Donuts! Donuts! Donuts!


We we've eaten a lot of fried dough in our quest to find the best donuts in the world. This quest has taken us to four continents and even more countries. Which donut will be your favorite?
The Best Donuts in the WorldPhoto byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

We love donuts.

We love cake donuts and yeast donuts. We love donuts filled with sweet cream and donuts topped with maple bacon. We love ring-shaped donuts with holes in the middle and ring-free donuts filled with sweet jam. Our love is boundless whether we we dunk donuts into coffee or eat them with fried chicken.

This love isn’t limited to the US. Donuts around the world are great too. This is nothing new. Human beings have been frying sugary dough for millennia – way before the holy, puffy, caky pastry became an American icon.

Global donuts may have different names and come in various shapes and sizes but they have one one thing in common with their American cousins. They’re all delicious.

Donut vs. Doughnut: The only difference between a donut and a doughnut is the spelling of the two words. Many believe that the word was originally spelled in “gh” form, with the shorter word emerging from the popularity of Dunkin’ Donuts and Mister Donut in the mid 20th century.
We may a side trip to eat this rainbow of donuts at Sidecar Doughnuts in Los Angeles.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

Our donut love is nothing new. We started eating donuts at Dunkin Donuts in Philadelphia and Krispy Kreme in Atlanta when we were kids.

We took this love on a 10-week American road trip during which we ate dozens of donuts. We ate so many donuts that we initiated a donut ban at the end of that trip. Needless to say, the ban was temporary because, as you may have noticed, we love donuts.

=> Discover our picks for the best American donuts.

Our Favorite Donuts in the World
These Portuguese Malasadas satisfied our donut craving in Lisbon.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

Our donut love affair didn’t end when we left America in 2016.

Without any set plan, we’ve eaten donuts in four continents and a list of countries that includes Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain and Vietnam. Without doubt, this list will grow as our travels continue.
This Matcha donut was no match for our donut obsession when we ate it at Glory Holes in Toronto.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

While there’s no debate that donuts are delicious, the competition between cake and yeast donuts is a fierce one. Some donut fans (like Daryl) prefer cake donuts leavened with either baking powder or baking soda while others (like Mindi) are on team yeast.

As we share our favorite donuts in the world, it only makes sense to start with the basics – cake and yeast.

Cake Donut (Various Countries)
We started our day with these small but tasty cake donuts at Doughnut Vault in Chicago.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

There’s not one type of cake donut. Some cake donuts are simple while others are topped with frosting, sprinkles and even bacon. The cake donut’s batter can be a blank slate with spices like cardamom or fruits flavors from apple cider added to the mix.

However, the best cake donuts have some things in common. Dense and buttery, they’re simultaneously soft on the inside and firm on the edges. And, unlike yeast donuts, they’re super dunkable with coffee.

Yeast Donut (Various Countries)
We loved eating this salted caramel and honeycomb yeast donut at Bread Ahead in London.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

Yeast donuts may not have the dunkability of cake donuts but they have other merits. This should be no surprise to anybody who adores Krispy Kreme, America’s king of yeast donuts.

Spanning the centuries and fried in various configurations, yeast donuts get a good rise from yeast – hence their nickname of raised donuts. Whether they’re filled with jelly or glazed with sugar, yeast donuts are ridiculously easy to eat. Just don’t try to dunk them.

Berliner (Germany)
Keeping to theme, we ate this Berliner at Ludwig Stocker Hofpfisterei in its namesake city of Berlin.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

While JFK wasn’t claiming to be a donut when he famously stated “Ich bin ein Berliner,” we can understand any potential confusion on the matter. After all, Germany’s iconic donuts are called Berliner Donuts outside of their home country.

Similar to jelly donuts eaten around the world, Berliners are yeasty pastries filled with jam, fried in oil and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They’re work well for breakfast with coffee or as an afternoon snack.

=> Discover more great desserts in Germany.
We felt lucky when we ate these Loukoumades coated with honey syrup at Krinos in Athens.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

If you think that donuts are a modern invention, think again. Greece’s Loukoumades date back to the first Olympics in 776 BC. Though the original Loukoumades were enjoyed by ancient athletes, everybody can enjoy them today regardless of athletic ability or lack thereof.

Traditional Greek Loukoumades are round balls of golden fried dough flavored with cinnamon and honey syrup. Some people sprinkle powdered sugar on their Loukoumades for an extra burst of sweetness but this is an optional add-on.

We first ate Loukoumades during an Athens food tour that introduced us to many of the city’s best food vendors. We couldn’t get the memory of these Greek donuts, made with orange blossom honey, out of our heads. We returned to popular local bakery Krivos to eat them again and they were as good as we remembered.

=> Discover where to eat in Athens.

Krapfen (Austria)
We didn’t cut this Krapfen in Vienna. Instead, we bit into it with abandon.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

Austrians made the German donut their own by stuffing the yeasty donut with apricot jam and the occasional cream filling. Bakeries sell them at bakeries all over the central European country throughout the year though they’re especially popular during Faschingsdienstag festivities each February.

We ate our first Austrian Krapfen in Graz and ate another in Vienna. Both were filled with apricot jam. Next time, we’ll try one filled with cream.

Beignets (France and USA)
We didn’t miss the powdered sugar when we ate these anise-topped Beignets at Lazare in Paris.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

Beignets may hail from France but, as Americans, we associate them with Louisiana where Beignets are the state’s official donut. It’s not a competition since France and Louisiana have a connection and shared love for great food.

This connection started when Acadians and other French settlers move in Louisiana in the 18th century. They didn’t just speak their native tongue when they arrived – they also brought a food culture and a passion for frying dough.
Powdered sugar is the Beignet topping of choice in Louisiana cities like Baton Rouge where we ate these Beignet beauties.Photo byDaryl Hirsch/2foodtrippers

Now that we’ve eaten Beignets in multiple Louisiana cities as well as in France, we can’t decide which version is superior. Yes, we’re equal opportunity Beignet eaters who like France’s version as much as we like the Louisiana version smothered with powdered sugar.

=> Discover where to eat in Paris unless you’d rather discover where to eat in New Orleans.

But wait there’s more…

Visit 2foodtrippers for more delicious donuts around the world.

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