Donuts. They're not just for cops anymore! Although they are still definitely for cops. But these days, they ain't just glazed -- they can be filled with foie gras, or used as buns for just about anything. But of course there are still the classics: the jelly-filleds, the old-fashioneds, and... the bacon- or gummi worm-topped. Those are good, too. So we rounded up 21 of the finest from across the country. Special Agent Dale Cooper, eat your heart out. And then eat these donuts.
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The Must-Get Donut: Maple Bacon Bars
Donut Bar continues to crank out some of the most unique donuts in San Diego, like the Cro-bar and the donut-Monte Cristo hybrid, but they’ve also combined America's two most beloved breakfast foods: Cap'n Crunch and eggs Benedict. Wait, no. America's other two most beloved breakfast foods: bacon and donuts (there we go...).
Helen Bernhard Bakery
The Must Get Donut: Raspberry-Filled Glazed
The Bernhards have been baking amazingness since 1924, and you don't spend 90yrs doing the same thing every day only to have it be mediocre unless you're, like, The Stones, in which case just stick to the hits. The hits here are the raspberry-filled glazed donut, the crumb cake ring, and their simple chocolate-covered beauties... especially on Sunday, when they're half off.
SK's Donuts & Croissant
The Must-Get Donut: Glazed Old-Fashioned
This old-school, strip-mall 'nut-shop's been in biz long enough for regulars to remember when the 30-something dude behind the counter was a little baby and his DAD was the 30-something dude behind the counter, which means it's the right spot to go classic. They still make donuts throughout the day, so you can't go wrong with whatever's fresh, but who doesn't love an Old-Fashioned?
The Must-Get Donut: Eric's House Made
LoDo in Denver is usually filled with dicks late at night, but for gourmet balls, you'll need to get to this standout resto from Top Chef Master Jennifer Jasinski at a reasonable hour. These hole-less doughnuts are filled with lemon curd mascarpone filling, rolled in sugar, and served with a side of blueberry compote.
The Must-Get Donut: The Oreo & Gummy Worm Donut
They've got three different donut levels: Amateur, which is a plain donut with frosting; Famous, which includes simpler toppings; and Legendary, which involves things like bacon and, yes, gummy worms & Oreos AT THE SAME TIME!
Blue Star Donuts
The Must-Get Donut: The Fried Chicken or the Crème Brûlée w/ Cointreau
Some day, an evil mastermind will devise a method of torture in which some poor slob will be forced to choose between a donut topped w/ fried chicken, or a crème brûlée donut w/ a shot of Cointreau sticking into the side. Until that day comes -- and God forbid it does -- just order both at PDX's most innovative fried dough emporium.
The Must-Get Donut: DKronut
An old-school spot with a similar name to SK's (above), but they've upped their new-school cred with DKronuts, the donut/croissant hybrid that they're making into sandwiches stuffed with everything from Nutella to blueberries... which are a superfood, so basically, these are good for you.
Glazed & Infused
The Must-Get Donut: Crème Brûlée
You won’t hesitate to French-kiss this Bismarck, filled with vanilla crème and coated in a brûléed sugar crust. Bonus points for the fact that legions of uptight French chefs would probably be furious if they knew about it.
The Must-Get Donut: Rum Custard Rolled in Cinnamon Sugar Bomboloni
It's worth the trip out to this quaint Inner Richmond, SF bake shop to try their bomboloni (Italian donuts) with seasonal fillings, our favorite of which is naturally the one with the booze.
Surdyk's Cheese Shop
The Must-Get Donut: Maple-Glazed Topped with Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Ham
Surdyk's Liquor Store's Cheese and Sandwich Shop is a hidden gem in and of itself, but the fact that every morning they make a super-limited run of donuts using all the gourmet chocos, cheeses, and other ingredients at their disposal is double-super-secret… and double-super-awesome as well.
Mrs. Johnson's Bakery
The Must-Get Donut: The FREE Famous Glazed Donut
Established in 1948, Mrs. Johnson's keeps Airport Blvd in Austin up to its arteries in piping hot pastries by giving out a free, still steaming glazed donut with every order.
The Must-Get Donut: Tres Leches
Sometimes they're round. Sometimes they're square. Always, they're awesome. While it's tough to make a BAD call, the Tres Leches (round, like you'll be) are the RIGHT call -- fluffy, thoroughly, and filled with a substantial helping of cream.
Bob's Donut and Pastry Shop
The Must-Get Donut: Giant Donut
Usually a spot you head to after 12a, you're gonna want to get the big glazed donut which -- we kid you not -- is going to be larger than your head. Unless you are Spongebob Squarepants or Hey! Arnold. And if you ARE Spongebob, what are you doing reading about donuts? Are you in town? Why haven't you called?!
The Must-Get Donut: Mount Saint Hell Yeah
So, take a normal Sin'namon roll (which's a yeast dough "specially prepared" for extra cinnamon storage) and top it with a ton of A) maple icing, and B) bacon, and you'll get C) this. D) Awesome.
The Must-Get Donut: Nutella
This place’s the BEST DONUT SHOP IN AMERICA, at least according to the editors at Bake magazine, who, given the name, are either experts on cooking via prolonged dry heat by convection, or the munchies and would really like this simple breakfast spread-topped number.
The Must-Get Donut: Harvest Apple Fritter
Reading Terminal Market's only Penn Dutch donut-ery's also your yo-yo diet go-to, splitting its stall between bakery cases and a salad bar, only one of which serves 40 kinds of hand-rolled rounds and fritters flavored with hand-picked seasonals like blueberries, harvest apples, and pumpkin.
Verna's Donut Shop
The Must-Get Donut: Chocolate Honey-Dip
A short detour from Davis Square on Mass Ave, this "locals welcome, others kind of, maybe, welcome?" Cambridge icon nearly shuttered in 2007 (after 56yrs in business), but thankfully lives on baking some of the area's top donuts (each under a buck, too!!) like the Raised and Glazed, Coconut Cake, and the Honey "Tip", a donut named for legendary Cambridge-native and Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neil. Add a chocolate glaze to said Honey "Tip" because, chocolate glaze.
The Must-Get Donut: Blood Orange
A constant innovator (how are these people so productive being around donuts all the time?), this Bed Stuy shop and regular at Brooklyn's outdoor food market Smorgasburg might always have something new on the menu, but if it's there, don't miss the sweet, citrusy flavor of the seasonal Blood Orange glazed with a candied fruit slice.
The Must-Get Donut: Bourbon Butterscotch Glazed Brioche w/ Bacon
This Dupont Circle fried chicken and dough ring shop is a tight squeeze, but worth every ass/crotch decision thanks to Grapefruit Camparis and Cocoa Krispies-topped chocos. The move, though, has to be the BBGBB -- the bourbon's Maker's Mark and the bacon is "Kyle's housemade". Ooooh.