Best Apple Cider Donuts (with boiled cider)

This is the best apple cider donuts recipe to yield the traditional flavors of fall. It’s a classic cake donut with a concentrated boiled apple cider flavor. Perfect for those cooler fall mornings!

Apple cider donuts on a white platter with a cup of apple cider on the side.

Why You’ll Love These

These apple cider donuts are full of warm cinnamon, nutmeg, and tangy apple cider.

These fried treats are bursting with apple cider flavor like the ones you would get in Vermont! They have a tender, moist interior with a crispy cinnamon sugar-coated exterior.

Make your own Homemade Apple Cider and have donuts all year round! Try it with our Spiced Apple Cider Biscotti.

Key Ingredients

  • Apple Cider – Use a good quality fresh apple cider for the best flavor.
  • Spices – In this cider donuts recipe, we are using apple pie spice. It’s a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom or allspice.

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How To Make Apple Cider Donuts

Dough combined in a glass bowl.

This recipe is super easy to whip up—no need for an electric mixer.

You need to reduce the cider to achieve a concentrated apple cider flavor.

Start by bringing the apple cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil and reduce the apple cider to 1 cup, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely. I do this step right after I pour my first cup of coffee in the morning.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, apple pie spice, fresh ground nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together the melted butter, room temperature eggs, and cooled apple cider in a separate bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined and all the flour mixture is moistened.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. I usually allow it to refrigerate for about an hour and a half. It just makes it easier to lift the cut-out dough into the oil for frying.

Apple cider donut dough cut out on wooden board.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels set aside.

Mix the granulated sugar, fresh ground nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small bowl or paper bag. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F. Watch closely and adjust as needed to make sure it doesn’t overheat. Or use an electric deep fryer.

Divide the dough in half, working with one half at a time place it on a floured surface. Pat into 1/2 inch thick round. Place the remaining half of the dough back into the fridge.

Cut into rounds using a doughnut cutter or a 3-inch round cutter. Use a 1-inch round cutter for the hole.

Apple cider donuts frying in a dutch oven.

Working in batches, carefully slide the donuts into the heated oil. Cook for one minute per side until evenly golden brown.

Transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet or a wire rack. Let cool for about 1 minute. Place the warm donut into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and shake to coat evenly.

If using a bowl, roll the donut in the mixture.

Fry the donut holes for about 30 seconds on each side. Toss with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and enjoy this as a poppable bite!

Apple cider donuts stacked on a white plate.

Plate those deep-fried apple cider donuts and serve warm!

Tips

  • Do not skip boiling the cider! This is key to achieving apple cider flavor. If you don’t reduce the cider, these donuts will not have much apple cider flavor.
  • Pour the boiled apple cider into a measuring cup to make sure it has been reduced to exactly 1 cup.
  • If you don’t have apple pie spice, you can substitute one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice.
  • Do not overcrowd your pan. Avoid adding too many doughnuts to the pan. They need room to expand, and it will lower the oil temperature.
  • Use a neutral oil like vegetable or canola oil. They have a high smoke point and a neutral flavor.
  • If frying in a pot, use a thermometer to keep an eye on the oil temperature. Be sure to adjust the heat and keep the temperature at 375 degrees F.

FAQ

Why are they called apple cider donuts?

Apple cider donuts get their flavor from the apple cider reduction used in the batter. The donut has strong notes of nutmeg and cinnamon, traditional fall flavors.

What makes an apple cider donut so special?

This wonderfully moist cake donut has a slightly crispy exterior from the frying. The interior is moist, spongy, and light. The reduction of apple cider delivers the favorite fall flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. The sweetness of the sugar makes for a perfect balance.

Can these be made ahead?

These donuts are best eaten warm out of the fryer. So if you like, you can refrigerate any leftover dough for the next day. Just remove the apple cider donut dough from the refrigerator for at least an hour to take the deep chill off the dough.

How do I store leftover donuts?

If you have leftover donuts, let them cool completely, place them in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Warm in the microwave.

Can I freeze donuts?

If you need to freeze them, skip the coating. Place cooled donuts in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 1 month for best quality. Thaw to room temperature. Warm in the microwave or warm oven, brush with melted butter, and toss the cinnamon sugar coating.

More Apple Cider Recipes

Apple cider donuts on a white platter with a cup of apple cider on the side.

Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

A classic cake donut with concentrated boiled apple cider flavor. This recipe is full of warm cinnamon nutmeg spice, and tangy apple cider.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider, cake donut, donuts, doughnuts
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

Dough

  • 3 cups fresh apple cider
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 6 cups vegetable oil

Donut Coating

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

Dough

  • In a small saucepan on high heat bring the apple cider to a boil. Boil for about 15 to 20 minutes until reduced to one cup. Let cool completely.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, baking soda, powder, apple pie spice, fresh ground nutmeg, and salt.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, and cooled apple cider.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined and all the flour mixture is moistened.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F. Watch closely and adjust as needed to make sure it doesn’t overheat. Or use an electric deep fryer.
  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels set aside.
  • In a paper bag or a small bowl mix together the granulated sugar, fresh ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Divide the dough in half, working with one half at a time place it on a floured surface. Pat into 1/2 inch thick round. Place the remaining half of the dough back into the fridge. Using a doughnut cutter or a 3 inch round cutter and a 1 inch round cutter for the hole, cut into rounds.
  • Working in batches carefully slide the donuts into the heated oil. Cook on the first side for at least one minute, at this point they should be floating. Flip and fry about another 1 1/2 minutes longer until evenly golden brown. Keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. It can drop and rise quickly.
  • Transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet or wire rack. Let cool about 1 minute, place the warm donut into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and shake to coat evenly. If using a bowl roll the donut in the mixture.

Notes

  • Do not skip boiling the cider! This is key to achieving apple cider flavor. If you don’t reduce the cider these donuts will not have much apple cider flavor.
  • Use a neutral oil like vegetable or canola oil. They have a high smoke point and a neutral flavor.
  • Do not overcrowd your pan. Avoid adding too many doughnuts to the pan. They need room to expand and it will lower the oil temperature.
Storing – Let the donuts cool completely, store in an air-tight container, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Freezing – If you need to freeze them skip the coating. Place cooled donuts in a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze for up to 1 month for best quality. Thaw to room temperature. Warm in the microwave or warm oven, brush with melted butter, and toss the cinnamon sugar coating.

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

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3 Comments

  1. I made these, and they were absolutely amazing! I followed the recipe, and they turned out perfect. We used our small fryer, and just cooked them one at a time. Considering a bigger fryer now just for these 🙂5 stars

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