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These homemade Apple Cider Fritters are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and bursting with caramelized apples.
🍎 An Apple Fritter Recipe You’ll Love!
Homemade Apple Fritters are the perfect fall dessert or breakfast! They’re indulgent enough to pass for dessert, but since they’re a cousin of the doughnut, they also get grandfathered into the breakfast category.
Enjoy them for brunch with a mug of hot apple cider or Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Warm them up and top with a scoop of ice cream and Cinnamon Syrup for dessert. Or do what I do — eat them plain, in great wolfish bites, before the rest of your family gets wise and you’re forced to share. However you eat them, you are going to LOVE them!
❤️ Why You’ll Love These Fritters
These aren’t just apple fritters — they are apple CIDER fritters, meaning they have double the apple flavor, and are the perfect combination of apple cider doughnuts and apple fritters. Imagine, if you will, that apple cider doughnuts and apple fritters had a baby. A beautiful, delicious, fluffy, super flavorful, apple-packed baby. Now imagine that babies are socially acceptable to eat. Yeah, they’re like that.
Apple Fritters vs Apple Doughnuts
Many apple cider doughnut recipes are cake-based, not yeast-based. And most apple fritters don’t have cider in the dough, they just rely on the apple chunks to provide flavor. So this fritter recipe is the best of both worlds: it’s a yeast dough recipe, so it’s wonderfully light and fluffy, and it also has really concentrated apple cider in both the dough and the glaze on top, so even the bites without chunks of apple have a nice apple undertone.
And the apple chunks! Caramelized in butter and brown sugar, with a hint of cinnamon, they’re literally bursting out of every surface of these fritters. They make these fritters shine, so absolutely don’t skip the caramelization steps in the recipe.
I really can’t think of a more perfectly fall food. It reminds me of apple picking, falling leaves, and crisp mornings. But, if you need more apple inspiration, check out our Salted Caramel Apple Pear Pie, Caramel Apple Cake, and Mile High Apple Pie!
🧾 What You’ll Need
A few ingredients and you’ll be all set to make Apple Cider Fritters. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you gather the ingredients. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)
- Apple cider: I recommend using fresh apple cider in this recipe. Apple cider is made from pressed fresh apples, and has a much stronger flavor than apple juice. It’s less sweet, and it gives these fritters a very realistic and vibrant apple taste. However, it can be hard to find outside of autumn months, so if you can’t source any, you can substitute apple juice in its place. Apple juice tends to have a weaker flavor and is much sweeter, so I do recommend using cider whenever possible.
- Yeast: This recipe calls for active dry yeast. I use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill yeast, or Red Star Yeast. If you are comfortable working with yeast and want to substitute rapid rise yeast you can, but you will need to make changes to the rising procedure following the package directions. In most cases I recommend sticking with active dry yeast.
- Milk: Whole milk will give you the most tender dough, but any fat percentage will work. I have only tested this recipe with dairy milk, so cannot advise on non-dairy alternatives.
- Egg yolks: We’re only using egg yolks in this recipe, so save those whites to make Meringue Cookies or buttercream! Here’s my full guide to separating egg yolks and whites if you need a refresher.
- Spices and salt: Feel free to modify the spices to suit what you have. I love using a spice blend like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice, but even sticking with cinnamon will give you great results!
- Frying oil: You can use canola or vegetable oil for frying the fritters.
- Apples: Look for firm apples that hold their shape when cooked. I’ve used SweeTango, Gala, and Honeycrisp with great success. I prefer a sweeter apple in this recipe, but if you like tart apples, Granny Smith is also a good choice.
You won’t need much in the way of specialty equipment to make these fritters–just a few frying basics! (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)
- Bench scraper or large knife: A bench scraper like this is infinitely hand in the kitchen! If you work with yeasted doughs much, you’ll find it’s invaluable for cutting dough and scraping down your work surface.
- Deep fry thermometer: If you’re going to be deep frying, an accurate thermometer is a MUST. You don’t need to spend a fortune on one, though — a basic model like this is perfect.
- Fry tool or slotted spoon:You’ll need a wire strainer or similar slotted tool to turn the fritters and remove them from the oil.
- Pastry brush: A pastry brush is used to add the sweet glaze after frying.
📋 How to Make Apple Fritters
This assembly method might seem a little fiddly, but there’s a method to the madness! The basic idea is to try and work the apple pieces deep into the layers of dough, so they’re randomly distributed and tucked into pockets of dough here and there, which will yield the signature craggy bumps and edges that make apple fritters so delicious and so unique.
Here’s a photo guide to the fritter process, and full instructions are included in the recipe card down below.
- Gently pat or roll your dough into a thin layer about 1/2-inch thick.
- Spread half of the apples over half of the dough, and fold the dough over on itself. Press down gently to seal the apples into the middle of the dough.
- Press the dough out into a thin rectangle again. Add the rest of the apples on half of the dough.
- Fold it over itself again. This process helps distribute apples randomly throughout the dough layers.
- Pat the dough back into a thin rectangle.
- Use a bench scraper or large sharp knife to cut the dough into small squares, about 1 1/2″.
- Gather together about 4-5 squares (total weight 2.5-3 oz) and press them together into a patty, pinching them at the top to help secure them.
- Place formed fritters on a baking sheet.
- Let the fritters rise, then deep-fry them until crispy and golden.
- Brush warm (but not hot!) fritters with a sweet apple cider glaze, then devour!
💡 Tips and FAQs
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Apple Cider Fritters
For the Fritters:
- 2.5 cups apple cider
- 2.25 tsp active dry yeast, (1 packet)
- 0.75 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 14.66 oz all-purpose flour, (3.25 cups)
- 1 oz unsalted butter, (2 tbsp), at room temperature
- 1 oz shortening, (2 tbsp)
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 0.75 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 cups canola oil, for frying
For the Apple Filling:
- 2 lbs apples, (about 5 medium apples)
- 2 oz unsalted butter, (1/4 cup)
- 1.88 oz brown sugar, (1/4 cup)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, (or lemon juice)
For the Glaze:
- 1/4 cup apple cider concentrate, (made during the doughnut preparation)
- 8 oz powdered sugar, (2 cups)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
To Make the Apple Cider Concentrate:
- Pour the apple cider into a medium saucepan, place the pan on medium heat, and bring it to a low boil.
- Continue to cook the apple cider until it reduces down to 3/4 cup, which might take 45-55 minutes. This step can be done ahead of time and the apple cider concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.
- Divide up the 3/4 cup apple cider concentrate: Pour 1/4 cup of it into a small bowl. Pour another 1/4 cup of it into the bowl of a large stand mixer, and reserve the remaining 1/4 cup to make the glaze later.
To Make the Fritters:
- Heat the small bowl of 1/4 cup apple cider concentrate in the microwave in short 10-second bursts, until it is warm but not scalding—it should be around 105-110 F, so barely hotter than body temperature.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top, stir it in gently, and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast foams up. Important: if you do not see foaming or any change in your yeast, do not proceed! This means your yeast is dead. This could be because the cider was too hot, or your yeast is old and no longer active. If you proceed with the recipe, it will not rise and you will be disappointed. Try again with fresh yeast and carefully measured apple cider concentrate, until you see it foam up, then proceed.
- To the large mixing bowl with the apple cider concentrate, add the milk, butter, shortening, sugar, yolks, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the yeast mixture into the large mixing bowl as well, then add half of the flour (7-1/3 oz, or 1-2/3 cups). Mix with the paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes, until very smooth.
- Add the rest of the flour (7-1/3 oz, or 1-2/3 cups) and mix with the paddle for another 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 5-7 minutes, until the dough forms a soft, smooth ball around the hook and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If it seems very sticky while it’s mixing, add a touch more flour, but only another tablespoon or two. Let the mixing do most of the work and resist the temptation to add too much flour, or else you will have tough doughnuts. When the dough is smooth, supple, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, turn off the mixer. It will still be a bit soft and sticky!
- Generously oil a large bowl and turn the doughnut dough into the oiled bowl. Cover loosely with a cloth and set it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
To Make the Apple Filling:
- While you wait for the dough to rise, prepare the apple filling. Peel, core, and chop the apples into small pieces about 1/2-3/4" wide.
- Place a large saucepan over medium heat, and melt the butter. Add the sugar, and stir it in until the sugar melts. (The mixture will be sandy and grainy.) Add the apples, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and apple cider vinegar.
- Cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and caramelized, and almost all of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. The time required depends on your pan and your apple variety, but 15-20 minutes is a rough cooking estimate.
- Scrape the apples into a shallow pan or bowl, and refrigerate them until they're room temperature or cooler. (Apples can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
- After an hour, dust your work surface with flour, punch down the dough, and turn it out onto your work surface. Gently pat it or roll it into a thin layer about 1/2-inch thick. Spread half of the apples over half of the dough. Fold the dough over on itself, and press down gently to seal the apples into the middle of the dough.
- Press the dough out into a thin rectangle again, flour it as necessary to keep it from sticking. Add the rest of the apples on half of the dough, and fold it over itself again. (This process helps distribute apples randomly throughout the dough layers.) Pat the dough back into a thin rectangle.
- Use a bench scraper or large sharp knife to cut the dough into small squares, about 1 1/2" or so.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment , and dust them lightly with flour. Gather together about 4-5 dough squares (total weight 2.5-3 oz) and press them together into a patty, pinching them at the top to help secure them. Don't worry if the patties seem to have a ragged appearance, or if apples poke out—this assembly method produces the beautifully craggy and randomly-shaped signature apple fritter appearance! Place a fritter on a baking sheet, then repeat until all of your fritters are formed. You should get about 15 fritters from this recipe.
- Cover the fritters loosely with cloths and let them rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
To Fry and Finish:
- Toward the end of the fritter rise time, pour the frying oil into a medium-large saucepan, and insert a deep fry thermometer. Turn the heat to medium and heat until the oil reaches 350 F. During the frying process, keep a close eye on the thermometer and adjust the heat if necessary to keep the oil near this temperature at all times.
- Once the fritters have risen and the oil is the right temperature, gently place 2-3 fritters at a time in the oil and fry them for about 2 minutes per side, until they are puffed and golden brown.
- Once cooked, remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon or frying tool, and place them on a paper-towel lined wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining fritters. Periodically remove any stray apples or dough bits that are floating in the oil.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the reserved 1/4 cup apple cider concentrate along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Try brushing some on a warm (but not super hot!) fritter. It should brush easily, and start to melt into the outside of the fritter. If it is too thick, and looks more like frosting than glaze, add a little apple cider or milk, a small spoonful at a time, to get the right consistency. Brush the glaze on the fritters, or spoon it on and spread it around with the spoon. Repeat until all of the fritters have been glazed.
- Let the glaze set for about 20 minutes, then serve! These fritters are best on the day they are made, but they will keep for several days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.
About Elizabeth LaBau
I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media: