Home German Holidays and Festivals Fasching / Karneval German Krapfen Recipe…. Fried Dough Treats!
German Krapfen Recipe…. Fried Dough Treats!

German Krapfen Recipe…. Fried Dough Treats!


german krapfen recipe

faschingkrapfenOne of my father’s favorite food memories is his Mother’s German Krapfen Recipe that she would make every year on New Year’s Eve and on Fastnachtdienstag (Shrove or Fat Tuesday). These are Rheinische  Öl Krapfen, which means they are a fried yeast dough filled with raisins… sort of like a donut, but not (so don’t make these expecting them to taste like Krispy Kremes, Winchell’s, Dunkin Donuts, or even Zombie Donuts). Maybe the closest relative is a deep fried raisin danish.

When I was growing up, my mother would make them from time to time… and I loved standing there by the stove, eating the hot fried dough after it was rolled in a coating of sugar.


So, today, I was having one of those days (you know, the kind of day where you can either clean the house, or buy a gallon of gasoline, splash it around the place and light a match), so I decided it would be a good day to make Krapfen.

Sure, fried dough isn’t the most healthy of snacks…. but I figured that the kneading of the dough by hand would work some of those calories off.

Plus, the mood I was in? better to stand back, and let me eat the Krapfen.


Seriously, these taste yummy warm from the fryer… but as they sit… they get hard, and a bit tasteless.

Sort of like funnel cakes… you have to eat them right away.

Rheinische  Öl Krapfen History

german krapfen recipe(You can skip this and scroll straight down to the German Krapfen recipe)

Why do we eat Rheinische  Öl Krapfen at New Year?

You didn’t think you’d come away without learning something, did you?

Krapfen go back to the 2nd century BC! The Romans ate them covered in honey… which actually sounds pretty good right now…. (truth is, if you leave Krapfen out on the counter overnight, they taste a bit like they’ve been around since the 2nd century…so eat them WARM and FRESH).

They are mentioned again in the 12th century in Monastery cooking instructions as Craphun…to be made as celebration food before a time of fasting.

This German Krapfen Recipe is a from the Rhineland… Rheinische Krapfen are traditionally made by cutting the dough off from the main blob with a spoon, there are hooks of dough left… it is though that this is where the name Krapfen came from… krapfen are little hooks…

Fried Food… like Krapfen and Berliner… as well as treats like Donuts or Beignets.. are traditional celebratory foods, especially in times before a fast. Fat Tuesday is the last hurrah before Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. Krapfen are eaten then as well as New Year.



German Krapfen Recipe

German Krapfen Recipe for New Year

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 18- 20 Krapfen

German Krapfen Recipe for New Year

You can make Rheinische Krapfen traditional way... with raisins, both regular and golden. Or you can toss in Dried Cranberries (which I very much prefer to raisins). Some traditional recipes will call for those dried orange bits that go into fruitcake. Or... You can make them without any fruit (my kids love them plain).... and roll them in cinnamon sugar.


  • 4 tsp (25 gram) Yeast
  • 2 Tbl Sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) LukeWarm Milk
  • 3 cups (375 gram) Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Raisins
  • Dried Currents or Dried Cranberries
  • 1 - 2 TBL grated Lemon Zest
  • 5 cups (1 liter) Oil for Frying
  • 1 to 2 cups Granulated Sugar


  • Combine the Luke Warm Milk, Yeast and Sugar in a small Bowl or Measuring Cup. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Put the Flour in the Bowl of a Mixing Bowl... make a well in the flour.... pour in the risen yeast mixture.
  • Add the Eggs, then beat the eggs, flour and yeast mixture together until combined.
  • Put the dough on a lightly floured counter... then knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. Knead by pushing the dough with the heel of your hand.. then fold the dough over on to itself... and push again. You can knead the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook, but I find that kneading therapy keeps me somewhat sane during crazy days. And I don't feel so bad about the calories when I've had a workout....
  • Put a spoonful or two of oil into a bowl, drop the dough in, roll it over to cover in oil, and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Set in a warm space to rise. I usually turn the oven on for a few minutes... then shut it off and set the dough bowl inside (don't forget it's in there and turn the oven back on... )
  • (Go lie down for an hour....lock the door and tell everyone not to bug you OR ELSE!!)
  • Ok... dough doubled? Let's keep going...
  • If you have a fryer... pour in the oil, and set the temperature to 325. If you don't have a fryer... get a medium pan, pour in the oil, and clip a thermometer onto the side. Bring it to 325.
  • Set some Paper towels near the pan or fryer... and set a bowl of Granulated sugar next to that.... and a plate next to that.
  • Dump the Dough onto the counter... sprinkle the Lemon zest over the dough, along with half of the fruit. Fold dough over, pat down, then cover the folded dough with the rest of the fruit. Knead together 2 or 3 times to mix.
  • Let rest for a few minutes.... it will puff back up a bit.
  • ok, You have the hot oil... the sugar.... and the dough puffing back up. Time to start frying.
  • Traditionally, people would cut off a bit of dough with a spoon... I used a knife. You want bits about the size of a ping pong ball... more or less. This isn't an exact science.
  • Drop the pieces into the hot oil... no more than 5 at a time... Let fry for 4 minutes... roll over with a slotted spoon.
  • Pull the fried pieces out and let dry a bit on some paper towels... then move to the sugar bowl.
  • Coat Completely!!! Throw on extra! Make it a Party!
  • Move to a Serving Plate.
  • These are best warm... so either eat them straightaway, or keep them warm in a low oven.


A Deep Fryer Makes These Easy

german krapfen recipePresto 05443 CoolDaddy Cool-touch Deep Fryer – Whitegerman krapfen recipeT-fal FR8000 Oil Filtration Ultimate EZ Clean Easy to clean 3.5-Liter Fry Basket Stainless Steel Immersion Deep Fryer, 2.6-Pound, Silver



Step By Step Instructions to Make this German Krapfen Recipe (with Photos)

Combine Lukewarm Milk, Sugar and Yeast

Now Walk Away for a Few Minutes

german krapfen recipe

Ten Minutes Later….

Risen Yeast!

german krapfen recipe

Pour the Risen Yeast Mixture into the Flour

Make a Well In the Flour First

german krapfen recipe

Add the Eggs and Mix it all Together

When it pulls away from the side of the bowl…. it’s time to knead

german krapfen recipe

You CAN Mix and Knead By Hand

I Kneaded By Hand… Heel of the Hand into the Dough… Push, Fold, Repeat

You Can Use a Dough Hook if you Want

german krapfen recipe


Poke it with Your Finger… It Will Rise to Fill the Poked Hole

german krapfen recipe

Put a Spoonful of Oil into A Bowl

This is so the dough won’t stick

Roll the Dough Ball in the Ball to Cover it With Oil

Cover with A Piece of Plastic Wrap, and Set it Aside for an Hour in a Warm Place to RIse

I usually turn the oven on for 3 minutes… then off… and set the bowl in the Oven to rise.

german krapfen recipe

Heat the Oil to 325 Fahrenheit

160 Celcius

german krapfen recipe

Frying Krapfen (or Donuts)

You can use a fryer or pot with a thermometer

Prepare Your Sugaring Station

Near the Oil… Set a Stack of Paper Towels, a Bowl of Sugar and a Plate to hold the Krapfen

german krapfen recipe

Get Your Lemon Peel and Raisins (or cranberries) Ready… Dump Out Dough

I Like Cranberries… the kids like NOTHING

german krapfen recipe

Sprinkle the Lemon Peel and Half of the Raisins on the Dough

german krapfen recipe

Fold the Dough Over the Lemon and Raisins

Cover with the Rest of the Raisins

german krapfen recipe

Mix Dough By Kneading a Few Strokes… then Let it REST

Just 10 minutes or so

german krapfen recipe

Cut Bits Of Dough Off the Main Dough Ball

Traditionally, a Spoon is Used… I used a Knife

german krapfen recipe

Drop (carefully) Into the Hot Oil

Stir or Flip with a Slotted Spoon

german krapfen recipe

After Four Minutes… Remove Dough Balls With a Slotted Spoon

Dry a Bit on Paper Towels

german krapfen recipe

Roll Around In Granulated Sugar

Some People Prefer Powdered Sugar… I don’t… But I Would Try Cinnamon Sugar…

german krapfen recipe

Done… Serve Warm

Keep Them Warm in a Low Oven

german krapfen recipe

Krapfen Variations

Vanilla Krapfen– Just add a tablespoon of Vanilla Extract to the Dough while mixing it up)

Roll Them In Cinnamon Sugar (Just Mix a Spoonful of Cinnamon into a Cup of Sugar…. it’s not science)

Plain Krapfen (Non-Traditional…but this is how my kids like them)

More Krapfen Recipes

german krapfen recipeKrapfen, Kipferl, Brezen & Co.: Das Traditionsgebäck der österreichischen Bäuerinnen (German Edition)german krapfen recipeKrapfengerman krapfen recipeHefeteig. Krapfen, Plunder und co.german krapfen recipeDas Krapfen-Kochbuch

german krapfen recipe


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