Give Autumn a Warm Welcome with Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

The fall season is a time of so many comforting traditions:

Vertical image of deep-fried dough covered in a sugar, with a bite taken out of one.

Smelling the cool air while trick-or-treating outside, picking out the biggest pumpkin for carving, walking through rows of cornfields, drinking warm cider, taking a hayride with friends…

But I digress.

Vertical image of fried dough covered in sugar in a white bowl and some on the surface on a red towel.

The reality is, it’s only the beginning of September, and there are still a couple more weeks left before summer is over.

But I’m getting impatient. Autumn can’t get here soon enough!

Vertical image of uncooked doughnuts on a baking sheet.

Lucky for us, though, Halloween stores are popping up everywhere with crazy costumes, and grocery stores and farms are starting to sell all of their popular fall goodies.

Which means we can start celebrating the new season early, yes?

Yes!

Vertical image of fried dessert balls covered in a thin layer of sugar in a white bowl.

Let’s begin with our recipe for homemade spiced apple cider doughnuts. These treats are pure fall, right down to the warm and sweet scent they send through your kitchen.

With subtle hints of apple cider, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, it is impossible not to immediately be consumed by the autumnal spirit!

Savor that first big bite into its golden crust covered in cinnamon sugar, giving way to a soft, fluffy, cake-like interior. Fingers and lips covered in a layer of messy sugar, you won’t be able to hide a huge smile and laugh.

Vertical closeup image of a bite out of a fried piece of dough covered in sugar.

With just one taste of this magical treat, it’s easy to ignore the last remaining weeks of summer.

Between us, it’s safe to say that fall is definitely here.

Print
Horizontal image of fried dough covered in sugar in front of a red towel and red apples.

Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 doughnuts, plus 8 holes
  • Category: Doughnuts
  • Method: Deep-Frying
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Description

Spiced apple cider doughnuts are deep-fried delights that are easy to make right at home. They’re perfect for the fall season.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-7 cups vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Boil the apple cider in a small pot until it reduces to about 1/3 cup. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup of the sugar with the butter until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients: cooled apple cider, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
  6. Scrape the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that is thoroughly dusted with flour. Dust the top of the dough with more flour, then gently pat it to about 3/4 inch thick. Dust with more flour and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  7. Once chilled, roll or pat the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two circular cookie cutters (one large, one a few sizes smaller) to create the shapes. Save the holes to fry.
  8. While cutting the dough, prepare the oil. Fill a large, deep pot or pan with vegetable oil to a depth of approximately 3 inches. Heat until a thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350°F.
  9. Using a heatproof perforated spoon or a spider, carefully place 2-3 doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Cook, turning once, until they are fluffy and browned on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the doughnuts from the oil with the spider and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will only take just a few seconds to fry!
  10. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. After the doughnuts have cooled just slightly, and most of the excess oil has absorbed into the paper towels, coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  11. Enjoy warm!

Keywords: doughnut, apple cider, cinnamon, autumn, dessert, donut

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Make the Dough

Boil the apple cider until it reduces to about 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool completely.

Horizontal image of a bowl filled with a golden liquid next to cinnamon sticks, apples, and a white towel.

Ina stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup of the sugar with the butter until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. You can freshly grind whole cinnamon and nutmeg, if you prefer.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with a white dry mixture, a whisk, apples, and cinnamon sticks.

In a separate small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients: cooled apple cider, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.

Alternate adding the dry mixture and the liquid mixture to the butter and egg mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

Horizontal image of a thick batter on a spatula.

The batter will be very soft and sticky. This is fine! Do not overmix or add more flour than necessary. The final product will become tough and chewy if it is overworked.

Step 2 – Chill

Horizontal image of a rectangular piece of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Using a bowl scraper or spatula covered with flour, scrape onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that is thoroughly dusted with flour.

Dust the top with more flour, then gently pat the dough to about 3/4 inch thick. Dust with more flour and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Step 3 – Cut into Shapes

Horizontal image of cutting rolled dough on a baking sheet.

Once chilled, use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two circular cookie cutters (one large, one a few sizes smaller) to cut out the shapes. Save the holes to fry.

Horizontal image of shaped and cut dough on a baking sheet next to apples.

While cutting, prepare the oil. Fill a large, deep pot or pan approximately with vegetable oil to a height of approximately three inches. Heat until a thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350°F.

Step 4 – Fry

Horizontal image of deep-frying two doughnuts in a large pan.

Using a heatproof perforated spoon or a spider, carefully place two or three doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan, to maintain an even oil temperature and enough room for each piece to cook evenly

Cook, turning once, until they are fluffy and browned on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the doughnuts from the oil with the spider and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain.

Horizontal image of fried dough balls in a spider.

Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and holes, ensuring that the oil has returned to temperature between each batch.

The holes will only take just a few seconds to fry. Be sure to move them around constantly to fry them evenly.

Step 5 – Let Cool Slightly

Horizontal image of doughnuts on a baking sheet pan lined with paper towels next to red pommes.

Let the pieces cool slightly on the baking tray. You need them to be slightly warm, and you must allow enough time for most of the excess oil to be absorbed by the paper towels before coating. This step helps the cinnamon sugar mixture coating to go on evenly, without dissolving or getting clumpy.

Step 6 – Dust in Sugar and Serve

Horizontal image of one donut on a slate next to a red towel and pommes.

Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Coat each piece evenly in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Enjoy warm!

Deep-Fried Delights with Fall Flair

The moment that first leaf hits the ground, I’m ready for autumn. Even if there are still a few weeks left of summer!

Horizontal image of fried dough covered in sugar in front of a red towel and red apples.

These deep-fried delights, flavored with apple cider and warming spices, are sure to become one of your favorite parts of celebrating the fall season.

Make a batch to enjoy this weekend, while you’re still longing for this muggy weather to be over, and dreaming of feeling the cool air on your face from that first chilly, breezy morning.

It’s almost here…

They also stay pretty fresh for a few days after you make them, when stored in an airtight container at room temperature – more reason to continue the celebration!

For a sweet with even more fall flavor, swap out the cinnamon and nutmeg for our homemade pumpkin spice mix.

And if you are craving more cool-weather treats with plenty of apple flavor, try our recipes for stuffed pommes, smoothies, and hand pies.

Other than making (and eating!) these homemade treats, what are you most looking forward to with the new season? I’d love to know what you plan on doing this year – so leave a message below, after you rate this recipe.

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon October 15, 2009. Last updated: September 8, 2018 at 8:42 am.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best grub, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Autumn-inspired doughnuts, anyone? These deep-fried delights are exactly what you need for the fall season, subtly flavored with apple cider, vanilla, and spices.  Enjoy them fresh and warm from the fryer, covered in cinnamon sugar. Learn how to make the recipe now on Foodal. #doughnuts #applecider #foodal #autumn

12 thoughts on “Give Autumn a Warm Welcome with Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

  1. I tried to ignore Bowl of Mush’s post because, well, they are donuts and I love them. And now you’ve made them. I have to at this point right? LOL

  2. i’m hitting the apple orchards late this year, the month is slipping by me but i’m not going till next sunday, it’s the only time my friend and her new baby can make it. it’s not so much the apples i’m going for anyway so it’s all good.

  3. These look great! I have been wanting to go pumpkin picking just to get warm apple-cider doughnuts! Now, thanks to you, I can make them at home! Yay!

  4. As an avid reader of your blog, it seems you are blessed with a loving community of friends and family. Very very lucky. Love your post. The doughnuts are mind blowing, amazing. Seriously.

  5. I terrified of deep frying, but they do look pretty amazing. I’ll have to try these out when I’m having a party because these would be deadly with just me and all those doughnuts!

  6. I’m going to Kuiper’s on Sunday with my hubby, my sis and her family. Those apple cider donuts are soo good! I’ll have to try your recipe when the donuts I will inevitable bring home are gone.

  7. OMG I love your header and these photos!!! Homemade donuts are the best thing….ever. I literally want to eat my screen right now.

  8. Wow – what a refreshing and encouraging post. You are most certainly a gifted writer! Thank you for sharing your gifts (of cooking and writing) with us. The donuts look amazing and I agree, sharing life with others around you makes all of the difference. So glad we got to get together last week! Such sweet moments.

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