This homemade apple fritters recipe is better than any apple fritter you’ll find at a bakery. It’s made at home and not sitting in a bakery case all day!
One thing that my partner AJ never turns down is an apple fritter. Sure, I can get them from the local bakery, where I get donuts. It’s almost always the first thing that’s gone from the pastry box. But as the weather turns cooler, I start cranking out the apple desserts. Fried apple pies, apple pandowdy and apple brown betty all start to show up. But the one thing I love to make is homemade apple fritters and I realized I’ve never shared my recipe on how to make them!
What’s an apple fritter?
American apple fritters, sometimes referred to as an apple fritter donut, are fried pastry made from a dough mixed with apple chunks and spices like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice blend, which are then glazed all over. They are similar to a donut but more free form in shape, without a center hole, and have apple chunks mixed in. American apple fritters are common in most bakeries that sell donuts. American apple fritters differ from British apple fritters which are slices of apple that are batter dipped than deep fried.
How do you make apple fritters?
To make the apple fritter, you make the dough by combining the water, honey and yeast together. Then you mix in the egg and vanilla to the liquid. Flour, sugar, melted butter, spices and a little bit of baking soda are mixed in (by hand or using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook). The dough is left to rise.
While the dough is rising, the apples mix-in is prepped and cooked on the stovetop with a little bit of butter, sugar and spices. It is left to cool to room temperature.
Once the dough has risen, the apple filling is layered in. The apple fritter dough is portioned out and let to rise a second time. Then they are fried and glazed!
Why is there yeast in this apple fritter recipe?
There are a lot of recipes for apple fritters that use baking powder or soda, which is a chemical rising agent, to make the dough rise. I prefer a more traditional yeast risen dough versus a chemically risen dough which is why you’ll find yeast in this dough (though this recipe also has a touch of baking soda to help provide additional lift and browning). Yeasted dough takes a little longer to make, but it has a few advantages.
What is the advantages of yeast over baking powder/baking soda versions of apple fritters?
Yeasted dough has a better texture and is closer to the style of apple fritter you can get at a bakery. Apple fritters made with baking powder and soda tend to be more “cakey” in texture, much like a cake donut. Easier to make but not quite the level of bakery-style apple fritter.
Yeasted dough has a better taste. Yeast adds a complex “bready” flavor that tastes more traditional. Chemically risen apple fritters made with baking powder or baking soda tend to be a little more one note in flavor.
Finally baking powder or soda apple fritter batter tends to be thin, like cake batter. This requires you piping the dough into hot oil with a piping bag or resealable ziplock bag that has the corner snipped off. With my yeast version, you can just pick up the raw fritter and slide it into the oil to fry! And though my recipe takes a bit longer to make, most of the time is “walk away” time, where you’re not doing anything but waiting for the dough to rise.
How do you store apple fritters?
Store the apple fritters in an air tight container at room temperature on your counter or kitchen table. The fritters will still be good the next day. However fritters tend to go stale pretty fast, so after 2 days, the fritter won’t taste as good. Don’t refrigerate them, as that will make them go stale even faster. My best advice, eat them while they are fresh!
Can you freeze apple fritters?
Apple fritters freeze pretty well, but only if you don’t glaze them! The glaze breaks down and gets gooey and sticky if you try to freeze it. If you want to freeze the apple fritters, fry them and then let them cool completely without glazing. Place them on a baking sheet in the freezer for 2 hours, or until they are frozen solid. Then move them to a resealable Ziploc bag. You can thaw them out on the counter (it should take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is). Once thawed, glaze them and serve!
If you like this apple fritter recipe, check out some of these other apple desserts:
- Fried Apple Pies
- Apple Bread with Spiced Brown Butter and Walnuts
- Apple and Fig Cobbler with Eggnog Biscuits
- Apple Berry Cobbler with Cinnamon Berry Swirl Biscuits
- Apple Pie Bars
- Open Faced Brown Butter Apple Pie
And check out some of these other bakery-style recipes:
- Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Morning Buns
- Kouign Amann
- Pumpkin Spice Eclairs
- Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls
This bakery-style apple fritter is made with yeast and has a luscious bite to it. If you’ve never deep fried anything, don’t worry. Just make sure to not “drop” the fritters in the hot oil but rather "slide" the fritter into the oil but placing part of the fritter into the oil then letting go. The fritter will gently glide into the hot oil and there will be minimal splashing, lessening the chance of you getting burned!
- 3/4 cup warm water 80 to 90°F
- 1 teaspoon honey or light corn syrup
- 4 1/2 teaspoons active yeast 2 packages or 14 g
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 385 g
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar 50 g
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
pumpkin spice blend
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 apples something firm and crisp like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar 50 g
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
or pumpkin spice blend
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted 345 g (see note below recipe)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 to 7 tablespoons milk
- Cooking oil
In the bowl of a stand mixer, make the dough by dissolving the honey (or corn syrup) in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the honey water and then stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes until the top of the water starts to bubble a little bit and look thick. Mix in the egg and vanilla with a fork.
Then add the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice blend) salt and baking soda. Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and slowly mix the ingredients together until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the liquid.
Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom to make sure there are no loose dry ingredients. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead the dough for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and supple.
Spray a large bowl with cooking oil. Form the dough into a ball with the smooth side up and place in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until the dough is double in size.
While the dough is rising, peel, core and chop the apples into 1/2-inch chunks. Place in a medium saute pan with the sugar, butter and apple cider vinegar. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the apple have softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
When the dough has risen, invert the bowl onto a clean surface. Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle about 3/4-inch thick (don’t worry about the size, you just want it relatively flat and rectangular).
Sprinkle the cooled apples with the cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) and flour. Mix together. Spread apple mixture over half the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the apples.
Cut the dough into strips, about 1-inch thick. Stack together and then squish down into a “log” about 12 inches long.
Cut the dough into 1-inch thick disks. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper or a silicon baking sheet.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 30 minutes, or until they are puffy and almost double in size.
Once the apple fritters are risen, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and 6 tablespoons of milk. Mix until a glaze form. It should be the consistency of heavy cream. If the glaze seems too thick, add 1/2 teaspoon of milk at a time until the glaze has thinned to a proper consistency.
Place a metal wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour enough oil into a large skillet or Dutch oven to bring it up to about 1 1/2 inches. Heat the oil to about 375°F. If you don't have a candy thermometer, place a 1-inch cube of bread in the oil. It should brown in about 60 seconds. Too fast and the oil it too hot. Too long and the oil is too cool.
Carefully slide three or four apple fritters in the hot oil. Do not drop them in the oil, as that will make it splash and potentially burn you. Place half of the apple fritter in the oil, then let go of it, sliding it into the oil. Do not be concerned if the apple fritters deflate as you remove them from the baking pan.
Fry each apple fritter for about 60 to 90 seconds, or until one side of the fritter is deep golden brown. Flip the apple fritter and fry for an additional 60 to 90 seconds. Remove fritters and move to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining fritters, frying in batches.
Once the fritters are all fried, take a fritter and dip it in the glaze, spooning glaze over any area that is recessed and can’t get covered by the glaze. Move back to the wire rack and repeat with the remaining fritters.
Don’t skip the step on sifting the powdered sugar. Any lumps in the powdered sugar will result in lumps in the glaze which are nearly impossible to get out!