What are krapfen?

Krapfen, also called bomboloni, are Italian doughnuts (sometimes spelled donuts!) from Alto Adige with origins that go back hundreds of years. There are many different hypotheses about who invented krapfen, but the most popular seems to be either a baker in Berlin, which would explain the German name “Berliner” for these doughnuts, or a pastry chef from Vienna named Krapf, after which the krapfen are said to be named. Either way, these scrumptious jelly or cream filled bomboloni are a sugary treat you can make at home following this step-by-step recipe.

Are krapfen and jelly donuts the same thing?

As you probably know, the typical American doughnut has a hole in the middle, but the jelly doughnut is an exception to this rule and instead of a hole they are filled with jelly (of course!). In fact, the jelly donuts you find in a baker’s dozen in the United States are very similar to the jelly filled bomboloni from Alto Adige.

What are the most common krapfen doughnut fillings?

The original krapfen recipe from Alto Adige calls for an apricot jam filling, but other popular fillings include different flavors of jams and jellies as well as a cream, chocolate or nutella filling.

Are krapfen the same as kirchtagskrapfen?

Although the names krapfen and kirchtagskrapfen are very similar, the first is the round filled doughnut recipe you will find below while the second is a square-shaped fried pastry, from the same region, filled with poppy or chestnut jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

bomboloni recipe italian fried doughnuts

What you need to make Italian doughnuts

When making bomboloni, the crucial ingredients are:

  • Fresh milk and butter– these doughnuts are from a region known for its wonderful dairy products, so the fresher the milk and butter you use, the more it will taste like the original recipe
  • Organic lemons – for the zest, it is always a good idea to use organic lemons that are not treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
  • Manitoba flour – this is actually a flour that is high in gluten which works best for this recipe, you can substitute it with all-purpose flour.
  • Farm fresh eggs – to ensure the best, freshest taste.

What equipment does making doughnuts require?

The easiest way to make the krapfen dough is with a stand mixer, like a kitchenaid, to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together and to save your arms from having to knead the dough. Other than that, no special equipment is needed! 

How to make pastry cream filling and other filling options

All over Italy, the main filling you will find in bomboloni is pastry cream (crema pasticciera in Italian), which can be vanilla or lemon cream or chocolate flavored. To make pastry cream, you just need egg yolks, sugar, flour, milk and a dash of either vanilla or lemon rind zest. The ingredients get slowly mixed together and then heated until just boiling and then the cream is left to cool before using it to fill your krapfen doughnuts. Other fillings you can find in Italy are all kinds of jams and jellies and nutella.

bomboloni recipe



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Bomboloni are one of the classic breakfast sweet pastries that Italians eat at the pasticceria. Make them at home, they are delicious!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bomboloni, cream, krapfen, pastry cream
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Calories 4129kcal
Author Nonna Box


Ingredients for the dough

  • 500 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 150 grams of whole milk room temperature
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 20 grams of fresh yeast
  • 100 grams of butter softened
  • 1/2 organic lemon rind zested
  • salt
  • peanut oil for frying

Ingredients for the pastry cream

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 30 grams flour
  • ½ liter milk
  • vanilla or lemon zest


Instructions for the dough

  • Dissolve the brewer’s yeast in the room-temperature milk.
  • Prepare the stand mixer with the dough hooks.
  • Pour the mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer and add the sugar, egg and lemon zest.
  • Add the flour in slowly while mixing, to create a dough.
  • After all the flour has been added, keep mixing the dough for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.
  • Now add in chunks of the softened butter one at a time, until it is all absorbed and the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for approximately 2 hours. It should double in size.
  • After two hours have passed, form the dough into a ball (it will slightly deflate), place it in a ceramic bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but even overnight is great.
  • Now divide the dough into 12 even balls, rolling them on a hard surface with a small amount of flour until smooth and round.
  • Place them on a flat surface and let them rise for another 4 hours.
  • Pour a generous amount of peanut oil into a deep pot, it will need to be full enough to easily cover the top of the krapfen when frying. Heat until very hot.
  • Fry 2 to 3 krapfen at a time in the very hot oil.
  • When golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
  • When the doughnuts are slightly cooled, you can gently perforate the side of the doughnut with a small knife to create a hole.
  • Fill a pastry bag with the filling of your choice and squeeze the filling into the hole, leaving a little dollop on the outside to show the filling.
  • Sprinkle each krapfen with powdered sugar and serve while still warm.

Instructions for the pastry cream

  • In a large saucepan (but not over heat for now) add the egg yolks and sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  • Now add in the flour slowly, stirring continuously until it is all absorbed.
  • In another pot, heat the milk until it is very hot and add a dash of lemon or lemon zest for flavor, as desired.
  • When the milk is hot turn off the heat and pour it slowly into the saucepan with the egg yolk mixture, stirring the whole time.
  • Now turn the flame on low under the saucepan.
  • Bring it to a simmer and let cook for 3 or 4 minutes, still stirring, until several bubbles burst to the surface, the temperature should be around 82-84°C or (180-184°F).
  • Pour the pastry cream into a mixing bowl and let cool, stirring every so often so it does not form a film on top.


Serving: 150g | Calories: 4129kcal | Carbohydrates: 593g | Protein: 113g | Fat: 144g | Saturated Fat: 77g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 41g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1727mg | Sodium: 1199mg | Potassium: 2039mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 184g | Vitamin A: 5568IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 1123mg | Iron: 30mg


How should I store the krapfen to keep them fresh?

You can store doughnuts for a day or two, but we highly recommend eating them fresh, as they are meant to be served slightly warm. If you do want to store them, they can be put in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two days. Let them come up to room temperature before eating or microwave following the instructions below.

How to reheat bomboloni doughnuts

1. Place the krapfen on a microwave-safe plate.
2. Reheat it in the microwave on medium heat for approximately 20 seconds.
3. Remove and let cool for a few seconds.
4. Sprinkle fresh powdered sugar on top and enjoy.

Are krapfen made all year round?

Originally krapfen doughnuts were made only at carnival, the celebration before lent begins and were the typical treat to consume on Fat Tuesday. However, now it is possible to find bomboloni at any time of the year all over Italy.

Why does some pastry cream taste eggy or get rubbery?

If you let your pastry cream get too hot while cooking or cook it too long, the end result can be an eggy tasting pastry cream or one that is rubbery. Be sure not to overheat the mixture or cook it for too long so your pastry cream is just the right flavor and texture.

Source: Bomboloni