How many calories is 1 Chinese donut?

Quick Answer

On average, 1 Chinese donut (also called You Tiao or Chinese cruller) contains about 350 calories. However, the exact calorie count can vary depending on factors like the specific recipe, oil used for frying, and donut size. A small donut may have around 300 calories while a large one could have 400+ calories.

Calories in Different Types of Chinese Donuts

There are a few main varieties of Chinese donuts:

Plain You Tiao

Plain you tiao are the most common type. They are made from wheat flour dough twisted into strips and deep fried. One medium plain Chinese donut contains approximately:

Calories: 350
Fat: 12g
Carbs: 49g
Protein: 7g

So a single plain you tiao provides 350 calories, over half of which come from fat due to the oil used in deep frying.

Sugar Coated You Tiao

Some varieties are coated with white sugar or sesame seeds for extra flavor and crunch. The sugar glaze adds about 50-100 extra calories. So a sugared Chinese donut may contain around 400-450 calories.

You Tiao Stuffed with Red Bean Paste

Stuffed you tiao filled with sweet red bean or lotus seed paste are also common. The filling can increase the calorie count by 50-150 calories depending on the amount. A red bean paste-filled donut may have 500 calories or more.

Fried You Tiao

Plain you tiao are sometimes sliced and refried for a crispy texture. Double frying adds extra oil and calories. Refried donuts may have over 400 calories each.

Factors Affecting Calorie Content

Several factors account for the calorie differences among various types of Chinese donuts:

Oil Used for Frying

Deep frying is what gives you tiao their unique texture and flavor. But oil also packs on the calories. Different oils have different calorie densities:

Oil: Calories per tbsp:
Vegetable oil 120
Canola oil 124
Coconut oil 117
Olive oil 119
Peanut oil 119
Lard 115

Frying in oils with more calories, like canola or olive oil, can increase the total calories per donut compared to lighter oils like peanut or vegetable oil. The freshness of the oil also matters – older, more degraded oil absorbs more deeply into foods.

Size and Thickness

Bigger donuts mean more dough, which equates to more calories. A large, thick you tiao contains more calories than a smaller, thinner one even if they are from the same batch. Size impacts both the amount of dough and amount of oil absorbed during frying.

Glazes and Fillings

As mentioned above, sugary glazes and fillings like red bean paste or lotus seed paste add extra calories on top of the base donut. More filling means more calories.

Double Frying

Refrying in oil adds an entire second round of oil absorption, upping the calorie count. You tiao that are fried twice tend to have over 400 calories.

Cooking Method

Traditionally, Chinese donuts are made by twisting and stretching wheat dough into strips before deep frying. But some modern recipes bake rather than fry them. Eliminating oil reduces calories by 100-150 per donut. Baked versions may have only 200 or so calories.


Using an enriched dough made with egg, milk, or oil adds extra calories compared to plain flour and water dough. Sweet dairy fillings like custard are higher in calories than non-dairy fillings like bean paste.

Nutritional Benefits

Despite their high calorie content, Chinese donuts provide some key nutrients:


Plain you tiao are high in carbohydrates, providing about 49g per donut. Carbs give you energy and fiber. The twisting shape allows for a soft, layered inside with a crunchy outside.


Wheat-based donuts contain more protein than some other breakfast pastries, with around 7g per plain donut. Protein helps maintain and repair tissues.


Enriched wheat flour adds iron to strengthen the donuts. Iron helps transport oxygen through the blood and aids metabolism.

B Vitamins

Frying causes some thiamine, riboflavin, and other B vitamins to be absorbed from the oil. B vitamins help convert food into energy.

So while high in calories and fat from frying, Chinese donuts do provide some important nutrients. Moderation is key.

Tips for Healthy Enjoyment

Here are some tips to keep your Chinese donut habit a little healthier:

– Opt for smaller, plain you tiao instead of jumbo sugared kinds

– Share with a friend to control portions

– Balance with other foods like rice porridge or soy milk to add fiber, protein and nutrients

– Avoid refried donuts that are double-fried in oil

– Try baked versions if you want to significantly reduce calories and fat

– Use reduced-sugar glazes or alternative sweeteners like stevia to cut down on refined sugars

– Substitute red bean paste filling for creams/custards to minimize saturated fat

– Pair your donut with green tea or fresh orange juice for added antioxidants

Comparable Calories in Other Foods

To put the 350-400 calories in a Chinese donut in perspective, here are some other foods with similar calorie counts:

Food: Calories:
1 plain bagel 350
1 slice pepperoni pizza 350
1 cheeseburger 300
1 cinnamon roll 420
1 slice chocolate cake 400
1 chicken thigh 185
1 cup macaroni and cheese 380

As you can see, many common foods contain 300-400 calories. A Chinese donut fits right in calorie-wise with other breakfast bakery items like cinnamon rolls and bagels.

Calorie Counting Tips

To manage your calorie intake, experts recommend some general tips:

– Get your daily calorie goal based on your age, gender, activity level and health status

– Weigh and measure portions for accuracy

– Read nutrition labels closely and tally calories consumed

– Use a calorie counting app to simplify tracking

– Balance higher calorie foods with lower calorie options

– Avoid excessive consumption of empty calorie foods high in sugar and fat

– Stay hydrated with water and unsweetened drinks

Keeping an eye on calories can help maintain a healthy diet and weight when enjoying treats like Chinese donuts.


A Chinese donut, also called you tiao or Chinese cruller, contains approximately 350 calories on average. But the amount can range from 300 for a small plain one to over 500 for an extra large filled kind. Frying oil, size, fillings, and cooking method impact the calories. While high in calories from frying, Chinese donuts do provide nutrients like protein, iron, and B vitamins. Enjoying them in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet is the healthiest approach. Checking food labels, measuring portions, and counting daily calories can all help manage intake while still allowing occasional indulgence in delicious Chinese donuts.

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