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Donut holes, the sweetest example of “waste not, want not,” are the tasty fried middles of regular donuts. There are many occasions where donut holes can be enjoyed en masse. But, how many should you get for a crowd? Even so, we all know that serving sizes don’t always equal appetite sizes!
Plan for about 8 to 16 donut holes per person at a gathering, though if there will be additional refreshments, aim for the lower end of that scale. There are around 4 donut holes in a serving, which is about the same as 1 regular donut. Men will eat more than women typically will.
Aside from the amount, there is also the mode, manner, and “money” of the matter— or the cost, if you’d like a less alliterative name for it. Read on to find tips on serving, budgeting, and more!
How Many Donut Holes for a Gathering?
There are a variety of events that donut holes can be served at. You can use them at brunch, a party, a bridal shower, birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, and much more. They are easy to acquire, plan for, and pair with other foods. Below is a chart that can help you estimate the number of donut holes you need to buy for your event, based on the expected amount of guests.
|Number of Guests
|Number of Donut Holes (Avg. 8-16)
|80 – 160
|200 – 400
|400 – 800
|800 – 1,600
|1,600 – 3,200
If you’re going to be serving a variety of other desserts or refreshments, it also may be a good idea to aim for the lower end of the donut range. For instance, if you are planning on serving cupcakes, cake pops, fruit, donuts, and donut holes, then you might plan on 4-8 donut holes per person, rather than a number closer to 16. With so many other options, it is likely that people will eat an amount closer to the serving size of 4, rather than a higher number.
If you feel that 16 is too large a number, then you can bring the amount down to 12 donut holes per person, the average of the 8-16 range. The guide for this average is depicted in the chart below.
|Number of Guests
|Number of Donut Holes (Avg. 12)
Having an accurate estimate on how many donut holes to acquire is important if you are planning a larger event, as having too many extras can lead to problems with storage and food waste. Resealable bags, like Ziplock bags, or Tupperware containers are good options to store the donut holes after your event is over.
You can also play the role of generous host and offer to give some to your guests as they leave. Not only can you more easily manage the number of leftovers you’re saddled with and not be forced to eat or get rid of them before they go bad, but you’ll also gain favor with your friends.
The best way to avoid overbuying or underbuying on food for events is to know the number of guests attending the event. If you know your audience particularly well, you can do your own math or use the charts above to estimate how much to buy based on how much food you feel will be eaten. For example, a birthday party for 10 children is more likely to demolish 100 donut holes than a party of 10 adults will.
One way to determine this is to ask a few of your guests how many they are likely to eat, if possible. If the number of attendees is too high for that to be practical, try pulling a small number of people to ask ahead of time to get a general idea instead.
How Much will it Cost?
Depending on where you buy, what brand it is, and how many are being purchased, the cost for a party of donut holes can vary greatly. For a general estimate, let’s look at prices from Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Walmart to get an average you can work from.
You can get a pack of 28 donut holes at your local Walmart for only $2.69. At Krispy Kreme, you can buy a 24 pack of donut holes for $3.99 or a pack of 48 for $5.99. At Dunkin Donuts, a 25 pack of Munchkins (their name for donut holes) will run you $6.29, and a pack of 50 for $9.99. That’s nearly twice the price of the Krispy Kreme package, but for only 2 additional pastries!
Using those prices, we can determine the amount per individual donut hole at each establishment. For Walmart, 1 donut hole costs about $0.10, about $0.17 at Krispy Kreme, and $0.25 at Dunkin’ Donuts. If we take all of these and calculate an average price for pastries, the resulting estimate comes out to about $0.17 per donut hole, the same as Krispy Kreme’s price.
|Number of Guests
|Number of Donut Holes
|Cost at Krispy Kreme
|Cost at Dunkin’ Donuts
With this in mind, we can determine a general amount for the cost of buying donut holes en masse. Going off of these numbers (displayed in the chart above), you can plan on spending about $1-$2 per guest.
What are Donut Holes?
Donut holes are made from the exact same dough as regular donuts. The first donut holes were made from the dough cut from the center of regular donuts to avoid waste, as overworking yeast dough— as one might do to roll many pieces of dough into a new sheet for cutting— can knock the air out of the mixture, giving the final product a dense, heavy texture. However, since their conception, the donut hole has been adapted into many forms of donuts and production, including cake donut holes, which are made without yeast.
Thanks to more efficient baking techniques, donut holes are more frequently made by running the dough through an extruder— a nozzle that controls the width and length of the dough before cutting— resulting in dough balls of equal size. A similar process is used in larger bakeries for regular donuts as well, using a ring-shaped version of the same tool
Today, donut holes are celebrated as their own form of treat, and though they don’t always come in the same range of flavors regular donuts do (due to their minute size), they are just as delicious. Some common flavors include glazed, chocolate, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and red velvet, though more unusual versions exist, including pumpkin or Nutella-churro donut holes.
How to Serve Donut Holes
A big part of any party dish is presentation. You can serve donut holes in beautiful ways that are aesthetic and pleasing to yourself as well as your guests. The easiest and fastest way to serve donut holes is to put them out on a plate and set them out for your guests buffet style if you have a plate, tray, or bowl that will look good with your theme.
Another option is to serve them on a stick like cute a dessert skewer. This can also be a good way to control the number of donut holes each person consumes. Donut holes can be placed on cake pop sticks and frosted for a more colorful look. On a longer stick, you can put a variety of powered, chocolate glazed, and clear glazed donut holes on the stick, so that each stick is about 1 serving. If mess-free mass consumption of donut holes is your aim, then baking sticks are a great way to go.
Another way to serve donut holes is by placing about 4 in a serving cup of your choice. If you want to display the desserts aesthetically, choose a nicer cup to serve them in. If you don’t have serving dishes of your own and your budget doesn’t have a lot of room, cheap— but nice— paper or plastic cups can be found at any party or craft stores or even on Amazon.
To make it more fun, instead of placing the cups on a table you can stack them in a tower formation, which has the added benefit of making them easier to reach for guests. If you are uncomfortable with the safety of a donut hole cup pyramid, a similar alternative would be to place the serving cups on a tiered cupcake stand.
For a very unique centerpiece, you can even make a tower of donut holes! This can be accomplished by sticking toothpicks into a large foam cone and placing the donut holes on the ends. If you feel confident in your engineering skills, you can also bypass the cone and just use it as a model, connecting the donut hole to the donut hole until the tower is complete, then removing the foam cone altogether. This is fun for birthday parties, sugary soirées, or any event that feels like it could use a little extra character.
What to Serve with Donut Holes
When deciding on other desserts, food, or drinks to serve with donut holes, you should think about the flavor of the donut holes you plan on serving. The most common donut hole flavors are chocolate glazed, clear glazed, powdered sugar, and cinnamon, all of which work well with fall drinks like hot chocolate or apple cider. However, if you plan on having more singular flavors, like lemon or strawberry donut holes, you might consider expanding your options to fit those flavors as well.
Having a variety of snacks, treat, and drinks are great for a gathering with lots of people. Having a variety of goods allows your guests to have options about what to eat. With your guests satisfied, you will be satisfied and the hard work of planning will pay off. If you are serving donut holes at a party in the evening, fruit cups, a fruit salad, or other desserts like tarts are good companions for the humble donut hole.
If you are planning a more breakfast-y event, classic breakfast staples are a safe bet. Eggs are a great side dish to go with donut holes. Eggs are perhaps the most versatile dish you can serve; for a fancy tea, eggs benedict lends an air of sophistication to your donut-hole-featuring do, or classic scrambled eggs and bacon can give your meal a cozy, homemade aura. Fresh sliced fruit and juice are also great ideas if you’re aiming for a lighter refreshment, or get really creative and try for a donut hole parfait.
Some people like to serve donut holes with a drink. To paint a picture, they have a glass full of a specific drink of choice, then they put a toothpick through the donut hole and rest it on top of the glass. This is a cute way to serve donut holes, and you can mix it up. You can have a few different donut hole options as well as drink options and have some fun servings that way.
When planning any spread, always consider the overall “feel” of the flavors. Only serving heavy, sugary foods might end up making people nauseated, rather than joyful. Too much sweetness can be balanced out with something bitter or savory, like salads or sandwiches. Think of each flavor as a brushstroke in a great painting— so that each flavor works together. Cut heavier items with something lighter, like the natural sweetness of fruit or the freshness of a vegetable tray.
Donut holes of all flavors are also great companions for chocolate. You can have chocolate squares as treats, or you can be creative and serve chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate-covered pretzels, and more. Depending on the season, you may decide that hot chocolate is a great drink option at your event if it is cold outside. Donut holes also make for good dipping material in chocolate fondue, their texture holding together well under the flow of warm, melted chocolate.