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Old Fashioned Apple Cider Donuts on a wire rack next to an apple and glass of apple cider.

Old Fashioned Apple Cider Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar

  • Author: Sabrina Russo
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (6-8 donuts plus holes) 1x


These Old Fashion Apple Cider Donuts just scream fall. They’re perfectly fried and coated in that irresistible cinnamon sugar topping, we all love.



Cider reduction:

  • 1 ½ cups apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2 whole cloves (optional)
  • 1x3 inch orange peel (optional)


  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

Cinnamon sugar:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Vegetable oil, for frying

Special equipment: 3 ¼ inch and 1 ¼ inch round cutters, thermometer


  1. Reduce cider: Add cider, bourbon, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange peel to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until cider is reduced to 2 ½ tablespoons. Strain into bowl and cool slightly.
  2. Mix wet ingredients: Whisk apple butter, buttermilk and vanilla into reduced cider.
  3. Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  4. Beat butter, sugar & egg: In the bowl of a standing mixer, add butter and sugars. Mix over medium to medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. You can also do this by hand using a rubber spatula and transitioning into a whisk, as seen in the video. Add egg and beat until well combined.
  5. Mix dough: Add about 1/3 of flour mix to butter mix, combining over low speed. Add 1/3 of wet ingredients, mix to combine, and continue to alternate wet and dry ingredients until completely incorporated. You should have a soft and sticky dough.
  6. Shape dough: Generously flour a baking sheet. Place dough on sheet and using floured hands, flatten into a ¾ inch thick rectangle. Cover with plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight. Cut into donuts using a 3 ¼ inch round cutter and a 1 ¼ inch round cutter to punch out the center. Re-roll dough once and repeat. You can fry any extra odd pieces of dough too.
  7. Fry: While donuts chill, fill a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot with 2-3 inches of oil. Heat to 350°F. Add donuts to oil in batches and fry large donuts for a total of 5-6 minutes, and donut holes for a total of about 4 minutes, or until well-browned, flipping half way through. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet.
  8. Dip in sugar: Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for topping in a shallow bowl or plate. Coat all sides of donut in cinnamon sugar while still warm. These are best to eat warm, but can also be stored in an airtight container and eaten the next day. Enjoy.


This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.

To simplify the recipe, omit the bourbon, cinnamon stick, cloves and/or orange peel. 

You can substitute buttermilk with 1/4 cup of regular milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

If you plan to freeze some donuts, I recommend not rolling in cinnamon sugar first. After defrosting you can roll them in cinnamon sugar right before you plan to eat them.

You can also freeze the dough before frying it. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Punch out donut shapes and deep fry the following day.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 donut
  • Calories: 300
  • Sugar: 23g
  • Sodium: 255mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 46g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 4g

Keywords: old fashioned apple cider donuts, apple cider doughnuts, apple donuts, fried apple cider donuts, apple donuts with cinnamon sugar