Dig in to these crunchy caramelized crème brûlée donuts

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Donuts and crème brûlée are delicious on their own, so what could be better than combining the two tasty desserts into one? These crème brûlée donuts are unlike any donut or crème brûlée you’ve had before. With a crunchy caramel brûlée exterior and a creamy custard center, these donuts are a perfect fusion of the classic French and American desserts. If you’re looking to put a spin on two tried and true favorites, dig into these crunchy caramelized crème brûlée donuts.



  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar granulated
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp butter softened
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Custard Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks  
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted



  • 1 cup sugar granulated
  • 1/4 cup water



  1. Whisk the milk, yeast, and 1 tsp of the sugar together. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes until foamy. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg yolks and vanilla and stir well to combine.
  1. Add the flour, butter, salt, and remaining sugar. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and start on low speed, working up to medium speed to combine the dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
  1. Place the dough in a large, lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.


  1. Whisk the sugar, salt, and cornstarch together. Beat the egg yolks in a medium-sized mixing bowl just until smooth. Add the dry mixture to the egg yolks and continue to beat until combined and pale yellow. Should be about 1 minute.
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a bare simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully ladle the milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to avoid lumps. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and return it to the stovetop over medium heat.
  1. While continuously whisking, heat the mixture until bubbling and completely thickened. Remove the pot from the heat. Whisk the vanilla and butter into the custard until smooth, then transfer the custard to a bowl.
  1. Cover the custard with plastic wrap, carefully pressing the plastic directly against the surface of the custard to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until completely cooled.


  1. Punch the risen dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out until about ½ an inch thick.
  1. Use a 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter to cut rounds from the dough. Knead the remaining dough into a ball, roll it out, and cut rounds until you’ve used as much dough as possible.
  1. Place the rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch of room between each round. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rise for 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place the rounds into the hot oil, working in batches. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown, flip and cook for another minute or until golden. Remove the rounds with a slotted spoon and allow the donuts to drain on a paper towel-lined plate while you fry the rest.

Fill & Brûlée

  1. Add the custard to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Insert a skewer or chopstick into each donut to create a pocket for the custard. Finally, inject the end of your piping bag into a donut and fill it with custard. Set aside on a sheet tray, and repeat with the remaining donuts and custard.
  1. Add the sugar and water for the caramel (brûlée) to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture starts bubbling, reduce the heat to medium. Heat the sugar, occasionally giving the pan a gentle swirl until it turns golden. Take the pan off the heat and swirl the pan until the color deepens slightly.
  1. Working very carefully (wear gloves for extra protection), dip the top of each donut into the caramel. Lift the donut from the caramel and tilt it away from your fingers to let the excess drip for a few seconds, then place the donut aside to let it cool.
  2. Repeat with the remaining donuts. If you find the caramel in the pot is getting too stiff, return it to the heat, swirling the pan until it warms up and becomes less viscous. Finally, grab a spoon and crack into that crunchy exterior.

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