Old Fashioned Apple Cider Doughnut Recipe

Classic fried yeast doughnuts with fall spices and apple cider flavor.
3 from 1 vote

This is a recipe for real apple cider doughnuts. They are a yeast dough with plenty of apple and spice flavor, deep fried until golden, and tossed in cinnamon sugar.

apple cider doughnuts in box with white paper.  6 doughnuts and 6 doughnut holes in pile

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Every fall, I hear people talking about apple cider doughnuts, but I had never been able to actually get one at a doughnut shop. I became totally obsessed with getting to eat one, and stalked our local shops try to find some. Some advertised them but by the time I got there, they were sold out.

So I started looking for recipes, and found that there were hardly any out there! Plenty of baked ones, but I was looking for a real doughnut. Last fall, I got this recipe close to how I wanted it, and just recently got it exactly how I imaged it should be.

And finally I was able to get an apple cider doughnut at one of our local stores, just a few weeks ago. It was good! But these are better.

How to get light and fluffy doughnuts

Doughnut making is similar to bread making. (Read this if you aren’t familiar with the basic technique of yeast breads.) You knead dough, let it rise, shape it, let it rise again, and then deep fry. There are two keys to keeping them light: don’t rush the rising process, and don’t handle the dough too much.

One thing to keep in mind is that any time you add fats or sugars to a dough with yeast, the rising time will slow down. This recipe is heavy on both, so rising times may be slower than what you are used to. Always judge by the appearance of the dough, not by the times given in the recipe. If you think it needs more rising time, be patient, and give it the time it needs.

Make sure you use a sharp cutter for the doughnuts, as that sharp edge will have a clean cut that will rise easier and puff up when it hits the hot oil. A dull cutter will seal down the edges and make it more difficult for everything to rise.

dough for apple cider donut rolled in oval cut out circles and wooden rolling pin nearby

Step by step apple cider doughnut making

This recipe uses boiled cider for its concentrated flavor. If you want to use fresh cider, you can boil it on the stovetop until reduced by half. Or you can do 1/2 cup regular cider and a 1/4 cup of milk. The dough will be less tender, but as long as you have 3/4 cup of liquid, the proportions will still work.

Start with room temperature ingredients and knead the dough either with a bread machine or stand mixer with a dough hook. It is way too sticky to knead by hand!

The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and form a ball but may still stick occasionally, especially to the bottom. That’s okay.

Once the dough has been kneaded and had time to rise, you need to roll it to be half an inch thick. Then you cut it out using a special doughnut cutter, or two round cutters. I used 2 1/4 inch for the larger circle, then 1 1/4 inch for the smaller.

Place the cutouts on parchment or wax paper so they are easy to get off. If they stick to the surface you place them on, you’ll deflate them when you pick them up!

doughnut dough on floured marble counter being cut out into rounds

Cover them to rise with greased plastic wrap so it won’t stick when you remove it. Give the doughnuts plenty of time for their second rise. They should look puffy before you move on to the frying stage.

If you have a deep fryer, the frying part is easy. If you don’t, use a Dutch oven or heavy pot and fill it with at least 3 inches of oil. They will need to swim around and float.

There is a range of temperatures that will work for frying doughnuts. Anywhere from 325 to 375 is fine. Lower temperatures will take at least 2 minutes per side, and higher temperatures about 1 minute per side. Fry them in batches so there is plenty of room between them.

four doughnuts floating in deep fryer, one being flipped with tongs

After they have been fried, drain them and toss them in the cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Helpful tools:

More sweet breakfast breads you may like:

Here’s the recipe and the video:

a dozen apple cider doughnuts in white box lined up
3 from 1 vote

Old Fashioned Apple Cider Doughnut Recipe

Print Recipe
Classic fried yeast doughnuts with fall spices and apple cider flavor.
Prep Time:45 mins
Cook Time:4 mins
rising time:3 hrs
Total Time:3 hrs 49 mins
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  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons boiled cider
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Combine all dough ingredients in stand mixer or bread machine on the dough cycle.  If dough is too wet to form ball, add more flour a bit at a time.  Knead until smooth or atllow bread machine to complete its cycle.
  • (Skip this step if using bread machine, it will do this for you.)  Turn dough out into oiled bowl and cover.  Allow to rise in a warm place one hour or until doubled in bulk.
  • Stretch dough into approximately 10 x 12 rectangle.  Cover and allow to rest 10 minutes. Flour work surface and rolling pin.  Roll dough out into rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Using doughnut cutter or two round biscuit cutters, cut into doughnut shape.  Cut as close together as possible to avoid wasting dough. Place on parchment paper squares, cover, at let rise at least 60 minutes, until very puffy.
  • Heat 3-4 inches of oil to 330-340 degrees and fry 2 minutes per side.  Drain and coat in cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.


Can also be topped with glaze of 1 tablespoon boiled apple cider, 1 cup powdered sugar, and dash of milk Best eaten the day they are made


Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider doughnuts, fall baking, fall party recipes, yeast doughnuts
Servings: 12 doughnuts
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Katie Shaw, Heart’s Content Farmhouse
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

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8 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Apple Cider Doughnut Recipe”

  1. 3 stars
    I’m not sure, but was there supposed to be instant yeast used for this? I used ady and no rise at all 🙁 I did not proof it ahead of time though either. I gave it a LONG time to rise, but it never did.

    • hi lesa, I’m sorry they didn’t rise for you. they are a bit denser than some doughnuts because of all the cider, it weighs them down a bit. active dry should have worked. typically they will puff up when they hit the hot oil. 🙁

    • Hi Vicky,
      So sorry to hear it didn’t turn out. I wonder if the frying temperature dropped and they cooked too long? Either way, I know they are a long process so I’m sorry you were disappointed. Merry Christmas!

  2. These look amazing! I haven’t had a doughnut in years!!! We used to make them on Christmas morning. Then I became the sugar nazi! Ha! These will have to be a weekend treat this fall!????


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