This vegan apple fritter recipe makes the ultimate vegan dessert. Fresh dough and cinnamon apples fried to perfection, then covered with glaze, sounds perfect to me!
There’s an option to bake the fritters, but they taste different and are more satisfying if you fry them. I make this recipe once per year for a family member’s birthday gift; they rave about these being the best apple fritters ever!
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How to Make Vegan Apple Fritters
Making apple fritters vegan is quite simple and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or substitutions.
The main difference is using vegan butter when cooking the apples, plant-based milk when creating the glaze and avoiding eggs or dairy products in the donut dough.
Step 1: Make Vegan Apple Fritter Dough
This is a simple vegan donut dough recipe but requires kneading and time to rise.
To make the dough, stir together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Create a well in the middle of this flour mixture by pushing the flour up the edges, creating a hole in the middle.
Fill this well with the lukewarm water. Lukewarm water should feel warm to the touch but not create steam. It’s important for the water to be warm to activate the yeast properly (but not too hot which could kill the yeast).
Stir the water into flour until dough starts to form, then dump this mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times until the dough comes together.
This dough is fairly sticky to the touch but it should be workable (without large pieces sticking to your hands and pulling off the ball of dough). You may need to knead in an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour to achieve this texture.
Lightly oil the bowl you mixed dough in (to prevent dough from sticking) and place the ball of dough back into the bowl, covered with a kitchen towel/ tea towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size (30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on weather conditions).
Step 2: Cook Apples for Vegan Fritters
A major reason I like to make my own apple fritters is so I can ensure there’s plenty of apple in each bite. Many store-bought options do not have enough apples for my ideal fritter.
I prefer small apple pieces so you always get a couple per bite. If you prefer larger chunks of apple, that’s okay too!
Apples are simple to cook. Simply place the ingredients into a pot and cook over medium heat until they’ve softened. Stir occasionally, especially in the beginning when there’s less moisture in the pot.
You can adjust the cinnamon to taste (add more if you like!).
Step 3: Form Apple Fritters
Forming fritters is the most challenging part of this recipe. The goal is to mix apples through the dough (while enclosing them) so they don’t fall out while you fry in oil.
See the video below for a visual of how I form fritters, as it’s easiest to learn when you can see it!
After rolling out the dough, cover half with apples then fold the dough in half. Cut this into fritter-sized pieces (as large or small as you like; I aim for 2-inch squares).
Grab one piece and fold its corners into the center, pressing along the open edges of dough to seal apples in. Folding creates layers of dough and apple so the final donut has apples throughout rather than just a pocket of apples inside a ball of dough (which is fine, but not ideal).
At this point I fold the donut in half, sealing its four corners together, then press along the open edge. The fritters are now ready to be fried (or baked).
Step 4a: Bake Vegan Apple Fritters
Fritters are meant to be fried and they taste best that way. However, you can also bake these vegan apple fritters.
Bake on a parchment paper lined baking tray at 350 °F for 20 minutes and come out golden brown and ready for glaze!
I find this recipe tastes closer to apple turnovers when baked but it’s still delicious!
Step 4b: Fry Apple Fritters
I’m no expert at deep frying because I only do this once or twice per year. When I deep fry something (these apple fritters are pretty much the only thing I deep fry) it’s a process to keep oil at the correct heat because I don’t own a cooking thermometer.
The key with frying these vegan apple fritters is to make sure the insides have time to cook. I find that 2 minutes per side achieves this for a fritter that’s about 2 inches square or smaller. Larger fritters take longer.
If the dough browns too quickly, turn down the heat. If the dough isn’t golden brown after 2 minutes, turn the heat up. Keep an eye on each batch and adjust temperature as needed.
Once you've cooked the fritters, transfer to a cooling rack covered with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Step 5: Glaze Apple Fritters
Making a vegan donut glaze is simple and you can adjust its thickness to your taste.
The recipe should make for a fairly thick glaze, but you can thin it if you prefer a lighter glaze. If it’s thinner, less with stick to the fritter versus a thick glaze which creates a heavier layer.
When making glaze, go really slow when adding liquid as small amounts go a long way. Always pour liquid ingredients off to the side so you don’t accidentally spill excess plant-based milk into the glaze.
How to Serve Apple Fritters
Apple fritters are best served warm, so enjoy one as soon as it’s glazed! If the fritters have cooled, they can be warmed in the microwave for 8-10 seconds before serving.
I store fritters in the fridge to help keep the glaze from melting off. These fritters can also be frozen, then thawed in the fridge when you want to enjoy one!
There’s nothing quite like delicious, warm vegan apple fritters and coffee on a weekend morning!
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Apple Fritters
- 2 ½ cups apples (about 4 small; less makes the recipe easier to work with but won't provide as much flavor)
- ¼ cup vegan butter (or margarine)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons plant-based milk (may need extra)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5-6 cups vegetable oil
- Please note the directions below are shortened. For full details and tips, please read the full post and/ or watch my video for visual instruction. This recipe is intended to be baked OR fried, not both.
Step 1: Make Fritter Dough
- In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, sugar, active dry yeast and salt. Create a well in the middle of this flour mixture.3 cups all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, ½ teaspoon salt
- Pour lukewarm water into the well you created. Lukewarm water is 100 °F (warm to the touch but shouldn’t produce steam).1 ⅓ cups lukewarm water
- Gently stir the flour mix and water together until a ball of dough starts to form.
- Lightly flour your counter surface and dump the dough onto this flour. Knead a few times, until the flour is incorporated and the dough feels smooth. This dough is fairly sticky to the touch but should be workable (without large pieces sticking to your hands and pulling off the ball of dough).2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Lightly oil the bowl you mixed the dough in (to prevent dough from sticking) and place the ball of dough back into the bowl, covered with a kitchen towel/ tea towel. Let rise until doubled in size (30-60 min, depending on weather conditions).
Step 2: Cook Apple Filling
- While the dough rises, prepare your apples.
- Peel and dice some apples. Place apples into a pot with vegan butter or margarine, sugar and ground cinnamon.2 ½ cups apples, ¼ cup vegan butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place your pot over medium heat and cook until the apples soften, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally then set aside when done.
Step 3: Form Fritters
- When dough is double in size, generously flour rolling surface and dump out the dough. Lightly flour the top of the dough.2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Roll dough until it’s about 2 cm (¾ inch) thick.
- Spread cooked and cooled apples across one half of the rolled dough.
- Fold the dough over the apples, forming a half-circle, then press down and flatten slightly.
- Cut dough into fritter-sized pieces, about 2 in/ 5 cm squares.
- Grab a piece of fritter dough/apple mix and form into a fritter. Fold all four corners of the dough into the center, then seal the edges to keep the apples in. Optional to then fold this in half so the corners are in the center and seal around the open edge.
Step 4a: Bake Fritters
- To bake, place fritters onto a parchment-covered baking mat and lightly brush with vegetable oil.2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Bake in a preheated 350 °F oven for 20 minutes. Proceed to glazing.
Step 4b: Fry Fritters
- Fill a pot with at least 3 inches of oil and heat over medium-high heat.5-6 cups vegetable oil
- Test the oil is ready by placing a small piece of dough into the pot – it should immediately sizzle and rise to the top.
- Start with one fritter. Place it into the oil and flip after 2 minutes. The dough should be golden brown. Fry the other side for 2 minutes – again, it should come out golden brown. If the dough isn’t brown, the oil may need longer to heat or you may need a higher temperature setting on the stove. If the dough browns more quickly than 2 minutes, the oil is too hot.
- Once you cook your tester and get the oil to a good heat, fry the remaining fritters in batches, keeping an eye on the oil heat as it may need adjustment.
- When cooked, remove fritters from the oil and place onto either a baking rack or paper towels.
- When all fritters are cooled, proceed to glazing.
Step 5: Glaze Fritters
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together icing sugar, vanilla extract and plant-based milk. Adjust glaze thickness to taste.1 ½ cups icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons plant-based milk
- To glaze, brush glaze onto both sides of the donut.
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.