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Types of donuts in American culture

Donuts are woven into American culture like few other edible consumer products.

We also wrote about the history and types of donuts in another post.

Statistics show that 201 million Americans consumed donuts in 2020, which is expected to rise to 207 million in 2024.

Why are donuts such a popular part of American culture?

Firstly it is probably because donuts are mainly sweet and Americans, like most people all over the world, like sweet things.

Then, the dough they are made of makes you feel full without the need to eat many of them.

Donuts can be made in large quantities so the short waiting time after ordering a donut contributes to its popularity.

They fit in well with a cup of coffee, both in taste and in mobility. A donut in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other can be enjoyed without the need to sit down at a table.

Description and ingredients

How donuts are made

  • Get all the ingredients together.
  • Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it till it reaches a thick consistency. This creates a mix infused with air bubbles.
  • Add the eggs one after the other while beating the mixture continuously.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the milk and butter mixture while beating it to ensure that the mixture does not form lumps.
  • Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for about two hours.
  • Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch and cut the donut shapes with two different-size cutters to create a circle with the hole.
  • Deep fry them in the cooking oil of your choice at 375° till they have a healthy brown color, usually 3 – 5 minutes. You don’t need to flip them more than once.
  • Drain on a baking sheet.
  • Roll the donuts in cinnamon and sugar or add your own topping while they are still warm.

Yeast Donuts

Yeast donuts are made from dough with yeast as opposed to baking powder or baking soda.

Yeast is considered the traditional way of making dough.

Donuts freeze well but freeze them without the sugar coating as sugar does not freeze well.

Filled Donuts

Filled donuts, or stuffed or jelly donuts, are a classic type of yeast donut. These donuts are typically round and have a sweet filling in the center.

Popular filling flavors include raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, and custard. Some bakeries offer more unique fillings, such as Nutella, and peanut butter, or savory fillings like bacon and egg.

Glazed Donuts

Glazed donuts are a simple yet satisfying type of yeast donut.

These donuts are coated in a sweet glaze, which can be made with a variety of flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, or maple.

Some bakeries even offer seasonal glazes like pumpkin spice or peppermint. Glazed donuts can also be topped with sprinkles, nuts, or other decorations to add sweetness.

Specialty Donuts

Specialty donuts are yeast donuts that are elevated with unique flavors and ingredients.

Some bakeries offer donuts made with different flours, such as almond or coconut flour, to cater to customers with dietary restrictions. Others offer flavors like matcha, chai, or lavender for donut lovers with more specific tastes. Specialty donuts may also have unique toppings such as edible flowers, caramelized fruit, or bacon.

Vegan Donuts

For those who follow a vegan diet, there are now many delicious vegan donut options available. These donuts are typically made with plant-based ingredients such as almond milk and coconut oil.

Gluten-Free Donuts

Donut lovers with gluten intolerance now have many gluten-free donut options.

These donuts are typically made with gluten-free flour and are a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches

This is a fun and unique way to enjoy donuts.

It’s made by sandwiching a scoop of ice cream between two donut halves.

Regional Donuts

Regional donuts are types of yeast donuts that are unique to a particular area or culture.

Examples are beignets a type of yeast donut that is popular in New Orleans and is often served with powdered sugar.

In Sweden, there is a type of yeast donut called “semla,” which is filled with almond paste and whipped cream, and in Japan, “anpan” is a yeast donut that is filled with sweet bean paste.

Yeast donuts are versatile pastries that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

Whether you prefer your donuts filled, glazed, or specialty flavors, there is a type of yeast donut for everyone. Exploring regional donuts can also be a fun way to try new flavors and learn about different cultures.

If you are in the mood for a sweet treat, consider trying a delicious yeast donut.

Traditional or Old-Fashioned Donuts

TYPES OF DONUTS. Traditional sugar-coated donut

These are the classic donuts that most people think of when they hear the word “donut.”

They are typically made with a yeasted dough that is deep-fried and coated in granulated sugar.

Glazed Donuts

Glazed donut

A traditional donut with a shiny, sweet glaze on top.

In contemporary donuts, glazing is used on both traditional yeast donuts as well as donuts baked with other raising agents.

Glazed donuts can have any flavor topping that can be glazed with sugar.

Jelly Donuts

TYPES OF DONUTS. Jelly donuts
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A donut filled with jelly or jam.

Cream-Filled Donuts

A donut filled with cream or custard.

Boston Cream Donuts

Donuts filled with vanilla custard and topped with chocolate glaze.

In addition to the traditional varieties listed above, there are many other types of donuts to explore. Some of the most popular include:

Long Johns

A rectangular-shaped donut that is typically filled with custard or jelly.


A twisted, fried doughnut made from a light, airy dough that is often flavored with vanilla or nutmeg.


A square-shaped donut that is typically filled with cream or jelly and dusted with powdered sugar.

Apple Fritters

A donut that is made with chunks of apple and deep-fried, often with a glaze or powdered sugar coating.

Cake Donut vs Yeast Donut

One of the main differences between donuts is whether they are made with a cake or yeast dough.

Cake donuts are made with a batter that is similar to a cake mixture, while yeast donuts are made with a dough that is risen with yeast.

Cake donuts are denser and have a more cake-like texture, while yeast donuts are lighter and have a more airy texture.

Cake donuts are also typically sweeter and have a more pronounced flavor, while yeast donuts are more subtle in flavor.

Donuts suit every occasion

These are some of the types of donuts, but new types and flavors are added all the time as people’s tastes change.

One of the best things about donuts is that they can be enjoyed at any time of the day. They are a popular breakfast option, but can also be enjoyed as a snack or dessert.

Many people prefer donuts with a cup of coffee or tea, as the sweetness of the donut complements the bitterness of the coffee or tea perfectly.

Donuts can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. They are popular for breakfast at home, on the go, as a popular treat at coffee shops and cafes, and can be found at many convenience stores and gas stations.

They are a popular option for special events such as parties, picnics, and family gatherings.