italian cherry doughnuts

bomboloni - italian cherry and cream doughnuts

Bom-bo-LONI: It’s a fantastic combination of vowels and consonants, don’t you think? Not only do I love to roll the sound of the word around, I’m once again wandering into deep-frying territory with these crazy-good Italian filled doughnuts.

I won’t lie; going to the trouble of deep-fat frying combined with having to mess with a piping bag lies right outside my comfort zone of carefree cooking, and right up next to pain-in-the-culo.

I brainstorm and then procrastinate ideas for a small mobile business (more than a few have taken my gelato truck and driven away with it)…why not a Bombolini Bus? Or maybe something more bricks and mortar; like The Bombolini Bar – a hole-in-the-wall serving up fresh, hot doughnut holes alongside cold glasses of pink Prosecco.

italian cherry jam and cream filled doughnuts

It doesn’t seem likely I’ll be doing that anytime soon, but if you do, please invite me to your grand opening.

In the meantime, I have to admit it was worth the effort to make homemade doughnuts. My kids really had no idea, no benchmark, for fresh, real doughnuts in a landscape saturated with drive-through junk.

bomboloni: italian cherry doughnuts

If you take the doughnut plunge, definitely plan to make these when there are enough people around to devour them right as they’re done. Although they are nicely, manageably bite-sized, that also translates into all the more easy to make disappear.

I “tested” a good half dozen bomboloni before I realized I would be depleting the entire output of the recipe if I kept going. So you’ve been warned.

bomboloni: italian cherry jam and pastry cream doughnuts

bomboloni: italian cherry doughnuts

Yield: about 3 dozen small doughnuts

If using cherry preserves, mash or puree to remove pieces of fruit that may clog the pastry tip.

The bomboloni are wonderful plain too, if you don't want to go the trouble of filling them. Another option - split them in half and spoon over preserves or filling of your choice.


  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (heat in microwave)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 – 6 cups neutral tasting olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cherry preserves and/or 1 cup pastry cream (recipe below)


  1. Dissolve the yeast with the milk in a medium bowl; stir in 1 cup of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof until bubbly, about 1 hour.
  2. Whisk together the remaining flour with the salt and nutmeg in a bowl.
  3. Beat the butter in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment until creamy, about 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at time, until blended.
  4. Add the yeast mixture along with the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until the flour is incorporated and a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl forms, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and leave at room temperature 1 hour. (The dough can also be refrigerated up to one day ahead of frying at this point – leave out for one hour before proceeding.
  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and pat or roll it out ½-inch thick. Cut out circles using a 1 ½ - 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter; arrange the doughnuts on a baking sheet, lightly cover with a towel and let them rise for an hour.
  6. Pour oil to a depth of 4 inches in a heavy pot or saucepan (I used a 3-quart All Clad) and heat to 350 degrees.
  7. Drop the doughnuts into the oil 3 or 4 at a time. Fry until puffed and golden all over, turning once. Remove the doughnuts as they’re done and immediately roll them in sugar, then onto a rack to cool.
  8. Put the jam and/or pastry cream in a piping bag or a sealable plastic bag fitted with a plain pastry tip. Gently poke a hole into each doughnut with a wide skewer (or use the pastry tip) and fill each bomboloni. Serve freshly made.


*To make pastry cream, heat 1 ½ cups whole milk and a vanilla bean broken in half, until it comes to a boil. Whisk 4 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl until thickened; sift over ¼ cup flour and stir it in. Scoop out a few tablespoons of the boiling milk and whisk into the eggs; then pour the eggs into the milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the cream is thickened to the texture of mayonnaise. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Strain into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold. Stir in some heavy cream to thin before piping, if needed.


  1. Lovely lookin’ donuts!

  2. Karen, I may have just died, and wound up in bomboloni heaven! These are incredible!!!

  3. What. WHAT?! these look amazing. Why am I not eating them right now? I could easily demolish that whole bowl in the photograph.

  4. Oh my heavens! Don’t these look dreamy!! I am not sure I am brave enough to make them, but I will certainly drool over yours! Delicious!

    • Thanks Gretchen. I’m not usually cut out for doughnut making either, but these were pretty easy. Try making them with an accomplice (to help eat them too)…

  5. These are little bites of heaven! Wish I had a few to munch on this Sunday afternoon :).

  6. Great Recipe! I’m Italian myself and I use to make bomboloni during Christmas festivities. I appreciate that you recommend olive oil 🙂

    • Daniela, what a great way to celebrate! Can I come over next Christmas?
      I like pure olive oil for deep frying (rather than extra virgin) too!

  7. Yum these donuts look fantastic, I could pop several of those in my mouth without even realizing it 🙂 Your photos are beautiful.

  8. Homemade doughnuts are on my to-do list. Yours are so pretty! The jam and pastry cream fillings both sound so good.

    • Suzanne – thanks. It’s WAY too easy to pop these in, that’s for sure. 😉

      Laura, these were on my list for a while, too. I’m happy I finally got around to making them, and will be less lazy about making more soon. Let me know how yours turn out!

  9. Thao nguyen says:

    Hi,this recipe look so good with the photos so I want to try this, but I didn’t understand the stage 3 to 4, do I have to mix the butter and eggs mixture with the flour and yeast mixture? If yes so which mixture I need to combine together first?

    • Hi Thao,

      Apologies for any confusion on the recipe steps. After mixing the butter, sugar and eggs as directed in step 3, you will then mix in BOTH the proofed yeast mixture from step 1 and the remaining flour mixture from step 2 to form the dough. I hope this helps and you have a great time making your doughnuts!

  10. These doughnuts look so delicious! I hope to make them this spring break; I’ll let you know how it goes! (:

  11. these look perfect!

  12. Best. donuts. ever. I don’t think I could have any other kind of donut since I’ve seen these!

  13. They really look delicious! The recipe looks almost like my grandmothers pączki, a polish variety, of the same pastry. She usually didn’t pipe the jam inside but put a piece of marmalade in when she rolled them. Polish marmalade is really firm and you can cut it with a knife.

  14. What should the texture be like after they are fried? I’m not sure if they are similar to store bought donuts or are they more like a bread dough?

  15. These are delicious. I just made them this past weekend for a birthday brunch, however it took some experimenting when frying. I used the exact dimensions on the pastry cutter and my donuts came out big….it only made about 20. I fried them, then went to go eat one and the entire middle was not cooked. I’d recommend using a smaller cutter to get them to the right size. The guests loved that I made them fresh and used them as an “appetizer”. Totally worth the work!

  16. Do they come out just as good if you make the dough the night before and keep it in the refrigerator? I am trying this recipe for the first time and am nervous.

    • Nicole – no worries! The dough can rest in the refrigerator overnight after step 4 — just let come to room temperature for about an hour before cutting into circles.

  17. I would like to try them, do you have ingredients in grams and ml? 🙂 We dont have cups :/

  18. I made these this past weekend. Simple and easy to make. Came out perfect! Filled some with Bavarian Cream, some with Nutella and others with red raspberry jam. Delicious, and tender. Everyone loved them. I will be making these again. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  19. What type of flour is to be used ?


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