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First of all, do you call them donuts, or doughnuts? I’m not sure which is right or even which one came first. Another topic for another day. I will say, typing donut is faster so it’s how it will flow in this article, anyway. Since first Friday in June is National Donut Day, I thought it’d be fun to talk about the different types of donuts and where to find them. There are many versions and types of donuts around the world, so I kept my list to the US. We are talking a national day, not an international day afterall.
Do you know where Donut or Doughnut Day comes from? According to Cute-Calendar, the event was created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. And as we do, every culture that’s in American has added their own types of donuts to bring a sweet, tasty treat to the masses.
Cake vs. Yeast Donuts
Cake donuts and yeast donuts below are probably the most popular types of donuts no matter where you go in the US. Cake donuts are denser because they use cake flour whereas, obviously, yeast donuts use yeast.
Truly, ask anyone and they’ll tell you in their town where to get the best donuts. In my town, it’s Donut King.
A friend of mine who’s traveled extensively through the United States the last two years told me about the best place she’d been, called Old Fashioned Donuts in Chicago. To me, this place as three things going for it. One, it’s called Old Fashioned. Two, it’s in the Midwest, and as you’ll see later on, those people like their donuts! And, three, it’s a mom and pop owned business. It’s definitely on my list to check out. Find them at 11248 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60628.
Did you know that donuts could be made from potatoes? Yeah, neither did I until I visited Portland Maine last year and heard over and over how I must try a donut from The Holy Donut. Made from mashed potatoes, a sustainable and popular crop in Maine, potato donuts are surprisingly lighter than their flour cousins.
See more of what to do in Portland with my 24 hour itinerary.
Paczki, a polish jelly donut, is popular in the weeks before Lent. Pronounced punch-key, Paczki is found all over the Midwestern states, thanks to their larger Polish population. (Having a large Polish family in Western Michigan, I should know.)
My hometown Ryke’s bakery made the list of 15 bakeries to buy Paczki in Michigan, and yeah, it’s good!
Another Midwestern and New England favorite, cider donuts are made with apple cider and popular around the fall apple harvest season. They have just enough of that tart apple flavor and are drenched in enough cinnamon sugar that jsut screams fall.
I thought that a good hard cider would go well with cider doughnuts and I searched for an orchard that might have both. I was in luck when I found Robinettes in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You could have it all here, cherry-picking, an extensive bakery, your choice of hard ciders, or a variety of wines.
Beignets may not be a donut, per se, but how can we resist this French New Orleans take on fried dough and loads of powdered sugar. Of course, the quintessential place to get a beignet is at Cafe du Monde in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Make sure you get a cup of chicory coffee while you’re there too.
The cronut, a genius creation by Dominique Ansel, takes the flaky pastry of a croissant that we love, and deep fries and frosts it like a donut. Ansel owns a bakery of the same name in New York City. As of this writing, the bakery is offering take out and delivery. If you happen to live in NYC and haven’t tried it yet, get yourself some now! I need a first hand account of what the original is like. Of course, cronuts sprung up all over the city and have made their way nationwide. Once New York City is open for business, head on over to 189 Spring Street to get an original.
Can’t wait that long? Get Dominique Ansel’s Secret Recipe Cookbook, full of amazing pastry recipes that you can recreate at home.
Types of Donuts in the US
What about you? Everyone has a favorite donut place. Comment and tell me where your favorite donut place is in the US and what types of donuts they serve. I have a road trip to make!