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two hands holding a creme brulee donut roll, breaking it half so the caramal coating cracks and revealing the custard filling inside. more donut rolls seen in the background


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3.5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Zoha
  • Total Time: 3 hours with cooling
  • Yield: 12 donut rolls


Delicious Crème Brûlée Donut Rolls made using Hawaiian rolls instead of donuts, filled with a delicious silky smooth crème patisserie (custard) and topped off with a crunchy thin layer of caramel


Crème patisserie:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream (360g)
  • 1/3 cup milk (80g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (55g)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (28g)

 Donut rolls:

  • 1 pack King's Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (12 rolls)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (113g); there will be some excess
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (70g); there will be some excess


  • 1 cup granulated sugar (220g)
  • 4 tbsp water 


Crème patisserie:

  • Add the milk, cream and vanilla to a saucepan, and heat on medium-low flame until the mixture starts to simmer (it should not be a full on boil)
  • In the meanwhile, add the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine
  • When the cream mixture is hot, slowly pour about a third of it into the egg mixture while quickly whisking. This will temper the eggs. Then pour back the egg mixture into the saucepan and return to heat
  • Cook and stir continuously on low heat until the mixture reaches a thick custard like consistency. It will thicken more as it cools. Avoid overcooking as that can cause the custard to curdle
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter until combined
  • Strain the custard through a fine sieve mesh to remove any lumps. Then pour into a large plate, cover with cling wrap (it should touch the custard), and place into the fridge for 1-2 hours until fully cooled down

Donut rolls:

  • Start this step when the creme patisserie is cooled down
  • Preheat oven to 350F (conventional) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Separate the Hawaiian rolls, and dunk each roll in the melted butter to properly coat all sides. Place onto the sheet
  • Bake the rolls for ~8 minutes or so until the look golden
  • Remove from the oven and quickly coat the rolls in the sugar on all sides
  • Set aside and let them cool down

Filling donuts:

  • Transfer the creme patisserie to a piping bag fit with a Bismarck piping tip
  • Working one donut hole at a time, puncture from the side with the tip and fill with the custard. I like to angle the tip in different directions from the same hole to fill it properly. You can fill with as much or as little custard as you like. I like to fill quite generously, until the rolls feel heavy and the custard starts to ooze out
  • Place the rolls sideways (with the hole facing up) and rest while you make the caramel. You can also clean up any excess custard with your fingers

Caramel & coating:

  • Add the sugar and water to a wide bottomed saucepan and place on the stove on medium low heat. Avoid stirring and let the mixture come to a thorough boil
  • Over time, the water will evaporate and the sugar will start to melt. If the mixture starts to crystallize (i.e., become solid and opaque), increase the heat slightly and try to gently stir to encourage the sugar to melt
  • Keep cooking until the sugar is fully melted, and the caramel reaches a deep golden color
  • Remove from heat, and while the caramel is still hot, very carefully dip the top of each donut roll inside the caramel (wear gloves or use tongs so you don't burn your fingers). You want a thin layer of caramel. Wipe off any excess
  • If the caramel starts to thicken up, return to the heat until it is runny again. Continue until all rolls are dipped
  • Wait 10 minutes for the caramel to harden, then serve & enjoy!


  • Store these creme brulee donut rolls in the fridge in an airtight container, and don't stack them
  • These donut rolls are best consumed within 2 hours, as after that the caramel starts to soften and become chewy. They're still delicious, though!
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American