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If there was ever a recipe that screams fall it’s these apple cider doughnuts. Homemade doughnuts made with mulled cider, cinnamon, apple butter, and maple. Fried to perfection (because if you’re going to eat a doughnut, eat a real doughnut), and rolled in cinnamon spice. There’s nothing not to love about these sweet doughnuts. Best enjoyed while still warm, with a steaming mug of coffee. The perfect way to welcome in fall this weekend.

side angle photo of Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts with steaming coffee

Tomorrow is the official start of fall, so today I just had to share one of the most fall-ish recipes I could think of, apple cider doughnuts.

I know that I’ve been talking about fall for the last week non-stop, but you guys know it’s my favorite season, and I can’t help but be overly excited. I mean the blog is called Half Baked Harvest after all. Not going lie, I spent weeks brainstorming just what to share today. Nothing felt special enough, but then it occurred to me that I had not once made apple cider doughnuts. When I realized this I was up out of my desk chair and frying up doughnuts within minutes.

When the ideas come, I tackle them right away. If I wait too long I’ll manage to talk myself out of them and move onto something else. Yes, my brain works in odd ways…

Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnut dough before frying

Jumping right into details today, because I feel as though I’ve been rambling a lot this week. Plus, I’ve spent the last few days unpacking and organizing the studio barn, trying to get it to be actually “work ready” and I’m just slightly tired. We still have so much to do at the studio, but progress is being made! I’ll share more details in Sunday’s Favorites post.

Moving along.

You know how there are some recipes that are just so delicious and so so crave worthy? Well, these doughnuts are just that. They’re full of fall flavors, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, perfectly sweet, and truly mouth wateringly good. They’re best enjoyed on a crisp fall morning, or afternoon, with a warm mug of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.

So perfect.

Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts after frying, but before adding cinnamon sugar

To start, make the doughnut dough. Unlike most doughnuts, apple cider doughnuts are not made using any yeast, and instead are made with baking powder and baking soda. Not only does this make them simpler and easier to make, but it gives them a heartier, denser texture with a soft inside, but a slightly crisp outside.

To make my doughnuts extra flavorful, I like to use homemade mulled apple cider, apple butter (truly my favorite autumn ingredient) autumn spices, and maple syrup. The combo of apple cider, apple butter, and maple make these doughnuts extra special, and extra delicious. And just slightly different from all the rest.

overhead photo of Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

The key to a really good apple cider doughnut though?

Frying them and almost immediately rolling them generously in cinnamon spice (also known as cinnamon sugar).

close up side angle photo of Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

I’ll be the first to admit that I hate frying. But sometimes, every now and again, like when fall rolls around and you have a rainy weekend on your hands, frying up apple cider doughnuts is the only thing you should be doing.

Try making them this weekend. Promise you will not be disappointed. These are everything you want out of an apple cider doughnut, but better.

Also? If you happen to go apple picking this weekend, or sometime in the near future, grab some good apple cider while you are out. Good cider makes all the difference.

Also, also…these really are best when eaten slightly warm and with steaming coffee. Highly recommending making a batch for an afternoon snack…and maybe lighting a candle too, because if you’re doing the cozy vibe, do it well.

close up overhead photo of Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

Watch the How To Video:

If you make these mulled spiced apple doughnuts, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Mulled Spiced Apple Cider Doughnuts

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 16 doughnuts
Calories Per Serving: 220 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. Bring the apple cider and cinnamon to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes or until reduced to about 2/3 to 1 cup. Remove from the heat. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Add the cider to a large mixing bowl.
    2. To the cider, add the butter, maple syrup, apple butter, vanilla, and eggs. Beat to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using the dough hook, knead the dough until a smooth ball forms, adding 1/4 cup additional flour, if needed to bring the dough together. Cover the bowl and let rest 15 minutes. 
    3. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. 
    4. Heat 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees F.
    5. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using doughnut or cookie cutters, cut out rounds of dough.
    6. Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spatula to carefully place the doughnuts into the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until light golden brown and puffed, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain onto a paper towel lined plate. 
    7. Coat the warm doughnuts in cinnamon sugar...generously. These are best eaten slightly warm, so enjoy! 
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  1. For anyone looking to make these, without reducing the apple cider, King Arthur Flour has an apple cider reduction that you can buy. It’s a little pricey but definitely worth it. Saves time & is of good quality (always). These look great as do many of your recipes can’t wait to try them all.

    1. Hey Jacqui,
      Yup, but for this recipe frying is what works best! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  2. Hi!

    Love your recipes. Do you think an air flyer can be used for this recipe for apple cider donuts?

    Just curious. I hate frying too. The clean up is not fun.

    1. Hey Tobias,
      So sorry but I do not own an air fryer so I am unsure of what the results would be! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  3. I don’t think I can find apple cider in Germany. Can using just unfiltered apple juice or something similar work? Would love to make these!

    1. Hey Sonya,
      Yes that would totally work! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Felishia,
      I would highly recommend frying these. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. I have never made homemade doughnuts before but it is something I have wanted to try for a while. These apple cider ones look fantastic and relatively easy to make. I will have to give them a try.

    1. Hey Lora,
      I use a large Staub dutch oven for these. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    These are AMAZING!! We are going to be making them for a second time this weekend. Just wondering if you’ve tried out different oils and have a favorite?? We did coconut oil last time, which i really liked. But my husband is a little bit sick of coconut oil (since i use it so often lol) Anyway, just wondering what kind specifically you would choose. Thanks!

    1. Hi Brianne! I typically just use canola oil, but i love the sound of coconut oil! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am so glad you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ??

  6. Hi! I was curious if I could make the dough ahead of time? I’d like to make the dough tomorrow and fry them on Sat or Sun. Not sure if that would be an issue. Thanks! Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda! Yes, you can make the dough ahead of time. That works so well! Just keep the dough in the fridge and then bring to room temp. before frying. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ???

  7. I had an experience with these doughnuts similar to several of the other commenters. I do not usually leave comments but hope that this can be helpful to others, as I have a decent amount of cooking/baking experience. These doughnuts require significantly more flour than called for to form a dough ball, and the video for the recipe evidences this. Due to the exorbitant amount of flour required (and the fact that it is added late resulting in overworking), these lost a lot of their apple flavor and had a very close texture. I think you may wish to consider tweaking this recipe to account for these comments so that others in the future can have more success on their first attempts—as most of the time that is my experience with this excellent blog!

    1. Hi Anika! Thank you so much for these comments. I will look over the recipe and possibly adjust. Really appreciate you leaving such a a helpful and kind comment! Thank you! xTieghan ???

  8. 3 stars
    The finished product is delicious, but we had major issues with the recipe– the cider takes way, way longer than 20 minutes at a simmer to reduce to 2/3 of a cup, so we ended up with way too much liquid after waiting some time. As a result, we had to add tons of extra flour and still never arrived at a texture that could be shaped into donut shape. That said, the funky globs we fried are DELICIOUS and we are delighted with ourselves. So, give these a shot but allot extra time, make sure you don’t have too much liquid, and don’t count on them looking nice enough to bring to a party.

    1. Hi Maggie! If there are any questions I could help you with, please let me know! I am glad these still tasted great! xTieghan

    1. Hi there! I am not familiar with the air fryer so it is hard to say. I would think that these would work just fine, especially if you feel comfortable with the air fryer. Please let me know if you have any other questions and how these turn out in the air fryer. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  9. Hi, a little nervous to try these because of all the reviews that mention them not working but they look too beautiful not to try! That being said, I can’t seem to find apple butter – is there anything I can substitute for this ingredients? Thank you!

    1. HI! I use a 3 inch cutter. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan

  10. @Erika, and others – I am in the midst of making these right now. I echo the sentiments already expressed. It took much longer than 10 minutes to reduce at a safe simmer; I added an additional cup of flour beyond what was called for, but I stopped mixing for fear of over-working the dough. It is currently resting. I am hoping they turn out as well as others say they did.

    I use HBH for recipes probably once a week. I love everything I’ve ever made from this site. However, I’ve had to adjust and tweak nearly everything I’ve ever made. Normally, it comes down to a matter of time – the steps never take as long (or as little time) that the recipe suggests they will. I had the passing thought today that it could have to do with the difference in altitude? Is it possible that is affecting such things as the times and (sometimes) the amounts, and that it isn’t always accounted for? I don’t know enough about these things to say for sure, so it is just a passing thought.

    I will continue to use this site and cookbook because everything off of it is delicious, but I always do so with a bit of caution.

    1. Hey Kacie,

      Sorry for any trouble. Glad you are able to adjust the recipes to your needs. Can I ask where you live? Thanks so much! xTieghan