Long gone are the days of donuts being cast aside in favor of other, more sophisticated American delicacies. We might all have Krispy Kreme to thank for that, but all of a sudden, some of the best pastry chefs also joined in on creating the next donut craze. So without further adieu (and because pictures speak louder than words) here are the best donuts in America.
13 Best Donuts in America
1. Voodoo Doughnut, Portland Oregon
You simple cannot call it THE best donuts in America list without mentioning the king of all gourmet donuts; the one that started making donuts “in” again. Voodoo Doughnut, located in Portland, Oregon is the ultimate cult leader with funky combinations such as a donut covered with Captain Crunch cereal or lavender sprinkles. It’s also known for creating donut tributes to legends in sports, music, and film and offering a range of vegan donuts. Fans of the fried delicacy can now sample their selection in Denver, Colorado, and Austin, Texas as well.
What to get: Bacon Maple Bar and/or Portland Cream
2. Glazed and Infused, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is known for some of the best food guilty pleasures: hotdogs, pizzas, popcorn, and yes, donuts, thanks to Glazed and Infused. The original location was opened by Scott Harris in 2012 and has since added another five locations around the city. Glazed and Infused donuts are all handcrafted, baked fresh daily, and features a rotating seasonal menu courtesy of head baker Chris White.
What to get: Maple Long John and/or vanilla bean glaze
3. Federal Donuts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For the ultimate guilty pleasure indulgence, head to Philadelphia’s Federal Donuts and get a fried chicken and donut combination. The unlikely fast food pairing was the creation of chef Mike Solomonov and has since become a phenomenon. Discerning Philadelphian taste buds revel in the contrasting flavors that they’re willing to queue up to an hour to satisfy their cravings. Andy why wouldn’t you? With donut selections such as chocolate sea salt and Indian cinnamon, it’s a guaranteed hit. Federal Donuts has five different locations in Philly.
What to get: Chocolate Peanut Butter and/or Cookies and Cream
4. Dough, Brooklyn, New York
New Yorkers are a tough crowd to please so every newcomer in the food business faces an even steeper uphill challenge than any other place in the country. So when chef Fany Gerson, an Eleven Madison Park alum, decided to open Dough in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, she was taking an enormous risk. Fortunately for her, it paid off, big time, thanks to a unique dough recipe she concocted which had both Mexican and European influences. The Brooklyn shop now has a sister location in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.
What to get: Hibiscus Donut and/or Maple glazed with almonds
5. Donut Bar, San Diego, California
Every conceivable magazine and celebrity who has his or her own talk show has raved about the Donut Bar in San Diego, California. The kitchen in this joint is constantly experimenting with new flavors and as a result, comes up with some of the most creative and addicting donuts you’ll ever taste in your life. There’s no doubt that this San Diego landmark belongs in this list of best donuts in America and a must try for anyone staying in San Diego. Another reason to love the Donut Bar is its coffee and donut offer, where you’ll get plain cup of joe and a cinnamon sugar donut for just $1.
What to get: French Toast Donut
6. District Doughnut and Coffee, Washington, D.C.
There’s something special about a place when its customers literally make it a point to stop at your shop even though it’s nowhere near your eventual destination. That’s the power that District Doughnut and Coffee in Washington, D.C., has over locals and visitors to the nation’s capital. The brown butter donut in my opinion definitely ranks up there as one of the best donuts in America, as is their rich and dense salted dulce de leche donut, inspired by one of the owner’s Argentinean heritage. District Doughnuts is located in D.C.’s Barracks Row neighborhood.
What to get: Brown Butter and/or Salted Dulce de Leche
7. Duck Donuts, Many Locations Across the Eastern Seaboard
No frills, just freshly made dough with the best ingredients and a variety of regular toppings make the donuts at Duck Donuts worth indulging on. You won’t find lavender scents or even the word “ganache” anywhere near the dozens of stores scattered across the eastern seaboard, but what you’ll find however, are plenty of smiling faces after chomping down the donuts on their plates.
What to get: Cinnamon Sugar
Americans just can’t get enough donuts. Whether it be the irresistible Dunkin Donut munchkins or the off the conveyor belt hot Krispy Kreme, we are just drawn to the freshly deep fried dough dusted with powdered sugar or covered in glaze. So much so that our curiosity led us to concoct insane kitchen experiments and tempted some of the biggest names in the pastry making business. Here are the remaining six locations where you can get the best donuts in America.
8. Whoo’s Donuts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
It’s not everyday that you’ll get to try blue corn donuts, so when you come across a shop that offers them, you can’t help but be intrigued. If that shop also happens to be in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a city well known for its culinary offerings, then you really have to go. Thankfully, Whoo’s Donuts doesn’t disappoint one bit. All of their ingredients are sourced locally and the donuts, featuring flavors like jalapeno strawberry glaze and chili brown sugar, are made fresh every day. Come early, especially on weekends, since they usually sell out hours before closing.
What to get: Pistachio and/or blue corn with blueberry glaze
9. Sublime Doughnuts, Atlanta, Georgia
Stop by Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta, Georgia, try their strawberries and cream donut, and you’ll immediately realize why this donut shop deserves a spot in this list of best donuts in America. The regular glaze donut sliced in half and then filled with fresh strawberries and vanilla crème has been the go to indulgence of many locals and visitors staying in Atlanta, but if fruity flavors aren’t your cup of tea, you’ll be glad to know that you can choose from 26 other sweet varieties like Nutella, s’mores, and dulce de leche. Pastry chef Kamal Grant’s passion for donut perfection begins at 2 a.m. every morning when he starts mixing the dough with the best ingredients he can find, creating what will eventually be mouthwatering works of art.
What to get: strawberries and cream and/or sweet potato cake
10. Gourdough’s, Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas is known for its live music, awesome barbeque, and the plethora of food trucks that litter the city streets. One of those legendary food trucks is called Gourdough’s, where you can indulge on Texas-sized donuts, filled or top with some of the most unusual toppings put on a donut including fried chicken and gummi worms. Oddly enough, the mixture of ingredients works so well that you end up eating the whole thing in one sitting despite the super sized portions; a true sign that they deserve to be labeled as having some of the best donuts in America. Located in a small food truck park south of Downtown, Gourdough’s has over a dozen peculiar and often hilarious, donut options to choose from.
What to get: Fat Elvis and/or Black Out
11. Blue Star Donuts, Portland, Oregon
It’s a challenging task to go up against a well-known brand, especially one that specializes in a particular product, but the founders of Blue Star Donuts knew that they had something special to offer. Dubbed the “donuts for grown-ups” because it adds a touch of liquor in some of its donut batter, Blue Star tempts its customers with classic brioche-type donuts sprinkled, dusted, or glazed with such lavish toppings as Valrhona premium chocolate. Don’t forget to grab a cup of Portland’s own Stumptown coffee on your way out the door. It makes for a perfect pairing very much like a good steak and Bordeaux.
What to get: blueberry bourbon basil and/or Cointreu crème brûlée
12. Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop, Brooklyn, New York
It’s been a Brooklyn institution for over half a century and yet, its quality hasn’t deteriorated one bit. I’m referring to Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop of course, the modest-size Polish bakery in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood that makes fresh donuts and a plethora of baked goods New Yorkers love. Consistency in the dough and just the right amount of glaze (not to mention its countless celebrity fans) lands Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop a spot in this list of the best donuts in America. During summer season, the beloved shop also adds ice cream sandwiches made with donuts. Enough said.
What to get: ice cream sandwich with red velvet and strawberry ice cream
13. The Donut Stop, St. Louis, Missouri
What you see is what you get at this old-school St. Louis, Missouri institution. The Donut Stop, which was founded in 1953, sticks to the donut basics where your options include regular, cake or yeast. The toppings and glaze selection aren’t fancy unlike the other places on this list of best donuts in America, but it doesn’t mean that the donut offerings here are any less delicious. To its loyal customers, simplicity is best.
What to get: simple glaze and/or cinnamon glob