How to Make Krapfen?

If you’ve ever craved a jelly-filled donut, coated with powdered sugar, then you have to try Krapfen, the Austrian and German specialty best served during the Karnival season in Europe, and Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras. Even though their peak popularity is during the Karnival season, you can eat Krapfen all year round, and they taste so good, that you can’t get enough of them. In this article, we’ll teach you how to make the tastiest Krapfen, and you can share the recipe with friends or surprise them during the holidays.

The History of Krapfen

Image Credit: everyday-delicious

While the Germans and Austrians fight over who owns the rights to Krapfen, we’re going to say that Krapfen has roots and origins in both Austria and Germany, and is considered one of the first variants of donuts available in Europe, among the pastries.

The word Krapfen appeared first in the 9th century, according to Taste Atlas. While the first time it was found in Austrian and German cookbooks was in the 14th century. They were initially prepared plain, but you will agree that they taste much better when they are filled with vanilla, chocolate, jams, or even fruit.

On top, they are often covered with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or drizzled with dark chocolate. Krapfen is often a popular dessert in all German-speaking countries in Europe, but as mentioned above, they make their biggest appearance during the carnival period.

Carnival  (Fasching) in Austria and Germany is a popular period that occurs before the Christian Lent. Interestingly, some people believed that eating Krapfen will protect them from witches and evil spirits. It often appeared in Carnival games, and one of the most popular games included filling Krapfen with mustard to prank the visitors who thought they were eating the jam or fruit donuts.

In Austria, they are often called Krapfen, but in Germany, they may be more popular than Berliner, so don’t be confused if you find them under that name while visiting a German bakery or a restaurant. It’s also worth noting that krapfen is both a singular and plural version of the word, so don’t get confused when someone says “5 or 6 krapfens.”

It’s worth noting that you can find Krapfen in grocery stores at all times of the year in case you’re too lazy to make them. Nevertheless, we recommend making them as they’re super delicious!

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Krapfen

Image Credit: gusto

For Donuts:

  • ¾ of a cup of warmed milk
  • 4 and ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 and ¾ teaspoons of dry yeast
  • 3 egg yolks from large eggs
  • 4 and ½ tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter that cooled down
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of rum
  • ¾ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 and 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour or gluten-free mix
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil

The Filling:

  • ¾ cup of apricot jam, make sure that it’s smooth and there are no chunks of apricot in it
  • Rum (optional)


  • Medium-sized frying pan or a saucepan
  • Piping bag

Step by Step on How to Make Krapfen

Step 1: Mix the Dough

First, combine milk and sugar into the mixing bowl and then add the dry activated yeast and let it rest for 10 minutes and activate.

Keep in mind that the dough will be sticky so you should use the hooked mixer to mix it. Nevertheless, if you want that homey feeling while making these donuts, then you should knead the dough by yourself.

Step 2: Prepare Egg Yolks and Other Wet Materials

Add egg yolks, lukewarm butter, rum, vanilla, and a pinch of salt, and using a hand whisk mix all the materials together until all the ingredients are well-combined into the dough.

Step 3: Add the First Half of the Dough

Add the first half of the dough and stir together with the other ingredients. It should be so smooth that you will find it close to the pancake batter.

Step 4: Add the Second Half of the Dough

After making the smooth texture, add the rest of the flour until you get a sticky dough. Knead it in a circular direction for five minutes until it becomes soft and smooth. Dough hooks should be attached if you don’t want to knead by hand, although it’s better if you do so you can soften the dough on all sides.

Step 5: Knead the Dough

Add flour to your hands and a bit into the mix and then fold the dough towards the center a few times. If the dough is too sticky, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for a few minutes, and then try to fold edges again, making circular movements while kneading the mix.

Step 6: Let the Dough Rise

After kneading the dough, let it rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes until the dough becomes airy and baggy.

Step 7: Roll the Dough

Once the dough is raised, scratch the edges and place the dough on a floured table, and sprinkle flour on top of the dough. Roll the dough into a big circle of ½-inch thickness.

Step 8: Make the Shapes

Take 2.5-inch to 3-inch cutters to make shapes out of the donuts. Cut rounds and knead the dough out of the remaining edges and then roll them into a big circle to repeat the process until you managed to cut donuts out of the whole dough. If you don’t have a cutter, you can use a simple glass or a mug to make the shapes.

Step 9: Let them Raise Again

Once you cut the donut shapes out of whole dough, cover the donuts with a tea towel and place them in a warm place so that the yeast would raise them some more, making the dough airier. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

Step 10: Preheat the Frying Pan

Grab a saucepan and preheat it to 320 degrees Fahrenheit using medium heat. Make sure to pour the vegetable oil we listed above. It should be hot, but not too hot so that the dough wouldn’t burn immediately.

Step 11: Fry the Krapfen

You can add the Krapfen into the hot oil in the frying pan using a spatula, but if you are confident enough, you can also use your hands. You can fry more than one at a time, but don’t go with more than 3 at the same time. Each Krapfen should be fried from 1 minute to 2 while being monitored the whole time and turned occasionally.

Step 12: Inject the Jam

After frying all the Krapfen let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes. After they’ve cooled, grab the piping bag and attach the round tip. Make a hole in the Krapfen with a skewer and then pipe a bit of jam. Make sure to not let it overflow. Finally, dust the Krapfen with powdered sugar and serve it to your friends and family!

Tips to Make Krapfen

Image Credit: istockphoto
  • You can use the regular yeast to make the Krapfen airier, and allow more jelly to fit in. Keep in mind that this process would take longer because the yeast would take longer to activate
  • Also, always keep the thermometer by your side to make sure the oil is warm just enough.
  • Instead of apricot jam, you can also use vanilla cream, or chocolate with strawberries, but also other types of jam such as rose hip, plum, and strawberry jam.

How to Preserve Krapfen?

The best way to preserve Krapfen is to keep them in an air-tight container. Like this, they can last up to 2 days, as long as they are away from the direct sunlight. Krapfen is best if you eat it on the same day as you made them, but if you want them to last a few days more, you can keep them sealed in the fridge.


Krapfen may take longer to make compared to oven-made donuts since it’s yeast-raised dough. However, all the effort is worth the result you get. Krapfen makes an important dish in German-speaking countries, especially during the Carnival taking place during the cold winter months. Krapfen marked an important time in German and Austrian tradition and history, and today we get to enjoy Krapfen in different flavors and versions. What is your favorite Krapfen flavor? Did you make them before?


Who Invented Krapfen?

As mentioned above, Krapfen was mentioned in cookbooks since the 14th century, but one of the myths of its creation is attributed to Cacillie Krapf, who lived in the 17th century. Namely, she got angry at her husband, and in the heat of the anger, she grabbed a piece of yeast dough and threw it at her husband.

However, she missed and the dough landed in the dish with boiling oil. This incident turned in the dish known as Cillikugeln which are donuts filled with preserved fruit. With time, the legend of Krapfen developed further, and now we have the Krapfen we make and enjoy eating.

When Was the Krapfen Invented?

Krapfen has been mentioned since the 9th through 14th centuries, but the official Krapfen invention is said to have taken place in the 17th century. Some sources also date Krapfen to the 15th century.

Is Krapfen a Donut?

Krapfen is considered a donut that originated in Germany and Austria.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Vote count: 63

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Leave a Comment