Small Batch Nutella Donuts are made with a small batch brioche donut recipe which can be made by hand without the use of a mixer. These are Nutella Filled donuts, but you can finish them any way that you like! This Small Batch Donut Recipe only makes 8 Donuts!
Table of contents
- Nutella Donuts
- Steps for Making Donuts
- How to make Brioche By Hand
- Why rising dough in the fridge is so effective
- Can these Donuts be made into a different shape?
- The Best Way to Fry Donuts
- Can Donuts Be Baked?
- Can you make donuts in an air fryer?
- Alternative Fillings for Nutella Donuts
- How to tell when dough is properly proofed
- The best way to fill a donut
- Donut Troubleshooting
- FAQ for Nutella Donuts
- For more small batch recipes, check out:
- Recipe For Nutella Donuts
Hi hi! Just popping in here to share the recipe for these Nutella Donuts with you! These are a small batch donut recipe, using the no mixer, small batch brioche dough that I developed. I used the same dough to make these cinnamon bun twists and these rhubarb custard buns, and I have a few more recipes coming your way too which also use the same base dough.
I filled these small batch donuts with a nutella filling just as I was after something simple, but the great thing about donuts is that you can make them any size / shape / filling that you like. Mix and match the fillings and shapes as you like.
If you've been here for a while you will know I am a massive, massive fan of a base recipe. Having one base dough that you can use for a wide variety of different things is a game changer for me. It means I have a large component of the recipe that I know will already work, and I am confident in. There is no point making a new dough recipe every time if I already have one that I like and works. This brioche dough is super versatile too and works in both savoury and sweet applications. I love using my mixer but sometimes is it just fun to do things by hand too!
Steps for Making Donuts
These Small Batch Nutella Donuts aren't too tricky to make, but there is a wee bit of waiting involved with the two rise periods. Here's how I do it:
- Make the Brioche Dough. This is a small batch no mixer brioche (which can be done both as a double mixture and with a mixer if you like). The dough needs at least a few hours in the fridge, or you can do it overnight.
- Shape the donuts. This is super easy - Just divide the dough into 70 g balls and shape into tight balls. Place on a piece of parchment paper - I find it easiest to place each one individually on a piece of paper so you can move them as they are rising / it makes them easier to add to the oil.
- Proof the donuts. The donuts go through a second proof, where they rise again before frying. Depending on the temperature of your dough and also the environment, this rising time varies. Go by how the dough looks, rather than the time.
- Fry your donuts. I use a deep fryer when I make donuts, but there are notes further down the post on how to use a pot or a dutch oven. Fry the donuts, a few at a time, until golden brown and done inside.
- Toss in sugar. Once the donuts are done, they are left to drain then tossed in sugar and left to cool.
- Fill the donuts. I made these Nutella Donuts, but your options really are endless here and you do you with filling and finishes.
How to make Brioche By Hand
The base of these small batch donuts is a brioche which is made by hand (if you like). I wanted to develop a no mixer brioche as I know not everyone has access to a mixer. It is totally possible to make it by hand, but just be aware that it will get sloppy but this is ok. It will all smooth out as you keep kneading and the butter incorporates!
- Combine dry ingredients - This brioche is pretty standard when it comes to ingredients. All-purpose flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt.
- Add wet ingredients - One egg, lightly beaten, and some milk goes in. The butter is incorporated later.
- Bring together - You want to develop some strength in the dough here. This kneading process will take about 8-10 minutes. Bring the dough together in your bowl then transfer to a work surface and work the dough until it is soft and smooth, and when you press lightly with your finger, the indentation springs back.
- Add the butter - The butter is added to the dough. This step will get super sloppy. Don't worry though. It will come together. Keep kneading and mixing until it comes together. Then give a few more minutes of mixing just to ensure it is mixed in. You want it to pass the window pane test, or to bounce back nicely when you press with a finger.
- Leave to rise - This dough for this purpose works best with a cold rise. I give it some time on the counter first to kick start the rise and then pop it into the fridge.
A plastic or metal bench scraper will be super helpful when you are incorporating the butter in. Just keep scraping up the excess butter and squishing it onto the dough. It will come together.
Why rising dough in the fridge is so effective
You will notice that this dough includes a fridge rise. I love proofing dough in the fridge, particularly when it is an enriched dough such as this small batch brioche. There are a few reasons for this.
- Makes the recipe flexible. When you are making a yeast based recipe, you need to go by how the dough is behaving rather than your own personal schedule. Popping the dough in the fridge means you can bring it out when you are ready to shape the donuts, rather than when the dough is ready for you.
- Avoids over proofing. The fridge slows down the rising process, so by popping the dough in the fridge, you know you are avoiding over proofing (provided you don't leave it too long. I try not to go over 24 hours). This is a great way to make dough too if you're just starting out and you're not sure on proofing time etc for the first rise.
- Makes preparing ahead of time easy. The best part about a cold fridge rise is that it makes prepping the dough ahead of time super easy. Making donuts in particular has a few steps, and making the dough the night before means you can already have it ready to go the next day.
If you did want to make these Nutella Donuts all in one day that works too - the dough needs about 2 hours in the fridge minimum.
Can these Donuts be made into a different shape?
The best part about making your own donuts at home is that you can mix and match the shapes. You could divide up the dough and do some as filled donuts like these nutella donuts, then cut some out and do round fried donuts that you glaze, and then a few donut holes or mini donuts. You do you here and just have fun with it.
The Best Way to Fry Donuts
I use a deep fryer usually when I make donuts, but it is also easy enough to do it just on the stove top. For this I prefer to use a dutch oven or a heavy bottomed pan. The Cast Iron of the dutch oven means that the oil holds temperature much better.
If you are making them in a Dutch Oven, you will need to use a thermometer. Make sure that you measure the temperature in the middle of the oil and that your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot, where it could give you an inaccurate reading. It is also important to check your oil temperature before the next batch goes into the fryer.
Can Donuts Be Baked?
I get this question a lot, and the answer is, that if you bake these nutella donuts, you will get bread rolls. Brioche donuts use the same base recipe as a brioche bread roll, the cooking process is just different (baked vs fried). So while you can bake them, they won't be fried donuts.
Baked donuts are a thing but they are cake based and use a donut pan. They aren't yeast raised like these brioche donuts.
Can you make donuts in an air fryer?
This is the same as the answer above - you will end up with bread rolls. An air fryer is basically just a tiny convection oven, so all you will do is bake the dough and get bread rolls. I think the name 'fryer' is sometimes misleading to people - an air fryer, while it has its uses, is not a substitute for a deep fryer or frying in oil when it comes to making donuts.
Alternative Fillings for Nutella Donuts
I filled these Small Batch Donuts with Nutella as it was super easy and I had it on hand, but you can really go wild here and fill them with anything that you like. They are delicious filled with a custard or a lemon curd, or you could use a homemade hazelnut filling. Mix and match it and do what you like here! A store bought jam or fruit curd would go perfectly in here too - I am all for an easy substitute!
How to tell when dough is properly proofed
This can be a tricky one. The best way to tell if a dough is properly proofed is to give it a very gentle poke with your fingertip. Properly proofed dough will get an indentation from your finger that slowly springs back. If it is not ready yet, the dough will totally bounce back and you know that it needs more rising time.
Make sure you start to preheat your oil toward the end of the rising period. Preheating the oil can take up to 20 minutes, so you want to make sure it is ready when the donuts are ready to fry. If you are worried they are going to over proof and your oil is not hot enough yet, you can put them into the fridge to help slow down the rising process.
The best way to fill a donut
Donuts can be a tiny bit tricky to fill but if you use a piping bag with a tip you should be ok! Here's how I do it.
- Coating on first. The sugar coating on these donuts goes on when they are hot from the fryer, so they will already have the coating on them.
- Make a hole. I like to use a large chopstick for this, to poke a hole into the donut and wiggle it around a little. This creates space for the filling to go in.
- Add your filling to a piping bag. You could spoon this in, but it's going to get really, really messy. A piping bag fitted with either a round tip or something called a bismark tip is going to be your friend her.
- Fill the donuts. The best way to make sure your donut is full is that you can feel it become 'heavy'. Some of the filling might also ooze out of the hole. Use caution here when you're using a filling such as Nutella as it can get rich fast, so you may want to break a sacrificial one open first to check the amount of filling. If you are filling with something like a whipped cream and you're not worried about quantity, just go for it.
There are a couple of issues that you may run into when making donuts, and they are usually to do with either the proofing on your dough, or the temperature of the oil. I highly recommend doing a test donut and breaking it open to check the doneness inside, so you can adjust your time as needed for the frying as every frying setup differs.
- My Donuts are raw inside: Your oil is probably too hot! If your oil is too hot, your doughnuts will brown too much on the outside before they are fully cooked. This will give you a melt in your mouth middle, and not in a good way. The best way to do this is to carefully monitor your oil temperature, you want it to stay around 350°f / 180°c.
- My Donuts are taking forever to cook / are Oily: This sounds like the opposite issue and that your oil is too cold. Again, watch it carefully! If you are using a thermometer make sure that it's suspended in the middle of the oil and not touching the bottom as this will give a false reading. Make sure you check the temp between batches too, as adding the doughnuts will drop the temperature.
- My Donuts are stodgy and dense: Sounds like they weren't proofed enough! Make sure that they are properly proofed. To do this I like to poke one. If the dough bounces back straight away then they aren't ready yet. If your finger leaves a little indentation in the dough which slowly bounces back, you are good to go. Remember that proofing takes a little longer if you started with cold dough. For the donuts to proof at room temperature, it was about 50-55 minutes. Remember that the weather makes a big difference too!
FAQ for Nutella Donuts
What tools and equipment do you use?
You can see a full list of all the tools I use here
Can this recipe be made ahead of time?
Donuts are definitely best eaten on the day that you make them, as they are much more enjoyable fresh.
What are the rings on the sides of the donuts?
Those 'tan lines' are from the donuts frying. They happen when the dough is nicely proofed - basically the dough floats as it fries and the middle section doesn't have as much contact with the oil and so you get the ring around the middle. Don't worry too much if yours doesn't have this ring though - just go by how the proofing is!
Can I use active dry yeast in the recipe?
Yes, that will work fine, you just need to activate it using the milk in the recipe. To do this, pop the milk, sugar and the yeast into a bowl and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes until foamy, then proceed with the recipe.
What is Neutral Oil?
Neutral oil means that it is Neutral tasting. You can use a canola, or a rice bran or a vegetable oil. All of these oils have relatively high smoke points which makes them great for frying.
Can I make this recipe in a mixer?
Yes, if you don't want to do it by hand, then go for it. Just follow the recipe as written - mix everything together on about medium speed using the dough hook for 10 minutes to form a dough then incorporate in your butter and continue to mix until smooth and cohesive.
For more small batch recipes, check out:
Made this recipe and love it?
If you made this recipe then I would LOVE for you to leave me a review below to let me know how you liked it! Also, please make sure to tag me on Instagram if you make it!
A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!
Recipe For Nutella DonutsPrint
Small Batch Nutella Donuts are super fun and easy to make. They are made with a small batch brioche recipe which can be made by hand without the use of a mixer. These are Nutella Filled donuts, but you can finish them any way that you like!
- 290g all-purpose flour
- 30g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (3.1g) instant yeast
- ½ tsp (2g) salt
- 120g whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 large egg (60g), lightly whisked
- 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
For Frying and Finishing
- Neutral oil for frying - quantity depends on the size of your pot, you want it at least 10cm (4") deep
- Granulated sugar for rolling the finished donuts in
- About 150g of Nutella, or filling of your choice
- Place all ingredients except for the butter into a medium bowl. Bring together into a rough dough, then turn out onto a work surface (do not add more flour).
- Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. It will start off as very rough, then will come together and become smooth and elastic, and when pressed lightly with a finger, the dough should spring back slightly.
- Flatten the dough out into a rough rectangle and add the butter to the surface of the dough. This part will get sloppy, so make sure that you have a bench scraper nearby. Incorporate the butter into the dough by squeezing it and kneading it in. Keep scraping any excess butter back onto the dough and kneading it in. Don’t freak out. It will all work together.
- Once the butter has incorporated into the dough, knead for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and then transfer to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave to sit on the counter for about 20 minutes to kick start the rising process, then transfer to the fridge to rise for at least two hours, and up to overnight.
- Cut 8-10 parchment squares. Turn the dough out onto work surface (try not to use flour if you can). Divide into 70g portions. Roll each portion into a tight ball, making sure that they are well sealed on the bottom
- Place each of the donuts onto a parchment square, flattening each one slightly, leaving adequate space between.
- Leave the doughnuts to proof for a second time. This rise time will depend on the weather and the temperature of your starting dough so will take anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour. When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation that springs back.
- While the doughnuts are proofing, heat neutral oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Heat the oil to 350°f / 180°c. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the granulated sugar for tossing into a shallow bowl.
- Once the oil has come to temperature, test it with a few scraps of dough. Gently lower the donuts two at a time, into the hot oil. Cook for 3 minutes on one side and then flip again, and cook for a further 3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack.
- Allow to cool for 30 seconds before tossing in the sugar. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts. Once the doughnuts are totally cool, poke a hole in them using a chopstick, and widen the hole using your finger.
- Place the nutella into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Carefully pipe the nutella into the donuts, stopping when it starts to feel heavy. You may need to do a test to check the preferred amount of filling in each donut.
- Store leftovers lightly covered at room temperature. Best eaten on the day that they are made.
Keywords: Donuts, Nutella Donuts, Brioche, Small Batch Donuts