The International Language of Doughnut

A guide to different types of doughnuts around the world
Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table

This October, Tasting Table is getting away from it all. Come away with us as we explore the world of travel.

Homer said it best. "Mmm . . . doughnuts."

Glazed, syrup-soaked, twisted, jelly-filled—there's a whole wonderful world of doughnuts out there. They might not be the bear claws or apple cider kind you're used to, but these unusual fried beauties are just as delicious as what you'd find in the States. Here's your guide to 11 different styles of international doughnuts.

India: Gulab Jamun
Don't fuss over frosting when you can enjoy these South Asian doughnuts doused in a cardamom and rose water simple syrup. The actual dough balls are made of milk solids, then kneaded with a bit of flour and deep-fried to puffy perfection.

China: Youtiao
Long, slender sticks of these eggy doughnuts are essential when warming up with a bowl of thick congee for a Chinese-style breakfast.

Ethiopia: Pasti Bet
Ethiopians love this Italian import so much that this R&B artist wrote a sultry song about the gnarled, golden-brown sweet dumplings.

Spain/Portugal: Churro
Dusted in sugar and ridged along the sides, this simple doughnut may be related to youtiao or the invention of Spanish shepherds. Nevertheless, no hot chocolate (or mall crawl) is complete without one.

Germany: Berliner Pfannkuchen
This is Germany's answer to the jelly doughnut. After a quick fry in lard, it's stuffed with sticky marmalade and dusted with powdered sugar.

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Japan: Sata Andagi
There is an entire anime show dedicated to doughnut-shaped cats, so, yes, the Japanese are serious about their doughnuts. This Okinawan variety is craggy and hefty and just sweet enough.

Mexico: Buñuelo
Flat and tortilla-like, these anise-spiced yeasted doughnuts are drenched in a sweet cinnamon and guava syrup, sort of like the ultimate pancake stack.

Norway: Smultringer
The best way to eat these small cardamom-scented doughnuts is hot and still dripping with a little lard. You know, when in Norway.

Israel: Sufganiyot
Hanukkah is high time for this Jewish jelly doughnut. Traditionally, it's made by pressing down two circles of dough around the filling, but you can get away with making the filling a dip like chef Alon Shaya.

Greece: Loukoumades
These airy little doughnuts date back to antiquity—the biblical book of Numbers may reference a variation of them—but the cinnamon and honey syrup makes them a winner still today.

Italy: Bombolone
Fluffy and similar to the German berliner, these Tuscan doughnuts are a favorite beach snack among locals. Mmm . . . beach doughnuts.

Get more kitchen tips and tricks:
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