The 32 Best Donut Shops in America
Bacon-topped, jelly-filled, matcha-glazed, and everything in between.
The humble donut has come a long way in recent years, from an obligatory morning staple serving mainly as the basis for cop jokes to an object of obsession. There have been so many riffs on the classic donut (yes, we all remember the dark days of the cronut)—including globally inspired versions and delicious vegan recipes.
Our 32 favorite donut shops in America reflect this variety, running the gamut from boundary-pushing destinations to decades-old institutions. (Plus, many bakers around the country are contributing proceeds of their pastries to Ukrainian relief organizations.) But the common denominator amongst every donut shop is the sheer satisfaction they provide—making it impossible to resist going back into the box for just one more.
Calling A Baker’s Wife a donut shop could be a bit of a misnomer—the spot is quite adept at pastries of all sorts and no one would judge you for walking in and solely sticking to one of the ridiculously buttery croissants. All that said, the donuts are still very much the main event. Go for the simpler side of things with a beautifully executed cake donut dusted in cinnamon sugar or glazed with some sprinkles and be happy.
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
For decades now Allie’s has drawn in hungry Rhode Islanders (and pretty much anybody else making their way along Route 2) so eager to get their hands on old school crullers and delightful glazed donuts that they’re willing to brave an inevitably robust weekend line. However, those who plan ahead a bit can enjoy the shop’s other calling card: ambitiously creative custom donut cakes that will inevitably cement any kid’s (or, let's be honest, adult’s) party as an instant classic.
San Diego, California
Traditional Mexican flavors make a seamless transition at this locally owned and operated shop. Flavors like mazapán, cajeta, chocolate abuelita, and arroz con leche deliciously echo their non-donut counterparts. Don’t miss out on the donut-version of Gansito, a Mexican strawberry and crème-filled snack cake with a chocolate coating—it sells out early for good reason.
It wasn't terribly surprising when the people behind standout Boston restaurant The Gallows proved just as adept at making amazing artisanal donuts as they were at creating drool-worthy savory dishes. While the shop absolutely nails the basics here—from a textbook airy vanilla glazed to a chocolate sprinkled number that will shake even the most ardent Dunkin’ defender to his core—don’t be afraid to explore a little. There’s an everything bagel brioche donut stuffed with cream cheese that straddles the sweet-savory line beautifully. There’s a citrus old fashioned whose lemon-lime-orange-grapefruit glaze cuts nicely against the rich cake donut. There are also mini donuts sold by the 50-batch. Watch your back, Munchkins.
Woodland Hills, California
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.
A forefather of the relatively recent tiny donut revolution, Da Vinci’s itty-bitty two-biters take the (ugh) cake in Atlanta thanks to infinite customizability. Inspired creations like the cannoli—the best version of the Italian dessert classic this side of Little Italy—and the filling-loaded caramel apple are things of beauty, but this is a place that rewards customer creativity with its bevy of icings and drizzles and toppings that basically seem like a candy store and a fancy bakery joined forces, then exploded. As the name implies, each donut is a work of art: Whether the artist is the person making the donuts or the customer letting their imaginations run wild is a matter of choice. And given the petite size of each donut, there’s room to experiment.
Founded by South Side Donut King Buritt “Mr. B” Bulloch back in 1972, this endearingly no-frills outpost doesn’t mess around when it comes to fresh pastries. Bismarcks bursting with tangy strawberry preserves beneath a snowfall of powdered sugar, yeast-raised caramel donuts as fluffy as afternoon clouds, Devil’s Food cake engulfed in a thick ocean of chocolate icing, apple fritters the size of a small spaceship—that right there is a recipe for eternal success.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Though it took a bit, 2013 was the year beignet-loving New Orleans finally got hip to the whole next-level donuts thing, and judging by the crowds that have endured at District, there is plenty of room in town for the both of them. Speaking of room, the sliders (try the fried chicken with candied jalapeño) and brew (the caffeinated kind) are absolutely worthy attractions, but we're here to talk donuts. Flavors rotate daily, and while the shop definitely nails the basics, you'll definitely find your eyes drifting towards nostalgia-inducing powerhouses like a Girl Scout-style Samoa or a peanut buttery Fluffernutter. Maybe get a beignet up in the mix, too, because why should you have to choose?
Los Angeles, California
Each year (even during a pandemic!), 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.
Just inside the border of DC sits a bright pink, vegan donut shop run by Shawn Petersen and Nicole Dao, two bakers who opened up a year ago in the leafy neighborhood of Takoma. You’ll know you’re here because there’s usually a line to get into the shop, which cranks out punk rock hits and has a window display of about a dozen or so donuts, including cake and glazed options that rotate daily. Check Instagram for updates on what donuts will be served today, and also get there early because the shop typically sells out (especially if it’s a weekend). Top options range from classic flavors like Boston cream, cinnamon sugar and raspberry jam to seasonal and more inventive varieties, like matcha, mint chocolate chip, and red velvet.
Having grown into a Wichita community hub in its decade-plus in business, the Donut Whole was built on the strength of its artfully made, locavore-minded donuts (the flour is milled in the same county and other than the vegan options, they're made with Kansas buttermilk). They have more than 500 donuts in their repertoire, which can prove problematic to the indecision prone, especially when you're weighing options like Bumblebee (chocolate with citrus glaze), peach cobbler, and King Midas (vanilla glazed topped with peanuts and Lyle's golden syrup). Fortunately, there is no wrong decision.
Perfectly crisp and pristinely brined Southern fried chicken? Check. Sinfully decadent donuts smothered in gooey glazes and topped with salty-sweet bacon strips or rich swirls of chocolate ganache? Double check. Perfectly crisp and pristinely brined Southern fried chicken stuffed inside a sinfully decadent donut and layered with cheddar, bacon, and ranch? Let’s just say you have to see it to believe it.
Proving that donuts can still be healthy(ish?), Dottie’s has been a vegan favorite the past eight years. The thing about Dotti’s is how they can make plant-based products that seem so downright decadent. Take the shop’s Cookie Butter Glaze that has a huge scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough on top or try a matcha pistachio or blueberry lavender glaze filled with Boston cream. Being vegan never tasted so good.
New York, New York
While the gorgeous shock-of-pink Mexican Hibiscus donut is among the best-known flavors at Dough, this beloved NYC chain (started over a decade ago by co-founder Fany Gerson who has since left) offers a slew of year-round, seasonal, and vegan flavors made with their signature brioche dough. Decadent toppings featured include passion fruit, crunchy cacao nibs, and dulce de leche, with seasonal specials ranging from S’mores, Cheesecake, and Cannoli Cream with pistachio.
Brooklyn, New York
In a quirk of (pandemic) fate, acclaimed pastry chef and cookbook author Fany Gerson launched her newest spot Fan-Fan, in October 2020, in the same location as Dough, the shop she opened over a decade ago. Her trademark Mexican flavors are also featured here in options like the Mexican Cinnamon Sugar and Luna Limón with a lemon-lime glaze. Globally inspired donuts include the Mango Lassi, Spain with churro and chocolate, and Iran with chocolate citrus cream cheese frosting. Plus, the shop is currently donating proceeds to the Ukrainian organization Voices of Children.
At this stage, Federal Donuts has officially made it on the list of Philly's most notable restaurants. With 11 locations around town—including spots inside Whole Foods and Wells Fargo Arena—it’s easy to say that it's one of the city's most popular options, and certainly the only place we can think of serving perfectly savory fried chicken and donuts. Regardless of location, you can choose from their selection of delicious cake donuts in two options: Hot Fresh (sugar coated) or Fancy (glazed, dipped, or topped).
This widely popular donut shop has made a lasting impression and even opened up a second shop in 12 South. Since the line can quite literally stretch all the way out the door, you’ll have to get out of bed early to grab one of the 100-layer donuts (yes, a “cronut”) before they sell out, which happens frequently.
If you’re from Memphis or have lived in the city for at least a few years, you’ve been to Gibson’s. It’s just what you do when you have this sort of mom-and-pop legend in your town. And the fact that you can get a simple triple-rise, glazed yeast donut and a cup of coffee on the cheap makes a very strong case that the 50-year-old institution hasn’t changed since the late Lowell Gibson first started frying rings. However, things have changed, but unlike most modern inflections on a trusted old thing, the updates to Gibson’s have only made it that much better: take, for example, a play on the caramel-and-coconut Girl Scout favorite so good you might just be able to forgo your springtime cookie orders from now on. Note: donuts become half price at 11 pm.
With its marble counter and fancy modern aesthetic, General Porpoise is a far cry from the storied glass counters of donut lore. That’ll happen when a baller chef like Renee Erickson (Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins) becomes obsessed with making high-rising, yeasty donut masterpieces. But what’s inside those fried pillows of ambrosia is equally awe-inspiring, an array of curds, creams, custards, and jams like chocolate marshmallow, creme brulee, and Italian plum, meant to be paired with a meticulously curated selection of coffee from some of the finest roasters in America.
Visiting this Carlsbad bakeshop is like stepping into a high-end boutique. Velvet, cobalt-hued booths tempt diners to get cozy, while artisanal donuts are displayed behind glass shelves like delicious jewels you can eat. The shop’s standard flavors include strawberry cheesecake and Tahitian vanilla, but monthly specials incorporating seasonal fruits are equally popular. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available.
When Kimberly and Brock Beiersdoerfer—who knew nothing about donuts in a city that was late to catch on to the donut craze—decided to open a donut shop, they turned to Gibson’s. The couple did time in the kitchen at the East Memphis legend, learning trade secrets, which explains why their fried treats are so delectable. While jokes like “Heaven is a place on Earth... when you have one of Kimberly’s custard-filled Bismarcks” or “the chocolate-covered sour cream is like a gift from heaven” (Brock makes the chocolate in house) are far too easy to riddle off in full corny glory, well, it’s hard not to stand behind it.
From a donut-craving Mainer who started out selling her locally sourced donuts to area coffee shops and such before striking out on her own, The Holy Donut really does have a seemingly religious reverence for the art of donut making (the secret ingredient? Maine mashed potatoes). The potatoes lend a rich, moist quality to the dough that provides a base for flavors like pomegranate, chocolate sea salt, and Allen’s Coffee Brandy, a favorite inexpensive local spirit. And if you know anything else about Maine, you know that the summer-only blueberry donuts with lemon glaze are a must.
Matt Opaleski and Jason Hill are not afraid to put together crazy concoctions—think s’mores donuts with scorched marshmallows, or one filled with chocolate pudding, or a pepper Parmesan donut designed to house meats. The shop gets our nod because it does the gourmet moves well (get the Homer and the One Night in Pearis) while also paying tribute to the local scene with excellent kolaches and doing crazy things with breakfast sandwiches. One bite of a bacon, egg, and cheese glazed-donut sandwich might forever render your local bodega disappointing, especially when it’s paired with one of three types of milk on draft.
Queens, New York
Discovering her late grandmother’s recipe for leche flan led pastry chef Kimberly Camara (an Eleven Madison Park alum) to open Kora. Her Filipino heritage served as the guiding force, when Camara and her partner Kevin Borja created the intensely popular donuts, debuting them in the summer of 2020 from an apartment in Woodside—often selling out in minutes. Recent donuts on offer (they change weekly) included the Itlog na Pul, a salted egg variety with cured yolk dust; Manila Cream with a white chocolate vanilla bean cremeux; and the signature Ube, a yam-based dessert. Kora’s brioche dough forms the base, then they are paired with elements like ube custard, pili nut praline mousseline, house-made mora jam, and Camara’s grandmother’s flan.
Enduring the line to scoop up a half-dozen (or more!) donuts at this Hoosier institution is an Indianapolis rite of passage that ranks right alongside diving into some shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s and becoming disproportionately excited when the Pacers sign someone who played college ball in Indiana. There's really no need to stray from the donut shop canon here—a glazed yeast donut here, a cinnamon-sugar dusted cake donut there. The taste is simultaneously familiar and yet not quite like anywhere else.
Hamtramck is a bit of an oddity: a city within the city of Detroit populated with huge Polish and Muslim enclaves that’s seemingly worlds away from the city just outside its limits. It’s also home to some of the best bakeries in the state, and on Paczki Day (or Fat Tuesday), it’s home to the best hypercaloric donut varieties in the U.S. At New Palace, though, every day is Paczki Day, with the city’s best version of the dense, stuffed Old World donuts come in flavors ranging from rose hip to Boston cream, apple, cherry, blueberry, and prune. New Palace didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel (Dave Goodwill did that, we think). They just kind of pumped it full of fat and butter and some of the best custard you’ve ever had. Then coated it in sugar.
If the unique, joy-filled name of this Asian-American dessert mecca seems familar to you, it might be because it was recently featured on the Austin season of Queer Eye. While the shop’s takes on macarons and soft serve are on a level all their own, it’s the signature mochi donuts that really gets the emoji hearts spinning. Standard donut dough is replaced with Japanese rice cakes then fried to perfection for a chewy, gooey texture that all but melts in your mouth when it’s fresh from the oven. Standard flavors include Ube Oreo and classic S’Mores, while weekly specials feature an ever-updating roster including Vietnamese Coffee and Snickerdoodle. Just be sure to get here early, as even an in with Antoni won’t guarantee you’ll secure the dough before they sell out completely.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
This local gem launched in Fort Lauderdale before finally making its way down to Miami Beach (with an Aventura location coming soon), bringing along with it over 80 types of donuts in a variety of categories including classic, fritters, gourmet, ultimate, and vegan. They even offer letter-shaped donuts that can be customized to spell out messages for any occasion.
In donut-crazy Portland, the standbys—Blue Star and Voodoo—are now chains. But for years, Pip’s has quietly been cultivating its own cult based around simplicity, something often lost in “load ’em up” new school of donating. Pip’s makes everything to order, and what you get are warm, tiny (a little bigger than a quarter) minimally topped with things like Nutella, fresh honey, bacon, or curd. Or all of that stuff, in the case of the Dirty Wu, a kitchen-sink option made with love by a place that doesn’t let its sink overflow. They also serve up flights of belly-warming homemade chai, and if you show up on your birthday (or within a week of it), you’ll get a free dozen of those bite-sized wonders. While everybody else was going crazy, Pip’s snuck in and took over Portland’s donut game by sticking to what they know.
This locally owned pastry and donut shop offers Asian-American sweets that are fun, fresh, and inventive, plus they’re easy on the eyes. Rose Nguyen is the pastry chef behind concepts like a donut stuffed with black sesame frosting or mochi crullers glazed in purple ube icing. Her strawberry rose lychee donut is styled to perfection with local, farm-fresh strawberries, which means it’s also bursting with flavor. Rose Ave is located inside The Block, a food hall that also has a buzzy bar, popular during happy hour, and yes.. donuts also taste great late at night after a few too many drinks.
Perhaps the most well known of South Florida’s donut shops is The Salty, a family-owned artisan donut shop famous for its around-the-block lines when it first debuted. Now that there’s several locations, it’s much easier to score these scratch-made cake-sized sweets. Flavors rotate seasonally, but you can always count on the Maple + Bacon, Guava + Cheese, and Brown Butter + Salt.
This shop knocks out enough sweet, pillowy doughnuts to meet our voracious demands. We especially love the creativity packed into every buttery layer at Union Square—including flavors like Baklava with a honey glaze, Piña Colada dipped in a pineapple cream, Mint Chocolate Chip dusted with a cookie crumble, and Vietnamese Coffee finished with creamy condensed milk and espresso. Plus, there are crullers, vegan versions, and a Chocolate Doissant that you’ll just have to see for yourself.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Who’s is an organic donut shop run by the people behind neighboring beloved Santa Fe confectionary Chocolate Smith, so from the get go you can already be confident they have a way when it comes to sweet things, and to be sure options like pistachio cake with white chocolate lemon ganache or maple bacon with dark chocolate glaze and chili brown sugar deliver the goods. However, it’s a slightly less sweet option that might surprise you: the blue corn donuts. Just imagine a corn muffin that was made with blue corn and then cross pollinated with a donut with fantastic results. Then go eat one so you no longer have to imagine.
Writers: Kevin Alexander, Elanor Bock, Chelsea Brasted, Liz Childers, Tim Ebner, Darlene Horn, Andy Kryza, Amber Love Bond, Matt Lynch, Matt Meltzer, Molly Moltzen, Swathi Reddy, and Tiffany Tse