The Best Donut Shops in America
Donuts get a bad rap in the pastry industry. They are the butt of any joke about cops. They’re somewhere in between a dessert and a breakfast food. They are not as elegant as some of the fancier pastries. But a renaissance of donuts had made these pockets of doughy deliciousness something altogether new and completely irresistible. Here’s a tour of the best donuts in the US heading east to west.
The Holy Donut (Portland, Maine)
What makes this place special is that its donuts are made with local Maine potatoes instead of a simple flour recipe, giving the donuts a little something extra and giving you the knowledge that the food you’re eating is homegrown and not processed.Your best bet is the Maple Glazed.
Union Square Donuts (Somerville, Massachusetts)
It’s Massachusetts so the decision of what to order is kind of a no-brainer, the Boston Cream, but other options include Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch and Bacon Cheddar Sage.
Dough (Brooklyn, New York)
The hideaway location might make you look past this joint but don’t. Once inside you will be treated to an ever-changing menu of naturally flavored doughnuts with everything from passion fruit to hibiscus to blood orange. The dough is yeast instead of cake based and always fresh.
Federal Donuts (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Originally opened in 2011, the franchise has now expanded to 5 locations, which is a good thing because, if you don’t get there right when it opens, the donuts will probably sell out before you get your chance to try the Cookies and Cream or Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Donuts.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (Washington, DC)
Classic buttermilk fried chicken or a spicy Sriracha blend and donuts either vanilla glazed, PB & J, creme brulee or maple bacon with seasonal additions, Astro’s is a relatively new but much-welcomed donut shop.
Sugar Shack Donuts (Richmond, Virginia)
Whimsy is at the heart of this donut shack. They offer cool promotions and an ever-changing menu. Since first opening their doors last year, Sugar Shack Donuts has already become so popular as to open a second location.
Monuts Donuts (Durham, North Carolina)
Grown from a farmer’s market stand to an independent shop, the daily menu is ever changing. In addition to donuts, they serve excellent bagels, but you can’t go there without trying their specialty donuts, such as the Dirty Chai Swirl or Strawberry Buttermilk.
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts (Charleston, South Carolina)
Family-owned and all natural, this place grows its own herbs and berries in the back. With flavors like gingerbread cranberry, tiramisu, sweet potato, apple pie cheddar, blue cheese cabernet, pineapple cream cheese, and Chinese 5 spice doughnut holes, you’re really in for a treat.
Brewnuts (Cleveland, Ohio)
A combination of beer and donuts, the product here is expertly crafted. There are usually only 6 options available on the menu at a given time, but The Symon, a chocolate peanut butter donut topped with a peanut butter beer sauce and pork rind dust, there’s no going wrong.
Revolution Donuts (Decatur, Georgia)
Open since National Doughnut Day 2012, the flavors include Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, and True Blueberry. All the glazes, filling, and the dough is made from scratch.
Fox’s Donut Den (Nashville, Tennessee)
In the heart of Green Hills, this 30-year-old establishment has a simple but excellent menu, old-fashioned and devil’s food with a few choice pastries, such as apple fritters and cinnamon rolls, bagels, and muffins. They’ll make custom giant donuts for special occasions.
Doughnut Vault (Chicago, Illinois)
The menu is sprawling with more choices than you can imagine, but nothing is better than the original. Just get the plain glaze and you will understand why it has been called the best donut in America and why people will line up bright and early in the morning during the harsh Chicago winters for one of these donuts. The place usually sells out in an hour.
World’s Fair Donuts (St. Louis, Missouri)
A mom and pop shop that is cash only and sells out in a hurry, this place has been operating for over 30 years. Try the Angel Cream.
Glam Doll Donuts (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
This themed establishment sells things like the Calendar Girl, salted caramel and chocolate topping, the Chart Topper, with peanut butter and Sriracha, and the Daddy Dearest, a cake donut with a Surly Bender glaze and bacon crumb topping.
Christy’s Donuts (Houston, Texas)
A great place to get cheap, classic donuts made from a yeast-based dough. But their specialty is the kolache, a famous Czech pastry filled with anything from fruit to sausage.
Gourdough’s Specialty Doughnuts (Austin, Texas)
If you want a donut meal, this is the place to go. Big Fat Donuts is what they sell. Creatively designed main courses all centered on the donut. Originally just a trailer, you can now get the handmade donuts at their restaurant. You can’t go wrong, but if you don’t like the incredible selections on the menu, you can create your own. For dinner, try the Mother Clucker, a plain donut topped with fried chicken strips and honey butter. For dessert, the Funky Monkey, grilled bananas, cream cheese icing, and brown sugar topping, is a must.
Glazed & Confuzed (Denver, Colorado)
Currently selling at local coffee shops and farmer’s markets, the handmade donuts include flavors Irish Car Bomb, Root Beer Float, Banana Fosters, and Salty Pumpkin.
Pink Box Doughnuts (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Once upon a time, Krispy Kreme was all the rave for donuts. Now, a former franchise owner has his own donut shop that sells things like the Fat Elvis, a peanut butter and banana filled donut with chocolate icing and caramelized banana topping.
Blue Star Donuts (Portland, Oregon)
The thick, brioche style donuts are made for grown-ups. You have to be 21 and over to order the Creme Brulee Cointraeu.
Daily Dozen Doughnut Company (Seattle, Washington)
A prime location in the famous Pike Place Market, there are only four flavors available and they are only sold by the dozen. Worth it.
Dynamo Donut & Coffee (San Francisco, California)
Serving 15 donuts a day with a varying menu, the staples are the Maple Glazed Apple Bacon and the Original Vanilla Bean.
Glazed Donuts Bistro (Los Angeles, California)
Where else can you get a Creamsicle donut with blood orange topping, a beignet stuffed with fried chicken, the Missed Piggy, a brioche donut stuffed with barbecue pulled pork, a blackberry mojito donut, a Monte Cristo donut, and a Shrimp Roll, a Long John donut topped with Jumbo shrimp, on the same menu? Nowhere else.
Donut Snob (Los Angeles, California)
Handcrafted with natural ingredients, the donuts here live up to the establishment's name. Kids will love the Campfire, chocolate ganache, graham cracker crumbs, and marshmallow top inspired by S’mores. Coffee lovers should go for the Rise + Shine with an espresso glaze and dark chocolate ganache.
Donut Bar (San Diego, California)
Open until they sell out, the donuts here are known for their unique flavors. The menu is constantly changing (they’ll probably put anything in a donut), but stables include the Chocolate Euphoria. Try the Creme Brulee.