You Call That a Donut? 12 Variations Around the World

Fat and cream-filled or thin and crispy, fried dough comes in many delicious shapes

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Fried dough is a beloved treat all around the world, from raisin-stuffed oliebollen in the Netherlands to ghee-fried balushahi made with yogurt in northern India.

Fried dough in the shape of a ring — the classic donut — is indeed a quintessential American delicacy. It's so beloved, in fact, that we recently honored the 25 best in the country, and the fried delicacy even has its own day. But while there is no denying that Americans love their donuts, so does the rest of the world.

You Call That a Donut? 12 Variations Around the World (Slideshow)

Fried dough is a universal delight, and can be found in all kinds of shapes and flavors — from round and thick and filled with just about anything, to stick-shaped or thin and flat. The style of preparation also differs depending on the region, and while all donuts are fried (or it wouldn’t be a donut, right?), some are cooked in oil while others are simmered in ghee.

In Italy, the Tuscan treat bombolone is a sugar-coated and often custard- or cream-filled masterpiece, which, different from a classic Boston cream donut, gets its filling piped in from above (instead of the side) and is left with a visible cream top. In Northern India, Pakistan, and Nepal, you can bite into the delicious flaky-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside balushahi, a donut made with yogurt that's fried in ghee (a type of clarified butter). And similar to the stick-shaped and widely known churros, youtiao, also known as Chinese oil stick or Chinese cruller, is a lightly salted Chinese donut. But instead of getting a dunk into hot chocolate like is traditionally done with churros, these "oil sticks" are dipped into rice porridge or soy milk for breakfast.

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To get a more in-depth look at what fried dough treats look like around the world, take a peek through our slideshow of donut variations around the world, from North Africa to Nepal. Do you know of a delicious or unusual donut variation? Let us know by sharing it on Twitter @thedailymeal or write me, the Travel editor, @elsamaija.