My Favorite Doughnuts in the U.S.A.


I’ve traveled the country on my live tour, Alton Brown Live, and have found some of the country’s best doughnuts while doing so. The best part about this list is that it’ll constantly be updated. Tough job, I know.

In no particular order …

ALABAMA

The Heavenly Donut Co. (Birmingham): I am especially partial to their old-fashioned.

CALIFORNIA

Sidecar Doughnuts (Costa Mesa): Two words: Buttermilk Drops. Don’t leave the store without at least 20. Eat half in the car then go back and get another 30. Take the rest of the day off.

The Donut Man (Glendora): If you’re in the remote vicinity of this establishment, run. Don’t walk. And order the tiger tail.

ILLINOIS

Do-Rite Donuts (Chicago): My favorite old-fashioned doughnut in America resides here. There will be a line. It is worth it.

By the Dozen Bakery (Rockford): This old-fashioned doughnut is the reason people like me keep eating old-fashions.

INDIANA

Long’s Bakery (Indianapolis): Order the cinnamon fries at Long’s. Don’t be surprised when you have to wait on a line down the block for them. Your patience will be rewarded.

KENTUCKY

Nord’s Bakery (Louisville): An institution. I don’t think there’s a bad doughnut in the shop, but if you’re going to have one, make it the French fry.

OHIO

Holtman’s Donuts (Cincinnati): I am so pleased they offer a dunking stick at Holtman’s — and it’s mighty good too.

NEW YORK

Paula’s Donuts (Buffalo): Their sour cream old-fashioned absolutely hits the mark. They’ve nailed it.

The Donut Pub (New York City): New York City is home to many doughnut shops. Many of them are good. This just might be my favorite though. Every time I visit, I pick up an old-fashioned and a cruller to-go.

TENNESSEE

Gibson’s Donuts (Memphis): Order the classic glazed. You won’t be sorry.

WASHINGTON

Daily Dozen Donuts (Seattle): Frankly, if I lived in Seattle I would have a dozen of these every day.

WISCONSIN

Cranky Al’s (Milwaukee): The cruller is so good you’ll be dreaming of it long after it’s gone.

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98 Comments

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  1. 1
    Kris Johnson

    While Long’s is pretty awesome, they are not the definitive doughnut in Indiana. Next time you’re in the area, jump on 65N for about 20 minutes, to Lebanon. There you will find Titus (On State Rd.32). Get The Pershing, the maple icing is it’s own food group. The doughnut is fluffy, yeasty goodness, with a hint of cinnamon swirl. The honey buns are also a personal favorite, with just the right amount of honey and a streusel top. If you like just a plain yeast, you won’t be disappointed! You will often find a line at 6 am when they open, because the awesomeness is 10 fold when they are warm!

  2. 2
    Kimber W.

    You need to make the trek up 400 to check out Dutch Monkey Doughnuts in Cumming, GA. An amazing young couple producing terrific doughnuts with innovative flavor combinations highlighting wonderful local, seasonal ingredients. Absolutely the best I’ve tried…

  3. 3
    BC

    Try the east central area of Ohio next time through and stop at Donald’s Donuts on Maple Ave. in Zanesville. I think you will enjoy what you eat.

  4. 5
    Paul Sahy

    If you are ever near Rehoboth Beach DE try out the Fractured Prune. Awesome doughnuts, what makes them special is the unique flavors they offer.

  5. 6
    Elizabeth

    You need to come to Kansas and try Munchers Bakery in Lawrence. They may not have a selection of over 200 doughnuts but what they make they make amazingly well.

  6. 8
    Barbara Dale

    Gibson’s Donut in Memphis, the Apple Fritter just cannot be beat. Melt in your mouth crispy sweet exterior with a soft buttery goodness inside. Amidst little chunks of apple and a hint of cinnamon. I can eat an entire one alone!

  7. 10
    James thomas

    Next time your back in Pensacola, FL ( thank you for coming by the way) try Adonna’s Bakery & Cafe. A wide variety of big comfort donuts. Basically a small sugary pillow

  8. 11
    Jane

    If ever in Mississippi try Shipleys do-nuts…especially the glazed when they come out of the warm sugar glaze…you may eat 3 before you know it!

  9. 13
    Karen

    If you ever get to Westort, CT you must visit Coffee And. An old fashioned coffee/donut Shoppe. Try the glazed chocolate donut. Melt in you mouth chocolate glaze-y deliciousness!

  10. 14
    sk

    Little Bigs in South Portland, Maine for anything they make: donuts, savory hand pies, all of it. Lil’s Cafe crullers in Kittery, Maine. Holy Donut in Portland, Maine is definitely worth a stop. Payne’s Donuts on Block Island (RI) for hot cinnamon donuts before you go crabbing on the dock nearby on a beautiful Block Island morning. Union Square Donuts at the excellent Boston Public Market. You’re completely missing New England!

  11. 15
    Lane leeman

    When you came to kansas city , you should have came to poppys famous doughnut shop,(its a very tiny shop in independence that has been there since the 60’s) i know theyre the best ive ever had and i think you would agree, next time you come you should swing by there.

  12. 16
    Trish

    Not sure if you’ve ever graced Minneapolis with your divine presence; but if you ever pop into your little state, please check out Glam Doll Donuts! Unique flavors – inventive and creative. They are worth the trip!

  13. 17
    Jennifer

    My Favorite Doughnut of all time is the Texas Cinnamon Roll at the Lone Star Bakery in Round Rock, Texas. Alton, you need to try it. It is amazing.

  14. 18
    StarCreator

    Astro Donuts in DC and northern VA are the top of my list. Particularly the creme brûlée donut, but show up early morning; it sells out quick!

  15. 19
    Christina Ottis

    Please try these two: Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur, GA. Their yeast dough is like no other. Kuppies Doughnuts in Villa Park, IL. The best cinnamon twist.

  16. 22
    Julianna

    Wish you would come to Springfield Oregon and try some of our tasty treats and doughnuts love to see you I have been a huge fan for years thank you for your time. Julianna bjurling

  17. 24
    Kristina

    I’m glad to see Donut Man in CA made the list, but you missed another great one. Tasty Pastry in Clay Center, KS. They are famous for their nut rolls–made with fresh roasted and ground peanuts. They’ve been making it the same way for over 80 years. I also believe they make the best apple fritters!

  18. 27
    Thomas Forsythe

    You clearly haven’t gone to Magee’s Bakery in Lexington, KY. It’s been run by the same woman since the 1950’s, and her long johns with Buttermilk Icing are to die for.

  19. 31
    Renea

    I think someone really needs to take a trip to Massachusetts and check out Kane’s donuts in Sagus. Family owned and operated since 1955. These donuts are always fresh and made to perfection yummy yummy

  20. 37
    David

    Next time you find yourself in Yakima, WA, go to the only doughnut shop in town. Don’s Donuts. They will probably be out of most everything and what they do have available is overpriced. Yakima is a donut hole!

  21. 38
    Jennie

    Did you go to Lexington when you were in KY and try North Lime Coffe and Donuts? If not, better make the trip, I think your choice for best donut in KY will change.

  22. 41
    Chukka

    Westport, CT: Coffee An’ makes the best cake donuts anywhere — a little crunch on the exterior, creamy with a hint of spice inside. Mmmm. Wish I could be eating one now.

  23. 42
    Colin Miller

    If you ever come through the Quad Cities (4 cities closely planted next to each other on the Mississippi, bordering Iowa and Illinois), make sure you check out South Park Bakery. They make THE best donuts and cakes in the area!

  24. 43
    Kurtis Hughes

    You NEED to come to Eastern Washington, Specifically Richland Washington and try our Spudnut Shop. Great story and History and THE BEST Spudnuts in WA……Actually, its the only Spudnuts in Washington, but that just adds to its Charm.

  25. 44
    Andrea

    I wonder if any of these donut shops could be considered dives…maybe AB just goes for restaurants and bakeries in “nice” areas. If so, he’s missing out on a lot of great finds….such as Dey’s Donuts in Huntington Beach, CA, (but in the low rent neighborhood where you wouldn’t be walking after dark). I wouldn’t proclaim Sidecar as the best in CA until I’d tried Dey’s fresh donut holes first.

  26. 45
    Bryce

    The best donuts in the country are at the Amish place in the Reading Terminal Market in Philly… There is this slight “chew” to thief dough I have not had replicated anywhere else… Suggest the blueberry fritter but whatever floats your boat

  27. 51
    Brian

    Funny, I didn’t see any instructions saying “Tell me what donut shops you think I’ve missed.”
    Alton has spoken…and he did not ask for your two cents. The list is infallable. Thank you

  28. 52
    JoJo

    The Holey Donut in Portland Maine changed my life. There lemon donuts make me weak in the knees. I can eat 4 in one seating. Who knew mashed potatoes could be transformed into heavenly donuts?

  29. 54
    Michael Greener

    Cherry fritter from Sadie & Josie’s bakery in La Center, WA (just north of Portland). Now I gotta go get one!

  30. 57
    Bruce Caron

    Alton you need to get to the New England region in
    Portland maine is Tonys donuts ,and in Wells is Cogdons the apple fritters oh my.On to massachussetts for Heavnly donuts in Methuen or Haverhill outstanding the crullers are amazing. And lines are also the norm at all of these places mentioned. You need to go north young man!!

  31. 59
    Gary

    Next time you are in Orlando you must try the doughnuts from Vallhala Bakery at Market on South. These doughnuts are vegan but the best I’ve had in a long time. They sell out quickly and once they are gone they are gone.

  32. 62
    Jenny Lott

    When you start with the great state of Georgia, go everywhere you think you need to and then go to Holt’s Bakery in Douglas…there you will find the BEST Donut!

  33. 65
    Steve Lapointe

    If you ever come north and visit Ottawa, Ontario give SuzyQ donuts a try. Their donuts are delicious, if a bit gimmicky. You won’t find an old fashioned or a plain glazed donut – the closest they have is something called a Sugar Munkki, which is based on a traditional Finnish donut. The Maple Bacon is fantastic.

  34. 66
    Drew

    If ever in Annapolis, MD, Carlson’s Thai Food has the lightest and tastiest donuts I have ever experienced. But get there early. They only make them in the morning and when they are gone they are gone. If you get there late, the Pad See Ew is great too.

  35. 68
    Dale Chitwood

    Try Weber’s Donuts on Cape San Blas, FL. Renovated a walk in cooler into a donut shop right next to the beach. Get the old fashioned donut. They are so good.

  36. 70
    Matt

    Aw, man! When you did Feasting in Asphalt, you said St. Louis was the best donut town, and Donut Drive-In was the best donut place in the best donut town. (I agree whole heartedly). You’re certainly allowed to change your mind, but we took that honor seriously down here. They have an article of you saying it up on the wall at the Drive-In.

  37. 71
    Rosi Simon

    When you do your show in Mesa Az, try the donuts at the 19th Hole Donut Shop on Lindsay St. Hope to see your show May 2016. Can’t wait!

  38. 72
    Jim Shea

    Howdy Donut in Westlake Hills, TX, on the outskirts of Austin. I’m from the northeast and grew up on doughnuts, and this is the only place in the area that comes close for me.

  39. 73
    Shari J

    Donut King in Eufala, Alabama, right on US 431 as you go through town. The doughnuts are so good you’ll weep tears of joy. And, if you call ahead, they’ll put some aside for you and wait for you to get there, even if they’ve closed for the day. But, what else would you expect in the South?

  40. 76
    Diana Connolly

    Duck Donuts in Outer Banks, NC are good. Battleview Orchards on Wemrock Road in Freehold, NJ has delicious donuts! Pick some apples and then try the apple cider donuts sprinkled with sugar fresh from the fryer. YUM YUM

    • 77
      John Langbein

      Ah… The great Donut Fued of Freehold finds it’s way here. I’ve always been partial to Wemrock Orchard’s Cider donuts over Battleground’s, though getting them at Battleground when they are fresh out of the fryer is a sublime treat.

      Delicious Orchards cider donuts use to be the best, but since their original Donut chef retired, they have slipped. Mind you, give me any of them and I’ll still be Happy Happy Happy.

  41. 78
    KS

    I’ve gotta take issue with The Donut Pub: most things I’ve had there over the years hold on to too much oil. Better than a lot of alternatives though. But for the REAL best donut in New York, you have to go to Brooklyn: DOUGH on Franklin Avenue! Raised donuts with wonderful, brightly flavored house-made glazes like caramel and hibiscus. Incredible taste! Excellent coffee, too, and you can sit on one of the very few stools and watch their bakers work.

  42. 80
    Janell

    Blue Star Donuts, Portland OR. Absolute must try. Get the Blueberry Basil Bourbon. It’s like a glazed raised, except taken to heaven and back.

    • 81
      Jacob

      I don’t think i’ve had a doughnut from Blue Star that was below excellent. That crispy exterior, warm soft interior , bold flavor and just enough sweetness wins every time.

    • 82
      Jennifer

      I was going to suggest Blue Star in Portland, OR as well. Forget the hype of Voodoo- when done with children’s cereal and ready to step up to a real, amazing donut, do yourself a favour and get to Blue Star.

  43. 83
    Kate

    Yum Yum Donuts, Quakertown, PA. Best donuts in the tri-state area. Not related to the Yum-Yum Donuts out of California. Better. Just saying…

  44. 85
    Megan

    If you’re ever in far northeastern Minnesota, World’s Best Donuts in Grand Marais, MN, on Lake Superior is fantastic. It’s a multi-generation family-run donut shop (since 1969!), closed during the winter time. A must-have every time I head up to the North Shore!

  45. 87
    Jonathan

    Second (or third?) to Duck Donuts. Also, Rise’n Roll, in Mishawaka, IN and Middlebury, IN. Hereabouts, I’ve heard them referred to as “Amish Crack.”

  46. 89
    Kirk H

    AB – It sounds like you are an old-fashioned fan (as am I). If you get the chance, you have to try Monuts in Durham, NC and Duck Donuts in Duck, NC and Cary, NC. They make supremely good cake donuts, and Duck Donuts makes them fresh to order and topped to order (if you need it, but why would you?)

  47. 91
    Tom Nelson

    If you’re ever in the Pacific Northwest, it’s hard to beat Chuck’s Donut in Renton, WA. They make a maple bar that’s not too sweet, and has a long maple finish….. Yumm!

  48. 94
    Brian Erst

    But did you solve the puzzles put out by Magic Mike at The Donut Pub? Hanging out at 1am doing puzzles with the belligerent drunk guy and Mike while eating an old fashioned is everything that’s right about NYC. (I was the only guy to solve the “hard puzzle” in under two hours, according to Mike. Took me five minutes, so I’m thinking Mike may have been flattering me…)

  49. 96
    Rick

    Have you ever been to Tato-Nut on Ocean Springs, MS or Carmelita’s in D’Iberville, MS?
    Those are the only good ones around for many miles.

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