Now that it’s the end of September, that means I can drink apple cider all day long, right? Who am I kidding? I drink apple cider year-round. But now that the seasons are changing, it means I can share all of my apple cider and pumpkin recipes without looking like a crazy person. First off are these addicting cinnamon sugar donut holes with apple cider caramel. With no yeast, these donut holes come together in no time. Toss them in cinnamon sugar and serve with homemade apple cider caramel sauce for the perfect fall treat.

cinnamon sugar donut holes

cinnamon sugar donut holes

cinnamon sugar donut holes


Serves 4-6


Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes with Apple Cider Caramel

45 minTotal Time

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    Apple cider caramel
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1/8 tsp allspice, ground
  • 1/8 tsp ginger, ground
  • Donut holes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry milk powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • oil for frying
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon


  1. Make the apple cider caramel. Bring 1 cup apple cider to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer until the cider has reduced to 2 tbsp.
  2. Combine reduced apple cider with 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, and 2 tbsp butter in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and continue to cook until a candy thermometer reads 230 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, and 1/8 tsp ground ginger. Let cool.
  3. Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
  4. Make the batter for the donut holes. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour with 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp dry milk powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Beat 1 egg with 1/2 cup milk and add to the dry mixture. The batter will be thick.
  5. Combine 3 tbsp sugar with 1 tbsp cinnamon.
  6. Scoop about 1-2 tbsp of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove the donuts with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on a paper towel. Toss the donuts in the cinnamon sugar and repeat with the remaining batter.
  7. Serve the donuts warm with apple cider caramel.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

The first time I made apple cider caramel for apple cider caramel stuffed snickerdoodles, my life was changed. I could not for the life of me stop eating the caramel. It’s like caramel took a dive into fall flavors and morphed into something incredible. So I took that caramel and incorporated it into another dessert, cinnamon sugar donut holes with apple cider caramel. I am a firm believer that one should not only have one apple cider caramel dessert.

ingredients for apple cider caramel

To make the caramel, you have to first reduce apple cider. We want to make sure the caramel has a hefty amount of apple cider flavor so we’re going to reduce the juice to concentrate the flavors. Simmer 1 cup apple cider until it’s reduced to about 2 tbsp. It’ll take some time but once the juice starts to reduce to about 1/4 cup, keep a close eye on it. It can quickly burn if let on the stove a tad too long.

Combine the reduced apple cider with heavy cream, sugar, light corn syrup, and butter and bring it to a boil. Continue to heat the caramel until it reaches 230 degrees F. It’s imperative to have a candy thermometer to help you know when the caramel is ready. If you cook the caramel for too long, it will start to become actual candies and not a caramel sauce.

apple cider caramel sauce

Finish the sauce with warm spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, allspices, and ground ginger and let it cool completely. You can also make the apple cider caramel up to 1 week in advance.

Now it’s time to make the donut holes. This donut hole recipe does not include yeast, making it similar to a fritter. On the plus side, the batter comes together in a matter of minutes.

donut batter

Just mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add egg and milk and mix until combined. The batter will be quite thick. If you don’t have dry milk powder, you can simply omit it. I like adding dry milk powder to baked goods because it makes them more tender.

cinnamon sugar donut holes

Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F and carefully drop dollops of the donut batter into the oil. The donuts will expand quite a bit while it’s cooking so make sure not to make them too big.

Fry the donut holes until golden brown on all sides and remove them with a slotted spoon. Drain the excess oil on paper towels and toss them in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.

cinnamon sugar donut holes

Serve the cinnamon sugar donut holes with a healthy serving of warm apple cider caramel and get ready to loosen your belt. You can drizzle the sauce directly on top, serve it on the side or even pipe it into the donuts. Do what’s easiest for you and don’t hold back on the caramel! I think it’s time for a third serving…

cinnamon sugar donut holes


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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