I compared Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme's pumpkin spice doughnuts, and Krispy Kreme annihilated Dunkin'

Irene Jiang/Business InsiderKrispy Kreme’s pumpkin spice doughnut collection.

Summary List Placement

  • Nothing says fall like the return of pumpkin spice menu items, and pumpkin spice season started earlier than ever before this year.
  • Krispy Kreme just brought back its pumpkin spice doughnut collection along with a new addition: the pumpkin spice cinnamon roll doughnut.
  • Consumers are gravitating towards comfort foods during the pandemic, making the early and extended return of pumpkin spice a logical sales booster.
  • I compared Krispy Kreme’s pumpkin spice doughnut collection to Dunkin’s, and I found that Krispy Kreme’s doughnuts were better.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nothing heralds the coming of fall like the return of the pumpkin spice latte and its many sweet companions.

With many Americans eager for something sugary to tide them over to the end of 2020, Dunkin’ and Starbucks kicked off pumpkin spice season earlier than ever before this year. Also returning to the festive fall food roster are the pumpkin spice doughnuts at Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme.

Consumers continue to gravitate towards familiarity and comfort foods during the pandemic, making the early or extended return of pumpkin spice a logical choice for companies hoping to further boost sales.

This pumpkin spice season, Dunkin’ brought back its apple cider doughnut and pumpkin doughnut through the fall. Krispy Kreme, meanwhile, launched its pumpkin spice doughnut collection that includes the previously available pumpkin spice glazed doughnut, pumpkin spice cake doughnut, pumpkin spice filled cheesecake doughnut, and a brand new offering: the pumpkin spice cinnamon roll doughnut. All four of Krispy Kreme’s pumpkin spice collection doughnuts will be available through September. Last year, the popular items were only available for one week.

I tried all of Krispy Kreme’s pumpkin spice doughnut collection and compared them against Dunkin’s pumpkin spice doughnut offerings. Here’s what I thought.


Since the nearest Krispy Kreme is an hour away, I asked Krispy Kreme to send me a box of their four pumpkin spice doughnut flavours.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

I also went to the nearest Dunkin’ to retrieve several of their classic fall doughnuts.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

I started with Krispy Kreme’s ever-growing pumpkin spice doughnut collection.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Krispy Kreme’s first-ever pumpkin spice doughnut was the pumpkin spice cake doughnut, which has been on its menu for years and is usually available throughout the fall season.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

It’s soft, moist, and dense, and while it doesn’t taste a lot like pumpkin, the nutmeg really stands out in this one. The glaze is thick but is still subtle and adds to an already moist, crumbly bite.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Dunkin’s version of the pumpkin cake doughnut is larger, denser, and more colourful than Krispy Kreme’s.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

It’s slightly drier but still quite moist. However, it has a very artificial, even plasticky pumpkin flavour. The spices are also less fragrant.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Krispy Kreme brought back two limited-edition doughnuts this year, one of which is the pumpkin glazed doughnut.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

It really just tastes like a classic Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut with a hint of fall flavour. It’s soft and the glaze is delicate, and the nutmeg and clove are subtle but present.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Krispy Kreme’s pumpkin cheesecake doughnut is like the pumpkin glazed, only it has cheesecake filling injected into it.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

It’s a revelation. It brings all the delicacy of the glazed doughnut and punches it up with a tangy, hearty, slightly salty cream cheese filling.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

The new Krispy Kreme doughnut this year is the pumpkin spice cinnamon roll doughnut: a pumpkin doughnut dusted with pumpkin spice sugar and topped with swirls of cinnamon and cream cheese frosting.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

It’s absolutely delicious. The pumpkin spice is very subtle in this one, but the soft, fluffy texture combined with crunchy bits of sugar is extremely satisfying.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Dunkin’s counterpart is the apple cider doughnut, which is an apple-flavored cake doughnut tossed in cinnamon sugar.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

It’s nice and sweet with a vaguely Apple Jack-like flavour, but doesn’t bring the same harmony of flavour and texture that its Krispy Kreme counterpart does.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Dunkin’s doughnuts are dense and colourful, and in a tight spot, they do the job. They’re widely available, and they will be here all fall.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

But Krispy Kreme’s very limited-time pumpkin spice doughnut collection is even more tantalising — not just because they will be here for such a short amount of time, but also because they’re simply that much better.

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

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