Creme Brulee Donuts: crispy creamy doughnut heaven

Creme brulee donuts (technically crème brûlée doughnuts) are the quintessential fusion of the classic creamy French dessert and your common donut. However, this is not your everyday snack. The rich velvety custard filling and perfectly caramelized sugar shell of these donuts make for quite the special treat.


The Doughnut Plant, with multiple locations in New York, states on their website that they invented the world’s first crème brûlée doughnut in 2008.

Flavor Profile

Creme brulee donuts perfectly balance sweetness and creaminess. The foundation of these delectable treats lies in the donut itself—a delicate pastry shell that tops fried dough, which encases a velvety custard filling. This custard, reminiscent of the luscious crème brûlée boasts a creamy consistency, rich vanilla undertones, and a fragile layer of caramelized sugar that adds a delightful crunch to every bite.

The outer layer of the donut deserves its own moment in the spotlight. Its golden-brown hue hints at the caramelization complementing the custard filling. With every bite, the contrasting textures and complementary flavors create a sensory experience that is sweetly satisfying.


What makes creme brulee donuts so irresistible? Is it their mouthwatering appearance, with the glossy, caramelized sugar glistening under the bakery lights? Or perhaps it’s the combination of textures—a glassy sugar-topped donut embracing a creamy custard center? It’s hard to pinpoint just one factor, as the craveability of these treats lies in their ability to transport you to a world of pure dessert bliss.

Creme brulee donuts not only offer a harmonious blend of flavors but also engage our senses on multiple levels. The crackling sound as you bite through the caramelized sugar crust, the smoothness of the custard as it coats your tongue, and the fragrant vanilla notes that waft through the air—all come together to create an enchanting experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Where to find creme brulee donuts

You can find creme brulee doughnuts at many boutique and high-end specialty doughnut shops. Explore this interactive map to find a location that serves this dessert near you!

How to make creme brulee donuts

Creme brulee donuts can be a bit intimidating to make but is surprisingly doable. Follow this recipe which shows how to make these donuts from scratch with the option of using pre-made donuts to save time and effort.

creme brulee donuts

creme brulee donuts

Doughnuts with burnt cream made from scratch (with option for pre-made donuts).



  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole milk, warmed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • *optional hack: buy fresh glazed donuts instead & skip steps 1-5 and 8-11*

Custard filling:

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramelized sugar topping:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Make a well in the center.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the warm milk and eggs. Pour the milk mixture into the well of the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the softened butter to the bowl. Mix everything together until a dough forms.
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  6. While the dough is rising, prepare the custard filling. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  7. Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while continuously whisking. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  8. Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Roll it out on a floured surface to a thickness of about ½ inch.
  9. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles from the dough. Place the circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them with a kitchen towel, and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
  10. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot or fryer to 350°F (175°C).
  11. Carefully add the donuts to the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  12. Once the donuts have cooled slightly, use a piping bag fitted with a long, narrow tip to fill them with the cooled custard filling. Insert the tip into the side of each donut and gently squeeze until the donut feels slightly heavier and the filling is visible.
  13. For the caramelized sugar topping, sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar on top of each filled donut. Using a kitchen torch, carefully torch the sugar until it melts and caramelizes, creating a crispy topping.
  14. Allow the caramelized sugar to cool and harden for a few minutes before serving the donuts.
  15. Serve and enjoy!


If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can also place the filled donuts under a broiler for a few minutes until the sugar caramelizes; make sure to keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

Ultimate hack: If you are really short on time (or patience), buy a pre-made glaze donut and simply torch/broil it until the glaze caramelizes and hardens. You won't have the creme brulee filling, but you'll enjoy the crispy sweetness. 🙂

Did you make this recipe?

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Creme brulee donuts exemplify the creative genius of culinary innovation. By merging the time-honored elegance of crème brûlée with the playful charm of donuts, these delectable treats have carved out a special place in the hearts of dessert enthusiasts worldwide.

With their irresistible flavor profile, the perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess, and their ability to captivate our senses, creme brulee donuts are a testament to the power of culinary creativity. Whether enjoyed as an indulgent treat or served as the pièce de résistance on a special occasion, these heavenly delights are a testament to the artistry and passion of the culinary world.

So, the next time you find yourself craving a decadent dessert, consider treating yourself to the unforgettable experience of a crème brûlée doughnut. Your taste buds will celebrate as you embark on a journey through the divine fusion of two beloved desserts, encapsulated in a single, irresistible treat.

Hello! I'm Kristina

Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.
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