What Makes the American Doughnut So Special?

The American doughnut — widely known as the donut — is one of the most iconic snacks in the world. It’s a classic for a reason, but what makes it so special?

The first thing that makes the American doughnut special is its history. It is believed that the doughnut was introduced in the early 19th century when a Dutch immigrant from New York, Hanson Gregory, invented a way to cook them. He created the ring-shaped snack by deep-frying dough with a centering hole, which made the finished product easier and more efficient to eat.

Since the doughnut’s introduction, it has been embraced worldwide. Thanks to its delicious taste, the American doughnut is today a beloved treat. They come in an array of flavors, shapes, and sizes — from its classic yeast-raised doughnuts filled with jam and custard to cake-style donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar or topped with icing.

Perhaps the other secret to the American doughnut’s success is its versatility. Along with more traditional variations, doughnuts have been adapted across cultures to address their specific flavors and needs. Any doughnut fan will attest that the possibilities of what you can do with this classic treat are virtually endless.

Classic American Yeast-Raised Doughnuts Recipe


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying


  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Using a 3-inch circular cookie cutter, cut out doughnuts.
  • In a large pot, heat enough oil to cover the doughnuts so that the oil reaches 375°F on a thermometer.
  • Gently place the doughnuts in the hot oil, frying for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, or top with a favorite glaze, and serve.

The American doughnut has been around for many generations and its popularity continues to stand the test of time. Its classic flavors and versatility make it a beloved snack all over the world, and this classic recipe proves just why we keep returning to the American doughnut again and again.