Recipe: Homemade Apple Cider Doughnuts

On Sunday afternoon I made apple cider doughnuts. I was a little intimated by the process; who makes doughnuts at home? I figured it was worth a try and once I read the recipe, the process seemed pretty simple. I had some issues getting the oil temperature correct—I don’t own a candy thermometer. I had a break down and cried after the first couple I fried looked delicious and golden but were still a gooey mess inside. I’ll blame my meltdown on pms. Once I lowered the oil temperature and allowed the doughnuts to cook a little longer then the recipe suggested I was fine. If you’re missing New England or need a little fall in your life try this recipe!

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used more cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used more nutmeg)
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil for frying

In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

To fry and assemble: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels after the doughnuts are fried. Roll the warm doughnuts into a cinnamon/sugar mixture and serve immediately.

Adapted from the Washington Post

Frying Apple Cider Donuts
Frying Apple Cider Donuts
Homemade Apple Cider Donuts By Me

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  1. I made these donuts last year for the first
    time with my 4-year old grandson.

    He was in charge of the cinnamon/sugaring
    and loved it.
    The taste is out of this world and well worth
    the time it takes complete.

    Friends and family were impressed and I had
    plenty to go around.

    Thanks for the recipe.

    It was my first time using my new deep fryer & I was really amazed that I actually made
    great tasting donuts. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


  2. Dec 31st…What a way to say goodbye to 2009. My new tradition is eat indulgently on the last day of the year. Tomorrow I’ll be good.

    I made these today. YUMMM. My kids wouldn’t help make them but they are sure eager to eat them. My mom used to make a similar recipe when I was a kid. But she skipped the donut-shaping step…we would just drop the dough by large spoonfuls into the oil. Then they are like big donut holes…saves time.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!!


  3. I have always thought that apple cider doughnuts taste like funnel cakes, but I am not complaining… I like maple syrup frosting better than cinnamon and sugar, but they both hit the spot.

    It is about 35 degrees F here in kansas, and some apple cider doughnuts are sounding good about now!

    I love your table by the way, it is beautiful.


  4. my mom used to make homemade doughnuts, but I haven’t had any in years! I remember her using a prescription bottle to cut the center hole. will have to try this, thanks for passing it along!


  5. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I decided to try it today. I don’t consider myself much of a baker, but the apple cideryness just sounded too good to pass up.

    Everything went well until the actual frying part. It took me a while to get it down. But I finally did (after some yummy mistries) and this is what they ended up looking like:

    They don’t taste much like cider, but they are still very good. Next time, I think I will use a stronger cider mix.

    Thanks again for posting!


  6. I am going to try this recipe sometime. I used to live near Russell Farms in Ipswich and we always got cider donuts on the way back from the beach. I miss those days! I love reading your blog because it helps me to remember the North Shore. I loved it there!


  7. I am exactly the kind of person who attempts something ambitious and offbeat like this and then cry when it doesn’t work out (at first). Love that I’m not alone…and that you kept fiddling and scored some delicious donuts.


  8. Yum! Every October I want to make donuts. I’ve tried it two or three times now and the dough didn’t rise. I wonder if the yeast was bad. But these don’t need yeast, so I should try these. Thanks!


  9. Mmmm, I must make these. Love the idea of cider being in the donut. I’ll bet that I could use my homemade kefir in place of the buttermilk in this recipe. My mother and grandmother always made raised donuts at this time of year and I’ve been thinking about making some. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  10. Katy’s donuts were amazingly good. I was fortunate enough to stop in with a friend just as they were finished. Sooo good! Nice job Katy.
    I have an electric frypan that I don’t use anymore if you would like it.


  11. Coincidence. I made doughnuts this weekend for the first time….a glazed doughnut recipe my Mom used to make. I could not find a doughnut cutter anywhere in my city! I looked in several stores and even speciality stores. I was beginning to think no one makes homemade doughnuts anymore! Did you have a doughnut cutter? I ended up using a biscuit cutter and another round metal salt shaker top to cut the center! My doughnuts were a raised yeast recipe that took several hours. These look delicious & I am trying them this week. I used an electric skillet that I have had in the basement and not used in years (I don’t usually fry and foods). I was going to use the stovetop method until hubby reminded me of the skillet. Thanks so much for the recipe! I remember reading about the doughnuts on your blog before – but didn’t see a recipe.


    1. I didn’t have a doughnut cutter. I used a 3″ round cookie cutter and a top of a small lid. My mom just sent me her doughnut cutter she’s had for years after seeing my doughnut experiment.


  12. I am so going to try to make these.

    Don’t feel bad, I had a meltdown last week that I blamed on pms too…though it totally wasn’t the case:)

    Now, if I only had these to eat immediately after!


  13. I didn’t realize you could make donuts without a fryer! I suppose it’s pretty common sense, as long as you can get the oil deep enough. These look so very good, maybe I’ll have time soon :)