Everyone loves eating donuts but have you ever wondered about their origin? Donut worry! 🙂 We have packed everything you need to know about donuts, from their history to the most popular types that you can eat.
Donuts, the delightful desserts, are cherished by people worldwide. They have been around for centuries, and their popularity is only increasing. Whether one has a sweet tooth or not, donuts are enough to brighten anyone's day.
If donuts are your comfort food, you ought to learn about the popular types of donuts. And we can assure you that after reading this article, you'll be able to call yourself a certified donut-lover!
So without further ado, let's get started.
What is a Donut?
A donut is a yeasted, fried-dough pastry shaped like a ring or a ball with a hole in the center. They are often coated with sugar, chocolate, or frosting and can be filled with jelly, cream, or custard. Donuts are usually sweet, but they can also be savory with fillings such as cheese or meat.
These sweet desserts are renowned worldwide and come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors. Plus, they can be prepared in numerous ways, and you have nearly endless options available in the market. We will shortly go over the popular types of donuts in the following sections. But before that, let's quickly take a walk through the history of our round friend, the donut.
A Brief History of Donuts
Donuts have a long and rather delicious history. You can use this as a bedtime story for your kids if you like!
Starting with their origin, donuts are believed to have originated in the early 18th century. They were initially called olykoeks or oil cakes, and made by Dutch immigrants in North America. These olykoeks were deep-fried dough balls that were coated with sugar or molasses. They didn't have the ring shape but closely resembled the donuts we know today.
However, the earliest print mention of the term "doughnut" was in 1809 in a book by Washington Irving. Then, in the early 1840s, a man named Hanson Crockett Gregory claimed to have invented the ring-shaped donut. Gregory was only 16 years old and was working on a ship. He said that he punched a hole in the center of the dough so that it would cook evenly.
In 1920, The first donut machine was invented by Adolph Levitt. He set up a donut shop in New York and sold donuts for only a nickel each! And since then, there has been no looking back.
Now that you know the history behind donuts, let's move on to the most popular types of donuts.
Popular Types of Donuts
There are numerous types of donuts available in the market, and it can be challenging to keep track of all of them. Here, we have compiled a list of some of the most popular donuts! This is where your mouth will start watering, so be warned.
This is the most popular type of donut and is also the basic donut recipe. It is a ring-shaped deep-fried dough that is coated with a sugar glaze. They are made from yeast-based dough, and you will always find a shiny coating on these donuts. However, the glaze can be flavored with vanilla, chocolate, or other flavors.
These donuts are soft and have a shiny appearance. When you dig into them, you will feel the sugar granules melt in your mouth. They come in different shapes, such as squares, rectangles, or even triangles. You can easily find them at any bakery or donut shop.
As the name suggests, these donuts are covered with sprinkles. Essentially, this type covers all donuts with lots of sprinkles on them. They can be of any shape or flavor but adding sprinkles is necessary. There are various colors and sizes of sprinkles available in the market, and you can choose whichever you like.
The types and number of sprinkles on these donuts can vary, so you can take the creative liberty and go nuts. You can make them at home by adding sprinkles to the glazed donuts or buying them from any bakery. They are sometimes called jimmies, the most common sprinkles used on donuts and other desserts.
The name reveals the most crucial ingredient in these donuts - jelly! These compact and closed cylindrical donuts are among the most popular and loved types. They are soft, fluffy, and come with a generous fruit jelly filling in the center. The filling can be of any flavor, such as strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, or other fruit flavors.
Going out of the ordinary, jelly donuts do not have a hole in the middle. Doing so gives them more space for the filling and prevents it from spilling. You can find jelly donuts at any bakery or donut shop, and they make for a great snack or dessert.
Sour Cream Donuts
This type of donut is made with a dough that has sour cream in it. As a result, they have a tangy flavor and are pretty moist. The use of sour cream makes them extra soft and fluffy. Their texture is more like that of a cake than a doughnut.
Sour cream donuts are very easy to make and are an absolute delight. Apart from the sour cream, these donuts can have other ingredients such as sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder, and flour. Moreover, these are typically available with a vanilla-flavored topping, but you can also experiment with other flavors.
Boston Cream Donut
This is a prevalent type of donut that consists of two parts - a doughnut and a cream filling. The doughnut is usually made from yeast and filled with vanilla or chocolate custard. It is covered with a thick layer of chocolate ganache.
It is one of the most classic and beloved donuts out there. They were so popular that in 2003, the Boston Cream Donut was declared the official state donut of Massachusetts. There's nothing to not like about these donuts, from their appearance to their taste. They are soft, fluffy, and have a delectable filling that oozes out as you take a bite, making them all the more irresistible.
Cinnamon Twist Donuts
These are one of the most flavorful and aromatic types of donuts. They are made with a dough that has cinnamon in it. The braid-like twisted shape of these donuts is achieved by taking long ropes of dough, twisting them, and then joining the ends. The curved shape of these donuts makes them unique and visually appealing.
Additionally, these donuts can be coated with a sugar and cinnamon mixture, adding a crunchy texture and taking the flavor up a notch. Apart from cinnamon, these donuts can also have other spices such as nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
These adorable-looking donuts are made from deep-fried dough and shaped into a small ring. They are also called a twister because of their spiral shape. You can commonly find these donuts in honey or vanilla glaze toppings.
Crullers are of two types: the hand-twisted cake donuts and French crullers. The hand-twisted ones are denser and have a chewy texture. In contrast, the French crullers are made with pâte à choux and are light and airy with a crispy texture.
This is a relatively new type of donut that has taken the world by storm. It is a doughnut-croissant hybrid made from croissant dough deep-fried and shaped into a doughnut. They are then coated with a sugar and cinnamon mixture. Cronuts are very popular because of their flaky and crispy texture.
They are light and airy, making them a perfect snack or dessert. Moreover, the topping can be of any flavor, like chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. You can also find them in savory flavors such as bacon and cheese. If you haven't tried cronuts yet, you are missing out on something extraordinary.
These donuts have a very unique and distinct flavor. They are made with a dough with coconut milk or cream, giving them a tropical flavor. Coconut donuts are generally covered with shredded or flaked coconut, adding a lovely texture.
If you appreciate the taste of coconut, then you will enjoy these donuts. They are perfect for a summer snack or dessert. You can also try toppings such as chocolate, caramel, or fruits.
This is a long, thin, rectangular-shaped doughnut filled with cream and then topped with chocolate ganache or icing. Éclairs are believed to have originated in France, and the word itself means 'flash of lightning.'
Éclairs are one of the most popular doughnuts and are enjoyed by people of all ages. Éclairs are usually made from choux pastry, which is a light and airy dough. The cream filling can be of any flavor, but vanilla, chocolate, and coffee are the most common.
This type of doughnut is basically a rectangle-shaped yeast doughnut that is cut in half and then filled with cream, custard, or jelly. Long John doughnuts are very popular in the US and are often served with coffee. They are considered the American version of the French Éclairs, so naturally, you will find some similarities.
The main difference is the dough, which is yeast-based in Long Johns. This makes them a bit denser and chewier than Éclairs. Typically, they have a chocolate coating, but you can get creative with colorful frosting and sprinkles.
Apple fritters are made with a dough with chunks of apples. They are deep-fried till golden brown and then coated with a sugar and cinnamon mixture. You will usually find them bulbous shapes with a hole in the center. These fritters are very popular in the US and Canada and are often served as a dessert or snack.
Apart from the sugar and cinnamon coating, you can also experiment with other flavors such as chocolate, caramel, or even a savory topping such as bacon. And as far as the filling is concerned, you can also add other fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.
If you wonder where the dough from the donut's center goes, donut holes could be an answer. Usually, these cutouts are mixed back with the main batter, but they can be made into these little balls. Essentially, Donut holes are small balls of fried dough coated with sugar, chocolate, or any other desired topping.
These bite-sized snacks are perfect for those who want something sweet but don't want to indulge in an entire doughnut. They are popular as it's not difficult to make them, and they are a handy snack to be eaten on the go. Moreover, you always have the chance to experiment with different flavors and toppings to make them more attractive.
Maple Bacon Donuts
Yes, you guessed it right, they are made with maple syrup and bacon. These two ingredients might sound like an odd combination, but they go very well together. The high sweetness of the maple syrup is balanced out by the saltiness of the bacon, making these doughnuts a real treat.
Maple bacon donuts are becoming increasingly popular, and you can find them in many cafes and bakeries. You can even try making them at home. Just make sure to use good quality maple syrup and bacon for the best results.
Paczkis are a type of Polish doughnut traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday, which is the last Thursday before Lent. They are made with a rich dough that is deep-fried and then filled with fruit jam or any other desired filling. Paczkis are often coated with powdered sugar or a lemon-sugar mixture.
They are slightly flattened to make it easy to bite into them. And since they are pretty rich, they are usually only eaten in small quantities. However, that doesn't make them any less delicious. They are best if you want to try something different; try out these scrumptious doughnuts.
Old-fashioned donuts are named so because they are old. They date back to the 1830s and are also known as cake donuts because they are made with cate better. Therefore, old-fashioned donuts are denser and have a cake-like texture.
They are fried and coated with a sugar and cinnamon mixture or desired topping. You can find them with powdered sugar glazes or no glaze at all. These donuts have a rustic charm and are often considered more authentic.
Cider donuts are a fall favorite and are made with apple cider. The cider is reduced to make a syrup used in the dough. Also known by the name apple-cider donuts, they have a unique taste profile that sets them apart from other types of donuts.
They are usually smaller and denser than regular donuts and have distinct shapes and textures. You can also find them with a glaze made from cider syrup. These donuts are light and have a subtle apple flavor. They are the perfect treat to enjoy on an autumn day.
Pershing donuts are a type of jelly-filled doughnut created during World War I. They were named after General John J. Pershing and were given to soldiers as a treat. Similar to a cinnamon bun, they have a spiral shape. These donuts are made with more decadent dough and are deep-fried.
They are then filled with jelly or any other desired filling. The Pershing donut is quite large and is often considered a meal in itself. If you are longing for something truly indulgent, this is the doughnut for you.
The Berliner doughnut is a German pastry made with sweet yeast dough. They have no hole and are usually filled with jam, cream, or preferred filling. These doughnuts are fried and then blanketed with a sugar and cinnamon mixture or any other choice topping.
In some countries, Berliner doughnuts are also known as a Bismark or a Krapfen. These donuts are light and have a delicate flavor. They are a real treat and are perfect for any occasion.
Other Varieties of Donuts
Apart from the ones discussed above, there are various donuts with cultural significance. They have connections to specific countries or regions. In this segment, we will briefly touch upon some of these varieties.
In Spain, they have churros. They are fried-dough pastries that are besmeared with a sugar and cinnamon mixture. These donuts are long and thin and have a distinctive crunchy texture. Best served with hot chocolate, churros are a real treat.
From India, you get two variations of donuts: Gulab Jamun and Gulgula. To give you a perspective, Gulgulas are like donut holes. They are small bite-sized deep-fried balls, but they are irregular in shape.
Gulab Jamuns are made with khoya, a type of milk solid. They have a round shape and are soaked in sugar syrup. These donuts are quite famous in India and are often served as desserts.
From Tunisia, you get the yoyos or youyous. These pastries are made with a deep-fried dough coated with a honey and sesame seed mixture. Served best with vanilla and juice, yoyos have a distinct taste.
In Africa, they have a donut-like sweet called koeksisters. They are made with a deep-fried braided dough and then coated with a sugar and syrup mixture. These sweet treats originated in South Africa and are now enjoyed worldwide.
They say you can't buy happiness, but you can buy a donut or two! We hope this guide has proven helpful to you in understanding the different types of donuts and what makes them unique. And we get it. Reading about it all might be making you crave some, so go ahead and satisfy your sweet tooth. Happy donutting!