Regional Donut Varieties: A Tour of Unique Flavors Across America

Regional Donut Varieties in the US showcase a delightful harvest of donut variety and flavors that reflects the diverse cultures and tastes of the regions they originate from.

This article aims to provide a glossary of available donut varieties.

Regional donut varieties in the US
A variety of regional donuts from across America, including New England crullers, Pennsylvania Dutch fasnachts, Southern beignets, Texas kolaches, Pacific Northwest maple bars, California cronuts, Midwest pershings, Florida Key lime donuts, and Alaska sourdough donuts.

The New England Cruller

The New England Cruller donuts

New England is renowned for its classic cruller, a donut characterized by its twisted, airy structure and slightly crisp exterior.

The cruller traces its roots back to early Dutch settlers, who brought their recipes to the New World.

Traditionally made from a dough similar to pâte à choux, crullers are fried until golden and often coated with a light glaze.

The texture is light and slightly chewy, making it a perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee on a chilly New England morning.

Pennsylvania Dutch Fasnacht

Pennsylvania Dutch Fasnacht donuts

Pennsylvania’s rich German heritage is evident in the fasnacht, a donut typically made to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.

Fasnachts are often denser and less sweet than typical donuts, reflecting their traditional role as a way to use up lard, sugar, and butter before the fasting season.

These donuts can be found plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or glazed, and are deeply embedded in Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

Southern Beignets

Southern Beignets donuts

In the southern states, particularly Louisiana, beignets are a staple.

These square, pillow-like donuts are famously served hot and generously dusted with powdered sugar.

Beignets are a testament to the region’s French influences, having been introduced by French settlers in the 18th century. They are often enjoyed with a cup of chicory coffee at iconic spots like Café du Monde in New Orleans.

Beignets are not only a delicious treat but also a cultural symbol of the vibrant Southern hospitality.

Texas Kolaches

Texas Kolaches

Texas offers a unique twist on the donut with the kolache, a pastry of Czech origin.

While traditional kolaches are filled with fruits, cream cheese, or poppy seeds, the Texan version often includes savory fillings like sausage, cheese, and jalapeños. This adaptation reflects the blending of Czech immigrant traditions with Texan culinary preferences.

Kolaches are particularly popular in central Texas, where Czech communities settled in the 19th century.

Pacific Northwest Maple Bar

Regional donut varieties maple bar

The Pacific Northwest is known for its love of the maple bar, a rectangular yeast donut topped with a rich maple glaze.

This variety is a favorite in states like Washington and Oregon, where the cool climate and abundance of maple trees make maple-flavored treats especially popular.

Maple bars are often enjoyed with a fresh cup of coffee from the region’s numerous artisanal coffee shops, embodying the laid-back yet gourmet approach to food that the Pacific Northwest is famous for.

California Cronut

California Cronut donuts

California, a state known for its culinary innovation, has wholeheartedly embraced the cronut, a hybrid of a croissant and a donut created by Dominique Ansel in New York City.

In California, the cronut has been taken to new heights with unique flavor variations and local twists.

Bakeries across the state offer cronuts filled with locally sourced ingredients like fresh fruits, artisanal chocolates, and even exotic spices.

Notable variations include the avocado and lime cronut in Los Angeles and the lavender honey cronut in San Francisco.

Midwest Pershing

Midwest Pershing donut

In the Midwest, particularly in states like Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio, the Pershing is a popular donut variety.

Resembling a cinnamon roll, the pershing or Persian donut, is a yeast donut rolled with cinnamon and sugar, sometimes topped with a sweet glaze or icing.

This hearty and comforting treat is reflective of the Midwest’s preference for wholesome, filling foods that provide warmth and energy during the colder months.

Florida Key Lime Donut

Florida Key Lime Donuts

Florida’s tropical climate and abundant citrus groves have given rise to the Key lime donut, a unique regional specialty.

These donuts feature a tangy Key lime filling, often paired with a sweet glaze or powdered sugar.

The refreshing citrus flavor is a perfect match for Florida’s warm weather, making these donuts a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.

Alaska Sourdough Donuts

Alaskan Sourdough donuts

In Alaska, sourdough is a common ingredient in many baked goods, including donuts.

Sourdough donuts have a slightly tangy flavor and a dense texture, a nod to the state’s history of sourdough starters being used by gold miners and settlers.

These donuts are often enjoyed plain or with a simple glaze, celebrating the robust and hearty flavors that are a hallmark of Alaskan cuisine.

The Alaska sourdough tradition provides historical context for the use of sourdough in Alaska baking.


Exploring the regional donut varieties across America reveals a tapestry of flavors and traditions that are as diverse as the country itself.

Whether you’re a donut aficionado or just have a sweet tooth, these regional specialties provide a delicious way to experience the rich and varied culinary landscape of the United States, a world leader in donut adventure and consumption.