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Overhead shot of three creme brulee donuts with crispy caramel coating and custard oozing out from the top


  • Author: Zoha
  • Total Time: 3-4 hours
  • Yield: 12-14 4" donuts


This recipe brings together the best of two incredible desserts: soft, fluffy and light donuts filled with a silky smooth creme patisserie filling and topped with a thin, crispy caramel coating!


Dough ingredients:

  • Tangzhong: 4 tbsp milk (50g), 1 tbsp flour (10g)
  • 3/4 cup milk (180g)
  • 1.5 tsp yeast
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (400g)
  • 2 tbsp milk powder (15g)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (50g)
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 5 tbsp softened butter, in 2 parts (70g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Creme patisserie:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar (110g)
  • 2 tbsp corn starch (20g)
  • 2 cups milk (460g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter 


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp water 
  • Pinch of salt


  • Donuts
  • Make the tangzhong by stirring the flour and milk in a nonstick pan over medium heat until they form a thick paste
  • Mix the tangzhong with cold milk and yeast in the bowl of your standing mixer and let sit for 5 min. The heat of the tangzhong will bring theoverall temperature to a luke-warm ideal for the yeast
  • Add all the other ingredients for the dough, leaving out half of the butter. Knead at medium-high speed using a dough hook for 5 min until the dough starts to come together
  • Add the remaining butter and knead again for 5-8 minutes until a smooth and stretchy dough has formed. It should pull away from the edges of the bowl
  • Cover and let the dough rise for about 1 hour until it doubles in size (or overnight in the fridge, but don't rise at room temperature and then leave the dough in the fridge)
  • Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick sheet. Cut out 4” circles. Repeat until all the dough is used up
  • Place the circles donuts onto small pieces of parchment paper, and transfer them to a tray. Rest for about 30-45 min at room temperature
  • Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a wok over medium heat. Once it has reached 350F, carefully drop in a test donut, removing the parchment paper, and fry for about 2 min per side. Test for doneness and adjust timing as needed. Fry all donuts, and keep the raw donuts in a cool place as you fry so they don’t overproof
  • Let the donuts cool down on a wire rack at room temperature while you make the creme patisserie
  • Creme Patisserie:
  • For the creme patisserie, whisk the eggs, corn starch, salt and sugar in a bowl
  • Place the milk and vanilla in a nonstick pan and bring to a boil
  • Carefully pour the milk mix into the egg mix while whisking continuously, then pour back the whole mixture into the pan
  • Cook on low heat while stirring constantly until you get a custard like consistency. Add the butter and mix it in
  • Remove from heat and pass through a strainer to make sure there are no lumps. If the cream feels lumpy, blend it for 30 seconds to make it smooth
  • Place in the fridge for at least 15 min to cool down
  • Transfer the crème patisserie into a piping bag with a Bismarck tip. Carefully puncture the donuts and fill them with the custard until they feel heavy
  • Caramel coating
  • For the caramel, mix the sugar, salt and water in a nonstick pan and place on low heat. This will take some time, try not to stir
  • Slowly the sugar will dissolve and start to caramelize. Once your caramel reaches a deep golden color, take it off the heat 
  • While the caramel is still hot, carefully dip your donuts on one side so they get a thin caramel coating. If the caramel starts to harden, reheat it until it becomes runny again
  • The donuts should form a crispy coating once they cool
  • Serve & enjoy! 


  • These are best consumed within a few hours
  • Keep the donuts uncovered at room temperature. If you cover them, the humidity will cause the caramel to become soggy
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 4 min per donuts
  • Category: Donuts

Keywords: Creme Brulee Donuts, Donuts, Boston Creme Donuts, Bomboloni