15 Krispy Kreme Donuts, Ranked

Krispy Kreme donut are considered by many to be some of the tastiest donut around, especially if you happen to get one freshly fried and glazed off the "Hot" line. While the straightforward glazed donut and neon "Hot" light are what Krispy Kreme is known for, the donut company keeps about a dozen donut flavors in stock regularly, accented by rotating flavors that appear seasonally.

Since most of the Krispy Kreme donuts use the same dough, glazed and decorated in different ways to appeal to different tastes, we used the original glazed donut as the standard to judge all other Krispy Kreme donuts by. Considering the recipe for the donut dough is still a long-held secret, locked away in a safe in North Carolina for safe-keeping, Krispy Kreme clearly knows they're on to something too. We tasted 15 flavors in total, including several seasonal and limited edition donuts, and ranked them here based on how well they balance the flavor and texture of the OG Krispy Kreme donut. Here's what we found. 

15. Red velvet cake

For the Fourth of July holiday, Krispy Kreme released the "Red Velvet Sparkler." It's inspired by the red velvet cake, and it's also a cake donut — not the typical yeasted donut like most of the others on the menu. Krispy Kreme isn't known for its cake donuts, which is perhaps why there's only ever one or two on the menu at a time. This version of the red velvet cake donut is topped with a ring of piped icing and a small amount of festive sprinkles for decoration.

While we weren't so sure the donut would need the icing, we were immediately happy that it was there once we took the first bite. The donut itself is tender and cakelike on the inside, but hardly sweet in comparison to the rest of the donuts available. Though it has a thin glaze, additional frosting was necessary. The taste had a hint of cocoa, as a traditional red velvet cake would, but it was otherwise nondescript. We'd suggest dipping your donut in your coffee since that might make this donut taste better (or just give you another flavor entirely).

14. Seasonal Frosted donuts

For major holidays and to mark the changing of the seasons, Krispy Kreme regularly releases limited edition seasonally-decorated donuts. Some of the seasonal donuts include fun flavor combinations, pie fillings, or special glazes, and others are decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles but have no additional flavors other than sugar. These are the latter. 

We've got nothing against sweetness per se, but we also happen to love the flavor of the Krispy Kreme donut itself, which starts to get lost under the thicker layers of flavorless icing. We'll admit that these decorated donuts are typically very attractive, and would be fun for someone who isn't interested in any of the other flavors offered. But ultimately, the additional icing misses the mark for us, throwing the ratio of sweetness to fried donut off, and masking the awesomeness that is the Krispy Kreme delight underneath. This style of donut is typically only offered in a seasonal lineup and isn't a mainstay on the menu.

13. Cake Batter Donut

This particular donut is very sweet, noticeably more so than most of the other options on this list. But if you're ordering a cake batter donut, there's a good chance you know that already. The cake batter donut is frosted with a light yellow frosting — not so bright that you have to worry about it staining your teeth, and not unappetizingly yellow. The frosting itself isn't flavored — that comes exclusively from the filling, which is made with a flavored rendition of the brand's signature taste. The Kreme filling is more like a whipped frosting than a traditional custard filling and appears in other donuts on the menu.

The flavor of the cake batter Kreme filling is recognizable and pleasant without tasting like chemicals and isn't goopy like cake batter. We can see this donut being appropriate for someone with a sweet tooth who prefers donuts to cake on their birthday, or someone who loves cake (or just cake batter) so much that they want to enjoy it in every way possible. We like it, but definitely grab a cup of coffee or a glass of milk with this one to keep the sugar bomb in check.

12. Lemon filled

Maybe chocolate's not your thing, but you're after something with a little more going on than a simple custard filling. The glazed lemon filled donut might be the right choice for you if a little hit of citrus sounds like a nice pick-me-up. The glazed and filled donut is no-frills on the outside, with only the familiar delicate glaze you'll find on most of the other donuts. Inside is a creamy lemon yellow custard filling that's got a noticeable citrus bite to it. It's sweet, but not so much that it masks the acidity of the lemon. It's also not quite as strong as a lemon curd would be, but perhaps like a mix between a lemon curd and vanilla pudding.

While we'd gladly eat one of these again if it was handed to us, we also noticed that the lemon flavor was a touch artificial. It isn't overpoweringly fake, but enough to be a little disappointing. If lemon desserts are your flavor of choice, we'd still recommend giving it a shot, but we'd also suggest tempering your expectations.

11. Big Apple Donut

There's only one place in the world you can get the big apple donut, and that's at the Krispy Kreme flagship store in Times Square, in New York City. The donut has a smooth candy apple-flavored Kreme filling, which is sweet like red apples (not acidic like green apples). The whole thing is dipped in an ultra-shimmery candy apple red mirror glaze and finished with a small pretzel stem and hard royal icing green leaf.

The candy apple flavor of the filling and glaze isn't too sweet and is playful without being off-putting. But be warned: that bright red glaze is extremely sticky, and will likely stain a white t-shirt. You'll want to either eat the whole thing immediately with a handful of paper towels and wet wipes or wait to enjoy it somewhere you can wash the sticky topping off of your hands afterward. Definitely don't eat it on the subway! Such an exclusive donut comes at a price — $10.99 before tax, to be exact. It includes a heavy-duty cardboard keepsake box with a gold-embossed logo and decorations.

10. Chocolate Iced with Kreme Filling

At first glance, you might not be able to tell the difference between the chocolate iced donut with Kreme filling and the one with custard filling, as they look exactly the same on the outside. But inside, there's a difference that we have strong opinions about. You might notice that this donut doesn't have the thin clear glaze on the outside that most of the other donuts have, only chocolate icing on top, which we adore, and happen to think is plenty — especially for this version of the donut.

Inside is Krispy Kreme's signature kreme filling, which hasn't been flavored with anything else for this donut. The Kreme filling noticeably boosts the sweetness in addition to the already sugary chocolate icing on top. Now, we're not ones to eschew sweetness (we volunteered to eat more than a dozen donuts, after all), but this is definitely more of a dessert donut than a breakfast or snack donut. Even for those of us with a mouth full of sweet teeth, this one's a little much with coffee in the morning. But after a decent meal, we've got no qualms about enjoying one of these sweet, chocolatey, and fluffy filled donut.

9. Raspberry filled

We're going to make a rash generalization here and say that there are two kinds of people in the world — those who love jelly donuts, and those who don't. Those who don't absolutely love a jelly donut are probably never going to casually reach for one with so many other options available, and those who do are clearly ordering them enough to keep donut shops making them.

While our personal preferences don't lie with the jelly donut lovers, we'll admit that the glazed raspberry filled donut from Krispy Kreme certainly warmed us to the idea of a jelly donut little more. It helps that the raspberry goo is stuffed inside the pillowy soft, perfectly fried, glazed donut that we already know and love. 

The raspberry jelly inside is made with actual raspberry puree, and tastes like it, although it has more of an industrial goo texture than we'd like. Even so, it doesn't linger or have a weird aftertaste and compliments the donut dough nicely, convincing us at least that we'd enjoy one again if it was the only option available. Chances are, actual jelly donut lovers will find it downright dreamy.

8. Strawberry Iced with sprinkles

Is there anything more iconic than the pink strawberry-frosted donut with rainbow sprinkles? Even though it isn't quite as popular as some of the other donut flavors, every shop sells some version of this style of donut. The Krispy Kreme version is lightly strawberry-flavored, and, not surprisingly, tastes more like one of those classic strawberry candies than it does fresh strawberries. But if you're in the mood for a light fruity twist to your donut, this one will hit the spot. 

It's only available with sprinkles on top, which might turn some people off. However, if you're already willing to eat a pink artificially-flavored strawberry donut, you're probably fine with the sprinkles — we certainly are. The most delicious part of this treat is still the donut itself, which is glazed before getting a dip in the strawberry icing, so you can rest assured that you're still getting a quality donut. Given that it's already starting off with such a great dough, that makes this strawberry donut a contender for one of the best strawberry donuts you'll find anywhere.

7. Glazed Blueberry Cake

After trying the Red Velvet Cake donut, our expectations weren't too high for the glazed blueberry cake donut. It's a regular option on the Krispy Kreme menu, that occasionally gets swapped out for seasonal donuts when shops need more space in the case. When we picked one up, we immediately noticed that the smell of blueberries wafting out of the bag, like a sweet blueberry muffin, which was encouraging. 

If there's any donut in the lineup that you could convince yourself is a respectable breakfast food, this one would be it. Biting into it, we were met with a tender cake donut that resembles a blueberry muffin in sweetness and blueberry crumble goodness. all without any signs that there are actual blueberries in the donut. According to the nutritional information, the blueberry-like flecks on the donut are "Artificial Blueberry Flavored Bits." That confirmed our suspicions but didn't stop us from eating every last bite of the glazed blueberry cake donut in front of us.

6. All-American Apple Pie Donut

The all-American apple pie donut hit the Krispy Kreme seasonal menu in June, with the rest of the Fourth of July-themed donuts. There's a lot going on with this donut as compared to more traditional Krispy Kreme offerings. On top, it has a spiced shell that anchors a handful of crumble, similar to what you'd find on top of a pie or muffin, which is then topped with white icing. Inside, there's an apple pie goo filling, which is appropriately spiced with small chunks of baked apple suspended in it.

This is one of the more complex and delightful donuts in the rotating lineup. The crumble topping isn't cloyingly sweet, and it adds a nice texture that contrasts well with the gooey apple pie filling. The filling isn't what you'd expect to find in a jar of pre-made pie filling, but it isn't offensive in small doses here. There's a good chance you'll see this flavor again in a few months, or something similar. Krispy Kreme has run several versions of the apple pie donut around Thanksgiving, which is arguably a more appropriate time of year for the flavor — but we're looking forward to having it again anytime they want to put it on the menu.

5. Chocolate Iced Custard Filled

The chocolate iced custard filled donut from Krispy Kreme is what most people would recognize as a Boston cream donut. It's exactly the same on the outside as the chocolate iced with Kreme filling donut, with a delightfully chocolatey icing on top. But inside, it's got a smooth custard filling that's creamier than frosting, more akin to pudding.

This donut gets the majority of its sweetness from the chocolate iced topping, and just a touch from the custard filling. The flavor, as well as the texture of the dough, has the opportunity to shine through in this version of the donut, which we appreciate as the Krispy Kreme dough is pretty memorable. This one is ideal any time of day and is just enough on its own to be completely satisfying. Sweet frosting, fluffy dough, and creamy filling come together to make one of the most perfect donuts in the Krispy Kreme lineup.

4. Chocolate Iced Glazed

For those who prefer a more traditional donut that highlights what Krispy Kreme does best, but still want a touch of flair, the Chocolate Iced Glazed donut is the way to go. The name includes both "iced" and "glazed," which can be a little confusing, but it technically expresses that the donut is glazed first, then dipped in chocolate icing for the topping. For comparison's sake, the Dunkin' chocolate frosted donut isn't glazed first before getting a chocolate topping and usually sprinkles.

We like that we have the option to order the chocolate iced donut without sprinkles at Krispy Kreme if only to make us feel like we're adults who aren't eating dessert for breakfast. The chocolate icing itself is creamy and sweet, and nicely balanced without overwhelming the flavor of the donut. It's fairly common to hear people order a dozen donuts— half original glazed and half chocolate iced glazed. After enjoying one of these, it's easy to see why it's nearly as iconic as the original glazed donut.

3. Chocolate Iced Glazed with sprinkles

False modesty aside, we actually love the version of the Chocolate Iced Glazed donut with sprinkles — probably more than the version sold without sprinkles and for one major reason. Most of the time, it appears that the version with sprinkles has more chocolate icing on it, and that's what we really want. 

After a trip through the glazer, the donuts need a moment to cool and form a delicate glaze shell before getting dipped in chocolate icing. The more chocolate icing, the more sprinkles that can stick to the surface of the donut. So even if it's a little more chocolate in the name of transporting sprinkles, we're here for it. We know that some people don't love sprinkles, either because of the texture or taste, but we hardly notice they're there when basking in the delectable glory of a perfectly fried donut topped with a little extra chocolate goodness.

2. Chocolate Glazed

Not to be confused with the chocolate iced glazed donut, the chocolate glazed cuts out the thin plain icing middle man simply coating the entire donut in chocolate glaze. This is for those who like the chocolate icing that the other donut is dipped in, but want more — a lot more. And we are those people. The dough itself is the same as the other donuts, not a chocolate dough glazed with plain glaze, as you might think at first glance. 

You're getting the same exquisite donut experience but with the added benefit of so much more chocolate. We can't say for sure, but if we had to guess, the chocolate glazed donut probably delivers three to four times more chocolate than the chocolate iced glazed donut, and somehow still isn't overwhelming. Unfortunately, this isn't a regular option on the menu, only making short appearances from time to time. The last time we caught it was on World Chocolate Day (July 7th), when Krispy Kreme sold it for two days to celebrate. We'll be waiting impatiently for this gem to make another appearance.

1. Original Glazed

Krispy Kreme purists might tell you that the original glazed donut, hot off the glazing line, is the best donut you'll ever have in your life. And frankly, we can't really argue with that. The pillowy-soft warm dough, the thin glaze that delicately coats your fingertips — you'd be surprised how easily you can eat one and immediately be ready for another. If you happen to be near a Krispy Kreme location that makes the original glazed donuts on-site, you probably also know how the iconic red "Hot" light is a beacon that draws donut lovers the moment it gets switched on. Watching the freshly-fried donuts make their way across the conveyor belt and through the waterfall of hot glaze is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Even if you pick up an Original Glazed donut without the spectacle of watching it take a trip through the glazer first, it's still an incredible donut. We love the way the cooled tissue-thin glaze shatters as you pick it up, and sticks to your lips (perfectly sweetening your coffee) as you take your first bite. It might look like the most boring donut in the lineup, but ultimately, it's the one you simply can't miss.