The Perfect Brioche Donuts Recipe

custard filled brioche donuts close up

This recipe for brioche donuts is decadent and a true treat. If you’re looking to flex your brioche-making skills as well as get more comfortable with frying, this is the recipe to take on. You can do any flavor of jam, curd or pastry cream you want to fill, or leave them plain! 

The Perfect Brioche Donuts Recipe

the inspo behind these beauties

Fresh, brioche donuts are heavenly. The first time I had a donut that was yeast-risen was at Leonard’s malasadas in Honolulu, and it was mind-blowing — their’s are a Portuguese donut, and they are simultaneously light and rich — and Leonard’s keeps it simple with only custard, haupia, or chocolate fillings. A few years later, I got to re-create this magical moment of having a perfect yeast-risen donut when  General Porpoise opened in Seattle. General Porpoise sells not-too-sweet, springy, chewy, perfect jelly and cream-filled donuts. (Heads up if you’re in Seattle, they sell out by noontime without fail, so go early!)

Yeast and frying are two of my baking/cooking fears — I always mess up yeasted bread and frying just seems overwhelming. In order to face my fears of yeast and frying, and have brioche doughnuts on-demand, I set out to find a copycat recipe. In an interview with General Porpoise’s owner, Renee Erickson, she said the team styled their donut recipe off of an English-style custard filled donut. This led me down a rabbit hole of English style donuts, and I finally found a recipe for justin gellatly’s custard donuts, which seemed close to what I recall general porpoise’s donuts’ quality to be, and from which this recipe is adapted.

how to make brioche donuts

start this project the afternoon/evening before (yes the day before) you want to eat donuts.

the first thing you’ll do is hydrate a single packet of yeast with 1/4 cup of warm (110-130F) water and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. let the yeast mixture double in size.

then, you’ll make the brioche dough. mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the butter — so yeast, flour, sugar, salt, water, eggs – in a kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook. it will look yellow and eggy at first, but will come together. if it’s looking a little too loose after 5 minutes, add a tablespoon of bread flour to tighten it up.

then add in butter piece by piece so it incorporates and mix it all together. (specific mixing times below).

proof the dough first by letting the dough rise in the mixing bowl, doubling in size. then punch it down, cover, and throw it in the fridge overnight. 5 hours before you want to eat the brioche donuts, wake up and take the dough out the fridge and divide into small handful size portions of dough and let rise on a FLOURED baking sheet, not touching. let them rise for another 3-4 hours.

to cook, heat up canola oil to 350F. gently take 3-4 dough balls at a time and fry, giving it a minute or so on each side. let them cool slightly and then toss in more caster sugar.

fill with any filling you like!

homemade brioche donuts in dish

Homemade Brioche Donuts Recipe

Mimi Newman
Homemade brioche doughnuts — heavenly fried brioche donuts that will send you into outerspace from pleasure
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 16 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 16 hrs 30 mins
Course Baking
Cuisine American, Brioche, Donuts, Fried Foods
Servings 20 doughnuts
Calories 201 kcal


  • 1 packet of active dry yeast 7g hydrated with 1/4 cup of 110-120F water and 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups bread flour more as needed
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 64 oz neutral oil for frying

for the filling:


Making the brioche dough

  • Mix yeast packet with the warm water and sugar, and let the foam double in size.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, water, activated yeast, lemon zest, salt and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until it's all combined. Then turn up the speed to medium high and let it run for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for a minute. Slowly add the butter to the dough, about 25g at a time. Once it is all incorporated, mix on high speed for 5min until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.
  • Cover the bowl with saran wrap and leave to proof in the bowl until it has doubled in size – about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough – then re-cover the bowl and put into the fridge to chill overnight. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into equal, palm size pieces (you should get about 18). Roll them into smooth, taut, tight buns and place them on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them – so they don't stick together while they proof. Cover lightly with Saran wrap and leave out in a 75F room for about 4hr, or until about doubled in size.

Frying and finishing

  • In a big cast iron pot, prepare the deep fryer; fill it up to the halfway point with the oil. Heat the oil to 350F, then carefully remove the doughnuts from the tray by sliding a floured pastry scraper or fish spatula underneath them, taking care not to deflate them, and put them into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan.
  • Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel, then toss them in a bowl of caster sugar while still warm. Set aside to cool before filling. To fill the donuts, make a hole in the white strip in between the brown tops/bottoms. Fill a piping bag with jam (or any other filling you see fit!) and pipe into the doughnut until a little bit peeks out on top.


I’ve included volume ingredients here but BAKING TURNS OUT BETTER WHEN YOU MEASURE IN WEIGHT


Serving: 1donutCalories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 4gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 305mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 251IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Brioche donuts, general porpoise donuts, mr holmes bakehouse donuts
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