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Vanilla Chai Donut Holes w/ Apple Cider Glaze

Vegetarian

These warm and inviting homemade vanilla chai donut holes are perfect for fall. They are moist and cake-like on the inside and crispy on the outside with a magnificent sweet apple cider flavored glaze.

Half eaten donut hole atop a stack of donut holes with a red apple and jar of cider in background.

Jessica Halverstadt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’m not a huge donut fan to be honest, but when I DO do donuts, I prefer donut holes.

Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious, but a big ole donut in the morning is just far too much for me; too heavy and way too darn sweet.

So on the rare occasion I decide to chow down on some donuts, which is usually because my kids have talked me into it, I prefer donut holes. The great thing about them is you can have just one or two (or ten!!!).

That being said, it’s should be no surprise to you that when I decided to develop this recipe I opted for donut holes. Not only is it easier to control your portion size this way, but it is also simpler to prepare them. No need to fool with a donut pan or piping; just scoop out some dough and plop into your frying oil. It’s that easy.

These donut holes are bursting with fall flavors. The dough is infused with chai spice which is such a warm and comforting blend of flavors.

Then there’s the soft and cake-like interior and a perfectly crispy exterior that is bathed in the most delectable glaze with subtle hints of apple cider and just the right amount of sweetness.

Another selling point is this recipe doesn’t require any yeast, so the prep time is cut in half. You know what that means?!? It means you’re all that much closer to sinking your teeth into one of these delightful autumn treats.

These donuts give those AMAZING pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice that I made last year a run for their money. Try ’em out and let me know which you prefer.

Black bowl full off vanilla chai donut holes atop a red flower mat with a glass jar of cider and two red apples in background.

So what do you need to make these donut holes? ( + substitutions)

Top down shot of ingredients for vanilla chai donut holes w/ apple cider glaze.
  • Oil for frying: Vegetable or canola oil work best. The oil in your deep fat fryer or pan will need to be at least two inches deep.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Brown sugar: Due to the high molasses content brown sugar aids in moisture retention. Dark or light will work and if you don’t have any brown sugar you can certainly just use white sugar instead.
  • White sugar
  • Baking powder: For leavening.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg. Another option is to use a purchased chai spice.
  • Kosher salt
  • Milk
  • Eggs: You will need one large egg plus the yolk from one large egg. The extra yolk adds moisture ensuring a soft and moist texture.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Unsalted butter: For this recipe, the butter should be melted and slightly cooled.
  • Powdered sugar: For the apple cider glaze.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Half and half is a suitable alternative or even regular milk, however, the glaze will be thinner if you use milk.
  • Apple cider

How do you make vanilla chai donut holes w/ apple cider glaze? ( + tips)

Begin by preheating a deep-fat fryer or oil that is at last two-inches deep in a large, heavy-bottomed pan to 360 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown and white sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

Close up of dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then add the butter and stir until dough forms.

Donut dough in a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cream/milk, and apple cider. Set aside.

Top down shot of apple cider glaze in a clear bowl.

Once the oil is heated, scoop the dough using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon and drop into the oil. Personally, I’m not concerned about the shape, so I just plop them in with no regard. If you would like your donut holes to be consistently round in appearance, I recommend using an ice cream scoop with a trigger. The dough is pretty sticky so it’s difficult to do it any other way.

I recommended frying no more than 7-8 at a time and monitoring the oil for temperature for drops. If your oil temp does drop, make sure that you allow it to rise back up prior to frying your next batch. I would also advise frying a smaller batch next time in an effort to keep the oil temp from dropping. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through.

Transfer the donut holes to a paper towel-lined surface using tongs or a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining dough.

Stack of fried donut holes on a wire cooling rack.

Dip the donut holes in the glaze, then transfer to a wire cooling rack set atop a baking sheet to catch any glaze that drips off.

Glazed donuts on a wire cooling rack atop a sheet pan.

Serve immediately or save for later.

How to store

These donut holes are best served the same day. They can, however, be stored in an airtight container at room temp or refrigerated for up to two days.

Close up of bowl of donut holes with two red apples and a jar of apple cider in background.
Bowl of donut holes atop a decorative red flower with a jar of apple cider and two red apples in background.
Close up of a bit into vanilla chai donut hole with apple cider glaze atop a stack of donut holes.

If you make these vanilla chai donut holes w/ apple cider glaze I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Close up of bowl of donut holes with two red apples and a jar of apple cider in background.

Vanilla Chai Donut Holes w/ Apple Cider Glaze

Yield: 24 donut holes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

These warm and inviting homemade vanilla chai donut holes are perfect for fall. They are moist and cake-like on the inside and crispy on the outside with a magnificent sweet apple cider flavored glaze.

Ingredients

  • Oil for frying, vegetable works best
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, half and half or milk (see notes) 
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons apple cider 

Instructions

  1. Preheat deep-fat fryer or oil at last two-inches deep in a large, heavy-bottomed pan to 360 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown and white sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then add the butter and stir until dough forms.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cream/milk, and apple cider. Set aside.
  6. Once oil is heated, scoop dough using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon and drop into oil. I recommended frying no more than 7-8 at a time and make sure you monitor the oil temperature to avoid drops. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through.
  7. Transfer the donut holes to a paper towel-lined surface using tongs or a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. Dip the donut holes in the glaze, then transfer to a wire cooling rack set atop a baking sheet to catch any glaze that drips off. Serve warm or save for later.

Storage: These donut holes are best served the same day. They can, however, be stored in an airtight container at room temp or refrigerated for up to two days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 203mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 5g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Jeff Albom

Monday 12th of October 2020

These are great. I love the spice and making then donut hole size means there's enough for everyone.

Jessica Halverstadt

Monday 12th of October 2020

Thank you! Exactly!

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