This homemade Boston Cream Donuts recipe is fluffy, airy, buttery doughnuts filled with smooth pastry cream custard and topped with simple yet delicious ganache.
No more searching for the best donuts shop near you; with this recipe, you can bake the most delicious Boston cream doughnuts, elevate your baking and impress everyone around you.
Before we start, this recipe requires a bit of planning, and the dough calls for overnight proofing. But if you are not in the mood for waiting (and I do not blame you), use this Brioche Donuts dough recipe for a quick 90 minutes proofing.
What is a Boston cream donut?
Boston cream doughnuts are the donuts version of the famous Boston Cream Pie. Fried yeast-raised donuts filled with vanilla pastry cream and dipped with chocolate ganache. They are very similar to Bavarian crème donuts. However, bavarian cream donuts are coated with sugar and filled with Bavarian cream that has been folded into whipped cream. Also, Bavarian cream is white, while pastry cream is pale yellow.
Ingredients In This Boston Kreme donuts Recipe
For the Boston doughnut dough
The complete ingredients list, including the full recipe you can find below on the recipe card below
- Unbleached all-purpose flour. Look at the bag if you are unsure if it’s unbleached all-purpose flour. It should say bleached or unbleached.
- Instant dry yeast. You can use other types; here are the correct measurements: for Active dry yeast, measure 13.5 grams (1 3/4 tablespoons). For fresh yeast, measure 19 grams (2 1/2 Tablespoons).
- Granulated white sugar is a relatively small amount to mainly feed the yeast.
- Salt. Salt not only provides flavor but also contributes to the structure of the dough. (Read all about it in my book, Baking Science)
- Large eggs, at room temperature.
- Cold Water, the long kneading processes might increase the temperature and kill the yeast; the cold water will prevent that.
- Unsalted butter, soft. Do not use salted butter; too much butter will disrupt the yeast fermentation.
For the Boston cream filling
How To Make This Boston Cream Donuts?
Plan and make the pastry cream one day ahead since it needs time to cool and set. Also, remember that the dough of the donut needs to be refrigerated for about 8 hours.
Making the dough of the donut
These Boston Cream Doughnuts, like baking, are a labor of love, and paying attention to details is critical. Please take a few minutes to read my notes and tips carefully for the best results.
- In a large bowl or a stand mixer bowl, measure the two types of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt, and use a fork or a whisk to blend. Add the eggs and about 2/3 the amount of the water. Use the paddle attachment to bring all of the ingredients together. If you notice that some of the flour has not been fully incorporated, add more water, one teaspoon at a time. Once the elements have been incorporated into a shaggy mass, replace them with the hook attachment.
- Knead the dough at medium speed for about 4 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium speed, at the butter one piece at a time, waiting about 10-15 seconds between each addition. Increase speed to medium-high and knead until the bottom and sides of the bowl are clean. Note that this might take anything between 10-20 minutes.
- Cover the dough with a plastic bag and place and the refrigerator to chill and rise for 8-10 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll it into 3/4-inch thick. Use a two or 2.5-inch cutter to cut the dough. Place each piece over a small parchment paper square over a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 90 minutes.
- Warm the oil to 360 degrees F (180C), then gently place the donuts in the warm oven. Fry on each side for about 90 seconds and remove using a slotted spoon from the heat onto a wire rack or over paper towels. Allow the donuts to cool for about 20 minutes before filling and glazing.
Making the Vanilla Pastry cream
- Scald the milk in a medium saucepan. Warm it to a simmer, and do not allow it to boil. While the milk is warming, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the egg yolks in a medium bowl.
- Gradually add one tablespoon of warm milk into the yolk mixture while stirring.
- Pour the milk mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat while constantly stringing until the mixture is thickened, about 90 seconds.
- Remove the pastry from the heat, and keep stirring for another minute. Then mix in the butter and vanilla. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until use.
Making the chocolate ganache and assembling
- Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and corn syrup into a wide, deep medium bowl and warm in the microwave using 30-second increments. Use a rubber spatula to mix in between. Once the chocolate is mainly melted and you notice a few unmelted lumps, stop warming and gently stir to melt from the heat residue.
- Fill a pastry bag with the pastry cream. You can use a filling tip, a shape knife, wooden chopsticks, or a drinking straw to make an insertion in the donuts.
- Insert the piping bag into each donut and gently squeeze the filling as you slowly remove the bag.
- Hold the donuts from the sides and dip them into the ganache. Place it ganache side up on your serving plate.
- Bring the leftover dough from the first cut together into a lump and allow it to rest again. Otherwise, the second batch will not be as pretty. You can always make donut holes if you don’t wish to wait.
- It is crucial to have the oil warm to the proper temperature. If too hot, the donuts will not cook from the inside; if not warm enough, the donuts will be pale and oily. If you do not have a candy thermometer, dip the back of a wooden spoon; once you notice bubbles around the handle, the oil is ready. Also, popcorn pops at 350F (170C), so place one seed once it pops; you know the oil is ready.
- Use a wide dip pan to fry the donuts. A dutch oven is a good option.
- Do not use Chocolate Chips for the ganache; use your favorite dark chocolate.
- The best way to know if the donuts are ready is by checking the temperature with a thermometer; when the temperature is 180F, the donuts are ready.
- Use your favorite filling for this recipe, like this Chocolate Cream Filling.
Baking and Air Frying The Donuts
You can also use this recipe to make air fryer Boston cream donuts by using the air fryer or baking them in the oven:
- Air fryer donuts: spray the dough on both sides and bake at 350F for 4 Minutes. Note that every air fryer works differently, so I recommend testing one donut and checking to see if any changes are needed for the setting.
- Oven Baked donuts: Bake at 350F (170C) for about 20 minutes, or until the inside temperature is 180F (82C); remove from the oven and allow to cool. (For a golden color, brush the dough with egg wash).
The donuts should be served immediately and refrigerated within four hours after filling. The pastry cream is suitable for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Yeast donuts filled with pastry cream and dipped in ganache.
The oil was not at the right high temperature.
The oil was too hot.
Yes, pastry cream is custard.
If you tried this recipe, please take a moment to leave a comment and rank it at the bottom of this post. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram.
Here are some more recipes I think you will love
Boston Cream Donuts
Delicious and surprisingly easy yeast donuts filled with pastry cream and dipped with ganache.
Pastry Cream Filling
- 1 1/2 Cup Whole milk (360ml / 12floz)
- 2/3 Cup Granulated sugar (140g / 5oz)
- 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch (27g / 1oz)
- 6 Large Egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter (24g / 1oz)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 4 Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour (500g / 18 oz)
- 1 1/4 tablespoon Instant yeast (9g)
- 1/4 Cup Granulated sugar (50g / 2 oz)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Cold water (180ml / 6floz)
- 3/4 Cup Unsalted butter, soften (170g / 6oz)
- 4 Cups Vegetable oil for frying
- 3/4 Cup Chopped semi-sweet chocolate (120g / 4oz)
- 1/2 Cup Heavy cream (120ml / 4 floz)
- 1 Tablespoon Corn syrup (or honey)
Vanilla pastry cream
Pour the milk into a medium a saucepan , and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil the milk, once you notice small bubbles at the sides of the pan, remove it from heat.
While the milk is warming, in a medium bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch, then mix in the egg yolks.
While constantly stirring, add one tablespoon at a time of the warm milk until you added all of it.
Pour the milk and egg yolk mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the cream has thickened.
Remove from the heat and keep stirring for additional one minutes then add the butter and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
Pour the cream into an airtight container and refrigerate until use.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, place the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and use the paddle attachment to blend on low speed.
Add the eggs and water and mix until you have a shaggy mass, replace with the dough hook.
Knead the dough for additional 4-5 minutes, until the dough comes together into a ball and does not break.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting for each piece to blend before adding the next.
Once you have added the last piece of the butter, increase speed to medium-high and knead until the bottom and sides of the bowl are clean and the dough is smooth.
Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and roll the dough into 1/2-1 inch thick.
Use 2-inch cookie cutter to cut the dough and place each piece over a 4×4-inch piece of parchment paper, then on a baking sheet.
Cover with pastic wrap and let rise for about 90 minutes, or until double in size.
Warm the oil in a large and deep pan until it reaches 350F (170C). Hold each donut by the parchment paper and gently place it in the hot oil, the parchment paper facing up.
Use kitchen toughs to remove the paper and fry each donut for 90 seconds on each side. Or until it reaches 180F (82C). Remove from the oil and place over paper towl. Allow the donuts to cool for about 15 minutes before filling.
Place the chocolate, and heavy cream in a medium heat proff bowl and warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to mix until smooth, if needed warm it for additional 15 seconds. Mix in the corn syrup.
Fill a pastry bag with the cool pastry cream. Use a sharp knife, or a straw to make an insertion in each donuts then fill with the cream.
Hold each donut facing down, then dip it into the chocolate ganache.
- Cut the donuts as close to each other as possible because the leftover dough will not yield pretty donuts again. You can use it to make donut holes or give it time to rest and reroll again.
- Use a candy thermometer to ensure the oil is at the right temperature. If too hot, the donuts will be raw at the center; if not warm enough, they will be too oily.
- Use high-quality chocolate and avoid using chocolate chips.
- Test your first donut by cutting it at the center and checking if it is done. If possible, check the inner temperature; it should read 180F (82C).
- The donuts are best served immediately and should be refrigerated within 4 hours.
- To air fry, the doughnuts, spray with oil and bake for 4 minutes at 350F. Do a test for the first one since every air fryer is different.
- Bake the donuts for about 20 minutes at 350F (170C). Brush with egg wash for a golden brown color.