I am completely obsessed with these Nutella donuts. They are made from a yeast dough, coated in sugar and filled with a delicious chocolate hazelnut cream filling. Yes, yeast doughs are more work than a baked donut, but they are also 100% worth the extra effort because they yield unbelievable results.
What are Nutella donuts?
When I first bit into one of these warm donuts, I had to sit down. They were that good. They are lightly crisp on the outside from frying and warm and fluffy on the inside. There are three main components of these Nutella donuts.
- The dough. As mentioned, this is a yeast dough. So while it does require a little more TLC than a baked donut, the yeast makes the dough rise spectacularly and makes the fluffiest of donuts.
- The coating. Ah the sugary coating! You can either coat these bad boys in just plain sugar or, my favorite, cinnamon sugar.
- The filling. The best part!!! The filling is a smooth whipped cream mixed with Nutella. If you have ever had Nutella before, you know it is very rich. So mixing it with whipped cream cuts the richness of the Nutella so you can reallllly enjoy a full donut (or three).
- Whole milk
- Unsalted butter
- Instant yeast
- Granulated sugar
- All purpose flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Granulated sugar
- Cinnamon optional
- Heavy whipping cream
- Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
Can donuts be baked?
This is a common question, but unfortunately these yeast doughs cannot be baked because you will basically end up with bread rolls. Baked donuts are different as they are cake based, and are baked in a pan with donut cavities. If you want a baked donut, I suggest checking out my Chocolate and Candy Cane Donuts, Powdered Donuts or Apple Cider Donuts.
Can donuts be air fried?
Similar to the above, if you attempt to air fry these donuts they will resemble bread rolls. An air fryer is just a mini convection oven, and while I wish it yielded the same results as frying the dough in oil, it does not even come close.
The best way to fry donuts
Ideally, we use a deep fryer. But not all people have a deep fryer lying around in their household (me included) so I just fry them in a few inches of oil over the stovetop. This requires a thermometer - you want the oil temperature to be hanging out around 365 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is exactly what you need in order to achieve that lightly golden color on the outside, but fully baked on the inside.
If you are finding that your donut is too brown on the outside and underbaked on the inside, it is likely your oil is too hot. It is causing the outside to get too dark too quickly and is not giving the donut enough time to cook all the way through.
If you are finding that your donut is taking forever to cook and is super oily, it is likely you have the opposite problem of the above. Your oil is too cold. Remember to use a thermometer and keep monitoring the temperature throughout the frying process.
Important Note: When using a thermometer, you want it to be suspended in the middle of the oil and not touching the bottom of the pot. It will read hotter if the thermometer is touching the bottom of the pan, which is misleading and will lead to incorrect frying times.
While I love Nutella, I recognize that it is not everyones cup of tea. Other filling ideas include lemon curd, jam, chocolate ganache, or even a custard. The options are truly endless, so do what you love here!
How to properly fill a donut
- Make sure you have the sugar coating on first. We coat the donuts right after they are cool enough to handle from the oil.
- Poke a hole. Poke a hole in the side of the donut using either a chopstick or a knife, then widen it with your finger. This will be the perfect little hole for you to put your filling.
- Use a piping bag. I suggest using a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. You could use a spoon but that will get so, so messy.
- Filling the donuts. Fill the donuts using the piping bag until the donut starts to feel a bit heavy, or until the filling begins to ooze out of the hole you made. You may need to use one donut as a test to see the preferred amount of filling.
Grams vs Cups
While this recipe can be made using cups, I highly, highly suggest using the measurements by weight. It is not only easier in terms of process, clean up, etc., but it also is more accurate. Scales are super inexpensive and you can get one from Amazon! As much as I would love to only post my recipes using weight, unfortunately using cups is way too common in the US (where I am based), so I do both.
- Mixer with paddle/hook attachment
- 1 ½ cups (360 mL) whole milk
- 5 tbsp (71 grams) unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) warm water luke warm - no need to use a thermometer, it just should not be hot
- 2 packages instant yeast
- 2 eggs lightly beaten, room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 5-5 ¼ cups (650 grams) all purpose flour
- 3-4 cups (600-800 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon optional
- ½ cup (120 mL) heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup (240 grams) Nutella
- In a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, combine the whole milk and butter. Stir the two together until the butter has completely melted. Set the pan aside so the mixture cools to luke warm (you don't need to use a thermometer - but anywhere between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect!). It just cannot be hot.
- While the milk/butter mixture is cooling, add the warm water (luke warm, not hot) with the two packages of instant yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together until combined.
- Once the milk/butter mixture is cooled, pour it into the stand mixer with the water/yeast mixture.
- Lightly beat the eggs and add that to the mixture. Add the granulated sugar, ground nutmeg, salt, and half of the flour (about 2 ½ cups or 325 grams). Using the paddle attachment, mix all of the ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining flour and mix together on low speed for 30 seconds, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until combined. Switch out the paddle attachment for the hook attachment, and beat the dough for 3-4 minutes. The dough will slightly pull away from the sides of the bowl, however it WILL be a wet and sticky dough. Do not add more flour - I promise!!! You will want to, but don't.
- Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and let the dough rise in a warm environment (oven or microwave turned OFF are always good choices) for one hour. It will double in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, gently move it to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out slightly until it is about ½ inch thick. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and shape them into balls.
- Place the donuts on a lightly floured pan, cover it with a towel, and let the dough rise for an additional 30-40 minutes.
- In the last 10 minutes of the dough's second rise, begin to heat up your oil. Pour the oil into a large pot so there is at least 2-3 inches of oil. Using a thermometer, heat the oil to about 365 degrees Fahrenheit and monitor the temperature the entire time. Make sure the thermometer is submerged in the middle of the oil and not touching the bottom of the pan (it will read hotter if the thermometer is touching the pan).
- Once the dough is done with the second rise, fry them. Place 2-3 donuts in the pot at once (do not overcrowd) and fry them for one minute on each side until golden brown. Remove the donuts from the oil and place them on a pan lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Repeat this process with all of the donuts.
- To make the coating, combine the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon (if using) and pour it onto a plate. Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, toss them in the cinnamon sugar (or just sugar) and set aside.
- To make the filling, whip the heavy cream on high speed for 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add the nutella and fold together until completely combined.
- Using a chopstick or a sharp knife, poke a hole in the side of the donut. Put the filling in a piping bag (or ziplock bag with the corner cut off) and carefully pipe the filling into the donuts until they start to feel heavy. You may need to do a test with one donut to check the preferred amount of filling in each donut.
- These donuts are best enjoyed when made fresh - but can be kept covered and in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!