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+ servings

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.