McDonald’s pull apart donut is a unique sweet treat offered by the famous fast food chain. It consists of a ring-shaped yeast donut that has been sliced into sections, allowing customers to easily pull the pieces apart and enjoy. While regular donuts have to be eaten whole, the pull apart donut provides a fun, shareable experience perfect for passing around a table. This innovative approach to serving donuts has made McDonald’s version a hit with customers looking for something different than a typical frosted or glazed donut.
History and Origins
McDonald’s first introduced their pull apart donut in 1986 as a promotional menu item tied to the animated film “An American Tail.” This movie, which featured animals immigrating to America, inspired the fast food chain to create a donut shaped like the Statue of Liberty’s crown. The donut was divided into five pull apart sections representing the spikes on Lady Liberty’s headpiece. Each piece was injected with a fruit filling, taking inspiration from immigrant families bringing their food traditions to America.
The promotional donut was very well received by customers, leading McDonald’s to begin offering it year-round. Over the years, they experimented with different dough recipes and fillings, eventually settling on the classic yeast style and sweet fruit flavored versions most familiar to customers today. While initially shaped like Lady Liberty’s crown, the donut now comes in a traditional ring form sliced into eight pull apart wedges.
McDonald’s pull apart donut starts with a simple yeast dough base. The main ingredients include:
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Active dry yeast
- Oil or butter
These ingredients are combined and left to proof until the dough rises. It is then rolled out, cut into donut shaped rings, proofed again, and deep fried to achieve a light and airy interior texture.
After cooling, the donuts are injected with a sweet fruit filling. Options have included:
- Bavarian Kreme
- Apple cinnamon
The filled donuts are then sliced into pull apart sections, plated, and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. Customers can enjoy a variety of fruity flavors in every bite.
As a sweet bakery treat, the pull apart donut is higher in calories, carbohydrates, and fat compared to other McDonald’s menu items. However, enjoying it occasionally as part of an overall balanced diet is perfectly fine. Here is the nutritional breakdown for one McDonald’s pull apart donut based on standard recipes:
As you can see, the donut provides mostly calories from carbohydrates and fats, with minimal fiber, protein, or micronutrients. The sugar content is also quite high at 16g per donut. Still, enjoying it as an occasional treat poses little health risk for most people. Those limiting sugar or calories may want to split one with a friend.
Pricing for McDonald’s pull apart donut can vary a bit by location. On average though, customers can expect to pay:
- Around $1 for an individual donut
- $5 for a half-dozen
- $8 for a full dozen
These prices position it as an affordable indulgence. The customizable options let customers order a single donut to treat themselves or buy larger quantities to share at gatherings or office meetings. Compared to other bakeries and donut shops, McDonald’s offers a very budget-friendly price point on these sweet, fruity creations.
Originally a limited time promotional item, the pull apart donut joined McDonald’s permanent bakery menu in the mid 1990s due to popularity. Today it can be found at most locations nationwide, though a small number of restaurants in isolated areas may not carry them. The donuts are prepared fresh daily at each restaurant.
They can be purchased any time of morning through the afternoon and evening. Availability may be limited late at night. The best time to buy is during normal breakfast hours when they are hot, fresh and just coming out of the fryer. Quantities often sell out later in the day.
McDonald’s also occasionally brings back special promotional versions tied to holidays or pop culture. Around Halloween you may find donuts with orange icing and sprinkles, for example. These seasonal items have even more limited availability than the classic versions.
How to Order
McDonald’s pull apart donuts can be ordered at the counter or drive-thru by simply requesting them specifically. Here are some tips for easy ordering:
- Know the current flavor options and have your choice ready. Not all locations carry every variety.
- Specify quantity desired – single, half-dozen, or full dozen.
- Request any customization likepowdered or chocolate sprinkles.
- Check packaging and ensure quantity is correct before leaving.
- For large orders, call ahead to ensure availability.
As the donuts are fried to order, expect at least a 5-7 minute wait time if purchasing hot, freshly made ones. Pre-boxed dozens may be available sooner.
Pair your donuts with a McCafe coffee or orange juice for a complete breakfast. You can also substitute donuts for hash browns as your side with an Egg McMuffin sandwich. Just ask!
How to Eat a McDonald’s Pull Apart Donut
McDonald’s pull apart donut is meant to be consumed by tearing off the individual sections. Follow these steps for properly enjoying them:
- Gently pull to separate one section from the donut.
- Each section should come cleanly apart thanks to the slicing.
- Bite into the soft, pillowy dough, enjoying the sweet fruity filling inside.
- Savor the combination of flavors between the yeasty dough and fruit injections.
- Continue separating and eating each piece until the entire donut is consumed.
- Lick powdered sugar from fingers and savor sweet residual tastes.
Pulling the donut apart brings a fun, interactive element to your snacking. The divided shape makes it easy to share with others too. Let kids enjoy pulling their own pieces off the whole donut.
While delicious on their own, McDonald’s pull apart donuts go well with several other menu items:
- Coffee – Sip a hot McCafe brew between bites of sweet donut.
- Juice – Refresh with OJ or apple juice to balance the richness.
- Egg sandwich – Substitute donut holes for hash browns at breakfast.
- Smoothie – Complement fruity donut with a strawberry or mango smoothie.
- Soft serve – Contrast warm donut with a cool creamy vanilla cone.
Any McCafe bakery item like a muffin, danish, or cookie also makes a great donut pairing if you’d like an assortment of sweet breakfast treats.
You could even construct your own DIY donut sandwich by layering sliced sausage, egg, and cheese between two donut halves!
McDonald’s pull apart donuts have earned mostly favorable feedback from customers who enjoy their unique taste and texture. Here are some common thoughts:
- Kids love tearing them apart and customizable fillings.
- They taste fresher than typical grocery store donuts.
- Yeast dough provides a softer, airier bite than cake style.
- They serve as an affordable small splurge at just a dollar each.
- Fruit fillings and powdered sugar provide sweetness without being overly sugary.
- Easy to eat on the go – no messy frosting or glaze.
Of course, some criticisms have included the following:
- Not as decadent tasting as full-size filled donuts.
- Limited flavor options compared to specialty donut shops.
- Fruit filling quality is inconsistent from location to location.
- Too small and easy to over-indulge when eating multiple.
Overall though, most customers find the pull apart donut to be a fun, affordable way to enjoy a taste of a fresh bakery treat without breaking the bank. They satisfy a snack craving without breaking your entire day’s calorie budget.
Pull apart donuts can absolutely fit into a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Here are some tips for keeping them guilt-free:
- Order just one as a snack rather than a full half-dozen box.
- Split a donut with a friend to reduce calorie and sugar intake.
- Pair with protein like yogurt or eggs to help balance blood sugar.
- Savor slowly and mindfully to prevent overeating.
- Hydrate with water or unsweetened drinks instead of sugary soda.
- Avoid extras like chocolate sprinkles and caramel dip to limit added sugar.
An occasional fresh donut is unlikely to sabotage your diet. Practice portion control, keep it to a weekly treat at most, and enjoy every bite!
Those limiting sugar or carbs may choose to substitute something else for their standard pull apart donut order, such as:
- English muffin or biscuit – swaps refined flour for a whole grain.
- Egg white delight sandwich – provides protein without the carbs.
- Fruit ‘n Yogurt parfait – lower sugar way to get your fruit fix.
- Sausage burrito – satisfies cravings for a warm, portable breakfast.
- Hash browns or oatmeal – still tasty portable carbs with fiber.
You have options to treat yourself with indulgent flavors while maintaining your health goals. Build a personalized breakfast sandwich or bowl suited to your dietary needs.
Here are some fun facts any donut lover may not have known about McDonald’s pull apart version:
- Over 2.7 billion have been sold since 1986 introduction.
- Original name was “McDonut Holes.”
- The ring shape represents togetherness and connections.
- Caramel apple filling outsold blueberry 2 to 1 in 1990s.
- Most locations make them fresh every 4 hours.
- National Donut Day in June is one of the biggest sales days.
- Chocolate frosted version tested poorly with focus groups.
The unique preparation and nostalgic taste has clearly connected with generations of customers. The pull apart method makes them fun for kids and quick for eating on the go.
Copying the Recipe at Home
While the exact commercial ingredients remain a trade secret, consumers can come close to replicating pull apart donuts with this homemade recipe:
Donut Dough Ingredients:
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted butter or oil
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Create a well in the middle.
- In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk, water and melted butter/oil.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine into a sticky dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Let rest 10 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into rings with a 3 inch round cutter. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise 30 minutes until puffy. Fry at 375F for 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Inject filling of choice into center of each donut using a syringe or Bismarck tip. Dust with powdered sugar.
This will give you a batch of fluffy, old fashioned style donuts just begging to be pulled apart and dunked into milk or coffee. Adjust the dough recipe as needed to yield thinner, crispier donuts.
McDonald’s pull apart donut puts a creative spin on the classic bakery treat. Letting customers tear off shareable sections makes for a fun, portable breakfast indulgence. The light yeast dough and fruity fillings satisfy sweet cravings without going overboard. Each donut only contains around 250 calories, so enjoying one as an occasional snack won’t break the calorie bank. Just don’t overdo it by polishing off a whole box in one sitting! Approach them in moderation and you can incorporate these tasty treats into any healthy diet. With nearly 40 years on the menu, the pull apart donut has certainly earned its place in McDonald’s bakery lineup.