There’s no denying the fact that donuts are a delicious treat. There are over 10 million donuts made each year in the US, and in 1933, Chicago’s World Fair billed donuts as the “Hit Food of the Century of Progress.”
The first donut traces its way back to the Netherlands in the 18th century, where the Dutch invented a tasty pastry treat called an “oliekoek” which roughly translates to “oily cake.”
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Elizabeth Gregor, the mother of an American sailor, made a “wicked deep-fried dough” for her son and his shipmates. Her son, Hanson Gregory, claimed to have come up with the idea to punch a hole in the pastry to create what is today known as the doughnut.
While the first donuts were made with sugar and delicate spices such as nutmeg and cardamom, you can now find donuts in all kinds of flavors and colors. But can vegans enjoy donuts as well? Are donuts vegan?
Here at GoNanas, we want to provide you with the best resources when it comes to healthy foods and healthy living . Our mission is to make healthy living more enjoyable, one banana bread at a time . So without further ado, read on to learn about vegan donuts.
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Are Donuts Vegan?
Unfortunately, most donuts are not vegan. A typical donut contains the following base ingredients:
Depending on the flavor of the donut being made, it may also contain butter, chocolate, cream, and other non-vegan ingredients. Some donuts are even sprinkled with bacon, so vegetarians also need to be careful.
But, just because most donuts are non-vegan doesn’t mean that vegan donuts don’t exist. While it may have been nearly impossible to find a vegan donut shop 20 years, nowadays, they’re all around the country. Not to mention, there are hundreds of vegan donut recipes online.
This is due largely in part to the growth in veganism and the consumer demand for more plant-based and vegan-friendly products. Between 2014 and 2017, the percentage of vegan identifiers went from 1% to 6%- an increase of 600% in the span of three years.
Another recent 2020 study found that nearly 10 million Americans now identify as vegan. So, if you’re a hardcore vegan craving a tasty donut, don’t despair, as there are plenty of options out there.
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Benefits of Vegan Donuts
Even if you’re not a full-time vegan, there are many benefits to opting for vegan donuts over “regular” donuts.
Many times, vegan donuts contain fewer calories than regular donuts, as they’re not loaded with butter, milk, and cream. For those looking to watch their weight, vegan donuts can be a great option.
While most regular donuts contain white sugar, there are a lot of vegan donut recipes out there with healthier alternative sweetener options. For example, you can find vegan donuts with agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup.
According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, there are many health concerns surrounding dairy besides the added calories. Milk and other dairy products are the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet. Excess saturated fat can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and other serious conditions.
There are also studies linking dairy to ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers. If you’re looking to cut back on dairy or cut it out of your diet completely, switching to vegan desserts is a great choice. Since there are so many tasty vegan donut options out there, you really won’t feel like you’re missing out.
What’s in a Vegan Donut?
If a vegan donut doesn’t contain eggs, milk, butter, or cream, what exactly is in a vegan donut? Leaving out these ingredients may seem like you’re going to end up with a bland piece of bread.
However, this is not the case, as there are many great substitute ingredients that can help make your vegan donut taste delicious. Here’s what you can use for substitutions:
Milk: There are so many dairy milk alternatives these days, you’ll have no problem finding a substitute. You can swap out dairy milk for soy milk, hemp milk, almond milk, or cashew milk, just to name a few.
Eggs: Eggs can be substituted by mashed bananas, apple sauce, store-bought vegan egg replacers, or Aquafaba. You can also combine flax seeds or chia seeds with water to serve as a binding agent to hold the flour together.
Butter: If the vegan donut recipe calls for butter, you can substitute olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil. You may also be able to substitute applesauce, mashed bananas, nut butter, dairy-free yogurt, or avocados.
Cream: If you’re looking to make a vegan cream-filled donut, you have a couple of options. You can either puree some tofu, or you can soak cashews in water and blend the mixture.
You can also top your donuts with vegan chocolate chips, fresh fruit, or cereal. Or, you can make homemade vegan frosting or vegan glaze.
Vegan Glazed Donut Recipe
If you want to try whipping on some vegan donuts of your own, we suggest starting out with a simple glazed donut recipe. Here’s what you need to make vegan glazed donuts:
For the donuts:
- 1 ¼ cup unflavored non-dairy milk (warm it up before mixing)
- ¼ cup + 1 tsp sugar
- 1 packet of active dry yeast
- 6 tbsp room-temp vegan butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
For the glaze:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cu vegan butter
Here’s how you make the donuts:
- Whisk the yeast, milk, and 1 tsp of sugar in a small bowl and set aside
- Beat the butter and remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer at high speed. Keep blending until it reaches a creamy consistency.
- Beat in the salt and the vanilla.
- Slowly add the yeast mixture to the butter mixture. Beat in a little at a time at low speed.
- Add flour to the mixture ½ cup at a time.
- If the dough becomes too thick, switch to mixing with a spoon.
- Lightly flour your counter and set the dough on the counter.
- Knead the dough for about 5 minutes
- Move the dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl and cover it with a damp towel. Set it in a warm spot and give it about an hour to rise (it should double in size).
- After an hour, punch down the dough and transfer it back to the counter with flour.
- Roll the dough out so it’s about ½ inch thick.
- Use a biscuit or donut cutter to cut the dough into a classic donut shape.
- You can reroll excess do and repeat the process until all of the dough gets used up.
- Transfer your donuts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover the donuts with a damp towel again and set the baking sheet in a warm spot to allow them to rise for about an hour.
- Fill a large Dutch oven or pot with about 2 inches of oil and turn it to medium.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees (you can use a frying thermometer to monitor the temperature).
- Add some of the donuts to the oven, being careful to not let the oil splash.
- Allow the donuts to cook for a couple of minutes, and then flip to cook the other side so both sides are golden brown.
- Use tongs to remove the donuts, and repeat until you cook all of the donuts.
To make the glaze, whisk together the ingredients, and then dip the donuts in the glaze and enjoy!
Time to Try Some Vegan Donuts
As you can see, there are a lot of great options out there for vegan donuts. Now, it’s time for you to enjoy some vegan donuts of your own.
Of course, there are other delicious healthy desserts to try besides vegan donuts. Click here to learn about our banana bread mixes.