Tim Hortons' Buffalo Crunch Donut Menu Item Was Ahead Of Its Time

Far-out food combos are in vogue these days, whether it be TikTokers layering sundae toppings on hamburger buns to make dessert burgers or MLB stadium concession stands selling barbecue sandwiches made with peanut butter cups and fries topped with marshmallow fluff. Back in the early 'tweens, though, Tom Hortons introduced a very limited-release item that the world may not have been quite ready to embrace: the Buffalo crunch donut.

This donut was never actually added to Tim Hortons' in-store menu but was something the chain sold exclusively at the 2014 New York State Fair. While the fair is actually held in Syracuse, that city has no signature sauce, so instead Tim Hortons paid homage to a different upstate city. The Buffalo crunch donut, as the name might imply, was glazed with Buffalo sauce and had a pool of Buffalo-flavored cream (or crème, if you prefer more pretentious terminology) in the center, with the crunch being provided by crushed hot kettle chips. The donut came in two separate versions, the standard spicy one and a mild one served with a side of ranch. This dressing choice, perhaps, explains why this donut has never come back for an encore: Ranch was clearly the wrong choice for western New York, as the original Anchor Bar Buffalo wings came with blue cheese and this has remained the dipping sauce of choice in the region.

The Buffalo Crunch donut met with mixed reviews

While the idea of a Buffalo sauce-flavored donut sounds intriguing or even appealing in the 2020s now that creative flavor combos and sweet-savory mashups are nothing unusual, it wasn't exactly met with universal acclaim when it debuted last decade. Syracuse's Post-Standard called it "an odd concoction," while Bustle went with the descriptor "horrifying" and Grub Street opted for "monstrous" as its adjective of choice. Gawker, in turn, wondered aloud (or technically in print) if Canada was outright trolling the U.S. here since Timmies is a Canadian-based chain.

Those who actually tried the Buffalo Crunch donut, however, weren't so harsh in their condemnations. Many, in fact, seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, including one 8-year-old fair-goer who found it to be even better than Buffalo wings. A reviewer employed by MTV went so far as to call the donuts "kind of great," if still a bit odd, and noted that they managed to taste very distinctly of Buffalo sauce while at the same time retaining their essential dessert-iness. The MTV staffer did complain, however, that the chips were more soggy than crunchy by the time they got to eat their donut, so perhaps this topping might need a bit more tweaking for added shelf stability. Apart from that issue, though, plus the all-important omission of blue cheese dressing, it seems as if these donuts might be ripe for a 2020s encore. Timmies, the puck's in your rink.