Food blog

The Fascinating Origins of Donut Holes: Unveiling the Real Reason Behind Their Existence

The real reason donuts have holes

Donuts are a favorite treat enjoyed by people all over the world. There’s something truly satisfying about biting into a freshly baked donut, whether it’s glazed, powdered, or filled with sweet cream or jelly. But have you ever wondered why donuts have holes in the middle? In this article, we explore the fascinating history and practical reasons behind the iconic donut hole.

The origin of the donut hole

It is believed that the concept of the donut hole can be traced back to a sailor on a ship in 1847. Tired of the doughy and greasy centers of the fried cakes served by the ship’s cook, the sailor came up with a brilliant solution. He decided to punch a hole in the middle of the raw dough so that it would cook evenly throughout. This simple yet ingenious idea revolutionized the world of doughnuts, creating the familiar ring shape with a hole in the center.

Inspired by bagels

At the same time, bagels were becoming increasingly popular. Bagel vendors stacked their wares on sticks or strings for easy transportation and display. Some speculate that doughnut vendors took inspiration from bagel vendors and began adding holes to their own products. By making holes in the donuts, they made them more convenient to handle and carry, much like bagels on a string.

The practicality of donut holes

While not all donuts have holes, those that do serve a practical purpose. A hole in the center allows the dough to cook more evenly, making the donut light and fluffy on the inside and golden brown on the outside. This innovation solved the problem of undercooked or greasy centers that plagued earlier versions of donuts.

The Evolution of Donut Making

In modern times, the process of making donuts has evolved. Many commercial donuts are no longer punched. Instead, the dough is formed into a ring and sprayed directly into hot oil to fry it into the familiar donut shape. The donut holes we see at major donut chains and grocery stores are actually made from specially cut pieces of dough that are fried separately.

Donut Varieties

It’s important to note that not all donuts follow the traditional ring shape with a hole in the center. Cream-filled and jelly-filled donuts, for example, are typically hole-free. These donuts are fried or baked as solid rounds and then injected with delicious fillings after cooking. So while the majority of donuts have holes, there are delicious exceptions that offer a different texture and taste experience.

The enduring appeal of donuts

Regardless of the presence or absence of holes, donuts remain a favorite treat for people of all ages. From classic glazed donuts to elaborate creations topped with sprinkles, chocolate or fruit, the variety of flavors and designs is endless. Donuts have become an iconic symbol of indulgence and comfort, providing a sweet treat that brings joy to countless people.
In conclusion, the real reason donuts have holes can be traced back to practicality, innovation, and the desire for a more enjoyable eating experience. Whether it was a sailor looking for a fully cooked donut or donut vendors inspired by bagels, the invention of the donut hole has left an indelible mark on culinary history. So the next time you bite into a delicious donut, take a moment to appreciate the thought and ingenuity that went into creating the perfect ring-shaped treat.


Why do some donuts have holes in them?

The holes in donuts serve a practical purpose. They allow the dough to cook evenly, resulting in a light and fluffy inside and a golden brown crust on the outside.

Should all donuts have holes?

No, not all donuts have holes. Cream-filled and jelly-filled donuts, for example, typically do not have holes and are injected with fillings after they are fried or baked.

Who invented the donut hole?

The concept of the donut hole is said to have been invented by a sailor on a ship in 1847. Frustrated with the undercooked and greasy centers of fried doughnuts, he decided to punch a hole in the dough to achieve more even cooking.

Did bagels inspire the creation of doughnut holes?

It is speculated that donut vendors were inspired by bagel vendors who stacked their goods on sticks or strings. This led to the addition of holes in donuts to make them easier to handle and transport.

How are donut holes made if the donut itself doesn’t have a hole?

In modern doughnut production, the doughnut holes we see in large chains and grocery stores are made from specially cut pieces of dough that are fried separately. The main donut is typically formed into a ring and fried without a hole.

Is the presence of a hole necessary for a doughnut to be considered a doughnut?

No, the presence of a hole is not a defining characteristic of a donut. Donuts come in a variety of shapes and forms, with or without holes. The hole is just one of the many variations in donut design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *