Whether you prefer a classic glaze or some of the new, more adventurous flavors, it’s hard to find a better sweet treat than a great donut. For good reason, the donut has become an iconic American food, and while there are many great donut shops across the country, there are a few cities that have more than their share. Here are the 10 best donut cities in America that every donut lover should visit and for some, possibly consider moving to:
1) New York, NY
City Walk Score: 89
Median Home Sale Price: $625,000
As you would expect in the best donut city in the country, you can’t go far in New York City without coming across a world-class, donut shop. Many would argue that Dough in Brooklyn is the best donut shop in the country. Led by Chef Fany Garson, Dough makes small batches of high-quality donuts with a particular focus on taste and texture. You’ll not soon forget their Lemon Poppy.
Also in Brooklyn is Peter Pan Donuts and Pastry Shop, which has remained largely unchanged since the 1950s. It’s a classic bakery with counter-seating, shakes, and retro uniforms. If you can tear yourself away from Brooklyn, try Doughnut Plant for a good mix of classic and new-fangled flavors. The flavors change seasonally, so there’s always something new. Known for delicious, hand-crafted, yeast donuts, The Doughnut Project has two accessible locations – Central Park and the West Village.
For an understated yet delicious experience visit Underwest Donuts, a take-out donut and coffee shop located in — unusually enough — a carwash. If you’re looking for a high-quality artisanal donut try DunWell Doughnuts, where they also have an impressive lineup of coffee and espresso drinks. Finally, just outside the city, there are two spots that are worth the trip: Glaze in New Milford, New Jersey and Purple Glaze Donuts in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
City Walk Score: 67
Median Home Sale Price: $685,000
For the most beautiful and delicious donut in the LA area, start at California Donuts in Koreatown. Their trademark donut is the Panda, with Oreo ears and eyes, but the Blueberry Toast Crunch and Samoa are also hard-to-resist, crowd pleasers.
A landmark for forty years, Stan’s Donuts in Westwood Village offers an array of gourmet donuts that they ship around the world. Try the Peanut Butter and Banana! For the freshest of toppings, visit The Donut Man and savor the renowned Fresh Strawberry. If you’re in the mood for a savory, made-to-order donut, try The Donut Friend (they also have sweet options).
For a traditional donut shop with a long history of excellence, try Primo’s. If you’re spending a day at the beach, make sure you visit the Seaside Bakery in Newport Beach or The Donuttery in Huntington Beach.
3) Chicago, IL
City Walk Score: 78
Median Home Sale Price: $250,000
Chicago knows donuts! First off, there’s Do-Rite Donuts. While they have a full menu, they are all about the donuts. Of particular note at Do-Rite is the Doughnut-Chicken Sandwich, or have one of their daily gluten-free options such as the Pistachio-Meyer Lemon, and the Candied Maple Bacon.
Another local favorite is The Doughnut Vault, which makes small batches of high-quality, unique donuts. The donuts go quickly, and once they run out, the Vault is closed for the day. Make sure you visit this one early in the day!
If you’re in the area you should also visit Dat Donut for a Big Dat, Dinkel’s Bakery for a Chocolate Cake Donut, Firecakes Donuts for a Tahitian Vanilla Iced, and Stan’s Donuts for a Lemon Pistachio Old Fashioned.
4) Seattle, WA
City Walk Score: 73
Median Home Sale Price: $665,000
Seattle is seemingly overwhelmed with amazing donuts. Stop in any of the city’s five Mighty-O Donuts to have an organic, vegan, mouth-watering donut. Make sure you try the Lemon Poppy flavor! Another chain that has maintained its trademark of high quality — even as it has grown — is Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts and Coffee, with their gourmet donuts and hand-roasted coffee. Don’t miss their signature Feathered Boa, with pink icing and coconut.
If you like jelly-filled donuts then General Porpoise is the place for you. They have a stunning menu of fresh donuts filled with handmade jams, curds, custards, and creams. Plus, with high-quality coffee from multiple roasters, it’s a coffee-lovers (and donut lovers) dream.
While these are the heavy hitters, you should also check out: Daddy’s Donuts in Kenmore for mini, fresh-to-order donuts with some crazy toppings; Daily Dozen Doughnuts in Pike Place Market for fresh, fried-in-front-of-you donuts; and Dahlia’s Bakery’s famous donuts with vanilla mascarpone and rhubarb jam.
City Walk Score: 69
Median Home Sale Price: $253,000
A Baker’s Wife is the place to start in Minneapolis. While it’s a pastry shop the donuts are world-class with an old-school feel. You can still get your donuts for 65 cents. Their cinnamon sugar cake donut will remind you why there has been a donut renaissance in America recently.
Hi-Lo Diner is a diner with a full menu; however, included in that menu are signature cocktails and a selection of Hi-Tops, which are donuts with an array of sweet and savory toppings. What more could you want than a McRib Hi-Top with a house-made cocktail?
Other must-hit places in the Twin Cities include: Mojo Monkey Donuts, specializing in hand-made donuts with high-quality ingredients; Moon Donuts and Cafe, with a good selection of donuts and espresso drinks; and MilkJam Creamery, an ice cream store with a show-stopping, ice cream sandwich made from donuts.
6) Boston, MA
City Walk Score: 81
Median Home Sale Price: $660,000
Boston is saturated with amazing donuts, but you should start your taste-tour in Somerville at Union Square Donuts. Made from a brioche-style dough, the donuts have a light, pastry-like consistency that patrons cannot get enough of.
For a more traditional gourmet donut with lots of unique flavors, try one of Blackbird Doughnuts three Boston locations. Equally enticing, with no frills beyond classic tastiness, Demet’s Donuts in Medford offers an amazing lineup of traditional donuts and fresh-roasted coffee.
Finally, don’t miss Kane’s Donuts, a staple in the Saugus community since 1955. Kane’s has maintained its local feel and high quality, with all donuts made fresh and with local ingredients. Try their Creme Brulee and Boston Cream.
Other noteworthy donut shops to check out: Davis Square Donuts & Bagels
7) Atlanta, GA
City Walk Score: 49
Median Home Sale Price: $289,000
Pastry chef Kamal Grant is taking the donut world by storm at Sublime Doughnuts, with two Atlanta locations. Don’t leave without trying the trademark Fresh Strawberry ‘N Cream donut, which is both beautiful and delicious.
While less adventurous with its flavors, DaVinci’s Donuts holds its own in the Atlanta donut scene by making fresh donuts on the spot – hand dipped and created right in front of you. Not to be outdone, Scream’n Nuts in Alpharetta offers daily specials of ice cream and donuts. The flavors are original and all ingredients are fresh and made in-house.
Last, but certainly not least, Revolution Doughnuts has earned a spot amidst Atlanta’s donut greats since opening its doors in 2012. Revolution hangs its hat on having fresh, handmade donuts, and their Nutella Cream Puff is in a class of its own.
8) Portland, OR
City Walk Score: 65
Median Home Sale Price: $410,000
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of best donut shops that doesn’t include Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut. While there are a few locations now, try the original spot in downtown to experience its unique menu and edgy vibe. The menu is extensive – maybe overwhelming, but you can’t go wrong with the classic Voodoo Doll.
For a more gourmet donut try Blue Star, where they make the fanciest of donuts from brioche dough. The flavors and ingredients are original and mouth watering – the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk and Passionfruit Cocoa Nibs are especially popular.
While tourists flock to Voodoo and Blue Star, locals swear by Pip’s Original, where the donuts are small (about the size of a half dollar) and all made to order. Pip’s also offers house-crafted chai and a truck that can cater your next event.
City Walk Score: 65
Median Home Sale Price: $150,000
While The Donut Stop gets much of the attention in St. Louis, it’s certainly not the only great donut shop in town. That said, you can’t visit St. Louis without trying The Donut Stop’s original Cinnamon Glob.
For a donut on the road, head to Route 66 and try The Donut Drive-In, where the chocolate Long Johns have been a local favorite since the 1950s.
To get a sense of the local vibe, try Strange Donuts, that has a new menu each month. Strange Donuts works with local artists and businesses to make your visit about more than just donuts. And yet, the from-scratch, innovative donuts steal the show.
If you want to venture further into the world of some of the best – made from scratch – donuts in St. Louis, Vincent Van Doughnut “answer the call” to all your cravings. Made fresh every day, they boast an impressive selection with a variety of toppings, such as maple bacon, cheesecake cookie crumble, chocolate streusel with peanut butter, and so much more!
10) Houston, TX
City Walk Score: 49
Median Home Sale Price: $219,000
If you’re a gourmet-donut lover, then you’ll fall in love with Houston’s Hugs and Donuts, located in Houston Heights. Make sure you try The Homer, one of their filled jelly or cream donuts (rotating daily), and their milk on draft (there are three flavors every day).
If you’re more interested in a delicious breakfast sandwich, try the Glazed Breakfast Sandwich at one of Glazed the Doughnut Cafe’s two Houston locations. For those that crave a classic, glazed donut, try Kolache Bar, where you can also experience the local special of kolache. Try a jalapeno kolache with a glazed donut for a delightful flavor combination!
Other noteworthy donut shops to check out: Shipley Do-nuts
Methodology: To find out which cities are the best for donut lovers, we compiled a list of recent rankings of critically acclaimed best donut shops and best donuts the U.S. has to offer. Cities gained points based on the quantity of highly reviewed donuts and donut shops in their area. The 10 cities with the highest points were ranked in this list.