Apple Fritters Recipe (Apfelkuchlein)

This apple fritters recipe has roots in German cooking and used to be made in bulk to serve at Amana colony kitchens but it has been adapted for your home kitchen.

Fall 2014

Total Hands-On Time: 45 min

Preparation Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Yield: 6 Servings

The Inspirationalists generally came to North America from southern Germany — in particular the region of Swabia, for which Stuttgart serves as the principal city. As a result, many Swabian recipes were brought with them from the Old Country, and they would eventually make a prominent appearance in the Amana communal kitchens.

A classic Swabian dessert is Apple Fritters, and, because they were made in large quantities from inexpensive ingredients, they also became a particular favorite in the communal kitchens. 

The following recipe comes from Lizzie Siegel, who was the cook at the lower South Amana Hotel. As described in Seasons of Plenty by Emilie Hoppe, just before and after the fall semester at the University of Iowa, South Amana was inundated with University of Iowa students who needed to transfer from the lower South Amana to upper South Amana train stations. At this time during Mitagessen the Hotel kitchen would make large batches of fresh Apfelküchlein which they sold to the enthusiastic crowds. 


• 2 cups flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 4 firm, medium-sized baking apples
• Canola oil for deep frying
• Sugar and cinnamon


1. Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1/2-inch dice.

2. Mix together flour and sugar in a deep bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour, and break the eggs into it. Beat the eggs in the well with a sturdy spoon, gradually working outwards into the flour. When the eggs are well beaten, add the buttermilk, milk, and baking soda into the well, and continue stirring, gradually increasing the size of the well until finally no dry flour is left. Stir diced apples into the batter.

3. Heat oil in a cast iron Dutch Oven or other deep pan, and when the oil is hot enough to brown a cube of bread in a minute, drop the batter into the oil in large spoonfuls — no more than 2 tablespoons each. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove from oil and drain on paper toweling. Roll hot fritters in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.