Recipe Review

The TikTok Uncrustable Donuts Made My Childhood Dreams Come True

published Jul 23, 2021
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Credit: Sara Tane

As an adult, I can now appreciate the fact that my mom got up every morning to make me amazing sandwiches and salads for school lunch. But, at the time, all I really wanted was a PB&J on white bread or a box of Lunchables.

Needless to say, when I saw a deep-fried Uncrustable donut on TikTok, it immediately brought me right back to the lunch table, jealous of all my peers enjoying their packaged goodies while I suffered through a wholesome, freshly made sandwich or salad. Since my mom doesn’t make my lunches anymore and I am my own adult, I took myself to the grocery store (like the grown-up that I am) and bought a box of Uncrustables to see if this hack really works.

@eitan

Turning Uncrustables Into Deep Fried UNCRUSTABLE DONUTS! (IG: @eitan) #donuts #dessert #homemade #recipe #foodie #chef #kitchen #try #trythis #food

♬ original sound – Eitan Bernath

How to Make Uncrustable Donuts

To make these Uncrustable donuts, you’ll need Uncrustables (obviously) and some neutral oil for deep-frying. Thaw the little sandwiches in the fridge or on the counter before beginning. Bring an inch or two of oil to 375°F. Use a small cutter to carve a circle into the center of the Uncrustable, just like a donut. (I used the cap of a bottle of oil.) Then, gently lower them into the hot oil, cooking until they’re golden-brown and slightly crispy, about one minute per side. Remove the donuts with a spider or tongs and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Eat ‘em while they’re hot!

Get the recipe: Uncrustable Donuts

Credit: Sara Tane

My Honest Review

White bread, creamy peanut butter, and jelly are an undeniably iconic trio of ingredients. Take said trio and deep-fry it? It shouldn’t be a surprise that it was incredibly delicious (and a huge triumph for a person like me who has felt deprived of such a culinary experience all of my life). Preparing and cooking the donuts was quick and easy. The longest part of the whole process was bringing the deep-frying oil to temperature, but in total it took about 10 minutes.

To call these a “donut” is more of a commentary on the circular shape with a hole in the center and less about these actually tasting like a donut. It tasted more deep-fried white bread stuffed with PB&J (because that’s exactly what it is). The texture was slightly reminiscent of a cake donut, but not as dense or cakey. I loved the warmed PB&J center — so nostalgic and so delicious.

Credit: Sara Tane

My biggest qualm with these “donuts” is how oily they were. White bread is essentially a sponge, so dunking it in a bath of hot oil is basically an invitation for an intensely oil-laden treat. Letting some of the oil drain off on the paper towels certainly helped, but I still felt the oil leaching out of the bread when I bit into it. Don’t get me wrong: It was still tasty, but the sensation of biting into an oil-soaked piece of bread was less than ideal.

Credit: Sara Tane

Alternative Method: The Air Fryer

Because I am a curious consumer, I decided to try this same Uncrustable donut method in the air fryer. Instead of deep-frying them, I coated them with nonstick cooking spray and put them in the air fryer for a few minutes. I hate to be that person that takes any opportunity to talk about their prized air fryer and all the things that they make in it, but I liked the air-fried Uncrustables more than the deep-fried ones. The PB&J center still warmed up beautifully and the exterior white bread crisped up and became a lovely golden brown. The best part was that when I bit into it, I wasn’t confronted with a thin layer of oil coating my mouth. 

Will I make these again? I mean, probably not. If anything, I might make another air-fried PB&J if a very specific craving comes over me. Treating myself to an Uncrustable after a lifetime of feeling like they were off-limits was the true victory here. The best part? I had a few of these “donuts” on the counter, and my mom — the person responsible for my Uncrustable-deprived life — came in the kitchen and tried one not knowing what she was snacking on. She told me she loved it. Vindicated is an understatement.