If the French have eclairs and the Germans have strudel, we Americans have the best pastry of ’em all: donuts. I mean, donuts are simply American. Even the Smithsonian says so.
But if you’re sticking to Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme, you’re doing it wrong. Artisanal donut shops have popped up all over the country, and I consider it our patriotic duty to get out and sample ’em all. So ready yourself for a sugary trip across America. It’s basically your patriotic duty. Or if you want to make your own homemade donuts, we’ve got you covered there too.
1. Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop – New York City, NY
Get ready for the biggest sugar rush of your life. These donut ice cream sandwiches are perfect for treating the little 8-year-old inside of you who just wanted to eat candy 24/7. Who cares about cavities anyway? You can even splurge a little and get a milkshake too.
2. District Doughnut – Washington D.C.
The favorite of your favorite (maybe?) politicians, this upmarket D.C. donut shop just a few short blocks away from Union Station and Gallaudet University is the perfect place for a treat after a long day of classes. Though only a seasonal treat, our favorite continues to be the Pumpkin Spice Creme Brûlée. If you’re looking for even more tasty treats in the DMV, we’ve got you covered.
3. Broad Street Dough Co. – Oakhurst, NJ
My personal favorite due to the seriously inventive ways this donut shop switches up their flavors. This place is the best pick-me-up for before or after a beach day on the Jersey Shore. If you’re feeling creative, you can even get them to whip up a custom batch for you (and name your creation after yourself, because who doesn’t want an awesome-looking donut bearing their name?).
4. The Donut Bar – San Diego, CA
The creators of the OG french toast donut (genius, if I must say so), The Donut Bar is also famous for doing donut sandwiches, blueberry Pop-Tart donuts and more. Cue drool.
5. Underwest Donuts – New York City, NY
This delicious NYC donut place has been featured on favorite donut lists across the country. Try a donut and you’ll definitely see why: our favorite is the Mint Julep that got them first place on the Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown.
6. Gourdough’s – Austin, TX
This place takes the word “loaded” to a whole new level. You can even get donuts topped with fried chicken, bacon, and more. Seriously, these donuts mean business. Guess they really do do everything big in Texas. For more of the best eats in Austin, click here.
7. Leonard’s Bakery – Honolulu, HI
This Hawaiian favorite is famous for their malasada puffs – Boston creme-style donuts with fillings that change monthly. Most of the fillings are tropical-inspired, such as lilikoi and other local fruits. For more must-eat foods in Honolulu, check these out.
8. Sublime Doughnuts – Atlanta, GA
As legend would have it, Sublime Donuts is one of the most dedicated donut shops in the game. Apparently the shop’s owner, Kamal Grant, shows up at 2 am every morning to kick off the donut-making. The most popular, Strawberry N’ Cream, sells out pretty fast, so make sure to hop in line (but you definitely don’t need to get there as early as Grant does). Plus, a super bonus, college students get 15 percent extra off with a valid university I.D. While you’re in Atlanta, be sure to check out these spots.
9. (fōnuts) – Los Angeles, CA
This favorite celebrity hangout in Beverly Hills is what you’d expect of a celebrity donut shop: all donuts are gluten free and made with almond flour. So the next time you’re enjoying your donuts with Ariana Grande, you can feel pretty good about sticking to your health plan. We love you, America.
10. Dominique Ansel – New York City, NY
The NYC shop of Paris-born pastry chef Dominique Ansel has signaled that the French have arrived – and are trying to take over the donut business. Have they succeeded? Well, Ansel is the creator of the famous cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid that was so popular he had to copyright the creation (although that didn’t stop Dunkin’ Donuts and others from making cheaper imitations of Ansel’s creation). However, even if you think you’ve had a cronut before, you really haven’t until you’ve tried Ansel’s OG cronut. It’ll change your life. Promise.
11. Bouchon Bakery – Yountville, CA
Rated “The Best Donut in California” by The Daily Meal, this cute little place serves desserts with only the freshest ingredients, down to the jelly fillings full of freshly made seasonal preservatives. The chef, Thomas Keller, is cooking royalty, and this little cafe is part of his exclusive restaurant group. And don’t miss out on trying these California foods while you’re there.
12. The Doughnut Vault – Chicago, IL
This place has so much buzz around it most foodies can’t even get through the door. The Doughnut Vault is only open a couple hours a day and the narrow time window can mean things can get a little busy. But seriously, who can’t pass up some Moet being poured through a donut? Not me. While you’re in Chicago, be sure to hit up these spots.
13. Voodoo Doughnut Mile High – Denver, CO
Do you believe in voodoo? Take a bite out of your sugary enemy with one of the delicious donuts these guys cook up. You can also get donuts depicting some of your favorite late celebs, including Dan Haggerty and Leonard Nimoy, among many more. You could even pair these with Colorado’s signature cocktail.
14. O’doodleDoo’s Donuts – Suffolk, VA
O’doodleDoo’s hand decorates all their donuts, and we definitely appreciate their hard work. Their donuts are seriously fun, and totally inviting. Try their “Life’s a Beach” donut complete with a 3D palm tree to whisk those winter blues away, or their famous “Minions” donut, which is seriously popular with kids. If you’re really feigning for a sugar rush, pair it with Virginia’s best milkshake.
15. B Sweet Dessert Bar – Los Angeles, CA
B Sweet Dessert Bar is famous for their trademark purple ube ice cream, which they attempt to stuff inside all of their pastries. And for good reason – it’s absolutely delicious. What’s ube? It’s purple yam. This type of yam is extremely creamy which makes it an excellent base for ice cream, and gives it an awesome purple color (that is totally natural). Bonus? It’s gluten free AND vegan. For more foods you can’t miss in LA, check out this list.
16. Doughnut Plant – New York City, NY
The Doughnut Plant creates a delightful fusion of traditional Asian flavors on donuts, such as shiso, green tea and yuzu fruit. You can even get the donuts with their matching tea flavors. Cool, no?
17. Rodeo Donut – Seattle, WA
This donut place is delightfully spontaneous and creative as its many unique flavors can attest. Using homemade dough, their donuts are fluffy and light, with seriously good toppings such as banana streusel, lemon curd, and more. And don’t miss out on these Seattle foods.
18. Federal Donuts – Philadelphia, PA
This seriously drool-worthy place in Philly is known for their donuts and their fried chicken. A pretty good combo, if I do say so myself. Pop by and try these once fried and once baked lemon meringue donuts – you won’t regret it. And while you’re in Philly, don’t forget to hit up these places.
19. Red, the Steakhouse – Cleveland, OH
Although this place is a steakhouse, that’s far from the only thing this place’s chefs are good at making. Their donuts are worthy of front page news too – they’re simply covered with powdered sugar: your classic Dunkin’ affair, but with a sick twist. They serve ’em with three delicious side sauces: caramel, chocolate, and raspberry sauces. For your dipping enjoyment (and an especially great way to finish a porterhouse steak meal). We’d recommend pairing your meal with Ohio’s signature cocktail found here.
20. Dough Catering and Food Truck – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
You definitely haven’t seen a donut deal this sweet before. For a mere $5, you can order up a bag of mini donuts in a sweet and savory mystery pack. Excited? We sure are. If mini donuts are what you’re craving, and you’re nowhere near Florida, you might want to try this apple cider donut bites recipe.
21. Clear Flour Bread – Brookline, MA
This little place outside Boston is famous for keeping the donut secret in the family. They create simple delicacies that supposedly come from a long European tradition of pastry making – and we all know the Europeans are awesome at baking pastries so you won’t be disappointed. And don’t miss out on hitting up these Boston spots while you’re there.
22. Brewnuts – Cleveland, OH
This incredible donut place infuses their donut dough with a variety of craft beers. For real. We’re kind of not-so-low-key freaking out about this discovery.
23. Long’s Bakery – Indianapolis, IN
This place runs on a cash-only basis, but that doesn’t stop the people from flooding in. Notoriously known for their long lines on the weekends, it’s best to have a strategy if you want to be able to get a donut here. With donuts hovering around 50 cents a piece, how can you say no?
24. Revolution Donuts – Decatur, GA
What was that famous Paul Revere quote again? Oh yeah, “the donuts are coming!” Revere was right, and we’re awaiting them with open arms. They argue that they’ve revolutionized the classic American donut. Have they? Guess you’ll have to try one to see.
25. Sugar Shack Donuts – Richmond, VA
Sugar Shack has insanely original flavors like the Cadbury creme egg (!!!) and their St. Patrick’s Day special (you need to try this one). They’ve been so successful, they’ve expanded to several new locations (please come to me, Sugar Shack). However, the University of Richmond Spoon chapter ranked a different donut shop as number one. You be the judge.
Don’t have time to get out to any of these places today? Try making your own funfetti donuts with this recipe.
Same, Mindy, same.