Donuts coated in cinnamon sugar and apple cider in a clear cup on a metal pan.
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5 from 10 votes

Amazing Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

Delicious apple cider donuts recipe, instructions for both baked and fried. They are slightly crispy on the outside, but super moist and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. 
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Chill time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Norwegian
Keyword: apple cider, apple cider donuts, donuts
Servings: 60 donuts*
Calories: 122kcal
Author: Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice


  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider reduced**
  • 3 eggs
  • 7/8 cups brown sugar 175g
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar 100g
  • 5 oz heavy cream 150ml
  • 5 oz sour cream 150ml
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour 700g***
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp hartshorn/baker's ammonia or 1 1/3 tsp baking soda****
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 3 lb oil 1.5 kg. For frying (approximate amount)

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar 150g
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom optional


Apple Cider Donuts Dough

  • Reduce apple cider: Add 1 1/2 cups apple cider to a small saucepan. Let it boil for 20-30 minutes or reduced to about 2/3 cup. Let it cool.
  • Whisk eggs and sugar: In a large bowl, add eggs, caster sugar and brown sugar. Beat using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for at least 10 minutes. It should get super fluffy and thick. To know when it’s done you can lift your hand mixer and try spelling ‘OLE’ with the drizzle of the whisk quickly. If the O sinks before the E is formed, you need to whisk some more. This is obviously more difficult with a stand mixer.
  • Whip cream: In a smaller bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff. Carefully fold in sour cream using a spatula.
  • Fold into eggs: Fold the whipped cream carefully into the fluffy egg mixture. Pour in 1/2 cup of the reduced apple cider (reserve the rest for glazing, see notes).
  • Add the dry ingredients: Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, hartshorn (or baking soda), cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a spatula. Carefully add in batches - do not overmix! Remember that the flour tend to go down to the bottom, so you need to slide the spatula along the bottom a few times too.
  • Chill: Chill covered in the fridge for about 1-2 hours.

To fry the apple cider donuts

  • Preparations: Add oil into a Dutch oven (Norwegian: jerngryte) or a large skillet. Do not add more oil than 2/3 of the pan. Be sure to have the cover nearby, and stay away from water as it reacts violently to the fat. When the oil is simmering around a wooden spoon, the oil is hot enough. This is about 340-356F (170-180C).
  • Cut the dough: Divide the dough into smaller pieces and roll out one at a time. Leave the other pieces in a cold place. Flour the working surface and roll the dough with a rolling pin, until it is around 1 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Using a donut cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut the dough into donut shapes. If you don’t have a donut cookie cutter you can roll them with your hands and then shape them into circles.
  • Keep the dough chilled: The dough that's 'left over' after you've cut out all the circles you can fit, has now become too hot to work with. So what I do is I place it in the freezer, while I grab a new cold piece of dough from the refrigerator.
  • Fry the donuts: Fry 4-5 donuts at the time, to avoid cooling the oil too much. They will first sink to the bottom, and then rise. You want them to be dark, but not overly so, remember they will continue to darken a bit after they have gone to the cooling rack. About 2 minutes each on each side. Pick them up using the backside of a wooden spoon. Place them on a cooling rack with paper towels.
  • Sugar coating: When they are still hot, cover with the cinnamon sugar (optional). Combine sugar, cinnamon and cardamom into a shallow bowl and dip the hot donuts into the bowl. Cover nicely, and cool on a wire rack. Delicious with a brown butter cinnamon glazing, see notes.

To bake the apple cider donuts

  • The dough: To bake these apple cider donuts, you first need a donut pan. Using a donut pan also means that the donuts will get larger. I would not use Baker’s Ammonia (mostly because I haven’t tested it yet, but it could work) and just swap with baking soda and baking powder. Use 1 1/3 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Bake: Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C). Spray the donut pan with non-stick spray or a tiny brush of oil. Pour the batter into the donut pan, fill halfway up, and bake for about 10 minutes. It will yield approximately 35-40 baked donuts. 
  • Cool and coat: Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Remember to coat in sugar while still hot, if desired (see last step of frying apple cider donuts). Delicious with a brown butter cinnamon glazing, see notes.


Did you make this recipe? Tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!
* Don't be alarmed by the amount of donuts. They are smaller than regular baked donuts, although it will yield approximately 40 baked donuts. They freeze really well. Once cool, add to freezer friendly bags. 
To thaw either just take them out of the freezer and thaw on the counter, happens pretty quickly. Or you can re-heat them in the oven - 300F (150C) for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Longer if you made them baked (because of the size). 
** 1 1/2 cups is the amount of apple cider before it is reduced. It shall be reduced down to 2/3 cup, but only using 1/2 cup in the apple cider donuts. The rest is reserved for brown butter cinnamon glazing (optional).
*** I highly recommend to always use a scale when baking! That is much more accurate. 
**** You can use 1 1/3 tsp of baking soda instead of 1 tsp hartshorn/baker's ammonia, but I highly recommend trying to find hartshorn. The donuts will get a crispier exterior. 
Brown butter cinnamon glazing: I haven’t perfected this glazing recipe just yet, but it tasted so good I need to share it anyway. To brown butter you add 1/2 cup cubes of butter into a clear-bottomed pan. Melt on medium high until it smells nutty and the bottom is brown, approx. 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Let it cool slightly. Once the brown butter has cooled a little, mix with 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbsp reduced apple cider and 4-5 tbsp milk. 
Just dip the donuts in a shallow bowl of brown butter cinnamon glazing, or you can just take a spoon and drizzle over the donuts. It was a little thick and didn’t look too good, but it sure tasted absolutely heavenly!
This recipe is based on 16% oil absorption by weight of fried goods. Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any specific dietary concerns, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.