The 18 Best Donut Shops in LA
From classic crullers to artisanal rings and cronut fusion fantasies.
In LA, bringing a dozen donuts for your coworkers to enjoy is a professional rite of passage. Now that more of us are returning to the office, (and with Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday happening this week) the timing couldn’t be better to round up our city’s most delightful, deep-fried treats (although we won’t tell a soul if you WFH and crush a dozen all by your lonesome). Craving a brightly colored, Insta-worthy treat covered in crushed cookies? Or an artisanal fritter elegantly infused with farmers-market-sourced herbs? How about just a solid glazed? Your fried-dough dreams are about to come true. Keep reading for our lineup of the city’s 18 best donut shops—from old-school favorites churning out classic crullers to specialty pastry-makers innovating with deliciously unorthodox flavors.
And also check out our guide to the Best Donuts in San Diego if you live a bit further south.
Holey Grail Donuts
Hawaii-born Holey Grail started in 2018 with a $100 fryer and a little hamburger trailer; now, the shop has three locations across the islands and two outposts in LA. Made with Hawaiian-grown taro root that’s been pounded and fermented to create a delectable dough base before it’s fried to order in organic coconut oil, these vegan treats are smaller than your average-sized donuts. But every bite of these soft, moist, slightly crunchy confections packs a punch, thanks to ingredients sourced from small family farms in Hawaii, like single-estate dark chocolate grown in Kauai and sweet, juicy strawberries harvested in Upcountry Maui. Flavors rotate every week from a growing list of 60—miso honey, kumquat poppyseed, saffron snickerdoodle, and the list goes on—so every time you visit, you’ll find something new to crave.
This South Korea-based neighborhood bakery with several shops across LA specializes in French- and Asian-inspired cakes, breads, and pastries that are both delicate and distinctively flavored. Despite the word “baguette” in its name, it’s the donuts you’ll go crazy for. You won’t find the traditional glazed type here; instead, Paris Baguette’s take on the treats includes cream-cheese-stuffed, oval-shaped donuts; pillowy, powdered-sugar-dusted puffs filled with Bavarian cream in flavors like mint and tiramisu; and yuzu and blood orange mochi donuts (part of their new spring menu launching March 2022). If you have room after all the donuts, consider the rest of the lineup—from ultra-flaky croissants (yes, there’s a croissant donut option as well!) to curry croquettes.
Just as delicious as they are Instagrammable, Colorado Donuts are known for creative hybrid pastries, like cronuts and donut cakes, that come in an assortment of flavors ranging from Nutella banana to Pop-Tart to just about every popular candy bar you can imagine—alongside more traditional flavors like lemon jelly and maple bacon. They also specialize in lettered donuts that act as great alternatives to a birthday cake. All of their rings are made in the shop daily—if you have trouble choosing from the abundance of options, opt for whatever’s fresh out of the oven.
Husband and wife Ralph and Celia Primo founded their namesake donut shop on Sawtelle in 1956, and now it’s a family-run business spanning three generations. With a crisp exterior that yields to a soft, fluffy interior, their freshly made donuts—from beloved buttermilk bars to pillowy cinnamon treats—have stood the test of time. And if you don’t feel like having a whole ring, their donut bites offer a just-right mouthful of euphoric sweetness. When former friendly competitor Stan’s Donuts closed, Primo’s took over and fully remodeled the space in Westwood Village, where they serve up delicious mom-and-pop donuts along with new menu additions, like espresso drinks and ice cream donut sammies.
This Hawaiian import launched a Mitsuwa pop-up a few years ago, and to the relief of many a mochi-donut lover, it’s now a permanent fixture. Best eaten straight away while still warm, their freshly fried treats are glazed in four daily flavors (black sesame, cookies and cream, strawberry, and pandan) and two rotating flavors (anything from milk tea to tiramisu). Plus, the small, snack-worthy MoDo Bites in maple bacon or strawberry funnel cake are only available at this location! Where your regular donut is airy or flurry, the use of stretchy glutinous rice affords MoDo’s donuts more bite and a superior springy texture. Pre-pandemic, customers were willing to wait in long lines, but MoDo now offers online pre-orders as well.
It’s hard to go wrong when your restaurant concept revolves around two ridiculously crave-worthy foods: artisanal donuts and free-range fried chicken. Birdies elevates both, using locally sourced ingredients to create crowd-pleasing lemon thyme pistachio pastries and delectable horchata twists. Whether you’re into the fluffy, chewy texture of yeast donuts or the denser cake variety, Birdies has you covered (in addition to a bomb fried chicken sandwich if you’ve got room).
Fōnuts offers the closest thing to a healthy(ish) donut you’ll find in LA. That’s because they serve gluten-free, almond-flour donuts that are baked, not fried, and made with natural ingredients. (According to a recent nutritional analysis conducted by Fōnuts, they also have a lower glycemic load and cause less inflammation, so we like to tell ourselves they’re basically a health food.) Rather than yielding dried-out desserts, their baking process miraculously produces moist morsels with a slightly chewy, cakey texture. Glazed strawberry shortcake and blueberry earl grey are favorites, but they have several vegan options—like a particularly fluffy lemon ‘nut that beautifully balances tart and sweet. If you can’t get to the shop, they now have baker kits that ship nationwide.
Trejo's Coffee & Donuts
Danny Trejo and donuts? Somehow, it just works. The actor added this spot to his restaurant portfolio a few years back, and since then, they’ve been small-batch-frying everything from the churro-channeling Lowrider (a fluffy, cinnamon-sugar-dusted cloud) to the popular Margarita (a soft, scrumptious confection glazed with lime and flecked with Maldon salt), along with several standout vegan options. Don’t sleep on the coffee either—the Mexican cortado and the cochata (both of which are made with horchata) hit the spot here.
Dot & Dough
Portuguese malasadas and mochi-filled donuts are the star of the show at this spot, which has branches in Pasadena, Monterey Park, Carson, and more. Dot & Dough’s invented its own take on the former—infusing each sugar-encrusted puff with flavored custards like matcha, taro, and mango milkshake. Meanwhile, the latter offers chewy buoyancy in each satisfying bite—all in interesting flavors like the best-selling strawberry Pocky and milk and cereal.
Blue Star Donuts
Although the pandemic forced this donut empire to close a few locations in their native Portland, two of its Los Angeles outposts are going strong. And it’s no wonder: the dough for their raised-yeast donuts, made from a special French brioche recipe using European-style butter, requires 18 hours to prepare by hand. Meanwhile, glazes and fillings are made fresh throughout the day using fresh fruits, herbs, and spices—so flavors range from heavenly tart passion fruit sprinkled with crunchy, roasted cocoa nibs (an LA exclusive!) to raspberry with notes of fresh rosemary and hibiscus.
Blinkies Donut Emporium
Since 2004, Teresa Ngo has run this old-school shop, which is pretty much the last thing worth stopping for before climbing into the Santa Monica Mountains. Born in Paris, which means she spent half her life eating across Europe, Ngo brings a connoisseur’s POV to fried dough—constantly seeking out premium ingredients and dreaming up innovations. With her dad, who makes donuts nightly and manages the baking crew, she’s perfected a stunning assortment. They execute classics perfectly—like magically chewy raised donuts, crispy crullers, and deluxe cinnamon rolls as big as your face. But if you’re looking for a jelly-filled delight decorated like a unicorn or a Little Mermaid-inspired treat or even a donut printed with a photo of your choice, Blinkie’s is an expert in creative, custom confections. Plus, their out-there flavors—like mango tajin, horchata, and salted caramel—are a hit with celebs, so don’t be surprised if you spot a famous face!
The Donut Man
Each year (even a pandemic year!), people patiently wait in line for Donut Man’s ultra-fresh, fruit-filled donuts, which—depending on the season—could see whole strawberries or peach chunks spill out of a sliced, hole-free glazed donut. Oh, and even when these fruit flavors aren’t available, The Donut Man is still worth visiting; its crullers are especially good, as are the Tiger Tails, which are raised, glazed twists with cinnamon stripes.
Kettle Glazed Doughnuts
This neo-retro donut shop may turn out on-trend variations like cronut-inspired concoctions, but the truth is, the best thing it does is much more classically inspired, including a glazed vanilla bean, glazed chocolate with crushed peanuts, and lemon squares with lemon curd filling and powdered sugar stenciled in a checkerboard pattern.
DK's Donuts and Bakery
Opened in 1981 by Cambodian refugees who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide, this family-owned, strip-mall mainstay is a wild success story. Although they make 120 different types of donuts, they’re arguably most famous for staying on top of the donut-trend game: their croissant/donut hybrid called DK’S Double Decker O-Nuts is legendary, and their waffle donuts take the best of both worlds by deep-frying a waffle (made from a combo of waffle and donut batter) and giving it an array of donut treatments, like sprinkles or a glaze. Owner Mayly Tao, the daughter of the original founders, continues to create show-stopping flavors—from ube and lychee to Hot Cheeto and Samoa Girl Scout cookies.
SK Donuts & Croissants
Curing the hunger pangs of many late-night LA sweet freaks is this no-frills shop, which has been run by the same family for multiple generations. Over the years, their menu has grown to encompass a dizzying array of flavors—from the classics (sprinkle cake or cinnamon crumb) to specialty (maple bacon or dulce de leche) to seasonal (which, right now, includes the decadent-sounding, deep-fried Oreo and cookie butter crunch). But the best move is to ask for what’s fresh: there’s always something warm about to come out of the oven. Just cross your fingers it’s the apple fritter.
Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee
Sidecar churns out some of the city’s best donuts at their Santa Monica, Torrance, Manhattan Beach, and Fairfax outposts. Made in small batches throughout the day (so you’re almost always guaranteed a fresh-out-of-the-fryer pastry), their donuts boast a perfect crustiness that hides an exceptionally moist interior. In short, they’re superlative. Although their cult-favorite cake donuts include an outstanding sweet-meets-spicy Saigon cinnamon crumb, as well as a moist huckleberry that’s filled with freshly foraged fruit, you’d be remiss not to indulge in Sidecar’s famous butter and salt—a rich, tender, vanilla-y concoction smothered in brown butter glaze with a touch of fleur del sel. In the mood for savory? If you’re lucky, you’ll catch Sidecar’s eggs Benedict donut—the lovechild of a breakfast sammie and malasada stuffed with poached egg, country ham, and homemade basil hollandaise.
Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts
Getting a donut at Bob’s is like hanging out with an old friend you forgot you loved hanging out with. This old-school front at the Original Farmers Market has been the definition of tradition since owner Bob Tusquellas opened it in 1970. Since then, not much has changed; they’re still churning out great coffee designed to complement classic donuts made fresh on the spot (it’s against house rules to ever sell a day-old donut). Don’t leave without trying one of Bob’s massive cinnamon rolls—a legendary crowd favorite at this institution—or indulging the little ones with colorful dinosaur- and kitten-shaped treats.
Look, you’ll definitely want a photo with Randy’s iconic, massive-donut sign (as seen in Annie Hall and many other films and TV shows). But then you should eat one of their hearty buttermilk donuts, which—with a coating of melt-in-your-mouth glaze and a texture that manages to be both fluffy and dense—will make you realize the truth: they are so much more than this massive donut sign. Although they’ve expanded to several other outposts in LA—including El Segundo, Torrance, Pasadena, Downey, and Santa Monica—their original Inglewood location is where the recognizable dessert-shaped landmark lives. This March, the Inglewood shop will also donate 20% of proceeds from its limited-edition, sprinkled-covered donut to support the Make March Matter campaign benefiting Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.