Who knew coming up with donut party ideas was so challenging? We certainly didn’t. When you’re entering the world of donuts, it’s like almost like entering the world of wine.
The humble donut has come a long way. Where once it was a mere deep-fried ring made of dough glazed with sugar, now you can get them in all shapes and sizes with different fillings and toppings. Donuts have even surpassed cupcakes as the “cake du jour” for many people.
This is what makes having donuts the centerpiece of any event so fascinating. Donuts are not the usual party food and they need careful thought when considering how to use them. Here are some donut party ideas we’ve used yourself to help you get the ball rolling.
Choosing Your Donuts
When you first think about donuts, thanks to the variety of toppings and filling, things can get overwhelming fast. Despite this, donuts generally fall into 3 different shapes:
Ring donuts: formed by either joining the ends of 2 skinny pieces of dough into a ring, or cut into that shape using a donut cutter.
Ring donuts are often topped with an iced glaze after frying. The glaze can also be topped (with sprinkles, chopped peanuts or coconut) or just plain glaze.
Donut holes: are small bite-sized and ball-like donuts made from the dough taken from the middle of ring donuts. They kind of look like chicken nuggets. These are usually coated with the iced glaze.
Filled donuts: are flattened balls of dough filled with jam, cream or custard, topped off with powdered sugar or frosting. Filled donuts can also be topped off with sprinkled sugar or eaten without filling.
Donuts also fall into 2 types of donut: cake donuts or yeast donuts. Cake donuts are made from a sweetened dough and are more like cakes, with a denser base. Yeast donuts are made from yeast flour, which makes them light and airy while at the same time being chewy.
To give you an example of this with brands: Dunkin Donuts are generally cake donuts and Krispy Kreme are yeast donuts.
You can base your donut party ideas using just this list alone. But there are other types of donuts, too, that don’t fit the usual suspects.
Cruller: this is a deep-fried pastry made from a rectangle of dough, that’s twisted over itself like braiding. These are topped with powdered sugar, powered sugar with cinnamon or just icing.
A French cruller is a ring donut made from choux pastry. This gives it a light and airy texture.
Fritters: this is a dough ball that’s also covered in fruit or icing. But unlike regular donuts, these can be filled with savory ingredients like cheese. Apple fritters are the most well-known of these.
Twists: these are yeast donuts again twisted (like crullers) into a kind of braid design. Cinnamon Twists are a good example.
Now you know what types of donuts are out there, time to discuss each of our which donut party ideas.
Partying With Donuts
A Donut Tasting
This idea is similar to a wine tasting but unlike a wine tasting (where you only sample the drink but have to spit it out after), you get to eat the donut too. Given the range of donuts above, it’s easy to become a “donut connoisseur” and impress your friends with your donut knowledge.
You will need a budget to run an effective tasting and then decide how many people you want to invite. Try to have as many types of donuts as you can afford, including crullers and twists, with as many types of fillings.
Depending on your location, you could also add types of dough pastries from other countries. In Germany and Austria, the Berliner is the prominent donut with fillings including apricot and plum butter. Indian sweets like Gulgula and Vadai are also made of dough balls and soaked in sugar syrup. Churros are traditional in Spain, Portugal and Mexico, these are lengths of dough fried until crunchy then sprinkled with sugar. Churros can be shaped into prisms, curled or twisted.
Celebrate Donuts Officially
Did you know there’s an annual celebration just for donuts? I know, it’s exciting, right? So why not throw your donut party ideas on National Doughnut Day (also known as National Donut Day), celebrated in the US on the first Friday of June each year. Started in 1938, this event was started by the Salvation Army, as a fundraiser to help those in need during the Great Depression that took place in the 1980s in America.
The day was also a celebration of 250 women (known as Lassies) the Salvation Army had sent to France in World War I to deliver donuts to the front lines. The Army had previously learned soldiers were having trouble receiving freshly baked goods. Donuts were created as the solution.
If you can’t make June, there’s also a SECOND National Doughnut Day around November 5, a date based on mentions of this event in copies of Ladies’ Home Journals in the 1930s. Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme celebrate both national days, so why not you too?
Donuts At Work
You’ve probably already had this experience, when someone comes into the office with a box of donuts for everyone to share. They’re a great way to celebrate your office mates too, in whatever small way they need to be celebrated, e.g. a promotion, a report well written, hitting their sales targets, a birthday.
You’d ideally want to choose yeast donuts (like Krispy Kreme) for these moments. Yeast donuts are light and airy, you don’t want your colleagues to be weighed down by what they’ve eaten.
The Donut Local
One of my favourite donut party ideas is having everyone over to my place for a late afternoon get-together of tea, coffee and local pastries. And when I mean local, in this case I mean having donuts from as many local cake shops and bakeries as I can find. Donuts are so simple to make, a bakery can personalise them immediately without a lot of fuss. Using their own type of jam or shape, they can make their donuts stand out from the crowd.
This “local donuts” idea is also a great way of introducing your friends to local bakeries. We need to support independent stores I think, if we don’t, everything will become an identikit supermarket bland brand. Make sure you’ve got business cards and bakery menus on the table by the food, for anyone whose interested in knowing more about a certain place.
Donuts are quite a specific food, in that you can only eat them at certain times of the day. They’re fatty, stodgy and very sweet and take a while to digest as well. They’re a comfort food and what better way to enjoy them than in the afternoon (before 4pm).
I say “before 4pm” because you don’t want to eat donuts too late, then not eat dinner a few hours later. I think donuts are perfect to eat with a cup of tea or coffee just after lunch. They’re a fun and affordable food, perfect for socialising with but also a wonderful icebreaker; the joy people get from the jam or custard shooting out from a filled donut is great to see.
Where To Buy Donuts?
If your local area doesn’t supply donuts, you’ll need to do some planning and reaching out to get what you need. There are well-known brands of donuts, two which I have mentioned before, but I like to go for homemade or artisan donut shops. Here’s a list of donut bakeries for you to get inspiration from.
When it comes to donut party ideas, you really are in for a treat. The depth of donut variety and knowledge out there is outstanding. You can start giving your friends a memorable time with the ideas here.