Cream-filled, glazed or even topped with bacon, doughnuts are an irresistible confection beloved across the country in classic and new forms. Here, Food & Wine names the best doughnuts in the U.S.
The Doughnut Vault; Chicago, IL
Gilt Bar owner Brendan Sodikoff started selling big, fresh doughnuts out of a brick storefront in the spring of 2011, and lines continue from early morning until the handful of flavors sell out. Outside, there’s a communal table for enjoying old-fashioned, chocolate-glazed and sometimes pistachio-covered rings, with $1 cups of coffee.
Betty Ann Food Shop; Boston, MA
This East Boston bakery, which has been around since 1931, specializes in classic sugar-rolled doughnuts, including a hefty cake option and rustic jelly-filled balls of fried dough. 565 Bennington Street.
Doughnut Plant; New York, NY
At his new Chelsea location, Lower East Side doughnut pioneer Mark Israel masterminded a glazed oatmeal cake doughnut, sprinkled with the usual granola suspects like dried fruit bits, oats and seeds. doughnutplant.com.
Dynamo Donuts; San Francisco, CA
Owner Sara Spearin’s menu changes all the time, with inspired flavors like lemon-pistachio and “banana de leche,” filled with caramel-coated fruit. The bacon-maple doughnut, with smoky sautéed apples, is now available every day. dynamodonut.com.
Top Pot Doughnuts; Seattle, WA
Some of the best doughnuts in the Northwest can be found in this two-story flagship beneath the Monorail. Top Pot’s oversize rings and fritters come in flavors like chocolate-peanut and Valley Girl lemon—and some have decorative flourishes like "feather boas," made from pink icing topped with shredded coconut. toppotdoughnuts.com.
Sublime Doughnuts; Atlanta, GA
“There is no better breakfast in the world than sweets-savant Kamal Grant’s Fresh Strawberry N Cream doughnut,” says Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin. “Unless, of course, you want one of his 27 other flavors.” Grant uses stellar ingredients—such as the Callebaut chocolate in the icing on his A-Town Creams (like A-shaped Boston creams)—so it’s no wonder the Atlanta shop has gained such a following. sublimedoughnuts.com.
Congdon's Doughnuts; Wells, ME
This family-owned roadside bakery and restaurant sells classic flavors and signatures like blueberry jelly doughnuts and honey-dipped varieties. congdons.com.
Photo courtesy of Congdon’s Doughnuts.
Gourdough's; Austin, TX
Operating out of a vintage airstream trailer, Gourdough’s tops fried-to-order doughnuts with everything from brown-sugar-glazed bananas (the Funky Monkey) to fried chicken strips with honey butter (the Mother Clucker). The mobile shop hawks its knife-and-fork doughnuts late into the night to sate the cravings of Austin concert-goers. gourdoughs.com.
The Donut Stop; St. Louis, MO
Glass cases reveal all sorts of flavors at this old-school bakery: glazed, sugar, cake, twists and French doughnuts—otherwise known as beignets. Also for sale is a Donut Stop exclusive: Cinnamon Globs. thedonutstopinc.net.
Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop; Brooklyn, NY
A retro bakeshop with swivel stools, Peter Pan serves coffee and a vast array of handmade doughnuts, from sour cream to coconut cream. In summer, customers can design an ice cream sandwich with doughnut halves in place of the traditional cookies. One favorite combo: a red velvet doughnut with strawberry ice cream. 727 Manhattan Avenue.