This Boston Cream Donut Recipe is made with homemade doughnuts filled with a smooth vanilla pastry cream filling and topped with a rich chocolate glaze. 

These doughnuts are fried, filled and glazed! So yummy! If you are looking for some baked doughnut recipes, be sure to try my Chocolate Doughnuts, Oreo Donuts and Red Velvet Donuts!

Two Boston Cream Donuts stacked on top of each other, with the top donut having a bite taken out of it.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Two types of chocolate in the glaze. The thick chocolate glaze is rich and delicious thanks to using chocolate chips and cocoa powder! Using two kinds of chocolate helps really bring out the flavor. 
  • Smooth and creamy custard filling. The pastry cream for our Boston cream donut recipe is essentially a crème pâtissière (or more colloquially known as creme pat.) Great British Baking Show anyone? It’s flavored with vanilla extract and basically makes me wonder how those GBBS bakers aren’t licking their bowls all the time! It’s silky smooth and goes perfectly with the doughnut and chocolate glaze.
  • Homemade doughnut. Every element of this recipe is homemade! This recipe uses my Donut Dough Recipe. Having a homemade doughnut is the best because it’s light, fluffy, and fresh! 
  • Well worth it. While this dessert recipe isn’t done in 30 minutes, it is well worth the time! Plus, I walk through each of the steps thoroughly and give you the best tips for success. These thick, fluffy and shiny Boston cream donuts will have your family and friends convincing you to either open your own bakery or try your hand at one of Paul and Mary’s technical challenges!

Ingredient Notes

  • Doughnut Dough: You’ll need one batch of my doughnut dough recipe. 
  • Cornstarch: This will help thicken the creme pat filling. 
  • Sugar: Be sure to following the cooking steps accurately because you want to get the mixture boiling so the granulated sugar melts and incorporates into the cream. This will ensure a smooth filling consistency.
  • Milk: You’ll want to use whole milk or 2% milk for higher fat content to get the right texture on the Boston cream doughnut filling recipe. 
  • Large Eggs: You’ll just need the egg yolks. This will make a type of vanilla custard filling. The eggs are tempered, so they won’t be raw! 
  • Butter: Room temperature. You’ll need butter for the filling and for the chocolate frosting. 
  • Powdered Sugar: Sift the powdered sugar on its own before sifting it with the cocoa powder. This will provide an even smoother texture. The Boston cream doughnuts are iconic for the shine on the chocolate, which is hard to get if there are lumps in the mixture. 
  • Cocoa Powder: Using chocolate chips and cocoa powder will give us a richer chocolate flavor in the glaze. 
  • Heavy Cream: This will loosen up the frosting mixture. You can use more or less to get the desired consistency. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the doughnuts. Follow along with my Doughnut Dough Recipe. While the doughnuts are doing their last proof, make the cream filling. 
  2. Make the Boston cream doughnut filling. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk, stirring constantly until it begins thickening and bubbling. Reduce to simmer and simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. 
  3. Temper the egg yolks. Take 1/2 cup of the mixture and slowly stream it into the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly. Now the eggs are tempered. Add the egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, always stirring. The mixture will be thick! Remove from heat
  4. Add butter and vanilla. Strain and chill. Add the butter and vanilla and stir until smooth. Strain the mixture with a fine mesh strainer. Cover and and chill for 3-4 hours. 
  5. Make the chocolate glaze. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl. Set aside. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a separate, medium-sized bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles along the edge of the saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Do not stir! Let sit for 1 minute. Now whisk until fully melted and combined. Whisk in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixture. Add in the vanilla. The consistency will be like hot fudge. 
A melty chocolate glaze in a bowl with a whisk in it.
  1. Fry the doughnuts in hot oil. In a medium saucepan or pot, heat oil over medium heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 360°F-375°F. Fry the doughnuts, flipping them over when the bottom is golden brown in color. Remove and place them on paper towels on a plate or baking sheet. 
  2. Fill the Boston cream donuts. Take the filling and place it in a pastry bag. Using a chopstick (or something similar), poke a hole in one side of the donut. Fill with about 1-2 tablespoons of cream filling. Repeat with each donut.
  3. Dip in chocolate glaze. Dip the top of the donuts in the chocolate coating until halfway submerged. The chocolate should coat the top. Let cool, glaze side up, on a wire rack until the glaze is set.
Pastry cream filled Boston Cream Donuts on a wire rack on a grey background.

Recipe Tips

Use a good quality vanilla! After all, it is the main source of flavor in the creme pat.

When chilling the pastry cream filling, press a sheet of plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a film developing on top.

I always run my pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer to ensure a velvety smooth texture.

I almost always sift my powdered sugar (unless I’m making muddy buddies) because I don’t want any lumps or bumps in whatever recipe I’m making.

You can use semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate chips. If you opt for milk chocolate chips, note that the glaze will be extra sweet! I used semi-sweet chocolate chips in this Boston cream donut recipe. 

When it comes to making the chocolate glaze, it’s important you let the hot cream sit with the chocolate chips and butter because this time brings down the temperature of the heavy cream while slowly melting the chocolate chips. Stirring prematurely will result in a gritty texture.

When filling the doughnuts, they’ll begin to swell slightly. If you are looking for an even fill across all your doughnuts, I use a kitchen scale for accuracy.

Don’t make the cut-out donuts or else you won’t be able to fill them! 

If your glaze was a bit runny and you find it dripping down the sides of the doughnuts, you can thicken it with a bit of sifted powdered sugar. Last some parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch any chocolate drippings.

If you have any questions about making the homemade doughnut dough, see my Doughnut Dough Recipe for step-by-step instructions, tips and more! 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

You can make the pastry cream filling in advance. It lasts 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

You can make the doughnuts a day in advance and store them in the fridge in an airtight container to fill and glaze the next day. 

Store the donuts in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Once filled and glazed, they are best enjoyed within a day or two. 

If you want to freeze the donuts, I recommend freezing them unfilled and unglazed. Let them cool completely and then wrap individually in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the freezer for 1-2 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight. Let come to room temperature the next day and proceed with filling and glazing. 

Recipe FAQs

What is a Boston cream donut made of?

A Boston cream donut recipe is made of a yeasted dough filled with a pastry cream filling and topped with a chocolate glaze like frosting on top. It’s reminiscent of a Boston cream pie. 

Why are Boston cream donuts called Boston cream?

It’s because it is a donut version of a Boston cream pie. Different elements of the Boston cream pie is represented in the donut, which is how it gets its name. 

What do I use to cut the doughnuts?

I would use a biscuit cutter or doughnut cutter. If you don’t have one of those, just use the top of a circular glass. 

A hand holding a chocolate dipped Boston Cream Donut.

More Chocolate Recipes

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Two Boston Cream Donuts on a white plate against a light grey background.
Print Review
5 from 4 votes

Boston Cream Donut Recipe

Light and airy Boston cream doughnuts are filled with a creamy vanilla pastry cream and topped with a thick chocolate coating.
Prep Time: 3 hrs
Cook Time: 35 mins
Rest Time: 14 hrs
Total Time: 17 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 21 donuts

Ingredients
 

Filling

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk - whole or 2%
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter - at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating

Instructions
 

  • Make the doughnuts. While the doughnuts are doing their last proof, make the cream filling.

Filling

  • Make the filling: In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks together. 
  • In a saucepan over medium heat whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the mixture is thicker, then remove from heat. 
  •  Measure out ½ cup of the warm milk mixture. Slowly stream the warm milk into the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly while doing so. Add the now tempered eggs into the saucepan full of the milk mixture, whisking constantly as you do so. Bring the mixture to a  boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be quite thick at this point. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium sized bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap (have the plastic wrap touching the mixture so that a film doesn’t develop) and chill until cool, about 3-4 hours. 
  • When ready to fill doughnuts, remove the mixture from fridge and give it a stir. Place in a pastry bag. 

Chocolate Glaze

  • Make the chocolate glaze: In a small bowl sift the powdered sugar and cocoa together.
  • Place the chocolate chips and butter in a medium sized bowl.
  • Heat the cream in a small pot over medium heat until bubbling along the perimeter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Let stand for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate has melted. Whisk in the powdered sugar + cocoa mixture, and vanilla. The mixture should have the consistency of hot fudge sauce. If too thick add more heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  • Fill a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Oil should be heated between 360°F-375°F. Fry doughnuts until golden in color.
  • When done frying tranfer the doughnuts to a papertowel lined plate or baking sheet. Using a chopstick, insert the stick in the side of one doughnut. This helps create a hole for you to insert the tip of the cream filled pastry bag. Fill the doughnuts with 1-2 tablespoons of the cream filling.
  • Dip the filled doughnuts in the chocolate glaze until halfway submerged, evenly coating one side. Place the newly glazed and filled doughnuts, glaze-side up on a wire rack. Let stand until the glaze sets. Best when enjoyed the same day they're made.

Notes

Chocolate glaze recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. 
When chilling the pastry cream filling, press a sheet of plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a film developing on top.
Store the donuts in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Once filled and glazed, they are best enjoyed within a day or two. 

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcal (9%)Carbohydrates: 21g (7%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 9g (14%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Cholesterol: 54mg (18%)Sodium: 34mg (1%)Potassium: 103mg (3%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 16g (18%)Vitamin A: 241IU (5%)Calcium: 41mg (4%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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