The Pennsylvania Apple Cider Donut Bucket List

Flannel shirts, changing leaves, pumpkin-spice everything and cooling temperatures are all well and good. But, hands down, our favorite harbingers of autumn are apple cider donuts. Why are they so much better than regular donuts? We’re not quite sure, but what we do know is that a waxy paper sack of warm, sugary, cinnamon-scented cider donuts is one of our most sought-after food moments every fall.

Pennsylvania is an apple state. (We’re the fourth-largest grower of this fruit in the country!) Lucky for us all, this means lots of cider and lots of cider donuts. Here are some of the can’t-miss cider donuts in PA that we think you should put on your bucket list:

Northeast Pennsylvania

Lakeland Orchard and Cidery is known for many attractions: the sunflower and zinnia fields, the Country Carousel, fire pits, the Cider Garden, axe throwing, live music and so much more. But the secret stars of the show are the fresh-fried cider donuts, which you can pick up at the Orchard Cafe! 1649 Lakeland Dr., Jermyn, Scott Township; (570) 254-6038.

Miller’s Orchards Farm Market is a family orchard and farm in Clarks Summit, that focuses on pasture-grazed animals and organically-grown produce. Miller’s offers all sorts of delicious produce, meat and baked goods throughout the year, but apple season is when it really shines! The family presses its raw, unpasteurized cider on site, with a careful selection of apples for each small batch. This cider is featured by the bottle, as well as in the cider donuts, which you can snag by the paper bagful at Miller’s retail farm market, which is open year-round! 1421 Fairview Rd., Clarks Summit; (570) 587-3399.

It’s hard to beat the addition of fresh-pressed cider in cider donuts, which is part of what makes the cider donuts at Ritter’s Cider Mill so special. The unpasteurized cider (which the Ritter family has been making since 1978), is usually pressed on the weekends, and is one of the ingredients in Ritter’s secret recipe for its apple cider donuts. The batter is fried in pure vegetable shortening – great for anyone with peanut allergies – and the result is a tender, sweet, perfect donut! 117 Wimmer’s Rd. Mt. Cobb; (570) 689-9790.

Lehigh Valley

The autumn vibes are strong at Grim’s Orchard & Family Farm, with robust pick-your-own apple and pumpkin offerings, plus hayrides, a six-acre corn maze and so much more. The throngs of visitors to Grim’s cafe for delicacies like apple dumplings, kettle corn, apple cider slushies and, of course, apple cider donuts! Try a bag of mini donuts for an extra special treat. 9875 Schantz Rd., Breinigsville; (610) 395-5655.

Back Door Bakeshop is scratch bakery in Bethlehem, PA. Among customer favorites are fresh baked scones, warming soups, hearty quiches and apple cider donut holes, made with local cider. We love this bite-sized rendition of this seasonal favorite, perfect for sharing or hoarding all for yourself. Back Door Bakery no longer operates a storefront and is operating via a wholesale model; its baked goods can be found for sale at Scholl Orchards, Neighborhood Organics and Seasons Tap Room. 92 E. Broad St., Bethlehem; (610) 625-0987.

Southeast PA

If a cider donut and a whoopie pie fell in love and had a baby, it would be this shockingly awesome concoction from Frecon Farms. This family-owned fruit farm in Berks County has been around since 1944, and in addition to growing beautiful varieties of fruit and making superior craft cider, its on-site bakery specializes in scratch made goods, like the epic apple cider donut whoopie pie that it releases each fall. Its pies are also phenomenal – we’d suggest picking up a bourbon pecan apple pie while you’re at it. 501 S. Reading Ave., Boyertown; (610) 367-6200.

Solebury Orchards, nestled in the heart of Bucks County (and not far from downtown New Hope), primarily grows fruit, including apples, peaches and blueberries. For a perfect fall day, you can pick your own apples in its beautiful, sprawling orchards, then head into the charming rustic market to purchase fruit, locally made goods and Solebury’s delicious cider donuts! The donuts frequently sell out, so show up on the early side to guarantee you can get a dozen of these babies. 3325 Creamery Rd., New Hope; (215) 297-8079.

For an immersive and super family-friendly celebration of all things autumnal, Linvilla Orchards is the place to be in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Pick your own apples and pumpkins, peruse the selection of house and garden plants, let the kids play on the giant wooden playground, or take a hayride around the scenic property. When it’s time for a snack, head to the back of the expansive farm market to find Linvilla’s bakery, which is famous (and rightly so) for its cider donuts. These donuts, expertly encased with cinnamon sugar, are made fresh every morning with vegetable shortening and Linvilla’s own apple cider. Try one when it’s still warm for an exceptional treat. On weekends, you can even buy a box of donuts to enjoy with a craft beer in Linvilla’s Ship Bottom Brewery Beer Garden! 137 West Knowlton Rd., Media; (610) 876-7116.

Some of Chester County’s finest cider donuts can be found at the bakery at Highland Orchards, which has been cranking them out for more than 78 years. Though they are available daily at 7 a.m. year-round, they just feel so fall-appropriate! At just $1 each, this is quite possibly the most delicious way to make use of a dollar that we can imagine! 1000 Marshallton-Thorndale Rd., West Chester; (610) 269-3494.

South Central Pennsylvania

Weaver’s Orchard is a wonderful place to take the family for fruit-picking and fall festivities. Its bakery turns out epic sweets, including all manner of fruit pies, whoopie pies and muffins, but some of Weaver’s Orchard’s best work comes during fall, when the seasonal apple cider donuts make their annual appearance. Pick up a half or full dozen in the bakery, or head to Weaver’s Orchard’s on-site cafe, Kim’s, which offers coffee beverages brewed with Twin Valley Coffee and New Holland Coffee. 40 Fruit Lane, Morgantown; (610) 856-7300.

Brown’s Orchard & Farm Markets is famous for its cider donuts, which are made from award-winning apple cider pressed on-site from the orchard’s own apples.  Pick one (or six, we don’t judge) from the market bakery, or try one of the creative donut creations that Brown’s comes up with each year, like a cider donut cut in half and filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries! 8892 Susquehanna Trail South, Loganville, PA; (717) 428-2036.

The Farm Market at Kauffman’s Fruit Farm is an amazing one-stop-shop for local fresh fruit, baked goods, bulk foods, deli products and orchard-made products, like jams, fruit butter and fresh cider. On weekends between June and October, you can also find apple cider donuts at the front of the farm market. Rich and satisfying, Kauffman’s uses a cake donut mix and its award-winning apple cider in the recipe. Try them warm, if you can! 3097 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand; (717) 768-7112.

Since 1955, Hollabaugh Bros., smack in the middle of PA’s “apple country” (Adams County), has been growing fruit and produce. Its farm market, which was renovated in 2012, houses a bakery, where everything is made from scratch and with the farm’s own fruit. The cider donuts are everything we want: tender, decadent with plenty of apple flavor and sparkly sugar on top! 545 Carlisle Rd., Biglerville; (717) 677-8412.

Strites’ Orchard is a 300-acre farm between Harrisburg and Hershey that specializes in sustainably grown produce (especially apples!). It offers access to u-pick crops on weekends, and its farm market sells a range of local products, like cheese, honey and coffee. The bakery, tucked into the market, makes two kinds of cider donuts (plain and powdered), as well as strawberry and blueberry donuts during the summer months! 1000 Strites Rd. Harrisburg; (717) 564-3130.

North Central Pennsylvania

The legacy of Way Fruit Farm goes all the way back to 1872, when 1,000 apple trees were planted in Halfmoon Valley by Robert A. Way. In the generations that have followed, the farm’s crops have expanded to include peaches, pears, plums, apricots, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, sweet corn and pumpkins, which are sold at Way Fruit Farm’s market, and at a handful of farmers markets nearby. Way’s bakery turns out breads, cookies, biscotti and more. The top customer-favorite is the old-fashioned apple cider donut, which, like so much of everything else at Way’s, draws from its long history and heritage. 2355 Halfmoon Valley Rd., Port Matilda; (814) 692-5211.

Western PA

The bakery at Soergel Orchards makes pretty much every treat we could dream of craving; while Soergel’s is renowned for its fruit pies, we’ve got our eyes on its cider donuts, which are made year-round. The bakery was added to the farm market in 1987, though the farm itself has been in operation since 1850, when German immigrant John Conrad Soergel opened it. An even more modern addition that we’re also into is the satellite Arsenal Cider tasting room, featuring nine varieties of hard cider. Sounds like the perfect pairing with a fresh cider donut! 2573 Brandt School Rd., Wexford; (724) 935-1743.

This quaint, community-minded general store was founded in 1896 by Charles Fuhrman in Belle Valley, a small suburb of Erie. Fuhrman’s Cider Mill was forced to move to a new location after a terrible fire in 2007, but Fuhrman’s quickly reestablished itself as a great place to shop for cider (its mill still uses an old grinder and press), and for local produce and artisan goods, meat, candy, garden plants and dry goods. It is also home to a bakery, where everything is fresh and scratch-made. Fuhrman’s is famous for its pretzel rolls, coffee cakes and divine cream puffs, but don’t miss the cider donuts and the traditional donuts, which are made fresh daily! 8270 Peach St., Erie; (814) 864-1125.

We love cider donuts but might not have found them all… Where are your favorites in Pennsylvania? Let us know in the comments here or on the PA Eats Facebook page!

  • Feature photo: Bigstock
  • Highland Orchards video: Reelfire Films

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