Why Deep-Fried Butter Is the Perfect Breakfast Food
There are now multiple locations of this Portland import in the city, and it’s no wonder: their brioche-based options include interesting flavor combos like a raspberry and rosemary old-fashioned and a chocolate salted almond stunner.
Teresa Ngo Chahinian and her family run this old-school strip mall donut shop, which’s pretty much the last thing worth stopping for before climbing into the Santa Monica Mountains. It absolutely kills it with classics, including a crusty Blueberry Old Fashioned and raised donuts that are magically chewy. Its deluxe Black & White donut is the go-to though -- it’s a black and white cookie, but in donut form, with both chocolate and vanilla glazes. Yeahuh.
Surprise! You can now get Cofax’s devastatingly good breakfast burritos with also-devastatingly good donuts since this tiny coffee shop (named after Dodger legend Sandy Koufax) hired a next-level pastry chef, who’s making raised and cake donuts in fun flavors like Honey Sea Salt, Lemon Pistachio, and Spiced Crumb. Get the Honey Sea Salt if you want the best donut, but get Nicole Rucker’s Compartes Chocolate Chocolate donut if you want the most Instagrammable one: it has a dark chocolate cake base and photogenic rainbow sprinkles.
In a totally bizarre, post-rock-star move, Drive Like Jehu drummer Mark Trombino (who also produced those Blink-182 albums that soundtracked your teen years) set up this Pinkberry-esque donut shop in Highland Park, where you can choose from music-themed "favorite compilations" like the Husker Blu cake donut (w/ fresh blueberries and blueberry glaze), or the Yo La Mango, a raised donut with sweet mango glaze, chile lime seasoning, and spicy finish. Did we mention you can actually donut DIY here, with dozens of available sauces, sugars, spices, toppings, creams, butters, fresh fruits, and cheeses? BECAUSE YOU CAN.
Each 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.
This tiny space right next to BLD busts out donuts in both “simple” and “fancy” categories, which are frankly kind of deceiving: there’s nothing simple about Buttermilk Brown Butter or Salt & Pepper Caramel donuts, both raised, with nice chew. Those fancy donuts, tho? Rocky Road, and Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream. Bingo.
This neo-retro donut shop may turn out on-trend variations like Cronuts and Cruffins, 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.
This Westwood Village institution from Stan Berman opened in 1965 and is still going strong after 50 years, thanks in no small part to its incorporation of peanut butter: its Peanut Butter and Jelly features a raised donut with cascading glaze, peanut butter filling, and a heaping helping of raspberry jelly, while other donuts come packed with peanut butter and fresh banana and are lined with chocolate chips. And no, it’s not all gimmicks: its old-fashioned buttermilk donuts and maple bars are also standouts. (But thankfully, it’s a lot of gimmicks.)
If a pastry ends up on the counter at this industrial-chic café, there’s a strong chance it will be great. Its Coconut Brown Sugar is pretty tremendous, featuring vanilla-flecked brown butter glaze topped with coconut strands both raw and toasted, but its Rosemary Caramel is a savory take that’s also clearly worth sticky fingers.
This Santa Monica strip-mall mainstay is on top of its donut-trend game: their cronuts -- excuse us, kronuts -- are legendary, and the waffle donuts they serve take the best of both worlds and make them, uh, even better by deep-frying a waffle (made from a combo of waffle and donut batter) before giving it an array of donut treatments, like sprinkles or a glaze.
Curing the hunger-pangs of many, many late-night LA sweet freaks is this 24-hour no-frills shop, which has been run by the same family for multiple generations. The move is to just ask for what’s fresh: they’re always cooking something up so there will be something warm about to come out of the oven. Just cross your fingers it’s the apple fritter.
The new kid to the block may actually be making the best donuts in the city: their Costa Mesa store’s been beloved for years, and when we ate at the SaMo location right after it opened we were floored by their pastries, which are made fresh every hour and have a perfect crustiness that hides an exceptionally moist interior. They’re superlative.
Getting a donut at Bob’s is like hanging out with an old friend you forgot you loved hanging out with: the old-school front at the Farmer’s Market is the definition of tradition, and its drip coffee compliments classics donuts with perfect glazes and topped with just the right amount of sprinkles. And their cinnamon rolls? Legendary.
Look, you’re gonna want a photo with their iconic, massive-donut sign, but then you should eat one of their buttermilk donuts, which will make you realize the truth: THEY ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS MASSIVE DONUT SIGN.
This sandwich shop with the striped awning is just around the corner from always-kooky Venice Beach, which is mayhem in summer, but worth braving not just for its superlative sandwiches (Mr. Electric FTW!), but also its mini donuts, which are fried to order and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Basically, they’re kind of like churros in donut form. Churronuts?
1. Blue Star Donuts1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles
2. Blinkie's Donut Emporium4884 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills
3. Cofax Coffee Shop440 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles
4. Donut Friend5107 York Blvd, Los Angeles
5. The Donut Man915 E Route 66, Glendora
6. ICDC7450 1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
7. Kettle Glazed6211 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles
8. Stan's Donuts10948 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles
9. Sycamore Kitchen143 S La Brea, Los Angeles
10. DK's Donuts & Bakery1614 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica
11. SK's Donuts & Croissants5850 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
12. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee631 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
13. Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
14. Randy's Donuts805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood
15. Zelda's Corner9 Westminster Ave, Venice
This Portland-based doughnut shop has expanded its reach beyond the Pacific Northwest with outposts in Southern California and Japan. Blue Star's donuts are made from a brioche recipe that originated in France, and the buttery dough takes 18 hours to process before it's fried in rice oil the next morning and served fresh. The sophisticated flavors are a stark contrast to what's on the shelf at Portland's other doughnuttery, the eccentric Voodoo Doughnut. Look there for slabs of bacon and Oreo cookie bits; here you'll find blueberry bourbon basil glaze and chipotle chocolate ganache, and okay, a bacon donut dotted with crunchy bits.
This snug, family run donut shop absolutely kills it with classics, including a crusty blueberry old fashioned and raised donuts that are magically chewy. Be sure to try one of their cronut -- excuse use, "Crinkies"-- sandwiches: fruit and cream flanked by two flakey, sugary loaves.
Although Cofax began as a coffee shop, it quickly became a big name in the donut game when it hired a next-level pastry chef, who's churning out creative flavors like honey sea salt, lemon pistachio, and spiced crumb.
A Donut Friend is the best kind of friend, because said friends lets you create your own donuts. Here, choose from a list of their favorite compilations, or express yourself with unique ingredients like candied lime or BACON.
Glendora's beloved Donut Man is known for its fruity doughnuts, especially its peach- and strawberry-stuffed ones overflowing with slightly caramelized pieces of fresh fruit. The rest of the fried, yeast-risen pastries on offer include giant cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, French crullers, and old fashioned doughnuts dripping with cherry or orange glaze. It's open 24 hours, so should your doughnut craving strike at 3am, Donut Man's got your back.
The geniuses behind BLD bring you another acronym-y favorite, this time standing for Ice Cream Donuts Coffee, which kind of tells you everything you need to know about what this small-but-amazing spot from a lauded pastry chef is serving.
This neo-retro donut shop does keep up with the fads (can you say: cronut?) but the real deal here are the more classically inspired items like a glazed vanilla bean and glazed chocolate with crushed peanuts.
Even if you're not a student at UCLA, Stan's Doughnuts in Westwood should be on your morning checklist. For 50 years, this mainstay donut shop has been churning out incredible pastries -- most famously a peanut butter and jelly donut.
A reclaimed red brick house in La Brea, Sycamore Kitchen is a breezy, calm breakfast and lunch spot fitting for king- and queen-sized appetites. Upscale takes on standard brunch fare -- like honey- and sherry-glazed eggs benedict atop fluffy english muffins and their signature Double B-LTA, a balsamic, avocado-stuffed BLT flaunting crispy, fatty pork belly -- make the rounds between recently awoken diners in the barely-decorated inside and lazy Sunday brunch groups on the sun-drenched patio.
This always-open, trend-setting bakery slings some of the best donuts in LA. Don't believe us? Head over and try one of their kronuts. Or deep-fried waffles. Or, just any one of their colorful, confectionary creations.
This family-owned and operated donut shop, located in Mid-City West, is open 24hrs a day and serves cookies & cream croissant-donuts ("skronuts") and apple fritters. That's pretty much all you need to know.
Gone are the days when you'd have to haul all the way out to Costa Mesa to score some of the city's best breakfast treats. Now, you can satisfy your sweet tooth on huckleberry, cinnamon crumb, apple fritter, lemon & thyme, or even savory poached egg and ham donuts right in Santa Monica.
Find right-outta-the-oven fresh doughnuts -- and a pretty legendary cinnamon roll -- at this old-timey stand within the Farmer's Market. Treat yourself and pair one of the perfectly glazed pastries with drip coffee. Morning, made.
Conveniently located near LAX airport, Randy's Donuts boasts that famous, 35ft (in diameter), rooftop donut monolith -- and any homemade donut flavor you could want.