Gluten-Free Air Fryer Boston Cream Donuts

4.8 from 11 votes
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These Gluten-Free Air Fryer Boston Cream Donuts are decadent cream-filled donuts made in the air fryer for ease of preparation. They’re inspired by the classic chocolate-glazed cake of the same name, and are utterly irresistible!

Cream Filled Donuts with Chocolate Glaze

When I was a kid, my mom regularly served Boston cream pie at birthday parties. So as I started baking gluten-free I knew I’d have to adapt this nostalgic favorite to fit a gluten-free lifestyle. But instead of cake, I decided to take those beloved flavors and use them in gluten-free donuts! In this take on boston cream donuts, I start with my air-fried gluten-free donut dough recipe, fill the donuts with sweet pastry cream, and dip them in a luscious glaze.

Boston cream pie is a classic dessert composed of sponge cake, pastry cream, and a chocolate glaze. It makes a tender and creamy cake that works perfectly turned into donuts. Loaded with vanilla pastry cream and topped with a bittersweet chocolate glaze these boston cream donuts are as acceptable as a mid-morning snack as on the dessert table. Or, why not, stacked up with candles for a birthday celebration!

A tray of chocolate-glazed cream-filled gluten-free Boston Cream Pie donuts.

Why You’ll Love this Gluten-Free Donuts Recipe

I love cream filled donuts because they feel so, so indulgent. My version of gluten-free boston cream donuts is no exception. Here are a few other reasons why I love this recipe:

  • Creamy filling, dark chocolate glaze. The flavor contrast between the sweet, cool, vanilla filling and the dark chocolate glaze is amazing. Balanced by a fluffy air-fried donut that is never greasy, this is a very special treat.
  • Air-fried for lightness. I don’t know about you, but sometimes after I eat a more traditional fried donut I feel like I’ve been weighed down. The beauty of the air fryer is that you don’t need to deep-dry your donut dough – the air fryer does a wonderful job of cooking them to that familiar donut texture we love without needing all the oil.
  • Versatile. Feel like having a sumptuous treat at breakfast time (sometimes we all need a little morning pick-me-up)? A Boston cream donut will make any morning better! You can also serve these cream filled donuts for dessert, or, as mentioned, for a birthday party. There’s no wrong time to serve these!
The interior of pastry cream is shown on a donut.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need to make these Boston cream donuts. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts and instruction details.

For the Donuts

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • Chocolate Chips: Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips are essential in the glaze.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is preferable because it adds a nice richness to the glaze, but if you are out of heavy cream you could substitute half-and-half.
  • Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter.
  • Corn Syrup: We use corn syrup in the glaze to avoid any graininess that can come from granulated sugar.

How to Make Gluten-Free Boston Cream Donuts

Follow along with the photos and instructions below for the best method for making these donuts in the air fryer. Have the dough and pastry cream prepped in advance before you start to make the full recipe.

Make the Donuts

  • Prepare the vanilla pastry cream. Follow the recipe to make the pastry cream and then store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Make the donut dough. Prepare the donut dough as indicated in the recipe.
  • Make the individual donuts. Divide the doughnut dough into 12 equal pieces and gently form them into a ball about 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover and set aside in a warm place to proof.
  • Prepare the air fryer. Once the dough has proofed, preheat the air fryer to 350℉.
  • Cook the donuts. Place 4-6 donuts inside the air fryer, leaving a little space between them. Brush the tops with melted butter. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the donuts from the air fryer and let them cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Make a hole in each donut. Poke a hole in the center using a chopstick, straw or knife.
  • Fill the donuts with pastry cream. Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Insert the tip of the piping bag into the hole in the donut and squeeze in the filling just until it starts to come out of the top.

Make the Glaze and Assemble

  • Make the chocolate glaze. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl that is wide enough to fit the donut Heat the cream in the microwave for about a minute. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then add the butter and corn syrup to the chocolate chips. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Dip the donuts in the glaze. Dip the tops of each donut into the chocolate one at a time. Gently shake the chocolate to let any excess drip back into the bowl. Set aside on a cooling rack to allow the chocolate to dry.

Tips for the Best Homemade Donuts

Donuts are not difficult to make, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they turn out well each time. Here are some tips for how to make the best gluten-free Boston cream donuts:

  • Make sure the donut dough proofs enough. To end up with a beautifully puffy donut, it’s important to let the dough proof, or rise, in a warm place. You can check on the dough about halfway through the proofing process and if it seems like it’s not rising well, you can move it to a warmer spot in your kitchen to help it rise fully.
  • Use fresh yeast. On that note, make sure you use a fresh yeast package when making the donut dough. If the yeast is old, your dough won’t rise enough and you’ll end up with flatter donuts that just won’t look or taste as good.
  • Use cold pastry cream. I find getting the pastry cream inside the donut pastry is much easier when the cream is cold. Using a pastry bag will help you slide the pastry cream smoothly into each donut.
  • Eat the donuts soon after glazing. These Boston cream donuts taste the best soon after they’re made, especially when they’re still slightly warm from the air fryer. Of course, you may sometimes want to make them a little bit in advance, so you can always “fluff” them up in the microwave for a few seconds if needed.
A Boston Cream Pie donut is stacked atop a second donut.

How to Store Donuts

Boston cream donuts are best eaten on the day that they are made, like most donuts. But if you want to save any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring the donuts to room temperature before serving.

A tray of chocolate-glazed cream-filled gluten-free Boston Cream Pie donuts.

What Air Fryer to Use

I always have my Cosori 5.8 Qt air fryer on my counter because I use it at least several times a week. You can use it to make so many great gluten free air fryer recipes like Pizza Rolls or Grilled Cheese. Or even switch up the filling in these Boston Cream Donutes to make Bismark Donuts.

A tray of cream-filled gluten-free Boston Cream Pie donuts.
4.8 from 11 votes

Gluten-Free Air Fryer Boston Cream Donuts

These Gluten-Free Boston Cream Pie Donuts are decadent cream filled donuts made in the air fryer for ease of preparation. They're inspired by the classic chocolate-glazed cake of the same name, and are utterly irresistible!
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Chilling Time + Proofing Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 donuts

Ingredients

Chocolate Glaze

  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup

Instructions

Make the Donuts

  • Prepare the vanilla pastry cream and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Prepare the donut dough as indicated.
  • Divide the doughnut dough into 12 equal pieces and gently form them into a ball about 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover and set aside in a warm place to proof.
  • Once proofed, preheat the air fryer to 350℉.
  • Place 4-6 donuts inside of the air fryer, leaving a little space between them. Brush the tops with melted butter. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove the donuts from the air fryer and let them cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Poke a hole in the center using a chopstick, straw or knife.
  • Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Insert the tip of the piping bag into the hole in the donut and squeeze in the filling just until it starts to come out of the top.

Make the Glaze

  • Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl that is wide enough to fit the donut.
  • Heat the cream in the microwave for about a minute. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add the butter and corn syrup to the chocolate chips. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate one at a time. Gently shake the chocolate to let any excess drip back into the bowl. Set aside on a cooling rack to allow the chocolate to dry.

Notes

  • Note that the separate gluten-free donut dough and vanilla pastry cream recipes are not included in the nutritional value calculation for this recipe.
Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free Air Fryer Boston Cream Donuts
Amount Per Serving (1 donut)
Calories 487 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 13g65%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 172mg7%
Potassium 180mg5%
Carbohydrates 67g22%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 682IU14%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 119mg12%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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