The majority of people love donuts. No doubt you are one of the majority.

Donuts are one of the most popular and well-known desserts in the world.

They are deep-fried pastries that have a hole in the middle, which is often filled with jelly or cream. Donuts can be eaten as breakfast or dessert and come in many different flavors and styles.

History of Donuts

The first donuts were created by Dutch settlers in the 17th century when they started deep frying dough for a quick meal. At that time donut-makers used fat and not cooking oil like modern bakers.

The word “donut” comes from “doughnut,” which was first used to describe these fried dough pastries in 1847 by an American baker from New York named Hanson Gregory. He also invented the modern donut shape by cutting them into rings before frying them to make them easier to eat while on a busy street corner.

The rings with the hole in the middle also reduced the cooking time and distinguished the donut from the oily cakes as they were called before the hole was introduced.

The story about the nuts goes that Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother, added nuts and spices from her son’s ship to the dough.

Adolph Levitt invented the first donut machine to speed up donut making in his shop because of the crowds his donuts attracted.

One explanation of the term “doughnut” which we could not find anywhere in the history books could be that the dough was formed into the shape of a nut (as in bolt and nut) which was already in wide use in the 17the century since it was invented in the mid-1400s.

Ring donut

Ring donuts are the most common donuts with their ring or circle shape which is often filled with jelly or cream.

Donut hole sizes over the years
Photo used in the essay is from the Sally L. Steinberg Collection of Doughnut Ephemera, at the Smithsonian Institution, which points out variations in donut (‘doughnut’ UK) hole sizes in the US between 1927 and 1948
Donut hole sizes over the years
Img from the Sally L. Steinberg Collection of Doughnut Ephemera, at the Smithsonian Institution, which points out variations in donut (‘doughnut’ UK) hole sizes in the US between 1927 and 1948

The ring donut has a hole that has a history of its own.

What are the ingredients for a good donut?

The main ingredients for making a tasty donut:

  • Flour,
  • Yeast,
  • Baking powder or baking soda,
  • Sugar,
  • Salt,
  • Butter,
  • Water,
  • Milk.

The ingredients in a donut all have their own role to play in the eventual structure and taste of the donut.

Kitchen tools

You will need kitchen tools to use in baking your donuts.

  • Kitchen scale or measuring tools
  • Mixer or wooden spoon
  • Pastry bag with a 1/2-inch circular tip
  • Donut cutter
  • Linen towel
  • Deep fryer or heavy-bottom pot
  • Deep-fry thermometer if not using a deep-fryer
  • Donut pan if you make cake donuts
  • Donut machine (optional)

Are donuts breakfast, lunch dinner, or dessert?


Donuts are the perfect food on the run, but are donuts good for other times of the day?

Although donuts are best known as a quick breakfast that can be eaten on the run with a cup of coffee in the other hand, donuts have been adapted to be enjoyed any time of day.

Donuts have adapted to the modern fast-paced life with donuts enjoyed as breakfast, dessert, or snack food.

Different uses call for different shapes, toppings, and fillings, also called different types of donuts.

Types of donuts

When we speak of types of donuts we refer to donuts in different shapes, different flavors, and different fillings.

The dough or batter remains basically the same with different flavors added to the dough and baked in different shapes.

While the donut base remains the same the difference in shape and flavor or dressing creates another type of donut.,

Yeast donuts

Yeast doughnuts are distinguished from other doughnuts because yeast is used in making the dough.

Yeast is a biological raising or leavening agent that makes the donut dough raise or expand by creating pockets of carbon dioxide in the dough. The carbon dioxide expands during the cooking process resulting in a fluffy texture as opposed to a dense, lumpy dough.

Bakers use active or dried yeast depending on their preference.

Other leavening agents include baking soda or baking powder, whipped egg whites, and cream.

Cake donuts

Cake donuts are baked with chemical leaveners such as baking powder instead of yeast donuts.

Cake donuts taste more like cake whereas yeast donuts tend to taste more like bread.

The most popular branded donuts bought in shops are cake donuts. The reason is that chemical raising agents such as baking powder works much faster than yeast, which allows donut and grocery shops to bake more donuts faster.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and contains no acid. It needs an acid like milk or cream of tartar to activate it. Baking powder contains an acid such as cream of tartar so it needs no added acid.

Yeast donuts are more popular with traditional and home bakers who are focused on the art of baking and prefer the bread taste of yeast donuts.

Donut holes

Donut holes are obviously not fried holes.

They are small fried balls traditionally made from the dough that was removed to form the hole in a donut.

You can say that donut holes are donuts made from the hole dough of a donut!

These days the bakers don’t wait for the dough that was cut from the donut hole. They just roll a small ball from donut dough, fry it and sell it as a doughnut hole.

Long John donuts

Lonh John donuts are bar-shaped donuts.

They are known by many different names, depending on where in the US or Canada you are.

Long John donuts are one of those donuts that are called donuts but lack the hole in the middle. These are called donuts mainly because they are made of donut dough and often have the same toppings as traditional donuts.

Potato donuts (spudnuts)

Img: spudnuts-pixabay-truongvandoan49-24060026

Spudnuts or mashed potato donuts are made from mashed potatoes.

One good thing about spudnuts is that you can make them from left-over potatoes and you can flavor the potatoes to your liking.


Img: crullers-pixabay-wikimediaimages-1185597

Crullers (from the Dutch word for curling) are French donuts made of twisted or curled dough and deep-fried to be crunchy outside and soft and wet inside.

Crullers are often thought to be the unhealthiest donut, but they are in fact just one of the pack – not the healthiest but not the unhealthiest.

Sugar donuts are considered the healthiest with apple donuts one of the unhealthiest donuts.

Gourmet donuts

Gourmet donuts are fancy donuts.

They are standard donuts made of the usual donut dough, but the “gourmet” part is where the cook or chef lets their imagination, culinary experience, and knowledge take over to create an extraordinary donut.

The extraordinary part of a gourmet donut can be in the toppings or in the fillings.

Img: https://unsplash.com/@brookelark
This image gives a good idea of basic gourmet donuts.
Img: Brooke Lark

Niche donuts (health donuts)

Niche donuts are aimed at a specific niche of the donut market.

Niche donuts can be health donuts, gluten-free donuts, egg-less donuts, or children’s party donuts.

Any donut aimed at a specific need in the donut market is a niche donut end niches can also change as people’s tastes change.

Filled donuts

Filled donuts are just what the name says. It is regular donuts with a filling.

Fillings can be anything from custard to fresh fruit although one of the most popular fillings remains jelly filling sold as jelly donuts.

Drop donuts

Deep fried drop dougnuts
Img: https://pixabay.com/users/marjonhorn-3698690/

Drop donuts look a lot like donut holes but are made from a loose batter that flows or “drops” from the spoon into the hot oil.

Dutch drop donuts are called oliebollen “oil balls” while African drop donuts are called small vetkoek “fat cake” or “Amagwinya”.


The flavor depends on the ingredients used although donut flavors are mostly the flavors used for the topping or glazing.

Butter gives a much richer and smoother taste than margarine.

Different-tasting donuts can be made from different doughs such as carrot cake, chocolate cake, banana bread, and lemon cake dough.

One of the reasons why donuts stay popular is their flexibility. You can really use any flavor dough and any color or taste topping and make a donut from it. This makes donuts ideal to follow trends and taste changes.


Taste depends on ingredients but mostly on the filling and icing.

What we said earlier about flavor, also goes for the taste of the donuts.


Donuts are often classified and sold depending on their decoration.

It also depends on the type, flavor, and taste of the decoration.

Glazed donuts are probably the most popular donuts with jelly-filled donuts a close second.

Donut decoration really finds its place in the donut world when we talk about gourmet donuts.

How do you spell doughnut?

To close off, a question that is often asked about donuts. What is the correct spelling of doughnut?

Grammarly confirms that both doughnut and donut are correct, with the latter considered the United States spelling.

Doughnut is the older spelling and is mainly used outside the US.

It is enough to know that the spelling does not change the taste. Donuts remains an everlasting winner.

To add to the wide application of donuts in our lives, did you know that there is a donut economic model?

This article should take care of everything you ever wanted to know about donuts!