The Queen of apple fritters
It’s hard to even tell if Donut Queen is open. The small, rundown space is cluttered with empty shelves and there are no tables or even a register in sight. What are on display, though, are the collosal apple fritters, about the size of a small child. As delicious as they are -- crispy and sugary on the outside, fluffy on the inside with big chunks of apple -- it’s a challenge to get through the whole thing. But at $2 for the best apple fritter in town it’s worth the challenge... or you can always just split one with a friend (or two).
Everything you need for a complete breakfast
A classic donut shop with an old-school motif, Delicious Donuts primarily operates as a bulk store for cafes and restaurants. However, customers can buy directly starting early in the morning at 5am, and keep buying until 2pm. Along with all the staples like old fashioneds, maple bars, and creme filled, Delicious offers a number of fun, less common items like Oreo covered chocolate and vanilla cakes, and cinnamon rolls. The shop also has a full breakfast menu, including breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and omelets.
Pearl District and Lake Oswego
A little square piece of New Orleans
The donuts at the cute and friendly little shop in the Pearl (as well as in Lake O) aren’t your traditional donut, and the square shape gives that away at first glance. Besides its unconventional corners, what’s inside is unique: layers of dough rubbed with butter -- much like a croissant -- which take over three days to make and lead to a crispy exterior with a flaky, delicate interior. NOLA Doughnuts also serves beignets, king cakes, and po’boys.
Downtown and Kerns
Portland’s most iconically iconoclastic donut
The Cock and Balls. The Texass. The cereal-topped cake donuts. The once iconoclastic donut shop has become iconic to Portland’s perceived culture, for better or worse. Despite constant warnings from Portland natives, tourists and Portlanders alike still flock to wait in line for an hour here, and as such, its status as an institution is fully cemented. The donuts themselves could almost be considered an afterthought at this point, but they’re still delicious, funky, and will surely end up on your Instagram story.
Another chain of traditional donuts, the glass-doored racks and racks of colorful donuts evoke Dunkin’ or Winchell's. Sesame Donuts are better, though, with a lot more care placed in the quality of ingredients, and the namesake donuts there are a unique treat. Sesame Donuts has bright, cheery locations all over the greater Portland area, but the Raleigh Hills location is a favorite as it’s open 24/7, 365, giving late-night revelers a great location to soak up whatever they were drinking that night.
Aptly named donut shop
Heavenly donuts serves classic donuts with classic vibes across town. The sprinkle-topped donuts look like something out of a cartoon, while the stores themselves feel as though you’ve stepped back into the '80s. There are no go-to requirements here; all of the fluffy, lightly glazed and topped doughnuts are reliable.
Portland’s current reigning doughnut champion
When the folks behind Boxer Ramen, Little Big Burger, and Yakuza opened up their donut shop a few years back, we expected big things. Now, with eight Portland locations and outposts in LA, our suspicions are confirmed: the concept of dense, brioche donuts ranging from simple old fashioneds to Mexican chocolate, lemon/poppyseed, and creme brulee with a shot of Cointreau syrup poking out of the top was good enough to rank among America’s best. Next stop: world domination.
Buttery, fluffy, delicious dough rings that'll pair perfectly with your coffee
Butter is a good thing. So is buttermilk, tossed into a glazed, chocolate-covered donut. At this ever-expanding chainlet you’ll find a pretty case filled with pastel-frosted options, lots of old-fashioneds, and sugar/caffeine-induced study groups on their laptops... or you would if you weren't so distracted by their creamy old-fashioned choices.
Bite-sized treats and tasty chai
You won’t find a lit up case filled with rows of brightly frosted pastries here, but that’s a very good thing. These are the sliders of donuts, and the ones covered in sweet and savory honey and sea salt could be devoured by the dozen. And they’re made to order, giving you the ultimate in donut freshness, whether at the storefront or out of the roaming cart you’ll find popping up all over town. Follow your nose, then get the raw honey.