Yield: 25 nutella donuts // Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min. + overnight rise // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Soft and fluffy brioche donuts filled with nutella and coated in a homemade hazelnut sugar. Pure bliss in every bite!
Nutella donuts recipe tips
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Kneading the dough
Kneading this dough will take a longer time than you are probably used to. This dough is enriched with eggs and butter which makes it take longer for the proper amount of gluten to develop. Kneading in the mixer can take me anywhere from 10-20 minutes. The dough is ready to be used when it passes the windowpane test and has pulled away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. If you are weighing your ingredients, just trust the process! If you are using cup measurements and the dough just is not coming together, try adding in 1 tbsp. of flour at a time.
Room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. Take out the egg and butter at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe.
Heating the milk
Heating the milk is important for bringing the yeast to an optimal temperature for rising. The milk should be heated to ~100°F / 38°C but it does not have to be exact. As long as the milk is between 95°F – 110°F, it is good to be used. If the temperature exceeds 110°F, wait for it to cool down before using so that you do not kill the yeast!
Ingredients and substitutions
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Active dry yeast: for making the dough rise. You can easily substitute in instant yeast if that is what you have on hand. You will just skip the step of combining the warm milk, sugar, and yeast!
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the brioche. Salt also “controls” the yeast to make sure that it does not overly expand.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the brioche and for helping the yeast with rising. We will use a little bit of sugar in the brioche as well as in the hazelnut sugar.
Eggs: for binding and adding moisture.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the brioche rolls and giving them a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth feel. I would not recommend substituting in salted butter since salt is important to controlling yeast growth and the amount of salt in salted butter is quite variable.
Whole milk: for tenderizing and hydrating the dough. Whole milk will provide the softest rolls because the extra fat helps tenderize the dough. You can however swap in 1%, 2% or your favorite non dairy milk alternative! Just note that the dough may be a little less soft and fluffy due to the varying fat content.
Nutella: the star of the show in these nutella donuts! If you want to use chocolate hazelnut spread to save some money, I promise no one will be able to tell the difference.
Hazelnuts: for making a delicious hazelnut sugar to coat the donuts in.
How to make nutella donuts
While making donuts might seem hard and scary, they really are super easy and most of the time involved is just waiting for the dough to rise!
1. Make the dough. Mix together the warm milk, sugar, and yeast and leave to rest until the mixture begins to foam. Then, combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer and knead. You will know the dough is ready when it passes the windowpane test (more details later in the post!)
2. Let rise overnight. These nutella donuts are made using a brioche dough, meaning it’s been enriched with eggs, butter and milk (all the good stuff!) I recommend letting the dough rise in the fridge overnight so that it is easier to work with.
3. Shape the donuts. I prefer to weigh the donuts, but you can roll out the dough if you would like. To get 25 donuts, each donut was 25g. You can also roll out the dough to be ~1/2″ thick, then use a 1.5″ biscuit cutter to stamp out the donuts. Let the donuts rest spaced apart on parchment paper for 30 minutes.
4. Fry the donuts. If you have a deep fryer, that’s great (and I am jealous)! Simply set it to 350°F / 175°C and you’re good to go. If not, fill a heavy bottomed pot about 1/4-1/3 of the way up with neutral oil. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. Don’t be alarmed if they seem a little dark, they are probably not burnt – that’s all thanks to the butter and milk in the dough!
5. Coat the donuts in sugar. For these nutella donuts, I pulsed together some hazelnuts and sugar to make a complimentary hazelnut sugar to coat them in. You can also just coat them in standard granulated sugar, or glaze them! The possibilities are truly endless here.
6. Fill with nutella. The cherry on top, really! If you’re not a nutella fan, you can easily fill this with your filling of choice.
How to fill nutella donuts
I have found this method to be the easiest way to perfectly fill your donuts!
1. Use a knife to poke one side of the donut, into the center.
2. Place your filling into a piping bag, fitted with a medium sized round tip. (I used Wilton #10)
3. Insert the piping tip into the side of the donut, and fill!
The windowpane test
The windowpane test is (in my opinion) the best way to tell that your dough has been properly kneaded. Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl, it is most likely ready. However, just to be sure that it’s good to go I check if it passes the windowpane test. To do that, take some of the dough in your hands and start to slowly stretch it out. If it can get thin enough to where light passes through it before tearing, then it’s good to go! If not, keep kneading until it does!
How to store nutella donuts
Is there anything better than fresh donuts? These will definitely taste the best and be their softest and fluffiest on day 1. If you are going to store them, place them in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature. When you want one (or three – no judgements here!), pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
These donuts are on the smaller size. They will seem extremely small when rolling the dough but they get considerably larger after a 30 minute rest and frying. If you want large donuts, simply portion them out into 50g, or use a 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter.
Nutella donuts Q & A
Can I double this recipe?
Yes! You can also easily split it in half if needed. I can’t emphasize using a kitchen scale enough for especially this recipe already, but if you are going to double or half the ingredients it is even more important that you weigh your ingredients. The dough is very hydrated and slight alterations can change the texture of the dough.
Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
Yes of course! Instead of mixing the heated milk, sugar, and yeast together, just pop all of the dough ingredients into your mixing bowl to start kneading. I do highly recommend refrigerating the dough overnight to make it easier to work with and more flavorful. However, if you are making the donuts all in one day, it should double in size in 30 min. – 1 hr.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes, and I highly recommend it! Brioche dough is a very enriched dough that can be hard to work with when warm. Simply knead the dough together, cover it, and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to make the donuts, simply take the dough of the fridge and proceed with the recipe.
How do I know when the donuts are done frying?
It’s super important to keep the temperature of your oil at 350°F / 175°C. As long as it is at this temperature, the donuts will be done after 3 minutes of frying. If the temperature is higher, the donuts may turn dark in color and appear done, but in reality still be raw on the inside. If you are worried about the donuts being undercooked, you can use a thermometer to check. The internal temperature should be at least 180°F/ 82°C.
My yeast mixture isn’t foaming, what should I do?
The mixture should start foaming around 5 minutes in. If it has not foamed after 10 minutes, it is most likely that the yeast is dead. You want to make sure that the milk temperature does not exceed 110°F / 43°C or it will kill the yeast. If you try it again and it still does not foam, the yeast you are using may be expired and you will want to purchase some more before proceeding.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is a more accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
Tools and ingredients
Piping bags: these bags are super sturdy, I love them!
Wilton #10 piping tip: This size works perfectly for filling the donuts. I recommend using a piping tip as it makes it easier to fill them!
Small food processor: I love this small food processor because it’s easy to clean and easy to take out when needed.
For a full list of tools, equipment and ingredients that I use and love, you can check out this page here.
Did you make these nutella donuts?
If you made these nutella donuts I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
- 120 mL whole milk (4 oz.)
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 30 g granulated sugar (2 ½ tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 310 g all purpose flour (2 ½ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 85 g unsalted butter (6 tbsp.) room temperature, cubed
- 65 g granulated sugar (⅓ c.)
- 30 g hazelnuts chopped (3 tbsp.)
- 225 g nutella (1 c.)
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the milk to 100°F / 38°C. Whisk in the yeast and half of the sugar. Set aside until the mixture begins to foam.
- Once the mixture starts to foam, add all of the dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Knead the dough on low speed for 1 minute to allow the ingredients to come together. Increase the speed to medium and knead for an additional 12 minutes, or until the dough has cleaned the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticking to the bottom of the bowl.
- At this point I would recommend covering the bowl with plastic wrap and leaving the dough to rise overnight in the fridge. If you are in a rush to make the donuts in one day, cover the bowl with a towel and leave it to rise in a warm environment until doubled in size (1 – 1 ½ hours).
- After the overnight rise, take the dough out of the fridge and lightly punch it down to remove excess air.
- If weighing the donuts (recommended): portion out 25g of dough and roll tightly into a ball. Place the dough balls evenly spaced apart on parchment paper.If rolling the donuts: transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to ½" thick and use a 1 ½" biscuit cutter to cut out donuts. Continue to re-roll the dough until you have used all of it. Place the rounds evenly spaced apart on parchment paper.
- Let the shaped donuts rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a small food processor, pulse together the sugar and hazelnuts until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.
- Fill a large heavy bottomed saucepan with at least 2" of oil. Heat the mixture to 350°F / 175°C. Drop no more than 6 of the donuts in at a time, and fry them on each side for 1 ½ minutes. Remove the donuts from the oil and immediately coat in the hazelnut sugar.
- Once all of the donuts have been fried, use a sharp knife to poke a hole in the side of each of the donuts. Transfer the nutella to a piping bag fitted with a round tip, and fill each of the donuts.
- Serve warm and enjoy!