Bomboloni is a crispy fried donut filled with a rich cream that explodes out of every bite. Learn how to make the classic Italian donuts! These golden brown fried doughnuts will have you hooked after the first bite.
I absolutely love donuts, and I especially love them cream-filled! So what could be better than a simple bomboloni recipe?
If you’re not familiar with these treats, they are small Italian donuts filled with a decadent and luscious pastry cream.
Since Italians love a sweet breakfast, these Italian doughnuts are often eaten with the first meal of the day!
And I can’t think of anything wrong with snacking on these with my morning coffee.
This recipe will make 18 Italian doughnuts in a little under 5 hours. Don’t let the total time scare you!
Most of the time needed for this recipe is for the rise: about 30 minutes to prep, 4 hours to rise, and 18 minutes to fry.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Don’t overheat the milk! Keep the temperature between 100-110°F, or else you will kill the yeast.
- Use your favorite filling. Any pastry cream will do! You can even use chocolate cream or jelly. Be creative and have fun with it.
- Let the dough sit overnight. Make things easy for yourself and refrigerate overnight. Then, you just have a quick rise after cutting out the dough!
- Add orange juice for a stronger flavor. Orange zest adds a subtle, floral flavor and aroma.
For a stronger orange taste, add a bit of freshly squeezed juice to the batter.
- Watch the oil temperature. If it’s too low, the Italian doughnuts will soak up too much oil. Too hot, and the outside will burn before the centers are cooked.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Use a Dutch Oven for frying to help keep the oil at a consistent temperature. Don’t forget a candy thermometer too!
- Stand mixer with the dough hook attachment
- If you need a rolling pin to roll out the dough, this will help it get the dough to the right inch thickness.
- Large bowl, plus baking sheets lined with parchment paper for both rises.
- A Wire Rack is great for putting the dough on to cool down after being in the deep pan of oil.
- Round biscuit/donut cutter – It should be at least 3 ½ inches in diameter, without the extra cutout in the center.
- Fine mesh strainer or slotted spoon for fishing the bomboloni out of the hot oil.
- A piping bag makes the job of filling the pastries so much easier! A squeeze bottle likely won’t work because the filling is thick, but a pastry bag should do the trick.
The best way to transfer the risen dough to the hot oil is by cutting the parchment paper around each donut.
You can then lift the parchment squares under each individual Italian donut, carefully flip them into the oil, then remove the parchment paper. Low mess and low stress!
You’ll achieve a white ring around the bomboloni because the dough is light and floats to the top of the oil. If the Italian donuts don’t have a white ring, then the dough is too heavy.
Be sure to use the freshest ingredients, and don’t rush the rising time.
This dough is sticky and tender by design. Use very small amounts of flour when you work the dough after the first rise to keep them tender. You do not want to add too much flour!
These are always best during the first few hours after cooking, when they’re fresh and crunchy!
However, you can store the Italian doughnuts for 1 to 2 days in an airtight container if you have any left over. No need to refrigerate!
What is the best mixture to stuff the doughnut dough with?
You can have fun with the flavors that you add to these donuts! If you love a creamy filling, there are a variety of fillings that you can add. These Italian bomboloni doughnuts are great with custard cream, chocolate spread, pistachio custard, or even a simple vanilla cream filling.
It’s a good idea to try different flavors for the best results to see what you prefer. The sweet yeast dough pairs really well with chocolate-hazelnut spread as well or you could even add a little bit of lemon zest and granulated sugar on top for a citrus flavor.
If you think that these donuts have to be cookie cutter, you couldn’t be more wrong. Once the elastic dough forms and you get the deep fry down to perfection, you’ll see that these really take just a little time to make.
I think that I like them better than American donuts! (It must be the Italian pasty cream that I love to add to the middle!)
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Italian Desserts
Bomboloni Italian Donuts + Video
- 3 cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup whole milk, lukewarm
- vegetable oil, for frying
- Pastry cream, recipe to follow
- 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- In a medium saucepan, combine ½ cup milk and 1 cup heavy cream. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until almost boiling (4-5 minutes). When the milk begins to steam, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and set aside.
- Whisk together egg yolks in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk remaining ½ cup milk into the egg yolks until combined.
- While whisking, slowly sift the flour into the egg/milk, incorporating all of the flour into a smooth mixture.
- Whisk the sugar into the egg mixture until combined.
- Add the hot milk to the egg mixture slowly, whisking constantly. I like to spoon the hot milk into the egg while whisking. Continue adding the hot milk until it has all been stirred into the egg mixture.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan (you can pour it through a sieve to strain out any lumps).
- Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer for about one minute while mixture thickens and then remove from heat. (about 5-6 minutes total)
- Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap down onto the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate the pastry cream until completely cooled (2-3 hours). Meanwhile, prepare the bomboloni donuts.
For the Donuts
- Sift together the bread flour, sugar, and yeast into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the pieces of butter, orange zest, vanilla extract, and eggs.With the dough hook attached, turn the mixer onto low speed and begin combining the flour mixture.
- Pour in the warmed milk while the mixer is running.Allow the dough hook to incorporate all of the flour mixture into the liquids until a dough forms.Continue mixing on low speed for about 5 minutes – until the dough forms a ball around the hook and is smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.Set the dough in a warm, draft free location for 1 ½-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured surface. Important: Add only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the surface and your rolling pin – excess flour will make the donuts tough.Roll the dough to ½” thick and cut out circles using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter.
- Arrange the donuts on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each donut to rise.Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place it (oiled side down) over the donuts.
- When you have cut out all of the donuts that you can, gather the scraps of dough back into a ball and roll out again too ½” thick. Work the dough as little as possible. Discard any remaining scraps that you are not able to shape into donuts.
- Set the trays of donuts in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 more hours, until doubled in size and visibly puffy.
- When the rise period is almost over, begin heating the frying oil. Use a heavy bottomed pot (Dutch oven works well) and fill at least 4 inches deep with oil. Heat the oil until the temperature reaches and maintains 350°F.
- Place a couple donuts into the hot oil at a time and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.Remove donuts with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels or paper bags to drain.While still warm, roll each donut in granulated sugar to coat completely.
- Fill a pastry bag with Italian pastry cream and fit with a piping tip with a round open end (we used one specifically for filling here, but it’s not necessary).Pierce the side of each donut or cut a small slit with a knife. Insert the tip of the pastry bag and fill each donut with about 2 tablespoons of pastry cream.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published March 2022, updated and republished January 2024
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