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These Air Fryer Apple Fritters are just as delicious but much healthier and easier to make than the old fashioned deep fried version. With crisp edges, a soft buttery donut crumb, and loads of fresh apples, you'll want to make these delicious fritters all the time!
Air fryers are seriously a miracle of modern day technology and I cannot believe it took me THIS long to get one!
Yes, it's August 2021 and I just purchased my first air fryer. After years of my friends practically begging me to get one, I finally did!
In my defense, I was waiting for the right air fryer. I knew I'd primarily using it to make things like donuts and fried desserts, so I needed something that would work well for that.
I'll chat more about my new air fryer in a bit.
But first, let's talk about air fryer apple fritters.
Air Fryer Apple Fritters
I love apple fritters.
The best apple fritter I ever had in my life was at Backdoor Donuts in Martha's Vineyard. I waited in line for 30 minutes at midnight but it was so worth it - best donut shop ever!
But even when I'm not in Martha's Vineyard, apple fritters are one of my favorite ways to celebrate the introduction of the Fall season.
I have very fond memories of enjoying a warm apple fritter at some of the local farms in my area.
As with any kind of donut obviously, you have to deep fry them in oil which is a huge pain.
Luckily, we have the air fryer and this amazing apple fritter recipe, so you can enjoy warm, delicious apple fritters at home without the mess and without the guilt!
These fritters come out crisp and craggy, but the inside is soft, cakey, and with just a hint of spice.
The best part is they are stuffed with loads of fresh, chopped apples. They cook up soft and sweet and are very aromatic.
This will become one of your favorite air fryer recipes!
Let's Make Air Fryer Apple Fritters
Great apple fritters should have the following:
- Loads of diced apples
- Cinnamon, cakey donut goodness
- Crisp edges
- Craggy, irregular shape
- Glaze, glaze everywhere
This recipe for air fryer fritters checks off all the boxes. The best part is these are so easy to make and you can make them any time!
To start, you'll need great apples. The best types of apples for apple fritters are Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples.
I prefer Granny Smith apples because the tartness gives the whole treat a really nice balance in flavor. Sweet apples will also be great though!
Now, seeing it's only mid-August, it's a bit early for apple season in my area. My local farm only had Lodi apples.
I never had them before but they ended up working beautifully for this recipe!
The first step of this recipe is to prep the apples. Start by peeling and coring, then dice the apples into small pieces.
Using 2 large apples should be enough to yield the 2 cups of diced apple needed for this recipe.
You can also use 3 medium-small apples.
Normally after dicing the apples you'd want to coat them in lemon juice to prevent them from browning. I didn't add this step to my recipe for a couple of reasons.
Mainly, the extra wetness from the lemon juice affected the way the fritters baked. And secondly, the batter comes together so easily and quickly, the apples do not get very brown in between that time anyway.
My Secret Ingredient
So, I added an unusual ingredient, something that is not normally found in fritter recipes.
I added a little bit of butter.
In my trial recipes, I found that the fritters were just a bit too dense and simply adding more baking powder wasn't giving me the texture I was looking for.
I found that butter was the answer.
Similar to when making biscuits or pie crust, cold butter helps to create air pockets, making a lighter and fluffier fritter.
I suggest shredding the butter using a cheese grater. This helps to keep all the pieces uniform and distribute equally in the dough.
Forming the Apple Fritters
If you were to just scoop the batter into the parchment lined air fryer basket or tray you would get a muffin-top shape. That's all good and fine, but it's missing that classic fritter look!
Normally, the deep fryer would help to create those craggy, irregular edges. Since we're air frying, we need to manually do this beforehand.
I like to use my small cookie scoop and scoop 2-3 clusters of fritter batter next to each other to form the donut. Then, I take the back of the scoop and lightly flatten the middle.
Now, you have an irregular shape that will allow the air fryer to properly crisp up the edges.
Once the fritters are formed on top of the parchment paper lined basket or tray, give the tops a spritz of nonstick cooking spray. I like to use ghee, but any neutral oil such as canola would work fine as well.
This will help ensure that the tops crisp up nicely, just like deep frying.
I set the temperature to my air fryer to 375° and baked them for 9 minutes, until medium golden brown. If you're looking for a fritter that is a little more crisp, add another minute or two to the time so they are a deep golden brown.
Glaze for the Apple Fritters
The last step to making air fryer apple fritters is the glaze.
I didn't add anything fancy to the glaze; the glaze ingredients are just powdered sugar and milk.
If you wanted to add brown butter (cooked melted butter), apple cider (an apple cider glaze would be amazing!), or ground cinnamon, you definitely could.
For one of my test batches I added vanilla extract but it overpowered the apple flavor too much.
I like to place the fritters on a wire rack / cooling rack and generously pour glaze on the top of each. You could also brush the glaze on heavily with a pastry brush.
Allow the glaze to dry for at least 1 hour before storing in an air tight container.
What if I don't Have an Air Fryer?
If you don't have an air fryer, make sure you pick up the one I recommend below ASAP! I promise it will be completely life changing!
But in the meantime, you can try making these in a standard oven if you want to. I can't gaurentee that they'll be the absolute same, but they'll still be delicious.
If you have a convection setting on your oven, that would be the best equivalent to air frying. You can use the same temperature listed in the recipe by the timing may vary.
The Air Fryer Made for Bakers
Now that we're done talking about the recipe, I wanted to just take a second to highlight my air fryer! (not sponsored, just a big fan!)
My air fryer is made by Ninja and is an excellent air fryer for anyone who loves to bake.
Unlike many air fryers with deep baskets, the Ninja Foodi air fryer is set up similar to a toaster oven style. The large tray gives you a lot more surface area, making it easier to bake up recipes like this one. You can air fry a bunch of veggies, fries and a whole lot more!
Plus, my favorite feature is that you can rotate the entire oven, flipping it up on its side to save counter space. I have so many small appliances in my kitchen, so knowing I can tuck it away nicely is such a great feature.
Not only does the Ninja Foodi air fry, but you can dehydrate in it too! I've been meaning to try out making banana chips or apple chips.
What other air fryer recipes would you like me to make?
Looking for more apple recipes? Try my Apple Whoopie Pies or Apple Gooey Butter Cake!
For the Fritter Batter
- 2-3 Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples (yield 2 cups diced)
- 1 ½ c all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ c light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 4 Tbsp cold butter
- ⅓ c + 2 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the Glaze
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp whole milk
- Prepare the air fryer basket or tray with a piece of parchment.
- Peel, core and dice the apples. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar until well combined.
- Shred the butter using a cheese grater and add it into the flour mixture. You can also work the butter in using a pasty cutter, but the cheese grater method will distribute the butter more evenly.
- Stir the butter until well coated with the flour mixture.
- In a glass measuring cup or separate bowl, combine the milk, egg and vanilla.
- Pour milk mixture into the bowl with the flour and gently stir until just combined (do not overwork the batter).
- Fold in the diced apples.
- Using a small cookie scoop (1 ½ teaspoon size) cluster 2-3 scoops of batter (to form 1 fritter) onto the parchment lined tray. With the back of the scoop, slightly flatten the top.
- Leave at least 1 ½ inches of space between each fritter.
- Spray the tops with a neutral oil cooking spray.
- Air fry for 9 minutes at 375 degrees until medium golden brown.
- While the fritters cool, prepare the glaze.
- In a bowl, mix the powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
- Generously top each fritter with glaze. Allow to set 1 hour before storing.
- Will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: Donuts
- Method: Air Fry
- Cuisine: American
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