Krapfen (German Jelly-Filled Donuts)

These Delicious Krapfen Will Make You Think You’re in Germany!

Craving a jelly-filled donut? You need a German Krapfen! Made from a simple yeast dough and deep-fried to perfection, these sweet treats are packed with jam and dusted in powdered sugar.

While they are mostly eaten during the Karneval season in Europe (in some parts of Germany this time period is known as Fasching), this Krapfen recipe can certainly be made at any time of the year.

jelly filled donut krapfen on blue and white plate
One one, the only – German Krapfen!

Different Names For Krapfen

You might take a look at these Krapfen and think “hey, that’s just a jelly-filled donut” and – to be honest – you’d be correct. However, in Germany, they have many different names. Often times, the name is dictated by the region.

Lisa grew up in the south of Germany knowing them as Krapfen. This is also a name that is commonly used in Austria and Italy.

In other parts of Germany, people might know them as a “Berliner Pfannkuchen” meaning “Berlin pancake”. Interestingly, in Berlin, they are often just called “Pfannkuchen” while in other parts of the country they are called “Berliner”.

We also often ate them in the Netherlands (in a town close to the German border) and there they were called “Berliner Bol”.

Recipe Tips/Substitutions

Before you set off to make this Berlin Pfannkuchen recipe (also known as Krapfen), read through these recipe tips so that you can achieve the best results!

  • Since you’ll be working with yeast, check the expiry date on the package before using it. Also, make sure that the egg and butter have room temperature when getting in contact with the yeast. The milk should be warm, but not hot since this could harm the yeast bacteria.
  • How large you make the Krapfen will dictate overall cooking time. If the oil is too hot, the outside on a larger krapfen might be golden brown, while the doughy inside may still be a little raw. Smaller Krapfen are usually a bit easier to get right and ensure that they are cooked through.
  • You can use whichever jam flavor you like. We usually add raspberry or strawberry jam but you could also insert apricot or even a black currant jam. Just make sure that the jam you choose is seedless and doesn’t have chunks. Otherwise, it might get stuck in the piping bag/squeeze bottle when you go to pump it into the fresh Krapfen.
  • When you cover the Krapfen in icing sugar, make sure that they have cooled off a bit, or else it’ll just melt and disappear!
four krapfen with jar of jam on plate
Sometimes the inner jam ratio gets skewed… so just keep jam for dipping, if necessary!

How to Make Krapfen – Step by Step Instructions

If you want to make these delicious treats, you can find the German doughnuts recipe at the bottom of this post.

For the visual step-by-step Krapfen instructions, have a look at the recipe process photos in this section.

That way, if you have any questions about how to do something or what yours should look like, you have our step-by-step photos to guide you along!

flour and sugar in silver mixing bowl on counter
Add the flour, salt, and sugar to a bowl.

First, add the flour, salt, and sugar to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir everything together with a spoon.

dry yeast with flour in silver mixing bowl
Add the yeast.

Next, add the yeast and stir again.

egg yolks and butter with flour in silver mixing bowl
Add the egg yolks and butter.

Then add the egg yolks and butter. Mix everything together using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer.

ball of yeast dough in silver mixing bowl
Shape the dough into a ball.

While mixing with your mixer, slowly pour in the warm (not hot!) milk. Keep mixing until the dough has an elastic consistency and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.

Form the dough into a ball with your hands, then place it back into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a lid or dish towel and place it in a warm spot without a draft in your home. Let the dough rise for approximately 45 minutes.

ball of risen krapfen dough on counter with flour
Knead the dough.

Once the dough has noticeably increased in size, sprinkle some flour onto the countertop and briefly knead the dough with your hands.

six smaller pieces of ripped dough on counter top
Rip the dough into small pieces.

Cut or rip the dough into 6 (for big donuts which is what we typically make), 8 (for normal-sized donuts), or 12 (for mini-sized donuts) pieces of equal size.

balls of krapfen dough on metal baking sheet
Shape the dough.

Shape the small pieces of dough into round balls, then flatten the top and the bottom slightly so that they get their typical Krapfen shape.

Try to avoid as many seams as possible and have them at the bottom. This can take a bit of practice – and doesn’t have to be perfect!

six balls of risen krapfen dough on baking sheet
Let the Krapfen rest.

Once you have shaped all of the dough into small Krapfen (don’t worry, they’ll increase their size quite a bit when you fry them), place a dish towel over them and let them rest for another 20 minutes.

As you can see in the photo above, this will give them some time to increase their size and lose some of the “wrinkles”.

plastic squeeze bottle with jam inside on counter
Prepare the jam.

While the Krapfen are proofing, you can prepare the jam by filling it into a squeeze bottle or a piping bag with a small tip.

wooden spoon in hot pot of oil on stove top
Heat the oil.

Also, take a pot with high sides and fill it with quite a bit of oil.

You’ll want enough oil so that the donuts would be floating in the oil and not touch the bottom. So, the exact amount depends on your pot and the size of your Krapfen.

Heat the oil in the pot on medium heat until there are visible bubbles when you place a wooden spoon into the hot oil. Then turn down the heat just a little bit.

three krapfen floating in pot of frying oil
Fry the Krapfen.

When the 20 minutes are up, add one “test donut” to the pot. Make sure that there is enough oil in the pot so that the Krapfen is not touching the bottom of the pot (otherwise part of it might burn).

Fry the Krapfen on medium-low heat for around 3-4 minutes (for small donuts 2-3 minutes might be sufficient) until that side is nicely brown, then flip it over and fry the other side for the same amount of time.

It’s important to do this on medium-low heat so that the inside of the Krapfen can cook without the outside getting burned. This is especially important when you’re making large Krapfen.

krapfen on straining spoon being lifted from silver pot of oil
Remove the Krapfen from the oil.

Once the Krapfen is cooked, remove it from the pot with a straining spoon and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to catch excess oil.

filling donut with red jam from squeeze bottle
Fill the Krapfen with jam.

Let the Krapfen sit for a minute or two, then fill it with the jam while it is still warm.

Gently poke a hole in the middle “seam” of the donut and insert the jam. You can put as much jam or as little jam as you like, just make sure that not too much jam is dripping out of the hole.

As mentioned, you can use any jam flavor you like – just make sure that it doesn’t contain any seeds or fruit chunks.

sprinkling powdered sugar on krapfen on plate
Dust the Krapfen with icing sugar.

After filling the donut, dust it in powdered sugar. If you prefer granulated sugar, you can also use that.

fresh krapfen on baking sheet with powdered sugar on top
Fry all the donuts.

Then set it aside and fry, fill, and dust the rest of the Krapfen.

krapfen jelly filled donuts on blue and white plate
Our Krapfen turned out perfectly!

Enjoy the fresh Krapfen as a sweet treat!

Storage Tips

These German donuts are definitely best enjoyed freshly made the day of. The jam, the icing sugar, the freshness of the fried dough… it’s just best to eat them ASAP.

Should you have any left over Krapfen, you can store them in a sealed container to keep them somewhat moist. Otherwise, they will dry out and go stale.

Make sure to eat the Krapfen the next day!

FAQ

What are Krapfen?

Krapfen is one German name for a “jelly-filled donut”. These donuts are deep-fried, filled with jam, and sprinkled with some form of sugar (often powdered sugar).

What is a Berliner called in Berlin?

A Berliner in Berlin is called “Pfannkuchen” – from “Berliner Pfannkuchen” or “Berlin Pancake”. It’s different from the other, much flatter pancakes you might be thinking of!

How to make Krapfen?

Krapfen are made by making a yeast dough and forming it into balls. You fry them, then insert jam and sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can find the detailed, step-by-step recipe in this post.

Related Recipes

For more great sweet European recipes, have a look some of these sweet treats below:

krapfen jelly filled donuts on blue and white plate

Krapfen (German Jelly Donuts)

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Krapfen - also called German Jelly-Filled Donuts or "Berliner" - are an amazing sweet treat. Made from a simple deep-fried dough, these filled donuts are fun to make, packed with jam, and finished off with a dusting of powdered sugar!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup milk, warm
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry instant yeast
  • 2 egg yolks from large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • oil for frying
  • jam without fruit chunks for filling

Instructions

  1. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir everything together with a spoon.
  2. Add the yeast and stir again. Then add the egg yolks and butter. Mix everything together using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer.
  3. While mixing with your mixer, slowly pour in the warm (not hot!) milk and keep mixing until the dough has an elastic consistency and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
  4. Form the dough into a ball with your hands, then place it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid or dish towel and place it in a warm spot without a draft in your home. Let the dough rise for approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Once the dough has noticeably increased in size, sprinkle some flour onto the countertop and briefly knead the dough with your hands.
  6. Cut or rip the dough into 6 (for big donuts which is what we typically make), 8 (normal-sized), or 12 (mini-sized) pieces of equal size.
  7. Shape the small pieces of dough into round balls, then flatten the top and the bottom slightly so that they get their typical Krapfen shape. Try to avoid as many seams as possible and have them at the bottom. This can take a bit of practice.
  8. Once you have shaped all of the dough into small Krapfen (don't worry, they'll increase their size quite a bit when you fry them), place a dish towel over them and let them rest for another 20 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, take a pot with high sides and fill it with quite a bit of oil. You'll want enough oil so that the donuts would be floating in the oil and not touch the bottom. So, the exact amount depends on your pot and the size of your Krapfen.
  10. Heat the oil in the pot on medium heat until there are visible bubbles when you place a wooden spoon into the hot oil. Then turn down the heat just a little bit.
  11. When the 20 minutes are up, add one "test donut" to the pot. Make sure that there is enough oil in the pot so that the donut is not touching the bottom of the pot (otherwise part of it might burn). Fry the donut on medium-low heat for around 3-4 minutes (for small donuts 2-3 minutes might be sufficient) until that side is nicely brown, then flip it over and fry the other side for the same amount of time. It's necessary to do this on medium-low heat so that the inside of the Krapfen can cook without the outside getting burned. This is especially important when you're making large Krapfen.
  12. Once the Krapfen is cooked, remove it from the pot with a straining spoon and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to catch excess oil.
  13. Let the Krapfen sit for a minute or two, then fill it with the jam while it is still warm. For this step, you can use a piping bag with a small tip or a plastic "squeeze bottle" container (this is what we used), for example. Gently poke a hole in the middle "seam" of the donut and insert the jam. You can put as much jam or as little jam as you like, just make sure that not too much jam is dripping out of the hole.
  14. After filling the donut, dust it in powdered sugar. Then set it aside and fry, fill, and dust the rest of the Krapfen.

Notes

  • For consistency, you can measure the jam you put into each donut. This is easier to do if you have a squeeze bottle with measuring lines on the outside.
  • Since the dough is made with yeast it's important to check that your yeast hasn't expired yet. Also, the egg and the butter should be at room temperature when getting in contact with the yeast - and the milk should be warm but not hot as this could harm the yeast bacteria.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

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