What goes perfectly with a fresh cup of coffee and makes a great snack any time of day? You guessed it – it’s donuts! And who doesn’t love a sweet and tasty donut?
Donuts are one of my guilty pleasures. I won’t tell you how many I would eat in one sitting, but let’s just say it’s more than three.
We all know the classic types of donuts. There’s glazed, chocolate, jelly-filled, and sprinkled. But if those are the only kinds you have ever tried, you’re truly missing out. There are plenty more from where that list came!
Type of Donuts
I don’t know about you, but when I see donuts, I run. So let’s run head-first into this delicious list of sweet treats.
A cruller falls into the pastry/donut family mainly because its texture and ingredients are very similar to that of a donut.
There are generally two types of crullers: the twisted cruller and the French cruller.
A twist cruller gets its name from its shape. These deep-fried pastries taste very similar to donuts, but they are hand-formed into a twisted, rectangular knot.
French crullers look more similar to donuts, given that they take the same ring shape that the average donut has. This version is made of choux pastry, which gives it a very light, fluffy, and airy texture.
Crullers come in many different flavors. I prefer mine with cinnamon, but you can find them topped with sweet icing, powdered sugar, and other yummy extras.
Old Fashioned Donuts
Old-fashioned donuts are very similar to cake donuts, and one might even say these types of donuts are in the same family.
At its core, the old-fashioned donut really is a cake donut, but it uses a chemical leavener that causes the ring-shaped dough to rise during frying.
Old fashioned donuts are also fried at a lower temperature than average donuts. These low temperatures make the typically smooth edges rise in ridges, which gives the ring of dough a mountain-and-valley appearance.
While typical donuts use yeast to make them rise, old-fashioned donuts use baking soda.
Because of these different ingredients, an old-fashioned donut may be slightly denser than what you find in donut shops today.
You might recognize this food item better by its other common name, fritter.
A beignet is a small French dessert that, like the cruller, uses choux pastry. Since this is the second time mentioning choux, we should take a look at what that is.
Choux is made with eggs, water, flour, and butter. Unlike other pastry doughs, choux does not have a rising agent. Instead, it uses steam to make the dough rise.
A beignet is made by beating and deep-frying the dough, which creates a hollow inside and a crispy outside.
Bakers add that sweet final touch by topping beignets with tons of sweet powdered sugar. I can’t think of anything tastier!
Cake donuts are probably precisely what you would assume they are, based on their name alone. They are types of donuts made from cake batter.
This cake batter is no ordinary box mix, though. The sweet flavors are just as good, but this batter is chemically-leavened.
And, rather than getting baked in an oven like a traditional cake, cake donuts are deep-fried to perfection.
Once the donut rises to the top of the fried, you know it’s ready to be cooled and enjoyed.
If you grew up in the early 2000s, you probably remember practically every child bringing a carton full of donut holes into class on their birthday to celebrate. Nothing made the school day better than that!
Donut holes are super common today, but they have a very practical history. It’s hard to verify stories like this, but the most popular explanation comes from an American sailor.
Supposedly, on his ship, the kitchen made fried, round cakes. However, the insides would always be too doughy.
The sailor’s solution was to cut out the inside to get an even cook all around; hence, the shape of today’s donut.
But what do you do with the batter you cut out? You turn it into bite-sized donut snacks, of course!
Some of the most popular donut holes are the munchkins on Dunkin’s menu.
Donuts are most famous for their round shape and cut-out center, but not all donuts have a hole in the middle.
Instead, some are stuffed with tasty fillings, giving you a fun surprise in every bite.
Some of the most popular types of donuts are cream-filled donuts. The most common cream fillings are Boston cream and Bavarian cream.
Boston cream is a more creamy, smooth filling with a yellowish tint to it. It’s silky smooth, thick, and irresistible.
On the other hand, Bavarian cream more closely resembles a thick frosting. It’s sweeter than Boston cream and has a lighter, fluffier texture.
In most cases, Boston cream donuts feature a simple chocolate glaze on top, while Bavarian cream donuts tend to be completely doused in powdered sugar.
If you’re not quite the sucker for a Boston cream donut as I am, then perhaps you’re more partial to the jelly donut.
A jelly donut is a whole donut with no cutout in the center, and it’s filled with jam or jelly.
There are several varieties of jelly donuts that differ depending on where you are in the world.
In the United States, we are accustomed to the standard jelly-filled donut. In Australia, they serve hot jam donuts served super warm.
Israel boasts jam-filled types of donuts that are popular during the Hanukkah celebration.
Many donut shops use traditional “red” jelly with a fruity, sugary taste, but other shops may offer different jelly fillings such as lemon, apricot, or blueberry.
Glazed donuts are, and will always be, a classic at any donut shop, whether it’s a big-time chain or a family-owned bakery.
Glazed donuts are light and fluffy pastries that use all the classic donut ingredients: eggs, flour, milk, sugar, etc. They are fried to perfection, giving you a soft, sweet bite every time.
But the most crucial part of a glazed donut is, of course, the glaze.
Glazed donuts, once cooled, are dipped into a liquid mixture of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
The sugar liquid coats the entire donut, and once dried, it forms the perfect sugary barrier that completes the treat.
Long John Donuts
The Long John donut gets its silly name from its shape.
Unlike traditional donuts, which are round and often have holes in the center, Long Johns are oblong pastries made from the same yeasted dough that standard donuts use.
Although a Long John donut may lack the usual shape, they typically taste the same as a donut and have the same fluffy texture.
Long John donuts are versatile in that they can be plain, topped with a glaze, or filled with jelly or cream.
Some donut shops go the extra mile to create wild Long John flavors, such as maple bacon. That’s a donut I would try!
Different types of donuts come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors with many countries putting their cultural twist on the pastry treat.
Spain is one of those countries. Instead of a traditional donut, Spaniards, along with other Latin countries, celebrate the churro.
A churro is made using dough or batter that is piped out into oil heated to extreme temperatures. Once fried, the stick-shaped pastry gets rolled and tossed in cinnamon sugar.
Churros are crispy and crunchy on the outside and feature a soft, fluffy interior – much like traditional donuts.
Despite the snack’s Latin heritage, they have become very popular in the United States and globally.
Many standard donuts use a choux batter and are leavened using chemical processes.
The main difference between these donuts and a yeast donut is the resulting texture.
Bakers everywhere adore yeast donuts because their yeast rising process allows them to incorporate more air while making them.
Yeast donuts are more porous than cake donuts, giving them a consistency that simply melts in your mouth.
Many filled donuts, such as jelly or Boston cream, are yeast donuts. The light, porous interior of the yeast donut makes it easier to cram filling inside; the filling simply fills in all the gaps.
Sour Cream Doughnut
What happens when you take an old-fashioned donut recipe and add sour cream? You get a sour cream donut, of course.
That’s all a sour cream donut is.
Sour cream donuts have a slightly different texture than old-fashioned types of donuts that people go nuts over.
They’re soft and tender on the inside with a slightly crispy outside. Sour cream has a high-fat content, ensuring the pastry comes out moist and heavenly.
We already visited Spain’s culture, so why not take a little gander at the Portuguese version of the donut?
Malasadas, otherwise known as Portuguese fried donuts, are confections made using sugar, eggs, wheat flour, milk, butter, yeast, and lemon zest.
Bakers craft these pastries just like donuts: shaped and fried. But a traditional malasada will not have a hole in the center. Some variations contain tasty fillings.
The original malasada has a hint of lemon and gets coated with cinnamon and sugar. If you’re ever on vacation in Hawaii, be sure to try one.
Picture a long, twisted breadstick coated in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with a sweet, sugary glaze. That’s pretty much what a cinnamon twist is!
Cinnamon twists take all the flavor of a cinnamon roll and twist them into a long breadstick that’s fun to eat and better when dipped in a glaze sauce.
The dough is very similar to that of a donut, but it’s presented in a different shape. The cinnamon is the perfect complement to the sweet pastry.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear spudnut, I think of potatoes.
And as it turns out, that’s precisely the reason behind this donut’s wacky name.
A spudnut is a donut that has minimized its flour content by adding potato starch.
These yeast-raised pastries transform dry, flour donuts into moist, flavorful, fluffy donuts.
Spudnuts are easily recognizable because their hole in the center is much more substantial than standard donuts.
The ring is thinner, making them appear similar to hoops from a carnival game.
Cronuts were invented in 2013 by a French-American pastry chef.
They are a hybrid between a donut and a croissant, filled with a flavored cream. You get to enjoy the flakey layers of a croissant with the sweetness of a donut all in one!
They shot to popularity and became an iconic New York food within 3 days.
This is an iconic pastry in Germany due to the unforgettable speech given by John F. Kennedy in 1963. As he was attempting to show solidarity with the residents of Berlin by saying he was one too, he accidentally called himself a donut.
This has become somewhat of an urban legend, although experts claim this theory is only prevalent in non-German speaking countries.
Either way, the donut is delicious and any discourse surrounding the sweet treat is welcomed.
It is also referred to as a Bismark and Krapfen. Berliners are jelly-filled donuts with no holes. They are topped with icing sugar or sweetened whipped cream before serving.
This is a kind of twisted and deep-fried donut dough.
Yum yums are much flakier and have more stretch than standard donuts.
They are commonly found in the UK and are always covered in a sweet glaze. In appearance, they look like a cinnamon twist but with glaze instead of cinnamon sugar coating!
These are a type of traditional Italian donut.
They are a traditional food to be eaten on Festa di San Giuseppe. They tend to be approximately 4 inches in diameter and circular in shape.
The zeppole can be filled with pastry cream (like cannoli), custard, jelly, or a mixture of butter and honey. They are served topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.
You can also get savory zeppoles. These tend to be made from bread dough with a strongly flavored filling such as anchovies.
If you’ve ever dined at Olive Garden, you may have tried their Zeppole from the dessert menu!
This is Poland’s take on the donut.
The dough is highly enriched, containing eggs, fat, sugar, milk, and yeast.
This dough is then infused with grain alcohol and fried. This prevents the oil from entering the dough too deeply making the paczki greasy.
This is a South African dessert that is very similar to a donut.
They are formed of 2 strands of plaited dough that are then fried in oil. The hot dough is pulled out of the oil and immediately dunked in sugar syrup that is ice cold.
This creates a very crunchy outer shell and an interior swimming in sugar syrup. These donuts are very sweet and are said to taste like honey.
This comes from Morocco. They are shaped into rings and fried in oil.
The cooked dough is dipped in honey and given a sprinkling of sugar before serving. They are eaten at breakfast time and for afternoon tea.
These donuts are also eaten for Hanukkah. This is because the process of frying in oil is reminiscent of the Hanukkah miracle about the oil in the lamp.
These are Tunisia’s take on donuts.
They are made with a yeasted dough that is shaped into rings and deep-fried. The cooked dough is then soaked in a honey syrup for 4 minutes on each side. The honey syrup is flavored with orange blossom water too.
They are coated in sesame seeds and consumed with vanilla and a drink of orange juice.
These are an Indian delicacy. They are deep-fried balls, similar to donut holes but with less of a regular shape. They are very popular market foods and you will find them all across India.
The dough is made from a mixture of flour, baking powder, sugar, and spices such as fennel seeds to provide flavor.
The dough is then fried in ghee or oil until golden and delicious. They are served warm and are commonly eaten during Hindu prayers, accompanied by Veda’s.
This is a type of donut that is popular in Northern Ontario and is also sometimes referred to as a Persian roll.
It is essentially a cinnamon roll made using yeasted donut dough. This is topped with an icing glaze and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Type of Donuts
- Old Fashioned Donuts
- Cake Donuts
- Donut Holes
- Cream-Filled Doughnut
- Jelly Donut
- Glazed Doughnut
- Long John Donuts
- Yeast Donut
- Sour Cream Doughnut
- Cinnamon Twists
- Yum Yum
Donut tell me you’re already tired of talking about donuts (see what I did there?). If you’re not a donut lover like me, perhaps it’s that you haven’t tried the right kind yet.
There are plenty of different types of donuts out there, from dense to fluffy, extravagant to simple.
You might find a new one that you love.
So, if there’s a donut on this list that you haven’t tried, give it a go, and be sure to come back and let us know what you think.
Learn more about food on our blog, from types of olive oil to traditional cuisines you should try.