If you crave apple cider donuts, you don't have to browse doughnut shops. You can easily make them at home! All you need is apple cider, oil for deep frying, and some basic baking ingredients you likely have in your pantry.
These deep-fried donuts start with apple cider. The cider is boiled to reduce the liquids and concentrate the flavor, which, along with spices and a cinnamon-sugar coating, gives the donuts refreshing apple flavor.
The recipe makes about eighteen 3-inch donuts and holes, but plan on fewer if you use a 3 1/2-inch or 4-inch cutter.
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3 1/2 cups/16 ounces all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (well shaken)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons melted butter (cooled)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil (e.g., canola oil or peanut oil)
- For the Cinnamon Sugar:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Pour the apple cider into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil until it is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Set the concentrated boiled cider aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir or whisk to blend thoroughly and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs together until well blended. Whisk in the melted butter and vanilla extract.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft, well-blended dough. You can use a stand mixer with paddle attachment for this step or mix by hand.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; sprinkle liberally with flour. With floured hands, pat the dough out onto the parchment paper to a thickness of about 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for about 15 minutes, until firm and well chilled. Alternatively, refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, pour about 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil into a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the pan and heat the oil to 350 F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator or freezer and transfer it to a floured work surface. Cut the donuts out with a 3-inch doughnut cutter. Dip it into flour between cutting out the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Separate the donuts from the doughnut holes. Re-roll the dough as necessary and continue to cut out donuts until all of the dough is used.
For the cinnamon sugar, combine the 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
Place paper towels on a baking sheet and set aside.
Using a metal spatula or skimmer, lower the about 3 to 4 donuts into the hot oil. Fry the donuts on one side for 1 minute and then turn them over and fry for about 1 minute longer, or until golden brown. Carefully remove the donuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining donuts; fry the donuts holes last; they will take a bit less time.
Dip the donuts into the cinnamon sugar mixture while they are still warm, coating them completely or just the tops.
Use a neutral flavor oil for donuts. Peanut oil, high-heat safflower oil, and canola are good neutral flavor oils. Solid vegetable shortening is another good option for deep-frying.
Have a paper towel-lined pan ready before you begin frying. To keep the oil temperature from rising, have fresh cut-out donuts ready to add to the oil when you remove each batch. Watch the deep-fry thermometer and regulate the heat source as needed.