Doughnuts are not a fad food. They are not a hybrid of this dessert and that, nor did Instagram jump-start their claim to fame. Rather, these deep-fried rings of dough have had a long run. And whether they’re classically flavored, fresh from the fryer, or riddled with ingenuity, they are here to stay. Here, 14 of our favorite spots to indulge across the nation.
Despite the fact that Birdies stays open round-the-clock on Fridays and Saturdays, this DTLA spot is no late-night greasy spoon. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A sleek glass case displays Birdies’ most delicious fried (and creatively flavored) confections, like the heavenly horchata and dulce de leche twist.
Yes, one of the world’s wackiest doughnut shops first opened its doors in the hipster haven that is Portland, Oregon (we’re looking at you, Voodoo). However, if you’re on the hunt for subtlety, snag a spot in line at Blue Star. At any of their locations throughout town, buttery brioche dough provides the perfect base for fresh and creative flavors: Think tangy showstoppers like blueberry basil or sexy classics like Valrhona chocolate with vanilla custard.
Since it opened in 2008, Dynamo Donuts has achieved a level of stardom that only comes with true, confectionary brilliance. There are no glazed yeasted rings to be found in this humble Mission District spot; instead, Dynamo switches up its menu on a daily basis, with funky varieties like maple apple bacon and milk chocolate/passion fruit on constant rotation.
The cake doughnut confections at Pepples Donut Farm in Oakland are as tasty as they are environmentally wholesome. Meaning, the ingredients for the rotating selection of flavors (like vanilla cookie, Mexican chocolate, and lemon poppy seed), are 100 percent vegan, non-GMO, and organic.
Naturally, this Key West spot has Key lime pie doughnuts. Glazed, which proudly declares that it is the southern-most doughnut shop in the continental United States, puts out a delicious curd stuffed, meringue topped tribute, along with other fresh, innovative creations.
Long before “artisanal” was a word associated with rings of fried dough, the lines at Peter Pan Donuts were long. This Brooklyn spot has been in operation for 62 years and counting, and they churn out enough classically flavored crullers, cakes, and cream-filled treats to please even the pickiest doughnut connoisseurs.
The fact that Underwest is located within a New York City car wash is just the tip of the iceberg. More noteworthy than its location are Underwest’s quietly oddball flavors, like the rich and nutty halva, or the wildly popular maple waffle. Soon, eager customers won’t have to run their cars through mud puddles to justify another trip to the car wash—Underwest will open a second NYC location near Penn Station.
We can’t advocate skipping Café du Monde, but if you’re looking for another fried treat while in Nola, look no further. The doughnuts at District are exceptional (we’re crazy for the coconut cream), though the decadence doesn’t end with them. Customers can also order “croquenuts”—sandwiches made with two griddled doughnuts instead of bread.
Sweet teeth visit this food truck turned brick-and-mortar doughnut shop for the clever flavor combos, like the Drunk Boston (traditional Boston cream with a splash of bourbon) and the Fat Elvis (peanut butter and bacon, naturally). But locals also love their kolaches, a Texas favorite of savory filling ensconced in sweet, fluffy dough.
The doughnuts at Gordough’s aren’t for the faint of heart. The menu boasts items like the Mother Clucker (a donut adorned with fried chicken and honey butter), the Funky Monkey (grilled bananas, brown sugar, cream cheese icing) and the Carney (apple pie filling, caramel, peanuts). For those feeling inspired, Gordough’s also offers the option to design a custom creation, on the spot.
The folks behind District Doughnut (different from the aforementioned New Orleans spot) are serious about their craft. Executive chef Christine Schaefer develops each flavor from concept to execution and is praised for turning classic desserts into doughnut-shaped treats. Case in point: the baklava doughnut is covered in a roasted pistachio and honey glaze, along with phyllo flakes, while a vanilla bean crème brûlée flavor requires a crackly caramelized sugar topping.
When it comes to fried dough, we would be remiss to skip Leonard’s, a classic Honolulu joint that has been serving up hot malasadas since 1952. These hole-less Portuguese doughnuts come rolled in sugar and (optionally) stuffed with a fresh custard or fruit filling of your choice.
Tucked away in the outskirts of Atlanta, Revolution Doughnuts serves up unpretentious doughnuts in a variety of flavors. Classically updated varieties like yeasted vanilla bean and coconut-topped cake will please traditionalists, while peach-stuffed doughnut sliders or carrot cake with cream-cheese icing will thrill those with curious taste buds.
As the name would suggest, the folks behind the doughnuts at Do-Rite are, well, definitely doing something right. Crave-able flavors like Michigan apple fritter and buttermilk old-fashioned are made in batches of no more than 36 at a time, and the shop often runs out before its 3 p.m. closing hour. Do-Rite’s menu also keeps at least two crowd-pleasing gluten-free items on rotation, in addition to a daily vegan special.