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19 Different Types of Donuts: A Definitive List

BY: Andy Seifert | Nov 15, 2018

 
It's no coincidence that humanity's two finest inventions resemble each other. First came the creation of the wheel; then millennia later, in a similar stroke of genius, came the donut, an ingenious confection made of fried dough.
 
We live in a golden age, when there are dozens of different types of donuts available. Below, we attempt to definitively list the greatest of these varieties, the ones you have to eat in your lifetime. (Might we recommend a donut deal to get started?)
 
Of course, no list of the different kinds of donuts could include every single type. There are thousands of brilliant donut bakers concocting new flavor combinations and fried-dough shapes every day. But these 19 span the greatest donuts ever conceived:
 
 
1. Glazed: Our list of donuts had to start with perhaps the most-ubiquitious one of all time; if you've never had a glazed donut, go find one right now.
 

Shape: Classic ring-shaped circular, with a hole in the middle.

Topping: A sugary, milky glaze, sometimes with a hint of vanilla.

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Apple Fritter:
Someone thought apples were a little too healthy for their taste, rolled them into dough, sprinkled in some cinnamon, and deep-fried them. Voila!

Shape: They can take a variety of shapes, but often lovably asymmetric and bulbous.

Topping: Sometimes a glaze, but more often with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.

3. Long John: Sometimes filled with custard or jelly, Long Johns are America's blue collar answer to the éclair.
 

Shape: A long, rectangular bar.

Topping: Typically a colorful frosting (sometimes with sprinkles)—but just about anything goes.

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Cinnamon Twist: This cousin of the cinnamon roll trades icing for confectioner's sugar—it's a mainstay in most American donut shops.
 

Shape: Long and twisty.

Topping: Either a delectable combination of cinnamon and sugar, or a cinnamon-sugar glaze.

5. Pączki: Is it Mardi Gras? Then it's time to munch on this classic fruit- or cream-filled Polish pastry, which is pronounced PUNCH-kee.
 

Shape: Circular and wide

Topping: Often powdered sugar, but some variations include a chocolate glaze.

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Maple Bacon: This mother of all gluttonous donuts, the maple bacon donut brings together the flavors of maple syrup with bacon sprinkles (or, sometimes, a full strip). It's a delicious as it is unhealthy.
 

Shape: Can come in any shape or size.

Topping: Maple-syrup frosting and real bacon.

7. Donut Holes: No list of the different types of donuts would be complete without mentioning donut holes, which bakers like to say were created when they poked the hole into a regular donut.
 

Shape: Small (always bite sized) and shaped like a ball.

Topping: Could be glazed or covered with powdered sugar.

 
 
 
 
 
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8. Jelly Donut: Seemingly every cuisine that has donuts has some form of jelly donut, defined by its fruity filling.

Shape: Various, but typically round with no hole in its center.

Topping: Also varies, but really people are eating these for the filling, which can range from grape jelly to orange marmalade to apricot jam.

9. Old-fashioned: Perhaps this old-school donut (aka as the "cake donut") is called an old-fashioned because it's legitimately old, dating back to the 1830s.
 

Shape: Circular, but with a larger hole than most donuts.

Topping: There's a large variety, from glazes to sugar to no topping at all.

 
 
 
 
 
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10. Berliner: Aka as a "Bismark" or a "Krapfen" (in Austria). An offshoot of the Jelly Doughnut, the Berliner deserves a mention unto itself, since its perhaps central Europe's most-beloved donut.
 

Shape: Round with no hole.

Topping: Often powedered sugar, and sometimes whipped cream, too.

11. Pershing: If it looks like a cinnamon roll, but tastes like a donut, than it's a Pershing, and you should eat it. They're called "Persian rolls" in some places.
 

Shape: Just like a cinnamon roll. The difference? A Pershing is made with donut dough.

Topping: A sugar glaze, or a sprinkling of cinnamon.

12. Cider: If you're going to an apple orchard, chances are you're going home with a half-dozen of these apple-cider-infused cakey treats.
 

Shape: Round with a hole, but typically smaller and denser than your average donut.

Topping: Usually cinnamon or granluated sugar, sprinkled liberally

 
 
 
 
 
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13. Sour Cream Doughnut: Take doughnut dough and add sour cream and you get this old-school creation, which ends up soft and fluffy.
 

Shape: Round with a hole, not dissimilar to an old-fashioned donut.

Topping: Usually a vanilla glaze, but it can vary.

14. Coconut:The coconut is no ordinary topping–devotees of the coconut donut think it's in a class by itself, so we'll give it its own highlight.
 

Shape: It can come in all shapes and sizes, but usually you see it in the standard circular shape.

Topping: Coconut! Toasted, optional.

15. Boston Cream: This donut version of the Boston cream pie is so beloved in Massachusetts, it was named the official state donut in 2003.
 

Shape: Circular, but with no hole, and filled with a vanilla custard or pudding.

Topping: Always a chocolate-glaze frosting.

 
 
 
 
 
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16. Crueller: You might know this as a "twister" for its twisty shape. It's beloved in New England.
 

Shape: Circular, with a hole in the middle, but with dough that has been twisted several times.

Topping: Several options, but most traditionally a honey or vanilla glaze.

17. Cronut: Perhaps the most-recent creation on our list, this donut-croissant hybrid from New York's Dominique Ansel Bakery sells out every day.
 

Shape: Round and tall, with a hole in the center, but more light and hollow inside, like a croissant.

Topping: Ansel has created an abundance of options, from caramel to blackberry frosting to apple slices.

 
 
 
 
 
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18. Éclair: The best donut France has to offer. Éclairs are long, often custard-filled and topped with colorful creativity.
 

Shape: Long and rectangular, not unlike the Long John, but typically less wide.

Topping: Usually with a chocolate icing and sometimes a few other treats as well, ranging from nuts to fruits.

19. Sprinkles! When life has got you down, head over to your local donut shop and buy anything with sprinkles. You'll be glad you did.
 

Shape: Can come in any shape.

Topping: Sprinkles.

Getting Hungry? Find Donuts Near You

If this list made you feel unusually hungry for donuts, we don't blame you. Luckily, there's probably a neighborhood donut shop near you, and if you click on your city below, you might also find a great deal at those donut shops:

Atlanta Austin, TX Baltimore Boston
Calgary Charleston, SC Charlotte Chicago
Cincinnati Cleveland Columbus, OH Dallas
Denver Detroit Honolulu Houston
Indianapolis Jacksonville Kansas City Las Vegas
Los Angeles Memphis Milwaukee Minneapolis
Nashville New York City New Orleans Orlando
Philadelphia Phoenix Pittsburgh Portland, OR
Providence Raleigh Sacramento San Antonio
San Francisco San Diego Seattle St. Louis
Tampa Toronto, ON Vancouver, BC Washington, DC

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