Different Kinds Of Doughnuts From Around The World

Turns out, everyone loves doughnuts.

The love for fried dough, turns out, is one thing much of the world agrees on. You can find doughnuts from all over the world making the best of indigenous ingredients. Some of these recipes you can make at home, while some of these recipes you should bookmark as part of your travel goals. Here are the doughnuts you can expect to find in these places:

Photo by Riell Santos

1  Philippines: Bicho-Bicho and Carioca

We have two popular and distinct local doughnuts which you can find either at your favorite panaderia or street vendor. 

Bicho-bicho or shakoy (not to be confused with pilipit also called bicho-bicho in some regions) is a soft, airy, twisted yeasted dough that’s deep-fried. It’s often tossed in sugar while warm. You can try to make it at home with our recipe and even experiment with flavored sugars. Bicho-bicho is related to a Chinese recipe, youtiao, which we will talk about more later.

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

Carioca, on the other hand, is related to buñuelos. Buñuelos are found all over the world as it was spread by Spanish conquistadors. There are even actual buñuelos” found at some parts of the Philippines. Unlike bicho-bicho, carioca uses glutinous rice flour which is made into fried, chewy dough balls often glazed with a coconut milk mixture. Commonly sold as street food, you can also easily make it at home with our recipe.

In Taiwan, these are sold in the wee hours of morning as a classic breakfast option.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons: Popo le Chien

2 China: Youtiao

This Chinese fried dough is often eaten as breakfast with congee, savory soy milk, or sweetened milk. You can find it in Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and may even be the predecessor of our bicho-bicho.

Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

3 Netherlands: Oilibollen

When these Deutsch doughnuts were first introduced to America in the mid-19th century, they were called “oilibollenn” or “olykoeks,” directly translating to “oil cakes”. These doughnuts were often stuffed to make up for the uncooked center.

Photo by Riell Santos

4 United States of America: Doughnuts and Doughnut Holes

To eliminate the uncooked center of the “oil cakes”, Hansen Gregory, in 1846, punched a hole into the dough before frying, thus was born the modern-day doughnut-look we’re all familiar with.


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Photo by Dunkin’ Donuts official Facebook

The punched out centers are also cooked and turned into doughnut holes, which are bite-sized doughnuts. Doughnut holes are basically our favorite Dunkin Donuts’ munchkins!

Photo by Rico Jose

5 Spain and Portugal: Churros

Portuguese merchants discovered youtiao in China and then churned out their own recipe: the churro. Churros, with their distinct sweetness and star-shape, then spread to Spain. Just like youtiao, churros are also a breakfast staple, but instead of youtiao’s soy milk combo, it’s typically dipped in melted chocolate or champorado. Spain and Portugal then spread the tradition of churros to their South American colonies.

So, the next time you’re having champorado for breakfast, why not add a churro?

These fried milk balls are like condensed milk bombs!
Photo by Majoy Siason

6 India: Gulab Jamon

This doughnut, born in medieval India, is unlike any other doughnut mentioned. Its dough is mainly made of milk solids called khoya, though modern and easier recipes now use milk powder. The fried milk balls are then soaked in a spice-infused syrup and garnished with nuts. These can be found in other parts of the Indian subcontinent such as Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh, and Myanmar as well in Mauritius, Fiji, Southern and Eastern Africa, Malay Peninsula, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica.


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7 South Korea: Chapssal Doughnut

Combining rice cakes and doughnuts is this modern doughnut that’s often filled with red bean paste or sesame seeds. It should be crispy on the outside while tender on the inside.

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8 Japan: Mochi Doughnuts

Unlike the western bready doughnut, these Japanese doughnuts are chewy rice cakes in a doughnut-like shape. It’s usually sliced and served with a range of creative fillings. In Japan, they are commonly sold at Mister Donuts, but in the Philippines, you can buy them from Gavino’s Japanese Donuts.

These are just a few of the doughnuts from around the world. Other food cultures probably have their recipe version as well. Have you eaten a doughnut, sweet or savory, that’s not on this list? After all, there’s more than one way to make this tasty fried bread!


Which ones from this list have you had? Tell us in the comments!

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