Five classic donuts, one hot sandwich maker: Who will come out on top?

At this point, it’s no secret that we love Mister Donut. With a regular rotation of delicious limited-edition donut flavors–sometimes even shaped like Pokémon–along with a truly delightful standard menu, we can’t help but want to stop in there regularly to satisfy our sweet tooth.

One of our Japanese-language reporters, foodie MG Ogawa, really loves Mr. Donut. In fact, he loves them so much that he decided to think of ways to make their donuts even better. And just as he was beginning his intellectual journey, he received a message from the heavens:

“My dear child…Grill them. Grill Mister Donut donuts in a hot sandwich maker, and the path will open for you…”

“Grill them in a hot sandwich maker?!” thought Ogawa. “Sounds delicious, so okay!”

And so, Ogawa followed in fellow reporter Masanuki’s footsteps to explore the potential of the hot sandwich maker. He quickly went out to Mr. Donut and picked up five of their most classic donuts: a French Crueller, a Honey Churro, a Honey Dip, an Old-Fashioned, and a Pon-de-Ring. His goal: to grill each one in a hot sandwich maker for three minutes and find out which one comes out the best. Ogawa hypothesized that the Honey-Dip would most benefit from being grilled and that the Old-Fashioned, by contrast, wouldn’t change much. Was he correct? Let’s find out.

Ogawa started with the French Crueller. It’s famous as a lighter donut. How would it evolve after being grilled?

He placed the donut in the hot sandwich maker and waited patiently for three minutes as a decadently sweet aroma wafted through the room. When the timer pinged, Ogawa couldn’t wait to find out how it would come out.

Ooh! It got a really nice char on it, making Ogawa excited to try it. But first, he had to finish grilling the rest of the donuts.

Trial number two was the Honey Churro. Though it was his favorite donut, Ogawa predicted it wouldn’t change much in the hot sandwich maker.

When three minutes passed, he opened the sandwich press and thought, “Huh, yeah it didn’t really do much.”

At least until he flipped it over to reveal a nice, crispy looking bottom. Ogawa couldn’t help but feel proud of its transformation.

Next up was the donut that Ogawa predicted would be the strongest contender for the “Best Grilled Donut” award: the Honey Dip. Its syrupy coating was sure to be the ace in the hole here.

Three minutes later…

Oooohhhhh!!! This one right here was the winner, at least so far. It was guaranteed to be delicious. With its nicely browned exterior and sweet-looking, shiny glaze Ogawa could tell it was going to be good without even tasting it. His mouth watered at the prospect.

But Ogawa had an experiment to run, so he continued his mission by grilling the Old-Fashioned. To be frank, Ogawa didn’t expect grilling would make much of a difference to this donut. Would it even look any different?

In it went for three minutes…

Well, he wouldn’t say that it made a huge difference, but it did have some grill markings. Plus, when he picked it up with the tongs, the donut seemed somewhat softer now, not quite as firm and crumbly as usual.

Last but not least was Mister Donut’s original donut, the Pon-de-Ring.

Three minutes in the hot sandwich maker made it…

Completely different! It looked like some kind of limited-time-only special Pon-de-Ring instead of the ones they’re always selling.

Now that all of the donuts were grilled, Ogawa put them all on a plate to compare.

Their glistening char and roasted sugar smell had him salivating. Could these donuts have surpassed the already lofty level of Mister Donut’s usual deliciousness? Or could the charring have ruined them completely? Only one way to find out. One by one, Ogawa tried each of the grilled Mister Donut donuts to find the best one, starting with the French Crueller.

The smell of it was like a living hell for Ogawa, who had made the grave error of cooking these on an empty stomach.


The marriage of crunch and fluff was absolutely perfect. The French Cruellers are normally so tasty you can just pound them down one after the other, but this was absolutely incredible. If Ogawa wasn’t careful, he’d end up grilling every single French Crueller in the world just to share this perfection. “I can’t stop eating it!” he cried, shoving another bite in even though he needed to move on to the others.

Once he’d put aside the grilled French Crueller, Ogawa took a moment to reflect. “This might end up being bad,” he thought. This was just the first donut. Could the others be just as good, or possibly even better? And if so, how could he ever pick one as the winner? Eager to find out, Ogawa moved on to trying the Honey Churro.

When he pulled the pieces apart, the melted glaze stretched a little bit, making his heart thump with anticipation.

The Honey Churro’s evolution was just as it ought to be. While the French Crueller transformed entirely into a different dessert in the hot sandwich maker, the Honey Churro only became better in every way. Especially of note was how the donut got even more crunchy, like the churros you might find at an amusement park or a movie theater.

Next up was the Honey Dip.

Ogawa had the highest expectations about this one, and its grilled appearance did little to stifle those expectations. It was like a whole new dimension of deliciousness. I mean, just look at it!

The gleam of the glaze…doesn’t it look almost too good? Ogawa had to try not to stuff the whole thing in his mouth.

But the expectation did not meet reality. It was as if it was no longer a Honey Dip donut and instead became more like a pancake with a crispy texture. It was super delicious and Ogawa really liked it, but if you like the Honey Dip for its soft and fluffy texture, it would probably be better if you didn’t grill it.

Now it was the Old-Fashioned’s turn. Visually, it was the donut that changed the least after being grilled.

Could it defy expectations and end up being the most delicious?

It was certainly better than the original! Ogawa frankly finds Old-Fashioned donuts to be rather dry and tasteless, so he doesn’t usually like them. But cooked in a hot sandwich maker, this donut gained a crispy exterior and a moist interior, which made it much more enjoyable. Turns out Old-Fashioned donuts can be pretty tasty!

Finally, Ogawa came to the final contender: the Pon-de-Ring.

Known for their more chewy texture, Pon-de-Ring donuts are a decidedly different experience from other donuts. How did that transform when grilled in a hot sandwich maker?

It was magically both crispy and chewy. It had an amazing texture that made Ogawa keep wanting to eat it, and the more he ate it, the more of that original chewiness made itself known, and the more delicious it became. The fact that Ogawa could finish off his taste test with something so delicious was a stroke of very good fortune.

After tasting each donut, going back and reviewing and trying each one over and over again, Ogawa came to a conclusion. The donut that achieved the most delicious transformation in a hot sandwich maker was…

The Pon-de-Ring!

With its fantastic crispy-chewy texture, the grilled Pon-de-Ring ended up being something that everyone should try at least once in their life. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

On the other hand, however, the biggest disappointment, at least for Ogawa, turned out to be the Honey Dip. It was good, but when grilled, it lost any traces of its original form. It was a shame that it simply turned into some kind of crispy pancake. If it had retained some of its original fluffiness, it might have been a very strong contender for the Pon-de-Ring.

Who would have thought there was a method to make donuts even more delicious? Ogawa would like to thank the Mister Donut gods for the idea. If you have a sweet tooth and are a fan of Mister Donut, you’ll definitely want to try grilling your favorite in a hot sandwich maker. We almost have to wonder how their limited-edition Japanese sweet-inspired donuts would turn out…

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