Image: Petr Kratochvil, Public Domain Photos

In the words of Homer Simpson, “mmmm, donuts …”. True, he’s not exactly the most inspirational of characters to learn from, but when it comes to the deliciousness that is this world-favorite treat - some of the best baked goods in the world - he certainly hits the nail on the head. So, forget the calories for just one moment and join us on what promises to be the recipe for the sweetest vacation yet!

  1. Mexico

Churro. Considered a breakfast food in Spain and an all-day treat in Mexico (we’ll go with the latter, thank you very much), this ridged flute-shaped snack is a universally-loved delicacy. And with toppings such as sugar and cinnamon and dips like liquid chocolate, jam and dulce de leche to boot, it’s really not hard to see why.

Book a Mexico City boat ride

2. Canada

BeaverTail. Here’s a fun fact you may not already know: Canadians are officially the most donut-obsessed people globally, eating more fried faves per capita than any other country. As you might expect, therefore, they’ve created their own version - the BeaverTail - that’s become something of a national treasure; a source of national pride, if you will. It consists of a flat piece of fried dough (resembling a beaver’s tail, obviously) and is covered with any topping of your choice.

Read more: Five Must-Visit Places In Canada

3. France

With its reputation as a patisserie haven, it should come as no surprise that there’s more than one signature on offer here:

Pets de nonnes. Brace yourselves: Pets de nonnes translates to ‘nun’s puffs,’ aka - yup, you’ve guessed it - nun’s farts. We kid you not. But what these lack in, er, an appetizing name, they more than make up for by what they consist of: Small, fried dough balls sprinkled with powdered sugar.

French Cruller. A light, airy, fried, twisted choux pastry, this ring-shaped donut is topped with a simple sugar glaze.

Book a hop-on-hop-off Paris France bus

4. United States

Two types to look out for here, too:

Dunkin Donuts. If it’s good enough for both Homer Simpson and police departments all over the country, you’d better believe it’s good enough for you, too. Truly unbeatable (especially with one of their iced coffees in hand, too!)

Beignets. Originating in France but now a New Orleans staple, these fluffy dough squares are fried to golden brown perfection and then dusted with powdered sugar. Serve with a good, strong cup of coffee and you’re good to go. Read more: Our Top US Cities: Part 5 - New Orleans

Book a Portland donut tour here

5. Portugal

Two more to be aware of here:

Filhós. These small balls of yeast dough are deep-fried before being sprinkled with both sugar and cinnamon.

Sonhos. Your expectations for something that literally translates as ‘dream’ should be high, and these light and airy balls - deep-fried, soaked in syrup and dusted with a sugary cinnamon mix - will not disappoint.

Book a hop-on-hop-off yellow bus Porto Portugal

6. Middle East

And here!

Jalebi. Sticky dough that’s deep-fried and soaked in a sugary saffron syrup gives these donuts a crunchy shell and moist inside.

Sufganiya. The Jewish people take their donuts seriously - indeed, they’ve even got a whole festival that’s basically dedicated to eating them for a week! As such, you’ll never be short of a donut in Israel - popularly deep-fried, filled with jelly or any other yummy filling - and topped with powdered sugar.

Read more: Israel: Can I Travel? (& Top Things To Do On A Tour)

7. Vietnam

Bánh rán. A deep-fried ball of dough, usually made with rice flour, that’s filled with sweetened mung bean jasmine-scented paste and topped with sesame seeds.

8. Germany

Berliner pfannkuchen. Sweet, puffy dough rounds without a hole filled with chocolate, cream or jelly fillings and dusted with powdered sugar. Delicious - unless you fall victim to a popular prank in which the donut is filled with spicy mustard instead!

Book an apple wine private tour from Frankfurt Germany

9. Poland

Pączki. These round, light and spongy, jelly-filled donuts made with grain alcohol have been around since the Middle Ages, so they must be doing something right! Like Berliners (with more butter and eggs!), they’re a popular treat in large Polish communities across the States, such as Boston and Chicago (and you can book a Chicago underground donut tour here!).

10. Austria

Faschingskrapfen. Similar to the Berliner, without the mean prank!

11. Italy

We’ve got not one, not two, but three delicious donuts to tell you about here:

Zeppole. Soft and airy-filled donuts without a top so you can be sure you’re going to get stuck into whatever deliciousness awaits you. Sweet or savory - anything goes here!

Bombolone. Another filled donut - usually with a thick creamy custard. These heavenly bites are savored all over the country - find out why for yourself!

Frittelle. An ooh-la-la variation of the Bombolone, courtesy of the pine nut and raisin dotted dough and choice of fillings which include chocolate, cream or apples.

Check out these cooking classes in Perugia Italy

12. Japan

An-doughnut. Japan is hot on the heels of Canada in terms of its love affair with the donut, and this one - fried dough filled with red bean paste - is one of the most popular here.

Book a Japan highlights tour

13. Hungary

Fánk. You may be feeling like you’ve heard it all before by now, but number 13 on the list - definitely not unlucky for us - is this rum-flavored sweet! (As if a donut could even get any better!)

This light pastry is also filled with thick jelly and dusted with sugar. Yes. Please.

14. Croatia

Fritule. You wait for 14 countries for a rum-flavored donut, and then two come along at once! These festive pastries are similar to the Italian frittelle and Dutch oliebollen - with the addition of rum and citrus zest!

15. The Netherlands

Oliebollen. These ‘oil bulbs’ are a famous winter Dutch delicacy - and far tastier than they sound, thanks to a filling of nuts or raisins and generous dusting of powdered sugar.

16. South America

Buñuelos. These thinly-rolled bite-sized dough balls are usually soaked in flavored syrup or dipped in cinnamon sugar. Best served with honey, they’re said to symbolize good luck, which you will definitely believe when eating them (and you should also, ahem, make sure you eat plenty, just to make sure, y’know?)!

17. Nepal

Sel Roti. Red, crunchy, fried dough rings made from rice flour, ‘sweet rice bread’ is usually eaten during Hindu holidays and celebrations.

Read more: The Best Travel Destinations For 2022 - Nepal

18. India

Balushahi. A glazed donut with added crunch is the order of the day here, and it’s also soaked in a sugary syrup to give it a moist center. Best served with a cup of coffee (what isn’t?).

19. Peru

Picarones. Move over wheat; these bad boys are made with fried squash and sweet potato instead. Covered with sweet syrup, they make the perfect street food snack and/or dessert.

20. China

Youtiao. One of the more versatile types on this list, this deep-fried sweet and salty breadstick can be dipped in warm soy milk or stuck in a sandwich.

Trek the wild wall China

21. Romania

Gogoși. These beauties - flattened spheres of dough that are deep-fried, filled with jelly, chocolate or cheese and dusted with powdered sugar - are said to date back to Roman times. You’ll undoubtedly feel like you’re making history when you eat one of these!

22. Norway

Hjortetakk. These cardamom and brandy-flavored donuts are so good they don’t even need any filling or glazing! Sometimes, simplicity really is key.

Read more: The Best Destinations For 2022: Norway

23. South Africa

Koeksister. Less donut and more cake (but who’s counting?) this long braided delicacy is fried and soaked in a sweet syrup with cinnamon, ginger, tangerine, aniseed and lemon.

24. Indonesia

Kuih keria. Fried, sugar-coated and made of sweet potato. Need we say any more?

25. Greece

Loukoumades. Deep-fried, covered in thick honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Mic drop.

Visit the Caves of Lakes Greece

26. Ukraine

Pampushka. These small, yeasty donuts can be either baked or fried and filled with sweet or savory yummies, making these some of the most versatile.

27. Africa

Three donuts you need to know about, depending on where you are on the continent:

Puff-Puff. Sweet dough is deep-fried and rolled in sugar and spices. Enjoyed best with a fruit dip and cup of coffee.

Sfenj. Light and spongy, these donuts are not made with any sugar, leaving them ready to be dressed up any way you want: Plain, soaked in honey or dripping in jelly. If you’re looking for a more calorie-friendly option, this is probably the closest you’re going to get (but we wouldn’t go promoting it at your local Weight Watchers!).

Vitumbua. Made with coconut and rice flour, this vegan treat is seriously melt-in-your-mouth.

28. Turkey

Tulumba. Small, oval-shaped and crispy deep-fried unleavened dough soaked in a sweet fragrant syrup, made from either fruit or flowers.

Visit Turkey lavender fields

Perhaps we’ve given you too much choice …? D’oh!