You Won't Believe This Recipe For Apple Cider Donuts
Updated: Oct 12
I have so many fond memories of going apple picking as a child, always accompanied by hot apple cider and warm cider donuts.
This year, because we're sheltering in place until there's a vaccine, I miss pumpkin patches and apple orchards more than just about any other place. But I've decided not to sulk and instead to make some damn delicious donuts while I reminisce. You can enjoy this recipe for old fashioned apple cider donuts with a hot cup of cider too!
Old Fashioned Apple Cider Donuts
Yield: approx. 18 donuts and holes
Active Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour + more for rolling dough
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup apple cider concentrate*
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Oil for frying
Apple Cider Glaze:
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup apple cider
liquid measuring cups
saucepan with lid
mixing spoons, forks, or whisks
3 mixing bowls, one of each size
cutters or knife**
large, deep pot for frying
heat-safe slotted spoon for frying
Part 1: Boil Down Apple Cider Concentrate*
(This can be made in advance and will keep indefinitely if properly sealed and kept in a cool, dry place.)
Add 4 cups apple cider to a saucepan on high heat.
Stirring occasionally, allow apple cider to boil down to about 1/2 a cup; be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot regularly to prevent scorching!
When not stirring, cover and vent pot to prevent mess and speed up the process.
Part 2: Mix Together Batter
In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients except sugar and sit aside.
In the large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and mix until fully incorporated.
Add milk and vanilla extract and do the same.
If necessary, reheat apple cider concentrate and slowly incorporate into the batter, stirring constantly. The concentrate may not fully incorporate, which is expected.
Add dry ingredients in three parts, incorporating until the batter becomes a mildly sticky dough.
Part 3: Cut and Fry Donuts
Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch in thickness.
Cut donuts and holes.
Pour frying oil, such as canola or vegetable oil, at least two inches deep into a large pot.
Using medium heat, bring the oil's temperature up to between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any more heat and the donuts will burn; any less and they will not cook through fully.
If you do not have a candy thermometer, check the oil's readiness by carefully lowering in a donut hole. If the hole browns on one side in about a minute, then the oil is at the correct temperature. If not, adjust and test again as necessary.
Carefully lower donuts into the oil using a slotted spoon, ensuring they have enough room to move and do not overlap.
Watch the donuts closely. Cooking the first side will take approximately two to three minutes. When each donut becomes golden brown on its edges, carefully flip the donut.
Allow each donut to brown fully on both sides before removing from the oil using the slotted spoon. This will take about five minutes per donut.
Remove donuts to a drying rack lined with layered paper towels or a baking sheet with a lip underneath in order to drain excess oil from donuts as they cool.
Work in batches to roll out, cut, and fry donuts as necessary until all dough has been used.
Donut holes will only take between one and two minutes on each side to cook fully, approximately two to three minutes in all. Remove them to the cooling rack to cool and drain excess oil as well.
Part 4: Glaze Donuts
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar with apple cider until a smooth glaze forms.***
When donuts are cool enough to touch, dip and flip donuts in the glaze so that they are fully covered.****
Remove to cooling rack. Allow donuts to set fully, flipping if necessary. The setting process should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Enjoy these donuts with hot apple cider on a cool, crisp autumn day!
*If you'd rather use 1/2 cup of apple cider, skip Part 1. I haven't tried this myself, but if you do please share how your donuts turned out!
**Feel free to cut out square donuts with a knife. If you do not cut out holes, be sure to cut smaller donuts so that they cook fully--maybe one and a half to two inches across at the most.
***Want to make the perfect glaze every single time? The ratio should always be 2 tablespoons to 1 cup of confectioner's sugar! This is also the ratio you'll use if you want to make less glaze and/or spoon it over the donuts instead of dipping them.
****A large fork works best to dip and flip. Start by dipping the top of the donut in the glaze, then flip the donut using the fork. when you remove it, the top will set without rack marks, giving your donuts a very appetizing finish.