A Persian as made in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
Alternative namesPershing
Main ingredientsSweet dough[1] or doughnut batter
VariationsIced, glazed, cinnamon sugar

A Persian, Persian roll or Pershing is a fried sweet roll or doughnut with a spiral shape similar to a cinnamon bun. It may be covered with a sugar glaze, iced or frosted,[2] or sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Regional variations

In Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, it is credited to have originated at Bennett's Bakery in Port Arthur, where it is served with a sweet, pink icing made of either raspberries or strawberries. Traditional lore is that the Persian was named for U.S. general John "Blackjack" Pershing[3][4] but the exact date of its inception and circumstances of its creation are no longer known, giving rise to competing claims and stories. Its recipe remains a general secret, with long-running debates on whether the icing contains raspberries or strawberries. Persians are often used as fundraising items to be sold at schools, churches, shopping malls, and other social events.[5] They may be served "toasted" – sliced in half, heated in a frying pan and iced on both sides.[4]

Persians are popular in the US states of Wisconsin and Maine.[citation needed] In Camden, Maine, they were historically made with chocolate frosting.[6] In Lehighton, Pennsylvania, they were served with chocolate or vanilla icing with a dollop of cherry–strawberry glaze.[7] A version is also sold as a "Pershing Donut" at Titus Bakery in Lebanon, Indiana.[8]


  1. ^ Bain, Jennifer (September 18, 2002). "Fresh Air, fresh food". Toronto Star – via "Persians", The Food Timeline. ((cite news)): External link in |via= (help)
  2. ^ Ojeda, Sofia (February 10, 2013). "Lehighton Bakery Retires the Pershing Doughnut". WNEP-TV.
  3. ^ Brown, Ian (June 29, 2010). "My sweet tooth is satisfied - for the next six years". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Jackson, Lisa (September 3, 2018), "The Sumptuous History of the Thunder Bay Persian Roll", Great Canadian Cookbook, Food Network Canada, archived from the original on 2021-01-24
  5. ^ Persians, City of Thunder Bay, archived from the original on January 3, 2018
  6. ^ Curtis, Abigail (June 28, 2011). "21st century remix for favorite Camden treat – Persian buns". Bangor Daily News.
  7. ^ Heery, Michael A. (January 5, 2013). "Farewell party planned for the Persian doughnut". Times News. Lehighton, Pennsylvania.
  8. ^ "The Persian Donut". bakingbuyer1. Archived from the original on 2021-12-17. Retrieved 30 October 2021.