I hope you have amazing results! Be sure to let us know. All the best, Kris.

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