Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 5th August 2011

Bomboloni, fluffy pillows of rich and tender fried pastry dough rolled in sugar and filled with velvety Crema Pasticcera {Italian Pastry Cream}, fresh and warm out of the oven.  Have I enticed you to indulge?  One thing’s for certain – one Bombolone is never enough.

A photo of a Bombolone, an Italian Cream Filled Donut.

How did I achieve a puffy bombolone? – Patience, a little elbow grease and a “whole lotta love”.

A photo of Italian Donuts, Bomboloni in a baking tray filled with sugar.

I was on a mission to get an answer to that very question, “Which preparation produces a puffier, lighter and tastier bombolone? – “By hand?” or “Stand mixer?”  After performing a taste test “by hand” won by a landslide.

A photo of Bomboloni, Italian Donuts rolled in sugar and filled with Crema Pasticcera.

It really comes as no surprise, I’m sure Italian Mamas and Nonnas from the old country (mine included) never used a stand mixer to prepare their dough.  To quote my Mom, “passion, love, touch and feel and most importantly patience makes tender dough”.

A photo of a Crema Pasticcera filled Italian donut rolled in sugar.

The bomboloni dough is very sticky and I found when preparing the dough using a stand mixer I needed to add flour more than once to get the dough to come together into a ball so the mixer could properly knead the dough.  Unfortunately the more flour you add the heavier the bombolone.

A photo of Italian Donuts, Bomboloni also referred to as Krapfen displayed on a wooden board.

Preparing the dough “by hand” gives you more control, you can feel the dough and often times it only needs a light dusting of flour to knead to a soft dough therefore producing a fluffier bombolone.

A photo of an Italian Pastry, Bomboloni also referred to as a Berliner displayed on a red cloth napkin with a glass of milk.

Bomboloni have a distinct look, golden on both sides with a band lighter in colour in between.  Achieving this look can be a little more difficult than you think; a bombolone has a mind of its own.

A photo of Italian Pastries, Bomboloni displayed on a white rectangular dish.

It increases in size as it’s cooking, sometimes more so on one side than the other.  The mystery for me, how is it possible to use the same size cutter for all of your bombolone yet after frying none of them are the same size?

A photo of Italian Pastries, Bomboloni, Italian Cream filled donuts rolled in sugar.

Bomboloni are sometimes referred to as Krapfen but there is a visible difference between the two.  How do you distinguish between a Bombolone and a Krapfen?  A Bombolone is filled from the top rather than the side and the filling is visible.  What a tease for Crema lovers like me.

A photo of Italian Desserts, Bomboloni - fried Italian pastry rolled in sugar and filled with Crema Pasticcera.

Bomboloni are not only filled with cream, they are just as mouthwatering filled with jam or one of my favourites, chocolate.

A photo of Italian Filled Doughnuts rolled in sugar.

Like any donut Bomboloni are best enjoyed on the day they are made.  Very rarely an issue for us, we love donuts!

A photo of Bomboloni alla Crema, Italian Cream-Filled Donuts.


A photo of Italian Cream-Filled Doughnuts, Bomboloni alla Crema displayed on a wire cooling rack.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci Fritti, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fried Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Yeast Breads & Yeast Dough

Comments (96)

96 Responses to “Bomboloni alla Crema – Krapfen {Italian Cream-Filled Donuts}”

  1. Kristina @ spabettie Says:

    these are STUNNINGLY beautiful! perfect and impressive – well done.

  2. Evan Thomas Says:

    These look incredible. They remind me of Boston Cream Donuts, except obviously more elegant. Great job!

  3. Paula @ Dishing the Divine Says:

    My husband would weep tears of joy and give me diamonds if I made these for him. I do so love diamonds. Will give these a shot!

  4. Grace Says:

    Oh Paula you are so funny!

  5. Grace Says:

    Thanks Evan!

  6. Curt Says:

    I agree, one would never be enough. Those look so nice and sugary and soft!

  7. Qt Says:

    Are you sure about the temperature of warm milk in Celsius ? Over 200° C seems to be a little too hot

  8. Grace Says:

    Thanks for catching my mistake, put the temp number in the wrong box of my calculator.

  9. Aggie Says:

    oh my goodness what I would do for one of these tonight! Looks so delicious! Your pictures always make me hungry!!

  10. Sandra Says:

    How do you not gain weight with all these amazing desserts around?

  11. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    These look like they are worth all the effort! They look better than any store-bought donut I’ve ever had.

  12. Grace Says:

    Sandra because of my meds I was extremely thin for a long while and it didn’t matter what I ate I couldn’t gain an ounce, thankfully in the last year I’ve finally put on a few pounds but believe it or not not as much as I would like, I think I just have fast metabolism.

  13. Carolyn Says:

    Incredibly gorgeous, Grace. I love my standmixer but I can understand how a light touch is needed for these!

  14. Carrie Says:

    Approximately how many does this recipe make? They look to die for…

  15. Grace Says:

    Carrie I must have been half asleep when I was posting the recipe, first I listed the milk at I think it was 200 degrees celsius and now I’ve forgotten the yield. One batch makes between 28 and 32, the kids started eating before I counted, both times.

  16. Tres Delicious Says:

    So brilliantly prepared! I love the way it’s fried. A must for me to have one of these.

  17. Memoria Says:

    WOW WOW! I must make these soon. They look amazing and challenging. I love that! What fantastic photos!

  18. Angela FRS Says:

    Those are quite beautiful. I haven’t had a real cream-filled donut in years–looks like a labor of love, but worth it!

  19. Sharanya Says:

    These look quite hard to make, but I’m up to the challenge. I think I’ll try making these this weekend :)

  20. Kita Says:

    Oooh my don’t those look beautiful.

  21. Grace Says:

    A few steps Sharanya but really not that difficult to make, most important thing to watch out for, don’t roll out the dough too thin. I usually roll it out a bit to get it started and then pat down with my hands, this helps a great deal. Let me know ahead of time when you plan on making and I will make sure I am available to answer any questions.

  22. Sharanya Says:

    Thank you so much! I will definitely let you know if I need help. :) I just realized that we don’t get bread flour here in India. Any substitute I could use?

  23. Elyse @The Cultural Dish Says:

    Mmmm I love these… they are so dangerous! The pastry cream on top is so cute too – love your photos!

  24. Grace Says:

    Sharanya your flour may be termed differently I know in Italy it is referred to as Manitoba Flour, you are looking for a flour that contains a little higher gluten 13% to 14% and it also contains a small amount of malted barley flour which helps the yeast work. If you can’t find anything that resembles this you can go ahead and use all-purpose flour.

  25. Marly Says:

    I’ve been on vacation so just now catching up and I see I’ve missed some good stuff on your site…including these bombolonis. Can I just say it? These Bombolonis…are the bomb!

  26. Roxana GreenGirl Says:

    oh my goodness Grace. These bomboloni look amazing. Love your mother saying “passion, love, touch and feel and most importantly patience makes tender dough” so so true.

  27. Julia @DimpleArts Says:

    These doughnuts look delicious! I wanted to bite right into the screen!

  28. Karly Says:

    What can I use as a substitute for vanilla beans? I can’t find them anywhere.

  29. Grace Says:

    I feel your pain Karly, Costco used to carry them for a fabulous price here in Canada 10 beans for about $11. I went the other day because I ran out and they no longer carry them. I’ve been struggling to find them too and when I do they are about $7 for 2. I think I’ve found a really good supplier on Ebay. My brother is coming in from the US in September for my niece’s wedding and I am going to ask him to check his local Costco, if they have them there I am going to ask him to buy me about 100 beans – lol. You can substitute the beans with pure vanilla extract, when making the dough add the vanilla with the eggs, and you can also use the extract in the crema, 1 teaspoon for the dough and then 1 teaspoon for the crema.

  30. Mireill Says:

    They look fabulous! I am going to give them a try today, even though i have never fried anything. Ever.
    For the vanilla beans in Canada, have you tried Bulk Barn? They usually have them by the cash, next to the saffron. I can’t remember the exact price but i think it was about 5$ for two.

  31. Grace Says:

    I’ve checked the bulk barn but not at cash, I assumed when I didn’t see them by the vanilla extract they didn’t carry them. They must keep the good stuff hidden. Will have to take a trip. I was cleaning out my baking cupboard yesterday and I found 2 hidden tubes, I couldn’t believe it, I’ve never been so excited about a baking item before – lol. hanks for the tip!

  32. Stephanie Says:

    I love this. My uncle had a pastry shop in Queens when I was a kid and this really takes me back. Beautiful photos. Thanks for adding me to your blog circle!

  33. Warren Says:

    Looks delicious!!

  34. thelittleloaf Says:

    This recipe takes me straight to italy where we used to spend every summer when I was a child. So pleased to find a recipe for crema pasticceria so I can now make my own – I love the slightly greasy crumble of sugar against smooth cream as you bite into them. Yum!

  35. Grace Says:

    I love that as well. I am so envious summers in Italy I would love that. My parents came to Canada to give us children a better life because at the time it was so difficult to get ahead, in so many ways I wish they hadn’t. I love Europe the life style everything about it.

  36. Celebrate This: Cream-filled Donut Day | Life of the Party Says:

    […]  La Mia Vita Dolce is in fact living one sweet life with blogger Grace's recipe for these pillowy, cream-filled Bomboloni. From the heart of Italia to our kitchens, these authentic pastries mix old world quality with modern class. Pair with a nice frothy cappuccino for the ultimate indulgence. […]

  37. Sailu @ Indian Recipes Says:

    I chanced upon your absolutely gorgeous website today and am hooked to it. Love how the name of those cute donuts ‘bomboloni’. Feel so blessed to be able to learn about different cultures and cuisines. :)

    Will drop by more often.

  38. Paula Crofts Says:

    Hi Grace. What a pleasure to find you on the internet persuing the beautiful art of baking! I have pre-ordered your cookbook from Barnes & Noble. I hope that you have included some old family recipes. I remember that your mom and grandmother were both amazing cooks.
    Best wishes for more continued success!

  39. Barbara | Creative Culinary Says:

    I just made a noise when I saw that first photo…one of those ‘oh my’ noises. Not a grunt, but more of a sigh. Yum…what else can I say Grace?

  40. Grace Says:

    Hi Paula, so sorry for the late reply. I just returned from Sonoma Wine Country and my computer crashed over the weekend. I’ve borrowed my daughter’s to catch up on mail. I can’t believe you reached out this week of all weeks. Nancy Brooks and I were just talking about you wondering where you were and how you were doing. I hope things are going well would love to catch up. I hope you enjoy the book the experience has been amazing and the journey has brought back all kinds of wonderful memories. I only wish Dad was still here to share with me.

  41. Grace Says:

    Thank you so much Sallu and welcome!

  42. Megan Says:

    I nearly died when I stumbled upon this recipe! I fell in love with Bomboloni when I went to Italy this last spring. My favorite pastry for breakfast at an Italian “bar” by far! I can’t wait to try out this recipe to see if I can even get close to what I had in Italy!

  43. Laura Rees Says:

    Wow is all I can say. And also I want to eat 12 of these.

  44. Paula Crofts Says:

    Hi. I’m sorry to hear about your dad. My father passed away four years ago. Please send my hellos to Nancy. I’ve thought about both of you over the years. I would love to catch up too. I’ll be in London at the end of the month. Lets all get together. Paula

  45. Grace Says:

    I would love that Paula, let me know when you’re coming in and how to reach you and I will reach out to Nancy too.

  46. cooking rookie Says:

    Gorgeous doughnuts. I could use one right now with some hot chocolate – that would be perfect… a girl can dream :-)

  47. Cheng Says:

    Just want to say thank you for posting the recipe, we absolutely love this! I have been asked to make this a few times by my son and his friends when they come over, it was even suggested that we should make this a weekend “thing” but since I make this by hand that suggestion was turned down. Thank you again.

  48. Grace Says:

    You’re very welcome Cheng, it’s a favourite here in our home too. Sounds like your weekends are like mine, a place for the boys to gather.

  49. Cheng Says:

    If the boys in your home are like mine, they all have hollow legs and are always hungry. This one batch is just for the “3” of them. They even ask if they can take it home with them. We actually tried a couple of the recipes that you have posted and they are both instant favorites, this is my son’s and the Pesche Dolci is my stepsons and his girlfriends favorite, the pesche is a little more involved so it’s been a while since I made some but I think this Thanksgiving I will.

  50. Grace Says:

    We usually save the Pesche for special occasions because they do take longer than the average cookie but definitely worth the larger ones are my downfall. I’m so happy you enjoyed. It definitely sounds like we could be talking about the same boys.

  51. shamiyah Says:

    hi grace i don’t get bread flour in my country.what is the substitute?plz reply…

  52. Grace Says:

    Do you have a high gluten flour around 13 to 14%? It’s possibly called something different in your country. I know in Italy it’s called Manitoba flour. Where are you located? I will try and search for an alternative for you.

  53. simplybakes Says:

    O.M.G <3

  54. TJ Says:

    This. Looks. Delicious.

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  57. Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) Says:

    Going to be making these… I’ll let you know how it goes :)

  58. Banana-Caramel Yeast Doughnuts | Iron Whisk Says:

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  59. Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) Says:

    They turned out so well! Thanks so much :)

  60. Grace Says:

    I am so happy you enjoyed them Ilan and I am definitely going to try your combination. Congratulations on the upcoming show can’t wait to see you on TV, please let me know when it is going to air. All the best!

  61. Eilis Says:

    Hello Grace!

    I am new to your beautiful and delicious looking blog, thanks so much for posting it. I would love to make these and I have a couple of questions; I live in London, On too! Where do you buy your caster sugar, I have never been able to fine superfine stuff that isn’t fructose; Do you reuse the oil for frying? How often and how do you dispose of it when it is done? How do you know it is done? Can you prepare any part of this recipe in advance and maybe freeze it, or leave it in the fridge? and most importantly…do you cater??? ;) Sorry, that was more than a couple of questions. Thanks again!

  62. Ilan (IronWhisk Blog) Says:

    Hi Grace!

    The show should be on this Thursday at 8:30am, and Friday at 11:00am and 5:00pm on the channel “Rogers TV” but I’ll be sure to post it later on my blog.

  63. Grace Says:

    Hi Ellis I purchase my caster sugar at the Great Canadian Super Store or Walmart (packaged similar to a milk carton) and I just found a no name brand at Shoppers Drug Mart (it’s super, superfine, I really like it). I reuse the oil, sometimes 2 or 3 times. After each use I strain the oil through a fine sieve and try to keep just the last 1/2 inch in the fryer or dutch oven and dispose of that. If I use my deep fryer it separates the good from the bad. Now don’t laugh but I save the oil in my large Timmy’s coffee can and usually dig a hole in my garden and pour the oil into the dirt. Ellis I always make the dough and fry off the same day. I’ve never frozen the dough because I’m concerned about killing the yeast.

  64. Recipes: Bomboloni : Perlkönig Says:

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  65. Eilis Says:


    I made these this past weekend and they were perfect! I followed your instructions precisely and I looked like a real pro!

    It did take all day though, so I won’t be able to make them often, but really, I guess I probably shouldn’t anyway.

    I did have one problem, the crema tasted great, but it was runny. Did I not cook it long enough, or did I not chill it long enough?

    Thanks again for the wonderful recipe, it was well worth the effort.

  66. Grace Says:

    Hi Ellis I’m so happy you enjoyed the doughnuts. With the crema the best way to judge if you’ve cooked it long enough is to have over medium heat from the beginning, the whole process of cooking should take between 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as it starts to boil (big bubbles start popping) cook for an additional 2 minutes from that point, it should thicken easily, making sure you are constantly whisking because if you don’t the cream will burn for sure. Once you make it a couple of times you’ll be able to judge how long it will take on average at flame or temperature you’re using on your stove. Do you have a gas or electric stove?

  67. Eilis Says:

    Hi again Grace!

    We have an electric stove, “Medium” worked perfectly for the deep-frying, I don’t remember what I used for the crema. I think I didn’t let it get to the “Big Bubble” stage. I’m going to have to try again…my family will be delighted!

    A funny aside, I didn’t measure the crema well and I ran out halfway through my donoughts, man, were those babies loaded! I had to make up a quick custard to fill the rest. It wasn’t the same, but it had it’s own charm.

    If I have time tomorrow, I’m going to try the Honey Balls. I found chocolate honey at the Remark, not cheap, but I’m really looking forward to it. After that, I will need to fry one more recipe before I go out and dig that hole in my garden ;)

    I never did find superfine sugar. I think I’m going blind. I did however find out that all you need to do is pulse regular sugar in the food processor. Worked like a charm.

  68. Grace Says:

    Ellis I never thought to mention the food processor but you know what I’ve haven’t noticed before but the bag of Redpath sugar that I buy from the Canadian Superstore is tagged Special Fine Granulated. I thought the granules looked different. If you’re near a RCSS any time soon it may be worth taking a look. It’s funny you should mention something about the amount of crema I noticed someone made the recipe and blogged about it. In the post she mentioned not having enough cream I wonder if she did the same thing or maybe I’m just too chintzy on the amount I’m piping in.

  69. Razaan Says:

    Hi Grace,I just stumbled upon your. blog.Just love the photos of the doughnuts! I am going to make these during the Easter weekend! Thanks for the recipe.

  70. Grace Says:

    Razaan please let me know how you enjoy, these are a family favourite. Happy Easter to you and your family!

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  73. Akma Says:

    Wow!!! It’s awesome, really great!! Grace, I just don’t know what’s the different by using bread flour with all purpose flour or bread flour without mixing other flour. Btw, today I’ll make a donut and of course I’ll follow your great recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing it!!

  74. Grace Says:

    Akma if you can use a combination of the Bread Flour & Italian 00 the texture of the donuts are amazing. Bread flour has a higher protein and it helps the dough rise better. The Italian flour is fine, all purpose is a good substitution but if at all possible I would use the “00”.

  75. Recipes: Bomboloni Redux : Perlkönig Says:

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  76. Howard Larsen Says:

    I followed the directions exactly and my bombolini came out exactly as described and pictured. The best. Equal to a doughnut shop creatio. I filled them with a lemon cream.

  77. Aaron Says:

  78. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    I am so happy you enjoyed then Howard, I love these doughnuts. Happy New Year!

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  80. Darren Says:

    I came across your blog when your photos of your Bomboloni caught my eye. Firstly congratulations on your blog, and the motivation you give to others with your baking.

    I attempted your Bomboloni recipe, and followed your hints and method very carefully. Neither-less to say, I have 4 happy girls licking the sugar off their fingers.

    Yum Yum Yum and Thankyou.

  81. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Welcome and thank you Darren! The Bomboloni are one of our family favourites, very nice to hear the girls enjoyed them. By the way they are really tasting with Nutella too.

  82. Andrea Says:

    Grace, my husband is from Sicily and I have been desperately trying to find the perfect recipie for his distinguishing palate. These taste question is, many other Italian bomboloni recipies I’ve come across have stated to refrigerate the dough for up to 6 hours or overnight. Then some, such as yours, don’t refrigerate. These are so time consuming, I was hoping the dough could be put in the fridge overnight so it wouldn’t seem such an overwhelming task to make them. Any suggestions on why the differences? Also, could you melt the butter and then add to the dough all at once? Raj I forgot to mention I find I get a slightly better texture when I prepare without refrigeration, I would encourage you at some point to prepare without refrigeration and compare both to see which you prefer and please make use of the parchment squares because it helps to not disturb the rise you’ve achieved after cutting.

  83. Raj Says:

    Hi, these look delightful. Would it be possible to make the dough the night before – Could I refrigerate the dough after step 5? Thanks

  84. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Raj, I am so sorry I am just receiving your comment, for some reason I didn’t receive a notification email. Yes you can most definitely refrigerate the dough after step 5 but it may take slightly longer for the next rise because the dough is cold.I don’t normally refrigerate because I’m home now and have the time.

  85. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Andrea, I’m sorry for my late reply but for some reason I didn’t receive a notification email this time and it’s too funny that you’re asking me this question because I just replied to another visitor who asked the very same question. Yes you may refrigerate the dough overnight after step 5. Please remember the next rise may take longer because the dough is chilled. One thing I should’ve mentioned to Raj and I will go and edit my comment, I find the texture of the doughnuts is slightly better when allow the rise at room temperature. I would not melt the butter, there’s only a few tablespoons in this dough and it’s much better worked in as is.

  86. Raj Says:

    Hi Grace. Thanks kindly for your reply. I want to make these for a family get together (Think my nephews and nieces will love these!) and it’s a lot of work to do on the day. I will definitely try the non refrigeration method when I have more time. Thanks again and congratulations on a great blog.

  87. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    I would definitely break it up Raj, you want to enjoy the day too! Please come back and let us know how they enjoyed them.

  88. Tammie Says:

    Hello Grace! I made these this morning, and I followed the directions to a T…and my bombalonies didn’t “puff” enough. Not nearly as full and round as the pictures; or the sweet pillows of goodness I ate in Italy a few weeks ago. Any tips on why mine came out flat? I even let them rest for an hour longer to see if that would help… but it didn’t. Perhaps I over-floured my surface kneading?? The taste was exquisite…but I wished I could’ve filled them more. Thanks in advance!!

  89. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Tammie, this has happened to me before and the yeast has been the problem (even with a new jar), how long have you had the yeast you used? I recommend testing the yeast to see if it’s still active. Warm milk to between 40 and 43 C (105 and 110 F), sprinkle the yeast over top, stir to dissolve and then cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, set aside for 10 minutes and see if it bubbles and grows to about double in size. Please let me know what happens and then we can troubleshoot from there.

  90. Michelle Says:

    Hello Grace,

    I am loving the recipe for your bomboloni alla crema…but the link for the Crema Pasticcera is broken and sends me to peach treats.

    Can you send to me the recipe?

    Thank you so much and I look forward to cooking more with you. :)

    Hugs for you, Michelle

  91. Michelle Says:

    Hello Grace :)

    I found the recipe for the Crema Pasticerra for the Bomboloni also with the recipe for Zeppole di San Guiseppe…Saint Joseph’s Day Fritters!

    Cooking with love, Michelle

  92. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Michelle, If you look through the recipe list for the pesche dolci (peach cookies) you’ll see the recipe for Crema Pasticcera which is the filling I used in the Bombolone. By the way, you are going to love these, one of our favourites and whenever I make them they disappear quickly!

  93. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Michelle, The Crema Pasticcera in the zeppole recipe is slightly different but you could use either. The Crema for the bombolone is slightly lighter because I used milk instead of milk/heavy cream combination.

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  96. Garden2 Says:

    Grace, I made these yesterday with my daughter. They were easy enough for her to make with enough detail to teach her some universal baking techniques/theory. She is 11 and loves science so has really taken to baking. They came out just like the picture and she was so proud of herself. We delivered them around the neighborhood to friends and family so everyone could enjoy them for dessert on the day they were made! We also made a few with just cinnamon and sugar for dunking in the morning coffee. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

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