The Best Apple Cider Donuts In Upstate New York
We took an autumnal road trip through upstate New York to rank the region's best apple cider doughnuts.
Whether you’re the kind of person who makes apple picking plans well before temperatures start to drop or or an anti-Fall Things™ curmudgeon who’d sooner watch Christmas movies in July than pose in an orchard wearing a flannel shirt, it’s hard not to love apple cider doughnuts. These classic fall treats might seem simple, but a truly exceptional example of the form is actually hard to find. You have to get the fry just right, achieve the perfect balance of squish and fluff, hit the ideal ratios of cinnamon, sugar, and spice. After exhaustive research, we found eight of the best apple cider doughnuts in upstate New York. They’re ranked based on flavor and texture, with bonus points awarded for especially fun orchards.
You can only buy these doughnuts by the dozen, but that’s fine because they're the best apple cider doughnuts in upstate New York. It’s almost annoying how good they are. Made with both dried apples and apple cider, these full-sized donuts taste very much like actual apples, with a thick coating of spiced sugar, a golden exterior, and a perfect crumb structure. Even a day or two after you’ve brought them home, these will still be delicious, which is the true mark of a great cider doughnut. DuBois in general is an exceptional orchard, with free entry to the PYO areas, photo ops that look like they came directly from a Pinterest board, and an excellent outdoor kitchen slinging wood-fired pizzas and buffalo wings.
Wilklow is a great orchard for PYO fruits that also happens to have some awesome food trucks and an outdoor bar where you can get beer and hard cider. We love their apple cider doughnuts, which are extremely fluffy and on the smaller side, making it all too easy to casually consume a half-dozen while you stroll through picturesque rows of apple trees. The actual apple cider here is also excellent, and you can choose single-variety versions made from only your favorite apples.
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The apple cider doughnuts at Indian Ladder Farms are close to perfect. They’re light and fluffy, with just a bit of crispness to the exterior, lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar. They’re not too sweet, and you can really taste the cider. The doughnuts are made fresh all day long, every day, so they’re almost always hot and fresh. However, especially on the weekend, it can be astonishingly hard to actually eat one of these doughnuts. The line can stretch all the way around the massive farm, with waits as long as two hours. Because of this, we recommend coming on a weekend.
If you’re coming from New York City, Rulf’s is a bit of a schlep, but it’s also the best orchard in the North Country. Their doughnuts are deeply spicy, and you can get them with or without a cinnamon sugar coating. You can also get your apple cider doughnut split open and stuffed with vanilla ice cream. This is one of our favorite fall desserts in the entire state of New York. We may or may not have taken a five-hour drive from the city just to eat this while surrounded by peak Adirondack fall foliage.
The cider doughnuts at Jones Farm in Cornwall, NY are light, a little tangy, and very well balanced. They have a craggy, cakey interior with a flavor that suggests buttermilk and are tossed in a light coating of sugar with just a hint of cinnamon. We love that you can buy these in any quantity, from a single to eat on the road to a dozen to take back home. The country store at Jones Farm also happens to serve incredible pancakes and breakfast sandwiches, and it’s located in a very cottagecore barn, complete with a resident black cat and a wagon full of pumpkins parked outside.
The very best apple cider doughnuts are excellent even when they’re a day or two old, but here, you’ll definitely want to eat them when they’re freshly fried. A three-bite affair, the cider doughnuts at Tantillos are small, a little on the denser side, and pretty sweet. You can also order them in ice cream sundae form, which we definitely think is the move. Tantillo’s is just down the road from Wright’s (see below), so you can try both donuts back-to-back and decide for yourself which is best.
Some farm stands really bet it all on the cider doughnuts, but here the focus is more on things like locally-raised pork products, vegetables, and preserves. That said, the cider doughnuts at Wright’s are absolutely worth getting, though you do have to buy them in a pack of six. These are less-sweet, more spice-forward doughnuts, with a generous amount of cinnamon in the sugar coating. Their structural integrity isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t stop them from being delicious.
Those who frequent the Shawangunks (aka The Gunks) for rock climbing know that there are two places to get cider doughnuts on the way from New Paltz to the crag: Wallkill View Farms and Jenkins & Leuken Orchards. We prefer the doughnuts at Walllkill. This is a particularly fluffy doughnut, with a generically fall flavor that tastes like catching a whiff of an autumnal Yankee candle on a mountain breeze. You can buy them in any quantity.