Homemade Apple Fritter Donuts! Chunks of apple are embedded in a sweet, yeasty dough. The apple fritters are fried until golden brown and dunked in apple-cinnamon glaze.
About Apple Fritters:
Fritters are made all over the world. They can be sweet or savory. They can be made with a pancake-type batter or with yeasted dough. The one thing all fritters have in common is that they are always fried.
Apple Fritters are an American fall classic. To make a quick fritter you can toss chopped apples with pancake batter, drop dollops of the batter into hot oil and get frying right away.
Personally, I love the crisp exterior and soft, plush crumb of a donut style fritter.
Sure, the donut style fritter takes a little longer because the dough is made with yeast and needs to rise before frying. But these apple fritters are worth every minute and every calorie.
Ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:
- You can use any type of apple for this recipe. Because the apples are not pre-cooked, even softer apples hold up in the fryer. I made this recipes several times using an assortment of different apples and they were delicious every time.
- The brown sugar is used to draw excess juice out of the apples (macerating) and then the brown sugar-apple juice is used to flavor the glaze. See my pastry chef tips to learn more about macerating the apples.
- All purpose flour makes a dough with enough gluten to rise high for a light crumb. The dough is elastic enough to hold onto the apples in the dough.
- A little buttermilk adds flavor and moisture to the dough. The crumb is nice and soft because of the acidic buttermilk.
- There’s a hint of baking soda in the dough to neutralize the acid in the buttermilk and to give an extra lift to the fritters when they hit the hot oil.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make this recipe:
Pastry Chef tips for making the best Apple Fritter Donuts:
- Start by macerating the apples in brown sugar and a pinch of salt. When uncooked fruit is tossed with sugar, the sugar is drawn into the fruit and reinforces the cell walls, allowing the fruit to maintain it’s shape while cooking. Instead of apple mush, we have distinctive bits of apple with a nice bite.
- Dice the apples to small 1/4-1/2 inch pieces for even distribution throughout the dough. You’ll get apple in every bite.
- The dough will be a bit sticky after you finish kneading. Resist the temptation to add a lot of extra flour or the fritters will be dense. After the first rise the dough should be easier to handle.
- When you’re cutting the fritters don’t be too precious with the dough. If some of the fruit falls out while shaping the fritters simply shove it back into the dough. If some fritters have way more fruit than others, just pluck out chunks from the full fritters and shove them into the skimpy ones. Even if it seems that the fritters will never hold together in the fryer, they will. The dough will puff up and trap the chunks of fruit.
- Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. You want a steady, even heat so the fritters don’t get greasy or fry too quickly leaving the middle of the dough underdone.
- The fritters are best eaten while still warm.
- You can freeze the raw fritters before they rise. Allow them to defrost and rise before frying.
- Leftover fritters can be frozen. They won’t be as good as they are when they’re fresh, but if you warm them in the oven or microwave them briefly they’ll still be mighty tasty.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Apple Fritter Donut Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds apples (3 medium, peeled, cored and diced to ¼")
- 4 oz Light brown sugar (½ cup)
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 17 ½ oz all purpose flour (3 1/2 cups)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 oz buttermilk (1 cup, room temperature)
- 2 oz Melted butter
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 4 oz granulated sugar (½ cup)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
- 12 oz confectioner sugar (3 cups)
- ½ cup Juice from the apples
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Toss the diced apples with the brown sugar and salt, allow to macerate while your are making and rising the dough (at least 60 minutes).1 1/2 pounds apples, 4 oz Light brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon table salt
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set it aside.17 ½ oz all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon table salt, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, sugar and yeast. Mix with the paddle or beater until combined (or mix by hand). Add some of dry ingredients until it forms a thick batter. Switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining dry ingredients.8 oz buttermilk, 2 oz Melted butter, 2 eggs, 4 oz granulated sugar, 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
- Knead the dough on the mixer for 5 minutes. If working by hand add as much of the flour as you can with a wooden spoon then knead in the remaining flour by hand. The dough will be slightly sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and supple. Use a little more flour as needed. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in volume (about 1 ½ hours).
Form the Fritters
- Drain the juice from the apples and reserve the juice. Sprinkle cinnamon over the drained apples and toss to coat them with the cinnamon. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silpat and generously flour the pan.½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it to a rectangle shape. Roll the dough to a 18" x 12" rectangle. Distribute 2/3 the apples evenly over 1/2 the surface of the dough going all the way to the edges. Fold the dough over the apples.
- Press with your hands or rolling pin until the dough is flattened to ½" thick and the apples are embedded in the dough. If you get air bubbles just poke the dough with the tip of a knife to release the trapped air. Scatter the remaining apples over 1/2 the dough and fold in half again. Flatten to embed the apples into the dough and roll into a 12" x 9" rectangle. Cut into 12 even pieces.
- Using plenty of flour to prevent sticking, use your hands to pinch the sides of each piece of dough to contain the apples. If some pieces of apple fall out, push them back into the dough. Don't worry if they're not perfect, they aren't supposed to be. If some fritters have too much apple and some have too little simply pluck pieces of out of one and push it into the other.
- Place the fritters on the flour dusted pan. Cover and allow to rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. The fritters should feel light and puffy. When you poke the dough with the tip of your finger the dent should slowly fill in. If it bounces right back it's not ready.
- While the fritters are rising combine the powdered sugar with ½ cup of the apple juice and cinnamon to form a glaze that has the consistency of thin pancake batter. If the glaze is too thick add a little more apple juice. If it's too thin add more sugar.12 oz confectioner sugar, ½ cup Juice from the apples, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Heat 2 quarts of oil to 350 °F in a large Dutch oven. Set a cooling rack over a clean sheet pan and place it near the fryer.
- Fry the fritters a couple at a time, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on a cooling rack while continuing to fry.
- While the fritters are still warm dip the top of each fritter into the glaze and return it to the cooling rack until the glaze sets. They are best eaten warm or within a couple of hours of frying.
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