Are Glazed Donuts Vegan? (Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, Generic, Etc.)


Are Glazed Donuts Vegan?

In this article, we’re talking about glazed donuts (or doughnuts) in general. In the US, the yeast-leavened kind seems to be the most popular, but cakey variety is also pretty common especially with coffee.

I get this question a lot. I’d imagine because, while some donuts are quite obviously non-vegan (think custard and cream filled), most of us look at the plain glazed kind and think “Eh, it looks like bread and sugar. Seems pretty vegan to me.” If it were only that simple.

Are they vegan? Most glazed donuts (Krispy Kreme included) are non-vegan. The yeast-leavened kind contains milk, while the cake variety contains both dairy and egg. There are specialty vegan donuts on the market, which we’ll cover in this article. But, you can be sure that mainstream glazed donuts are non-vegan.

What we’ll do is go over some popular brands, their ingredients, and why each one is disqualified from being vegan. Then, we’ll cover any specialty vegan donuts currently on the market.

Krispy Kreme

Regular (Yeast Leavened)

This is probably the most iconic glazed donut in North America. In the US, the Krispy Kreme original is pretty much synonymous with glazed donuts. There’s always a line in the parking lot every time the red sign is illuminated because folks know they can get glazed donuts right off the conveyor belt nice and warm.

Krispy Kreme puts out a ton of donuts and combined they pretty much contain the entire gamut of animal products.

On their website, Krispy Kreme states, “The only animal by-products used in our doughnuts are eggs (whites and yolks) and dairy products (including milk, butter, yogurt, whey, nonfat milk, and nonfat whey).”1

Interestingly, from the entire list of animal products above, there are only two ingredients that keep the original glazed from being non-vegan: egg yolk and dry milk powder.2

Fooducate, a popular nutrient data website, actually doesn’t list egg as an ingredient.3

But, on the official website, the ingredients for the donut portion include:

  • Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Water, Palm Oil, and Soybean Oil,
  • Sugar, Salt, and Yeast
  • Soy Lecithin and Wheat Gluten
  • Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Mono- and Diglycerides
  • Dried Milk Powder
  • Egg Yolks
  • Cellulose Gum
  • Ascorbic Acid and Tocopherols
  • Tons of additives and leaveners—Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Propionate, BHT, Ammonium Sulfate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sorbitan Monostearate, and Diammonium Phosphate

The glaze itself is pretty vegan-friendly with just a few grey area ingredients that only some vegans would take issue with.

Specifically, the glaze contains:3

  • Sugar, Water, Salt
  • Corn Starch and Dextrose
  • Locust Bean Gum and Agar
  • Palm Oil
  • Calcium Sulfate And/Or Calcium Carbonate, Disodium Phosphate
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Mono- and Diglycerides

Cake Donuts

Krispy Kreme also makes cake donuts. When asking about glazed donuts, I’d imagine most vegans are referring to the yeast kind, but these are glazed and they are donuts, so we’ll include them here.

Krispy Kreme is known for their yeast donuts, but they do put out crullers, a common braided variety of donut, which uses a denser dough closer to that of a cake donut.

The Cruller dough contains:4

  • Enriched Wheat Flour: Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid
  • Palm and Soybean Oils
  • Water, Sugar
  • Egg Yolks
  • Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
  • Soy Flour, Dextrose, Salt
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Whey (Milk Protein)
  • Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Dried Milk Powder
  • Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Propylene Glycol Monoesters
  • Sodium Propionate, BHT
  • Cellulose Gum

The glaze is the same as that used for the original glazed donut.

Dunkin’ Donuts (Regular)

Here we’re talking about the yeast-leavened donut—not the cake donut which they’re known for—because, I think their standard cake donut comes without glaze.

The regular glazed donut contains:5

  • Enriched Unbleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)
  • Palm Oil and Soybean Oils
  • Water, Yeast, Dextrose, Salt
  • Whey Protein
  • Skim Milk
  • Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate,
  • Defatted Soy Flour, Wheat Starch
  • Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides
  • Cellulose, Guar and Xanthan Gums
  • Artificial Flavor
  • Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative)
  • Enzyme
  • Colored with (Turmeric and Annatto Extracts, Beta Carotene)
  • Eggs

That’s right, nust one tiny milk-derived additive.

The glaze contains:5

  • Sugar, Water
  • Maltodextrin
  • Mono- and Diglycerides
  • Agar and Cellulose Gum
  • Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate
  • Artificial Flavor

Generic

Freshness Guaranteed Glazed Donuts

Freshness Guaranteed puts out a Glazed Donut.

These contain:6

  • Enriched Wheat Flour
  • Unbleached Enriched Flour
  • Water, Yeast, Sugar, Salt, and Oils (Soybean and Palm)
  • Cornstarch, Rice Starch, Dextrose, Maltodextrin
  • Leavening Agents (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate and Sodium Bicarbonate)
  • Soy Flour
  • Whey Protein
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Guar Gum, Vegetable Gum (Locust Bean and Agar)
  • Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Phosphate
  • Calcium Propionate, Calcium Carbonate, and Calcium Sulfate
  • Soy Lecithin, Palm Oil with Lecithin, Mono- and Diglycerides
  • Turmeric and Annatto (Color)
  • Ascorbic Acid, Antioxidants (Tocopherols and Citric Acid) and Enzymes
  • Natural Flavor
  • Cinnamon
  • Egg

The Bakery Baker’s Half Dozen Glazed Donuts

Another generic brand.

These contain:7

  • Enriched Wheat Flour
  • Wheat Starch, Wheat Gluten
  • Water, Sugar, Salt, and Yeast
  • Plant Oils
  • Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Cornstarch
  • Leaveners (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate)
  • Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Sulfate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
  • Potassium Sorbate, Ammonium Sulfate, Sorbitan Monostearate
  • Datem, Mono- and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin
  • Soy Flour
  • Whey Protein
  • Non-Fat Milk
  • Egg Yolks
  • Agar Agar
  • Caramel Color, Beta Carotene (Color)
  • Natural Flavor

Commercial Vegan Glazed Donuts

Vegan glazed donuts can be pretty hard to come by, depending on where you live. Your best bet might be to check out your area for any vegan-friendly bakery shops.

PETA wrote a great article for those in the US, listing vegan bakeries by state. You can check out that article here.

Frosted Ring Donuts by Larsen Bakery

There is also an online vendors you might want to check out.

They refer to these as “frosted” but the vanilla frosting appears to be sort of a glaze—it’s semi-transparent and contains agar, a vegetable gum used in sugar glaze to prevent it from cracking.

You can also get these with a chocolate frosting.

I haven’t tried these myself, but they look great. If you like yours warm, a quick 8 seconds in the microwave should render them as if they were hot off of the conveyor belt.

The donut ingredients include unbleached/unbromated wheat flour, water, non-bone char sugar, trans-fat free vegetable shortening (palm oil), salt, yeast, soy flour, pure vanilla extract, natural vegan flavors, and beta carotene.8

Ingredients for the vanilla frosting include non-bone char vegan sugar, corn syrup, plant oils (canola), vegetable gums (agar agar and locust bean), salt, vanilla extract, and ascorbic acid.8

Ingredients for the chocolate frosting include non-bone char vegan sugar, Dutch cocoa extract, plant oil (canola) corn syrup, chocolate liquor (non-alcohol), salt, vanilla extract, vegetable gum (agar agar), and ascorbic acid.8

That’s it for the vegan status of glazed donuts. Thanks for reading.

You may also want to check out the following related articles:

References

  1. Nutritional Info. https://www.krispykreme.com/about/nutritional-info
  2. Krispy Kreme Donuts, Glazed. http://kkd-nutritional-panels.s3.amazonaws.com/2018OriginalGlazedDoughnutRetailPanel.pdf
  3. Fooducate, Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts. https://www.fooducate.com/product/Krispy-Kreme-Doughnuts-Original-Glazed-Doughnut/4380FFD8-E10F-11DF-A102-FEFD45A4D471
  4. Krispy Kreme, Glazed (Cake). http://kkd-nutritional-panels.s3.amazonaws.com/2018GlazedCrullerCakeDoughnutRetailPanel.pdf
  5. Dunkin Donuts, Glazed (Regular). https://www.fooducate.com/product/Dunkin-Donuts-Glazed-Donut/52D85131-D8F2-55BC-4B93-9DE4DEFE86B2
  6. Freshness Guaranteed Glazed Donuts, 24 Oz, 12 Count. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Freshness-Guaranteed-Glazed-Donuts-24-oz-12-Count/47041209
  7. The Bakery Baker’s Half Dozen Glazed Donuts, 7 Ct, 15.25 Oz. Wil- Nena- Barbara – https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Bakery-Baker-s-Half-Dozen-Glazed-Donuts-7-ct-15-25-oz/42218246
  8. Frosted Ring Donuts By Larsen Bakery Brooke Bunton-Hayleey Acuna-Giacomo Marchese- Shaina-Laura Posner – https://store.veganessentials.com/frosted-ring-donuts-by-larsen-bakery-p2894.aspx

Drew Davis

Hi! I'm Drew and this is the place where I nerd out about vegan and plant-based diets. I have a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Alabama and have taken dozens of classes in areas like organic and biochemistry, food science, medical nutrition therapy, nutritional genomics, and vegetarian diets. I'm still learning every day, and on this blog, I'll be sharing everything I discover about vegan diets as I go.

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