How to Grill Your Doughnuts

Photo: Kerry Diamond

Maybe I’m sheltered, but I had no idea that grilling doughnuts was a thing. I observed this dessert hack at a relative’s house recently: basic glazed Dunkin’ Donuts sliced crosswise, charred briefly on the grill, and turned into ice cream sandwiches. It was impressive to watch the humble doughnut transform into something decadent.

The grill master agreed to a quick interview as long as I promised not to use his name. (He’s private, so I agreed, but I’m sure my other relatives will out him when they post this story on Facebook.)

What brand of donut do you use for grilling?
A simple glazed doughnut will work best. I’ve used Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, and [some other] store brands, and there’s no discernible difference.

Where did you learn about grilling doughnuts?
I’ve always been a huge fan of hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts. At some point, I heard someone on the radio—probably sports radio—mention grilled doughnuts, and this sounded incredible: the sweet, warm goodness of Krispy Kreme…with that great grill char.

Any tips or tricks?
Always cut the doughnuts in half (like you’d cut a bagel) before you throw them on the grill. You get the soft melted glaze on the top and a nice crisp toasted surface on the bottom.

How do you avoid burning them?
Set the grill to high, and it’s just a minute or so on each side. It’s nearly impossible to screw this up. They’re great burnt! The toughest part may be flipping them on the grill, as they tend to fall apart. You’ll lose a few that way. Of course, they’re still fine to eat—just not as presentable. The person grilling usually gets to eat these.

Serving suggestions?
They’re best right off the grill, with ice cream—either as a sandwich or, as I prefer, with the ice cream on top. If you let them sit for too long, they can get cold and hard, but they rarely last that long.

Anything else?
Grill marks are important. They give the grilled doughnuts some credibility—like they’re not just a blob of sugary goo, but a legit, finely crafted dessert. Anyway, in my experience, people don’t usually need too much convincing.

More grilled desserts:
Grilled Cobbler and Other Desserts
You Should Grill More Fruit!
Sweet Pecans and Other Smoky Snacks

Have you ever tried grilling doughnuts before? Tell us your tricks.