This Apple Fritter Donut recipe has the best fall spices in every bite! Made with fresh apples and topped with a cinnamon vanilla glaze, these homemade donuts are a sweet treat the whole family will love for breakfast, brunch, snacks, or dessert!
This recipe for apple fritter donuts was first published on August 28, 2015. It has since been updated over the years with new photos and republished on September 22, 2023.
Homemade apple fritters are such a special treat! And, they are easier to make at home than you might think. No deep fryer needed!
This easy recipe makes crunchy, sweet, fragrant apple doughnuts that are better than any donut shop. And the absolutely mouthwatering yet simple glaze puts these over the top. Prepare to meet your new favorite breakfast and brunch recipe!
❤️ Why I made this recipe
My son was the inspiration for creating this apple fritter recipe. He has always loved apple fritter doughnuts.
So several years ago when he was little, I created this recipe as part of the KitchenAid Apple Challenge. They were a hit with the whole family!
Since I first developed this donut recipe, I've tested and re-tested this recipe. It's been tweaked slightly over the years, but the recipe in the recipe card at the bottom of the post has the BEST flavor of all of the different versions I have tested. I happen to love it a LOT -- and I hope you and your family love it, too!
🍏 Ingredient notes
For the apple fritters:
To make these apple cider donuts, you just need simple ingredients you can find in any local grocery store.
- Apples - Use green apples for the best results, as the tart flavors bake beautifully and balance the sweetness of the rest of the donut. Be sure to dice apples into small diced cubes.
- Applesauce - Instead of eggs to bind the batter, this recipe uses applesauce. It's also great because it adds even more apple flavor!
- Wet ingredients - In addition to the applesauce, the wet ingredients of the batter include cream (or half & half or milk), melted butter (use unsalted butter), and vanilla extract.
- Dry ingredients - the batter is made of all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and a trio of fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice).
For the cinnamon glaze:
Although optional, I highly recommend making the cinnamon glaze. It's the perfect drizzle of sweetness to balance out the tart and savory doughnuts.
To make the glaze, you need a little more ground cinnamon, plus confectioner's sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream (or half and half, or milk).
✅ Step by step instructions
The full list of ingredients and detailed instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. But here's a visual step-by-step guide with photos of the process.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
- In another large bowl. mix together the wet ingredients.
3. Gradually mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients until a smooth dough forms.
4. Gently fold in the diced apples.
5. Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add heaping teaspoonfuls of the donut batter into the hot oil.
6. Fry the donuts in the oil for about 2-4 minutes on each side, just long enough to get a nice golden brown crunch on the outside.
7. Use a kitchen spider to carefully lift the donuts out of the hot oil, allowing the excess oil to drip back down into the Dutch oven. Transfer donuts to a wire rack fit over a baking sheet to allow the excess oil to drip down into the baking sheet.
Make the glaze
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and there are no more visible powdered sugar clumps.
- Drizzle over the donuts on the wire rack so the excess glaze can drip down into the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can gently dunk the donuts one side at a time into the glaze.
Cooking tips and recipe FAQs
Some additional cooking tips to help you make the best apple fritters ever:
- Make sure you dice apples into the same size so they cook evenly in the batter. Also make sure they are small cubes and not too large.
- If you don't want to use applesauce, you can substitute it with two large eggs at room temperature.
- Use a candy thermometer / deep-fry thermometer to watch the temperature of the oil. I start deep-frying the donuts when the thermometer reads around 280°F. Try to keep the temperature of the oil between 280°F and 325°F.
- Take great care in slowly lowering the dough into the vegetable oil so that the hot oil does not come back up to splash you.
- Try to make the apple fritters about the same size so that they fry up evenly.
- Do not crowd the pan/Dutch oven with too many apple fritters. The dough needs enough oil around it to ensure it fries up evenly.
- Instead of the glaze, you can sprinkle powdered sugar over the hot donuts before serving.
If you store apple fritters in an airtight container at room temperature, they should stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Green apples like Granny Smith apples or Golden Delicious apples are perfect for apple fritters. But you can also use red apples like Gala or Fuji apples.
Absolutely! I make this recipe dairy-free often. Simply substitute almond milk for the regular milk in the batter and in the glaze. Substitute vegan butter for regular butter in the batter.
For best results, reheat in an air fryer at 350°F for 1-2 minutes, just until heated through. You can also reheat apple fritters in the microwave, but they may not be as crispy reheated.
Serve these delectable apple fritters donuts for breakfast, brunch, as a snack, or they make great apple desserts!
For breakfast and brunch, we love serving these donuts as part of a beautiful brunch board with some coffee and tea.
And they're awesome with other sweet and savory breakfast dishes like
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
Ready to make these delicious donuts? Here's what you'll need to make this easy donut recipe. Click on the links to purchase.
- Mixing bowls - You will need one large mixing bowl for the dry ingredients, one large bowl for the wet ingredients, and a medium bowl or small bowl for the glaze.
- Whisk and spatula - Use a whisk to mix together the batter, and then a silicone spatula to fold in the apples. You can also use a wooden spoon.
- Dutch oven - I make these fritters in my Staub Cocotte 4 quart Dutch oven. Any medium to large Dutch oven will work. If you don't have a Dutch oven, you can use any large pot with a heavy bottom.
- Cooking spider - a cooking spider is a round, usually stainless steel kitchen tool with woven metal netting that resembles a spider's web. It's perfect for lifting food from frying oil.
- Wire rack and baking sheet - You'll need a wire rack and baking sheet to transfer the fried fritters onto to drain the excess oil. Then use it again when glazing the apple fritter doughnuts to allow the excess glaze to drip off.
🍎 More apple recipes
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Apple Fritter Donut recipe
- 1 spider
- 2 green apples, peeled, cored, and diced (about 1½ cups diced apples)
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground all spice
- ½ cup applesauce
- ⅔ cup milk
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- vegetable oil for frying
Make the donut batter
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until the ingredients are well combined.
- Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, gently fold in apple pieces.
Fry the donuts
- Heat a Dutch oven or other large deep pot with about 2-3" of vegetable oil until the oil starts to sizzle slightly around 280°F. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.
- Using two tablespoons, gently lower a huge tablespoon full of the batter into the oil and slightly flatten into a disc-like shape with one tablespoon while holding the batter down with the other. Or you can simply scoop a couple of tablespoons of batter out and carefully drop them into the oil.
- Repeat until you have 3-4 fritters frying. Take care not to crowd the pan.
- Once the bottoms of each fritter begins to brown, carefully flip over with a slotted spoon.
- Fry until both sides are golden brown, which takes about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently lift each cooked fritter out of the hot oil and place onto the prepared wire rack to drain off excess oil and allow the fritters to cool down.
- Continue frying the remaining batter. This batter makes approximately 15 fritters, if each fritter is approximately 3" wide.
Glaze the donuts
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk to create the glaze. If the glaze is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk at a time. If the glaze is too thin, add about one tablespoon of powdered sugar to the mixture until the glaze reaches the desired consistency.
- Carefully dip the slightly cooled fried fritters into the glaze then place back on the wire rack so the excess glaze drips off the donuts. Alternatively, you can use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the tops of the donuts.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
This beloved family recipe was first published on August 28, 2015. It has been updated and republished on September 22, 2023.