Grace Elkus
Hands-On Time
50 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 50 Mins
Makes about 18 donuts (plus donut holes)

The quintessential fall treat may be a mainstay at farmer’s markets, but it’s twice as tasty when you eat it straight from the fryer—still warm. This recipe is a breeze to mix up, and makes tender, airy donuts. The dough is sticky, so be sure to liberally dust your hands and work surface with flour. If you don’t have a donut cutter, you can punch out donuts using an upside down water glass and a bottle cap (for the hole). The cinnamon sugar mixture can clump after a couple batches of hot donuts. To keep it from clumping, divide the mixture in half between two pie plates.

How to Make It

Step 1

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust generously with flour. Whisk the apple cider, milk, brown sugar, eggs, and ⅓ cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until combined. Pulse the butter, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, 4¼ cups flour, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a food processor until sandy. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined (dough will be very sticky).

Step 2

With floured hands, transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Gently pat into a ½-inch thick rectangle, and dust with more flour. Refrigerate for 1 hour (this will make the dough easier to work with).

Step 3

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in 2 wide, shallow bowls or pie plates.

Step 4

Fill a medium heavy-bottomed pot with 2 inches of oil and fit with a deep fry or candy thermometer; set over medium heat. Cut out donuts using a 3-inch donut cutter. Gather scraps, gently pat out again, and repeat until all the dough has been used.

Step 5

When thermometer registers 360°F, working in batches, add donuts to the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry, turning once, until donuts are puffy and deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer donuts to the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss to coat. Repeat with remaining donuts, holes, and cinnamon-sugar mixture. 

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