Introduction: Apple Cider Donuts

Picture of Apple Cider Donuts

When I was a kid, there was about half a dozen farms with apple orchards near my house. Over time most of those farms were purchased and turned into strip malls that were paradoxically named after the farms they were built on top of. My favorite was TIce's Farm which became Tice's Corner, "an upscale, outdoor shopping center." I used to go there to buy apple cider. Now, I can go there to buy an apple computer at the Apple Store. I think there is something sadly comical about the fact that apples sold at Tice's Corner have been marked up some 2000% from the apples sold at Tice's Farm.

Anyway, across the street from Tice's Corner is an A&P which used to be Van Riper's Farm. All that remains of that farm is an almost unnoticeable gaudy mural near the ceiling of the store's entrance. I mainly bring this up because every Halloween, people from near and far would go to Van Riper's Farm and visit their awesome haunted house, climb on bales of hay and pick out the perfect pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern. Lastly, before leaving Van Riper's, you would end your visit by buying a bunch of freshly baked apple cider donuts.

Once you had the donuts, the obvious thing to do was to walk across the street to Tice's farm and get freshly made apple cider (on tap). Obviously, because both of these places are now strip malls, you can no longer do this. The farms are gone, the haunted house is gone, the fields of pumpkins are gone, the apple cider is gone and needless to say, the apple cider donuts are gone. In short, Halloween as I knew it, is pretty much gone. It's all rather upsetting. So, when someone emailed me this apple cider donut recipe at The Smitten Kitchen, I knew, for the sake of Halloween, I had to make it. And so I did make it. It was fantastic. Follows is what I did.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

You will need:

Apple Cider
1/2 stick butter
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon baking soda
3-1/2 cups of flour (+ some)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of buttermilk
A lot of vegetable oil
A donut cutter
2 Baking sheets
2 large bowls
An electric mixer
A deep frying pan
A candy thermometer
Wax paper
Misc kitchen equipment

Step 2: Heat the Apple Cider

Picture of Heat the Apple Cider

Pour a cup of apple cider into a small pan or bowl. Heat it over a low flame for about 30 minutes and/or until there is about 1/4 cup of apple cider left.

Step 3: Flour Mixture

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Sift together in a large bowl your 3-1/2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. 

Step 4: Cookie Trays

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Cover two cookie trays with wax paper and set them aside for later.

Step 5: Sugar Butter

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With a mixing spoon, thoroughly combine the softened half stick of butter with the cup of sugar.

Step 6: Add Eggs

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Mix in two eggs, one at a time. Start by mixing them in with your spoon and as the mixture gets softer, you can use a pastry blender to better combine them.

Step 7: Cider and Buttermilk

Picture of Cider and Buttermilk

With your pastry blender set to low, slowly add in your cider and buttermilk.

Step 8: Add the Flour Mixture

Picture of Add the Flour Mixture

In steps, add your flour mixture in with your wet ingredients. By the time you mix in all of your flour, the dough should be well and formed.

Step 9: Press It Out

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Take one of the cookie trays and cover it with a generous amount of flour.

Scoop your dough out of the bowl and onto the tray.

Place more flour atop the dough and then press it flat onto the tray, stopping when it is about half an inch thick.

Put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Step 10: Preheat the Oil

Picture of Preheat the Oil

Attach your candy thermometer to a deep baking dish (or large pot).

Fill your baking dish with 2" of oil and heat over a burner on a medium flame. Your goal is to heat the oil to between 350 and 375 degrees.

While the oil heats, you can cut out your doughnuts (see step 11).

Step 11: Cut Up the Dough

Picture of Cut Up the Dough

Line the second baking sheet with flour.

Using a donut cutter (or 1" and 3" cookie cutters), but out donuts and donut holes from the dough. Try to cut out the donuts as close together as possible. When you are done cutting out the first set of donuts, you can re-roll and pat out the dough and cut out some more. Continue doing this until all the dough is used.

When done, refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes until it is no longer sticky.

Step 12: Fry

Picture of Fry

When the oil has reached 350 degrees, very carefully place the donuts into the frying pan. They should first sink and then after a few moments float to the surface. Let them float on each side for about a minute (until golden brown) Be careful not to cook too many at once or the oil will bubble over and create a mess.

I found a good pair of long metal tongs were indispensable in this process.

When they are done frying, place them on a plate lined with paper towels and then put a paper towel over top of the as well to soak up oil on both sides.

Step 13: Donut Time!

Picture of Donut Time!

Donuts! Yay!


buildandsewandstuff (author)2016-09-25

I can't wait to try this recipe! However, I would like to warn about frying in a shallow pan like you have illustrated. One accidental bump and hot oil will go all over the stove and cause a fire. Also, the displacement that happens when you put the donuts in causes the level of the oil to rise, and could overflow if you have it too full. Please use a deep dutch oven or pot and don't fill it more than about 1/3 to 1/2 with oil. Using a deep pot also keeps splatters from sloshing out and making a big mess and risking fire. Safety first!

primosanch (author)2016-09-21

Nice recipe, thanks for sharing.

push_reset (author)2016-09-21

I need to make these this fall. I had never heard of cider donuts until a friend from the east coast was talking about 'em. My boyfriend Cullen grew up in Michigan and says these are synonymous with fall. There is a community of farms 4 hours north-east from SF that have them which I sought out just so we could eat them one year. This community also sells bunches of seasonal fruit and handmade pies. The drive was totally worth it. Along with the $70 I spent on said pies. Lol.

edwoodt (author)2016-08-29

Hello Randofo,

I was reminiscing this same story to friends here in France; thought I would look it up and here it is. Well, done, but I don't remember the doughnuts being apple cider doughnuts. I just remember that they were certainly the best in the world, but only right there and then. The ones that made it home lost that crusty exterior. Are you absolutely sure they were apple flavor? Thanx, Edwoodt originally from Teaneck

randofo (author)edwoodt2016-08-29

Yup. Pretty sure. They're not exactly apple cider flavor though. They are just a little sweeter than normal plain donuts.

egladwell (author)2014-09-04

These look amazing, but I was wondering if you knew if I could maybe bake the donuts instead of frying them?

randofo (author)egladwell2014-09-22

Not sure. I have never tried. I am not sure it is the right kind of dough for that.

egladwell (author)randofo2014-09-25

I shall look up a baked doughnut recipe and see if I can mix them up, I shall let you know if it goes terribly wrong or hopefully terribly right.

macrumpton (author)2010-09-19

"long metal tongues"

I am pretty sure you mean tongs, although flipping donuts with metal castings of Gene Simmons's tongue creates an interesting mental image.

machonurin (author)macrumpton2012-11-12

Please tell me you have some skill in metalworking - "Gene Simmons' Tongue Tongs" simply beg to be immortalized in Instructables format :D

bowmaster (author)macrumpton2010-09-19


sdepatie (author)2012-09-27

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am a transplant from Hillsdale. I was just telling my husband about these very memories! I made a huge mistake and purchased apple cider donuts from a commercial chain store. It was such a disappointment, so off I went to google and this came up! I can't wait to try this. I still remember watching the donuts through the window at Van Ripers!

susanchen2011 (author)2012-07-25

It will be good tasty.

PixyMcCrafty (author)2011-09-11

Just added Cider to my shopping list, can't wait to try this!

limpport (author)2010-09-19

These look fantastic. Nice Instructable!

Binny the first (author)limpport2010-09-19

I'm gonna try a sugar glaze with applesauce size bits of real apple or pineapple bits with this recipe. Also a fry Daddy has always worked best for me. I love their magnetic break away cord arrangement. No danger of knocking over that pot of boiling oil.Also someone suggested using lard? Isn't lard animal fat? I have always used vegetable shortening like Crisco and had good luck. Would anyone care to comment on that?? Also as I think of it I may put some fresh apple into my Squeezo with a fairly coarse screen and incorporate that into the raw dough. Humm so many possibilities with this recipe it makes me want some, but I am a sucker for a sugar glaze....

lard is animal fat rendered and filtered, (usually pig). So is Tallow,(usually beef), for the Jews it would be Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat).

Crisco is hydrogenated vegetable oil or in old days a blend of rendered fats. When they are all vegetable fat it is cotton seed and other oils. Cotton seed is nasty as well as the worst stinker canola. For those of you who can't taste it it is fine, for those of us who can it smells and tastes horrid.

Old fashioned lard may indeed make the things taste better. It is what gave McDonald's fries all their taste years back, until Health freaks align with Vegans and Jews ganged up on them and forced them to stop using beef tallow. Of Course a Kosher Jew should never be seen in a McDonald's since none of it is kosher except (after modification) the French Fries. Heck my friends, (all cat-licks and X-ians), would say no one does. I know my cardiologist says no no no.

but these and another donut recipe I found are just too evil to ignore. I make fried dough anyway (occasionally), so this needs to come online soon, maybe in fall.

thanks fer the great instructable

My Mom used to make these and she always used lard they have a wonderful flavor and not heavy or greasy. She also did a glazed and with tiny apple chunks in it.

limpport (author)Binny the first2010-09-19

Yeah, the lard bit was me. My family does farmers markets, and we make buttermilk and apple cider donuts in the fall. We make hundreds of dozens of donuts every fall, and have always used lard. It's really a matter of taste, but it does change the consistency of the finished product. Yes, lard is animal fat. But you know the general rule, the unhealthy things taste the best!

xrissy (author)2009-11-06

 Question: Is it American style apple cider (non-alcoholic)? Because Cider in the UK is alcoholic :OP But I had a vague recollection from my youth that American Apple cider is like a spiced apple juice? Cheers!

cofosho (author)xrissy2009-11-06

Yeah. Cider as I know it is essentially raw, pasteurized juice with all of the leftover pulp still in it, while juice is filtered, sterilized and often reconstituted from concentrate or sugared.

Here, we usually call ciders like Strongbow hard ciders to distinguish them. Not sure about this recipe. If it was boozy cider, that would make these donuts even better!

coolnerd08 (author)cofosho2009-11-22

Although i haven't done this myself i would guess it wouldn't matter which kind.  since you cook down the apple cider to a 4th of its original volume, there probably won't be any alcohol left.

spark master (author)coolnerd082011-06-24

Hard cider is not sweet and tastes different, since it is fermented, hence changed ferever. You need American cider or apple juice concentrate to make these. You probably could just use thinned concentrate here, but add some more water or milk to get the right viscosity . They may taste great with hard cider but they will be different. Only way to know fer sure is make it both ways!!! What poor souls is willing to eat all those donuts? Then again if you go to church socials with them, you will impress the ladies!

SageMinto (author)2011-02-22

The end result looks wonderful! :D
I can't wait to try this.

mistercow.pnoy (author)2010-10-10

I'm sorry for being blind if it's been said, but what does this yield? About how many donuts with holes? How big of a batch should I make for only donut holes for 40 people; 2,3 or maybe even 4 times?. How small would a half batch be?

randofo (author)mistercow.pnoy2010-10-10

That's a good question. If I recall correctly, it produced about 18-20 donuts and about two dozen donut holes. If I were making donut holes for 40 people, I would probably guess that the recipe would then need to be doubled (assuming that each person ate a few with a couple to spare).

mistercow.pnoy (author)randofo2010-10-11

I made a half batch yesterday and got about 20 donut holes of varying sizes from about 2/3 of the batter. That was more than my family cared to eat so I had to trash the rest of the batter. Unfortunately, my mom decided she doesn't want to go through all the work by herself.

Tip:If you just want to make donut holes, you don't need to bother with the freezing, just grab two spoons and do like you would when making cookies. Who cares if they aren't perfectly symmetrical spheres? You're just going to eat them anyway.

Lindie (author)2009-11-04

Those were the days!  And your donuts look awesome!  Wish I was there to taste them.  I'll have to try an egg-free version and hope for the best. 
Later.  The Mother

oakspoor (author)Lindie2009-11-05

1TBS milled flax seed and 3 TBS water can substitute for an egg.  I use this with pretty good results in egg-less egg noodles.

Lindie (author)oakspoor2009-11-05

Thank you so much.  I sometimes use Ener-G egg replacer, but now I have something else to try.  :-)

oakspoor (author)Lindie2009-11-05

The Irony of  Vegans using chemicals to replace animal products astounds me.

Lindie (author)oakspoor2009-11-06

Hi,  are you saying that Ener-G egg replacer is chemicals?  I hope not.  It's from the natural food store.

I actually have an egg allergy, so I eat lots of vegan things.  I've been vegetarian for many years in my life, but at this point I'm not totally vegetarian.  If you're vegan, have you tried the Liz Lovely cookies?  they're really good.  :-)

anyheck (author)Lindie2010-09-24

The whole world, is made of chemicals, as is much of the observable universe, excepting neutron stars.

5in1killa (author)Lindie2009-11-08

Potato Starch, tapioca starch flour, leavening (calcium lactate [not derived from dairy], calcium carbonate, citric acid), sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose

oakspoor (author)5in1killa2009-11-08

LOL!!  I  was commenting on the general vegan industry.

rurikvred (author)oakspoor2010-09-20

I'm with Oakspoor. (I don't mean to hijack this post, the apple cider donuts are looking very delicious! Will definitely try it!)

However, I'm in the midst of it, people.

My wife is getting bombarded by her friends who have/are converting to vegan/vegetarianism. I don't get it with people who think animal products are "unhealthy", or worry about "compassion" for animals that are created SPECIFICALLY by nature for their herd/flock presence that allows other "predators" to be fed. Contrary to Vegan philosophy, humans are MEAT EATERS.

Do Vegans hate animals with claws and jaws? Do they have a distaste for the nature channels featuring amazing shows on lions, bears, tigers, or even the shrew which eats almost its weight in bugs and worms daily? (Note: the shrew has the highest brain size to body weight ratio of ALL MAMMALS, including humans). The amazing meat-eating shrew.

Just think if all chickens, cows, turkeys, fish, etc were protected from being eaten. Hinduism aside, we'd be overrun with animal diseases, millions upon millions of these "food source" creatures eating up our own "flora" resources, and eventually, we'd have to KILL THEM so the Vegans could eat what plant life was left.

I get it about natural animal raising and bringing to market. Free range, no antibiotics, that's all good. But "oooh, I can't eat that because you fried turkey bacon in that pan yesterday" is going too far. I'm not talking about food allergies here.

and, I'm saying this with love for my veggie eating friends. We grow the BEST vegetables and fruit - not for distribution, but for home/friend/neighbor benefits. I wish they would eat some tasty natural meat, so I can go out for dinner with them without feeling like a "jerk" ordering something with cheese on it, even if the cheese is unpasteurized. Good grief.

eecharlie (author)rurikvred2010-09-20

I wouldn't necessarily get behind eating no meat at all, but I would say that Americans in particular and the world in general are in the process of getting in big trouble from eating way too much meat.

Meat is a very energetically inefficient way to get calories and nutrients into you. It also requires a tremendous amount of water (to grow the feed crops, etc) The extra cost is not necessarily reflected in the market price of the meat because the vast majority of livestock is fed on corn grown using government subsidies (also why corn syrup and numerous unholy corn-derived chemicals are so cheap).

At the same time, some nutrients like iron are pretty hard to get elsewhere.

Getting overrun by chickens is not something you need to worry about. Did you know that most of the animals you eat are given antibiotics in their feed whether or not they are sick? Witnessing a failure of modern medicine to keep infectious diseases in check due to antibiotic resistance *is* something you need to worry about.

And finally, pasteurization has nothing to do with how environmentally-friendly your food is, it just keeps you from getting botulism or E-Coli.

macrumpton (author)oakspoor2010-09-19

It depends on your motivation for being vegan or vegetarian.
If your reason is compassion towards other creatures then consuming noxious chemicals or even chicken drumstick shaped tofu patties is not necessarily inconsistent.

On the other hand if your goal is to only be eating seeds and nuts to make you live forever then processed foodlike substances is not really sensible.

Food allergies are a whole different thing though.

delisle52 (author)2010-09-20

Ditto the comments on safety. The pan illustrated is way too full and uncontrolled, a little bit of splatter and you have a BIG fire. Use a larger pot with a lid that fits and fill to only 1/3 full.

Hot oil spill or fire is a life changing event (not in a good way).

If you really want to cook 'restaurant style', remember that the restaurant ranges also have BIG fire suppression systems.

I enjoyed your recipe, cant wait to try it out soon!

arthurkanzler (author)2010-09-19

Being a professional chef and a food chemist, I work around food all day long and have no desire whatsoever to cook when I get home. That being said, I was curious enough to try making these donuts and WOW it was worth it. For an added kick, in a small brown paper bag, put about a cup of sugar and a couple tablespoons of cinnamon and mix together. When the donuts come out of the fryer put them in the bag of sugar and give them a toss to put a nice sugar crust on them!

rattyrain (author)arthurkanzler2010-09-19

Hm, what sort of place do you work for? I'm interested in studying food science/chemistry, but I don't really know much about any career options where actual food is involved. Could you please enlighten me?

limpport (author)2010-09-19

I bet you 100% that the donuts you used to get were not fried in vegie oil. Yuck.

If you want them to taste even better, use lard. You can't get a better flavor out of a donut without using lard to fry them.

Eucherplayer (author)2009-12-07

Farmland lost is farmland lost forever... please attend your county/local government meetings, weigh the advantages and disadvantages for new developments.  Stand up for what you believe and always remember (according to the Federalist Papers), our government is firmly based on the "good will" of politicians...

redscorpio (author)Eucherplayer2010-09-19

well said!

kittyspacedog2 (author)2010-09-19

I would use an actuall doughnut batter-dispenser and a thinner dough...pull trigger, dispense doughnut into oil

KahlZun (author)2010-02-12

What's 350-375 in Celcius?

haruspex (author)KahlZun2010-09-19

Spartan Phalanx (author)KahlZun2010-02-12


livestrong2431 (author)2010-09-19

Yes! In my town EVERY local knows of the cider doughnuts up on Carter Mountain. Amazing what apples can add to doughnuts!

4thAce (author)2010-09-19

Yes, Tice's Corner is long gone, but you can go a half mile down the road to Demarest Farms which has delicious apple cider doughnuts still, light and tender.

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Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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