How To Make Air Fryer Apple Cider Doughnuts

Air Fryer Apple Cider Donuts

Learn how to make apple cider doughnuts in the air fryer! All the deliciousness of apple cider doughnuts-none of the hot oil!

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Air Fryer Apple Cider Donuts

In my family, a trip to the local apple orchard is a staple of every fall. And no trip to the orchard is complete without an apple cider doughnut (or maybe 12). I don’t know what it is about those little loops of fried dough that are so amazing but I love them and I wanted to try my hand at making my own.

What’s the deal with doughnut vs. donut?

Are they the same thing? When I was titling this post, I realized, I didn’t know which one was actually correct. Turns out, according to the dictionary “doughnut” is how you spell this tasty confection. “Donut” is an Americanized version of the term that was made popular by the chain…Dunkin’ Donuts. Spell it however you want, doughnuts, especially apple cider doughnuts are where it’s at.

air fryer apple cider doughnuts

Are apple cider doughnuts a Midwest thing?

Actually apple cider doughnuts seem to have originated on the East coast in 1951 as part of a marketing campaign by the Doughnut Corporation of America. Although apple cider doughnuts are now certainly a Midwest staple. Probably anywhere you can grow an apple you can find a cider doughnut.

What if I don’t have a doughnut cutter or circle cookie cutter?

I use two different sized circle cookie cutters to cut my doughnuts but if you don’t have a set of circle cookie cutters (or a doughnut cutter) try using 2 glasses of differing sizes. I used a water glass and a shot glass and got pretty good results.

How long are air-fryer apple cider doughnuts good for?

Truthfully, these lovely loops of goodness are best eaten the day they’re made. Actually, they’re best eaten as soon as they’re cool enough to put in your mouth. A warm, fresh apple cider doughnut? No comparison. However, they will last 3-4 days on the counter in an airtight container. Much longer than that and they will be quite stale.

How do I revive a stale apple cider doughnut?

That last doughnut looking a little sad? 15 seconds in the microwave. Or embrace the stale and dunk it in your coffee (or hot apple cider).

reaching into a pile of air fryer apple cider doughnut holes

Air-Fryer Apple Cider Doughnuts

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting/Raising Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • Air Fryer


For the doughnuts

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 large eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4-5 cups all purpose flour

For the topping

  • 8 tablespoons melted butter 1 full stick
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg optional


  • If using a stand mixer, fit with paddle attachment.
  • Warm the cider and milk. I do this in the microwave for about 20 seconds. It doesn't need to be hot (in fact, it should not be hot, we don't want to kill the yeast), just not cold from the fridge.*
  • Put the cider, yeast, shortening and milk in a large bowl (for stand mixer if you have one). Stir together or mix on low speed.
  • Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  • Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  • Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky.
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick.
  • Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch  ring for the center whole. Set on floured or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover (I do this with a floursack towel) and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat your air-fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. My air fryer recommends pre-heating for 4 minutes.
  • While your air fryer is pre-heating, melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
  • When your air fryer is ready, lightly brush the top and bottom of the doughnuts with melted butter. Place the doughnuts in the preheated air fryer basket.
  • For doughnuts roughly 3 inches across, cook for 3 minutes, flip the doughnuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. (Smaller doughnuts need less time). For doughnut holes, cook for 2 minutes, shake, then cook for 1 more minute.**
  • When doughnuts come out of the air fryer, brush with more melted butter and dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet to cool.
  • To store place in a airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Enjoy!


*Yeast need the temperature to be between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  Human body temp is roughly 98 degrees Fahrenheit so the milk/cider shouldn’t feel really warm to you but it also shouldn’t feel cold.
**Each air fryer is going to be a little bit different on time.  Keep an eye on your doughnuts and make sure to flip/shake about halfway through.

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Happy Baking!


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