Call it breakfast. Call it dessert. We call it the reason we can’t fit into our skinny jeans. While pastry fads come and go, doughnuts have earned their place in the canon of Great American Carbs. In fact, National Doughnut Day began back in 1938 as a way to honor the Salvation Army “Doughnut Lassies” who served baked goods to the troops during World War I.
As we gear up for National Doughnut Day on June 1, our team of fried dough fanatics scoured the country for the best doughnut shops in America: a mix of innovative new places and classic old school shops. Put your cardiologist on speed-dial, and prepare to eat the hole shebang.
If you find yourself in Birmingham with a sweet tooth, then the Heavenly Donut Company is a godsend. Its hexagonal treats are handmade daily, with sinful flavors like red velvet, apple crisp and Oreo.
The people of Anchorage have warmed up to Dino’s Donuts, where the toppings range from bacon maple to cereal, and the fillings include unexpected options like mango and PB&J. For the little doughnut lover in your life, Dino’s hosts doughnut-making birthday parties and sells take-and-make decorating kits so you can bring the sweet life home.
Chicken and waffles? It’s been done. But in Phoenix, you’ll find the next big protein-and-pastry pairing at Chicken + Donuts. Order a basket of Korean chili chicken wings, snuggled up with a blackberry pomegranate lemonade doughnut, or a fried chicken sandwich accompanied by peach apple cardamom. You’ll also find doughnut breakfast sandwiches and, for balance, vegan ramen.
Red Barn Donuts in Rogers does more than just indulge customers’ odd food hankerings; it adds them to a secret menu. Ask for the Robby Special (a cake doughnut with light icing and peanuts) or the Grant (a cinnamon doughnut drizzled in chocolate and dipped in toasted peanuts). Come up with an unusual pairing of your own, and you just might hear folks ordering it by name.
It’s a near impossible decision to make. The Meyer lemon huckleberry at Dynamo Donut in San Francisco is to die for and the “build-your-own” concept at Donut Friend in LA is one of the best gimmicks around, but between the classics and the more inventive fare, Stan’s Donuts in LA’s Westwood is hand’s down the state winner. The city has even designated it a “Monumental Business.”
At Glazed & Confuzed in suburban Denver, the cheekily named creations live up to the hype. Try the Obi Wan Cannoli, a cream-filled creation topped with crumbled cannoli dough, or Breaking Banana Bread, a cake doughnut packed with fresh bananas (how do they do that?), glazed with salted caramel and sprinkled with chocolate chips. You can burn off the calories on the ski slopes.
The bite-sized creations at Hartford’s Tastease Mini & Midi Donuts may be small, but they pack big flavor—think orange, blueberry, German chocolate and Froot Loops. If you’d rather drink your dessert, order a doughnut shake: a vanilla or chocolate pastry blended with ice cream.
At Milford-based Gooey Donuts, you’ll find some bizarre concoctions (we’ll pass on a doughnut topped with Gummy bears) alongside irresistible flavors like chocolate-covered pretzel and maple bacon. But what keeps folks coming back to this relative newcomer is that every doughnut is made to order — that means hot and gooey (hence the name) freshness in every bite.
Whether you visit the original Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines or Mojo Donuts & Fried Chicken in Miami, you won’t be sorry. Try a Floridian flavor like guava and cheese or Deco Delight (a doughnut filled with banana cream, topped with fresh berries and drizzled with chocolate). Because swimsuit season can wait.
Store-bought cake usually means leftovers in the office break room, but if you order HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in custom lettered doughnuts, your co-workers will scarf them right down. Just call Sublime Doughnuts at one of its two Atlanta locations 24 hours in advance to create a memorable treat from the letters and flavors of your choice. With doughnut “burgers” (ice cream sandwiches with doughnuts in place of cookies) available in flavors like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and white chocolate peach, even an ordinary day feels like a special occasion.
Flying across the Pacific Ocean for doughnuts? Totally okay. Leonard’s Bakery opened in 1952 and has two Honolulu-area locations. Order Portuguese-style malasadas made of dough that’s fried and topped with cinnamon and sugar, and you’ve got paradise found.
Potatoes aren’t the only carbs worthy of your attention in Idaho. Guru Donuts is making waves in Boise with creative pastries, including a half-dozen vegan options like the Mom & Apple Pie (a vegan doughnut with apple cider glaze and sprinkled with almond oat crumbs) and the Hipsterberry (a dairyless cake doughnut glazed with blueberry, blackberry, and lavender). Bring the kids for Tasty Tales Tuesday, a weekly storytime that includes discounted doughnuts and drinks.
While Chicago is teeming with excellent new-school doughnut shops touting outrageous flavor combos and gout-inducing fillings, we went with an old classic to rep the Land of Lincoln. Head to the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side and you’ll find “Mr. B,” the 80-year-old proprietor of Old Fashioned Donuts still working away, creating simple yet irresistible frosted doughnut rings, long johns and holes, plus the bakery’s signature apple fritters. The definitive coup de gras here, though, are the Texas doughnuts, which are big enough to double as a travel pillow. Sweet dreams!
If you like your doughnuts without all the fuss, then Long’s Bakery is your spot. The Indianapolis institution has been serving up fresh, yeasty doughnuts for decades, available in your basic glaze, chocolate and jelly-filled varieties. The place is so traditional that it accepts cash only, so hit up an ATM before you visit.
Any sweet shop that holds a doughnut hole eating contest each summer deserves a spot on this list. With seasonal flavors like maple-iced long johns, pumpkin and apple, there’s always a reason to visit Pedretti’s Bakery in Elkader.
The Donut Whole in Wichita offers something for everyone, from art exhibitions to boba tea to live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The doughnut menu itself is just as eclectic, with flavors like tiramisu, root beer float and Fluffernutter. Check out the gluten-free options on Tuesdays and vegan varieties on Wednesdays.
Keep things simple with a visit to Nord’s Bakery in Louisville. Its old-fashioned, yeasty doughnuts are the ultimate comfort food, with traditional toppings like sprinkles or a thick layer of icing. The line can be long, but instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed, pass the time by chatting up the locals. It’s part of the Nord’s experience.
We’re gonna put a stake in the ground and declare that beignets count as doughnuts. Because to leave Cafe du Monde off this list would be a huge oversight. The New Orleans institution, with eight Crescent City outposts, has been serving beignets and coffee since 1862. The original French Quarter location is open 24/7, so if after the jazz clubs let out you get a hankering for a square of fried dough covered with powdered sugar, just head to the French Market.
Urban Sugar sounds like the name of an R&B album. It’s an even better name for Portland’s mobile dessert truck, which recently opened a brick-and-mortar location at Sugarloaf Mountain. It specializes in hot, bite-sized doughnuts in inventive combinations like Irish or Not (doughnuts filled with Bailey’s pastry cream, dusted with sugar and drizzled with caramel) and Ol’ Blue Eyes (lavender pastry cream with lemon curd cookie crumble). The flavors will be music to your mouth.
The small-batch pastries at Baltimore’s Diablo Doughnuts are devilishly decadent, with flavors like blueberry basil and chocolate cake drizzled with Nutella. Meanwhile, the filled doughnuts are next-level sinful, with creamy chocolate, peanut butter and other rich flavors spilling out of the doughnut and into a tempting swirl on top. Heaven help us.
With three Boston-area locations and baked goods for sale in a handful of local cafes and bars, Union Square Donuts makes Beantown a destination for sweets. Droolworthy creations like Challah French Toast, Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch and Vietnamese Coffee (a doughnut made with espresso glaze — talk about efficient!) occupy the menu alongside a few vegan options. Union Square even offers a subscription-style “Donut Share” that’ll deliver sweets to your home or office on a regular basis. But no one says you have to actually share.
Don’t be fooled by the modest storefront at Dutch Girl Donuts. This hole-in-the-wall spot has been making waves in Detroit since 1947, with an emphasis on mastering basics like glazed twists, red velvet doughnut holes and Polish-style pączkis.
There’s an outfit for every occasion, so why not a doughnut, too? If you can dream it, Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis can make it, from colorful doughnut cake pops to a tower of doughnuts frosted in your wedding colors to pastries with Valentine’s Day messages. Because doughnuts are much tastier than those chalky conversation hearts.
Fans line up for Tatonut Donut Shop’s potato flour creations, so who are we to question them? The Ocean Springs institution makes a glazed doughnut that’s a perpetual craving among local pregnant women; you also can’t go wrong with the Persian, a cinnamon bun-inspired creation.
With headquarters in Springfield and locations across 10 states, the masterminds at Hurts Donut are always inventing new ways to give a nod to your childhood. Try the ET (a frosted doughnut sprinkled with Reese’s Pieces), the Chocolate Hostess Donut (a cream-filled chocolate doughnut with chocolate icing and a loop of white frosting). The memories may take you back to your awkward phase, but the nostalgia hurts so good.
Granny’s Gourmet Donuts was actually started by a dude, but your taste buds will be none the wiser. The Bozeman bakery serves its pastries on china with tablecloths, so there’s no classier way to satisfy your craving for a Chocolate Raspberry Love Grenade or a Strawberry PB&J.
Some Nebraskans love their LaMar’s, while others opt for 24/7 Hurts Donuts. Spoiler: Both are chains that originated in other states (see our Missouri entry). For a true taste of the Cornhusker State, take a bite out of a glazed doughnut at Olsen Bake Shop in South Omaha. Family owned and with only teensy signage, Olsen’s cake doughnuts — dare we say it — take the cake.
The renaissance of downtown Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without a trendy doughnut joint. One of several businesses housed inside a former flophouse, Donut Bar heeds to the Vegas motto that everything should be over the top. Think Birthday Cake Oreo, Pop Tart-stuffed doughnuts and lines out the door on weekends.
A secret recipe handed down by a beloved aunt, a family-owned and operated business since 1967, a location smack in the middle of the state and super finicky hours (10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Mon–Sat) prove to be successful ingredients at Muriel’s Donuts in Lebanon. Of course, at this Granite State mainstay, it’s all about the doughnuts — small batch and baked-to-perfection classics like old fashioned, sugar and cruller.
If you want to talk to Garden Staters about yeasty delectables with a hole in the middle — talk to them about bagels (New Jersey’s got some serious bagel cred). But if it’s a sweeter treat you crave, hit up Ferrara’s Island Bakery on Long Beach Island for their cinnamon jelly-filled doughnut. They claim it’s the best jelly doughnut on the planet and you know what? They might be right.
We know we’re not unlocking any huge secret here when we say Albuquerque‘s Rebel Donuts serves up some of the most memorable fried goodness around. After all, both the Cooking Channel and Food Network have featured the shop’s crazy designs and outrageous toppings (think psychedelic swirls and Fruity Pebbles cereal). But we love that Rebel honors its Southwest heritage with flavors like red chile chocolate, a Mexican sugar skull design and even the Breaking Bad-inspired Blue Sky. Bonus: They deliver.
There’s no better NYC morning than grabbing a cake-style Brooklyn Black Out at Doughnut Plant in Chelsea and nibbling on it while strolling the High Line, and we have to admit that the “cronut” at Dominique Ansel is pretty legit. Nevertheless, we’re handing our vote to Dough, a Bed-Stuy gem where chef Fany Gerson cranks out small-batch beauties in perfect flavors like hibiscus and passion fruit.
Duck Donuts originated in the Outer Banks, in Duck, North Carolina (hence the name), but it’s since expanded to states as far and wide as Florida and New Jersey. You could order a doughnut with key lime icing and graham cracker crumbles, or chocolate icing with Oreo crumbles. But those options seem tame compared with the doughnut breakfast sandwich and the “doughnut sundae.” Are there any sweeter words in the English language?
We picked Sandy’s Donuts & Coffee Shop in West Fargo for being a little ahead of the doughnuts craze — they’ve been around since 1983 – but also for being a kid’s (or a kid-like person’s) culinary dream. Imagine rows of kooky flavors like Butterfinger Crumble, Dirt & Worms or Blue Monster.
How do you choose the best in a state as big and populated as Ohio? You opt for legendary Buckeye Donuts in Columbus and pray that nobody in Cleveland or Cincinnati screams at you. An OSU campus institution, Buckeye has been making heavenly doughnuts from scratch daily since flinging open its doors in 1969. You can’t beat the price (less than a buck!) or the old-timey diner atmosphere. BONUS: They’re open 24/7.
Born and raised in doughnut mecca Los Angeles, baker and Gulf War veteran Younts Waters relocated to Oklahoma City in 1992 where he opened his first Polar Donuts. Four locations and more than 25 years later, locals continue to rave about the standards — glazed, long johns, an impressive assortment of fritters — plus a few cheekily named options we dare not mention here!
Everyone knows — and loves — Voodoo Doughnuts, but ask any Portlander and they’ll just as likely send you any of the city’s half dozen other outstanding shops. Among them is Blue Star, a sophisticated standout known for its brioche dough and its ambitious gourmand flavors such as Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib and Cointreau Crème Brûlée (yes, they do torch the topping and it is phenomenal). They’ve now got seven Oregon locations — including one at the airport, just in case — and two in Southern California. Bon apetit!
With several worthy contenders in Pittsburgh, Philly and other locales around the state, it was tough to narrow our pick to just one top shop. But here you have it, Philly’s Federal Donuts, where you can also pick up some tasty fried chicken (yes, that may have influenced our decision). On the doughnut front, you can look forward to a variety of unexpected flavors like Peanut Butter Malt and Irish Potato, which is better than it sounds, promise.
Allie’s Donuts have been around since 1968, which not only makes them an institution, it also means that literally everyone in the tiny Ocean State has tried them at least once. You’ll have to travel all the way to North Kingstown to get one, but nothing is that far away in Rhode Island.
We understand gourmet doughnut fatigue, but there’s nothing gimmicky about the artisanal flavors at Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts in Charleston. Think creative but restrained confections like sweet corn and blueberry and beet salad (crafted of beet custard, orange goat cheese glaze and candied fennel).
VooDoo-esque in its toppings (that’s a Portland doughnut reference), family-owned Flyboy Donuts in Sioux Falls is located on one of the sweetest blocks in the Midwest (right between Oh My Cupcakes! and a Dairy Queen). Doughnuts can be custom made in any letter of the alphabet — in case you want to spell out delicious.
One of our favorite Volunteer State chefs put celebrated Nashville sweet spot Five Daughters Bakery on our radar and we can’t thank them enough. Think staples like maple bacon and seasonal offerings including spring’s chamomile crème brulee. Want a taste of the action? Check out the Donut Cam on their website.
We know Houstonites love their Shipley’s, but we’re gaga for Gourdough’s, a food truck (make that Airstream trailer) in Austin that we’ve been raving about forever. Choose from sweet (like the Razzle Dazzle with raspberry filling and fudge icing) or savory (like the Mother Clucker with fried chicken and honey butter) and die happy.
Banbury Cross Donuts in Salt Lake City strikes a perfect balance of revered doughnut traditions (think perfectly executed bear claws, sprinkles and old fashioneds) and tasty doughnut innovation (think Rosette Glazed, Apple Sauce and Cinnamon Crumb Cake flavors). Arrive early and head inside to make sure you get your pick of flavors or, if you already have a favorite in mind, zip through the shop’s convenient drive-through window.
How do you compete in the state that’s home to Ben & Jerry’s? By being Sugar Shack, that’s how. A combination bakery and shrine to Norman Rockwell (who once lived in the state) in Arlington, nothing beats their fresh cider doughnuts. Plus, the rural location makes the effort to get one all the more rewarding.
Not to be confused with the Vermont bakery named above, Richmond‘s own Sugar Shack Donuts serves up the closest thing you’ll find to wholesome doughnuts — think fresh fruit and herbs, locally-sourced ingredients and coffee from ethical farms. While you’ll find plenty of over-the-top concoctions such as the Tastes Like a Samoa and the Mud Pot, their always-rotating menu also includes some interesting numbers like cucumber lemon and honey lavender. Sounds almost healthy, right?
It leaves a (doughnut) hole in our hearts to pass up Seattle’s many excellent shops, from Top Pot and Mighty-O to Frost and Daily Dozen — heck, Emerald City practically invented the artisanal doughnut. But this time, we have to bow to Washington’s old-school doughnut deity, Spudnut Shop in Richland. If you find yourself headed to Walla Walla wine country in the southeastern part of the state, stop by this tasty gem that stands out for its potato flour-based dough. It also happens to be Richland’s oldest coffee shop. Tip: If you want one of the coveted maple bar or a cinnamon roll Spudnuts, get there early!
You could drag us to every bakery and doughnut shop in the District, but little will sway us from handing a blue ribbon to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. While we’re often skeptical of overly fancy concoctions like crème brûlée and PB&J, Astro’s doughnuts are fully flavored and never gimmicky. Also, the fried chicken and honey sandwich with hot sauce and pickled jalapeños on a house bun is basically breakfast heaven.
While Ben-Ellen’s hot, fresh sugar-rolled doughnuts at the West Virginia State Fair are ridiculously addictive, we wanted to give you a top-notch shop to check out any time of year, so J.R.’s Donut Castle it is! The Parkersburg shop is plenty worthy of the number one spot, serving “Donuts fit for a king” since 1969. The fried treats are made from scratch on site daily, and you can pick from 34 tempting flavors like classic or chocolate glazed, Maple Cream Fill, Yum Yums, apple fritters and more. Tip: Be sure to also try the pepperoni rolls here, a West Virginia classic.
With good reason, you may have thought a Milwaukee shop would dominate the Dairy State. After all, Brew City’s mastered other indulgent foods like beer brats and fried cheese curds. But less than an hour south in Kenosha, you’ll find an unexpected doughnut mecca, with worthy contenders such as Mike’s Donuts & Chicken and Oliver’s Bakery vying for the title. But the deep-fried prize goes to Paielli‘s Bakery, an Italian-owned family joint that’s been serving up sweets since 1923. Try the cinnamon-vanilla frosted doughnuts but save room for the notorious Cyclops — it’s the bakery’s claim to fame, which comes covered in chocolate and packed with a rich creamy filling.
You’d think it would be easy picking a winner in the least populated state in the US — and actually it was! Although Jackson Hole boasts trendy joints like Nom Nom Doughnuts, and several outposts of Tulsa-based chain Daylight Donuts are scattered throughout the state, we’re tipping our hat to Cowboy Donuts in Rock Springs, home to the 75 cent glazed doughnut and 54 other varieties all made daily from scratch by one family’s blood, sweat and pride.
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