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There are many types of apple fritters—the thick, doughnutty yeast-raised sort, or the lightly battered apple rings—but it’s the craggy, apple-chunk-studded, soft on the inside but crisp on the outside variety that I love. I’ve had trouble in the past with getting the right consistency and thickness for the batter, but I’m happy to report that the absolute best apple fritter is also the easiest. All you need to get fritterin’ is an apple and some pancake mix.

I once made yeast-raised apple fritters. It took several painstaking hours because of the proof time. The apples popped out every which way, and the finished fritters ended up so thick that the centers didn’t cook through. It was tragic. However, this pancake mix fritter experiment is a completely different story. 

I decided to look into chemically raised flours (like baking powder) to get a lighter dough, and soon realized that all you need are ingredients typical to pancake mix. So why not make my life easier and just use pancake mix? The resulting apple fritter is pure fried-apple perfection. It’s crisp on the exterior and tender on the inside (but, thankfully, completely cooked through), and the simple vanilla glaze is just the nudge it needs to send it over into “special occasion treat” territory. The apple gods have given us a gift, my friends. Use it well.

This recipe uses the typical “complete” pancake mix that you can get at any grocery store, and the batter needs little else but apple chunks and water, which nearly eliminates the prep time. Mixing the batter happens faster than it takes to heat up a small pot of frying oil. 

How to make quick apple fritters

1. Peel and chop an apple of your choosing

I used a Cortland apple because it was in my fridge. I usually use Fuji or Golden Delicious for baking pies, but frying happens so fast I think any apple you like will hold up well enough. Cut the apple chunks to be about a third of an inch. They don’t have to be precise, but cubes somewhere just under a half inch in size.

2. Mix the batter

Apple chunks tossed in pancake mix.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Add two inches of frying oil to a small pot, and heat it to 375°F. Add one cup of complete pancake mix to a medium mixing bowl. I used a Shoprite’s store brand pancake mix. Stir in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Add the apples to the dry mixture and toss them around so they’re thoroughly coated. When the oil is up to temperature, add a half cup of cool water to the mixing bowl and stir until there are no more dry patches left and a thick batter has formed.

3. Fry the fritters

Apple fritter batter in a bowl.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Scoop large spoonfuls (about a heaping quarter cup) of batter into the oil and fry for one minute per side. Try to keep the oil’s temperature around 360°F to 375°F to keep the cooking time accurate and ensure the fritters don’t over brown or become heavy with oil. The fritters will puff dramatically, so be sure not to crowd the pot if you’re frying more than one at a time.

Freshly fried apple fritters on a wire rack cooling.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Dab the fritters dry on a paper towel (or use one of these alternative methods), and let them cool on a wire rack while you fry the rest of the batter. When you’re finished frying, make the glaze. A great fritter simply must have a thin veil of translucent, crackly sugar glaze. 

4. Dunk them in vanilla glaze

Mix confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and water in a deep bowl until no lumps remain. The glaze should be thick but loose. Put one fritter in the bowl and use a spoon to scoop and drape the glaze over the top until it’s been completely coated. Lift the fritter out with a fork and return it to the wire rack to drip-dry. Repeat this with all the fritters. 

The glaze dries out on top but once you take a bite you’ll get a parade of flavors and textures. A mixture of crisp and soft followed by a symphony of apple, cinnamon, vanilla, and malty fried dough. This recipe makes five four-inch apple fritters, but you can certainly double the recipe for a greater need.

Easy Apple Fritters With Pancake Mix


  • 1 cup complete pancake mix 

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 medium apple, chopped (about 1 ¼ cups of chunks)

  • ½ cup water

  • Oil for frying

For the icing glaze

1. In a small pot, heat two inches of frying oil to 375°F. Place a wire cooling rack over a sheet tray. 

2. Add the complete pancake mix to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix in the cinnamon. Add the chopped apple to the dry ingredients and toss until thoroughly coated. When the oil is ready, stir the water into the mixing bowl until no dry patches remain and a thick batter forms.

3. Scoop the batter into the frying oil, about quarter-cup scoops, and let each fritter fry for one minute on each side. They should become puffed and well-browned. Dab the excess oil off on a paper towel and let them dry on the wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

4. For the glaze, mix all of the ingredients together in a deep bowl until all the lumps dissolve. Add one apple fritter to the bowl at a time and use a spoon to help cover the top completely in icing. Scoop it out with a fork and allow excess icing to drip off briefly before returning it to the wire rack to dry. Repeat with the remaining fritters. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea for breakfast or a mug of glögg for a great night.

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