If an apple pie and a donut had a dessert baby it would be an Apple Fritter. Sweet, apple-y dough gently fried to a crisp exterior leaving the insides warm and soft. A sweet glaze is the perfect finishing touch.
Apple fritters tend to be something you buy. These easy homemade apple fritters change all of that. Just a bit of oil in a skillet is all you’ll need to make these instead of going to the local donut shop.
An easy batter with lots of apple doesn’t require fussy dough rise. The fritters are also pan fried instead of deep fat fried.
This easy apple fritters recipe is a perfect recipe for Sunday mornings. They are a favorite thing for the whole family.
What is an apple fritter?
Most think of it as a donut and they do have similar qualities (and are sold where donuts are). But they are so much more.
A fritter is a fried food that has been battered and fried or dough that has been fried (usually deep fried).
Apple fritters are fluffy dough full of delicious apples with a crisp fried outer crust finished off with a sweet glaze that hardens in a thin coating.
Served warm they really are the most mouthwateringly good combination of flavors and textures.
Eat it for breakfast or dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Use fresh apples or apple pie filling
We offer two options for this recipe: using apple pie filling or fresh grated apples.
Either one will be delicious. Keeping the apple pieces small is key so the apple pie filling will need to be chopped into smaller pieces.
Grated fresh apple works great and is the perfect size too.
The flavors differ slightly with each one. Try both ways and see which you like better!
Recipe Ingredient Notes
This is one of those easy recipes with simple ingredients!
Apple pie filling. You’ll use this OR fresh apples (notes below). One cup of apple pie filling is needed and it will be chopped into smaller pieces. Use canned apple pie filling or our homemade apple pie filling!
Fresh apples. If using fresh apples instead of pie filling they will grated and added to some extra ingredients: applesauce and more cinnamon. This makes the mixture more like apple pie filling.
Vegetable oil. The amount needed will vary depending on the size of your pan or skillet used. Usually 1-2 cups is needed. Only about 1/2-inch depth is required.
All purpose flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour may be used. We recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour for a gluten-free version.
Best apples for apple fritters?
Granny Smith apples and Honeycrisp apples are the best choices. They both are firm and won’t get mushy. Granny smiths will have more on the bright, tart flavor and honeycrisps are sweeter.
How to make Apple Fritters – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Preparation
Using a knife or kitchen shears, cut up the apple filling into small pieces (photo 1). Set aside.
STEP 1. Heat oil
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet, Dutch oven or deep pot over medium-high heat. The oil temperature needs to reach 350 degrees (use a food thermometer to verify the temperature).
If a thermometer is not available, follow the test method below.
STEP 2. Make the batter
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (photo 2).
Add in the wet ingredients: milk and eggs. Mix until combined (photos 3-4).
Fold in the apple pie filling with a spatula (photos 5-6).
If using fresh apples: add in the applesauce with the milk and eggs, mix until combined. Fold the grated apple pieces into the batter last.
STEP 3. Cook the fritters
Drop the fritter batter by ¼ cup of batter into the hot oil (photo 7), spread them with a spoon to flatten the fritter out (photo 8).
Cook only 1-2 fritters at a time. Allow the bottom to become golden brown, flip with a heat proof slotted spoon and brown the other side (photo 9); about 2 minutes on each side.
STEP 4. Drain
Transfer cooked fritters to a plate lined with a paper towels to drain the excess oil.
Once drained, transfer to a cooling wire rack to slightly cool before glazing (photo 10).
STEP 5. Glaze
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the cooking rack in the baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk (photo 11). Spoon the simple glaze over the fritters (photo 12).
To fully coat dip the fitters into the glaze, allow excess to run back into the bowl and place on the cooling rack for the glaze to set (see photo below).
How to know if oil is hot enough (no thermometer)
Test the oil: When you feel the oil is fully heated, drop a small amount of batter into the skillet and see how quickly it turns brown. The apple fritters need to cook for 3-5 minutes (2 minutes on each side) to make sure the center fully cooks. If the outside browns immediately, turn the heat down to a medium low and test again.
Can be served with the simple powdered sugar glaze or a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
Cinnamon sugar apple fritters. Instead of glazing roll the warm fritters in a bowl of cinnamon sugar and then allow to cool (like making churros).
Frequently Asked Questions
Powdered sugar often has small clumps that don’t always dissolve when whisking the glaze. Sifting the powdered sugar first before making the glaze can avoid this. If lumps remain after the glaze is made it can be heated on a low temperature in a non-stick pan. When heated through transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
Yes! Allow them to fully cool and for the glaze to set. They can be wrapped separately and put into a gallon freezer-safe bag or container if they will be used at different times. Or all them all to a freezer bag or container. Freeze up to 2 months and thaw in the refrigerator.
How to Store
Best served warm same day. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
More recipes you’ll love!
Apple fritters made with Apple Pie Filling
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup apple pie filling OR fresh apple (see NOTES below)
- 1-2 cups Vegetable oil for frying the fritters 1-2 cups depending on the size of the skillet. There needs to be about ½ inch of oil in the pan.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons milk
Apple Fritters using Apple Pie Filling
- Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees. If a thermometer is not available, follow the test method in Notes below.
- Using a knife or kitchen shears, cut up the apple filling into tiny pieces. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add in the milk and eggs; mix until combined.
- Fold in the apple pie filling with a spatula.
- Drop the batter by ¼ cup full into the hot oil, spread them with a spoon to flatten the fritter out. Do not crowd the skillet or pan. Cook only 1-2 fritters at a time.
- Allow the bottom side of the fritter to become golden brown, flip and cook the opposite side to golden brown; about 2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.Repeat for all fritters.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Place the cooling rack in the baking sheet. This allows excess glaze to drip down and not pool under the fritters.In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Spoon the glaze over the fritters on the wire rack. To coat the entire fritter gently dip into the glaze allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Place on the wire rack for the glaze to set.
- Best served warm same day. Can be stored in a container at room temperature or in the fridge.
- 3 cups grated apples
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 1 teaspoon (total) cinnamon
- Follow recipe as written.
- Increase the cinnamon with the dry ingredients.
- Add the applesauce with the milk and eggs.
- Fold in the grated apple at the end of making the batter.