one of the greatest food cities in the country. Home to the deep dish pizza, Italian beef, Chicago style hot dogs, and of course, Malört, Chicago is probably the best damn city in the country PERIOD. Alright, so maybe I’m a little bias, but you can’t deny that Chicago is a foodie’s paradise. And as the saying goes, with great power, comes great responsibility so one can only expect that a food centric city like Chicago would have one hell of a doughnut scene. Well my friends, you are correct.
Chicago is where it all started for me, so it was only right that I started my blog off with an entire doughnut shop guide to the Windy City. From your expensive artisan doughnuts to local mom and pop shops serving up the classics, Chicago has a doughnut for just about any preference. Most of the shops here are old school joints that have been around for decades but you also have the new kids on the block that have really put the city on the map as one of the country’s doughnut Meccas. Starting with it’s boom of high end artisan doughnut shops around 2011-2012, Chicago really became one of the first cities to lead this whole doughnut food craze. Unfortunately, I hate to say that Chicago has peaked and is now on cruise control as the market has reached its saturation point. At least until someone comes along and shakes things up a bit (hint hint…stay tuned). Regardless, the doughnut shops and bakeries here are still cranking out quality dough, and you definitely won’t be disappointed. So lets get to business shall we?
Note: The order in which the shops are listed is NOT indicative of ranking.
West Town Bakery
West Town Bakery really came into the spot light when they showed up to donutfest in Wicker Park back in 2014 with their doughssant and won the People’s Choice. Award. Led by Executive Pastry Chef Chris Teixeira, WTB is dishing out a pretty mean looking pastry case full of doughnuts, doughssants, cake balls, and some of if not THE BEST laminated pastries in Chicago. They usually have 3 flavors of doughssants in rotation with my favorite being the blueberry lemon topped with sliced almonds. The doughnut menu here isn’t big but Chef Chris takes the time to make from scratch, candy toppings ranging from Baby Ruth and Cracker Jack to homemade granola and more! Being a big proponent for yeast doughnuts, I will say that the dough here is a bit more dense and tighter than I prefer but the flavor is there, and the toppings are phenomenal. The doughssants are for sure the way to go with their ultra-flakey layers of buttery dough. If you really want to change things up and go savory, I would highly recommend the herbed cheese Danish!
1916 W. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
I’ll just go ahead and say it. Do-rite Donuts is Chicago’s best doughnut shop. I don’t care what you say. If you think otherwise, you’re wrong. Period. Do-rite keeps it real with their super soft yeast raised doughnuts, and their rich buttermilk old fashions. One of my favorites is for sure the blueberry crumb cake that’s injected with pockets of fresh blueberry jam and rolled in crunchy cake crumbs but the doughnut to get here is the cinnamon crunch yeast doughnut. It’s got cinnamon swirled throughout the buttery dough so every bite tastes just like a cinnamon roll with a crunchy exterior. It is to die for! And in the event you prefer cake, it comes in a buttermilk old fashion version. Oh, and did I mention they do fried chicken?
181 N. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60607
For those of you that don’t know, Firecakes is my alma mater. While I was in college I got a job running “Billy”, the Firecakes Donut Truck. I worked there for 2 years managing the food truck and then moving to the store front in River North. As far as the doughnuts go, you gotta get the pistachio old fashion. It’s the best pistachio doughnut in the city and if you’re lucky, sometimes they go HAAM on the pistachios and load them on. Other go-to’s are the vanilla iced with white chocolate pearls and also the plain honey glazed. If jelly doughnuts are your jam (HA, get it?!) make sure to ask if they have the raspberry blood orange jelly. It’s one of the top sellers and a customer favorite! They’ve also recently expanded on their doughnut ice cream sandwich from a single flavor to a whole array of ice cream, doughnut, and topping combinations. I have yet to try the new toppings and ice cream flavors but I’d give a thumbs up for any first timer.
68 W. Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Ahhh, good ole’ DV. I have a love hate relationship with DV. You’ve probably heard of DV as being one of the best doughnut shops in the country by several magazines and media outlets but I’d say that’s a bit of an exaggeration. However, DV has a trio of BANGIN’ yeast raised doughnuts that are some of my personal favorites in the city. Everyone always talks about the old fashions at DV but it’s all about the yeast doughnuts. Vanilla, Chocolate, and my favorite, Chestnut, are the only three doughnuts you need from DV. Their dough is really soft with a perfectly developed gluten bite. AKA, it leaves those beautiful crimp marks in the dough where your teeth bite through. Everything else on the menu is blah…The jellies are waaaaayyy to over filled and it tastes like eating jelly out of a jar with a spoon…no bueno. The old fashions are underwhelming to say the least. They lack the bright golden brown color of a good old fashion and are not very crispy along the edges like a good old fashioned should be. The cake donuts are always the same vanilla cake base with weak toppings and the glazes for the old fashions just taste fake. The point I’m trying to make here is definitely pay DV a visit but don’t be fooled by shitty foodies. Skip the old fashions and get the yeast doughnuts!
401 N. Franklin St.
Chicago IL, 60654
By far Chicago’s most successful doughnut franchise, Stan’s has probably the most expansive menu of any doughnut shop in the city. Cake, Yeast, Buttermilk, Filled, even pretzel doughnuts, Stan’s seems to have it all. Except consistency. I’ve had some pretty solid doughnuts at Stan’s, but I’ve also had some pretty terrible ones. On multiple occasions I’ve woken up early to get to the shop at open to make sure I get a new flavor and every time the doughnut was stale and tough. Makes me wonder if they sell day old doughnuts to reduce waste. I’ve never confirmed but considering I’ve heard several people say the same thing, it bothers me. Anyways, in the event you catch Stan’s on a good day, definitely go with the blueberry fritter. Warm that puppy up in the microwave for 10 seconds and it will rock your socks! (Note: please do not put your puppy in the microwave. K thanks). If you’re looking for a classic, their cherry buttermilk is pretty solid. If you’re a foodie thot, I’d most definitely suggest the glazed pretzel because it’s massive and you can caption it “omg guys can you believe I ate this whole thing! I’m so fat! Lol” and proceed to eat your 2 bites…
1560 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(Too many locations...)
Hot Chocolate Bakery
One of Chicago’s newest bakeries to dabble in the doughnut game, Hot Chocolate Bakery is quite simply put, “THE SHIT”! Mindy Segal is one of Chicago’s most badass pastry chefs and has been doing doughnuts since she opened her restaurant, Hot Chocolate, in Wicker Park. Now if I had to recommend one doughnut to get here, I’d say go to the actual restaurant where they serve up her buttery brioche doughnuts in mini form, HOT AND FRESH! If you can’t make it up there, then just get all four flavors at the bakery inside of Revival Food Hall in the south loop. She offers a chocolate glazed, salted caramel, violet sugar, and cinnamon sugar and cuts them all in squares with little hearts cut out of the center. These doughnuts are a prime example of quality over quantity. She lets the brioche dough take the spotlight and perfectly compliments it with bold, balance flavors and textures.
125 S. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60603
Dat Donuts is serving up some of the biggest doughnuts in the city…literally. Named the “The Big Dat” (or as I call it, The Big D), they use a 5 gallon bucket to cut monster sized glazed doughnuts that also come in chocolate iced. You can even get fritters the size of a fricken pizza! This place is all old school so don’t expect anything out of the ordinary in terms of flavors. What you can expect is some banging blueberry and cherry cake doughnuts with super crispy edges and soft tender insides. Also, if you are true OG, you wont wanna miss the strawberry glazed. It’s like reliving your childhood one bite at a time. Best part about this place?...It's open 24/7!
8251 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60619
This is another old school, south side spot holding down the hood since 1930! They’re most famous for their cakes and other baked goods but the doughnuts just didn’t do it for me. Granted, I’ve only made the trip to the southside staple once, it was on Fat Tuesday or National Paczki Day. Having kitchen experience on these types of days I know that it’s really really hard to control everything and that’s my guess as to why the paczkis I got from them were off. The dough was good which in hind sight, is the most important part of a doughnut. It was soft and fluffy just like I had expected, but some of the fillings were a mess. While the jelly ones were really good, the custards that were filled in a few of them were “broken” which means the emulsions had separated and become curdled. It was pretty unfortunate but I have faith that a bakery that has been around for 90 years can make some pretty banging doughnuts, so I wouldn’t feel right steering you away. Definitely give them a shot if you’re in the area.
7055 W. Archer Ave.
Chicago, IL 60638
Sadly, I almost always forget that DB3 Donuts Exists because they’re so far north and I’m never up there. DB3 is one of the new kids on the block opening back in 2016 if I’m not mistaken. As I mentioned earlier, I worked at Firecakes back in college and since then they have lost their mojo, but it seems like DB3 has found it because their doughnuts remind me so much of what the OG Firecakes use to taste like. Their dough is super, super soft and has a very light texture. They rotate their flavors every two weeks so you always have something new to try which I absolutely love. It’s been awhile since I’ve been but the last time I was there was during the holiday season last year and they absolutely knocked it out of the park with their holiday menu. White chocolate peppermint, grasshopper mint chocolate, eggnog…They had it all! I will say that the cake doughnuts here didn’t really blow me away by any means, but they still get the nod. The real winners are the yeast raised, especially the bismarks! They pack a ton of flavor into their fillings, so they don’t have to overfill them like all those other nonsense shops do. DB3 definitely gets the PBD stamp of approval.
1704 Central St.
Evanston, IL 60201
My relationship with Bombobar is similar to my relationship with my sisters. One minute I love them and the next they do some shit that just pisses me off and I don’t want to talk to them lol. If we’re talking doughnuts, the “bombos” or Italian filled doughnuts, are 10/10 knockouts! They’re served hot and fresh so the dough is crazy soft and fluffy and the moment you bite into it, it oozes out runny filling. It’s everything you want in a fresh doughnut and rarely do you ever see filled doughnuts served hot and fresh. The part that absolutely annoys the crap out of me about Bombobar is that their bombos put them on the map so then they just decided to through a bunch of shit at the wall to see what would stick. Unfortunately, everything they make is over the top and “Instagrammable” so they get a ton of social media traffic. Kudo’s to them for being successful businessmen but GTFO with that garbage! I won’t rant to much considering this is all about doughnuts, but I will just say this. Do not and I mean DO NOT waste money anything other than the bombos or the gelato by the scoop. Don’t say I never did anything for you. You’ll thank me later.
832 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
This is an Eastern European Inspired bakery that does a whole array of baked goods but what I come for is the Paczki’s. One of Chicago’s most popular spots for Fat Tuesday, my go to is the traditional plum jam filled Paczki. It’s such a different flavor from any fruit filled pastry I’ve ever tasted. The fruit is thick and rich in natural sugars and cooked down just enough for the fruit to soften into an almost puree consistency while still retaining that fresh texture. The amount of flavor they are able to pack into them is attributed to the fact that they’re committed to using nothing but fresh ingredients in all of their products.
5927 Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
Somethin' Sweet Donuts
One of Chicago’s best kept doughnut secrets, Somethin’ Sweet Donuts is one of Chicago’s last, true mom and pop doughnut shops. Everyday, you can find a young man (mid 60s if I had to guess) by the name of Jimmy, rolling, cutting, frying, glazing, and most importantly, smiling from behind the counter. Jimmy has been baking his whole life and his cake doughnuts are the epitome of childhood perfection! This is probably the only place I skip the yeast doughnuts and order a whole box of cake doughnuts. He relies on the flavor of his doughnuts to do all the talking and only offers them in plain, lightly glazed, or glazed with a crunch topping. Nothing fancy here. Just sticking to the basics and doing them right! If you’re looking for the best combo my suggestions would be to get the blueberry cake with glaze, cherry cake with glaze and crunch, and the devils food cake with glaze…or just get one of each because a dozen doughnuts here is only gunna set you back about $10-12 bucks!
5112 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639
Old Fashioned Donuts
Having worked in the doughnut biz for a few years, and after meeting dozens of doughnut shop owners across the country, I have a deep appreciation for those who are in the kitchen, leading the way. You can find Mr. B, owner of Old Fashion Doughnuts since day one (1972), in the kitchen EVERY SINGLE DAY hand cutting and rolling the doughnuts. As lame and cliché as I know this sounds, you can taste every bit of love and hard work this man puts into his products. Frying them fresh all day long, this is Chicago’s BEST mom and pop shop serving up all the classic’s. Glazed, Chocolate, Strawberry frosted, even massive fritters the size of new born child. Everything here is simple and to the point. I think even better than eating the doughnuts is watching the man himself work his magic as he rolls and cuts the dough right there in the front window. If there’s any doughnut shop on the list you’re gunna go out of your way to go to, this should be the one.
11248 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628
Old Fashion Donuts Facebook
Open since 1922, Dinkel’s is the oldest bakery on this list. The doughnuts here are again, your simple classics like fritters, cake doughnuts, and bismarks. The most popular of the group is the chocolate cake. I’ve had it before and I wasn’t really impressed to the point that I'd call it the best on the menu. It was soft and fluffy just like you'd imagine but it was kind of just ehh...you know? I can’t really complain considering this is an old school bakery that focuses on classics but I guess the hype had me wanting more. I would say my favorite doughnuts here are the plain glazed or the filled bismarks. The custards they fill them with are always rich and creamy and never over filled. If you’re looking for something that’s gunna blow you’re mind here, visit the Christkindl Market during the holiday season where Dinkel's sets up a booth and serves warm, fresh doughnuts including the chocolate cake. The doughnuts pair well together with the mulled wine at the booth around the corner.
3329 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
I was first introduced to Gurnee Donuts at the inaugural Donutfest in Chicago. Their fritters and blueberry cake doughnuts stole the show and I made sure to take home extras. Several months later it broke my heart to hear that their store front burnt down in a fire and they would not be attending the following year. BUT, they came back in full force for the third year after rebuilding their store and introduced Chicago to it’s first Ube doughnut! Now, in all honesty, I don’t know what traditional Ube tastes like, but I loved the doughnut! There was something different in the texture that gave the doughnut a unique tenderness and density and it was perfectly sweet. Aside from the Ube doughnut, the rest of their menu revolves around old school flavors like blueberry and cherry cake as well as simple glazed and more. This is a bit of a trek from the city, so I would suggest planning a trip to Six Flags while you’re out there.
4949 Grand Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031
This is one of the newer spots to the Chicago doughnut scene that does doughnuts along side a full breakfast menu. Their doughnut flavors revolve around a single cake base that is then dressed in different flavor glazes and toppings. I’m not the biggest fan of this but I’ll give them a break because their doughnuts are vegan. I don’t eat vegan doughnut simply because I’m not vegan but if I do I almost always expect the worst. Nothing against being vegan but the elements you lose in cutting certain foods out is just hard to replicate. That said, I give Smackdab kudos for making a vegan doughnut that’s actually pretty tasty. Would definitely recommend this place to any of my vegan readers that find themselves craving a doughnut in the Windy City.
6730 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60626
This place was a pleasant addition to Chicago’s doughnut community back in early 2017. Although it’s out in the north burbs, Joe Donut is what I would consider a modern day “mom and pop” doughnut shop by 2018 standards. What I mean by that is that their menu revolves around classics like old fashions, cake, and glazed yeast doughnuts but they’re bringing a new school creativity to them. Flavors like Snickers and Salted Caramel old fashions. They have a pecan sticky bun fritter that will satisfy the biggest of sweet tooth’s (sweet teeth sounds weird lol). I don’t think anything on the menu here is going to blow your mind, at least by my standards but what you get here is a box of GREAT doughnuts that also won’t break the bank like some of the other shops on this list.
1025 Lehigh Ave.
Glenview, IL 60025
If you grew up or have lived in a big city, then you know DAAAAAMN well the best food is always in the hood. Tacos, fried chicken, doughnuts…yes doughnuts. The tell tale sign that the food you about to smash is gunna be bomb, is if it comes in one of those cheap “Thank you” plastic bags. That’s why when I pulled up to Abundance Bakery for the first time and I saw people walking out with those bags, I knew I made the right choice. This southside bakery has gotta be the best bang for your buck place on this list. I got a massive apple fritter, a massive cinnamon roll, and a massive plain glazed and it was under $10 bucks! There was enough dough between those three to make a dozen doughnuts. All three were knockouts. The fritter was loaded with apple and cinnamon and the edges were nice and crispy. The cinnamon roll was buttery and super soft with a mild cinnamon flavor to really let the dough do the talking. And the plain glazed was just simple and everything you could ever want from a glazed doughnut.
105 E. 47th St.
Chicago, IL 60615
Another suburbanite, Chicago pastry is most definitely not known for their doughnuts but rather their large assortment of Italian baked goods including cakes, cookies, cannoli’s and of course, pizza. But the reason I am including them as relevant here is because one, they have a full menu of tradition doughnuts from simple cake and yeast doughnuts to Italian classics like zeppole’s. And two, they make arguably the BEST cronuts in Chicago! The cronuts come in several flavors like Nutella and S’mores but the what makes these cronuts so great is the perfect layers of crispy, buttery croissant dough. It is not at all greasy like some cronuts I’ve experienced and the dough is soooo tender! I once paid $5 for a cronut that was about as tough as a French baguette but the cronuts at Chicago Pastry start with the crackling of crispy outer layers and tears away effortlessly on every bite. If I had to give you some advice on visiting this place, I would say be prepared to have a small mental break down trying to decided what NOT to get because I promise you, you will want one of everything!
142 N. Bloomingdale Rd.
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
Baker Miller Bakery
There is only one place in Chicago that I am ashamed to say took my 4 years to visit and that would be Baker Miller. The “Dough Boys” come in 3 flavors that change with the seasons but are currently Cinnamon Toast, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Raspberry Lemonade. They look a lot like malasadas or bismarks and are made of a brioche sourdough which sounds like absolute heaven right?! UGHHHH you don't even know! The dough on the these doughboys is absolutely UNREAL! The softness and density of the dough paired with the texture of the sugar coating outside makes these doughnuts phenomenal! Then the sugar cinnamon coating must have been held on with salted butter or something because the flavor was so rich with butter, saltiness, and sweet. It is the definition of euphoric. The reputation that Baker Miller carries as one of the Chicago’s best artisan bakeries assures me that you are in for a serious treat with these doughnuts everyitme. Not to mention that they have an actual brunch menu as well. If Baker Miller ever decided to expand on it doughboys and do a full fledged doughnut shop, they would absolutely destroy the Chicago doughnut scene!
4655 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
The Dapper Donut
HA…So long story short, This place was originally Beaver’s Donuts and they blocked me on social media because I hurt their feelings when I compared them to funnel cake. I don’t know about you guys but I enjoy funnel cake, but I don’t care to eat it often. The simple fact is that this is NOT where you go to get good doughnuts. This is a place you go when you’re having a shitty day and you just want to clog your arteries. The doughnuts are served in mini form and you get the choice to top and build your own creation. The toppings are all of the generic, store bought type and they charge you carnival prices for them too. Rightfully so considering these are just mini funnel cakes. I won’t steer you away from them and call them bad. I’ll just say that if you really want good doughnuts, go somewhere else.
Remember Mr. B from Old Fashion Donuts? Well he got his start and his love for doughnuts at this southside institution that’s been around for decades. This is another place I have yet to grace my presence with but if it’s anything like Old Fashion Donuts, I know I’ll be a fan. I think what I’m most interested in is their Texas size doughnut that takes the crown as the biggest doughnut in Chi-town! Its roughly 18 inches wide and a solid 3-4 inches thick. This is a place that I can see coming in my near future.
The new guy on the scene, Uptown Donuts is located in you guessed it, the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. This place opened up earlier this year and adds to the list of mom and pop style doughnut shops. I have yet to try them out but I’ve heard good things. From what I can see on social media, they have been received well by many and I was told by a friend who has tried them, that the dough is “everything you look for in a classic yeast doughnut”. I will be sure to update you guys when I visit but hit me up on IG or send me an email and let me know what you think if you’ve tried them!
1122 W. Wilson
Chicago, IL 60640
There you have it. A full guide to all the doughnut shops in Chicago! If I forgot one, there's a good chance it was intentional but if you think of any others, let me know in the comments and I'll try and make it there! As you can imagine, restaurants are hopping onto the bandwagon and including doughnuts into their brunch and dessert menus so keep and eye out for a follow up post on a guide to all the restaurants that are doing doughnuts too!