Easy Vegan Air Fryer Donuts With Creamy Custard Filling
These vegan air fryer donuts are super easy to make with simple ingredients. Fill them with custard, jam or whipped cream- the choice is yours!
I have to admit, I’m not much of a donut connoisseur but I do love a good custard donut now and again! I was recently browsing vegan donut recipes online and realised a lot of them were very similar to cinnamon roll dough, so I adapted my own cinnamon rolls recipe to make this one. All I had to do was add some more sugar and more butter!
I also reduced the quantities a little because my air fryer is quite small. Feel free to divide or multiply the recipe to make a smaller or larger batch of air fryer doughnuts.
I love making desserts in the air fryer because it saves deep frying, which is pretty messy, wasteful and dangerous. It’s also perfect for beginners!
Custard or cream?
There are a few different kinds of custard cream-filled donuts: patisserie, Bavarian, and regular custard donuts. Bavarian cream is a creamy custard with whipped cream and gelatine, while patisserie cream is a starch-thickened custard. Cornstarch is a common vegan substitute for eggs in custard. That means that vegan patisserie cream and vegan custard are essentially the same thing in this case.
Vegan cream donuts or vegan custard donuts? It’s up to you! You could also fill your donuts with vegan whipped cream if you prefer.
Ingredients to make custard donuts
- Self-raising flour: I modified this recipe from my Biscoff cinnamon rolls recipe, which also uses self-rising flour instead of bread flour or all-purpose flour. Because these are eggless air fryer donuts, the added raising agents in self-raising flour help to make them nice and fluffy.
- Instant yeast: This is another ingredient that will help to create light and fluffy vegan doughnuts. Instant yeast is a little easier to use than other types of yeast. You don’t need to activate it first and can just add it to the bowl with the flour.
- Unsweetened soy milk: Soy milk is the best milk for making dairy-free air fryer donuts in my experience. It’s a great substitute for cow’s milk, thanks to its high protein content. Other dairy-free milks will work but soy will produce the best flavour and texture.
- Vanilla: Adding vanilla extract helps to add a little extra flavour to the donut dough. This is optional but recommended.
- Caster sugar: Donut dough requires less sugar since we cover the donuts with sugar and fill them with sweet custard after air frying. Superfine sugar is another name for caster sugar but granulated sugar will also work.
- Vegan margarine: I use the spreadable type of vegan ‘butter’, not the blocky one. One of my go-to brands is Vitalite. Using vegan margarine instead of oil helps give the donuts a richer flavour.
- Dairy-free custard: You can’t have air fryer custard donuts without some vegan custard! You can make your own from scratch with my easy custard recipe or you can use a ready-made one such as Alpro.
- Cooking spray: This will stop the donut dough from sticking to the bowl and the donuts from sticking to your air fryer.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these vegan air fryer donuts with cream or custard:
- An air fryer: You can fry the donuts in small batches so any size of air fryer will do.
- Small saucepan: To melt the wet ingredients.
- Mixing bowl and utensils: A wooden spoon or spatula will work fine.
- Plastic wrap or a clean dishcloth: You’ll need to cover the donuts up to let them prove, and I find a dishcloth is perfect for this.
- Pastry brush: This is handy for oiling the bowl and air fryer and for brushing your vegan doughnuts.
- A skewer or metal straw: This helps make room for the custard filling.
How to make vegan air fryer donuts
Got all of your equipment and ingredients ready? Good! Let’s get making these delicious vegan custard air fryer donuts.
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together 250g of self-raising flour and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast.
Step 2: Next, place 160ml of unsweetened soy milk into a saucepan along with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 40g caster sugar and 60g of vegan margarine. Place the saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally until the margarine has fully melted.
Step 3: Let the wet mixture cool for 5-10 minutes until it’s warm to the touch. You don’t want it to be cold but it shouldn’t be too hot either.
Step 4: Pour the warm mixture into the bowl with your flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a super sticky dough.
Step 5: Transfer the dough to a heavily floured surface and knead the dough until firm and springy, flouring your hands as needed. You can do this in a stand mixer if you prefer.
When you press the dough and it springs back into place, you’ll know that it has reached the desired consistency.
Step 6: Place the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover for 1 hour. It’s best to leave it somewhere warm to help the yeast do its job. I usually put it in my switched-off oven.
Note that it’s important to leave it for 1 hour only- any longer and you risk overproving.
Step 7: After one hour, gently knead the dough in your hands for a few seconds. Then, roll it on a lightly floured surface until it’s around 1/2-inch thick.
Step 8: Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out your donuts. You should get 8-10 in total.
Place the rounds onto a non-stick tray or plate and cover again for 1 more hour. This step is important to ensure you get light, fluffy donuts! I tried skipping the second rise to see how it’d work but the result resembled more of a bread roll than a donut!
Step 9: Spray your air fryer with cooking spray or use parchment paper to grease it with vegetable or coconut oil.
Preheat your air fryer to 180°C for a few minutes. Air fry the donuts in small batches for 10 minutes each until golden brown. I like to flip them over halfway so they’re evenly browned.
Step 10: While the donuts are frying, melt 60g of vegan margarine and put 100g of caster sugar into a bowl. When the donuts come out, brush them with melted butter then roll them in the sugar. Then place them on a cooling rack or paper towel until you’re ready to fill them.
How to fill vegan donuts
Filling vegan air fryer doughnuts is actually super easy to do!
Using a skewer or metal straw, gently poke a hole into each donut, wiggling slightly as you go to open it up. Make sure to leave a gap at the bottom so your custard doesn’t slide all the way through!
Put custard or vegan whipped cream into a piping bag with a small nozzle (any is fine). Gently poke the nozzle into the hole you created and squeeze to fill the donut. You should do this slowly to ensure the donuts have some filling all the way through.
Dairy-free custard options
There are plenty of dairy-free custard options out there nowadays! You can make your own from scratch by using my custard recipe below. I’ve adjusted the quantities below so you don’t end up with tonnes leftover:
- 150ml soy milk
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 20g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of the soy milk then add it to a saucepan with the rest of the soy milk, the sugar and the vanilla.
- Heat on high, stirring occasionally until thickened.
- Leave to cool completely before using it to fill your vegan custard donuts.
If you prefer to buy your custard ready-made, here are some vegan brands:
Top tips for the perfect eggless donuts
- Do not skip the second rise! I do this with my cinnamon rolls and they turn out perfectly but this was not the case for this recipe! These are eggless air fryer donuts so they need as much rising help as they can get.
- Make sure your yeast is in date. Out-of-date yeast means dense vegan doughnuts!
- Use self-raising flour. Plain flour will also work for this donut recipe but self-raising flour will produce a lighter result.
- Let your custard cool. Custard thickens as it cools, making it the perfect consistency for filling your dairy-free air fryer donuts.
Filling and coating ideas
- Cover the air fryer doughnuts in powdered sugar instead of caster sugar for extra decadence.
- Add melted dairy-free chocolate chips to your custard to make chocolate custard doughnuts.
- Fill with strawberry jam to make vegan jam donuts.
- Add cinnamon to the bowl of sugar for a cinnamon sugar coating.
- Fill with whipped coconut cream to make super decadent vegan cream donuts.
They’re best enjoyed on the day of making but you can keep them for up to 3 days. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature.
I haven’t tested it but I don’t think this will work. Gluten plays a huge part in binding the ingredients together for these eggless air fryer donuts. Vegan baking is already a little tricky so I recommend finding a gluten-free air fryer donut recipe rather than trying to modify this one.
That’s all for now! I hope you have fun making these cream-filled vegan air fryer donuts. If you find this post useful, please give it a share using the share buttons on this page. Enjoy!
Easy Vegan Air Fryer Donuts With Custard Cream Filling
Beginner-friendly eggless air fryer donuts filled with dairy-free custard.
- 250 g Self-raising flour (plus extra for kneading)
- 2 Teaspoons Instant yeast
- 160 ml Unsweetened soy milk
- 60 g Vegan margarine
- 40 g Caster sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 60 g Vegan margarine, melted
- 100 g Caster sugar
- ∼100 g Store-bought or homemade vegan custard cold (see custard section in post body)
Mix the self-raising flour and instant yeast together in a large bowl.
To a saucepan, add the soy milk, margarine, sugar and vanilla extract. Place over low heat on the stove, stirring gently until the margarine has melted.
Let the mixture cool enough so that it's warm to the touch. You don't want it to be cold but it shouldn't be super hot either.
Add the wet mixture to the bowl with the flour and yeast. Mix well to make a super sticky dough.
Place the wet dough onto a heavily floured surface and knead until springy, using extra flour as needed. You'll know it's done when you press the surface of the dough and it springs back into place.
Place the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm or a clean dishcloth. Put the bowl in a warm place (like the inside of a switched-off oven) for exactly 1 hour.
After the hour is up, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until ½-inch thick. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out your donuts, rerolling as needed. You should get 8-10 in total.
Place the rounds of dough onto a non-stick tray or plate and cover for 1 more hour until puffy. This will ensure your air fryer doughnuts are nice and fluffy!
Grease your air fryer basket with cooking spray or vegan margarine and preheat to 180℃ for a few minutes.
Air fry the donuts in small batches for 10 minutes each, flipping them over halfway.
While the donuts are still warm, brush them with the melted margarine then roll them in the caster sugar.
Use a skewer or metal straw to poke a hole into the donuts, gently wiggling it around a little to make room for the filling.
Place the custard into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Pipe it into each donut until nicely filled.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.