Bomboloni Recipe (Italian Donuts with Cream Filling)

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This Bomboloni Recipe (Italian Donuts with Cream Filling) is the kind you find in Italian bakeries- super soft, light, rolled in sugar, and filled with smooth pastry cream. This step-by-step photo recipe makes it easy for anyone to make at home!

You can fill these golden brown doughnuts with Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera), Best Italian Pistachio Cream, Italian Chocolate Pastry Cream, Nutella, or jam. They are delicious plain as well.

Bomboloni Recipe (Italian Donuts with Cream Filling) stacked on a plate
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Why This Recipe Works

I’ve had a lot of bombolini in my life straight from bakeries all across Italy. Everyone should make and taste the pillow-soft and crispy filled doughnuts with a heavenly cream filling at least once!

I used to feel intimidated to make donuts at home. That is why I created a step-by-step visual guide of all the steps so we can do it together! It is easy to follow and provides superior results.

one bomboloni recipe on a plate with pastry cream in the backound and yellow flowers as decoration.

These sweet treats remind me of my childhood in Italy. We walked to the bakery shop every morning, and Nonno got the newspaper while my cousin and I enjoyed freshly baked bomboloni or other delicious Italian pastries. It was our special treat!

You will also love Baked Zeppole Di San Giuseppe Recipe (Italian), Chiacchiere di Carnevale Recipe, Zeppole Recipe (Easy Italian Donuts), Torta Della Nonna Recipe, and Authentic Struffoli Recipe (Italian Honey Balls).

one bomboloni recipe on a plate with pastry cream in the backound and yellow flowers as decoration.

Simple Ingredients

A super light and fluffy Italian treat made from simple ingredients you can quickly get from the grocery store or you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator.

ingredient shot for recipe

Donuts (Bomboloni)

  • 00 flour or All-purpose flour
  • Large eggs
  • Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Warm Whole milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Active dry yeast
  • Salt
  • Orange Zest or Lemon Zest, optional
  • Granulated sugar or confectioners sugar for rolling doughnuts
  • Sunflower oil or vegetable oil for frying

1 recipe for Pastry Cream (Italian Crema Pasticciera)

ingredient shot- Italian pastry cream

See the recipe card for quantities.

one bomboloni recipe on a plate with pastry cream in the backound and yellow flowers as decoration.

inside of the bomboloni donut with cream in the middle. Hands holding torn open donut with cream.

How to Make Bomboloni

How to Make the Bomboloni Donut Dough

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- yeast in milk after bloom. Froth on top.

In a small bowl, add the warm milk and sprinkle the yeast on top; let it sit for five minutes, then mix. If the yeast does not bubble after 5 minutes- try with new yeast.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- dry ingredients in a bowl.

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- adding wet ingredients to the dough.

Add the milk and yeast mixture, beaten eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Attach a dough hook attachment to the mixer and knead until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- adding butter chunks to the dough.

Scatter butter cubes over the dough mixture so it’s evenly distributed, then knead on a low speed for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the dough will be smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- round dough ball ready to place into a greased bowl for first rise.

With greased hands, shape the dough into a smooth ball by kneading it 2-3 times on a clean cutting board or work surface (do not add extra flour here).

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- dough in greased bowl ready for first rise.

Smooth ball ready for the first rise. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- proofed dough after first rise. Triple in size.

Let the dough rest for the first rise in a warm place without drafts for 2-3 hours or until at least doubled in size but for the best results wait until tripled in size.

pastry bag ready to fill the donuts.

Make the pastry cream, let it cool, fill the pastry bag, and store it in the refrigerator until ready.

Shaping the Bomboloni Dough

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- proofed dough ready to roll out.

After the dough rises, transfer it onto a lightly floured and clean work surface, punch down once, and knead it a few times back into a smooth ball.


Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- rolling out the dough.

Flatten the dough with your hands, then roll it out with a rolling pin into a rectangle- about ½ inch thick.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- rolling out the dough.
Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- cutting out the dough into circles with round cookie cutter.

Use a round cookie cutter or glass to cut out round doughnuts about 3.5 inches in diameter.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- cutting out the dough into circles with round cookie cutter.

TIP: save the scraps for frying or re-knead them and roll them out again to cut out more doughnuts.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- cut out round dough ready for second rise.

Place the cut-out doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- covered donuts ready for second rise.

Cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let the dough proof for the second rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until it triples in size.

Frying the Bomboloni

When ready to fry, heat a large deep pan or dutch oven pot with oil until it reaches 170-175°C/340-350°F. Test with a frying thermometer. Set out a baking sheet lined with paper towels for laying the fried donuts. Prepare a bowl of sugar for rolling the donuts. 

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- donuts after second rise.

Cut the parchment paper into squares so that each doughnut is on an individual square of parchment. Try not to touch the donuts, or they might deflate after rising.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- frying the donuts in oil- carefully placing parchment paper in hot oil to fry.

Carefully drop the doughnuts into the hot oil.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- frying the donuts in oil- taking out the parchment paper with kitchen tongs.

Carefully drop the doughnuts into the oil and quickly remove the parchment paper with tongs and discard.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- frying the donuts in oil- frying for 2 minutes on each side in oil.

Fry the doughnuts in batches, and don’t overcrowd the pan so they can fry evenly. 

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- frying the donuts in oil-

Fry the doughnuts for about 2 minutes on each side.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- frying the donuts in oil- taking out with slotted spoon.

Remove the donuts from the oil with a slotted spoon.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- rolling the warm donut in sugar with hands.

Drain on paper towels for a few minutes to absorb excess oil.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- rolling the warm donut in sugar.

Roll the doughnuts in the bowl with sugar. Leave to cool before filling.

How to Fill Bomboloni Donuts

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- rolling the warm donut in sugar with hands.

Once the pastry cream is cooled and the donuts are rolled in sugar and cooled slightly, fill the donuts. 


Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- making a hole in the donut with a knife to put cream inside.

To fill the bomboloni, insert a small knife into the side of a doughnut and move it around to make a small incision.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- hands holding donut with hole in the middle ready to fill with cream.
Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- filling the donut with Italian pastry cream with a pastry bag. Hands holding the donut.

Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream or desired filling option and pipe it into the hole in the donut.

Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- filling the donut with Italian pastry cream with a pastry bag. Hands holding the donut.
Process of making Bomboloni (how to make bomboloni recipe)- filling the donut with Italian pastry cream with a pastry bag. Hands holding the donut.

Make a small swirl at the top.

Serve immediately for best results or store in plastic containers for 1-2 days if the donuts are filled with cream, store them in the refrigerator.

Bomboloni Recipe (Italian Donuts with Cream Filling) in a red ruffled narrow cake pan. Cream coming out of the top of the donuts.

Variations- Filling Options

The most popular fillings for this Italian Bomboloni recipe are Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera), Best Italian Pistachio Cream, Italian Chocolate Pastry Cream, Nutella filling, custard cream filling, chocolate-hazelnut spread, or jam.

They are deliciously enjoyed without a filling as well. You can also roll them in cinnamon sugar for additional flavor.

hands holding a bomboloni donut with cream in the middle.

Equipment

How to Store

Freshly made donuts are always best eaten immediately! To store- keep them unfilled in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

If filled, store the cream donuts in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Freezing the donuts is not recommended.

inside of the bomboloni donut with cream in the middle. Hands holding torn open donut with cream.

Top Tips

  • Room temperature eggs and butter. This will help the dough rise faster and be more elastic.
  • Activate yeast. Ensure the milk is warm enough to activate the yeast but not so warm that it kills it—a temperature of around 110°F.
  • Hot oil. Maintain oil temperature around 350°F. You can lower or raise the heat to keep a stable temperature. Too low of a temperature and the doughnuts will absorb too much oil; too high and they will brown faster on the outside and stay raw in the middle. Make sure you have enough oil- about 3 inches for best results.
  • Work in batches and often stir for proper cooking. Overcrowding the pot with the bomboloni can lower the oil temperature and cause them to stick together and not brown properly. 
  • Roll bomboloni in sugar while still warm. If you don’t do this when the doughnuts are warm, the sugar won’t stick. Wait until the bomboloni are cooled before filling them.
inside of the bomboloni donut with cream in the middle. Hands holding torn open donut with cream.

FAQs

How are Bombolni different than Donuts?

The main difference between bomboloni and regular donuts is that the baking process starts with imported Italian flour and plenty of rising time for the dough. To give the bomboloni its classic Italian flavor, we add hints of either lemon or orange to the donut dough.

How are bomboloni different than zeppole?

Zeppole is another type of Italian doughnut, but the dough is not the same as bomboloni. Zeppole dough is much more sticky and is rolled by hand before frying. The bomboloni dough is smoother and more pliable. It is rolled out on a lightly floured surface and cut with a round cookie cutter; it also has a second rise before frying.

Can you bake bomboloni?

This recipe for yeast dough bombolini or Italian donuts works best for frying. However, you can bake them for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F (180C), let them cool before filling, then sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can also try them in the air fryer using cooking oil spray. You can also make these Easy Baked Italian Donuts.

How to say bomboloni in Itaian?

the phonetic spelling of bombolini is- bom-bo-lo-ni. Bombolini are big and round Italian donuts with a luscious custard cream filling.

What is the best oil for frying donuts?

Sunflower oil works well for frying since it is lightly flavored and has a high burning point. Vegetable oil, peanut oil, or canola oil are great choices. Do not use an oil with a strong flavor or low burning point, such as olive oil.

How to reheat donuts

The best way to reheat Italian donuts is by wrapping them in aluminum foil and warming them in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This also works if they are frozen.

What are Bomboloni?

The Italian word Bomboloni translates as ‘big bombs.’ This is a perfect name for the big round-shaped doughnuts with an irresistible creamy filling! They are popular in the Emilia Romagna Region of Italy- but you can find them at your local baker or coffee bars in different parts of Italy. In the United States, they are compared to American donuts or jelly donuts.

Are there different names for Bomboloni?

In different regions of Italy, you can find a variety of names for these scrumptious and tempting fried dough treats.
Bomba (una bomba) is the most common name in my region of Italy.
Kraffen/ Krafen
Bombolone (singular)
Bomba alla Crema

Bomboloni Recipe (Italian Donuts with Cream Filling) in a red ruffled narrow cake pan. Cream coming out of the top of the donuts.

More Italian Dessert Recipes

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

Print
clockclock iconcutlerycutlery iconflagflag iconfolderfolder iconinstagraminstagram iconpinterestpinterest iconfacebookfacebook iconprintprint iconsquaressquares iconheartheart iconheart solidheart solid icon
cover photo.

Bomboloni Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

Save Recipe

This Bomboloni Recipe (Italian Donuts with Cream Filling) is what you find in Italian bakeries- super soft, light, rolled in sugar, and filled with smooth pastry cream. Take a trip to Italy by enjoying these right at home. 

  • Total Time: 4 hours (includes rising times)
  • Yield: 1012 large donuts 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Donuts (Bomboloni)

  • 4 cups 00 flour or all-purpose flour (480 gr)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoon butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 small pinch of salt
  • Zest of 1 orange or lemon (optional, but traditional to Italian donuts)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or confectioners sugar for rolling doughnuts
  • Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

Pastry Cream

Other flavors to try:

Instructions

Pastry Cream 

Make the pastry cream first and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. 

Donuts

Make Dough 

  1. In a small bowl, add the warm milk and sprinkle the yeast on top; let it sit for five minutes, then mix. If the yeast does not bubble after 5 minutes- try with new yeast.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the milk and yeast mixture, beaten eggs, orange zest, and vanilla. Attach a dough hook attachment to the mixer and knead until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  
  4. Scatter butter cubes over the dough mixture so it’s evenly distributed, then knead on a low speed for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, the dough will be smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky. With greased hands, shape the dough into a smooth ball by kneading it 2-3 times on a clean cutting board or work surface (do not add extra flour here).
  6. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for the first rise in a warm place without drafts for 2-3 hours or until triple in size.

Shape Donuts

  1. After the dough rises, transfer it onto a lightly floured and clean work surface, punch down once, and knead it a few times back into a smooth ball.
  2. Flatten the dough with your hands, then roll it out with a rolling pin into a rectangle- about ½ inch thick.
  3. Use a round cookie cutter or glass to cut out round doughnuts about 3.5 inches in diameter. TIP: save the scraps for frying or re-knead them and roll them out again to cut out more doughnuts.
  4. Place the cut-out doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let the dough proof for the second rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until it triples in size.

Fry the Donuts

  1. When ready to fry, heat a large deep pan or dutch oven pot with oil until it reaches 170-175°C/340-350°F. Test with a frying thermometer. Set out a baking sheet lined with paper towels for laying the fried donuts. Prepare a bowl of sugar for rolling the donuts. 
  2. Cut the parchment paper into squares so that each doughnut is on an individual square of parchment. Try not to touch the donuts, or they might deflate after rising.
  3. Carefully drop the doughnuts into the oil and quickly remove the parchment paper with tongs and discard. Fry the doughnuts in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan so they can fry evenly. 
  4. Fry the doughnuts for about 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the donuts from the oil with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels for a few minutes to absorb excess oil, then roll the doughnuts in the bowl with sugar. Leave to cool before filling.

Assembly 

  1. Once the pastry cream is cooled and the donuts are rolled in sugar and cooled slightly, fill the donuts. 
  2. To fill the bomboloni, insert a small knife into the side of a doughnut and move it around to make a small incision.
  3. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream or desired filling option and pipe it into the hole in the donut.
  4. Serve immediately for best results or store in plastic containers for 1-2 days.

Notes

Tips

  • Room temperature eggs and butter. This will help the dough rise faster and be more elastic.
  • Activate yeast. Ensure the milk is warm enough to activate the yeast but not so warm that it kills it—a temperature of around 110°F.
  • Hot oil. Maintain oil temperature around 350°F. You can lower or raise the heat to keep a stable temperature. Too low of a temperature and the doughnuts will absorb too much oil; too high and they will brown faster on the outside and stay raw in the middle.
  • Make sure you have enough oil– about 3 inches for best results.
  • Work in batches and often stir for proper cooking. Overcrowding the pot with the bomboloni can lower the oil temperature and cause them to stick together and not brown properly. 
  • Roll bomboloni in sugar while still warm. If you don’t do this when the doughnuts are warm the sugar won’t stick. Wait until the bomboloni are cooled before filling them.

Baked Bomboloni

This yeast dough bombolini or Italian donut recipe works best for frying. However, you can bake them for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F (180C), let them cool before filling, then sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can also try them in the air fryer using cooking oil spray. You can also make these Easy Baked Italian Donuts.

How to Store

Freshly made donuts are always best eaten immediately! To store- keep them unfilled in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

If filled, store the cream donuts in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Freezing the donuts is not recommended.

The best way to reheat Italian donuts is by wrapping them in aluminum foil and warming them in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This also works if they are frozen.

 

  • Author: Elena
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

You May Also Like

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

9 Comments

  1. Well I gave them a go, came out like hard rolls, with sprinkle sugar. I can’t fry because of dietary restrictions so I baked them. And they didn’t rise very well. My yeast was fresh, I used OO FLOUR and European butter. I think I will try again but have to rethink when. I bake every day, and make my own bread so I’m at a loss for what went wrong

    1. Hi Debby, I am sorry they didn’t turn out for you. Maybe try to let them rise a bit longer in the second rise? It’s hard to tell since I didn’t see how you made them. They are delicious and I hope you try again. Yes, baking will yield to very different results with this recipe!

  2. My dough was very thick and didn’t rise. Maybe the milk was not warm enough?Maybe I didn’t put in enough milk? Was it 1/2 cup of milk?

    1. Hi! Check the leaving agent. This is the biggest culprit for dough not rising properly. I hope you can try again. It is an amazing recipe!

  3. I like your recipe, personally I prefer the Krapfen (not Kraffen) from Südtirol and north of there because of the marmalade filling.






  4. Elena, thanks for this recipe. Your bomboloni with a touch of lemon zest are the best. Soft and SO tasty. We reheated some in our airfryer (minus the pastry cream) and they were still excellent next day.






  5. Honestly, they are the best cream-filled homemade donuts you can make at home. I highly recommend this foolproof recipe!