America’s 50 Best Donuts
America’s great donuts are fragile and heavyweight, old-fashioned and artisanal. Aside from the fact that a warm one is taste-buds heaven, we’re always on the lookout for donuts because the search leads to the kind of joints we love best, where eaters of every stripe enjoy a pastry so unfussy that it flouts utensils and rarely even comes on a plate. A good donut in hand with a steaming cup of coffee is democracy for breakfast. Here are 50 of our favorites. —Jane and Michael Stern
2025 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank; 818/840-8718 Earl’s Donuts The devil’s food old-fashioned from this unlikely strip-mall source is gnarled and knobby, all the better to hold the spill of frosting.
20429 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth; 818/341-2869 Marie’s Donuts This minimalist cinderblock shop offers substantial cinnamon “butterflies,” whose wingspan provides maximum donut surface.
2950 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento; 916/444-5245 Stan’s Doughnuts You don’t have to be Elvis to love the peanut butter and banana donut topped with chocolate chips sold at this cute little corner store.
10948 Weyburn Avenue, Westwood Village; 310/208-8660 or stansdoughnuts.com
6528 Washington Street, Yountville; 707/944-22531 or bouchonbakery.com Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop The right place for cake dunkers and glazed featherweights under fluorescent lights 24/7.
1621 Polk Street, San Francisco; 415/776-3141 Donut Man You almost want a knife and fork to attack summertime’s fruit-loaded fresh peach donut at this always-open coffee shop.
915 E. Route 66, Glendora; 626/335-9111 or thedonutmanca.com Dynamo Donuts Sidewalk noshers line up at this 21st-century fry shack, helmed by a trained pastry chef, for the organic whole-breakfast donut topped with bacon, apples, and maple glaze.
2760 24th Street, San Francisco; 415/920-1978 or dynamodonut.com
740 Main Street South, Woodbury; 203/263-2545 or dottiesdiner.com Neil’s Donuts and Bake Shop [Pictured] The raspberry jelly donut is a tsunami of sweetness enrobed in a fragile sugar glaze. No seats here. Fans just stand and eat.
83 N. Turnpike Road, Wallingford; 203/269-4255 or neilsdonuts.com Orangeside Luncheonette At this family diner, the winner among the distinctive square-shaped donuts is the almond-spiked buttercrunch.
135 Orange Street, New Haven; 203/773-1000
2808 Philadelphia Avenue, Ocean City; 410/289-1134 or fracturedprunenj.com
535 10th Street Northwest, Atlanta; 404/897-1801 or sublimedoughnuts.com Missouri Donut Stop It may look like a gas station, but regulars know this St. Louis standby for its holeless “cinnamon globs,” which deliver butter and spice richness in a generous coat of sugar.
1101 Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis; 314/631-3333 or thedonutstopinc.net
400-1/2 North Franklin Street, Chicago; thedoughnutvault.tumblr.com Old Fashioned Donuts Though this shop discourages loiterers, it’s still a must-visit for the mighty fritter, crusted with apple nuggets in cinnamon goo.
11248 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago; 773/995-7420 Dat Donut The gargantuan glazed Big Dat at this Southside staple is fine and fluffy, while the Boston cream heaves with vanilla pudding.
8249 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago; 773/723-1002
3325 Severn Avenue, Metairie; 504/885-4068 or morningcallcoffeestand.com Cafe du Monde Hot nuggets of fried dough called beignets, served three to an order and smothered with powdered sugar, are an unforgettable New Orleans experience.
813 Decatur Street, New Orleans; 504/587-0831 or cafedumonde.com Meche’s Donut King Known for regional specialties such as king’s cake, this bakery excels at Cajun-country beignets, yeast-risen triangles rolled in cinnamon sugar.
125 Courthouse Street, Breaux Bridge; 337/332-3577
120 Lincoln Avenue, Saugus; 781/233-8499 or kanesdonuts.com Betty Ann Food Shop Lemon curd-filled donuts set the bar at this salty joint with famously brusque service.
565 Bennington Street, East Boston; 617/567-1479 Donut Dip Grab a seat at the horseshoe counter to enjoy donuts that are studies in texture, such as crisp-skinned sour cream sinkers and ultralight crullers.
648 N. Main Street, East Longmeadow; 413/736-2224 Marty’s Donut Land The creme-filled Long Johns are outstanding at this vintage breakfast counter.
8 Central Street, Ipswich; 978/356-4580
1503 S. First Street, Austin; 512/707-1050 or gourdoughs.com Round Rock Donuts Sunny orange-glazed raised donuts, light enough that four to six are a reasonable breakfast, have made this a place for a donut lover’s pilgrimage.
106 W. Liberty Street, Round Rock; 512/255-3629 or roundrockdonuts.com
521 N. McEwan Street, Clare; 989/386-2241 or copsdoughnuts.com Friske Orchards The main business here is apples and cider, but cherry donuts made with local fruit are sweet-tart marvels.
10743 N. U.S. 31, Atwood; 231/599-2604 or friske.com Sweetwater’s Donut Mill This 24-hour drive-through wonder sells the fluffiest crullers and craveable chocolate clouds: chocolate-glazed raised donuts filled with creme.
Multiple locations; sweetwatersdonuts.com Ohio Bill’s Donut Shop This low-slung, swivel-stooled favorite makes a twisted and glazed pretzel donut that packs maximum cake satisfaction.
268 N. Main Street, Centerville; 937/433-0002 or billsdonutshop.com
451 Sixth Street, Winona; 507/452-3682 Lindstrom Bakery The moist and eggy Scandinavian donuts–plain, glazed, chocolate-drizzled, or cinnamon–are coffee’s best friend at this humble wood-paneled bakery.
12830 Lake Boulevard, Lindstrom; 651/257-1374
379 Grand Street, New York City; 212/505-3700 or doughnutplant.com Cupcake Cafe Ornate cupcakes get top billing at this midtown legend, but the whole wheat orange donuts are among New York’s best.
545 Ninth Avenue, New York City; 212/465-1530 or cupcakecafe-nyc.com Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop The summer special at this old-school lunch counter is vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a halved red velvet donut.
_ 727 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn; 718/389-3676 or peterpan-donuts.com_
_ 54 Maine Street, Brunswick; 207/729-4258 or frostysdonuts.com_ Congdon’s Doughnuts In a state better known for muffins, locals gather here to chat and enjoy textbook-perfect honey-dipped donuts that have earned legions of devotees.
_ 1090 Post Road, Wells; 207/646-4219 or congdons.com_
22 SW Third Avenue, Portland; 503/241-4704 or voodoodoughnut.com Annie’s Donut Shop The old-fashioned sinkers are a duet of crispness and softness with a fluffy center at this pre-Portlandia relic.
3449 NE 72nd Avenue, Portland; 503/284-2752
Multiple locations; federaldonuts.com
374 Depot Street, Manchester Center; 802/362-1874 P & H Truck Stop Truckers and tourists visit this roadside stop for barely sweet plain donuts that are as substantial as pound cake.
2886 U.S. 302, Newbury; 802/429-2141
2118 S. Preston Street, Louisville; 502/634-0931 or nordsbakery.biz North Carolina Britt’s Donuts Fragile-skinned, tender glazed donuts are all this shop makes. A seasonal spot right on the boardwalk, it’s open May to September.
11 N. Carolina Beach Avenue, Carolina Beach; carolinabeach.net/britts1 Virginia Do-Nut Dinette [Pictured] By noon the ethereal glazed donuts at this diminutive diner are gone, and the place reverts to a good old greasy spoon.
1917 Colley Avenue, Norfolk; 757/625-0061
3661 Quaker Lane, North Kingstown; 401-295-8036
1219 S. Sixth Avenue, Tucson; 520/624-2561 Vantastic Donuts & Bagels Iced buttermilk bars from this hole-in-the-wall diner have a tang that makes their sweetness glow.
4729 West Olive Avenue, Glendale; 623/435-2024
4600 W. Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas; 702/873-1032
2124 Fifth Avenue, Seattle; 206/728-1966 or toppotdoughnuts.com