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Breakfast & Brunch | September 29, 2021

Homemade Apple Cider Donuts

If you love apple cider, you will love this fall treat! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, these Homemade Apple Cider Donuts are downright heavenly.

Homemade Apple Cider Donuts

Fall is in the air! And what says fall more than a chill in the air, the leaves changing color, pumpkin treats and of course, apple cider?! These Apple Cider Donuts are everything reminiscent of this season. I love the crisp outside, coated in cinnamon sugar, encasing a warm, fluffy inside. It’s the perfect balance of crunch and melt in your mouth goodness!

Homemade Apple Cider Donuts

I have to give a shout-out to Cross E Ranch for the inspiration for this recipe! There is a wonderful little family farm in Utah called Cross E Ranch, known for its corn maze, corn pit, big slides, and homemade donuts, specifically their Apple Cider Donut. People go to Cross E Ranch JUST for the donuts. I know I’m guilty! Since I first indulged these delicious treats, I have wanted to create a similar recipe at home.

Apple Cider Cake Donuts

If you love cake donuts you will love this treat. It’s like a piece of cake, deep fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar! The recipe makes a dozen, plus a dozen donut holes for, um, taste testing. I always fry a couple of donut holes to test the temperature of the oil before frying a donut.

Speaking of frying, I have not yet tried these in an air fryer, but as soon as I do, I will update the recipe. If you try this in the air fryer, please leave a comment and give your feedback!

How to fry donuts

Tips for making the best Homemade Apple Cider Donuts:

  • Use apple cider if possible. Cider has a tangier and fuller flavor than apple juice.
  • I highly recommend using a thermometer that clips to the pan for best frying results!
  • It is best to refrigerate dough for easier handling, but this recipe also works without refrigeration.
  • Use a heavy pan to fry the donuts. A heavy pan will retain and help keep the oil temperature even.
  • Don’t fry too many donuts at one time. I recommend no more than 3-4 in the pan at a time.
  • Donuts have a short shelf life! They are best eaten within 6-12 hours of frying.
  • There are many donut cutters available online and in kitchen stores, this one is my favorite. If you prefer a smaller size donut, this one is approximately 3/4 of an inch smaller.
Hot Apple Cider Donuts

The reduced cider in the dough gives this donut its unique flavor. I hope you’ll make time to mix up a batch of these tasty treats this fall. Nothing says comfort like a warm homemade donut!

How to make donuts at home

How to make Homemade Apple Cider Donuts:

  • Reduce the cider to one cup of liquid on the stove.
  • Mix the cinnamon sugar topping, set aside.
  • Mix the butter, sugars and eggs together.
  • Add all of the dry ingredients and mix until blended well, then add the cider to the dough.
  • Shape the donuts and let rest while heating oil, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  • Fry the donuts a few at a time and remove to a paper towel.
  • Dip the donuts in cinnamon sugar after fried. Enjoy!

**Update** Changes in recipe. After receiving feedback from several readers, I added another 1/4 cup of flour to the recipe, for a total of 4 cups of flour. We also removed the oil from the batter and increased the butter to 6 tablespoons. The oil in the batter was causing the dough to separate for some while frying. After further testing, we decided to change the recipe to include butter only.

Homemade Apple Cider Donuts
3.88 from 8 votes

Homemade Apple Cider Donuts

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, apple cider, donuts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12


  • 3 cups apple cider* (reduced to 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 quart vegetable or canola oil for frying

Optional Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider or water


  1. Bring apple cider to a boil in small saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, about 5-10 minutes. Let cool completely. Place cup of reduced cider in refrigerator uttil cold for best results.

  2. While cider is boiling, mix 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a shallow pan. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl combine 6 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar. Mix together.

  4. With mixer on low, add eggs one at a time, mix on medium speed until combined and smooth. Turn off mixer.

  5. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and 1 cup reduced prepared cider to the mixture in the bowl. Mix together on low just until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough mixed well. At this point, the dough may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. See recipe notes.

  6. Generously flour a clean surface. Split the dough in half and pat out each half into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out 6 donuts. Repeat the process with the other half of dough in bowl.

  7. Let the donuts rest on the floured surface while heating up the oil.

  8. Heat a quart of vegetable or canola oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or a large heavy pot until the temperature reaches 350-360 degrees.

  9. Carefully lower donuts into the pan of oil, cooking no more than 3-4 donuts at a time. Cook each donut until golden on each side (about one minute per side).

  10. Remove the donuts to paper towel to drain grease. Let cool for a few seconds before dipping the donut on each side in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

  11. This recipe yields about 12 donuts and holes.

Optional Glaze:

  1. Whisk 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons water or apple cider in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick, add another tablespoon of water or cider. Dip the warm donuts in the glaze and set on a cooling rack to allow excess glaze to drip off.

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure to use cider for this recipe. Cider tends to have more flavor and is tangier than apple juice. If apple juice is the only choice, use apple juice. I like to reduce the cider early in the day or the day before making the donuts. The cider may be stored the fridge or on the counter, covered until ready to use. 
  • I have cooked up to 4 donuts at a time in the hot oil, but I think 3 works best. When too many donuts are fried at a time, the temperature of the oil will reduce and cause the donuts to soak up the oil, making the donuts greasy. 
  • To make ahead, follow directions for mixing donuts. The dough may be refrigerated  after mixing and before or after shaping into donuts. Make sure to place the dough or cut out donuts in a tightly sealed container or zip lock bag. The dough may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before frying. 
  • I have found the best temperature for frying this donut is at about 350-360 degrees
  • A donut cutter is not a necessity to make this recipe! Simply cut a circle (using a glass or biscuit cutter) and then cut a smaller circle in the middle to make a donut shape. You may also stick your finger thru the middle of the circle to form a hole in the middle of the donut.

24 thoughts on “Homemade Apple Cider Donuts

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Recipe Rating

  1. I can’t wait to try these! I am so afraid of frying – is there a pot you recommend? Can I use a staub 6qt Dutch oven pot?

    1. Hi Heather!
      Your Staub dutch oven will be perfect! Don’t be afraid to fry – these donuts are such a wonderful fall treat! Just go for it.
      Thank you for reading ABK!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      SO sorry to hear this. The dough should be the consistency of a biscuit dough.
      It should be soft, but not wet. I suggest adding another 1/4 cup of flour to the dough.

  2. 1 star
    I’m sorry to say that these did not work for us at all. I had a bottle of reduced apple cider so I used 1 cup of that instead of reducing the apple cider, but otherwise followed the recipe. The dough was really soft and as soon as it hit the hot oil, the donuts disintegrated into crumbs. We’re going to bake the rest of the donuts at 350 to try to salvage the effort. Really disappointed that these didn’t work out.

    1. HI Rebecca,
      Sorry to hear about this. I have tested this recipe several times and did have a problem once with the donuts falling apart. I attributed this to the oil not being hot enough. That said, I know the dough holds up better when the dough is refrigerated, but opted to leave that out as a necessary step because I have had success without refrigeration. After hearing your feedback, I’m going to test the donuts again, and add an addition 1/4 cup of flour and refrigerate for at least an hour. Thank you for your feedback, it is really helpful to me to hear how recipes fare in other kitchens.

  3. 5 stars
    These were such a hit with my husband and 5 kids!! Making these cider doughnuts is going to become a Fall tradition! Thank you for this recipe Si! As a little side note I did have to add a tad more flour so the dough would pull away from the bowl and be more workable. SO YUMMY!!❤️

    1. Hi Dani!
      I’m so glad these doughnuts turned out so well, and a new family tradition has begun! It’s feeling more and more fall-ish everyday. Thank you for your positive comments and thank you for reading ABK.

    1. Hi Karen,
      I have not doubled or tripled this recipe. I am guessing it is easy to do so. One tip, which I will add to the recipe. I think this recipe works best when using a smaller size donut cutter, instead of one on the larger side. The dough is very tender and easier to handle if the donuts are smaller in size. Hope this is helpful. Also, if you are doubling the recipe, I’d 1.5 the sugar mixture for the topping, you will have plenty!

  4. 5 stars
    These turned out so delicious! This was my first time making any sort of donut and I have to say it will not be the last! Making these will definitely be a new fall tradition for me and my kiddos!

  5. 5 stars
    I made these just as the recipe said. But instead of frying, I put the dough in my cake pop/donut hole maker. They tasted fabulous, but that may have altered the consistency. They were more like cake donuts. We loved them!

    1. Hi Cathy,
      This is a cake donut recipe, so I’m glad they tasted like cake donuts!! Good to hear they worked in your cake pop maker. I am guessing this will be similar to baking the dough in the oven!
      Thanks for your feedback,

  6. 3 stars
    My daughter tried these first, and they crumbled when she put them in the hot oil. We tried again today with 4 cups flour, and also omitted the vegetable oil and increased the butter to 6 T. These modifications worked much better for us. The dough was biscuit consistency & they fried up perfectly.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thank you for your feedback! I’m glad they worked out better the second time. I love this recipe with the combo of butter for flavor and oil for texture, but I’ve also had issues with the donut coming apart in the oil on some batches. I’ve talked to other readers who have had great success with the recipe written as it is, so I decided to leave it for now, although we increased the flour to 4 cups a while ago. I appreciate you taking the time to review this recipe!

  7. 2 stars
    After recently visiting Cross E Ranch, I was so excited to try this recipe. But it was an epic fail! I’m not a beginning baker and followed the instructions exactly. I added the extra flour, but even with refrigeration and oil at correct temperature, the doughnuts fell apart and we couldn’t even salvage them. Just a big mess. So sad!!

    1. Hi Stacie,
      This recipe has been met with mixed reviews, as you can see. Some have made it with great success and others with problems similar to yours. I’ve also received many messages on instagram from readers saying the same, either we loved this recipe, or the donuts fell apart. Working to resolve this. Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it!

  8. 5 stars
    My husband and I are obsessed this these! It’s turned into a new fall tradition to make these every year.

  9. 5 stars
    These donuts were absolutely delicious and perfect for this autumn season. Will be making them again real soon! Please follow the recipe notes!!! They truly help.

    1. Jamie, I am glad the donuts turned out well for you, they really are perfect for this time of year! Thank you for your positive feedback!