Delicious Doughnuts from Around the World

Doughnuts are one of the world’s most loved sweet indulgences. Who could resist some deep-fried dough that’s dusted with powdered sugar, smothered with glaze or chocolate sauce, or filled with generous amounts of Bavarian cream?

Doughnuts come in different shapes and forms, not just the ring-shaped type that we are familiar with. Some of them have unique flavorings. But all of them have one thing in common: they are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth! So, let’s take a quick tour of the different types of doughnuts enjoyed around the globe.

1) Beignet (Ancient Rome, France, and U.S.A

a plate of beignets

Beignet’s roots actually trace back to the ancient Roman era. Then the French developed their own traditional beignet using choux pastry, a dough using high moisture content to create steam during baking or frying. The French immigrants brought the recipe to New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. Now, it is considered a traditional New Orleans pastry. These fluffy squares of dough are deep-fried until golden brown and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. They are best enjoyed with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

2) Churros (Spain, Portugal, Mexico)

a plate of churros with chocolate dip

Churros are of Spanish origin, but they are now found in many places around the world, from street-side stands to fine-dining restaurants. These popular ridged flute-shaped doughnuts are deep-fried, dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and dipped in chocolate, dulce de leche, or café con leche. They can also be served a la mode (with ice cream).

3) French cruller (France, Canada, U.S.A.)

french cullerThe French cruller is a ring-shaped and twisted doughnut that uses choux pastry, which gives it its light and airy texture. It is fried and topped with a simple sugar glaze.

4) Berliner (Germany)

berliner with jam inside

A Berliner is a doughnut with no hole in the center. It is made of sweet, yeast-rich dough. Once fried, these fluffy doughnuts are filled with jelly, jam, marmalade, custard, or chocolate, and dusted with confectioner’s sugar or regular sugar. Depending on one’s preference, Berliners may not be filled at all.

5) Sufganiyah (Israel)

classic sufganiyot

Sufganiyah (plural: sufganiyot) is a round doughnut traditionally eaten during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. It is deep-fried in oil, filled with jam, jelly, or custard, and then dusted with powdered sugar or topped with glaze. It is similar to the Berliner in Germany or pączki in Poland.

6) Pon de ring (Japan)

three plates of pon de ring

Although Mister Donut was founded in the United States, it became so popular in Japan that many people think of it as a Japanese donut chain. Mister Donut Japan’s signature offering is “pon de ring,” which consists of a connected circle of eight balls. Pon de rings also have a uniquely chewy and airy texture due to tapioca flour (in addition to the regular wheat flour). These playful-looking doughnuts are usually topped with a simple sugar glaze, chocolate, matcha glaze, or strawberry glaze.

7) Pączki (Poland)

glazed Polish doughnuts

Pączki (plural: pączek) are sweet Polish treats that have been around since the Middle Ages. Pączki is a spherical or disk-shaped doughnut deep-fried and then dusted with powdered sugar or topped with glaze, icing, or bits of dried orange zest.

8) Puff-puff (several African countries)

dough covered in sugar

Now, let’s go to the African continent to sample some puff-puff. It is made of sweet dough containing flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, water, and eggs (optional). Baking powder can also be used, but yeast is more common. It is fried and then rolled in sugar with spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg.

9) Youtiao (China)

a pile of youtiao, fried doughs

Youtiao is a long strip of dough that’s deep-fried and then lightly salted. It is usually eaten for breakfast as an accompaniment to soy milk, congee, or regular milk blended with sugar. It is known by several other names in Southeast Asian countries: you char kway, cakoi, cakwe, kuay, or shakoy.

10) Tulumba or bamiyeh (Iran and countries of the former Ottoman Empire)

piles of tulumba, fried doughs soaked in syrup

Tulumba or bamiyeh consists of unleavened dough that is given an ovoid shape with ridges along it. It is deep-fried until golden brown and crispy, then soaked in flavored sweet syrup. It is usually eaten cold.

Of course we always need to be on the look out for too much sugar in our diet!  Hat tip to Illuminating Facts for this chart on how the amount of sugar found in some of our favorite sweets!


Percentage of Sugar Each Food Item Contains