The Real Reason Donuts Have Holes

Nothing quite hits the spot like fresh donuts and coffee, and we've often found ourselves munching away wondering why Krispy Kreme donuts are so delicious and pondering exactly why we can't get enough Dunkin' Donuts. On a smaller scale, we've also found ourselves curious about the real reason why donuts have holes. It can't just be because donut holes are adorably tiny and snackable, right? 

Truth be told, not all donuts have holes in the middle. Cream and jelly-filled donuts, for instance, are hole-free and are injected with filling after being fried until golden brown. But as for those other fried and baked donut rings, what's the deal with the holes in the middle? 

Why do donuts have holes?

The reason for donuts having holes is actually very practical, and it doesn't have to do with creating a donut hole side business.

It's thought that the inventor of the donut hole was a sailor on a ship in 1847 (via Wonderopolis). He didn't like how the fried cakes the cook served were always doughy and greasy in the middle, and he decided to punch a hole in the middle of the raw dough so that it would cook all the way through more evenly. 

Another theory is that donuts became popular when bagels were also reaching their apex. Bagel sellers would stack their goods on sticks or put them on strings, and some think that donut sellers took a page from the bagel sellers' book and started making convenient holes in their products, too. 

Strangely enough, these days, many commercial donuts don't have holes punched out of them at all. Instead, the dough is sprayed in a ring shape directly into the hot oil, and the donut holes you see sold in major donut chains and at grocery stores are just made from specially cut pieces of dough that are fried.