Experience the very best of fall at these Vermont apple orchards, where you can pick apples, drink cider, and most important of all: get apple cider doughnuts!
Sometimes - a lot of the times, actually -- the best ideas come from my friends. And this round-up is one of those ideas! My friend Mary told me about her favorite place to bring her family for apple cider doughnuts in Vermont and suggested writing about other places nearby to find even more. Hit the road to sample cider doughnuts? Um, yes, please!
Apple season in Vermont officially gets underway in mid-September, and apple picking is the perfect activity to pair with catching some of that famous Vermont fall color and cooler fall temperatures. Somehow my family's apple picking always happens in a rainstorm, but that just makes the hot cider and warm cider doughnuts even more rewarding!
What is an apple cider doughnut?
These fall favorites are called cider doughnuts because they're actually made with apple cider. The cider gets boiled down to thicken it and to concentrate the flavor. The doughnut batter gets its light texture from baking powder and has brown sugar for a bit of molasses sweetness. The spices in these doughnuts are classic apple pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. When done the doughnuts have a rich brown hue and might have a coating of sugar, cinnamon sugar, or be left plain. And everyone agrees that apple cider doughnuts taste the very best when they are warm!
The doughnuts on this list are the ones actually sampled by me and my husband. To help narrow down the field this season, I decided to focus on this criteria when seeking out apple cider doughnuts:
- They had to be at an actual pick-your-own apple orchard
- They had to be made fresh on-site
Looking for ways to use all your fresh-picked apples? Try an Apple Blackberry Crumble, or 10 Minute Warm Spiced Apple Topping, or this Irish Apple Blackberry Cake with Whiskey Hard Sauce!
Four places to get apple cider doughnuts near Burlington
For this season I have four suggestions for you of beautiful apple orchards near Burlington where you can get your hands on all kinds of apple-y things: specifically, fresh apple cider doughnuts! Be sure to check the orchards' websites, social media pages, or give them a call to double-check their hours.
HEADS UP: It took me some time to get this doughnut data, and now apple season is beginning to wind down - so be sure to head to these orchards as soon as you can!
Yates Family Orchard, Hinesburg
This is the orchard that my friend Mary loves to visit with her family, and once I arrived there it was easy to see why! The popular fall spot has apples for picking, along with a market to buy flowers, pumpkins, and produce and lots of grassy areas to sit and listen to live music. When I visited Yates Family Orchard there were couples lounging, kids playing, dogs relaxing - it was just a wonderful, friendly atmosphere.
Yates' apple cider doughnuts are cooked fresh to order. They reminded me of fritters with their craggy, crispy edges and soft insides, and they were very yummy. And you'll love this: Yates is the home of the Dreamee: an apple cider doughnut topped with a creemee!
Yates Family Orchard 1074 Davis Road, Hinesburg, VT 05461. Hours: 9:30 am-5:30 pm during the season
Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne
We visited Shelburne Orchards on a weekend and entered their drive-through market to pick up a bag of fresh, cider doughnuts. Other items available to buy were bagged apples, apple cider, the orchard's Dead Bird Brandy, and gorgeous bottles of their own apple cider vinegar. The drive-through set-up is only on weekends - during the week you can wander through on foot. And apple picking is available anytime!
Their apple cider doughnuts were perfectly shaped, had a rich brown color, and were thoroughly coated in sparkling sugar. They were soft, fragrant, and delicious!
Shelburne Orchards 216 Orchard Road, Shelburne, VT 05482. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm; Mondays Noon-5:00pm during the season
Chapin Orchard, Essex Junction
One thing I love about Chapin Orchard is the huge, high-ceilinged red barn that sits on the road with the apple orchard sprawling out behind it. Inside the big barn, you can find cider, pumpkins, gourds, Vermont products, and of course, apple cider doughnuts!
The doughnuts are made fresh throughout the day and then bagged up ready to grab and go. These were the only doughnuts I found that were not coated with sugar. They were quite tasty though, and without the sugar it was even easier to take in the fragrance and flavor of the spices.
Chapin Orchard 150 Chapin Road, Essex Junction, VT 05451 Hours: Daily 9:30 am-5:30 pm through October 31st
Hackett's Orchard, South Hero
I confess that I saved Hackett's for the last because I think I loved their doughnuts the best!
Hackett's is a fun orchard to go to with your family, and a great excuse to take the scenic drive up to the Champlain Islands. Along with the apple picking, there's a playground, a fun-to-watch machine that moves apples through a tub of water onto a sorting belt, and sometimes a fair truck selling fried dough!
Of course, there are plenty of yummy things in the store to eat like pies, apple crisp, and... apple cider doughnuts! Hackett's doughnuts had the characteristic sweetness and spice you expect from a cider doughnut, but I liked these the best because they were soooo soft! The generous coating of sugar on the exterior was quite nice, too.
Hackett's Orchard 86 South Street, South Hero, Vermont 05486 Hours: Daily 8:00 am-6:00 pm during the season
And there you have it!
You can't go wrong with any of these four, beautiful Vermont apple orchards, all serving delectable, freshly-made apple cider doughnuts. They're perfect with a hot cup of cider or a hot coffee.
Next season I hope to add more spots to this round-up - so if you have a favorite place to get apple cider doughnuts, leave a comment below and let me know!
Bring extra apple cider doughnuts home with you, and seal them in an airtight container. To warm them up, don't use the microwave. Instead, put them in the toaster oven at 200 degrees F or so, for two to three minutes. If you don't have a toaster oven, wrap the doughnuts in foil and reheat them in the oven at a low temperature (250-300 degrees F) for a few minutes.