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Does Dunkin Donuts make Cronuts?

Cronuts are a popular hybrid pastry that combines elements of a croissant and a doughnut. They were created and trademarked by Dominique Ansel in New York City in 2013, and have since become available at some bakeries and restaurants around the world. However, one major chain that does not offer cronuts is Dunkin’ Donuts.

What is a Cronut?

A cronut consists of delicate, flaky croissant dough that has been fried like a doughnut. The classic cronut shape is a ring, similar to a doughnut shape. The cronut dough may be filled with cream or other fillings before frying. After frying, cronuts are typically coated in a layer of glaze or icing and optionally topped with decorations like sprinkles or fruit.

Some key characteristics of cronuts are:

  • Made from laminated croissant dough
  • Fried like a doughnut
  • Ring shape
  • Filled with cream or custard
  • Glazed or iced
  • Topped with decorations

The hybrid nature of taking thin, flaky croissant dough and frying it like a doughnut results in a pastry that is crispy on the outside and layered and fluffy on the inside. The frying gives the dough a unique, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

History of the Cronut

The cronut was invented by renowned pastry chef Dominique Ansel, owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. He debuted the cronut in May 2013 and it was an immediate hit. People began lining up hours before the bakery opened to get their hands on the limited daily cronut supply.

The idea came about when Dominique was challenged to create a new doughnut flavor. He disliked the greasiness of deep fried dough and wanted to incorporate crisp, flaky croissant dough instead. After months of experimentation with frying croissant dough, the cronut was born.

Due to the overnight success and popularity of Dominique’s cronuts, he trademarked the name “cronut” in early 2014 to protect it from copycats. The official cronut recipe remains a closely guarded secret.

Availability of Cronuts

Authentic Dominique Ansel cronuts are still only available in limited quantities at his bakery in New York City. Customers often line up daily to have a chance to buy one.

However, the concept of a croissant-doughnut hybrid has exploded in popularity globally. Many other bakeries offer their own versions, often calling them “dosants”, “crodoughs”, or other names to get around the cronut trademark. These hybrid pastries can now be found in numerous bakeries from Los Angeles to London.

Major international food chains have also gotten in on the cronut trend, developing their own twists on the fried croissant idea. Both Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have launched limited-time cronut-inspired menu items in the past. However, neither keeps a permanent cronut option available nationwide.

Does Dunkin’ Donuts Sell Cronuts?

Dunkin’ Donuts does not offer cronuts on its permanent menu. The closest they have come to selling cronuts were two limited-time cronut-style doughnuts they tested in 2014 and 2016.

2014 Croissant Donut Test

In 2014, Dunkin’ Donuts tested selling “Croissant Donuts” for a few months in select regions across the United States. These were ring-shaped and made using laminated croissant-style dough. They were available in 3 flavors:

  • French Cruller
  • Blueberry
  • Chocolate

However, the Croissant Donuts were not true cronuts made with the specific Dominique Ansel recipe and technique. They were simply a Dunkin’ version of a doughnut made with croissant dough rather than regular doughnut dough.

2016 New York Cronut Sandwich Test

In May 2016, about 250 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in New York state tested a new menu item called the “Croissant Donut Breakfast Sandwich.” This was designed to directly compete with the popular Dominique Ansel Bakery cronut using Dunkin’s breakfast sandwich approach.

It consisted of a flaky croissant donut cut in half and filled with a fried egg and bacon. Customers had the option to add cheese and other toppings.

The NY Cronut Sandwich was only available for a few months before being discontinued. As a limited-time regional test item, it was never launched nationwide on Dunkin’s permanent menu.

Why Dunkin’ Doesn’t Sell Cronuts

There are several factors that contribute to Dunkin’ Donuts’ decision not to offer true cronuts:

Labor-Intensive Preparation

Authentic cronuts require a labor-intensive preparation process that involves making delicate laminated croissant dough from scratch, proofing and folding it multiple times, frying each pastry individually, and filling and decorating each one. This meticulous process is not practical for a large fast food chain like Dunkin’ trying to maximize efficiency and profit.

Short Shelf Life

The cronut’s airy croissant dough means it has a much shorter shelf life than regular fried doughnuts. Cronuts are best consumed within 6 hours of frying. Dunkin’ stores would end up wasting a lot of unsold product if they couldn’t sell all their daily cronut stock before it went stale.

Difficult Production Scaling

It is challenging for commercial bakeries to replicate the artisanal handmade process used for cronuts on a mass production scale. Scaling cronut production for thousands of locations would likely result in quality and consistency issues.

Trademark Restrictions

Dominique Ansel owns the trademark for the term “cronut.” Dunkin’ could face potential legal action if they used the cronut name without permission. Calling a similar product a “Croissant Donut” gets around this issue.

Pre-Existing Brand Identity

Dunkin’ Donuts has built its brand identity around, well, donuts – specifically their classic fried cake donuts. Introducing trendy cronuts could dilute their brand recognition and loyalty among customers who come specifically for the familiar original Dunkin’ style of donuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts Specialty Donut Options

Although they don’t offer cronuts, Dunkin’ Donuts does have an ample variety of over 60 different specialty donuts available. Their lineup includes:

Seasonal and Limited Edition Donuts

Dunkin’ frequently rolls out special limited-time donuts tied to holidays, changing seasons, and pop culture trends. Some examples include heart-shaped Valentine’s donuts, pumpkin spice donuts, and Avengers superhero character donuts.

Filled Donuts

Filled shell donuts are the Dunkin’ version of a cream or custard-filled “jelly” donut. Fillings include Bavarian Kreme, strawberry, blueberry, and more.

Fruit Topped and Glazed Donuts

Yeast donuts with fruit flavored glazes or fresh fruit topped on the icing offer a sweet fruity flavor. Blueberry, strawberry, and lemon are popular fruit choices.

Munchkins Donut Holes

These bite-sized donut balls are the iconic Dunkin’ menu item. Munchkins come in all classic Dunkin’ flavors plus special varieties.

Cake and Yeast Donut Varieties

Customers can choose from a wide selection of traditional cake and yeast raised donuts. Favorites include glazed, chocolate glazed, vanilla creme, strawberry creme, and more.

Does Any Major Chain Offer Real Cronuts?

No major U.S. bakery or donut chain currently offers authentic cronuts made with Dominique Ansel’s secret recipe and procedure. The cronut is still exclusively produced by his bakery.

Chains like Dunkin’ and Starbucks have only tested limited-time cronut-inspired menu items on a small scale in the past. Producing and selling proper cronuts nationwide would have prohibitive costs and supply chain challenges.

Independent artisanal bakeries across the country offer locally made cronut knockoffs, but there is no large cronut franchise operation. Dominique Ansel has not franchised or licensed out his official cronut recipe. He likely wants to prevent large-scale commercialization from damaging the gourmet cronut brand he established.

So for now, true cronut fans will have to take a trip to NYC and battle the early morning lines to get one straight from the source!


In summary, while Dunkin’ Donuts experimented with limited cronut-style products in a few regions temporarily, they do not currently offer any type of cronut or croissant donut nationwide. Challenges like difficulty scaling production, short shelf life, and effort needed to make delicate laminated dough prevent fast food chains from adding genuine cronuts to their permanent menu.

The trademarked cronut recipe remains exclusive to Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. No major restaurant chain or franchisor has been licensed to produce them en masse for widespread distribution and sale across the United States. Customers who want an authentic cronut experience still have to visit the original NY bakery that invented them.

However, the popularity of cronuts has inspired many independent bakeries to create their own croissant-doughnut hybrids under different names. These can offer a similar taste without exactly replicating Dominique Ansel’s secret cronut recipe and methods. So while not precisely the same, cronut fans can still enjoy a comparable treat at their local bakery.