One of my most fond childhood memories is going apple picking at Roger’s Orchards in Connecticut and always getting their warm apple cider doughnuts and fresh-pressed apple cider after we picked our haul of apples. I looked forward to those doughnuts so much every fall. I mean who doesn’t love cinnamon-sugar coated apple cider doughnuts???
I’ve been wanting to make a vegan version for so long and finally convinced myself to do it this year. I think the frying part held me back from making them sooner, but ever since I made those old-fashioned sourdough yeast doughnuts last spring (remember those?) I’m all about that fried donut lyfe. #WorthIt
These vegan apple cider doughnuts are cake-style doughnuts, which may not be as light and airy as yeast-risen doughnuts, but they have a tender cake crumb and are not overly sweet, which I love. Best eaten while still warm, they are completely dunkable and delicious with a mug of warm mulled apple cider or coffee. Make the dough the night before and refrigerate overnight to fry up the best fall-inspired breakfast treat the following morning.
Suggested Tools & Equipment
If you’re intimidated by deep-frying, don’t worry, it is not as hard (or scary) as it seems. You will need a thermometer to be able to maintain the correct frying temperature of 350˚F. I suggest using an instant-read thermometer to check the oil temperature before, during, and between frying batches. I use this affordable plain cast iron dutch oven to fry in, the same dutch oven I bake my sourdough boules in. The final piece of equipment I suggest you use for deep-frying is a simple bamboo/brass spider strainer to help slide in and lift out foods from the hot oil. I use this strainer so much; it’s also great for scooping cooked pasta out of boiling water.
All about that flavor
Reducing apple cider and fresh apples into a thick delicious sauce adds so much flavor to these doughnuts. You can taste the crisp fall apples and spices in every bite. I will definitely be making these vegan apple cider doughnuts again before apple season is over! I hope you get a chance to try this recipe too and if you do please let me know how it turns out in the comments below or tag me on Instagram.
Happy fall guys!
Vegan Apple Cider Doughnuts
Yield 12 doughnuts
These old-fashioned apple cider doughnuts are just like those from apple orchard farm stands only vegan!!!
- 1-1/2 cups apple cider
- 2 medium apples
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons vegan shortening
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Neutral oil for frying, such as light olive oil, canola oil, or peanut oil.
- Core and chop apples with peel on. Add apple cider, chopped apples and cinnamon sticks to a medium saucepan and cook covered over medium heat until apples are softened about 5 minutes. Uncover and reduce the sauce for about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Puree sauce in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. The resulting sauce should measure out to 1 cup. If need be, return the sauce to the saucepan and further reduce until you have 1 cup. Let the sauce cool slightly.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together coconut milk, vinegar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
- Using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together 2/3 cup sugar and shortening until combined, about 2 minutes. Gradually add in applesauce, scraping the side of bowl.
- Add in 1/2 of the flour mixture on low speed, then add the coconut milk mixture, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix until everything is combined and forms a sticky dough, about 2 minutes.
- Line a 1/4 baking sheet with parchment paper and generously dust with flour. Scrape dough onto parchment and with floured hands form the dough into a rectangle about 1/2" thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours overnight.
- Whisk remaining 1 cup of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside.
- Once the dough has chilled, fill a heavy-bottomed pot with about 2 inches of oil and heat over medium-high to 350˚F using a candy or deep-fry thermometer to measure temperature. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan.
- Cut doughnuts out with a well-floured 2-1/2 or 3-inch round cutter and cut out centers with a 1-inch round cutter. Re-form dough scraps and continue to cut until all of the dough is used up. Fry doughnuts in small batches in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Adjust heat as needed to maintain an oil temperature of 350˚F. Transfer to the cooling rack for 30 seconds using a slotted spoon or spider strainer then roll/coat doughnuts in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Best served warm, but leftovers will keep through the following day if kept in an airtight container/bag at room temperature.
- Oil temperature is important. If the oil goes above 350˚F the crust may get too hard and the cinnamon sugar won't easily stick to it. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer and adjusting the heat level before, during and after each batch of doughnuts is frying.
- I use this vegan shortening.
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