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Apple Cider Doughnuts Recipe

Autumn Doughnuts

Every year in the fall we go apple picking at this divine New England orchard. There are hay rides, scare crows, pumpkins, cider, caramel apples–and the air is filled with the sweet scent of warm apple cider doughnuts.

Our son is allergic to egg, so this year I decided that it was time I came up with an egg free alternative. I tinkered around and have to say these come pretty close. I hope you enjoy them!

1/2 cup milk (if allergic use a milk alternative like soy or rice milk)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon applesauce
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum pressed organic palm oil)
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus more for sprinkling)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
oil or shortening for frying (I use Canola)

Boil apple cider in a small pot until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile mix the first 5 ingredients until they are blended well.

Mix the remaining 6 dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

When the cider has cooled, add it to the wet mixture.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until you have a soft and pliable dough.

If the dough is too wet or sticky, add a little flour until it is the right consistency.
You want dough not batter. If too dry, add a little more applesauce.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface and press or roll to a 1/2 inch thickness.

Using a doughnut cutter, or round glass dipped in flour, cut out the doughnuts and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (If using a glass and you want holes in the center of your doughnuts–you can use a water bottle cap to cut out the holes.)

Combine the scraps, and doughnut holes if you want, re-roll the dough and cut again.
Do this until there is no dough remaining.

If the doughnuts seem soft place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to firm them up.

Add enough oil to a 3 inch or taller pan and heat until the oil is slightly bubbling. About 375 degrees. You can test the oil by dropping a small piece of dough in. It should bubble and float to the top.

Fry several doughnuts at a time being sure to flip them to ensure they are cooked thoroughly.
They should turn a nice brown color.

Remove cooked doughnuts to a paper towel lined dish. When they have cooled enough to handle them, drop them in a large zip lock bag with sugar and cinnamon and shake to coat. You can also coat with powdered sugar but we prefer the cinnamon granulated sugar combination.

Place them on a wire rack to fully cool. Store in bakery bags or an air tight container.

This recipe will make 18-24 doughnuts depending upon size and whether you keep the doughnut holes or not. They are best eaten within a few days. Enjoy with a cup or tea or hot cider.

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About Ruth LovettSmith

Ruth LovettSmith is a writer, artist and designer with a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is the Founder and Editor of the popular food allergy information guide Best Allergy Sites. She also writes articles on art and design, food allergies, parenting, gardening and healthy living and is an advocate for and within the food allergy community.


  1. great just great, I am vegan and this works perfectly. what is the nutrition chart values though…elorine

  2. Thanks Elorine for stopping by and for your comment. We don’t typically put nutrition chart values with our recipes–though it is a good idea. Going forward, we will try to include as much nutritional information as we can. :)

  3. Thank you SO much for posting this. My 1-year-old is allergic to eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts, and I was dreading our apple picking trip this fall b/c he’d be left out while we enjoyed the autumn’s greatest delicacy at our favorite apple orchard. Now, he won’t have to! Thanks to your recipe, I’ll make his treat and bring it with! You’re a lifesaver!

  4. Thanks so much Kristen for your kind comment. It really brightens my day when I hear from readers like you.

    I hope your 1 year old likes the treats! My son is also allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and soy–so keep an eye out for more recipes in the future! :)

  5. What a great recipe Ruth! My friend Hannah makes some vegan cider doughnuts too, I am so curious how similar or different the recipes are!

  6. Thanks Alisa! Let me know how they turn out and how similar they are to your friend Hannah’s.

  7. I wonder how these would turn out with a gluten-free flour blend like King Arthur all purpose GF flour or Beth’s all-purpose GF mix. My daughter is allergic to dairy, wheat, eggs and nuts and has never had a doughnut, but boy does she want one.

  8. Joyce,

    Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.

    As you know, cooking gluten free can often be difficult. There are many great mixes available – but they often require a binding ingredient like egg.

    Many of the new mixes (like King Arthur) have a blend of various flours and ingredients to help with binding.

    I have not tried this recipe gluten free, but why not do so and see how it turns out? Try cutting the recipe in 1/2 in the event it doesn’t turn out the way you want.

    You may also want to try a powdered egg substitute and/or a little tapioca flour or starch if it’s not already in your flour mix.

    Let us know how it turns out!

  9. I have a doughnut maker, will this work along with your recipe?

  10. Kay – I’m not familiar with doughnut makers and I suppose it would depend on which type you have. The recipe here makes a “dough” that needs to be fried. You could also try baking them – but I have not done that yet.

    Hope that helps!

  11. How deep does the oil need to be?

  12. Great question Bret. You want the oil deep enough so that the doughnut does not stick to the bottom of the pan. You can go really deep with the oil so that you can fry the doughnut in one shot. However, I hate to waste oil so I put about 3 inches of oil or less in a pan and then flip my doughnuts so each side gets evenly cooked. Just make sure there are a couple of inches of pot or pan above the height of your oil for safety sake.

  13. No problem Bret. I hope you like them! :)

  14. My daughter is allergic to egg, peanut, tree nut and shellfish. I am really looking forward to trying this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing – you know how difficult it can be to help food allergic kids feel like they are not missing out on anything, and recipes like this make that job so much easier! :-)

  15. Megan – thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for your kind words. I truly hope that you and your daughter LOVE these doughnuts! :)

  16. I’m wondering if you’ve tried these baked? Do you think they would hold up? I have a donut pan, we might just have to try this out. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Melanie – that’s a great question! I have never tried baking them so I can’t give you an absolute answer. However – I will say that the dough is pretty thick – so it might hold up well.

    If you try it – please post back and let us know if you get a chance!

  18. Fabulous! Just the recipe I was looking for to make my DH and my Egg/Nut allergic kiddo’s weekend! Thanks!

  19. Heidi – so happy you found us! I hope your family loves the doughnuts!

  20. I am so excited to try this recipe! My son is allergic to soy, eggs, dairy, nuts, all meat plus many other things and has been diagnosed with eocinophilic esphagitis recently, so we are trying to figure out what we can feed him. He has always loved donuts and hasn’t been able to have them any longer…he will be so surprised when I make these for him! Thank you!

  21. Anna – I’m so thrilled you found us! I hope your son loves the doughnuts. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  22. I am SO GLAD I stumbled across this site! My son is allergic to peanuts, treenuts, eggs, sesame, legumes, and soy and we are headed tomorrow to the cider mill for his first field trip with his preschool. Not wanting him to be left out from the other kids eating donuts I decided I would make him his own. I have never made donuts before (EVER) and just made your recipe. This is SERIOUSLY the BEST thing I have ever made in my entire life! :D :D Probably not the healthiest, but they are delicious! And they taste just as good as real donuts! Thank you!!!

  23. Jen – thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I am so glad that you liked the recipe and that your son was able to have a treat just like everyone else. I hope you both had fun at the cider mill!

  24. I just stumbled upon this website today and it’s awesome. you’re doing a great job here Ruth. I blog about urticaria and i will surely refer my readers to your recipes.

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