Krapfen, also known as Faschingskrapfen, are a type of German donut that is incredibly popular in Germany. A traditional Krapfen is a deep-fried doughnut covered in sugar and reminds to a beignet.
But you can also fill them like the famous Berliner doughnut. In Germany you will find them with the classic jam filling or something creative like Nutella, or even alcohol-based fillings such as rum or Eierlikör cream.
If you love German pastries, then you will be delighted to hear about this amazing pastry recipe! This recipe will allow you to create six different types of German pastries with just one dough.
You can make the perfect spread for a traditional German coffee hour or simply satisfy your craving for delicious treats. From delicious nut-filled Nusshörnchen to Streuselstückchen, German cheesecake bites and three other pastry specialties, these delicious treats will make any gathering memorable.
If you are a curious person like me, you probably ask yourself who invented the Krapfen. Nobody really knows the truth, but there are many stories around these delicious pastry balls.
The debate over the origin of Krapfen, the delicious fried doughnut treat enjoyed around the world, has been ongoing for centuries. However, according to one story, the origin of this tasty snack can be traced back to a Berlin confectioner who made pastry cannonballs for the soldiers. This tasty treat eventually evolved into what is now known as the iconic Berliner doughnut or Krapfen.
Another legend says that a Viennese confectioner named Cäcilia Krapf is the inventor of the Krapfen. Cäcilia is said to have come to the sweet dough balls in a dispute with her husband. Out of anger, Cäcilia threw a piece of yeast dough at her husband. Clumsily it ended up in a pot of boiling fat - et voilà - the doughnut was born.
How to pronounce "Krapfen" in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Krapfen". Der Krapfen (m/singular) and die Krapfen (f/plural).
Ingredients & Substitutions
I am always excited about the amazing treats one can make with simple ingredients like these.
Flour - I use simple organic, unbleached all-purpose flour for these delicious donuts.
Sugar - caster sugar is used for the dough, but you can either roll the krapfen in caster sugar or confectioner´s sugar.
Butter - gives these donuts a wonderful taste. I stay away from shortening or margarine, but if you prefer, you might be able to substitute.
Eggs - I always use large eggs in my recipes, but you can substitute gives these donuts a wonderful taste. I stay away from shortening or margarine, but if you prefer, you might be able to substitute.
Yeast - fresh yeast is the go-to option for many bakers in Germany, but I cannot get it where I live, so I am using dry yeast, which works just fine.
Rum - is the secret ingredient that will improve the dough´s texture and taste.
Milk - I prefer full-fat milk for this krapfen recipe, but you can substitute milk with less fat or even buttermilk, which gives a lovely flavor.
Frying Oil - krapfen are traditionally fried in Schmalz (lard), but nowadays people more often use a neutral vegetable oil. Make sure that the oil is suitable for frying. Canola oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, and corn oil are some examples.
See recipe card for quantities.
Krapfen can be enjoyed filled and without filling. Here are some ideas:
- Smooth jams (avoid jams with pieces as it will get stuck in the filling nozzle)
- Homemade hazelnut nougat or hazelnut spread like Nutella
- Bavarian cream
- Bavarian chocolate cream
- Eierlikör cream
- Vanilla pudding
- German vanilla pudding buttercream
- Chocolate buttercream
- Mustard is a prank filling that is used during the German carnival
Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make homemade krapfen from scratch. You will never buy donuts again!
Step 1: Add flour to a bowl and form a well in the middle. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast to the bowl.
Pour about a quarter of the lukewarm milk into the well and mix with sugar and yeast while incorporating some of the flour from the rim of the well.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 15 minutes.
Step 2: In the meantime, whisk the egg and the egg yolks in a small bowl with a fork.
Melt the butter in the remaining milk and set aside to cool down to lukewarm temperature.
Step 3: Cover the well with some flour, then add the eggs, the milk mixture, remaining sugar, rum, and a pinch of salt to the bowl.
Knead for about 10 minutes on medium-low speed.
Step 4: Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the lightly floured stand mixer bowl.
Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
Step 5: Divide the dough into 20 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball. You can also form other shapes.
Place the balls on a floured surface, sprinkle with a bit of flour, and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand or a small plate to about ½ inch in height and set aside for 30 minutes.
Step 6: In the meantime, heat oil in a large pot or deep pan to 320 - 330 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a slotted spoon, lower the dough pieces into the hot oil. Place a lid on the pot and bake for 3 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the dough balls, and bake uncovered for another 3 minutes.
Tip: Use a thermometer to control the oil temperature. This will ensure that your krapfen will always turn out perfect!
Step 7: Remove carefully and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar or roll in caster sugar. Enjoy as is or fill with your favorite filling by using a long filling tip.
You don´t need a deep fryer to make homemade krapfen! You only need simple tools you probably already have at home if you bake and cook on a regular basis.
- Large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl with kneading hook
- Measuring cups and spoons or kitchen scale
- Large pot with lid
- Cooking thermometer
- Slotted spoon
Krapfen taste best fresh, but you can place them into a plastic bag and keep them for up to 3 days on the countertop.
Krapfen can be stored in the freezer for several months. I love to make a large batch and then freeze them in portions. Simply allow the krapfen to completely cool and place them into an airtight freezer bag in the freezer. It is critical to freeze them fresh, rather than after they have been sitting for a few days. The fresher the pastry, the better it will taste after defrosting at room temperature on the countertop.
If you are in the mood for donuts but don´t want to wait for the dough to prove, try Quarkbällchen. These delicious mini pastry balls look like doughnut holes, but they taste even better and can be made in a pinch as the dough has no rising time.
How to Serve
Simply enjoy the krapfen on their own or with your favorite beverage. Coffee and tea are the most common beverages served along with these little treats. If you love coffee specialties, you should try this German Pharisäer coffee drink or a mug of "Heisse Oma," a German-style egg nog.
No time to fill the krapfen? Hate the extra time it takes to fill them but still want to spruce them up? Simply dip them into some jam, homemade plum compote or hazelnut cream like Nutella.
Krapfen - Faschingskrapfen
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. yeast
- 1 cup milk lukewarm
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 4 ¼ tbsp. butter soft
- 1 tbsp. rum
- 1 pinch of salt
- 40 fl.oz. neutral vegetable oil or lard
- sugar to sprinkle optional
- Add flour to a bowl and form a well in the middle. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast to the bowl and mix with about a quarter of the lukewarm milk while incorporating some of the flour from the rim of the well.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, whisk the egg and the egg yolks in a small bowl with a fork and melt the butter in the remaining milk.
- Cover the well with some flour, then add the eggs, the milk mixture, remaining sugar, rum, and a pinch of salt to the bowl. Knead for about 10 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into the bowl that has been lightly dusted with flour. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into 20 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a floured surface, sprinkle with a bit of flour, and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
- Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand or a small plate to about ½ inch in height and set aside for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat oil in a large pot or deep pan to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
- With a slotted spoon, lower the dough pieces into the hot oil. Place a lid on the pot and bake for 3 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the dough balls, and bake uncovered for another 3 minutes.
- Remove carefully and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar or roll in caster sugar.