Apple Cider Popcorn Doughnuts

Apple Cider Popcorn Doughnuts

Is it even autumn if you don’t have apple cider doughnuts? Not really, if you ask us. Apple picking is an annual ritual and it’s hard to find an orchard or farm stand in the fall that’s not frying up batches of fresh hot apple cider doughnuts. You can smell them as you pull up to park or grab your bag for picking. And that aroma pulls you in, whether you intended to eat any or not. And really, why wouldn’t you? They’re one of the joys of the fall season.

Can you use apple juice instead of apple cider in this recipe and what the heck is the difference between the two, anyway? Apple cider is basically the unfiltered version of apple juice. The cider uses apples that are ground into a mash, almost like applesauce. All that pulp matter is removed during the filtration process that turns it into juice. Because juice is then pasteurized, it also tends to have a longer shelf life. Cider contains more fiber and also has a “stronger” flavor. So, that was the long answer and the short answer is that, yes, you can use juice but it will have a slightly milder flavor. Some apple cider doughnut recipes call for taking a couple of cups of cider, bringing them to a boil and reducing them down to the half cup needed for an even more concentrated flavor. We’ve left that step out but feel free to do it if you want more of a flavor punch.

You can also find pre-packaged cider doughnuts in farmer’s markets and supermarkets during the autumn months. But nothing beats fresh and hot. So, if there’s no apple picking weekend planned, we’ll just have to make them ourselves. Oh, you’re not so big on frying doughnuts at home? We’ve got you. Our recipe is for baked doughnuts but you won’t miss the frying because we finish them with melted butter and cinnamon sugar and our very own Dell Cove® Salted Caramel Seasoning.

Probably the only thing missing from ordinary doughnuts is a bit of crunch but we’ve taken care of that as well because we top ours with popcorn. So we’ve got the aroma of apple cider and buttery popcorn. Can you smell them?

Category, , Yields12 ServingsDifficultyBeginner
Prep Time15 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time30 mins


For the Apple Cider Doughnuts:
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 ½ cup granulated sugar
 ¼ cup light brown sugar
 1 tsp baking powder
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 1 tsp salt
 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
 ½ cup apple cider
 ½ cup milk, at room temperature
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 1 egg
For the Coating:
 4 tsp unsalted butter, melted
 ½ cup granulated sugar
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the Topping:



Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray two 6-cavity (or one 12-cavity) doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray. Note that the kind with flour incorporated into it works best.


In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of melted butter, apple cider, milk, egg and vanilla extract.


Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until incorporated but do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared doughnut pan and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the doughnuts cool for 5 minutes before turning them out of the pan.


Add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter into a shallow bowl. Combine the granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and Dell Cove® Salted Caramel Seasoning.

in a separate shallow bowl. Dip each doughnut into the butter, flip to coat the other side and then toss in the sugar mixture.


Top each doughnut with popcorn and sprinkle with Dell Cove® Salted Caramel Seasoning.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 doughnut

Servings 12

Amount Per Serving
Calories 290
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3.5g18%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 25mg9%
Sodium 200mg9%
Potassium 110mg4%
Total Carbohydrate 54g18%
Dietary Fiber 4g16%
Sugars 33g
Protein 4g8%

Calcium 50%
Iron 1.5%
Vitamin D 0.2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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