Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

I’m sure that I must have mentioned here at some point that I didn’t really grow up in a doughnut-loving household. I know for some people they were a tradition, maybe a Sunday-morning-after-church thing. They really weren’t ever a thing at my house; I’m not sure if it’s because my parents didn’t care for them or if they didn’t want us to get hooked on fried dough, but we hardly ever ate them. As a result, anytime they were offered to me, they never really knocked my socks off. I could take them or leave them and, usually, I left them. The lone exception was if I managed to find one that was filled with cream. Not icing, but cream. Bonus if it was Boston cream, but I would happily devour any cream-filled doughnut that crossed my path. It was only a matter of time before I made them appear in my kitchen!

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

I first began experimenting with doughnuts at home almost as a challenge to myself… I was practically willing myself to love doughnuts. As it turned out, like with many things, I found the doughnuts that I fried up at home to taste significantly better than the ones I was offered as a kid. I started off with easy buttermilk doughnuts (the sugar coated ones were my favorite!), then moved on to beignets and apple fritter doughnuts. The apple fritter ones were the first that I tackled in the “yeasted doughnut” category and I really loved the light and fluffy texture that the interior of the doughnuts had, so when I saw that these cream-filled doughnuts were yeast-based I was elated.

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

They turned out exactly as I had hoped – a thin, crisp exterior that gives way to an airy and tender center filled with a pastry cream that has been lightened up by whipped cream. The doughnuts are rolled in a coating of granulated sugar while they’re still warm, which causes it to just sort of melt onto the exterior of the doughnut. When you bite into them, they’re crisp, a little crunchy from the sugar and smooth and creamy inside. Basically, they are cream-filled doughnut perfection. They are a bit time-consuming (almost all of it is non-active prep time, though), so just be sure to plan ahead and accordingly. They are well worth it!

Next up… cake doughnuts!

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

One year ago: Texas Sheet Cake and Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
Two years ago: Moon Pies
Three years ago: Asiago Bagels

Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts

Yield: 9 doughnuts

Prep Time: 10 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours

A recipe for sweet, yeasted doughnuts that are tossed in sugar and filled with a light vanilla cream.


For the Dough:
2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅔ cup whole milk, at room temperature
3½ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 eggs
7 tablespoons (3½ ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces

For the Pastry Cream:
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons heavy cream

For Frying:
1 gallon canola oil

For the Coating:
1 cup granulated sugar


1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together yeast and milk; let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs; mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Add the butter, two pieces at a time, mixing after each addition and until butter is fully incorporated and dough is soft, a total of 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 15 hours.

2. Make the Pastry Cream: While the dough is chilling, make the pastry cream. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture until thick and pasty. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until bubbles just start to form around the edges (do not let the milk boil).

3. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly drizzle into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. Boil, whisking, for 10 seconds (the cream will become thick and glossy and won't have any foam on top), then immediately remove from heat.

4. Pour the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a small bowl and whisk in the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

5. Prepare the Doughnuts: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. Place the refrigerated dough on a well-floured work surface and gently roll into a 12-inch square (it should be about ½-inch thick). Cut the dough into 9 doughnuts using a 3½-inch round cutter. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared baking sheet, cover with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and place in a warm spot until they've doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy, 2 to 3 hours.

6. Fry the Doughnuts: Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with 3 inches of oil and place over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. While the oil heats, line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels for draining the doughnuts. Place the sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

7. Working with three doughnuts at a time, carefully lower the doughnuts into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn the doughnuts over and fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden brown as well. Using a slotted spoon or a spider strainer, remove the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.

8. As soon as the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, toss them in the sugar one at a time to evenly coat them. Return the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined pan and allow to cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes.

9. Fill the Doughnuts: While you're waiting for the doughnuts to cool, beat the 6 tablespoons of heavy cream on medium-high speed until still peaks form. Whisk the chilled pastry cream to loosen it up, then gently fold in one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in the remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain.

10. Transfer the cream to a pastry bag fitting with a small round decorating tip (a Wilton #12 would work well for this). Poke a hole in the side of each doughnut and fill with pastry cream. The doughnuts should be served as soon as they are filled. They are best the same day they are made.

(Recipe adapted from Flour, as seen on Martha Stewart)


105 Responses to “Vanilla Cream-Filled Doughnuts”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Melissa @ Bless this Mess on March 6, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Holy Hannah… how did you know this lady needed more donuts in her life. I owe you one!


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on March 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Anything that involves 1 gallon of oil is going to be good :) And oh yes vanilla pastry cream doesn’t hurt! Seriously, they’re stunning, Michelle! I don’t fry at home (4 days later I can still smell it!) but if I did, these would be the donuts to try. I love that you have challenged yourself w/ donuts and have made yeast & filled versions. Pinned!


  3. Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine on March 6, 2013 at 1:10 am

    I.LOVE.DONUTS! Especially the yeast based types. I think they are in another league to cake ones, although they clearly take more time! This cream sounds so good, I have never had a cream filled donut, so I guess I will have to make these!


  4. Jourdie on March 6, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Woohoo! Funny, i also came from a non-donut acquiring family, but I wound up with the opposite relationship. Whenever they showed up at school bake sales or Channukah parties, I was ON THAT in a hot second. I still love taking my car to get serviced because there’s always a box of donuts in the waiting area. :) But, for sure, homemade beats anything out of a box, and these look amazing!

    Also, I just want to give you a shout out for how incredibly prolific you are. I am amazed at how often you manage to post new, fantastic content. As a reader, it totally makes my day. Hope you are feeling better – cheers, my dear!


  5. teresa on March 6, 2013 at 4:04 am

    I never could say no to a doughnut as a kid, and still can’t.
    They look delicious! 1 have to try them!


  6. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppersj on March 6, 2013 at 6:51 am

    These donuts are soooooooo perfect! I need to find my fryer so I can make these! The cream inside looks amazing!!!!!!


  7. Lori on March 6, 2013 at 7:34 am

    They look amazing! thanks for posting. This is a recipe for when my youngest comes homes from college.


  8. Christiana on March 6, 2013 at 8:15 am

    We have donuts at my church and the very best (everyone thinks so) are the red velvet cake donuts! These look delicious as well!!


  9. Paula on March 6, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Boston cream filled donuts are one of my favourites but your vanilla cream filling sounds delicious and your donuts look wonderful!


  10. marie @ little kitchie on March 6, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Cream-filled doughnuts are the BEST, and yours look absolutely perfect!


  11. Vicki @ WITK on March 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

    We were definitely a donut eating family, we would head to the grocery store for a dozen on special weekends. (aka, the weekends that mom had to work and dad had to feed us!) I’ve got to get over my aversion to frying, because these look amazing.


  12. Kasha the FarmGirl on March 6, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Mmmm! LOVE good donuts – and I have some pastry cream in the fridge, too. This is gonna be gooood!


  13. Marcie @ Flavor The Moments on March 6, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I had my share of donuts when I was younger. I always loved chocolate old fashioned, blueberry cake donuts, and cream filled. Forget the jelly, it was cream! I almost never eat them now, but yours look so good I’m kind of thinking that’s going to change soon. They look gorgeous!


  14. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on March 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Holy Moly, those doughnuts look INSANE. I’m always a bit intimidated by pastry cream but after your reading your recipe I think I can do it! I usually make a high-calorie treat every Saturday morning so I’ll add this to my list!


  15. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on March 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

    These look amazing! But I’m pretty sure if I made them I would eat every single one in a matter of hours.


  16. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on March 6, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Ok these look amazing! I have got to try and make donuts. These look even better because they are creamed filled! Yummo!


  17. Melinda M on March 6, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Well, I’m an icing-filled doughnut lover and Boston cream typically makes me gag, so while these look delicious, I can’t figure out what to make of that cream-filled center. The inclusion of the whipped cream into the pastry cream makes me think it might be sweeter and lighter than I’m imagining. Is the cream thick and pudding like or sweet and with more of a whipped consistency?


    • Michelle on March 6th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Melinda, This cream sort of falls in the middle. It’s definitely not as thick as a true pastry cream, but it’s not as light and pillowy as plain whipped cream.


      • Melinda M on March 6th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

        Thanks, Michelle! I think it’s worth trying, especially seeing as how it’s surrounded by fried dough 😉


    • Mindy on April 7th, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Also it’s worth noting that the whipped cream you make to fold into the pastry cream is only heavy whipping cream, with no sugar added. If you’ve ever made whipped cream from scratch the whipping cream itself isn’t actually sweet (which is why most whipped cream recipes call for adding confectioners sugar to it), so I would imagine this would tone down the sweetness of the pastry cream a little, as well as lightening it. I’m very excited to try this recipe!


  18. Mari @ Oh, Sweet & Savory on March 6, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I love, love, love donuts! I never turned one down when growing up (in fact, they were my after-school snack of choice), although even stranger – I didn’t like the taste of butter or avocado growing up! Imagine that!
    This month’s issue of Saveur is dedicated to donuts, so this post is especially timely. I can add this recipe to the many I’m going to try in the coming weeks. Thank you for sharing!


    • Saeriu on March 7th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      I, too, have been trying to decide which of the recipes in this month’s Saveur to try. As far as the donuts are concerned. Too many choices! My family loves donuts and I like to make them once in a while since there are no donuts near where we live.


  19. Kathy on March 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I need to try making donuts at home. These look incredible!


  20. Gloria @ Simply Gloria on March 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

    These look mouth-watering! Pinned! We always grew up with homemade fried donuts. So with me, the ones in the local grocery bakery does not even come close to the ones you make from home! (Especially when I asked the “baker” in the store one morning if she had sugared donuts out yet. With some inconvenience of getting one from the back, she had given me a frozen donut and thought that she’d do me the favor and NUKE it for me into rubber-ness!)


  21. Terry Anderson on March 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Wow! That woke me up! My favorite donut popped up on screen before the coffee kicked in!


  22. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom on March 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm



  23. Holiday Baker Man on March 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm



  24. Trang on March 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Is it possible to just bake the doughnuts and not fry them? I would love to make doughnuts, but cringe when I have to fry them.


    • Michelle on March 6th, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Trang, There are a lot of doughnut recipes out there created specifically for baking, but these should be fried for optimum flavor. You could always try baking these, but I have no idea how they would turn out.


    • Sarah on May 17th, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      You know, you can use palm shortening for frying and there are actually some good health benefits with it!


  25. Nakeli on March 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    These look like a Portuguese donut called “malasada”. I grew up eating those as a kid in Hawaii.


  26. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts on March 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    My husband loves cream filled donuts, he would love it if I made these for him!


  27. Rebecca on March 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    One of the things that keeps me from frying is that I never know what to do with all that oil when I’m done. Do you keep it for future frying or do you dispose of it somehow?


    • Michelle on March 6th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Rebecca, I’ve done both, depending on how soon I know I’ll be frying something again (if I can use it within a couple of weeks).


  28. Laura Neff at Savory Sweet and Satisfying on March 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I am with you, I only eat doughnuts with cream in them. Bavarian cream is my favorite. I would love to make these, however I do not deep fry things. Do you happen to know of a way to make these by baking in the oven?


    • Michelle on March 6th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Laura, I don’t. I do know that there are tons of doughnut recipes out there created specifically for baking (not frying), though!


  29. Musing Mar on March 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm



  30. Tracey on March 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I made these as a birthday treat for myself a few years ago and absolutely loved them even though I had a few minor issues. Mine didn’t look anywhere near as good as yours, they’re total perfection!


  31. heidid26 on March 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I woke up to this recipe in my inbox this morning. Now if only I had woken up to a plate of them in my kitchen. Saturday can’t get here soon enough! Thanks for another great one!!


  32. sally @ sallys baking addiction on March 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Michelle! These caught my eye right away on Facebook. :) They are gorgeous! I love cream filled doughnuts – but not as much as my fiance. He will just die when I show him these. And then beg me to make them. :)


  33. Monica on March 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I have been wanting to make these ever since I got the Flour book! I think I will be making these soon!


  34. Lauren @ Dallas Duo Bakes on March 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Michelle – these look AMAZING!! Seriously…probably the prettiest donut I’ve ever seen. :)


  35. Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans on March 7, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Whoa! Ten hours! I’ll just enjoy the pics and go to Krispy Kreme. These look scrumptious though!


    • Michelle on March 7th, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Dana, That’s the total time, almost all which includes letting the dough rest, i.e. no work is required from you. There’s probably a total of 15-20 minutes of actual active time before you fry them!


  36. Ashley on March 7, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Ugh, YES!!! Those look like MALASADAS, a dessert we eat in Hawai’i. Can’t wait to try out this recipe! Thanks for posting it!


  37. Natasha on March 7, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Oh my gosh your photos! Of that cream filling in those donuts! They look amazing, I want to reach right into my screen and grab one! Yum! :-)


  38. Jodi Pavlik on March 7, 2013 at 7:42 am

    These look amazing! It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a fryer!!


  39. Carol | a cup of mascarpone on March 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

    A M A Z I N G !!!


  40. Sues on March 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Filled doughnuts are one of my favorite things in the world. These look absolutely perfect!!


  41. Bob on March 7, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I am addicted to cream filled donuts!!!
    I am going to try and make these tonight. If I can get them to look like this I wll love you forever!
    Thank You


  42. Bob on March 7, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Most beautiful donut I have ever seen. If it tastes half as good as it looks it’s a keeper.


  43. Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up on March 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    The look like a lot of work, but they also look TOTALLY worth it. Maybe next time I have a few days i’ll surprise my family with some homemade doughnuts. YUM!! Pinned…


  44. Ari @ Ari's Menu on March 8, 2013 at 12:44 am

    The cream filled doughnuts were always my favorite!! These look better than any doughnut I’ve ever eaten!


  45. Kare @ Kitchen Treaty on March 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Holy moly. I know you’re just getting started, but you could stop here and the world would have its perfect homemade doughnut. 😉 These look amazing.


  46. Kelly @ Life made Sweeter on March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Holy moly these look Fantastic!! Great job Michelle:)


  47. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen on March 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I am in doughnut heaven right now! Omgggggggggggg


  48. Rebecca on March 9, 2013 at 9:53 am

    We think alike, I have this cookbook and have been meaning to make this recipe. This cookbook is sooo good.


  49. Laura Dembowski on March 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I love doughnuts but it’s so hard to find super yummy ones. I keep wanting to make some at home and these might have to be the first recipe I try!


  50. Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen on March 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Oh wow yum, your doughnuts look incredible!


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