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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. 4 stars
    This was my first time making doughnuts. I reduced the cider to 2/3 cup and used 4 1/4 cups of flour. I also added some pumpkin pie spice. I made a bunch of doughnut holes too. They were fun to make and tasty!

    1. Hey Stephanie,
      I would keep it in the fridge. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Thanksgiving! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    I made these last night & they are absolutely delicious! Knowing I can make these so easily is dangerous knowledge! I made sure to reduce the apple cider to exactly 2/3 and I did not have to add any extra flour. Reducing the cider only took about 20 min, I had the burner on med. after that they came together so easily, and were quick to make. Lastly I have an egg allergy so I used Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, it worked really well in this! Thank you for another knock out recipe!

  3. Is there a substitution for the apple butter? Could I use ricotta cheese or apple sauce? Can’t wait to make these!

    1. Hey Amber,
      I would use applesauce. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Adelle,
      You can use applesauce in place of the apple butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. Tried this today. I don’t think I let the apple cider reduce enough and like a fool, I didn’t measure before using it. I ended up using way more flour to get it to form. Taste great but definitely more dough like. The kids are already requesting it again.

    1. Hey Julie,
      Sorry, I don’t own an air fryer so I have not tested this. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Albany,
      You are going to use melted butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. Hi there! Any chance I could bake these instead of frying them? I’ve got a new donut pan I’m wanting to use, and these sound amazing! Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Noelle,
      I honestly think frying these gives the best results:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  6. Overall, I really enjoyed this recipe! I have a few comments though…
    After reading previous comments on the amount of time it took, the amount of flour used, etc, I was very hesitant to use this recipe and started looking up others instead. Ultimately I decided to go for it with this one. Reducing the apple cider took a very long time, about 1.5hrs for me to reduce it down from 3 cups to 2/3 cups. I anticipated this, but even so, I didn’t expect it to take THAT long. In retrospect it would be a good idea to do this step the night before. That being said, I know people had issues with the dough being too sticky so I made sure to reduce the cider to 2/3c, NOT 1 cup. This helped tremendously and I had no issues with using too much flour (I used about 4.5 cups). Everything else went smoothly from there and they turned out delicious! I would still recommend this recipe IF you have the time for it!

    1. Hi Olivia! I am really glad this recipe turned out well for you! Thank you for trying it and sharing suggestions on how you made this! xTieghan

  7. My family loves cider donuts. Wish we can bake instead of fried? They look really scrumptious!

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Libien,
      I really don’t love to fry food, but this is one of those recipes where baking the doughnuts just doesn’t quite do it. I would recommend frying:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  8. 1 star
    Sadly I have to echo what other commenters have said about this recipe. Before I start I’ll note that I’m at the same altitude (or close to) as HBH – I’m only 30 mins from Denver, and feel fairly experienced as I’ve worked in a bakery before. The cider takes far longer to reduce, closer to 45 minutes. The recipe does not indicate what form the butter should be in – melted, softened? In order for the dough to come together it took over a cup more flour and it was still a bit of a sticky mess. The excess flour yielded a doughy, unflavored donut. I’m really disappointed as this was a pricey, time consuming flop and many others have requested adjustments to the recipe based on similar experiences that could have prevented this. Would not recommend.

    1. Hi! I am really sorry for the trouble with this recipe! I did not have these problems while making them, but I will look into it again to make sure it is perfect! Thank you for trying this one, again I apologize it did not turn out as expected! xTieghan

  9. 4 stars
    These were good but didn’t have enough apple flavor even though I reduced the apple cider and used the apple butter. Instead of frying them as donuts, I rolled out the dough and then added a dollop of apple butter then created a turnover. They were super. The dough is good but need more apple flavor. I’m a huge fan of your recipes.

    1. Hi! I am really glad these turned out well for you! Please let me know if there is anything I can help with! I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes! xTieghan

  10. Hello! New around here but LOVE LOVE LOVE everything I have tried. Going to make these this weekend and sorry if this is already in the comments but could I make the dough and cut them out he night before? Anyone tried that? Can’t wait!!

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