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- 👍 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- 👨🍳 Tips for Making the Best Sourdough Apple Fritters
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- 🍎 How to Make Sourdough Apple Fritters
- How to Store
- Sourdough Apple Fritters FAQs:
- Sourdough Apple Fritters
- Other Recipes You Might Like:
These old-fashioned Sourdough Apple Fritters are the perfect fall treat to easily whip up using sourdough discard, fresh apples, applesauce, and spices. With a crispy, fried exterior and a juicy apple and fluffy interior, it’s hard to beat this classic apple delicacy.
The recipe doesn’t require any proofing and only uses baking powder as the leavener. That way, the fritters come together in less than 30 minutes.
They’re spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and use applesauce in the batter and glaze to bring out even more apple flavor.
And of course, this sourdough apple fritter recipe walks you through how to make these with step-by-step photos so you get the best results possible with lots of tips.
You’ll also love these easy and yeasted sourdough beignets.
👍 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
These sourdough apple fritters are filled with freshly chopped apples, so you get delicious chunks of apple in every bite.
Sometimes apple fritters are yeasted, but many old-fashioned recipes skip the leavening to speed up the process. Using just baking powder, these apple fritters immediately poof up when they hit the frying oil. And you don’t need to worry about long proofing times or fermenting the batter.
In fact, this recipe is so easy to make and comes together in no time! You can make the batter as you heat your frying oil, so then you’ll have apple fritters in less than 30 minutes.
Despite no proofing, you still get a little tang from a generous amount of sourdough discard in the batter. The fritters are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside from the fresh apples and applesauce in the batter.
Finally, the recipe is very flexible. I usually drizzle them in a two-ingredient glaze of powdered sugar and applesauce or roll them in cinnamon sugar, but you can get creative!
Instead of applesauce and sugar, you can sweeten them with maple syrup or apple cider. You could use other warming spices, like cardamom, for something unique. Alternatively, dip them in a bourbon glaze!
👨🍳 Tips for Making the Best Sourdough Apple Fritters
- Don’t overmix the batter
- Pre-cook the apples
- I first recipe-tested the fritters without pre-cooking the apples. And while they were still delicious, the apples didn’t have enough time to soften up and were a little crunchy when biting into the fritters.
- That’s not necessarily bad, but I prefer pre-cooking the apples slightly so the fritters stay juicier. Then, they have just the right texture so they’re easy to bite into.
- Heat the frying oil hot enough
- A common mistake in making homemade donuts, beignets, or fritters is frying at too low a temperature. This will make the fritters soggy and too oily because they must fry much longer.
- Instead, heat the frying oil to about 365ºF (185ºC) using a deep fry, candy, or instant-read thermometer.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan
- This relates to the point above, but if you overcrowd the frying pan, the frying temperature will decrease quickly. Only fry a few fritters at a time to keep the oil temperature hot. Check the temperature throughout and warm the oil again before adding more fritters.
- Let the fritters cool slightly before glazing
- The fritters need to cool for at least 10 minutes before glazing. Otherwise, the glaze will quickly melt off the fritters from the heat and will not cling to them.
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click the links below for my tool recommendations.
- Baking Scale
- Regarding sourdough starter, it’s important to note that standard measurements can differ greatly depending on the individual. Therefore, weighing will provide the most accurate results.
- Cast-iron Skillet
- I like making these fritters in a 10” cast-iron skillet, but you can also use another deep and heavy-duty pan or Dutch oven.
- The apples need to be peeled for fritters so that they’ll meld together when fried and you won’t get any tough surprises.
- Cookie Scoop
- I use a 3 TBS capacity cookie scoop for the fritters, but you can use another large spoon or ice cream scoop for the fritter dough.
- Alternatively, you can use a typical soup spoon, but it’s a lot easier to get larger-sized scoops of batter in the pan at once with a cookie scoop.
- Instant-read Thermometer
- My favorite instant-read thermometer, for both frying and checking dough temperatures, is the Thermapen. You can also use a deep fry or candy thermometer to ensure the oil is at the right temperature.
- Slotted Spoon, Fish Spatula, or Spider Strainer
- You need a slotted spoon or strainer to scoop up the fritters from the hot oil and transfer them for drying. I typically use a fish spatula, which works great for these.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
Click on the links below for my favorite ingredient recommendations. Ingredient substitutions are also listed below.
- Unsalted Butter
- The best apples for apple fritters are firm, tart, and a little sweet. Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith are all three common varieties found at most grocery stores that will work well.
- Lemon Juice
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bottled juice can lend an artificial flavor. The lemon juice brings out the acidity of the apples and prevents oxidation so they don’t turn brown.
- Granulated Sugar
- I only use 3 TBS of granulated sugar in this recipe. The rest of the sweetness comes from the apples and naturally sweet applesauce.
- However, if you want to skip the granulated sugar, substitute it with another type of sugar like coconut sugar. Alternatively, replace 1:1 with maple syrup, agave, or honey.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg are the classic spices for apple-baking recipes, but you’re welcome to switch them out with other warming spices like cardamom, clove, allspice, or even some black pepper.
- Neutral Oil, for frying
- Any neutral oil for frying will work, such as vegetable, canola, avocado, or even coconut oil.
- All-purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- The baking powder provides most of the leavening in the recipe since these are not yeasted apple fritters.
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Instead of milk, I use applesauce to provide moisture, natural sweetness, and more apple flavor to the fritters. Likewise, I use applesauce for the simple glaze too.
- If you only have sweetened applesauce, leave out the sugar above. Try to find applesauce that doesn’t have any added spices.
- Sourdough Discard
- Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar, for glaze
- Another favorite option instead of making a glaze is to roll the fritters in cinnamon sugar while they’re warm!
🍎 How to Make Sourdough Apple Fritters
Follow this visual and detailed recipe guide as you make these sourdough apple fritters.
1. Pre-cook the Apples
Peel 3 large apples (about 575 grams) and roughly chop them into ¼-½” pieces.
Add the chopped apples to a mixing bowl and mix with the following ingredients until coated:
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 36 grams (3 TBS) of granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
Heat a cast-iron skillet (or whatever heavy-duty pan or Dutch oven you’ll be frying in) over medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Once the butter is melted, add the coated apples and all of their juices to the pan. Stir occasionally with a spatula until the apples are partially cooked and slightly softened, about five minutes.
Pour the apples and all of their juices into a bowl and set aside.
Note: Different varieties of apples and their ripeness will cook differently. Riper, mealy, and softer apples may not need to be cooked as long.
To test when they’re done, you can use a toothpick. The toothpick should easily pierce the apples with only a slight give. You do not want mushy or soft apples.
2. Make the Sourdough Apple Fritter Batter
In a small bowl, whisk 120 grams of flour (one cup), 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 122 grams of applesauce (½ cup), 120 grams of sourdough discard (about ½ cup), and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and slowly whisk together until most of the flour is incorporated. A few dry spots are okay; you’ll fold in the apples next.
Add the pre-cooked apples and their juices to the bowl and fold them into the batter using a spatula.
3. Fry the Fritters
Heat one quart of neutral oil (896 grams) over medium heat until it’s between 360-375ºF (182-191ºC) in a cast-iron skillet, or other heavy-duty pan or Dutch oven.
I typically use vegetable or canola oil, but you can also use avocado, peanut, or coconut oil. Only use a high-heat, neutral frying oil (not olive oil).
Note: Keep a close eye on the oil as you heat it. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer every few minutes and never leave it unattended. Hot frying oil can be hazardous, especially around children or pets.
Nearby, line a large platter or wire rack with paper towels.
Use a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop or large spoon to scoop up the sourdough apple fritter batter and carefully drop it into the frying oil.
Repeat with a few more fritters, but do not overcrowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop too much. I can typically fit about five at a time in my 10” cast-iron skillet.
Fry on one side for about a minute until dark brown. Flip with a spatula, and fry on the other side for at least another minute. The larger the fritter, the longer it will take to fry.
Note: I love crispy apple fritters with scraggly edges. So if you’re like me, you want to fry them on each side for a little longer than you would for donuts or beignets.
Once fried, use a slotted spoon or spatula to lift the fritters from the hot oil onto the paper towels to cool.
Check the oil temperature and repeat with the remaining batter until all of the fritters are fried.
As the apple fritters cool, make this easy and simple applesauce glaze.
In a bowl, stir together 1 cup of powdered sugar (120 grams) and 2 teaspoons of applesauce until you get a thick glaze. That’s it!
If the glaze is too runny, add more powdered sugar. Alternatively, add more applesauce if it’s too thick.
You want a glaze that will be pourable, but thick enough that it will slowly drip down the sides and crevices of the apple fritters.
Finally, enjoy the sourdough apple fritters while warm and crispy!
Other Sourdough Apple Fritter Glaze and Topping Variations:
- Use maple syrup, bourbon, apple butter, apple cider, or apple juice instead of the applesauce for other glaze variations.
- A favorite topping variation of mine is to roll the apple fritters in a bowl of sugar and cinnamon. The cinnamon sugar dusts the fritters perfectly and gives off more of an apple cider donut vibe to the fritters!
- Another simple topping is dusting the fritters with powdered sugar once completely cool.
- If you’re a fan of salty and sweet, you can sprinkle some flaky salt on top of the glazed fritters!
How to Store
Apple fritters are best served the day they’re made when crispy and still slightly warm.
Over time, the fritters will get softer but you can heat them slightly in a toaster oven before serving.
Otherwise, store them in an air-tight container for 2 days or for a week in the refrigerator.
It’s best to freeze apple fritters before glazing. To freeze, place them in a freezer-safe bag for 2-3 months and thaw at room temperature. Then, reheat slightly and glaze.
Sourdough Apple Fritters FAQs:
What apples are best for apple fritters?
Choose apples that would be good for pies and other baked goods. Firm, crisp, and tart apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady are common options in most grocery stores.
Why are my apple fritters not crispy?
Soggy fritters may result from being fried in oil for too long at a low temperature or if they’re not fried long enough.
Can I bake apple fritters?
This recipe was developed for frying, not baking. The apple fritter batter is similar to pancake batter, so it’s quite runny, and will not bake properly in the oven.
What’s the difference between an apple fritter and an apple donut?
Apple fritters have chopped apples in the batter, whereas apple donuts typically don’t. Sometimes donuts are filled after frying or baking.
Usually, fritters are mechanically leavened with baking powder or soda, whereas yeasted donuts are leavened with yeast.
Furthermore, fritters are almost always fried and donuts can be either be fried on baked.
Sourdough Apple Fritters
Sourdough Apple Fritters
- 3 Apples, large, about 575 grams, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- 3 TBS Granulated Sugar, 36 grams
- 3 TBS Lemon Juice
- 2 TBS Unsalted Butter
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour, 120 grams
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 Eggs
- ½ cup Unsweetened Applesauce, 120 grams
- ½ cup Sourdough Discard, 120 grams
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 quart Neutral Oil, for frying, 896 grams
- Pre-cook the Apples:Peel and roughly chop the apples into ¼-½" pieces.Mix the chopped apples, spices, sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.Melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the apples and their juices to the skillet. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until slightly softened.Pour the apples and juices into the same mixing bowl and set aside.3 Apples, 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon, ¼ tsp Nutmeg, 3 TBS Granulated Sugar, 3 TBS Lemon Juice, 2 TBS Unsalted Butter
- Make the Sourdough Apple Fritter Batter:In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, sourdough discard, and vanilla extract. Then, dump the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and whisk together until most of the flour is mixed.Add the pre-cooked apples and juices to the bowl and fold them into the batter.1 cup All-Purpose Flour, 2 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp Sea Salt, 2 Eggs, ½ cup Unsweetened Applesauce, ½ cup Sourdough Discard, 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Fry the Fritters:In the same cast-iron skillet, heavy duty pan, or Dutch oven, heat a quart of neutral oil over medium heat until it's between 360-375ºF (182-191ºC). Carefully watch the oil and use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature every couple of minutes.Nearby, line a wire rack or large platter with paper towels.Use a 3 TBS cookie scoop or large spoon to scoop up the fritter batter and carefully drop a few scoops into the frying oil. Don't overcrowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop too much.Fry on one side for about a minute until dark brown, flip over with a spatula, and fry on the other side for at least another minute or until the fritters are dark brown and crispy all over.Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the fried apple fritters and place them onto the paper towels to cool slightly. Check the oil temperature and repeat with the remaining fritters.1 quart Neutral Oil
- Glaze:In a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and applesauce until you have a thick glaze that's pourable, but not runny.Drizzle the glaze over the warm apple fritters. Enjoy while warm.See the post above for other glaze and topping variations.1 cup Powdered Sugar, 2 tsp Unsweetened Applesauce
- Follow my guide for more detailed instructions and photos to make this recipe step-by-step.