When I was preparing to move to the Inland Empire for college, I wasn’t exactly ecstatic like many incoming college freshmen are. Sure, I was excited to enter a new chapter of my life, but as petty as it sounds, I was mostly dreading the dry, triple-digit weather that was to come. More importantly, my friends and family members who had gone to UC Riverside warned me that the food options around here are just plain sad compared to what I’m used to in Orange County. And what’s a girl like me to do in a place with (supposedly) shitty food?!

But as I spent more time exploring the IE, I learned to keep an open mind when it comes to the many unique food joints this region has to offer. Sometimes you’ll find true gems where you least expect it, and these six donut shops prove my point.

1. Freshh Donuts


Photo courtesy of Nick W. on Yelp

Conveniently located just down the street from UCR, Freshh Donuts is your one stop shop for good ol’ fashioned, perfectly fluffy donuts. I mean, how can you ever go wrong with a classic glazed or blueberry? Open 24 hours, this makes for the perfect spot to satisfy those late night drunchies.

#SpoonTip: For the freshest donuts, go between 2-3 am.

2. Linda’s Donuts

Photo courtesy of @the.fashion.scientist on Instagram

Photo courtesy of @the.fashion.scientist on Instagram

From cereal-topped ice cream to even cereal pie, cereal desserts have been popping around all over the place in the past several years. Here at Linda’s Donuts, you can find a large selection of donuts topped with your favorite childhood cereal. Comparable to the famous California Donuts in Koreatown, Los Angeles, they even offer the same Instagram-worthy Oreo Panda donuts. Why drive through LA traffic and its nightmare parking situation when you can get donuts that are just as good in Riverside?

3. Baker’s Dozen Donuts


Photo courtesy of @bakersdozendonuts on Instagram

From Star Wars themed decorations to a wide variety of funky flavors, Baker’s Dozen Donuts in Downtown Corona stands out due to its creativity and unique offerings. Be sure to try their Snickers donut, cinnamon crumb cronut, and banana fritter.

#SpoonTip: Check in on the Yelp mobile app for 1 free glazed donut or mini croissant OR mention Yelp for 1 free additional espresso shot!

4. Southern Maid Donuts


Photo courtesy of Eunice L. on Yelp

A Southern staple that recently made its way to California, Southern Maid Donuts makes its pastries out of a light and airy dough, so you can enjoy your cheat day without feeling too bloated or guilty. Not only that, but their donuts have the perfect amount of sweetness and never feel overwhelming with sugar. And apparently, the one and only Elvis Presley endorsed Southern Maid in 1954, helping sales skyrocket.

5. Donut Star


Photo courtesy of @heaveninyourmouth on Instagram

One word: Cronuts. In a variety of flavors, too: chocolate frosted, red velvet, blueberry, you name it. These flaky goods make for the perfect dessert if you’re craving donuts but want a little extra oomph. Donut Star also offers strawberry-filled donuts comparable to the world famous ones at The Donut Man in Glendora.

6. Painted Dough


Photo courtesy of @karrotcakee on Instagram

Another donut shop in the Inland Empire with seriously unique flavors including green tea, Kit Kat, Twix, s’mores, and horchata, to name a few. If you’re not into gourmet donuts, they have some more tame offerings as well. Hell, they even sell burgers, ice cream, and Mexican food.

#SpoonTip: Check in on the Yelp mobile app for 1 free donut with a minimum $5 purchase.