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Low fat donuts?

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low fat donutsHoley Donuts says that their donuts are neither baked nor fried, but cooked in a secret process that produces a perfect donut. As though that weren’t perplexing enough, their donuts are also low in fat, which makes them a donut anomaly in more ways than one.

The fact that they’re not fried is not that surprising, given that the fat content of even the cream-filled variety is less than 4 grams per donut. Baking donuts tends to make them a bit bread-like and much heavier than a fried donut. I’m left wondering how they’re made, if not baked or fried. What other options are there? The FAQ on the site says that it took 5 years to come up with the recipe for the donuts and, presumably, with the cooking method. Any flashes of inspiration as to how these are made? Put them in the comments and I’ll see if I can work out a recipe for something similar that we can try at home.

Until then, it looks like fried donuts and portion control are the way to go.

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  • joy
    April 10, 2007


  • Nicole
    April 10, 2007

    That’s a good point, Joy. I forgot to mention that the donuts are shipped frozen and are meant to be microwaved before serving. It’s possible that they are microwaved to begin with, as well.

  • ErickaJo
    April 10, 2007

    Outside of lasers or some other type of irradiation (sure, you can go with microwave, but I can’t think of anything wonderful and bready which can be got with just a microwave) I just don’t know. Maybe a type of convection that they don’t consider baking?

    Where are they based? Manhatten. Do we have someone who could infiltrate?

    I’d love to order a dozen… for research, but the price… do I want to be chubby or broke?

  • Nige
    April 10, 2007

    I heard thru a friend in NYC they are actually tasty. However, this friend also likes sugar free, fat-free frozen yogurt. I once read a story about a bar who serves healthful versions of favorite pub-grub food with a special deep-fryer, where the oil isn’t absorbed as much, like 70% less, than standard fryers. Maybe it’s something similar? I’m really curious, and I must try them next time I’m in NYC.

  • Jenna
    April 10, 2007

    sounds like someone has been reading hungry girl?!
    If not, they just ran a review of holey donuts, http://www.hungry-girl.com

    I, too, was curious about the taste of these donuts, but the price turned me off!

  • Jessica
    April 10, 2007

    They could also be steamed… I know recently there have been some chefs who have started playing with steaming baked goods (the cake sits in a metal tin on top of a large pot of boiling water and is covered with a lid), and it produces a very moist, tender crumb. I noticed in the pictures on their website that the outside of the doughnuts are very pale, so my guess is either a microwave or steam cooker.

  • Amy K
    April 10, 2007

    I was going to guess steamed as well, perhaps like a Chinese red bean bun? I agree, the pics look very pale.

  • I had envisioned some kind of process that involves a cauldron and a magic wand. I’m full of curiosity on these, but I really don’t indulge in things like this and since they’re way across the country and I can’t really see myself paying $24 for a dozen to just ‘try’ them, I guess I’ll just have to imagine the incantation that must be the recipe.

  • kelly
    April 10, 2007

    Blognut did a review/entry about them a while back. They look interesting, but I am considering ordering them.

  • Nicole
    April 10, 2007

    The price is definitely a bit discouraging, especially since these require quick shipping. NY readers – if you try them, report back!

    And Nurse Betty, the magic wand theory sounds plausible to me, too!

  • Deanna
    April 11, 2007

    I am thinking that Demarle at Home baking products (makers of Silpat Flexipan etc), while it is designed to use without oil, using a flexipan or silpat with some oil might keep a lot of moisture in the donut while crisping the outside? But I would still call that a form of baking. Otherwise, they just say they don’t “deep fry” so maybe they pan fry a bit before being frozen? I also thought the price was prohibitive of trying them out. Very curious. I just found your site and love it! Thanks!!

  • Karen
    April 11, 2007

    I, too think they were steamed. Seems like the only cooking method left besides baking or frying. I don’t know about microwave unless it was convection, too. Doesn’t baking in a microwave produce a tough dough? Also, how practicul would it be to have huge microwave ovens to cook these doughnuts in a mass quantity. Nope, I go with steaming. Someone might try using a can of biscuits (like Pillsbury) and steaming them to see what the results are….

    By the way, I love your website. Always enjoyed the baking sheet and am thoroughly enjoying “bites”.

  • Ev
    April 11, 2007

    The only reason I think these aren’t steamed is because they mentioned it took years to develop. I don’t know—steaming seems pretty straightforward. But from the looks of some of the photos I’ve seen, they look doughy. The donut looks almost wet, and sticky. And baking would make them dense, unless an extra amount of fat or fat-substitute were used. But then you’d might as well have the full-fat version. I must try them!

    Love the site!

  • Jessica "Su Good Eats"
    April 11, 2007

    I had these. Basically, they’re rolls with lots of icing. The filling is pretty good (it doesn’t taste artificial like Dunkin Donuts), but it’s just fancy bread.

  • Susan
    May 2, 2007


  • Tea
    May 3, 2007

    First of all…great site! ^_^ Secondly, I doubt the doughnuts are steamed because they don’t have that white doughy look usual steamed breads have. Maybe they use a non-stick, doughnut shaped mould “grills” like waffle irons. That makes much more sense to me than being steamed…but I guess we’ll never know. o_O;;; So approximately 2.5 doughnuts = 1 cinnabon’s worth of calories, and 5 to 1 bon in fat. Good to know!! ^_^

  • previous worker for holey donuts
    January 31, 2008

    lolololol you all are fooled i know the recipe to the -t- anyone wanna buy it from me be my guest i can take you through the steps easily i know all ingredients and it isnt that far from being a dunkin donut!!! being that his father use to own a dunkin donuts a while back he still uses dunking donut fillings and frostings…but however if you want the cooking method you must reply to me!!!! for a low price you too can have a fat free doughnut buisness

  • jack
    February 18, 2008

    We would like to purchase this formula…post your email and phone number.

  • David
    June 17, 2008

    I doubt anyone cares anymore, but I found a patent for an “Ultra low fat, dry fry process” filed by Frank Dilullo from Brooklyn, NY.
    Looks like they just use a standard convection oven with special ingredients.


  • Brittany
    October 26, 2011

    mabye they were using a barbeque-they could of either used the grill or put a pan on the gill and cooked it.

  • Frances Bogan
    August 9, 2012

    I’ve tried Holey Donuts and I think that they are sickeningly sweet what with the fillings and toppings. There is nothing satisfying about them, and I will never again waste my money. Again, a little control and a genuine donut now and then is the best bet and worth it!

  • Anne
    December 7, 2012

    Have you heard of water bagels? Well, what about water doughnuts!

  • scentasticmomma
    November 5, 2014

    I have tried these. About 3 years ago i ordered some. They had a good discount going. If it wasn’t for that I never would have been able to afford them.. Anyways, they were very soft and moist. Had a good flvot. I let them thaw. Nevwr microwaved them. They were pale in color though.. I agree, maybe steam or convection cooking? Would love to be able to make a version of these myself.. The price point is so high! I did comment on their fb page years ago (before I tried them) saying I would love to try some but they were just to expensive. They blocked me from making any more comments :/

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