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Spiced Cider Doughnuts

Yield: 6 doughnuts and 16 holes

In the fall, almost every pick-your-own orchard in New England serves its family’s version of cider doughnuts. They’re all wonderful, but I’ve been told many times that mine—warmly spiced and ethereal—are the best. With their cakelike crumb and zingy sweetness, these are worth making for the irresistible cooking aromas alone.


For the dough

  • 2-1/2 cups apple cider
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 16 oz. (3-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour; more for dusting
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice

For frying

  • 14 cups sunflower or canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size 1 doughnut or 5 holes
  • Calories (kcal) : 670
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 310
  • Fat (g): 35
  • Saturated Fat (g): 11
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 90
  • Sodium (mg): 370
  • Carbohydrates (g): 79
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 27
  • Protein (g): 9


Make the dough

  • Cook the cider in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes; the texture should be thick and will become almost syrupy as it cools. Remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer and a large bowl), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary, about 3 minutes. While blending on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing just to incorporate before adding the next, and then add the cider reduction, buttermilk, vanilla, and zest.
  • In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the cider mixture 1 cup at a time until a wet, sticky dough forms, about 3 minutes total. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and sprinkle generously with about 1/3 cup flour. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, dust the top generously with flour, and press into an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  • When ready to cook, use a 3-1/2-inch doughnut cutter (or 3-1/2-inch and 1-inch round cutters) to punch the doughnuts out 4 and a thin metal spatula to lift them 5 ; reserve the inner pieces (the holes). Punch additional holes out of the scraps (rerolling the dough to cut more doughnuts will make it tough).

Fry the doughnuts

  • Fill a fryer or large Dutch oven fitted with a candy thermometer with 2-1/2 to 3 inches of oil. Heat to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Once the oil has reached temperature, carefully drop 3 doughnuts into the oil, and cook, flipping with a fork after about 1-1/2 minutes, until lightly brown all over, about 3 minutes total.
  • Transfer the doughnuts to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and then, while still warm, to the bowl of cinnamon sugar. Toss to coat the doughnuts completely, and then set on cooling racks. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, and then fry the holes. Serve warm.


Transferring this very sticky dough to a rimmed baking sheet makes working the dough into an even thickness less messy. Chilling the dough to firm it up makes cutting out the doughnuts easier.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • User avater
    dabooboo | 10/26/2018

    Amazing doughnuts. However, a few of them turned out slightly dry on the interior. I think I may have over fried a little bit given how thin they actually were. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will skip cutting out the doughnut holes and fry them whole. I recommend everyone to try this recipe.

  • user-5651275 | 10/12/2018

    These are so good! We added 1/8 tsp. of nutmeg as well, and it was a nice addition. We've also tried different oils in the past to fry doughnuts, and our favorite is vegetable shortening.

  • szatlanta | 09/25/2018

    There was a step by step pictograph to go along with it and it was referring to picture 4 and 5. Just ignore the numbers, use the cookie cutter to cut the holes and then the spatula to separate the hole from the donut.

  • User avater
    cookingfine | 09/24/2018

    Hi there, In the 4th paragraph it says "punch the doughnuts out 4 and a thin metal spatula to lift them 5 ;" What does that mean? These sound great, I can't wait to try them!
    Charlotte G.

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