Meet Dandee Donuts
Published : June 13, 2017
Discover who is behind the best hot jam donuts in Melbourne!
One of Dandenong Market's most popular and iconic stalls, Dandee Donuts draws people from all over Melbourne and Australia with a strong and loyal following. Dandee Donuts has been managed by the Bell family for over 40 years.
Maureen and Dick Bell established their donut business in the backyard of their Oakleigh home in the late 1960s. The business was then-known as Mobile Donut Vans, with the earliest sites included Hurst Reserve in Oakleigh, and Clayton shopping centre. The now iconic purple and gold colours of the vans were chosen to reflect the Oakleigh Football Club colours.
Dandee Donuts found a permanent home at Dandenong Market in the 1970s, setting up home on the Market's basketball court.
Dandee Donuts is now managed by Maureen and Dick Bell's daughter, Susan Bell. Susan worked in the Market's Dandee Donut van from a very young age, using her paycheck to buy her very first car. After Susan’s mother passed away in 1993 and her father’s health deteriorating, Susan took on a more active management role, buying her brother's share of the Dandee Donuts business in 2007.
The secret to Dandee Donuts' huge popularity is that they are freshly made, cooked in store (or should we say, in van?) and on demand, unlike many popular donut brands which use frozen ingredients and cooked off site. Dandee Donuts are also dairy free, egg free and have no additives (other than in the jam) with yeast donut that are twice raised, giving them their fluffy lightness. All of Dandee Donuts ingredients are Australian grown, with the original recipe developed in the 1950s.
Dandee Donuts is now Susan’s passion: over the last four years Susan has relocated the business to a new factory in Hallam, built the new-look van for Dandenong Market, as well as setting up a Dandee Donuts website and Facebook page.
The donuts themselves have remained hugely popular over the years and have become synonymous with Dandenong Market. For the past two years, Dandenong Market has run the Dandee Donut Eating Competition, which sees huge crowds gather to watch participants compete to scoff down as many donuts as possible. The winner from 2015, Issac (above, with Susan Bell) gobbled down 20 Dandee Donuts in less than 8 minutes to take home the trophy.
On Sunday 2 June, Dandee Donuts will be celebrating National Donut Day by giving away free donuts. Find out more.