Air Fryer Mini Krapfen: the Recipe for the Classic German Donuts in a Healthier Version!

Total time: 20 min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6-8
By Cookist

Craving a tasty treat that's both fun and easy to make? Look no further than these Mini Air Fryer Krapfen! These fluffy puffs of dough, also known as Berliner Pfannkuchen or simply Berliners, are a classic European dessert enjoyed throughout the year. Traditionally deep-fried, this recipe gives them a healthy and convenient makeover using your trusty air fryer. Making mini krapfen is super easy. First, you’ll make a dough flavored with a hint of lemon, then form them into bite-sized balls. After a quick air-frying session, they become golden brown and ready for a dusting of powdered sugar or your favorite jam filling. Perfect for afternoon tea parties, festive gatherings, or an on-the-go snack, these mini krapfen are sure to become a new favorite.

What is Krapfen?

Krapfen are puffy pastries with a rich history. These treats, also known as Berliner Pfannkuchen (Berlin Pancakes) or simply Berliners, originated in Germany sometime around the 15th or 16th century. Traditionally, krapfen are deep-fried yeast dough balls filled with sweet jams like raspberry or plum. While Berliners are the most common type, krapfen has many regional variations throughout Europe. In Austria, they're called "Faschingskrapfen" and are enjoyed during Fasching (Carnival). In Poland, they're known as "pączki" and are traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday before Lent. However, this air fryer recipe offers a healthier and more convenient way to enjoy the same delicious flavors.


  • Briefly chilling the dough before shaping helps it hold its form better during air-frying.
  • Preheat your air fryer for at least 5 minutes before adding your krapfen. This ensures even cooking.
  • Don't overcrowd the air fryer basket. Leave enough space between the krapfen for proper air circulation, resulting in a crispy exterior and fluffy interior.
  • Keep an eye on your krapfen during the last few minutes of air-frying. The cooking time can vary depending on your air fryer model, so adjust as needed to achieve a beautiful golden brown color.
  • You can also fill the donut with jam. Use your favorite fruit jams or preserves for filling. Consider flavors that complement the season, like raspberry for summer or apricot for spring. For a healthier twist, try filling your krapfen with fresh fruit compote.

Can I Use A Different Type Of Cheese In The Dough?

While ricotta cheese is commonly used, you could experiment with other soft cheeses like cottage cheese or mascarpone. Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar or other ingredients based on the sweetness of the cheese you choose.

What Kind Of Jam Or Filling Can I Use?

You can use any type of fruit jam or preserves you like. Consider seasonal flavors or experiment with different options.  For a healthier twist, you could try filling them with fresh fruit compote.

Can I Make The Dough Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can! Prepare the dough according to the recipe and then refrigerate it for up to 2 hours before shaping and air-frying.

How to Store Mini Air Fryer Krapfen

Store leftover mini krapfen in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to refresh them.


80g (2/5 cup)
250g (1 cup)
Lemon zest
50g (2/5 cup)
Baking powder
16 g
250g (2 cups)
2 eggs
Vanilla Extract

How To Make Mini Air Fryer Krapfen

In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. 

Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Beat until fully combined.

Lightly grease the air fryer basket to prevent sticking. Take two spoons and lightly grease them to prevent the dough from sticking.

Scoop out small balls of dough and gently drop them into the air fryer basket, leaving space between each one for air circulation.

Cook the krapfen at 190°C (374°F) for 5 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

While the krapfen is still warm, you can roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar. Alternatively, you can dust them with cinnamon sugar.

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