These Apple Filled Donuts are made with yeast for a light and airy crumb. Fresh apple filling & a secret ingredient gives these luscious donuts an amazing apple pie flavor.
This recipe is an adaptation of my favorite Apple Cider Donuts. It’s basically the same donut stuffed with delicious apple filling.
In fact, I originally set out just to make these Apple Filled Donuts. I wanted to create a donut that was a cross between apple pie and cider donuts, and I did.
But I love the cider dough so much I created another whole post for Apple Cider Donuts, sans filling, for the cider donut purists of the world.
I love both versions so you can’t go wrong either way.
How to make the best Apple Filled Cider Donuts:
After all the trials and tribulations I went through to get my cider donut dough to behave I had a good base for an Apple Filled Cider Donut.
Of course I wanted a good filling made from fresh apples. That was easy enough since I’ve made about a million apple pies in my lifetime. The only tweak for the filling was to cut the apples cubes small enough so the filling could be piped into the donuts.
The filling was easy, so the main puzzle for this recipe was how to get the filling into the donuts with the right balance of dough to filling.
The first time I made the donuts I cut the rounds 1/2″ thick. They were almost an inch thick after the final rise, and then they puffed up more in the fryer.
Those donuts were huge and overly browned because they spent too much time in the hot oil. By the time the filling was added they were big, dense, belly-bombs. Nope.
Next I tried layering the filling into the donuts before frying. But this process was a bit fussy, plus I was worried about the dough frying properly with the filling in the middle. There was also the possibility that a donut could spring a leak in the hot oil. Ack, that would be a lot of splattering hot oil.
Round 3 – I rolled the donuts after the first rise, without kneading the dough. I cut the the rounds nice and thin, just a 1/4″ thick.
By the time they rose to about a 1/2″ they were ready for the fryer. They puffed up beautifully in the heat of the oil. The light and open crumb made it very easy to form the “pocket” for the filling.
I’m happy with the donut to filling ratio for this recipe. There’s just enough filling in each donut to get great apple-pie flavor, and enough dough to get a good, chewy chunk of donut in each bite. Mmmm.
Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Apple Filled Donuts:
If you maintain a sourdough starter you should try making my super-popular Sourdough Donuts.
Now that you know about the flavoring power of reduced apple cider, you should try these amazing Apple Cider Caramels!
Hey apple lover, try some of the my other recipes using fresh apples: Apple Maple Pie, Apple Cinnamon Bread, Apple Cider Caramels, Apple Bourbon Pot Pie, Apple Frangipane Tart, Apple Upside Down Layer Cake, Apple Walnut Linzer Tart, Dutch Apple Tart, Iced Apple Oatmeal Cookies, Skillet Apple Cobbler.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 1 1/2 pounds (672 g) apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" cubes
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 156g) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) apple cider
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 cups (32 oz, 1 l) apple cider
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz, 56g) unsalted butter, cold
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) warm water
- 1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp, 7g)
- 3 3/4 cups ( 18.75 oz, 525g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg (room temp)
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon cardamom for coating
Make the Apple Filling (day 1)
- Combine the apples with the sugar, cider, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Set aside to macerate for at least 1 hour and as long as 3 hours. Drain the apples, saving the juice. Combine 1/4 cup of the juice with the corn starch. Set Aside.
- Put the apples and the rest of the juice in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high until the juices begin to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the apples are crisp-tender, stirring often. The apples should still hold their shape. The exact time will depend on the type of apple, estimate 10 minutes.
- Add the corn starch mixture to the apples. Increase the heat to medium-high and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until the juices are slightly thickened and become translucent. Transfer the apple filling to a container and cool to room temperature. Chill until ready to use. The filling can be made 2-3 days ahead.
Make the dough (day 1)
- In a large saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the 4 cups of cider are reduced to 1 cup. Transfer the reduced cider to a bowl and add the butter to the cider so that it melts. Set the bowl aside until the reduced cider is cooled to about 110°F (a little warmer than body temp).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl combine the warm water, yeast, and 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix until it forms a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes (while the cider is cooling).
- With the mixer running on low, add the egg, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and cider to the batter. Add another 2 cups of flour and mix until it forms a thick batter.
- Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour. The dough will start out quite sticky. Knead on medium low speed for 5 minutes (speed 2 on my stand mixer) until the dough clings to the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. If working by hand mix in as much of the flour by hand as you can then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue kneading in the remaining flour. Knead for 5 minutes. If you have a hard time working with the sticky dough you can sprinkle a few more tablespoons of flour as you knead.
- Knead into a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover and set the dough aside at room temperature for 1-1.5 hours until it's doubled in volume.
- Without kneading the dough (kneading will cause it to spring back as you cut) roll to 1/4"-1/2" thick on a lightly floured surface.
- Use a 4" round cutter to cut donuts. Line the donuts on a well-oiled baking sheet, leaving space between the donuts for the dough to rise (I used 2 baking sheets). Reroll the scraps of dough and continue cutting donuts until all the dough is used up.
- Brush the tops of the donuts lightly with oil. Cover the sheet pans with plastic wrap. If you'd like to make the donuts in the morning refrigerate the donuts overnight. If making the donuts the same day, continue with the next step now.
Make the Donuts (day 1 or 2)
- Allow the donuts to rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour. The time will vary based on the temperature of the room and the temperature of your dough (if you refrigerated the dough overnight they may take longer to rise).
- Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of oil to 350F° in a large heavy pot. Fry the donuts a couple at a time, about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and puffy.
- As you take each donut out of the oil, immediately roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Set on a cooling rack while you fry the rest of the donuts.
- Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, use a skewer to poke a hole in one end of the donut. Push the skewer until it's in the center of the donut and move it around to create a pocket in the donut. Use a piping bag with a large round tip to pipe the filling into each donut.
- Best eaten warm or within a couple of hours of frying.
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