Dunkin’s Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is manageable, if not enjoyable

A ghost pepper donut covered in pink frosting and red sprinkles
Photo: Dennis Lee

We, staff writers Dennis Lee and Lillian Stone, have been on the job for about 4.75 days, which was the perfect amount of time for our new colleagues to start making us eat funky stuff. Enter the Dunkin’ Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, a daring piece of dough that looks like Mister Heat Miser in pastry form. The Takeout wanted to know: How hot is this thing, and is it any good?


To find out, we each snapped up a ’nut at our neighborhood Dunkin’ and chatted over Slack as we took our first bites together. Dennis split his ghost pepper goodness with his partner, Davida, while Lillian ate hers the way she eats everything: quickly, noisily, and in the presence of two disgusting dogs. Our takeaways are below.

Dennis Lee: Appearance: dipped yeast doughnut, frosted with something pink, plus red granulated sugar on top. Okay, time to take a bite!!!

Lillian Stone: OKAY LET’S DO IT. Is that frosting... strawberry?

Dennis: It tastes vaguely like strawberry, and I can taste the heat, but it’s pretty mild. Almost like the burn you get from eating a lot of cinnamon candy all at once.

Lillian: Yeah, I’m a certified weenie and this is definitely manageable. What is that frosting flavor?!

Dennis: I do taste a vague pepper flavor.

Lillian: I’m, like, breathing into my hand trying to figure out this flavor situation. But honestly, it’s kind of good. Do you think it is good?


Dennis: It’s not strawberry, it tastes like pepper. I think our minds are trying to fill in the gap with strawberry. Try taking a bite off the top like a heathen.

Lillian: I don’t wanna. Okay, I will. Maybe the immense amount of sugar plus pepper equals strawberry?


Dennis: I think it’s okay if you want a yeast doughnut with frosting and sprinkles on top that isn’t your usual, but I wouldn’t actively seek this out.

Lillian: Also, this is decidedly an afternoon snack. I would not eat this in the morning.


Dennis: I agree!

Lillian: I do think we should point out that all the flavor comes from the sprinkles and frosting. Like, the doughnut itself is just your standard yeasty ’nut. Dennis, are you sure there’s no strawberry on this thing?


Dennis: I can’t tell! Davida says it does kind of taste like strawberry.

Lillian: Does she like it?! I don’t have anyone around to taste this with me!

Dennis: Yeah, now I see. It’s right at the beginning. She likes it!

Lillian: I’m about four bites in and the heat feels a little more bracing now. I also ate a glazed chocolate cake doughnut right before this (a starter doughnut) so I’m on my way to Heartburn City.


Dennis: It goes from that tiny strawberry flavor and completely flips into pepper.

Lillian: I do think it looks cute.

Dennis: Yeah, it is cute. It’s growing on me! I think if I had any reason to get a dozen, I’d ask for two of these in there.


Lillian: Really? See, I don’t think I’d do it again. I guess because I don’t eat doughnuts very frequently, so I always wanna go with my very favorite kind when I get them.

Dennis: But chocolate cake glazed?!

Lillian: Only God can judge me!!!! Did you finish yours?

Dennis: No, but I’m sharing it. If I wasn’t sharing it, I’d eat the whole thing.

Lillian: See, that means something! I ate the whole thing, but I probably wouldn’t do it again. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, but I think there are lots of superior doughnut options. It wasn’t as hot as I expected, though.


Dennis: I am a Boston Cream person. And no, it’s, like, lower in heat than a Buffalo wing, but it stays longer.

Lillian: And a little sharper than a Buffalo wing, although I guess that’s the whole point of the pep. Any final takeaways?


Dennis: Yeah, that it’s worth trying once but wouldn’t be good enough to keep forever. But a spiced Mexican chocolate doughnut in either frosted yeast or cake doughnut format... Now, that’s something I can get behind!

Lillian: Oh. Oh yes.

Note: Dennis puts this donut at a solid B, but Lillian appraised it as a C, for an overall grade of B-.


Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.



That ranking is much too high for this donut. I had one last week, and it’s cloyingly sweet, with a bright candy-like taste. I wouldn’t say strawberry, but I could see the comparison to those strawberry wrapper candies every grandmother would collect in a bowl.

The heat was mild. I was prepared for a building heat (as ghost peppers have fooled me once before), but it remained a slight tingle. Dunkin Donuts isn’t the ideal place for donuts in general, but most of their other donut selections are better than this one. If they lowered that candy taste and made it something closer to a strawberry jam (maybe it should be a filled donut and not a frosted one) with a sugar coating, it would push it up a little higher. But as it stands now, this one is pretty low on their offerings.

My rankings of their donuts would be French Cruller, Boston Kreme, Glazed, Jelly Filled, Chocolate cake, chocolate glazed, then pretty much everything else.