The Powered By Doughnuts Power Rankings:
The only list of "the best" doughnut shops you need to read.
Updated: October 2018
Despite what you read...
The unfortunate truth about today's social media driven world is that it's all about the likes. Because social media is such a visually dependent platform, as long as it "looks good", that's all that seems to matter. Well that shit don’t fly here! Doughnuts are an art form and as such, they should be held to the highest of standards. You don’t just walk into the kitchen one day and say to yourself “I’m going to make doughnuts today”, do you? No, because good doughnuts need to be mastered first. We aren’t talking cupcakes people. There’s good reason all those cupcake shops went out of business when the doughnut boom happened and it’s because the level of skill required to master a good doughnut is one that very few are willing to take the time learn.
I can appreciate the fact that doughnuts are a fun food and that they can really be tailored to any set of taste buds, but we are talking the BEST OF THE BEST! Not the bakery down the street that you grew up eating just because there was nothing better around. To be considered as part of the best you need skilled bakers. You need ingredients of the highest quality. And by far, the one thing you absolutely cannot forget to include is creativity! You can’t just make a good glazed doughnut and call it a day. I mean, you can never go wrong with a good glazed doughnut, but I want to be WOW’d when I eat doughnuts. It’s all about sinking your teeth into a luscious, buttery soft doughnut and getting slapped in the taste buds with explosions of flavors and textures that leave you wanting more and more. It’s 2018 and ain’t nobody got time for basic doughnut shops no mo’. That ladies and gentlemen is what this list is all about.
So if doughnuts are your thing, look no further. I promise you, no other person on this planet has taken the measures that I have taken to find the best doughnuts in the America. I've traveled coast to coast to eat at as many doughnut shops that my waistline could handle and decide for myself who really was the best of the best. Cali, New York, Texas, Rhode Island...yes Rhode freaking Island. You name the state and I've probably been there or am planning on it in the near future. That said, since this is the first revision of this list, I limited the count to just 16 standouts. I will likely expand in the future as I visit more shops but this is what you get for now.
So who made the cut?
Well before we get that far, we need to define what criteria I considered for this list.
First and foremost, QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY! I'm not just talking toppings and fillings either. I'm talking about the doughnut itself! I want my doughnuts to be luscious, soft and buttery. The glaze, fillings, and toppings need to be balanced and well thought out. Flavors and textures gotta compliment each other. If it don't have me feeling like that one time I was 9 years old and Janet Jackson's tiddy fell out during the Super Bowl, I don't want it! I don't care how many likes it gets on Instagram or what 100k follower food account just posted it. Each and every one of these doughnuts was paid for and eaten by ME. This list is bullshit free!
Secondly, creativity. Growing up we all loved the basics like a fresh glazed or a frosted chocolate cake at the local doughnut shop but times have changed and people want things that they've never had before. Don't get me wrong, I still and always will love the classics but to be on this list you need more than that. To go along with creativity and originality is the accuracy to which the flavors actually taste. Nothing bothers me more than a doughnut shop that says a doughnut is a certain flavor and it tastes nothing like that flavor. S'more is the best example. It always just tastes like a chocolate doughnut.
Lastly, the experience. Having worked at one of Chicago's most prominent artisan doughnut shops for over 2 years, I came to realize that the experience you had in my store was just as much, if not MORE important than the doughnuts themselves. Everything just tastes better when you are in good company and treated well. Customer service and hospitality has to be on par with the food.
Also worth noting, although this is a ranking of the best doughnut "shops", considered in this list will be bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, and of course doughnut shops that offer at the minimum, three doughnut flavors. I know there might be some banging restaurants out there with a doughnut on their brunch or dessert menu, but these places won't be included. A perfect example of this would be the Chai Dulce de Leche doughnut from Pub Royale in Chicago (currently my favorite doughnut in the city but I'll leave that for another post).
So with the ground work laid out, I present to you:
The Powered by Doughnuts
Doughnut Shop Power Rankings:
America's best doughnut shops by a true
#20) The Doughnut Plant, NYC New York
It took me a while as to whether or not I wanted to include Doughnut Plant on my list of the country’s best doughnuts because to be straight forward, I’ve had some pretty terrible doughnuts there. Having been to NYC 4 times and visiting them each time, I’ve eaten about 20 different flavors from them. It was during my very first visit that I was let down the most by the chocolate and the tres leches cake doughnuts. They were disgusting. Period. Super greasy, and all I could taste was oil. I decided to give them another shot on the second visit and since then have been please with almost everything I’ve tried. I decided to look past the first impression and assume something went wrong in the kitchen that day. The yeast dough here is pretty basic and not really anything super special but its good and does the job. What earns The Doughnut Plant the most street cred in my eyes is their unique flavors and creativity. During my second trip, It happened to be the Chinese New Year and Doughnut Plant was celebrating with their trio of Chinese inspired doughnuts. Yuzu glaze, Matcha Green Tea glaze, and Black Sesame glaze. Not only were these doughnuts beautiful, the flavors were so good and unique! I had never had yuzu or black sesame. The black sesame had a nuttiness to it that was similar to peanuts but a little more bitter which was perfectly fine considering the added sugar in the glaze. Of course, the flavor that never fails is PB&J and The Doughnut Plant’s version was awesome because the used crunch Peanut Butter which we all know is far superior to smooth.
Black PB&J, PB&B (banana!)
New York City, New York
#19) Union Square Donuts, Boston MA
Union Square Donuts and I have a bit of a rocky past. Last time I was there I was kicked out because I had a box of doughnuts from another doughnut shop with me. I was literally told I either had to throw the other box away or leave. Keep in mind I just purchased $20 worth of doughnuts from this place too. I was a paying customer not some loitering chump. Yea…real classy right? BUT I do my best to forgive those who’ve wronged me and so I decided not to exclude them from the list because as far as the doughnuts go, they were very good. I think what I really liked about them as compared to most of the doughnuts on this list is that they aren’t jumping on the HUGE doughnut bandwagon. They keep their rings “normal” sized so you only kinda feel gross for eating half a dozen. They have a ton of unique and original flavors like the coconut curry glazed which was one of my favorites. The dough of their yeast doughnuts was very soft and tender and had a nice bite to it. You could tell the gluten was developed very well and not over mixed. The other thing about having smaller doughnuts was that there was no need to pile on a ton of toppings in order to keep the textures and flavors balanced. Everything just worked together. You always got every flavor and texture in every bite. I would definitely recommend a quick pit stop here if you find yourself in the neighborhood. Hopefully you don’t get kicked out too.
Coconut Curry Glazed
20 Bow St. Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143
#18) Hi-Five Doughnuts, Louisville KY
You know, I had never expected the quality of doughnuts I got when I visited Hi-Five Doughnuts. Owners Annie and Leslie are two of the coolest doughnut shop owners ever! These two women are not afraid to have fun with their doughnuts and actually made me a custom order for a bachelor party I had in Gatlinburg TN. They custom made me a dozen vagina doughnuts...YES VAGINA DOUGHNUTS! Talk about awkward email LOL! I picked up the doughnuts but decided to save the vaginas for later and get one for the road (pictured above). I don't know if you can see but uhhh HOLY LAYERS OF BUTTER! I never verified with them as to what kind of dough this was but my best guess would be brioche. The dough was dense but incredibly tender. The sign of a great doughnut is always those crimped layers of dough left after you bite into it. That tells me the gluten is developed perfectly and not over mixed. It's really hard to describe the quality of the dough that these ladies are rolling out every morning. To be honest, this might be the best dough on this list. The reason I have them this far down is the fact that I only tried two doughnuts. The mocha glazed and the glazed vagina. Yes it was just a delicious as it sounds....
Build your own...#YOLO
1011 E. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40206
#17) Morning Star, Houston TX
My cousin Bobby has been the closest thing I've had to a brother since day one and he's always looking out for me. So when I went down to Houston to visit him and he told me I HAD to come try the doughnuts at one of his buddies coffee shops, I trusted him even though I had never even heard of the place. Now, as a die-hard yeast doughnut advocate, when I heard the "cop" doughnut was the go to choice, I was hesitant because it was a cake doughnut. I don't know what kind of magic they got going on in the kitchen but holy moly it's amazing what high quality ingredients can do! The cinnamon sugar coating had the most distinct, bold flavor profile. It very much resembled Saigon cinnamon but I never sought out an answer. The doughnut was perfectly tender and retained enough moisture to keep the powder coating from drying it out. I am almost never impressed by even the best of cake doughnuts but Morning Star is in a league of its own. This level of execution can be seen across the entire menu of doughnuts too. Not to mention they make one of the only vegan doughnuts I have ever tried that actually tastes like a doughnut. And not only that, but it was one of the best fritters I have ever had! If you're lucky and happen to visit Morning Star when they have the vegan spicy pineapple fritter DO NOT HESITATE! Also, don't sleep on the breakfast menu too. The black rice with coconut milk and fruit is one of the most unique and delicious dishes I have ever had for breakfast. I would HIGHLY recommend it.
The "Cop" and Spicy Pineapple Fritter.
4721 N. Main St. Suite M
Houston Heights, Texas 77009
#16) Johnny Doughnuts, San Francisco CA
One of my most recent doughnut adventures led me to Johnny doughnuts in San Francisco. Traveling to San Jose for work, I was able to spend some time in SF where I visited this little corner shop. I’m always impressed by beautifully decorated interiors so right away, this place had me hooked. The moment you walk in, the doughnut display full of fresh doughnuts, sparkles with all the bright lighting coming from the huge windows everywhere. As I was deciding what to get, fresh doughnuts were being glazed and added to the speed rack waiting to be eaten. The menu includes everything from the classics like plain glazed, bismarks, and old fashions to cinnamon rolls, crodoughs (cronuts), and even some vegan options. As you can see, the doughnuts are decorated beautifully and not to mention, the care they take packaging them! I was so amazed when the girl behind the counter wrapped them all in their own little blanket to make sure they stayed pretty. This told me right away that this place takes pride in their product. Definite kudo points. The old fashions were soft and tender with slightly crispy edges just the way they should be. The doughnut itself was also packed with flavor as they make the old fashions from scratch and incorporate all kinds of flavors and spices into them. The yeast doughnuts here are made using a potato flour base which gives the doughnuts more of a firm texture. I couldn’t tell if this was what was giving the dough its unique flavor, but I was totally a fan of this dough. I loved the cinnamon roll because tucked away in the layers of dough was not just a thick, buttery cinnamon stripe but golden raisin to add a fruity sweetness to the mix. They were definitely soft and light, but I think they could have been a little more on the tender side. Personally, I love my gluten because it's what really gives the doughnut its tenderness and swapping out some of the regular flour for potato flour lowers the amount of gluten in the dough. Overall, I loved the doughnuts at this place. The variety, the flavor combos, and the quality all got their checkmarks here.
Cinnamon roll or Sugar Twist
392 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94901
#15) Rolling Pin Donuts, San Bruno CA
I was actually in San Francisco on the same business trip as the one previously mentioned while writing this article. I had already made my choices as to who had made the list, but just before finishing it, I got the recommendation from a follower of mine to check this place out. Turns out it was close to my hotel so the next morning I grabbed 2 dozen and took them to my conference for my coworkers. On the way to the meeting I munched on a few glazed doughnut holes and I was immediately intrigued. They were still warm, incredibly soft, and the glaze was on point. When I got to the meeting, everyone jumped on the doughnuts and I almost didn't even get one. I kid you not, when I took my first bite of a sugar rolled yeast ring, it took everything in me not to make a scene at the conference table. I have never...let me repeat...I have NEVER had a doughnut as soft and light but still rich and buttery as this doughnut! I almost couldn't believe it so I went and grabbed another except this time it was the cinnamon roll doughnut and of course I went straight for the middle. I remember staring at the doughnut in disbelief as the dough seemingly melted away in my mouth with the cinnamon warming my soul and the lady next to me nudges me and asked me if I was ok. This place is a true OG that has stuck to its guns and keeps it simple with the basics. No attempts at flashy over the top flavors which if you read the boring intro, would know that creativity is part of the criteria I judged on. Honestly, this place does the basics so well, if you told me they invented the doughnut I'd probably believe you. They're that damn good!
Cinnamon roll doughnut (eat the middle first, thank me later)
429 San Bruno Ave W.
San Bruno, CA 94066
#14) The Glass Knife, Orlando FL
Another beautifully decorated shop, this place had my short attention span all over the place. I was finally able to focus when my eyes hit the doughnut display. WOW…was about all I could manage when I saw how beautiful the doughnuts were. However, I’ve been deceived by pretty faces before, so I was immediately skeptical about the quality. I had to get the biggest and most over the top doughnut, the cracker jack, to put this place to the test. I was not ready for what this thing had in store. First, the dough here was definitely more dense and heavier than I would normally prefer. However, it works so well with all the flavors because they pack on the glazes and toppings. The cracker jack was not only topped with a butter cream and house made cracker jack mix, the bottom was coated in white chocolate and rolled in the cracker jack mix! It was super indulgent without being overly sweet. The key to this was that it wasn’t glazed keeping the ratio of sugar to dough in perfect balance. This was no accident. The pastry chef here knows exactly what they’re doing. The other flavors like orange dreamsicle and chocolate peanut butter were layered on thick and packed tons flavor. The worst part about bigger doughnuts is that they tend to be bread dominant and the only way to enjoy them is by cutting them in half horizontally. At The Glass Knife, that's not needed. Although the dough was on the heavier side the gluten was perfectly developed and left perfect crimps in the dough where your teeth sliced through the doughnut. Another perk about The Glass Knife is that they have a food menu, so you can order a salad on the side to cancel out all the doughnuts if you're into that kind of thing.
The Cracker Jack
276 S Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
#13) Bogart’s Doughnuts, Minneapolis MN
Bogart’s Doughnuts was actually one of the first doughnut spots on my hit list back when I first got into the doughnut game because I had seen them on The Travel Channel or Food Network I think. What I loved about this place was that it had that family owned, cozy, old school feel. One look at their pastry case and the first thing that comes to mind is SIMPLE. No crazy looking doughnuts or bright obnoxious colors. Just rows and rows of classics like glazed, chocolate iced, and sugar rolled bismarks. The bismarks have the perfect ratio of filling to doughnut which to me, is so important to bismark because when doughnut shops overload the doughnut with filling, the doughnut itself just gets lost in it all. Considering Bogart’s takes the time to make a beautiful brioche dough, it would be counter productive to kill it with filling. The one standout flavor that I would consider to be outside the box was the lavender cake doughnut. Lavender can be tricky to work with because it can overtake a dish very quickly but Bogart’s adds just the right amount of lavender to let the natural sweetness of the flower come to the forefront and merry itself with the super soft, fluffy cake doughnut.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream Bismark
904 West 36th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408
#12) B. Doughnut, Washinton D.C.
One of the places that is at the very top of my bucket list is Leonard’s Bakery out in Hawaii. Leonard’s is known for their Malasadas which are basically Portuguese doughnuts that are known for their light airy texture. Well, B. Doughnut has brought those fluffy pillows to the states with their own assortment of malasada offerings. I visited this place back in 2016 when they were fairly new and also based in Baltimore (hence the B). The menu was smaller then but by no mean was it lacking with options. This was my first experience with Thai Tea and I was immediately hooked! Its bright vibrant color matched its rich, sweet taste that it gets from the condensed milk that it’s made with. This was also my first experience with an everything bagel doughnut. There’s probably at least a dozen doughnut shops that I’ve seen doing it today but the first was either B. Doughnut, Blackbird Doughnuts, or The Doughnut Project. I’ll let them duke it out for bragging rights but all I gotta say is that the smoked salmon that B. Doughnut adds as a garnish is not only genius but delicious!
#11) Orlandough, Orlando FL
Orlandough is a pretty special place to me because it is owned and operated by one of my best friends and fellow doughnut addicts, Liz (@lizoforlandough). Liz and I actually met through Instagram as she was running a doughnut blog at the time and I had started PBD. I was so excited when I she told me she was starting her own doughnut business because I knew she’d kill it. Although she has yet to open her storefront (coming 2019) Orlandough has had great success partnering with local restaurants and coffee shops to do pop-ups as well as private events. The six you see above was the menu she offered at the pop up I was able to come visit and as you can tell, these things are damn SEXY! My favorite was for sure the strawberry milkshake (pink) which she used real Nesquik to make the glaze and it brought back all the childhood memories! Rounding out my top three were for sure the brownie one and the thing with M&M’s on it. Totally forget exactly what flavor that was but it was topped with cookies, M&M’s and all sorts of fat kid bait! The best part about Liz’s doughnuts is that she makes a true brioche dough. It’s incredibly tender and super buttery. Honestly, if you took a plain unglazed doughnut and popped it on a cast iron skillet with some butter, you’d probably have yourself some insane doughnut French toast!
2007 Dartmouth Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
#10) Astro Doughnuts, Washington DC
You know, the politicians in Washington might suck, but the doughnuts sure as hell don't! Astro Doughnuts is one of two DC doughnut shops to crack my top ten and for good reason. Astro is slinging up beautifully crafted doughnuts alongside some of the best Fried chicken in the D.M.V. Majority of their doughnuts revolve around their yeast dough, but my absolute favorite has gotta be the chocolate Mochachino cake doughnut. It was the closest thing to chocolate cake perfection as I think I've ever tasted! The inside dough was so soft and moist and packed with flavor. The coffee glaze on top of it too gave it so much flavor that paired so well with the chocolate. Other favorites were definitely the maple back, PB&J, and creme brulee. Unfortunately I can't vouch for the chicken because I never got it when I was there but i've heard nothing but great things about it. As for the doughnuts...What are you waiting for?! Get dat azzzz ova here!
Mochachino & PB n' J
1308 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
#9) Mindy’s Hot Chocolate Bakery, Chicago IL
Chicago’s doughnut scene has been on the decline for about a year or two as it has become over saturated with franchised doughnut shops selling mediocre doughnuts. Luckily, one of Chicago’s most recognized pastry chefs is keeping her standards high and making her luscious brioche doughnuts available by the box. Mindy Segal of Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, opened up her bakery in the revival food hall back in 2016. Her made to order mini brioche doughnuts available at her flagship restaurant are one of my all-time favorites so I was super excited when I found out she would be making full sized doughnuts are her new bakery. These doughnuts are not trying to impress anyone with flashy presentation or over the top flavor combos. Mindy keeps things simple and to the point offering just 4 flavors executed beautifully. They include violet sugar, cinnamon sugar, salted caramel glazed, and hot fudge glazed. When you bite into these things you immediately get the buttery taste of the dough as the superstar of the show followed by the glazes and sugars rolling themselves around your taste buds in a beautifully orchestrated bite of perfection. I also love the little details that Mindy focuses on such as cutting them into squares rather than circles and cutting the centers out with a heart as if she’s stamping each doughnut with love. If you make the trip, my suggestion would be to get there early. Quantities are limited and they go quickly!
125 S Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60603
#8) Knead Doughnuts, Providence RI
If there’s anything I like more than a good cold brew to go with my doughnuts, it’s a good doughnut pun which is exactly why I stepped foot into Knead Doughnuts in the first place. The shop had a beautiful interior full of bright window lighting for awesome IG shots and had an even more beautiful display of doughnuts. The menu at Knead Doughnuts was massive. I didn’t count but there had to be at least 20 different artisanal flavors. I’m a total sucker for passion fruit so I had to get the passionfruit glazed and it was awesome! Super tangy and sweet. I also loved that they layer their glazes on a bit thick and the reason I love this is because their doughnuts are pretty big. I’ve noticed that when doughnut shops try to make these huge doughnuts, they don’t balance the toppings well and it ends up being just a mouthful of bread. Their old fashions were different than what I’m used to seeing but they were super moist and tender. The matcha one we tried was well thought out, balancing the strong earthiness of the matcha powder with a tangy citrus glaze. The Yeast dough was very dense which can be tricky to handle, but they keep the dough tender enough so that your teeth sink right through with every bite.
The giant pecan covered one, whatever it was
32 Custom House St
Providence, RI 02903
#7) Supermoon Bakehouse, New York City NY
As far as creativity and culinary mastery goes, Supermoon Bakehouse in NYC is at the top of the list. I mean check out the insane color and flavor combinations! Salted caramel with a chocolate brioche dough. Squid ink brioche dough filled with a black sesame crème, rolled in activated charcoal...WHAT?! And it's not all just for show either. Every single component in these doughnut plays a role whether it's there for flavor, texture, color, or all three. I kid you not, every bite you take will be complete sensory overload. These doughnuts are freaking delicious! The brioche dough is incredibly soft but dense and holds up so well to the fillings. The thing about filled doughnuts is that they have to have the right filling to dough ratio and Supermoon nails it. The other great thing I love about them is that they change flavors regularly. I can't stand when doughnut shops get so comfortable with their menu and don't change things up. And if for some insane reason you're not in the mood for a doughnut, you can always try one of their delicious croissant variations. I would HIGHLY suggest you get the croissant toast no matter what the flavor is. I promise you, you have never experienced anything like it.
PB&J and White Sesame Saffron
120 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002
#6) Do-Rite Donuts, Chicago IL
Do-rite donuts is holding down the fort for my beautiful city of Chicago. Unfortunately, Chicago has seen a rapid decline in the doughnut scene as a particular commercialized franchise is poisoning the minds of the people. I won't say any names but if you know, YOU KNOW. Do-rite however is keeping that dough hand strong with their assortment of yeast and old fashion flavors. The dough here is a traditional doughnut dough. Much lighter than some of the others in this list that have chosen a brioche base. It's still very buttery giving it a dense, tender texture but just has more of that pillow soft feel. The best way to describe the dough would be to imagine pulling apart a cotton ball. It comes apart so effortlessly and beautifully. To compliment the soft yeast doughnuts, Do-rite also offers several flavors of old fashion buttermilks that are to die for! They are fried perfectly, getting golden brown all around with crispy edges and have a silky smooth center. My favorite of the old fashions would definitely be the cinnamon crunch but during the holiday season, they do a gingerbread old fashion that will have you throwing away every other doughnut offered to you because nothing compares. As good as those old fashions are I still gotta say that my favorite doughnut on the menu would have to be the cinnamon crunch yeast raised doughnut. The dough itself is swirled with cinnamon sugar and then glazed and rolled in a cinnamon crumb mixture that reminds me a freshly baked coffee cake. If you're in Chicago, forget those pink boxes and grab a box of Do-rite. You can't do wrong.
Cinnamon Crunch Yeast & Gingerbread Old Fashion (seasonal)
181 N. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL 60607
#5) Five Daughters Bakery, Nashville TN
I think we can all agree, the sound of having five daughters is terrifying, but Five Daughters Bakery is cranking out some of the most well executed, indulgent croissant style doughnuts I have ever put in my mouth! The most annoying part of "cronuts" is that so many bakeries are trying to do them but very few have been able to execute. Laminated dough (croissant style dough for the culinarily challenged) is no easy task. At Five daughters, they have dubbed their version the "100 Layer doughnut" and it is straight FIRE EMOJI! The dough is incredibly buttery and super tender. Your teeth sink right through with every bite. One of the best things about the 100 layer doughnuts at Five Daughters is the variety and creativity of the flavors. Chocolate Sea Salt, Key Lime Meringue Pie, Almond Joy, Raspberry hibiscus just to name some of my favorites. These flavors are not your everyday flavors and they are made using 100% made from scratch ingredients. If you're a vegan or caveman don't worry because they have both vegan and paleo options available too. The vegan is actually very good and resembles a regular yeast doughnut almost completely. The dough is slightly tighter with a bit more spring to it but that's normal with vegan doughnuts. The paleo I was honestly not the biggest fan of as my palate is very fond of HFCS and refined sugars. Luckily I am not a caveman so I don't need to worry about that. Overall, FDB is my go to doughnut shop for "cronuts" and might honestly be better than the OG Dominique Ansel in NYC but I'll let you go try them and decide for yourself.
Key Lime Meringue or The "Purist"
1110 Caruthers Ave.
Nashville, TN 37204
#4) District Doughnuts, Washington DC
The first time I ever visited Washington DC I ended up getting food poisoning the morning of my doughnut adventure through the city. I was borderline ready to go to the ER but instead I went to District Doughnut which is basically the same thing. I ordered the doughnuts and just sat there staring at them because I couldn’t even stomach the smell of food. After a few hours I finally decided to open the box up and take a bite of what would later become one of the greatest doughnuts to ever grace my lips. The Fluffer-Nutter Yeast doughnut topped with a rich, smooth peanut butter glaze and piped full of marshmallow fluff…BROOOOO! WOWWWW! Immediately, I was completely healed of whatever was plaguing my body and I dove straight into the rest of the box! Salted dulce de leche, Maple Butter Pecan, Brown Butter Glaze, these doughnuts were absolutely to die for (I mean, I almost did lol)! I recently visited them again and got to try the everything bagel doughnut and it easily became my favorite savory doughnut ever! Executive Pastry Chef Christine is an absolute mastermind when it comes to doughnuts. Her dough was so damn soft and tender. Every bite left a perfect crimp in the dough where your teeth cut straight through the luscious doughnut. Each doughnut was packed with flavors that were so well balanced and complimented each other beautifully. There’s really no other way of putting it. DC Doughnuts is killing the doughnut game!
Fluffer-Nutter or Baklava
749 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
#3) The Doughnut Project, New York City NY
TDP aka "The Doughnut Project" was my first experience with meeting the owners of a doughnut shop. I walked in for the first time and was helped by a guy named Troy. He was super excited to tell me all about the doughnuts and just went on and on about every flavor. In between helping me and working the store front, he was hopping in the kitchen helping to decorate doughnuts, interacting with his coworkers, and helping other customers. You could totally tell that this guy just loved doughnuts and took so much pride in what he was serving. Turns out Troy co-owns TDP with his business partner Leslie who I met shortly after. It was no surprise to me that the flavors and doughnuts they were cranking out were complete knockouts! Although they recently added an old fashion buttermilk to the roster, the entire menu I tried was yeast raised doughnut (which are the superior anyways). The dough here is so damn soft! It’s got the perfect balance of light and fluffy but dense and buttery. The flavor combos are all completely original which I absolutely love. The flavors you get at TDP won't be found else where. The include flavors like "The Malter White" which is a malted milk chocolate iced doughnut with house made cookie crumbles and a malted milk cookie on top. Also, the one that really put them on the map was the "Those beets are dope" which is a beet glazed bismark filled with a whipped ricotta filling. Straight BANGIN'! However, I'd have to say my favorite is the most unique on the menu and that is the "The Bronx". A traditional glazed doughnut with a hint of rich, Italian olive oil and black pepper. Don't ask, just eat it!
The Bronx and "Those Beets are Dope"
10 Morton St.
New York City, NY 10014
#2) Sidecar Doughnuts, Costa Mesa CA
Sidecar Doughnuts out in Cali, undoubtedly does what almost no one else in the doughnut game is willing or capable of doing. That being serving piping hot, super fresh, artisan doughnuts, ALL DAMN DAY! I’m not talking some weak ass puny glazed doughnuts made by a machine (Krispy Kreme I’m calling your bullshit)! I’m talking LEGIT, GOURMET DOUGHNUTS! Flavors like Blueberry Corn Cake that tastes like a sweet cornbread with a fruity burst of blueberries in every bite. Huckleberry cake, Horchata Latte, Passionfruit Pavlova, and of course Fresh Apple Fritters made with Granny Smith apples just like Grandma’s apple pie! All these flavors and so many more hot, fresh, oouey gooey, EVERY SINGLE DAY! Do you understand me yet?! Another thing that amazes me is the dynamic and workflow that you see behind the counter between all the employees. Everyone understands their job and is totally zoned in making sure to keep trays full, customers moving, and all with a happy, positive vibe. Their vibe totally rubs off on you as you move through the line and you can’t help but be more and more excited as you get closer and closer to checkout. There really isn’t anything else left to say other than what are you doing not getting on plane to LA?
Passionfruit Pavlova & Butter and Salt Cake
270 E. 17th Street #18
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
#1) PV Donuts, Providence RI
Ahhh, the little state of Rhode Island. The smallest state in America, geographically speaking. Probably not a whole lot going on in this tiny little state, right? WRONG! Never in a million years would I have imagined myself saying “I can’t wait to go to Rhode Island!”. Well this year for my birthday I literally bought a plane ticket and flew my ass to Providence RI just to get my hands on what I am calling the BEST DOUGHNUTS IN THE WORLD! Those doughnuts belong to Paul and Laurie, owners of PVDonuts. Let me first begin by saying that regardless of what you put on or in a doughnut, the doughnut itself is the most important thing. Period. This is not a debatable matter. Fortunately, Laurie and Paul are rolling out the most magical of doughnuts all across the board. Both yeast and cake offerings are made at the highest level of perfection possible. They're making their old fashions like OG’s, meaning they hand roll the dough and opt out of going with a batter like 99% of all old fashions you’ve ever eaten. And don't even get me started on the yeast doughnuts which I guarantee will be the most luscious, rich, buttery, tender, soft brioche dough you will EVER sink your teeth into. They have 100% mastered the art of the doughnut. Pictured above was half of my order from my last trip there (yes, I ordered 1 of everything on the menu #FOMO). If you couldn’t tell it was a 90’s babies inspired menu with Paul and Laurie’s renditions on things like the ho-ho, Keebler cookies, cosmic brownies, and my absolute favorite, the fruity pebbles cereal milk filled doughnut! The most impressive thing about these doughnuts was not so much the flavors themselves but the accuracy to which they reminded you of the exact flavor. Eating them was literally an emotional experience! The ho-ho had the same moist, tender texture that an actual ho-ho would. Same with the cosmic brownie. SUPER dense and fudgy! And the fruity pebbles cereal milk…GET THE FUCK OUT! IT WAS AH-MAY-ZING (make sure you read that while clapping between syllables)! The rich custard like filling was thinned out a bit to resemble actual milk. The filling itself tasted like the milk that had been soaking up the sugars and flavors from a bowl of fruity pebbles. Most importantly, the cereal on the outside was still super crunchy! I tend to avoid cereal covered doughnuts because it always ends up stale and chewy. Not here. Absolute fucking bliss!
I had the opportunity to see the operation of their kitchen personally and I was completely amazed at the quality and skill that goes into these doughnuts. Using the highest of quality ingredients to make not just the doughnuts from scratch but everything down to the cookies, brownies, and even house made candy bars, they cut ZERO corners. It blows my mind trying to imagine the cost they swallow in lost margins by doing everything themselves. Always letting quality be the driving force in all that they do, this is the reason why PVDonuts is number one on my list.
Honestly, just get one of each…#FOMO
79 Ives Street
Providence, RI 02906
TO BE DETERMINED:
This section is dedicated to the doughnut shops I have yet to visit. I'm sure there's a few out there that I don't know about but the following is my current wish list of doughnut shops to visit.
The Salty Donut, Miami FL
Bluestar Donuts, Portland OR
Top Pot Doughnuts, Portland OR
The Holy Donut, Portland ME
Breads Bakery, NYC
Leonard's Bakery, Honolulu HI
General Porpoise, Seattle WA
Good Dough, Jacksonville FL
District Donuts, New Orleans LA
Pips Original, Portland OR
Kolache Bar, Houston TX
Knead Bakehouse, St. Louis MO
That's it folks! The ACTUAL best doughnuts in the country as tasted by a true doughnut expert. Now I know that it's not entirely fair to say these are the best doughnuts in the country considering there are quite a few places I have yet to hit, but I can assure you this list will remain updated with every doughcation I go on! Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with my most recent travels.
Don't see your favorite doughnut shop on the list? Leave me your recommendations below and I'll make sure to check them out!