When it comes to watching your calorie intake, donuts may seem like an obvious food to avoid. However, not all donuts are created equal when it comes to calories. Some varieties are surprisingly low in calories compared to their sugary, fried counterparts. So which donut has the least calories? Here’s a look at some of the lowest calorie donut options.
The Basics: What’s in a Donut?
First, let’s break down what gives the average donut its calories. A standard cake or yeast donut is made from enriched wheat flour, sugar, oil or butter, eggs, and leavening agents like baking powder or yeast. After the dough is fried, it’s coated in a sweet glaze, icing, or other topping. This combination of refined carbohydrates and fat is what stacks on the calories. An average plain cake donut without toppings has around 200 calories.
For example, a standard glazed donut from Dunkin’ Donuts has:
- 260 calories
- 31g of carbs
- 12g of fat
- 14g of sugar
Fancy donuts with more added toppings like chocolate, cream fillings, and decorations can range from 300-700 calories each. So a heavily decorated donut can deliver a significant calorie bomb.
How Can Donuts Be Lower in Calories?
To lighten up donuts, bakers and brands use a few key strategies:
- Use cake donuts instead of yeast – Cake donuts have fewer calories because they don’t contain yeast, which gives more rise and a lighter texture. Yeast-risen donuts absorb more oil when fried.
- Cut added sugars – Donuts taste sweet thanks to added sugar in glazes, toppings, and fillings. Choosing options with less sugar reduces calories.
- Reduce portion size – Smaller donuts mean fewer calories per serving.
- Bake instead of fry – Baking eliminates the calories that come from deep frying in oil.
Donuts made with healthy substitutions like whole wheat flour, fruit purees instead of added sugar, and heart-healthy oils also have fewer calories per serving.
The Very Lowest Calorie Donut Options
Here are some of the lowest calorie donuts that you can indulge in while still watching your calorie intake:
|Calories (1 donut)
|Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut Hole
|Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins (glazed)
|Entenmann’s Cake Minis (chocolate)
|Voodoo Doughnut Mini
|Tim Hortons Timbit
|Trader Joe’s Mini Cake Donuts (cinnamon sugar)
As you can see, bite-sized donut holes, cake donut minis, and mini donuts clock in at well under 200 calories. Choosing a mini option allows you to enjoy the donut flavor and texture while keeping calories reasonable.
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Holes
The lowest calorie donuts on the list are Krispy Kreme doughnut holes, at just 25 calories a pop. These golf ball-sized bites are tossed in sugar crystals or Krispy Kreme’s signature glaze. Their tiny size means you get the taste of a regular doughnut, but with only a fraction of the calories. You can enjoy a few holes guilt-free!
Dunkin’ Munchkins are another ultra-low calorie option at 50 calories each. These hole-shaped donuts are available glazed or with a variety of other Dunkin’ icings and sprinkles. Fun, poppable munchkin donuts are hard to stop eating, but their tiny size prevents calorie overload.
Entenmann’s Cake Donut Minis
Entenmann’s makes individual snack-sized cake donuts in flavors like chocolate, cinnamon, and rainbow sprinkle. At 60 calories per mini donut, it’s easy to work one of these bite-sized treats into your day.
Voodoo Doughnut Minis
Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon are creatively decorated and oozing with fillings, frostings, and toppings. Their signature oversized donuts can contain well over 500 calories each. Luckily, Voodoo also sells mini versions of some of their classics like the Old Dirty Bastard and Bacon Maple Bar donuts. The minis range from 89-142 calories, delivering all the outrageous Voodoo flavor for fewer calories.
Canadian donut chain Tim Hortons sells Timbits, the brand’s version of miniature donut holes. At around 100 calories per Timbit, you can satisfy a donut craving without going overboard on calories. They come in standard flavors like honey dip (glazed), sour cream, and old fashioned plain.
Trader Joe’s Mini Donuts
For a quick and easy low-cal donut fix, Trader Joe’s sells bags of mini donuts for under $2. The cinnamon sugar mini cake donuts have 100 calories each. Popping a few of these tiny fried treats covers your donut craving for a fraction of the calories you’d get in a full size pastry.
Healthier Low-Calorie Donut Alternatives
Beyond mini donuts, some full-sized baked donuts can also skimp on calories:
|Calories (1 donut)
|Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut (yeast)
|Duncan Hines Heavenly Donut (chocolate cake style)
|Entenmann’s Softee Donut (blueberry)
|Trader Joe’s Cake Donuts (blueberry)
Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donut
Surprisingly, Krispy Kreme’s classic Original Glazed donut clocks in at just 190 calories. It has less than half the calories of Dunkin’s version of a glazed donut. This lighter yeast-raised doughnut makes it easier to enjoy Krispy Kreme’s melt-in-your-mouth signature recipe while maintaining your healthy eating goals.
Duncan Hines Heavenly Donut
The Duncan Hines Heavenly Donut mix lets you bake cake donuts from scratch at home. The chocolate iced cake donut has 210 calories. Baking instead of frying slashes the calorie count. Whipping up a batch means you can control the ingredients and skip the added oils and sugars from store-bought baked goods.
Entenmann’s Softee Donuts
Softee Donuts by Entenmann’s have a cake-like texture and come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, lemon, blueberry, and apple cinnamon. These softer, lighter donuts are baked instead of fried. A blueberry Softee has 220 calories, making it easy to indulge in one of these flavorful breakfast treats while watching your calorie consumption.
Trader Joe’s Blueberry Cake Donuts
Trader Joe’s sells fresh baked cake donuts for under $4 per half dozen. Their blueberry cake donuts are a customer favorite. With 350 calories, they’re still one of the lower-calorie options per full-sized donut. The blueberry flavor provides an extra health kick.
Healthy Homemade Low-Calorie Donut Recipes
For the ultimate in calorie-cutting, baking your own donuts at home gives you control over the ingredients. Here are some recipes for delicious guilt-free homemade donuts:
Baked Apple Cider Donuts
These apple cider donuts have just over 100 calories per donut. They get sweetness from apple cider and cinnamon instead of sugar. Baking them cuts the calories significantly compared to fried donuts.
Glazed Baked Donuts
This baked yeast donut recipe skips the deep frying, but keeps the classic glazed donut taste. Each glazed donut has 139 calories.
Pumpkin Baked Donuts
Pumpkin is already a lower calorie baking staple. These lighter baked pumpkin donuts have 103 calories each. They’re made even healthier with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt.
Blueberry Baked Donuts
These guilt-free blueberry baked donuts have just 99 calories per donut. The blueberries add sweetness so only minimal sugar is needed in the batter.
The Best Low-Calorie Donut: Mini Donuts
When choosing the healthiest low-calorie donut, your best bet is mini donuts. Bite-sized donut holes, munchkins, and cake donut minis all keep calories around 100 or less per serving. Mini donuts allow you to indulge without overdoing calories, fat, or sugar intake.
Opt for plain mini donuts or minis with a light glaze rather than heavy chocolate or cream fillings. Dunk them in black coffee or enjoy a few as a snack. Just watch portion sizes, as mini donuts are easy to overeat since their size seems harmless.
You can also sporadically work a full-sized baked donut into your diet as a treat, or bake up a batch of healthy homemade donuts. But for the lowest calorie donut on a regular basis, tiny sizes win.
So next time a donut craving strikes, reach for mini donuts first. You’ll get the sweet taste you want without blowing your daily calorie allowance. Don’t deprive yourself – just prioritize bite-sized portions and lighter baking methods for the healthiest way to enjoy donuts.