Sweet fried dough, filled with raspberry jam, and rolled in sugar these krapfen, are a classic German donut, and the perfect way to celebrate any occasion!
What are Krapfen?
Krapfen are a classic German fried donut that are made a various times for celebrations but can also be enjoyed any day! They are usually filled with jam and rolled in sugar or powdered sugar.
Instant Yeast vs. Active Dry Yeast?
Either yeast can be used in this recipe and the amount will stay the same for both. Both can be whisked in with the dry ingredients and neither need to be bloomed ahead of time for this recipe.
How do I know when the dough has been kneaded long enough?
The dough for this recipe will come together quite quickly and might look smooth but if you try to stretch it, it will most likely snap rather than stretch. Once the dough has come together in the mixer, I recommend removing it and kneading it by hand for 10 minutes. If you can’t do this, just continue kneading for 5-10 more minutes in the mixer. This dough is highly enriched so it is difficult for gluten to form and a window pane test may not work but you should be able to stretch a portion of the dough at least 1″-2″.
Can these be made in advance?
Ideally these are best eaten the day they are fried. However, they can be shaped and then stored in the fridge, covered in a container, overnight and then fried in the morning. If you do this, leave them out of the fridge for an hour or two until they become nice and puffy.
Tips for making Fried German Donuts
- Make sure all dough ingredients are at room temperature. For more tips on yeasted dough, refer to this Yeasted Dough Guide.
- When dividing and shaping the rolls, always start with the same portion of dough. This means that the first piece that is divided, is also the first to be shaped in a ball.
- Once shaped, place the rolls on lightly floured squares of parchment paper. This makes it easy to handle them once they are soft and fluffy and allows them to be easily transferred into the fry oil.
- It is important to fry the donuts between 350 F and 360 F. I find that 350 F is the best temperature that allows the center to be fully cooked without the outside burning. To keep the oil at the temperature be sure to keep a thermometer in the oil and I recommend heating it to 360 F. Then add in the donuts and the temperature will drop to around 350F.
- Fill the krapfen with jam while they are still warm. This will allow you to fill in as much jam as possible because the dough will still be able to be squished.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for these! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Eggs: I use standard large eggs from the store. This recipe uses one full egg and one egg yolk. The egg yolk adds extra richness to the rolls.
- Sugar: This recipe uses sugar in the dough as well as on the outside for decoration.
- Milk: The krapfen use milk as the liquid in the dough; however, they will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or light coconut milk.
- Butter: The butter adds moisture to the buns as well as makes them softer! It’s important that the butter is at room temperature, otherwise it will cool down the dough and be difficult to incorporate.
- Yeast: In this recipe, either active dry or instant yeast will work.
- Vanilla extract: I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla to give the buns extra flavor.
- Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil or Canola oil are used to fry the krapfen, I believe avocado oil may work as well but I haven’t tested it.
- Raspberry Jam: These can be filled with any jam but I recommend using one that is a little more tart to counter act the sweetness.
How to make Krapfen
Make the dough
- Start by warming the milk until it is just warm to the touch – it should not exceed 100 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the flour, yeast, and sugar. Then whisk it together by hand.
- Add in the warmed milk, egg and egg yolk, butter, and vanilla extract. Knead the mixture with the dough hook on the stand mixer for 10-15 minutes on low speed until it is smooth and the bowl is clean. Then knead together by hand for 10 minutes if necessary so that the dough stretches and doesn’t just snap.
- Remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly grease the mixing bowl that you were just using and place the ball of dough back in. Then cover the bowl with a towel or plastic and place somewhere warm for 30-45 min. The dough should double in size.
Shape the Krapfen
- After the dough has grown, divide it into 12 equal portions. As you go, shape each portion into a ball by first flattening it slightly into a disk and then tucking all the edges of the disk under. Shape your hand into a claw over the ball of dough with the smooth side face up. Roll the ball around in your hand on a clean work surface to create tension on the dough and seal the seem on the bottom of the ball.
- Place each roll onto lightly floured squares of parchment paper.
- Leave the rolls to rest for 30 minutes somewhere warm to proof.
- Start heating up the oil about 10-15 minutes before the rolls are finished proofing. This way it will be at the correct temperature when the rolls are ready.
Fry and finish the krapfen
- Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and lay 2 layers of paper towel on top of the rack. Fill a wide bowl with granulated sugar to roll the krapfen in once fried.
- Heat 4-5 inches of oil in a large deep pot to 360 F.
- Once the rolls are proofed, use a slotted spoon or a spider and use each square of parchment paper to flip the dough onto the spoon. Lower the proofed dough into the hot oil. Don’t fry more than 3 at a time to avoid lowering the temperature more than 10 degrees.
- Fry them on each side for 2 minutes. Use the spoon to carefully flip them over by pressing down on one side. Then fry for another 2 minutes.
- Once 4 minutes are up use the slotted spoon to remove the krapfen from the oil.
- Place the fried krapfen onto the paper towel lined rack to drain off any excess oil. Allow the oil to reheat to 360 F before adding in another batch of krapfen.
- Once the next batch is in the oil, roll the first batch in the granulated sugar and place on a separate wire rack to cool.
- Use a small knife to poke a hole in the side of each krapfen. Fill a piping bag with jam and pipe it into each krapfen until no more will fit.
- Enjoy immediately!
- Stand Mixer
- 500 grams ap flour
- 50 grams sugar
- 15 grams instant yeast or dry active yeast
- 250 mililiter milk
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 60 grams butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 liter vegetable oil
Sugar Coating and jam filling
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 8 oz raspberry jam may need more depending on how much fits into each donut.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the flour and sugar. Then whisk it together by hand and make a well in the center of the flour.
- Pour the yeast into the well and then add in the warmed milk.
- Stir some of the flour/sugar mixture into the milk and yeast mixture from the edges of the well – no more than 1/4 cup of the dry mixture.
- Cover the bowl with a towel for 10 minutes.
- After the ten minutes, use a rubber spatula give the whole bowl a brief mix.
- Add in the egg, egg yolk, butter, and vanilla extract. Knead the mixture with the dough hook on the stand mixer for 10-15 minutes on low speed until it is smooth and the bowl is clean.
- Then knead for an additional 10 minutes by hand until it can be stretched 1"-2".
- Remove the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly grease the mixing bowl and place the ball of dough back in.
- Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic and place somewhere warm for 30-45 min. The dough should double in size.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.
- Shape each portion into a ball by first flattening it slightly into a disk and then tucking all the edges of the disk under.
- Shape your hand into a claw over the ball of dough with the smooth side face up. Roll the ball around in your hand on a clean work surface to create tension on the dough and seal the seem on the bottom of the ball.
- Place each roll onto a lightly floured square of parchment paper to proof.
- Leave the rolls to rest for 30 minutes somewhere warm to proof.
- Start to heat up the fry oil about 10-15 minutes before they are done proofing.
Fry the Krapfen
- Place a wire rack onto a baking sheet and cover with two layers of paper towel.
- Fill a wide bowl with the granulated sugar to roll the krapfen in once they are fried.
- Heat about 4"-5" of oil in a large pot to 360 F.
- Once the rolls have proofed and the oil is hot, use the piece of parchment to carefully lift the roll and tip it onto a slotted spoon or spider.
- Lower the roll into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes. * Only add in three rolls at a time to keep the oil temperature from dropping below 350 F which is the ideal temperature for frying these.
- Once they have been fried for 2 minutes on one side use the spoon to carefully push on one edge, which will flip them over. Then leave to fry for another two minutes.
- Scoop each krapfen out individually with the slotted spoon and place on the paper towel lined rack to drain off any extra oil.
- Allow the oil to reheat to 360 F before adding in the next batch of krapfen.
- While the second batch is frying, roll the first batch in the sugar and place on a new wire rack to cool.
- Once all of the krapfen have been fried and rolled in sugar, use a small knife to poke a hole in the side of each donut.
- Fill a piping bag with jam. Place the tip of the bag into the opening of each donut and squeeze the jam into the donut until no more will fit.