Food & Drink

The Best Donut Shops in LA

Published On 02/05/2016 Published On 02/05/2016
Blue Star Donuts | Marie Buck

LA has a reputation as a healthy-food paradise, but c'mon people: if you live here, you know that's not totally true, because HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MANY DONUT SHOPS WE HAVE? And we're not just talking old-school favorites, either; every year brings more specialty pastry-makers to town, which is why we've updated this list of the best donut shops in LA.

Blue Star

Venice

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.

Blinkie's Donut Emporium

Blinkie’s Donut Emporium

Woodland Hills

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Cofax Coffee

Fairfax

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Donut Friend

Highland Park

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

The Donut Man

Glendora

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Donut Snob

Arcadia
Donut Snob makes some of the best donuts in LA -- and doesn’t even have a storefront. Instead, you’ve got to seek its raised rings at area coffeehouses (Taza is a reliable supplier in Arcadia, and Donut Snob’s website has a page that runs down where else they’re available). The Campfire donut is a fun play on S’mores, with chocolate ganache, Graham cracker crumbs, and toasted marshmallow, and it also crafts creative seasonal flavors like Blueberry Earl Grey and Cherry Hibiscus.

icdcbeverly

ICDC

Mid-City

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Kettle Glazed

Hollywood

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Stan’s Doughnuts

Westwood

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.)

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

The Sycamore Kitchen

Mid-City

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.

Dustin Downing/Thrillist

DK’s

Santa Monica

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.

SK Donuts LA

SK’s

Mid-Wilshire

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.

Timothy Norris/Thrillist

Sidecar

Santa Monica

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.

Bob's

Bob’s

Mid-Wilshire

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.

Flickr/johnmueller

Randy’s

Inglewood

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.

Joshua Lurie/Thrillist

Zelda’s Corner

Venice

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?

Love free donuts? Find out where to stock up for this year's National Donut Day on Friday, June 3rd.

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Joshua Lurie is the LA based founder of Food GPS, a website that showcases the best tasting food and drink in California. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

If there's sprinkles on it, that's what Jeff Miller's ordering. You can find him at @jeffmillerla on Instagram or @thrillistla on Twitter.

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1. Blue Star Donuts 1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291 (Venice)

The beloved fried-dough shop's LA outpost has all of the level-after-next-level donuts, including the famed blueberry-basil-bourbon concoction.

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2. Blinkie's Donut Emporium 4884 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

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.

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3. Cofax Coffee Shop 440 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Echo Park)

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.

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4. Donut Friend 5107 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (Highland Park)

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.

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5. The Donut Man 915 E Route 66, Glendora, CA 91740 (San Gabriel Valley)

This isn't your everyday, standard, glazed or powdered sugar dilemma: here, you'll find monster pastries overflowing with the likes of frosting or fresh, seasonal fruit. Other donuts include devil's food cake, French cruller, and glazed apple fritters.

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6. ICDC 7450 1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

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.

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7. Kettle Glazed 6211 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

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.

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8. Stan's Donuts 10948 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Westwood)

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.

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9. Sycamore Kitchen 143 S La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

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.

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10. DK's Donuts & Bakery 1614 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (Santa Monica)

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.

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11. SK's Donuts & Croissants 5850 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

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.

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12. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee 631 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

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.

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13. Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Mid Wilshire)

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.

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14. Randy's Donuts 805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301 (Lax Area)

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.

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15. Zelda's Corner 9 Westminster Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (Venice)

This sandwich shop -- just off Venice Beach -- is worth pushing through the throngs of boardwalk go-ers just for their mini donuts, which are basically kind of like churros in donut form. Churronuts?

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