This is why Krispy Kreme doughnuts are so delicious

Is there any sight that sets your heart aflutter more than the red neon glow of the Krispy Kreme Hot Light? Maybe you weren't even in the mood for a doughnut, but the second you catch a glimpse of that light, suddenly the only thing you need in the world is an Original Glazed. 

The first thing you notice about your fresh-off-the-line doughnut is how impossibly light it is. How can fried dough be that light? As you sink your teeth into it, breaking through that perfect coat of sweetened lacquer, your mouth confirms that a doughnut really can be as airy as it felt in your hand. It practically melts on your tongue, the ideal combination of crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, all enrobed in that glorious glaze. 

We all know, without a doubt, that Krispy Kreme doughnuts are downright delicious. But what is it, exactly, that makes them taste so good? Let's find out.

It starts with the smell

When Krispy Kreme first started slinging its now famous doughnuts in 1937, the original intent wasn't to sell them direct to consumers. In fact, founder Vernon Rudolph rented a building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to make his doughnuts and sell them to local grocery stores. But as you can imagine, as Rudolph was frying up those doughnut delights, a certain smell started wafting through the air. It was so compelling that people on the street stopped and asked if they could buy fresh-from-the-fryer, piping hot doughnuts right then and there. There was enough interest on the street that Rudolph actually cut a hole in the wall of the building to sell his Original Glazed to passersby.

And isn't that still true today? If you're within a couple hundred yards of a Krispy Kreme store, even if you didn't think you wanted or needed a doughnut, one whiff of that delicious fried dough smell is all it takes to put your craving into overdrive. It definitely does all start with the smell, and once you get your hands on one, you know without a shadow of a doubt that your nose wasn't wrong. 

They're made (and fried, not baked) in-house

If you're on the fence as to whether it's Krispy Kreme or Dunkin' that reigns supreme, when it comes to how they're made, Dunkin' just doesn't hold a candle to Krispy Kreme. See, Krispy Kreme makes (and fries) their doughnuts-in-house, and that's a big reason why they're so dang good, especially compared to competitors who simply bake their pre-made doughnuts in an oven. 

One former Dunkin' employee let it all hang out when it came to their (dis)loyalty to their previous employer's doughnuts, dishing in a Reddit AMA, "Have you ever tried Donut King or Krispy Kreme? Those places have steaming, fresh, high-quality donuts. They're amazing. The Dunkin' Donuts variety are significantly less appealing. Hell, the ones in my store came shipped frozen only to be baked later. That's not quality."

This in-the-know Redditor spilled some similar Dunkin' doughnut-making secrets, saying, "Used to work for DD a few years back. Can confirm that they are shipped frozen. I will tell you that whatever icing/glaze they put on top, actually is done in store... But yeah, plain and simple, the donuts are shipped frozen and they are baked instead of fried..."

Does making doughnuts in house really make that much difference in quality and taste? Let's put it this way: What would you prefer to eat — a freshly made, freshly fried, freshly glazed doughnut, or a baked-from-frozen doughnut? That's not a tough question.

They're always fresh

Most doughnut shops you go to probably make their fried dough delights once a day, in the early hours of the morning before any of us are even thinking about getting out of bed. If you're grabbing a doughnut on the way to work, any ol' doughnut shop should have relatively fresh offerings. Should a craving for a glazed doughnut hit mid-afternoon though, chances are you're getting something that's been sitting around awhile. But that's not the case with Krispy Kreme...

Reader's Digest spoke to a Krispy Kreme representative who confirmed that the Original Glazed are made twice a day, and that's because they only have a 12 hour shelf life. The chain's iconic glazed delights are made fresh around opening time, and then again later in the afternoon, meaning that any time you pop in you're going to get a pretty fresh doughnut. And we can all agree that fresh is always best, particularly when it comes to rings of fried dough.

But the Hot Light means even better doughnuts

Even though you know that each and every glazed doughnut you get from Krispy Kreme is likely going to be fresher than what you'd get elsewhere (thanks to that 12 hour rule), there's one way to guarantee you get your doughnuts at peak freshness: the Hot Light.

There is simply nothing better than a Krispy Kreme doughnut fresh from the fryer, having just made its way through that curtain of sweet glaze. And you know that when the Hot Light is on, that's exactly what you're going to get. 

Krispy Kreme built its business on hot doughnuts, but thanks to modern technology you don't have to wait around in the parking lot all day, praying for that light to come on. No, the Hot Light feature on their app will let you know when you can get the freshest, hottest Original Glazed, no matter where you are. In fact, and this is probably a very bad thing, it can even send you a notification whenever your local store is slinging those piping hot beauties. 

To recap: Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts less than 12 hours old? Really good. Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts fresh off the line? You might be tempted to give up your firstborn in exchange for a dozen.

It's all about the glaze

When we need the important questions answered, what better place to turn than Reddit? Somehow, the users of the site boast more sage wisdom than you'd ever think possible. For instance, when someone posed with the question "What makes Krispy Kreme doughnuts so delicious?" one user got right to the point.

"It's the glaze," the Redditor explained. "Once I asked the baker for a KK right out of the fryer, no glaze. Bland to the point of tastelessness, and didn't have that wonderful combination of crisp, soft, and gooey that a KK has."

This wise Redditor isn't wrong. That perfect coating of sweet yet not-too-sweet glaze is a game-changer. It gives that light, fluffy fried dough something to live for. And why wouldn't it? It's basically sugar and water (with a handful of other ingredients that we're assuming don't taste like much), and let's be honest — sugar just makes food taste better, and sends signals to our brains that translate to a feeling of pleasure. So yeah, of course a sugary glazed Krispy Kreme is more delicious than a plain ol' naked one. 

The recipe is top secret

Don't we always want something more when we know we can't have it? Krispy Kreme no doubt knows that, and aside from keeping their trade secrets from competitors, it's probably one of the reasons that the company keeps their Original Glazed doughnut recipe under lock and key (and that's not hyperbole — the decades-old recipe is literally kept in a safe at their plant).

What the company will divulge, however, is that — in their opinion — what makes Krispy Kreme doughnuts so magically delicious all has to do with their mix and equipment. A senior vice president told the Chicago Tribune that the same dry mix is used by every location, and it's all produced by one plant in North Carolina. This proprietary blend, combined with yeast also sent from the plant, along with purified water, is mixed in-house at each store before the dough heads into an (also proprietary) air-pressurized extruder that pops out those perfect rings every time. 

That explains why every single Original Glazed tastes just as good as the last — Krispy Kreme clearly has it down to a science.

You can eat more

This might be the best news you've heard about Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Dougnuts yet: They're actually lower-cal and have less sugar than some of their biggest competitors. And when you're taking down two or three or, fine, six doughnuts in one sitting, doesn't that knowledge just make them taste better?

Here's how it breaks down: A glazed doughnut from Dunkin' packs 260 calories and 12 grams of sugar. The same item from Tim Hortons also has 260 calories, but a whopping 21 grams of sugar. And an Original Glazed from Krispy Kreme? Just 190 calories and 10 grams of sugar. Obviously, Dunkin's sugar isn't that much higher, but it loses ground when it comes to calories. And Tim Hortons just can't compete on either front. 

Now, of course, we're not saying you should eat six doughnuts in one sitting on the regular, but if you do, it might as well be Krispy Kreme. Not only are they more delicious, but comparatively, they're basically health food.

They make burgers more delicious, too

What do you get when you combine a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a bacon cheeseburger? As Krispy Kreme puts it, using their Original Glazed delights instead of a plain ol' bun is a surefire way to "bring your burger from 'yum!' to 'yummmmm!'" 

It turns out we have Luther Vandross to thank for this creation — the first iteration of this taste treat was actually dubbed the Luther Burger. According to Snopes, the singer's exact connection to the burger is a little murky, but it's rumored that Vandross either created the mashup when he ran out of regular buns, or that he just loved the concoction so much it was named after him. Either way, we all owe some thanks to Mr. Vandross for his excellent taste.

Think about it — we love other sweet and savory mashups, from the more gourmet prosciutto-wrapped melon to the less highbrow but nonetheless delectable french fries dipped in a Wendy's chocolate Frosty. So why wouldn't a glazed doughnut improve on an already delicious burger? One bite and you just might forgo those sesame seed hamburger buns forever.