Last updated on October 31st, 2022.

This homemade Bavarian Cream Donuts recipe will be your go-to recipe you will be returning to over and over. Each bavarian cream doughnut is fluffy, tender, buttery, and filled with a creamy vanilla-flavored filling. But my absolute favorite part is that making these yeast donuts is fun and full-proof baking therapy.

Adding another doughnut recipe to my collection in addition to my Brioche Donuts, Boston Cream Donuts, Morrocan Donuts, and Potato Donuts was a pretty easy decision and a must recipe most of all. I have been craving a Bavarian Kreme donut for quite some time, but with no luck buying a good one. Either the donut is tough and chewy, or the cream is too artificial. It was so bad that you might market it as a barbarian donut. So after taking countless deep breaths, I decided to roll up my sleeves and make my homemade cream-filled donuts recipe.

The only question was, which kind? The options were Boston Cream Donuts, Long johns, or an upgraded form of Creme Anglaise: Bavarian Cream.

Donuts with white filling
Cream filled donuts

What Is The Difference?

Super simple, and don’t let anyone complicate it. Bostom Cream Donuts is an adaptation of the classic cream pie, filled with pastry cream and glazed with chocolate. Long Johns are the same but only shaped as a log. Bavarian creme donuts are coated with sugar and filled with a Bavarian filling. This time I decided to go with the second option.

What is a bavarian cream donut? (and also, what is bavarian cream filling)

Bavarian cream is a french dessert (crème bavarois), and like pastry cream, its base is Creme Anglaise but it is thickened with gelating instead of cornstarch and is served as a stand-alone dessert, the same as Panna cotta. But there is another way to thicken it, by folding whipped cream with it. This is what we did here, so we can transform this delicious dessert into a filling for cakes, cream puffs, and of course, DONUTS. I took the extra step and added some flour for extra stability. I am telling you this is THE BEST donut filling (and not just the best; it is also a homemade donut filling).

Ingredients to make Bavarian Donuts

For the donuts

Ingredients to make donut dough
  • Unbleached all purpose flour. Bleach or cake flour will not do for this recipe; the gluten is too weak and will not rise well. (I am a huge fan of King Arthur Flour and Unbleached Gold Medal Flour)
  • Instant dry yeast. My absolute favorite is SAF Instant Yeast (not sponsored, not affiliated). If you are using Active dry yeast, then use 13.5 grams (1 3/4 tablespoons). If using fresh yeast, then use 19 grams (2 1/2 Tablespoons).
  • Granulated sugar, divided. Some we will use for the dough and some to coat the donuts.
  • Salt
  • Eggs at room temperature.
  • Cold water. There is no need for warm water. The fraction from the long kneading processes will increase the temperature, and we don’t want it to be too hot, or it will kill the yeast.
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2″ pieces. Do not use salted butter. It will not work for this recipe.

For the bavarian donut cream

Ingredients to make Bavarian cream
  • Whole milk. Do not use skim milk. You can substitute 1/2 of the milk with heavy cream.
  • White sugar
  • Flour.I decided to add some flour so the cream will be thicker (due to the presence of gluten).
  • Salt
  • Egg yolks
  • Vanilla bean is optional. You can replace it with vanilla extract.
  • Heavy whipping cream

How To Make Bavarian Cream Donuts?

Making The Donuts

The whole recipe for bavarian cream donuts, including a list of ingredients and measurements you can find at the bottom of this post in the recipe card.

Bavarian cream doughnuts are a labor of love and respect for the process. However, I do not doubt you can master this recipe on your first attempt! Each step and ingredient is an essential part, so please read the instruction and recipe carefully. Below is a detailed step-by-step tutorial. If you have any questions or you are not sure about something, please leave a comment below with your question before attempting this recipe.

how to make donut dough
Frying donuts
  1.  Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment on low to incorporate the ingredients, then add the egg, followed by the water. Start by adding the minimum amount of the eater (2/3 cup, 160 ml). We only want enough water to bring the dough together. It is vital to avoid overhydration (too much water) since it is one of the main reasons for dense, chewy bavarian doughnuts. The way to know whether you need to add more water is by looking at the bottom of the bowl. If there is still dry flour that won’t incorporate, then add one teaspoon at a time. Please see the below images for a visual example.
  2. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment and knead on medium for about 3 minutes. It is an essential step when we create the gluten thread, which gives us an elastic dough, something we can gently pull without worrying that it might tear. This elasticity will trap the air released by the yeast, and as a result, it puffs and rises.
  3. Now that we created an elastic dough, it is time to add the butter and turn it into a rich, tender, and flavorful one. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the butter two pieces at a time, waiting about 10-15 seconds before adding the following pieces.
  4. So far, we have a buttery elastic dough, and now we will keep kneading and helping to mature the gluten. Gluten is a long chain that, when mixed with water, stretches and connects to other chains. The tighter the connection is, the more mature the dough is. Butter tends to coat the flour and prevent the gluten chains from bonding with each other, and since we added a fair amount of butter into the dough, we need to make sure that the connection is tight and the dough is mature. The way to do that is to keep kneading until the dough is separated from the bowl, and when you pull, it stretches without easily tearing. Be patient. It can take 7-15 minutes, and remember that the kneading process is the key to the best result. I added some images of the dough before and after.
  5. Place the oil in an oiled bowl, spray the top with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. A fast fermentation might cause the dough to collapse. The slow and cold fermentation (dough rise) process will develop rich and deep flavors and ensure that the process is not too brut.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it into 1″ thick. Use a 2″ cutter to cut the dough and place each piece over a 4×4-inch parchment paper square lined in a large baking sheet. Lightly cover with plastic paper or a kitchen towel and rest in a warm place for 1.5 hours or until double in size.
  7. When ready to fry, warm the oil to 360F and gently drop the donuts into the hot oil with the parchment paper facing down. Remove the form and fry the donuts for 90 seconds on each side. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place over a large bowl or a tray lined with a paper towel.
  8. Allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes, dip each with granulated sugar, and set aside to cool for about 20-30 minutes.
dough before and after kneading.

How To Know The Donuts Are Done?

There are two ways to do that:

  • Remove the first donut and cut it at the center, this will give you an estimate of how long it takes to fry the donuts.
  • Insert a meat thermometer from the side and check the temperature. The donuts are done at a temperature of 180F (82C).

Making The Donut Pastry Cream (bavarian filling for donuts)

Pastry cream is the base for many desserts and today, for our cream-filled donuts. In this recipe, I fold the pastry cream with whipped cream, lightening the cream and adding volume. So this is also a great white cream filling for donuts recipe.

how to make bavarian cream

The cream needs to be set and cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before you can use it, so plan and know that you can make this recipe up to 3 days in advance.

  1. Bring the milk to a simmer, do not allow it to boil ultimately, and warm it just until you notice some bubbles at the sides of the saucepan.
  2. While the milk is warming, mix the sugar, flour, and salt in the egg yolks.
  3. Mix a tablespoon at a time of the warm milk into the yolk mixture while stirring. Be sure to add the milk gradually and slowly. It is our way of tempering, meaning bringing the eggs to the same temperature as the milk without curdling them.
  4. Once the milk is thoroughly mixed, pour it back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat with a constant string until the mixture is thickened, about 90 seconds.
  5. Remove from the heat, run the pastry through a sieve, and mix in the vanilla extract and butter. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Assembling

Bavarian cream for donuts filling.
  1. Whip the heavy cream until it reaches a stiff peak, then fold it into the pastry cream.
  2. To assemble the bavarian cream filled donut, fill a piping bag fitted with a filling tip (I used Wilton #230) with the pastry cream.
  3. Hold a donut vertically, insert the tip and gently squeeze the bag to fill the donut. Keep pressing as you remove the tip from the donut.

Storing

The donuts are best when fresh; fry them about 3 hours before you need to serve them. Once you fill them, place them in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can heat them in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.

To freeze the dough, you need to let it rise for the first time in the refrigerator, cut it into donuts, then freeze it. Make sure to wrap the dough so it won’t be exposed to direct air in the freezer. When ready to use, remove from the freezer, unwrap and follow the recipe (step 6).

Expert Tips

  • If you are reading this, baking is your passion, and you enjoy the process as much as eating a delicious dessert such as a bavarian donut. So take your time and enjoy it because, as I mentioned before, this is a labor of love and patience, and rushing it will give bad results. So again, enjoy the process, and don’t rush it.
  • During the first kneading the dough might seem too dry, it is ok, and do not add more water. There is water in the butter.
  • Plan and do not skip the long overnight fermentation processes. The dough is saturated with a large amount of butter, making it slightly harder to trap the air in, which is why we need to ensure the gas release is slow. The cold refrigerator temperature will slow down the yeast and help monitor and control the processes. Check out my Brioche Donuts recipe if you want a faster dough rise.
  • Rolling and cutting the dough when cold will help get even and symmetric donuts. You can reroll the scraps and cut some more donuts or roll tiny dough balls for donut rolls. I like to roll them into logs and fry some twisted donuts.
  • knead the scraps into a ball and place it back in the refrigerator. It is much easier to handle the cold dough.
  • Place the dough in a warm spot somewhere in your kitchen for a fast second rise; there is no need to continue the long fermentation processes.
  • Placing the cut donuts over a small piece of parchment paper will allow you to pick them up without the risk of deflating them or deforming their shape. Cold dough is easy to handle. Make sure to increase the frying time. If you forgot, chill the dough rounds for 30-45 minutes.
  • I highly recommend investing in a good thermometer or even a candy thermometer. If the oil is too hot, the donuts might be raw at the center, and if too cold, they will turn out pale and too oily.
  • Stay put and pay attention to the oil temperature. If it rises too high, reduce the heat (I sometimes turn it off all the way). Also, adding the donuts might reduce the oil temperature, and you might need to increase the heat. It is a delicate game you must pay attention to.
  • Do not immediately coat the donuts with sugar when removing them from the oven. Allow them to cool slightly for a few minutes so the heat won’t dissolve the sugar.
  • When making the cream, make sure not to bring the milk to a full boil. I like to first pour it into a measuring cup and check that the temperature is not over 140F (60C).

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • The donuts are raw at the center. The oil is too hot. Pay attention to the temperature of the oil. It should not be higher than 360F.
  • The donuts did not rise. You did not knead the dough long enough during the first knead.
  • The donuts have a tangy smell to them. You probably over-proofed the dough. Along with the gas that leavens the dough, the yeast release alcohol molecule, so the longer you proof, the more alcohol molecules are present. Stick to the double-in size rule.
  • The donuts are too tough. You added too much water.
  • The pastry cream is lumpy. You mixed the warm milk too fast, and the eggs started to cook. There is no way to fix this.
  • The pastry cream did not thicken. You did not cook it long enough. Once it starts to thicken, stir it for additional 30 seconds vigorously. 

FAQ

Can I use the pastry cream as is?

Yes, the heavy cream is optional.

Can I use other fillings other than bavarian cream fillings?

Yes! Anything goes. Turn your bavarian filled donut into a sufganiyah by filling them with Raspberry jelly or raspberry jam. Also, chocolate ganache or even Nutella are all great donut filling options. It is excellent any time you are in the mood for a homemade cream-filled donuts recipe.

How can I make chocolate bavarian cream donuts?

Once the pastry cream has thickened, mix in 1-2 oz (28-56 g) of melted chocolate, then place in the refrigerator.

Can I roll the dough instead of using a doughnut cutter?

Yes. You can find some tips on how to roll your donuts.

What is the best oil to use?

Up to you, most markets offers a variety of vegetable oil such as canola oil and soybean oil. What is essential is to check the smoke point. The higher, the better.

Cream filled donuts

I Also Have Some Baked Donuts Recipes For You

Double Chocolate Baked Donuts and Pumpkin Baked Donuts.

DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?

 If you tried this recipe or any other recipe by One sarcastic Baker baking blog, please take a movement to rate and comment at the end of each recipe. Your questions, ideas, and thoughts are priceless, and here at OSB we value them more than butter!

5 from 3 votes
Print

Bavarian Cream Donuts

Fluffy and tender donuts filled with homemade bavarian cream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword bavarian cream donuts
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 donuts
Author One Sarcastic Baker

Ingredients

Donuts

  • 4 Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour (500 g / 18 oz)
  • 1 1/4 Tablespoon Instant dry yeast (9g)
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated sugar (50 g / 2 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Cold water (180 ml / 6 floz)
  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted butter, soft. Cut into 1/2" pieces (170 g / 6 oz)
  • 4 Cups Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 Cups Granulated sugar, for coating the donuts (400 g / 14 oz)

Bavarian Cream

  • 1 Cup Whole milk (240 ml / 8 floz)
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 teaspoons Granulated sugar (60 g / 2 oz)
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks (72 / 3 oz)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter (25 g / 1 oz)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy whipping cream (360ml)

Instructions

Make The Donuts

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer, place the flour, yeast, sugar and salt and mix on low using the paddle attachment.

  2. Add the eggs and 2/3 cup of water and mix until a shaggy mass forms. If you notice dry flour at the bottom of the bowl, add 1 tsp of water and mix for about 10 seconds and check again. Keep adding 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough is hydrated.

  3. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead on medium for 4 minutes.

  4. Add the butter, 2 pieces at a time allowing the butter to mostly incorporated before adding more.

  5. Increase speed to medium-high and knead until the dough is separating from the sides and bottom of the bowl and when you gently press it, it does not tear.

  6. Place the dough in an oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a min. of 8 hours or overnight.

  7. Cut twelve 4×4-inch parchment paper squares and have a large baking sheet ready.

  8. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it into 1-inch thick.

  9. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut the dough, and place each circle on a parchment paper square over the pan.

  10. Cover with plastic wrap, place it in a warm spot and rest until double in size.

  11. In a deep and wide pan, bring oil to 360F (182C) then gently drop the donuts into the oil with the parchment paper facing up. Do not overcrowd the pan.

  12. Fry for 90 seconds on each side then remove from the hot oil and place over a paper towel to soak oil residues. Let cook for about 5 minutes.

  13. Coat each donut with sugar, let cool for about 20 minutes then fill with the bavarian cream.

Bavarian Cream

  1. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, do not let it come to a boil. Once you notice bubbles at the sides of the pan, remove it from heat, and pour it into a measuring cup.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar and flour then mix in the egg yolks.

  3. Pour in the warm milk 1 tablespoon at a time while constantly stirring.

  4. Once all of the milk has been added, pour it back into the pan and place it on the stove over medium-low heat Keep stirring vigorously.

  5. Keep stirring until the mixture is thickened, then pour it into a glass container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

  6. When ready to fill the donuts, remove the cream from the refrigerator. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peak then fold it into the cream.

Recipe Notes

  • For the donuts to be light and fluffy the dough needs at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  • If the dough seems to dry that’s ok, it should be this way.
  • You can reroll and cut the scraps to make more donuts. if you have time, place the dough back in the refrigerator.
  • Place the cut circles in a warm spot.
  • Place the dough over a small piece of parchment paper so you can pick up the donuts without deflating them or deforming their shape. If you forgot, place the tray in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
  • Use a candy thermometer, to help you during frying. If the oil is too hot, the donuts will not cook and be raw at the center, and if too cold, they will turn out pale and too oily.
  • Stay close by. Make sure to reduce the heat if it gets too high (I sometimes turn it off all the way). If it is too low after adding some donuts, then increase it.
  • Wait a few minutes before coating the donuts, if the donuts are too warm they might melt the sugar.
  • When making the cream, make sure not to bring the milk to a full boil. I like to first pour it into a measuring cup and check that the temperature is not over 140F (60C).

 

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