These vegan jam doughnuts are a sweet indulgence. Made from a rich yeasted dough and deep fried for a light inside and golden outside, they are made complete by the jam filling in the center!
Making your own doughnuts is fun and so rewarding. The process has quite a few steps, so we’ve put together this detailed post on how to make vegan doughnuts. It's full of tips to help you!
Our jam doughnuts are made from a rich, yeasted dough for a great flavour and heavenly texture.
The dough goes through a few stages of resting and knocking back before shaped into neat dough balls by hand. After a final rising stage, they are deep fried, filled with plenty of fruity jam and finally dusted with icing sugar.
These doughnuts are a real, special treat and we are so excited that we can make them at home! With this recipe, you know exactly what’s in them - only plant based ingredients and no artificial additives!
The kind of doughnuts we’re making here are called ‘Krapfen’ in Austria, and are also known as ‘Berliner’ in Germany. They have hundreds more local names and can be filled with anything from jam of all sorts to chocolate cream or vanilla custard.
Our favourite doughnut filling is apricot jam. That’s how Austrians typically enjoy their doughnuts as ‘Faschingskrapfen’ during carnival season (‘Fasching’), beginning on November 11th (at 11.11 am) and climaxing in February on Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.
Here’s what you need to make these delicious vegan jam doughnuts.
For the dough you’ll need:
- Flour - the plain or all-purpose type.
- Sugar - such as white granulated or golden caster sugar.
- Dry yeast - ‘instant’ or ‘fast action’ is the best choice!
- Non-dairy milk - e.g. soy or almond milk
- Oil - a neutral tasting one like sunflower or canola.
- And a little bit of salt
And you’ll also want:
- A lot of oil for deep frying
- Jam for filling the doughnuts
- Icing sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting
Before we start, let’s talk about equipment.
Apart from things you most likely already have in your kitchen - like a mixing bowl and a wooden board - there are a few tools that are essential to make jam doughnuts at home:
- Jam thermometer - Without a thermometer, guessing when the oil has reached the right cooking temperature is close to impossible. A thermometer suitable for high temperatures ensures that the doughnuts are cooked through but don’t burn.
- A deep fryer or a suitable pan for deep frying. The sides should be tall enough so the doughnuts can swim in the oil with the lid on, without touching the bottom of the pan.
- Chopstick - This is what we use to poke the hole into the doughnuts where the filling goes in.
- Plastic syringe - A large syringe with a long nozzle is the perfect way to get the jam filling where it belongs without spilling out again. We got a 50 ml plastic syringe years ago and have been using it since. Alternatively you can use a piping bag if you have a long nozzle (not tapered) to go with it.
Besides these, here are a few other things that might make your life a bit easier:
- digital scales for most accurate measuring of ingredients.
- a dough scraper, for handling dough and scooping up risen doughnuts.
- a slotted spoon to safely get the doughnuts out of the pan.
- and a fine sieve or powder duster for applying the sugar coating.
In the next few sections you’ll find visual step-by-step instructions and plenty of useful tips for the various parts of making vegan jam doughnuts:
You can find a more compact set of instructions and exact ingredient measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post!
Making the dough
Step 1 - Make a yeast starter by combining handwarm non-dairy milk, sugar and yeast and set aside to let bubble up for 10 minutes.
Step 2 - Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then add the yeast starter and oil.
Step 3 - Stir to gradually incorporate all the flour and mix until it comes together into a uniform dough.
Dough making tips
- Making the yeast starter (Step 1) reduces the first rising time. It also distributes the yeast evenly and makes sure it’s working. If the yeast starter doesn’t bubble up, the yeast is likely not fully active (or the liquid is too cold)!
- Make sure the liquid is warm but not hot! Yeast likes it cozy, but dies off with too much heat. A rule of thumb: If it’s too warm to stick your finger in, it’s too hot!
- There is no need to knead the dough (But you can if you want to!) Just mix it until smooth and uniform. The multiple resting stages take care of that for you.
Step 4 - Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place for 45 min. The dough should rise considerably.
Step 5 - Knock back and rest again in a warm place for 30 min. Repeat this one more time.
- The dough is rested in bulk three times (45 min, 30 min, 30 min) and knocked back in between, to allow it to rise again.
- Repeatedly resting and knocking back (pressing the dough to release the air inside) creates the fluffy, bouncy and even texture of the doughnuts.
- Rest the dough covered in a warm place. Yeast likes it cozy!
- If you can’t find a warm spot in your home, use the oven. Preheat it just a little bit first or turn on just the light if your oven allows. A tray of hot water in the oven can also help create a warm, moist environment.
- If your oven has a dough proofing function, use it - and make sure you know how. It might need a tray of water sitting in the bottom of the oven to create humidity.
Water bath method
- Alternatively, rest the dough in a warm water bath in the sink.
- Place it in a container with a fitting lid, but don’t clamp the lid down.
- Fill the sink with warm water - again, warm, but not hot!
- Let the container with the dough float on the water.
- Add hot water to the sink for each resting step to keep it warm.
Step 6 - Divide up the dough into 10 equal parts and shape them into balls. (See shaping tips below!)
Step 7 - Let rest covered on a lightly floured board for at least an hour until puffed up to twice the size.
Doughnut shaping tips
Here’s how to shape a piece of dough into a firm ball that will make a great doughnut. Also, check out the video above to help you understand these instructions better!
- Divide up the dough into the number of doughnuts you want to make (see notes on doughnut size below).
- To shape a piece, first press down gently to remove some of the air inside.
- Fold the edges inward, working your way around the piece of dough to make a firm bundle of dough.
- Turn the bundle over, place a cupped hand over it and use a circular motion to roll the piece of dough into a ball.
- Use just a small amount of pressure, so that you gently stretch the surface as you roll.
- If it happens that a piece’s surface gets uneven, you could let it rest for a few minutes and try shaping it again.
- Set down the shaped balls on a lightly floured board for the final proof so they come off easily and won’t stick and break. Cover them with a moist towel or place them in the warm and damp oven for the final proof.
How to know when the doughnuts are ready to be fried?
During the final rising stage, check the doughnuts regularly to make sure they are not over or under-proofed.
Lightly press the surface of the dough:
- Does the dough spring back slowly and leave a small indent? Your doughnuts are proved and ready to be fried.
- Does the indentation bounce back all the way? They are under-proofed and need more time.
- Does the dough collapse when pressed, or not spring back at all? The dough balls are over-proofed and this can lead to flat doughnuts. You can knock back the dough and reshape the doughnuts.
We recommend starting to heat up the oil shortly before they are fully proved, so that you don’t risk over proving them whilst waiting for the oil to heat.
At this stage the proofed doughnuts can be quite fragile. Try to handle them as little as necessary when transferring them into the pan with oil. What works well for us is to use a dough scraping card to slide under a doughnut, and a second tool for stability and to avoid oil splashes.
You can decide how big your final doughnuts will be when you split the dough into individual portions.
Based on our recipe, we typically make 10 medium sized doughnuts. But you also could make 6 giant doughnuts, or up to 20 tiny doughnuts, which is great for parties and socials!
You can simply divide the dough into roughly equal portions, or for best results use digital kitchen scales to weigh out pieces of dough.
To do this, first weigh the total amount of dough, then divide this by the number of doughnuts you are making (e.g. 495 grams of dough / 10 doughnuts ≈ 50 grams / doughnut).
A tiny doughnut would start as about 25 grams of dough, and a giant one might be as much as 90 or 100 grams.
Step 8 - When ready to deep fry the doughnuts, heat up the oil in a frying pan (about 1 inch deep) to 160°C.
Step 9 - Carefully transfer some doughnuts to the pan and deep fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the underside.
Step 10 - Carefully flip over and fry for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the second side.
Step 11 - With a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the doughnuts to a plate lined with a double layer of kitchen roll to cool down.
Deep frying tips
- Heat up the frying oil while the doughnuts are still finishing their proof, so the oil is hot when they are ready to be fried.
- Use a jam thermometer, digital temperature probe or similar to get the right frying temperature of around 160°C.
- If the frying temperature is too low, the doughnuts can get overly greasy or undercooked. Oil that is too hot easily burns the doughnuts.
- Repeatedly or continuously monitor the oil temperature while the doughnuts are cooking and adjust the heat accordingly.
- Putting a lid on the deep frying doughnuts at first can help slightly deflated doughnuts puff up again.
- Don’t use unrefined, virgin oils for deep frying. The best oils for frying are refined, neutral oils like vegetable, canola or sunflower oil, with a high smoking point. They also tend to be cheap, which is good because…
- You shouldn’t go sparingly on the oil. The doughnuts need to be properly swimming in fat and not touch the base of the pan when deep frying.
- However, you can re-use the frying oil once for your next batch. To store frying oil to be used again, fill it into suitable closed containers (e.g. jars) after it’s cooled down.
Deep frying makes for some of the most indulgent foods, but it’s no joke. A pan full of hot oil should be handled with care. Here are a few things to consider that help you to deep fry your doughnuts in a safe way.
- Never leave a pan of hot oil unattended. Avoid distractions while heating up the oil.
- Keep the pan handle from sticking out from over the hob or work surface, to avoid knocking the pan.
- Be careful of hot oil and splashes. Better be safe than sorry!
- Use multiple tools to handle doughnuts. Don’t drop but rather slide them into the hot oil.
- Keep your working space tidy and well organised, and young kids away from the action.
- Don’t forget to turn off the heat when done and place a lid on the pan, as it is not obvious that the oil is still very hot.
If everything went well, your doughnuts will now be fried to golden-brown deliciousness, and sport a light-coloured ring around their bellies. This bright band means that a doughnut was perfectly proofed before the frying, and so light that it swam nicely on top of the fat.
If your doughnuts don’t show this ring, doughn’t worry! They are still going to be just as tasty once they have their delicious filling!
Step 12 - When cool enough to handle, use a tool like a chopstick to poke holes into the sides and towards the center of each doughnut.
Step 13 - With your syringe loaded with jam, squeeze about 1 tablespoon of jam filling into each doughnut.
Step 14 - As the final touch, dust the doughnuts generously with icing sugar. If you prefer, you can also toss the doughnuts in caster sugar whilst they are still warm.
- We use a chopstick to poke a hole into the side of the doughnuts and create a small cavity in the center. You want the hole to be rather small.
- Rather than a piping bag or icing syringe with a cone-shaped tip, you want to use a tool with a straight nozzle long enough to get the filling where it belongs - in the middle!
- Our favourite tool is actually a cheap plastic syringe we bought on the internet. It might be intended as a single-use medical syringe, but is perfectly good and reusable for filling doughnuts!
- Choose a jam that’s smooth, without large seeds (a few tiny seeds are ok) or fruit bits that could block up the nozzle.
- Jam that is just too thick to fill into the syringe can be liquified by gently heating it up or adding small amounts of water. Just don’t make it so runny it flows back out of the doughnut.
- After filling, stand the doughnuts on their side with the hole pointing up for a minute to prevent the jam from spilling out.
- Be generous with the filling! About a tablespoon per medium sized doughnut is a good amount.
Types of filling
Like mentioned near the top of this post, our favourite filling is our homemade apricot jam. It’s very fruity and has less sugar than commercial jam.
Other fruit jams are an equally good choice. Experiment! Raspberry is another classic, and our German friend always has rosehip jam!
In Austria and Germany you can also find doughnuts filled with vanilla or chocolate custard. We think our chocolate pudding or the creme patissiere found in our strawberry tart recipe would make for good options!
After a generous dusting with icing sugar, we are finally ready to reward ourselves for out hard work!
Aren’t they just pretty and looking absolutely mouthwatering and delicious? Now, bite into your first one while it’s fresh!
We hope you found this (rather long) post helpful and enjoy your own homemade vegan jam doughnuts! If there’s anything we haven’t explained enough or if you experience any troubles with this recipe, we’re happy to answer any questions in the comments.
If you’ve made these vegan jam doughnuts and loved them, we’d love to hear it too!
Vegan Jam Doughnuts
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) soy milk lukewarm
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 40 g (3 tbsp) sugar
- 250 g (2 cups) plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
- Yeast starter from above
- 150 ml (10 tbsp) jam apricot, raspberry, ...
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 L oil for frying (sunflower, canola, or vegetable oil)
- Make sure to read through the post above, with sections full of plenty of helpful tips for each step of cooking these doughnuts!
- To make the yeast starter, stir sugar and dried yeast into the lukewarm soy milk. Set aside for 10 minutes to let it bubble up.
- In the meantime, combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
- Add bubbled-up yeast mixture and oil to the dry ingredients and mix to combine into a uniform, slightly sticky dough. No need to knead the dough much further.
- Quick method: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl to make a uniform, sticky dough.
- Rest the dough in the covered mixing bowl for 45 minutes in a warm place.
- Knock back the dough and rest again for 30 minutes.
- Knock back again and rest for a final 30 minutes.
- Divide your dough into 10 portions of 45-50 g each. (see tips on size in the post above)
- To shape the dough pieces into balls, gently flatten a piece and fold edges inwards repeatedly. Turn it over and roll into a ball under your cupped hand using a circular movement and a small amount of pressure. (More tips and a short video in the post above!)
- Space out the shaped doughnuts on a lightly floured wooden board to allow them to expand. Cover with a tea towel and let rest in a warm place for at least an hour until puffed up and doubled in size.
- Fill a frying pan to about 1 inch deep (2.5 cm) with oil.
- Heat up on medium-high heat to 160 - 170°C (320 - 340°F), checking the temperature with a jam thermometer or temperature probe. Keep monitoring the oil temperature throughout the cooking process, adjusting the heat level to stay in that range.
- Reduce heat to medium. Carefully scoop up the doughnuts and transfer them into the pan of oil.
- Deep fry the doughnuts for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the underside.
- Carefully turn the doughnuts over in the pan and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
- Lift the doughnuts out of the oil with a slotted spoon and onto a plate covered with a double layer of kitchen roll.
Filling & Dusting
- When cooled down enough to touch, use a chopstick or similar tool to poke a hole into each doughnut and create a small cavity in the center.
- Dust the doughnuts with icing sugar.