Eating six donuts at Cider Belly

cider belly shop interior

The new Cider Belly Doughnuts opened this week on Pearl Street in downtown Albany. We've been curious about the shop after first hearing about plans for it more than a year ago. That curiosity was further stoked this week after seeing a bunch of people tweeting about trying the cider doughnuts/donuts.* And it's hard to not get behind the idea of being able to easily stop in for a still-warm cider donut right in Albany.

So we stopped in today to try a bunch of the donuts. You know, for work.

Here are six quick takes after eating (parts of) six donuts...



Here's some background on the shop from its FB page.

The donuts are cider donuts, which is to say they're cake donuts. And they're relatively similar to what you'd get at an orchard, though without a side-by-side tasting we'd say Cider Belly's offerings are a bit lighter/fluffier in texture than the typical orchard donut.

When we stopped in around noon on Wednesday the shop had six different varieties available -- with a few more varieties listed on the board, but they were sold out.



Unadorned, the plain donut had a good, crunchy crust. And as mentioned above, the texture is surprisingly light, but not dry. This one was still a bit warm, which was a plus.



With the glaze this donut took on almost a coffee cake-like texture. Alas, the glaze didn't register much of a maple flavor for us.



Chocolate on a cider donut? It would haven't been our top choice of combinations, but this worked surprisingly well. The icing was chocolate-y without being overpowering.



The sweet glaze is a nice contrast to the not-really-all-that-sweet donut.



This worked, with a mellow coffee flavor. A bit like a donut dunked in coffee.

Cinnamon sugar


This is a classic combo for a reason. And Cider Belly's version of it worked very well, with a not-overpowering amount of cinnamon/sugar. And we got this one right as it hit the counter, so it was hot. That never hurts.

Quick bottom line

These donuts were pretty good. Without a side-by-side comparison it's hard to say exactly how they would stack up against some of the best local orchard cider donuts, but we think they'd fare well in a direct comparison. And, if anything, they're way better than what you get at Dunkin' Donuts.

As with almost any donut, they're much better warm. So if you stop in, try to score some of the donuts just off the line.

The half dozen was $5. Singles were $1 each.


* Doughnut/donut: There is ongoing debate over whether both spellings are acceptable. It seems that traditionalists tend to tout doughnut as the only acceptable spelling. But apparently donut has roots as far back at the 19th century, and many publications use it. (We made the switch to donut a few years back just because it's shorter.)


Earlier on AOA:
+ Trying the apple cider croissant donut at the Crisp Cannoli
+ Eat This: Boston cream donuts at Bella Napoli
+ Eat This: Glazed donuts at the Cookie Factory
+ A short tour of Capital Region doughnuts

Find It

Cider Belly Doughnuts
23 N. Pearl St
Albany, NY 12207


I have to say that I agree with your assessment of the "Maple" glaze. I mean, the donuts are good, don't get me wrong, but that glaze just left a little to be desired. Mostly maple flavor.

But that classic cinnamon sugar... Mmmmmmmmmm...*drool*

This place is DANGEROUS. ;)

You had me at "crunchy crust."

Are they trans fat free? I was disappointed to find Stewart's is still using trans fats in their donuts.

Thanks so much for sharing all this with us. I'm so glad you guys are willing to get out there and get to work tasting the good stuff. I've been wondering when the heck they would open also, so I'm glad you were on top of things. I'm so surprised to see that they are all cake doughnuts. The name would indicate a bias toward that...but I hope if they're good that they'll drift over the line into some good yeast doughnuts. We have virtually no one else doing good doughnuts around here. (If you disagree with this statement, please enlighten me!!!)

@ D - FYI, Stewarts' house brand donuts are produced by Koffee Kup Bakery in Rutland, VT.

@Lorres I wholeheartedly disagree. Get yourself to Schuyler Bakery, the Cookie factory, or Bella Napoli.

It was that wonderful crust that won me over. And I normally don't even like cake doughnuts that much. Now, I'm not sure I'll ever look at another yeast doughnut again (well, maybe).

I've been there two days in a row, trying whatever happened to fresh on the trays. I actually liked the maple glaze - it was sweet and didn't taste like a bad batch of pancake syrup. So far, the cappuccino is my favorite. I was hoping to try lemon or something called Harmony, but both were sold out early today. Oh, well, I'll probably be back tomorrow.

These doughnuts are too addictive. It makes me glad I have to hike all the way back up that steep State Street hill...I'm going to have to burn a few extra calories now!

I'm glad to see that they know how to spell doughnut, even if nobody else seems to these days. (Hint: Don't take spelling advice from a chain eatery that just wanted the number of letters to be even for their logo.) A doughnut is made out of dough. A donut is made out of... do? No thanks.

If the crust is crunchy, Cider Belly already distinguishes itself from most of the cider donuts available in the region. Precious few fry theirs to that delightful texture.

@Lorres - For yeast raised, I recommend The Cookie Factory for their glazed and chocolate frosted. Bella Napoli is where you go for stuffed yeast donuts (especially their Boston Cream), but their glazed is weak. Schuyler is a charming place, but their smaller, stiffer donuts have never wowed me. That said, all of them are better than Dunkin'.

As much as it pains me to say this, I'm glad they are currently closed on weekends...I NEED TO BE CUT OFF!! But I eagerly await the expanded fall hours, which may include weekend hours, for I would totally ride the bus down from DelSo (or bike it, to you know, counteract at least one of the donuts I consume) to grab some!

Would absolutely love to see them make one with an apple cider glaze on top....(hint hint, Cider Belly).

How do they compare with Lakeside Farms?

Thank you for your comments on our little doughnut shop. As this is only our first week, we are happy to hear so many people enjoyed our doughnuts. I want to quickly comment about the glazes we use. I make the glazes from scratch each morning and try to keep our recipes as simple and as natural as possible. It's a bit difficult to get a real strong maple flavor when using 100% maple syrup. But, I am always willing to tweak my recipes until they are right. So I thank you for your comment and I will see if I can kick the flavor up a notch this week. To all of the people who commented on this page, "Thank you for your reviews!" Please be sure to introduce yourself next time you come in, as we would like the opportunity to get to know you and hear your opinions about our upcoming flavors. We are always looking for input... And you never know when a spot on our taste tester panel will open up.

Just have to add that the Harmony doughnut reminds me of a really, really, really good black & white drop cookie!

These might be the best in the area. The outside is so crunchy, but the crumb is light, almost like angel food cake. It was almost kind of hard to get my head wrapped around it.

Like many others point to, the smell of the glazes is stronger than the taste.

AOA you have gone & done it again!
I am hungry for an apple cider donut.
At this rate i will never lose weight!

My family had several Dunkin' Donuts franchises over the years, and I have to say that even compared to the wonderful hand-cut donuts my dad made back in the sixties, these are the best I have ever tasted, by far. I am so glad I really don't like driving into Albany . . . I think!

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