Donuts from Argentina, bolas de fraile

Today is national Donut Day or Doughnut Day and I am going to celebrate it with donuts from Argentina or Uruguay. They are called bolas de fraile or berlinesas. In Germany donuts are called Berliner, Berliner Pfannkuchen, Kreppl, or Krapfen as this probably already explains where “berlinesas” are from. Apparently, German immigrants took this delicious donut to Argentina. However, one main difference is the filling. Whereas German Berliner are filled with strawberry jam or jelly traditionally, Argentinians will rely on their beloved dulce de leche, which is a caramel made from sweetened milk. A small difference is also how these are dusted with sugar, in Germany you will traditionall dust only the top part with icing sugar whereas in Argentinia regular sugar is used to roll the entire ball in it. Be it as it may, I hope you will enjoy these sweet little yeast treats, which are fried, filled with dulce de leche and rolled in sugar. Regardless of whether Germans brought them or not (another name is bolas de fraile, which literally translates as “balls from Monchs”), these little donuts will for sure sweeten your day.

I know I sound like a broken record, but dulce de leche is as popular in Latin America as is Nutella in Germany. It is used as a spread for breakfast and cannot be left out if you go into baking. It pratically is a staple. One example is this sponge roll filled with dulce de leche. So if the original recipe is from Germany, no wonder Argentina was like “Sure, we like the dough, we like the donut, but we will use our beloved dulce de leche as a filling instead.” As the yeast dough is only lightly sweetened, a sweet filling seems to work very well. I also decided to go for an Argentinian recipe to be as close to the Argintinian version as possible. I hope you have fun making these donuts.

Credit: Matias Chavaro, Youtube video in Spanish

Donuts from Argentina, bolas de fraile

Serves: About 6-8 bolas de fraile, depending on size
Prep Time: 30min Cooking Time: 10min Total Time: 45min

These donuts from Argentina, bolas de fraile, are filled with dulce de leche and dusted in sugar


  • 75 grams of milk
  • 1 standard packet of active dry yeast
  • 30 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 250 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams of butter at room temperature
  • About one liter of neutral oil (I used canola)
  • Sugar for dusting
  • About 300 grams of dulce de leche, you will find a recipe here if you want to make it yourself



Heat the milk lightly (lukewarm) and mix with yeast, sugar and vanilla extract. Let sit for 5-10min. You should see some change, e.g. bubbles or similar. If not, your yeast is not active and you have to redo it. Then, in a large mixing bowl, put flour, egg and add the milk mixture to it. Knead for five minutes on low. Then add the butter by chunks, knead again for five minutes. I switched to kneading by hand after a while as I felt it was faster. The dough should feel elastic. Form to a ball and let rise for at least an hour, covered. It should double in size (it took 1 1/2 hours for me).


Punch down the dough and work into six to eight equal balls. Set them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise again for at least half an hour or double in size (45min for me). Heat frying oil in a large pan, at least 2cm high. Be sure only to heat on medium heat as you don't want raw donuts on the inside yet super dark outside. Carefully place donuts in the frying pan (I managed four at one time, they also grow a bit more) and brown on one side, this takes a few minutes, then flip over with two forks and also brown the second side. Take out and let cool off. Repeat with all donuts. Once cool, roll in sugar. Then you can either make a small hole on the side and pipe the dulce de leche inside with a piping bag, or you can cut the donuts in half and smear the dulce de leche inside. These donuts are best within a few hours or on the day made. If kept in an airtight container, you may eat the second day, but they will not be as good.

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  • Reply
    Friday June 2nd, 2023 at 11:39 AM

    Mhhhh, das ist ja auch eine tolle Version, liebe Jenny. Und wer kann bei Dulce de leche schon widerstehen?

  • Reply
    Britta von Backmaedchen 1967
    Friday June 2nd, 2023 at 02:21 PM

    Wie lecker mit Dulche de Leche, um es mit Zorra Worten zu sagen …geiles Zeugs ?. Mich hast du damit sofort.

  • Reply
    zorra vom kochtopf
    Friday June 2nd, 2023 at 03:31 PM

    Mit Dulce de Leche!! Da kann ich nicht nein sagen! Was ich natürlich auch sonst nicht würde, die sehen nämlich sehr sehr köstlich aus.

    Happy Donut Day!

  • Reply
    Caroline | Linal's Backhimmel
    Friday June 2nd, 2023 at 07:33 PM

    Oh, wie cool, argentinische Donuts und sie sehen auch noch so lecker aus!
    Liebe Grüße

  • Reply
    Saturday June 3rd, 2023 at 12:55 AM

    Liebe Jenny,

    Happy Donut Day!
    Deine Donuts sehen himmlisch lecker aus.
    Dulche de Leche ist so einfach zu machen und mit einem großen Wow Geschmack.

    Herzliche Grüße


  • Reply
    Simone von zimtkringel
    Saturday June 3rd, 2023 at 09:55 AM

    Oh ja, die passen bei mir auch noch ganz wunderbar auf den Donutteller! Tatsächlich wäre so eine kleine Auswahl von jedem toll. Liebe Grüße

  • Reply
    Saturday June 3rd, 2023 at 10:11 AM

    Die sehen richtig gut aus deine Donuts! Und dann noch gefüllt… leckeeeeer 🙂
    Liebe Grüße, Bettina

  • Reply
    Kate Bieger
    Wednesday November 8th, 2023 at 07:09 PM

    Thank you for the recipe! I’m going to make these with my son tomorrow for a school project on Argentina. I’d like to prepare the dough at night and fry the donuts in the morning. Would it make sense to prepare the dough and let rise overnight, and then would I divide it up into the 8 balls in the morning and let rise again before frying? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Wednesday November 8th, 2023 at 07:23 PM

      Hi Kate, yes, you can do that. However, I would recommend lowering the amount of yeast, use about half of the given amount. As you suggested, first rise in the fridge, then take out, let come to room temperature, let rise a second time and proceed as described. Please let me know how it turned out. Best, Jenny

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