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Everybody loves donuts. Why wouldn’t you? It’s a perfect treat that you can enjoy while sitting in your favorite cafe or while you’re on-the-go. Colorful decorations topped with sprinkles put you in a happy place. So, we asked travelers, “Where can you find the best American donuts?” Boy, did they deliver! Here is a list of the best gourmet donuts in America.
Best Gourmet Doughnuts in America – West Coast
Pip’s Original Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon
“If you are ever in Portland, Oregon on a cold rainy day or really any day, you should head over to Pip’s Original Doughnuts for the best doughnut,” says Katie Wheatley of Wheatleys Wandering the World.
According to Katie, crowds flock the place because of how good their donuts are. “Don’t be discouraged if the line is out the door. Pip’s employees know what they are doing and the line goes fast,” she adds.
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“The mini doughnuts are cooked to order, so, they are deliciously warm when you receive them.” Katie shares what she recommends new clients to try. “They have 5 staple flavors and 1 seasonal doughnut to choose from. Our favorite flavor is The Dirty Wu, cinnamon sugar with Nutella and honey drizzled on top.”
“Doughnuts vary in price from $3.95-$7.95 depending on the number of mini doughnuts you want to devour. We like to wash down our doughnuts with a flight of house-made chai tea or one of their perfectly brewed cups of coffee,” suggests Katie.
Daily Dozen Doughnut Company in Seattle, Washington
Sierra Schmidt of Free to Travel Mama shares her pick for the best gourmet doughnut in America. “Daily Dozen Doughnut Company is located in Pike Place Market which is a must-visit destination on any visit to Seattle. This hidden gem, located inside the market to the left of Pike Place Fish Co., makes some of the best donuts you’ll ever try! It’s a small stall where these tasty treats are served hot and fresh. Watch them come through the fryer, get doused with toppings, and order them hot and fresh,” she says.
“These donuts are mini donuts, so are sold in batches of a half dozen ($5.50) or full dozen ($7.00), including plain, powder, cinnamon, sprinkles, and maple bacon,” adds Sierra. When asked about her recommendations, she says, “I highly recommend the assorted variety so that you can try them all, and then come back for seconds and reorder your favorites. Our personal favorite was the cinnamon – hands down!”
“Don’t forget your cash because this place doesn’t take cards,” Sierra reminds those who want to try this American donut shop. “Step out the back door to the Pike Place garden area after you order, and enjoy these perfect melt-in-your-mouth tiny treats while enjoying a beautiful view of the bay!”
Donas in Downey, California
“There are a handful of places in the United States that truly celebrates the one and only Selena Quintanilla, and one of those places happens to be in the easily overlooked city of Downey, California,” shares Kay of The Awkward Traveller.
“Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles, Donas is a donut joint serving up the freshest donuts with none of the cumbersome lines of “insta popup” restaurants in the city center.” Kay shares what makes Donas a special place to get the best gourmet doughnuts, “These Mexican-inspired donut creations bring culture and fun into the kitchen, with fun flavors such as Fridona (a buttercream Frida Kahlo), horchata, and their signature – Biddi Biddi Bom Bom! Along with a rotating menu, it’s a donut shop that keeps you coming back for more!” She also adds that Donas has vegan-friendly options. “They also offer Vegan donuts daily!”, Kay adds.
Randy’s Donut in Inglewood, California
“The best doughnut I ever ate was at Randy’s donut in Inglewood, California, located near Los Angeles International Airport,” according to Ruth Mendes of Have Kiddos Will Travel.
“Oh, my goodness. What a treat it is to land at LAX after a cross country trip and upon getting our luggage and rental car head right to Randy’s Inglewood location for their donuts,” Ruth says. “I don’t know what they put in their dough, but it’s totally worth breaking your diet to consume any one of their doughnut flavors,” she adds.
“The massive donut on the roof of the Inglewood location has been featured in many TV shows making this an iconic destination. So, depending on the time of day, be prepared for a long outside line,” suggests Ruth.
She continues to recommend what flavors to try. “The chocolate glazed braid and the plain glazed was absolutely worth every single calorie. Depending on whether you stick to classics or specialty (like fruity pebbles, maple bars, fruit loops or coconut raised), a dozen doughnuts will cost you between $14 and $16 dollars. Though the kids tried some of the specialty donuts, our family favorites were some of their classic flavors.”
“While there, don’t forget to take an obligatory selfie in front of the massive rooftop donut. Pack your patience and try Randy’s Donut at least once in your lifetime. Los Angeles traffic and parking at this location can be a bit tricky. Don’t give up, it’s completely worth the hassle,” she advises to future visitors of the iconic Randy’s Donut shop.
Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon
According to Margie of DQ Family Travel, her favorite gourmet doughnut was called “The Dirt” at Voodoo Doughnut.
“It was a raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and heaps of Oreo cookie chunks,” she says. “At just under $2, it was the perfect snack when walking through downtown Portland, Oregon.” Margie continues to describe why this was the best doughnut she ever tasted in her travels, “The dough was soft and chewy, the vanilla frosting was not overly sweet and the mounds of Oreo cookies added the perfect texture and crunch with each bite. While I did enjoy “the Homer” (strawberry sprinkles) as a close second, Voodoo Doughnuts does not disappoint.”
Voodoo Doughnut was a great find during their family road trip on the West Coast. “We visited two of their Oregon locations on our San Francisco to Seattle road trip, and because they are open 24 hours, it was an easy and decadent breakfast on the go or snack any time of day.”
The Donut Man in Glendora, California
“Donuts and fresh fruit…is that an oxymoron? Not at The Donut Man in Glendora, California, USA, located right on historic Route 66!” says Nicolette Kay of Semi-Budget Travel on the topic of the best gourmet doughnut ever.
“Depending on the season, fresh strawberry or fresh peach stuffed donuts combine fresh fruit, sweet glaze, and a fluffy glazed donut for tasty perfection ($4.50 each and totally worth it!). If you’re adventurous, you might try to eat it like a sandwich. But, beware! Using a fork makes for much less mess. When the fresh fruit donuts aren’t in season, you might try the also-famous foot-long Tiger Tail ($2.10 each),” Nicolette adds.
She recommends this as a must-do during your road trip in Route 66. “The Donut Man has served these sweet treats since 1972…24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except major holidays). Our favorite time to go is in the late hours heading back home from a concert in Los Angeles. There’s usually a line, even in the middle of the night! So, while you’re getting your kicks on Route 66, make sure you visit The Donut Man in Glendora, CA!”
Best Gourmet Doughnuts in America – Rocky Mountains
The Big O Doughnuts in Salt Lake City, Utah
“I grew up eating some of the best donuts in the world, so never in my life would I think that a vegan donut would be on the same playing field for flavor, texture, and appearance,” shares Rachelle Gordon of Adventure is Never Far Away.
“Nestled in downtown Salt Lake City lies The Big O Doughnuts, a gourmet vegan donut shop. All of their donuts are completely plant-based, made with fresh, organic ingredients, and to be honest, utterly delicious for about $3 each. The Big O Doughnuts is located at 248 West 900 South, Salt Lake City, Utah and is open until they run out of donuts, which happens almost daily,” says Rachelle.
“My personal favorite is the blueberry and lavender cake donut,” suggests Rachelle. “Locals love this place so much, they’ve been voted the best gourmet donuts in Salt Lake City.”
Niky’s Mini Donuts in Crested Butte, Colorado
“Niky’s Mini Donuts is located in the small mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado. As the name of the shop implies, the donuts at Niky’s are miniature-sized, so for the donut-obsessed or decision-challenged like me, you can get a few and try all of the flavors that catch your eye for a reasonable price!,” says Molly Callister of Exploring Through Life.
“My personal favorite is the Sopapilla mini donut,” Molly shares. Molly describes what sopapillas are. “Sopapillas are a Mexican pastry and the donut (like the pastry) is covered in cinnamon sugar and warm, dripping honey. Simply mouth-watering!”
“Other amazing flavors include Death by Chocolate, Cookies and Cream and S’mores!” Molly adds. She gave more reasons why you should grab donuts in Niky’s Mini Donuts the next time you visit Crested Butte with kids. “The Niky’s Mini Donuts shop itself also deserves mention as it’s the most adorable vintage pop-culture theme!” she says. “Everything from original Mickey Mouse to vintage Coca-Cola adorns the walls of the brightly colored shop!”
Best Gourmet Doughnuts in America – East Coast
Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, New York
“The best donut I ever ate is actually a twist on a donut – it’s a cronut“, says James, who shares his adventures at Travel Collecting. “It’s a cross between a donut and a croissant and combines the best of both of them. It is shaped like a donut, filled with a deliciously creamy, jammy filling like a donut, and covered in a colorful, flavored glaze like a donut, but has the crispy, flaky, buttery texture of a croissant,” explains James.
“It was invented by Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo, New York City, NY, USA and the original is definitely the best,” James suggests going to the pioneer bakery. “They cost $6 each, so they aren’t cheap, but they are worth every penny. They also sell out, so I recommend getting there soon after the bakery opens at 8:00 am so you don’t miss out,” he adds. “There is only one flavor, but it changes monthly. If you live nearby, like I do, you can go every month and try a new flavor (custard and sweet potato ganache was a favorite). If you are visiting NYC, you won’t have a choice of flavors, but you won’t be disappointed!”
The Holy Donut in Portland, Maine
“I remember the best donut I’ve ever eaten like it was yesterday,” says Kaisa Lee of Glam Granola Travel.
“Portland, Maine is famous for its potato donuts—it sounds strange, but adding mashed potatoes to donut recipes gives them an absolutely mouth-watering, moist, rich texture! The Holy Donut is considered by many to be the ultimate place to eat potato donuts in Maine, for good reason. The shop has a great, friendly atmosphere, they treat their employees well, and are absolute geniuses when it comes to making donuts,” adds Kaisa. “They have savory flavors, like sea salt caramel or bacon cheddar, as well as sweet, like the one I had the pleasure of trying.”
When asked for her favorite donut from Holy Donut, Kaisa shares, “The best donut I’ve ever eaten was a Maine blueberry potato donut from the Holy Donut’s Old Port shop (they have three locations)!” Kaisa describes her favorite gourmet doughnut, “This masterpiece contained local mashed potatoes in the recipe, but of course the wild Maine blueberries stole the show. There were blueberries in the dough itself, as well as in the sweet glaze on top. It was a steal at $2.50, though you can save money by buying a half dozen or dozen.”
Best Gourmet Doughnuts in America – Southern USA
District Donuts Sliders Brew in New Orleans, Louisiana
“Red beans and rice is a special tradition in New Orleans, Louisiana,” according to Stella Jane of Around the World in 24 Hours.
“Many locals eat it every Monday because Monday was traditionally laundry day, and red beans and rice is easy to cook while you are washing clothes. But only one donut shop in New Orleans, District Donuts Sliders Brew, serves the amazing red beans and rice donut on Mondays,” she further explains.
Stella describes what makes this NoLA favorite so special. “The red beans and rice donut uses the savory ingredients in surprising ways. The glaze is made with sweetened red beans and the filling is rice pudding. New Orleanians love their traditions, and this is a decadent way of eating red beans and rice on Monday like a proper local. But less adventurous eaters can find more normal flavors at District Donuts Sliders Brew as well.”
She also recommends her favorite District Donuts Sliders Brew branch to get it from. “There is more than one District Donuts Sliders Brew in New Orleans, but my favorite is the one on Magazine Street.”
Café du Monde in New Orleans, Louisiana
“The best donuts I have ever tried in the U.S. are sold in iconic Café du Monde in New Orleans, Louisiana,” says Tatiana Sorokina of Family Road Trip Guru.
“These are French-style donuts called beignets that the Café was making from the same recipe since 1862. Beignets have a square shape, a yeast dough base, they don’t have any filling and they come out hot, generously dusted with powdered sugar,” adds Tatiana. “I don’t know what is so special in the dough but the taste is to die for! These beignets are so good that people actually queue for a long time, sometimes almost an hour, in the street to get into the café. Your best bet is to come early in the morning, around 8 am, to get these delicious treats,” she recommends.
“When we visited New Orleans 6 years ago the price of a plate of 3 beignets was about $2 with tax,” recalls Tatiana.
Meaney’s Mini Donuts in Siesta Key, Florida
“One of the best donuts I ever ate was at Meaney’s Mini Donuts in Siesta Key, Florida,” recalls Amanda Emmerling, Content Creator at Toddling Traveler.
“Meaney’s Mini Donuts is a little donut and coffee stand in the heart of Siesta Key Village. Meaney’s is at the top of our list of kid-friendly places to eat in Siesta Key. They’re known for their mini donuts that are freshly baked and covered in toppings,” Amanda shares.
“Meaney’s Mini Donuts are different from other mini donuts we’ve had in that they’re 5 mini donuts served on a stick. (So you can eat the warm, topping-filled donuts without getting your hands messy!) We also love that Meaney’s is open all day. That means not only can you have donuts for breakfast, but you can also have donuts as a dessert with ice cream. The donut filled sundae at Meaney’s was definitely one of the best desserts we’ve ever had.”
Ducks Donuts in Duck, North Carolina
Ducks Donuts are the bomb.com! No, seriously, our family vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina would not be complete without a visit to Duck Donuts! Duck Donuts specializes in made to order, create your own donuts. They are a vanilla cake-based donut that you can glaze and top however you choose. My personal favorite is lemon glazed topped with coconut- sounds strange I know, but don’t judge it until you’ve tried it! Duck Donuts are best eaten on the spot when they are fresh and warm. Duck Donuts’ first store was in Duck, North Carolina but now can be found all over the United States! A single donut will cost just under two dollars and a dozen around fourteen dollars.
The Donut Experiment in Anna Maria Island, Florida
“Coming from the UK, we have very slim pickings when it comes to donuts. Pre-packed Krispy Kremes arrived in the UK in 2003 and caused a big stir. They’re still popular today because, well, they’re the only donut retailer in the UK,” says Jacquie Hale of Flashpacking Family.
“So, when we stumbled upon the Donut Experiment on a family holiday to Anna Maria Island, we were like kids in a candy shop,” Jacquie recalls. “They should re-phrase that to ‘kids in a donut shop’!”
Jacquie continues to share her experience at The Donut Experiment in Florida. “The donuts are freshly cooked in front of you and you choose your own toppings. You complete an order form choosing your icing then your topping.”
If she has to pick from the ones she tried, she definitely recommends the Maple Bacon doughnuts. “Hands down, the best donut was the Maple Bacon (maple icing topped with crispy bacon bits). It works with a perfect mix of sweet and salt on top of a melt in the mouth warm donut! We ordered a mix of 6 and all of them were picture perfect, but the maple bacon was the standout winner. We all loved it and went back the next day for more.”
They are pretty affordable too with a doughnut costing around $1.35, while a half-dozen costs around $7.95 and $13.95 for a dozen doughnuts.
Best Gourmet Doughnuts in America – Pacific Region of Hawaii
Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Sarah from Borders & Bucket Lists shares her pick for the best donut from the islands of Hawaii. Sarah, who was born and raised in Hawaii, describes the island’s take on this American pastry. “Malasadas are one of the many must-eat foods in Hawaii, alongside spam musubis and manapua. A malasada is a Hawaiian-inspired Portuguese donut without a hole in the center. While traditionally it is not filled, you can easily find chocolate, haupia (coconut cream), or custard-filled malasadas in Hawaii today,” she says.
“Leonard’s Bakery, located in the city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, has established itself as the best place to get this airy fried sweet treat since it opened in 1952. While you can get a handful of different types of malasadas for just $1.25 each, the original malasada simply covered in sugar is my personal favorite,” suggests Sarah.
Purve Donut Shop in Oahu, Hawaii
“I never set out in search of donut. I had just finished a tour of a Ukelele factory on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Across the foyer from the storefront was Purve Donut Stop. My host told me excitedly that I had to try one, it would be the best I ever had,” recounts Holly Kent, who writes about her travels in Globeblogging.
“So, I strolled across the foyer to be met with a veritable trove of colorful and creatively named varieties, such as Hulk Smash, O Face and You’re killing me Smalls – which was my eventual choice,” says Holly. She continues to describe her chosen donut. “The description was a donut with chocolate glaze with Graham and toasted marshmallow. I still couldn’t tell you what the name meant, or who Graham was. A single donut cost US$3.25.”
Holly shares how the experience in Purve Donut was. “I was handed a box with my donut inside, not the holed variety. It was indeed covered in chocolate glaze and what appeared to be some sort of biscuit crumb. Sitting on top was a glob of liquified white marshmallow, with a Tiny Teddy biscuit drowning the sugary goodness. It was like no other donut I have ever tasted.”
For anyone curious, Holly recorded her experience and wants to share it. “My new friend insisted on filming me tasting it for the first time, you can check out the video in this post.”