French Crullers (Dunkin’ Donuts Copycat Recipe) — Light and airy donuts with a soft and delicate interior, a lightly crisped exterior, and a sweet glaze that melts into every crevice! Learn how to easily make this classic French pastry at home that’s BETTER than anything store bought! Move over Dunkin!
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Easy French Crullers Recipe
If your last Dunkin’ run left you without your favorite French crullers in hand, I have great news for you. You can make this delicate pastry right at home with a few simple steps that are far easier than making a yeast-raised donut.
My recipe results in a light donut with a soft and airy texture on the inside, and a crisp golden exterior on the outside. It’s then topped with a sweetened glaze.
These French crullers are an irresistible melt-in-your-mouth treat that pairs perfectly with a morning cup of coffee for breakfast. Hot out of the fryer, this freshly made ring-shaped donut with fluted edges is impossible to pass up and you may find yourself eating more than just one!
What’s a French Cruller?
Ever wondered what type of pastry dough is used in crullers? These donuts are made with an egg-based dough, also known as pâte à choux dough. This is the same dough that eclairs, cream puffs, and many churros are made from.
This chouxnut fried pastry dough is lighter and more delicate than a traditional doughnut batter because as choux dough is fried it becomes incredibly light and airy. This creates the delicate texture that French crullers are known for!
Difference Between French Crullers and Donuts?
The main difference between the two is that donuts are either made with yeast dough. Or, for cake donuts, a cake-like batter that has been leavened by baking powder or baking soda.
French crullers, on the other hand, are made with the egg-based pâte à choux pastry dough.
While both pastries are normally round, a cruller will have ridged edges that are perfect for absorbing the sweet glaze.
Since there is no yeast in a cruller, they are faster to make. Typically classic yeast based donuts take around 3 hours to make, but this French cruller recipe can be made in as little as an hour and a half.
The original Dunkin’ Donuts cruller was discontinued in 2003 but now you have a homemade version that’s even better!
Ingredients in French Crullers
Only simple ingredients that most likely any basic cook will have on hand are needed to make the pâte à choux pastry dough and glaze including the following:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Egg whites
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Corn syrup
Note: All ingredients amounts are listed in the recipe card section when you keep scrolling down.
How to Make French Cruller Donuts
They may look and sound fancy, but these airy donuts are actually easy to make at home, so let’s take it step-by-step.
Step 1: Make the choux pastry first by combining the water, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bringing it to a boil.
Step 3: Add in the flour and stir until the mixture begins to coat the bottom of the pan and then remove it from the heat.
Step 4: Stir until a smooth dough forms.
Step 5: Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and gently mix on medium speed until the dough has cooled slightly.
Step 6: Add the whole eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Repeat the same process with your egg whites. Continue to mix until a thick shiny dough forms.
Step 7: Preheat oil temperature to 375 F and spoon your dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip and then pipe the dough into circles onto prepared parchment paper squares.
Step 8: Place the circle of dough and parchment paper into the preheated hot oil. Remove the parchment paper with tongs and fry your donuts for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are a deep golden color.
Repeat the frying process with the remaining dough, always checking to ensure the temperature of the oil remains at 375 degrees F.
Make sure your frying oil is heated to 375F. The only way to know for sure is to use a thermometer intended for cooking and baking. I like clip on digital thermometers because it’s much simpler and easier. Sometimes they are called candy thermometers with a “pot clip”.
The French cruller donuts are only going to need between 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden in color. Don’t burn them by getting distracted!
Finally, don’t overcrowd your frying pot. The more crullers you add, the more the temperature of the oil drops, which affects how nicely – or not – the crullers will turn golden and done. It’s better to fry them in batches. Less is more when it comes to frying.
Step 9: Glaze – Combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
Step 10: Using a fork, dip your warm French crullers into the bowl of glaze making sure to completely cover the doughnut.
Step 11: Place back on a wire cooling rack to let the excess glaze drip and then enjoy your fresh donuts!
Whether you want to eat your homemade crullers for breakfast, brunch, or a snack, there’s really no wrong time to eat a donut or pastry in my opinion. Especially when they’re of the French-inspired variety.
For those of you who really want to impress, you can make them and serve them as part of a Brunch Board.
For special occasions like a birthday, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Mother’s Day, or holiday events, this French cruller recipe will be the talk of the town.
Like most donuts and pastries, these amazing Dunkin’ copycat French crullers are best served fresh.
However, you can store French crullers in an airtight container at room temp for 2 to 3 days.
If you find them to get a little hard, you can zap them in the microwave for 5 seconds or so. Just be careful not to overheat them.
French Crullers FAQs
While you can probably get away with it, it’s not my recommendation because both the flavor and texture will change in your finished crullers.
A piping bag and a 1M large star tip are needed to make this recipe. You may see piping bags labeled as disposable decorating bags. If piping bags and tips are new to you, this Wilton decorator starter set is a great place to start!
I prefer frying French crullers in vegetable oil as it will not add any additional flavors that may change the taste. Any oil with a neutral flavor and high smoke point will work, though, such as canola oil or sunflower oil.
Yes and no. These homemade pastries are a million times better when fried. If you’re going to the work of making the dough and piping them, then I would just go all the way and fry. Rarely do I say it, but in this situation, there’s no way to replicate the amazing lightly crisped exterior + soft interior without frying.
However, if you’re absolutely dead set against frying and want to make oven-baked French crullers, I recommend baking them on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet in a preheated 450F oven for 5 minutes. Flip the crullers over, reduce the oven heat to 350F, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until done. Keep an eye on them since all ovens (and donuts) vary.
I’ve never tried air frying my crullers so I can’t say for sure if the air fryer will get them crispy enough on the outside, while properly cooking through the interior.
If you do try this method, I would generously spray the dough with nonstick cooking spray or use an oil mister after you get it placed inside the air fryer basket. In my estimation, you’ll really need that bit of oil to allow the French crullers to actually crisp up. If you try air frying them, let me know how it works out in the comments section.
While it’s not absolutely essential, I truly can’t imagine not glazing them. Both in terms of preserving the tradition of the recipe and for flavor and texture, I highly recommend adding the glaze. It’s quick and easy, after all!
Yes, it is, some recipes may try to replace this with a honey glaze but honestly it’s just not the same for the true Dunkin Donuts French cruller taste. The purpose of using corn syrup in the glaze is to prevent the formation of sugar crystals so the sweet donut glaze stays syrupy, shiny, and not grainy.
It’s only 1 Tablespoon in an entire batch of homemade French crullers and not to mention that the corn syrup used by food manufacturers is much different from the corn syrup used in baked goods.
What type of pastry dough is used in cruller donuts?
These donuts are made with an egg-based dough known as pâte à choux dough, or simply choux pastry.
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French Crullers (Dunkin’ Donuts Copycat Recipe)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 egg whites, from large eggs, discard yolks or save for another use
- Oil, as necessary to fill your pot 3 to 4 inches deep; I use and recommend vegetable oil
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if it’s lumpy
- 1 tablespoon light-colored corn syrup, such as Caro
- 2 to 3 teaspoons hot water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- French Crullers – To a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the water, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and bring to a boil.
- Add the flour and stir or whisk in until incorporated.
- Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it begins to coat the bottom of the saucepan in places; remove it from the heat.
- Mixer – Carefully transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or large bowl and handheld electric mixer) and beat on medium-low speed for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled slightly. Tips – While this recipe is possible using a handheld electric mixer, it's easier with a stand mixer. So if you have one, now is the time to bring it out. Make sure the mixture is cool enough that it won't scramble the eggs upon adding them in the next step. Dip your finger into it, and if it feels semi-hot, wait another couple of minutes before moving on.
- With the mixer running, add the eggs, and the egg whites, one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next.
- After you've added all the eggs, continue mixing until the mixture is smooth, glossy, and a dough starts to hold a little shape.
- Oil – To a large stockpot, add enough oil so that it's 3 to 4 inches deep and preheat it to 375F. Do not guess, use a digital thermometer with pot clip.
- While the oil is heating, cut parchment paper into 3 to 4-inch squares and place them on a baking sheet; set aside.
- Piping – Transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a very large open star tip.
- Pipe the dough into circles about 3 to 4-inches in diameter, and place each circle of dough on top of each square of parchment.
- Frying – Carefully drop each piece of parchment with dough. Tips – it's okay to plop the whole thing in the oil. I highly recommend wearing a pair of rubber kitchen gloves or using hot mitts so that if/when oil splatters up, you don't get burned.
- Using a tongs, dip it into the oil and carefully peel the parchment from the crullers.
- Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Tips – Watch them carefully so they don't burn. They will darken up as they cool. Don't overcrowd the pan for best results.
- Place the fried crullers on paper towels on a wire rack and repeat the frying process until all dough has been fried; set aside while you make the glaze.
- Glaze – To a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, hot water, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- One at a time, dip the warm crullers into the glaze and use a fork to turn each cruller over to ensure it's completely glazed.
- Using a fork or strainer style of large spatula, remove each cruller from the glaze, and allow as much glaze to drip off and back into the mixing bowl as possible. Repeat until all crullers have been glazed.
- Transfer glazed crullers onto a wire rack and allow the glaze to set up before serving. Crullers will keep airtight at room temp for up to 3-4 days. Tip – If desired, zap leftover crullers in the microwave for about 5 seconds to soften them up a bit, just take care so you don't overheat them and make them hard which sometimes can happen in microwaves if you're not careful.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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