What to Order at Dunkin’ Donuts, According to a Registered Dietitian

Are you a coffee and donut fan? Make choices that align with your health goals by reading tips from a registered dietitian.

signos takeout thursday what to order at dunkin donuts
by
Alicia Buchter
— Signos
Health writer
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Reviewed by

Alicia Buchter
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
July 19, 2024
June 27, 2024
— Updated:

Table of Contents

Dunkin Donuts is the world's largest coffee and donut brand, with more than 13,200 stores in more than 40 countries.6 The chain serves 5 million people per day worldwide, and in the US, there are almost 10,000 Dunkin’ Donuts stores in 44 states. Many choose Dunkin’ as their breakfast spot of choice. 

Despite its popularity, you might need help finding many health-food aficionados among its clientele. As a specialist in donuts and coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts is often avoided by those trying to clean up their diet. Concerns revolve mainly around the high levels of added sugar in many Dunkin’ menu items. 

Consumption of added sugar has been associated with many health risks, including some of the most common and serious health conditions in the United States, like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.1 Sugar-loaded drinks and desserts come with lots of calories without filling you up, making it especially easy to overindulge. Even more, after the quick surge of sugar into your bloodstream, your blood sugar takes a dive. Both these factors leave you feeling drained and craving more energy-dense food. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that added sugars make up less than 10 percent of daily calorie intake. The average diet of 2,000 calories per day would be 50 grams of added sugar per day.2 The American Heart Association’s recommendation is stricter, suggesting under 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and under 36 grams for men.3

Dunkin’ Donuts sells more coffee than any other item type, which presents another health concern. The world’s most popular drug, caffeine, is a stimulant that has a variety of physiologic effects, including elevated heart rate and constricted blood vessels. Research shows both positive and negative health effects of caffeine. On one hand, people who regularly drink coffee may be less likely to develop chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and some cancers. However, too much caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, acid reflux, and increased blood pressure.4

So, can Dunkin’ Donuts still be part of a balanced diet? Absolutely! The key is to make choices that will satisfy you but won’t come with a boatload of unhealthy ingredients you weren’t looking for. As fast food chains go, Dunkin’ Donuts has various offerings ranging from sugar-filled coffee drinks to wholesome protein-packed sandwiches. In this article, we’ll unravel how best to navigate the Dunkin’ Donuts menu so you can still delight in one of America’s favorite coffee chains while staying on track with your health goals.

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7 Foods to Order at Dunkin’ Donuts

1. Egg and Cheese on an English Muffin

Dunkin Donuts Egg and Cheese on an English Muffin
  • Calories: 340kcal
  • Fat: 15g (5g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 650mg
  • Carbs: 38g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Protein: 14g

Average Glucose Spike: 32mg/dL

Protein is one of the first things to look for when searching for a good breakfast option. Eating protein early will keep your energy high and stable throughout the day. This breakfast sandwich, with its egg and cheese, provides 14 grams of protein, making it a good option to start your day.

2. Egg and Cheese Wake-Up Wrap

Dunkin Donuts Egg and Cheese Wake-Up Wrap
  • Calories: 180kcal
  • Fat: 10g (4g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 470mg
  • Carbs: 14g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Protein: 7g

Average Glucose Spike: 21mg/dL

Try this little wrap for breakfast for a different version of an egg and cheese pairing. It's a good snack option, low in calories and high in protein. You can also order two for a more filling meal. Adding sausage or bacon will boost protein but also saturated fat and sodium.

3. Cinnamon Munchkins

Dunkin Donuts Cinnamon Munchkins
  • Calories: 60kcal
  • Fat: 3.5g (1.5g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 65mg
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein: 1g

Average Glucose Spike: 28mg/dL

Dunkin’s donut holes come in various flavors, including cinnamon, blueberry, chocolate, old-fashioned, jelly, and powdered. All have similar nutritional profiles, which are surprisingly healthy. By opting for donut holes over a whole donut, you’ll also have more control over portion size.

4. Chocolate Frosted Donut

Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Frosted Donut
  • Calories: 260kcal
  • Fat: 11g (4.5g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 290mg
  • Carbs: 34g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Protein: 4g

Average Glucose Spike: 45mg/dL

As far as Dunkin’s donuts go, the chocolate-frosted donut is a good choice to get your chocolate fix. In comparison to other donuts on the menu, the chocolate-frosted donut has a relatively low number of calories and grams of fat, sodium, and sugar. Overall, Dunkin’s frosted donuts are generally good donut choices.

5. Sugared Donut

Dunkin Donuts Sugared Donut
  • Calories: 210kcal
  • Fat: 11g (4.5g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 270mg
  • Carbs: 24g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 4g

Average Glucose Spike: 35mg/dL

The sugared donut is likely your best option if you're looking for a simple donut without extra frills (which usually come with extra sugar and calories). It has only 210 calories and 5 grams of sugar, the lowest count on the donut menu. 

6. Medium Iced Coffee with Whole Milk

Dunkin Donuts Medium Iced Coffee with Whole Milk
  • Calories: 30kcal
  • Fat: 1.5g (1g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 35mg
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein: 2g

Average Glucose Spike: 15mg/dL

Simplifying your coffee order often means reducing calories, fat, and sugar. Different types of milk provide comparable nutritional content, though selecting oat milk will boost carbs while almond milk will reduce calories.

7. Medium Matcha Hot Latte with Skim Milk

Dunkin Donuts Medium Matcha Hot Latte with Skim Milk
  • Calories: 180kcal
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 115mg
  • Carbs: 34g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 32g
  • Protein: 11g

Average Glucose Spike: 52mg/dL

Are you looking to reduce caffeine consumption but still want a warm, energy-boosting beverage? Consider turning to matcha. Matcha is high in a type of antioxidant called catechins, which reduce inflammation and can support cardiovascular health. Some evidence also suggests that matcha could protect against cancer.5 While the added sugar in this latte is a drawback, selecting skim milk improves its nutritional profile by boosting protein content. And in contrast to the frozen version, it has half the calories and less than half the sugar.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Also Read: </strong><a href=green-tea-weight-loss>Drinking Green Tea: Will It Help With Weight Loss and Fat Burning?</a>.</p>

3 Foods to Avoid

1. Glazed Jelly Stick

Dunkin Donuts Glazed Jelly Stick
  • Calories: 540kcal
  • Fat: 30g (15g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 430mg
  • Carbs: 66g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 37g
  • Protein: 4g

Average Glucose Spike: 57mg/dL

All of Dunkin’s sticks have more calories and sugar than the donuts, but the glazed jelly stick tops them all with a whopping 540 calories and 37 grams of sugar per item. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, it’s generally best to go for a donut over a stick. For example, the sugared donut has less than half the calories of the sugared stick.

2. Toasted Coconut Donut

Dunkin Donuts Toasted Coconut Donut
  • Calories: 430kcal
  • Fat: 22g (11g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 360mg
  • Carbs: 52g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 29g
  • Protein: 5g

Average Glucose Spike: 50mg/dL

While coconut oil and coconut water might be hailed for their health-promoting properties, don’t let Dunkin’s coconut donut fool you. This treat is higher in calories, fat, and sugar than other donut options. This doesn’t mean you can’t order one; just consider healthy ways of incorporating it into your diet. This could look like lowering the frequency you select this option, and eating a high-protein snack beforehand.

3. Butter Pecan Swirl Frozen Coffee with Whole Milk

Dunkin Donuts Butter Pecan Swirl Frozen Coffee with Whole Milk
  • Calories: 610kcal
  • Fat: 4.5g (2.5g saturated fat)
  • Sodium: 310mg
  • Carbs: 134g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 129g
  • Protein: 8g

Average Glucose Spike: 85mg/dL

In general, you’d do well to find alternatives to the frozen drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts, which often have significantly higher calorie counts than the hot or iced versions. For example, the frozen version of the medium butter pecan swirl coffee with whole milk has twice the calories and three times the sugar as the cappuccino version.

Butter Pecan Swirl Frozen Coffee Copycat Recipe

Many of the drinks you can order at restaurants are essentially desserts in a glass, but their liquid form makes them even easier to consume in high quantities than things like brownies and cake. Many of Dunkin’s drinks can be prepared easily at home, a great way to enjoy healthier versions of your favorite beverages.

By preparing meals at home, you can prioritize fresh, whole ingredients while minimizing the inclusion of preservatives, sugar, excessive salt, and unhealthy fats often found in restaurant fare. In addition to the health benefits, you might find yourself getting creative in the kitchen, honing your culinary skills, and fostering ties with family and friends as you cook for each other. 

This Butter Pecan Swirl Frozen Coffee copycat recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth and caffeine craving without hidden ingredients. Better yet, it's customizable to your personal taste and health preferences!

The below recipe makes two servings.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Butter Pecan Syrup

  • ½ cup of pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients for the Coffee

  • 2 cups black unsweetened cold brew coffee
  • 1/4 cup half & half (or alternative creamer)
  • 4 Tbsp butter pecan syrup, or until taste
  • 3 cups ice

Optional Toppings

  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce
  • Cookie crumbles

Directions

To Make the Syrup

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan.
  2. Add the chopped pecans and toast them for a few minutes until they're fragrant.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved.
  4. Add the water, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat when the mixture reaches a desirable consistency. You can strain out the pecan pieces or keep them in for extra crunch.

To Make the Coffee

  1. Add coffee, half & half, butter, pecan syrup, and ice to a blender. Blend until smooth
  2. Drizzle caramel sauce around the inside of two glasses and distribute the coffee mixture into both.
  3. Top with whipped cream and cookie crumbles. Enjoy immediately.

A Quick Review

Dunkin’ Donuts can fit into any diet with so many options on its menu. The key is to understand the nutritional profiles of your favorite items and consider finding alternatives to the ones that don’t fit into your health plan or consuming them in moderation. 

Try out these tips to include Dunkin’ Donuts in your routine:

  • Select unflavored drinks more often than sweet ones.
  • Order small or medium sizes of drinks that contain sugar or cream.
  • If ordering a sweet treat, pair it with a savory high-protein snack.

Learn More About Health Nutrition With Signos

Discover the impact of your diet, exercise routine, sleep quality, and stress levels on your blood sugar with Signos. Signos pairs continuous blood glucose monitoring with personalized tips to guide you on a customized path to wellness. With Signos, you will learn how your unique lifestyle affects your internal physiology and be given tools to develop sustainable habits that will set you up to reach your health goals. Learn more about nutrition and healthy habits on Signos’ blog, and discover how Signos can help you lose weight, improve your mood, decrease stress, and sleep better. Take a quick quiz to determine if Signos is a good fit for you.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn More: </strong><a href=eating-at-mcdonalds>What to Order at McDonald’s, According to a Registered Dietitian</a>.</p>

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References

  1. Huang, Y.; Chen, Z.; Chen, B.; Li, J.; Yuan, X.; Li, J.; Wang, W.; Dai, T.; Chen, H.; Wang, Y.; Wang, R.; Wang, P.; Guo, J.; Dong, Q.; Liu, C.; Wei, Q.; Cao, D.; Liu, L. Dietary Sugar Consumption and Health: Umbrella Review. The BMJ 2023, 381, e071609. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2022-071609.
  2. CDC. Know Your Limit for Added Sugars. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/added-sugars.html (accessed 2024-04-24).
  3. American Heart Association (2024, May 23). How much sugar is too much?. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much 
  4. American Heart Association. (2022, August 8).  Is caffeine a friend or foe?. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/08/08/is-caffeine-a-friend-or-foe 
  5. Gleim, S.; Contributor, W. E. Health Benefits of Matcha. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-matcha (accessed 2024-04-24).
  6. Dunkin Donuts. (n.d.). About us. https://www.dunkindonuts.com/en/about/about-us

About the author

Alicia Buchter is a content writer for Signos and earned her degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.

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