I can understand that there are people who never tried eclairs, Mille Feuille, or Paris-Brest. What I can’t understand is that there are people who never tried donuts, or even worse, people who don’t like donuts.
However, if you tried a donut and didn’t like it, luckily for you, there are approximately 30 types of donuts still awaiting for you to give them a shot. So below this paragraph, we will continue exploring the tasty world of donuts, together.
25 Different Types Of Donuts
Donuts are one of the most popular comfort food around the world. Foods like pizza, muffins, and burgers are the ones in close competition. Now I’m sure that most people think that there are only two to five different types of donuts, but that’s wrong.
Donuts go as far back as ancient Roman and Greece times. Although donuts are something that associate us with American culture (thanks to the movies where the policemen never drank coffee without a donut) donuts were actually brought to the country by the Dutch settlers.
There are two main typed of donuts – yeast and cake batter donuts, and the rest are different variations to them. Some even use brioche or sourdough doughs to make regular donuts but these are very rare.
Every country in the world has its own variation of a classical yeast donut. In Italy, they are called Zeppoles, in Portugal Malasadas, in China, they are called Youtiao and they look more like Churro than a regular donut. While in Turkey that is a dessert called Tulumba.
Here is how donuts evolved depending on location and ingredients that were available for making dough.
1. Yeast donuts
This is a type of donut that we are all familiar with. An old-time classic, that has a light and fluffy texture and a hole in the middle. Someone even calls them raised donuts since they need yeast to grow.
Since they aren’t sweet on their own, usually they are topped with granulated or powdered sugar, cinnamon, various frostings, and melted chocolate. Most local donut shops have a wide variety of different yeast donuts.
2. Cake donuts
This is the second most popular type of donuts. The main difference is that this version uses baking powder for rising instead of yeast. So naturally, their texture is a bit different. They are denser and have a drier texture that crumbles.
The batter can be plain vanilla or chocolate. There are a lot of different options, but mostly they are coated with sugar glaze or frosting. They are great for dipping in coffee, hot chocolate, or tea.
3. Glazed donuts
This is what most people imagine when you say donut. Glazed donuts can be both made from yeast or cake batter, depending on which version you like better. They get their name because they are always coated with some kind of glaze.
The most popular choices are sugar glaze, chocolate glaze, honey glaze, and maple glaze.
4. Sugar and powder sugar donuts
Mostly yeast donut batter is used for making this type of dessert since this dough isn’t sweet on its own and holds the sugar better. Depending on which type of sugar you prefer, you can coat it in granulated or powdered sugar.
Sprinkle it with a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or lemon zest to enhance the flavor. Simple and delicious.
5. Crumb donuts
Crumb donuts are made from both yeast or cake dough and in most cases they are oven bakes not deep-fried. Since yeast dough is better for frying, I prefer my crumb donut from cake dough. After you bake them they are soft, moist, and remind you of cake.
These donuts are coated with sugar, cinnamon, and crumbs to get that crunchy texture. In fact, their taste is similar to cinnamon rolls.
6. Chocolate sprinkle
The most popular type of donut among the kids and those who feel like kids. They are made from both yeast and cake batter and topped up with chocolate icing and different sprinkling options (regular sprinkles, chopped nuts, or frozen fruit).
You can use dark, milk, or white chocolate to make the frosting. Also, you can add flavoring and colors into melted white chocolate in case you want to make them more visually appealing.
7. Fruit, cream, custard, or jelly filled donuts
These donuts are usually made out of yeast batter and they don’t have a hole! After they are deep-fried you can add a different kind of fillings like:
- Preserved fruit fillings like sauces, jams, and marmalades;
- Creams of your choice (Nutella for example);
- Jelly fillings.
You need to use a syringe to inject the filling inside them. Generally, these donuts are coated with sugar and rarely glazed or frosted. The most popular filling is blueberry and strawberry jam.
8. Sour cream donut
These donuts are cake batter donuts but there is a little difference. Sour cream is incorporated into the batter to provide a cakey and moist texture. Also, they are coated with sour cream and sugar glaze.
They are extremely caloric and high in fat so if you watch your weight this is not your cup of tea.
9. Boston Cream donut
This is a filled type of donut made with a yeast batter. They do not have a hole, and after they are deep-fried they are filled with different types of custard. What is characteristic form them is that their tops are always dipped in chocolate.
You can garnish them with sprinkles, chopped nuts, or even cream.
10. Cinnamon Twist donuts
Yeast dough donuts that are first shaped into a long worm and then tied in a knot or twist, the esthetic choice is yours. They are always deep-friend and coated with granulated sugar and cinnamon. Ten out of ten companions for a cup of Americano when you need a break.
11. Apple fritters
This is a type of fruit-filled donut the only difference is in a shape. It is made from yeast dough and filled in with cooked apple chunks and cinnamon. You roll out the dough and sprinkle the half with apples. Use another half to place over the apples and make some kind of strudel form.
Cut it in one-inch circles, and deep fry it. Coat it with a sugar glaze made with vanilla and milk. You can watch the process here. You are welcome.
12. French crullers
These are little pieces of art. The yeast dough is rolled out and cut into triangles. After that skilled hands need to braid the triangle into something that in shape looks like a torpedo and then shaped it into a circle, or even rectangle.
For fancier versions, you can make them from dough for profiteroles or eclairs. They are always deep-fried and coated with sugar or honey glaze, or melted chocolate.
A tasty hybrid between the two most popular coffee deserts – a croissant and donuts. They have a specific texture thanks to the croissant side, and a special kind of flavor thanks to the grapeseed oil used for frying.
They are lightweight, tall, and hollow. You can find them with holes or without them, filled or glazed, or simply coated with sugar and cinnamon. The options are endless.
Most people don’t think that churros are a part of the donut family tree. However, they indeed are! The batter is made with yeast and you’ll need to use a special kind of device that will help you shape up churros.
They are very popular in Mexico and Latin America. Mostly they are served with melted chocolate sauce and coated with granulated sugar and cinnamon.
This is a very uncommon type of donut. The dough is made with mashed potato, eggs, potato starch, honey, lemon zest, and yeast. They are deep-fried and they must have that crispy texture on the outside but stay soft and light on the inside.
Since they are invented in America in the early 1900s they are very simple. The hole in the middle is a must, as well as sugar, honey, or maple glaze. The Italian version of this desert is called Graffe Napoletane.
16. Coconut donuts
These are classic yeast or cake batter donuts that are coated with shredded coconut after they are coated with a sugar glaze. But this is not all. The point of these donuts is the crunchy and crackly texture they achieve after a coated donut is toasted or broiled for a short time.
17. Long Johns
A donut that is inspired by the Eclairs. Long Johns are made from yeast dough that is shaped in a long rectangular. Along the middle, you’ll need to make a little dent that after frying, you will fill with cream, custard, or jam.
Use a spoon to coat the top with melted chocolate and your Long John donut is ready for serving. There is also a maple bar Long Jhons that is filled with custard and covered with maple glaze instead of melted chocolate.
18. Bear Claw
A pastry made from yeast dough that is more similar to Danish than a donut. These donuts are very simple the only problem is that shaping them is a bit tricky.
You’ll need to roll out the dough and cut it into squares. Fill it with almond paste and fold the dough over it and seal the edges. With the knife make four slits on the dough and push the sealed edges inward to open the cut lines and get the look of a claw.
Coat each with an egg wash and bake in the oven. Sprinkle it with sugar glaze and chopped almonds on top.
19. Devil’s Food donuts
These devilish treats are specifically made out of chocolate cake donut batter and baked in donut-shaped molds in the oven. After the baking, they are coated with one or two coats of chocolate icing or glaze, it is your choice.
Sprinkle them with chopped nuts, chocolate bits, or rainbow sprinkles. They are a perfect comfort food snack with a warm glass of milk.
20. Donut holes
The name says it all. After you make regular yeast donuts and you end up with leftover holes there is only one thing you can do – make fried donut holes. These simple one-bite donuts are great for kid’s snacks. Coat them with sugar or melted chocolate.
Let’s not try to pronounce this name, and when you end up in a donut shop that has these delicious donuts, just point with your finger and they will know. Jokes on a side, these donuts originate from Poland and they are served on Fat Thursday.
They are made from regular yeast donut dough. They don’t have a hole, mostly are filled with jelly or jam, deep-fried, and coated with powder sugar.
This is a French version of a donut. It is made from deep-fried choux dough and is always shaped as a square and not a circle. Mostly they do not have any filling inside, but if they do it is usually a chocolate cream or fruit.
The coating is strictly powdered sugar and never glaze or frosting. In France, it is usually served alongside coffee.
23. Apple cider donuts
Apple cider donuts are logically made in autumn when the apple cider is ready. What differentiates them from regular donuts is their taste, texture, and size. They are tastier and denser due to the addition of the apple cider in a batter and are shaped in smaller circles.
The hole in the middle is a must as well as a generous coat of granulated sugar and cinnamon. Pair it with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
24. Pershing donuts
Also known as a Persian roll, most similar to cinnamon rolls. The only difference between them is the type of dough and the fact that Pershing donuts are fried. This version uses yeast-based donut dough.
Deep-fry them until golden brown and coat them with a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon, a classic sugar glaze, or cream chase and sugar glaze.
25. Berliner donuts
Berliner is a German version of Paczki or cream and jelly filled donuts. A dough is classical yeats based deep fired in oil without a central hole. The filling inside is either jelly, jam, or vanilla cream.
The coating is powdered sugar, sugar glaze, or whipped cream.
What type of donut is most popular?
The researchers claim that classic yeast-based donuts filled with cream and coated with frosting are the most popular donut type in the world. On the other hand, if you are in search of the healthiest version, that would be curlers since they only have 10 grams of sugar per piece.
Why do donuts have a hole in the middle?
I bet that you never thought about this, but there is a logical explanation trust me. Did you know that the reason why the hole is made is not esthetical it is practical instead?
When you make the hole in the donut, the dough will be evenly cooked on the inside and outside. This is why donuts without the hole are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Can donuts be baked in the oven?
Yes, they can, but depends on the type of dough you will use. For instance, the yeast-raised dough isn’t the best choice for oven baking, they need to be deep-fired to achieve the fluffiness and that air-light texture that is characteristic of them. Cronuts should be deep-fired as well.
If you want to cut on the oil consumption, you can bake donuts, but make sure you use cake donut batter brioche or sourdough batter since they keep the same texture when baked or fried.
No matter if you say doughnut or donut we all think about the same thing – a deep-fried crispy golden circle of dough. They are delicious, quick, and easy-to-make dessert that for a lot of obvious reasons is one of the most popular comfort food around the globe.
With so many varieties available it is not possible to not love donuts! Tell us in the comments below which is your favorite type of donut? Or share some interesting donut recipe that is not in this list.