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 …


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


Madbrook Donut Co. (Clearfield): Mad Brook loves me and I love Mad Brook equally.


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


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





Add yours
  1. 1

    Clearly you’ve never been to Bill’s Donuts in Centerville OH. That would have been your number one pick with their tasty giant pretzel donut, the butter twists, and the ever popular sour cream donuts. You can’t go wrong with a family run donut shop that hasn’t changes since 1969!

  2. 2
    Rick Seigmund

    Hayden Idaho, just barely north of Coeur d’Alene Idaho.

    Hayden House of Doughnuts

    may they live forever and their children be blessed

  3. 3
    Don Williams

    Well, if you’re ever in the Utica, NY area, you have to check out the donuts at Holland Farms. Best Jelly donuts this side of the Mississippi. And the other side too…

  4. 5

    Have you tried the doughnuts at Five Daughters Bakery in Nashville, TN? They have ruined all other doughnuts for me.

  5. 8

    Congdon’s Donuts in Wells, Maine are the best! And what could be more awesome than having a ‘wicked good’ donut at the beach? You need to come to Maine, Alton!

  6. 10

    If you’re ever in the Portland area, come to Beaverton and try Everyday is a Donut Day. Their buttermilk bar is heavenly, but really you just can’t go wrong with anything.

  7. 12

    Little Bigs and Holy Donut are great Maine options you should add to this list upon future testing and approval , I think you will find they are both great options Holy Donut being an amazing spud donut , little bigs is my favorite though. The Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth beats another local favorite for donuts Frosty’s from Brunswick. I also will give honorable mention to the famous Tony’s Donuts, they do have some great raised glazed donuts just not quite as good as the former options mentioned. Come to Maine Alton , you will not be disappointed.

    • 14

      The Donut Man’s ** award winning ** Strawberry Doughnuts – in season Now. A huge serving of fresh strawberries, spilling out of a delicious doughnut, with strawberry sauce. Bring a napkin or two and a hearty appetite. I always ask for a fork.

  8. 15
    Pam Hunt

    Alton! When you are in Southern CA please be sure to stop by Monaech Donuts in Arcadia. You will enjoy their Apple Fritter!

  9. 16
    Rebecca Marshal

    Next time you’re in Alabama, come to Prattville between 5 & 10 am, and get a donut from Donut Heaven. Best donuts I’ve ever had!

  10. 17
    Kurt Cypher

    When your tour hits Dayton, Oh later this year, you need to check out Bill’s Doughnuts in the suburb of Kettering.

  11. 19
    Matt Regan

    Stan’s Donuts in Santa Clara, CA are heavenly. Their bread and butter so to speak are their classic glazed donuts, which are huge and fluffy. When caught fresh out of the fryer they will melt in your mouth. Second up are their cinnamon rolls, which are roughly the size of your face and are very similar to the classic glazed, but with a delightful balance of cinnamon that is simply amazing with a glass of cold milk. Last of which I recommend checking out their buttermilk donuts, which are similar to old fashioned cake donuts, but a bit more dense and flavored differently depending on the day. The Strawberry happens to be my favorite, but the blueberry, or banana ones are beonderful as well.

  12. 21

    You should try Mama Crockett’s apple cider doughnuts, they travel in a food truck around the Lynchburg, VA area….so amazing!!!

  13. 25
    Donald Smith

    You should stop by DK’s Donuts in Haines City, Florida when you have the opportunity. Incredible donuts, and the best apple cinnamon filled bear claws!

  14. 26

    Unity, me there’s an Amish store that makes donuts twice a week wednesdays and Saturday’s…if you want them plain you need to get there right away and tell them to pull one aside for you.

  15. 27

    Alton you must have several classic glazed donuts from Round Rock Donuts outside of Austin. Crunchy on the outside, pillowy-soft on the inside. Always served hot, they are divine! The line is long but everyone is happy…you’re in line for hot donuts for cryin’ out loud!

  16. 30
    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!

  17. 31
    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…

  18. 32

    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.

  19. 34
    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.

  20. 35

    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.

  21. 37
    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!

  22. 39
    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

  23. 40

    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!

  24. 42

    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!

  25. 43

    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!

  26. 44
    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.

  27. 45

    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!

  28. 46

    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.

  29. 47

    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!

  30. 48
    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.

  31. 51

    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

  32. 53

    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!

  33. 56
    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.

  34. 60

    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

  35. 66

    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!

  36. 67

    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.

  37. 70

    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.

  38. 71
    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!

  39. 72
    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.

  40. 73

    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.

  41. 74

    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

    • 80

      I assume Britt’s hasn’t made your list because you haven’t been there. If some summer you find yourself on the Carolina Beach boardwalk, or even the greater Wilmington, NC area, I’d recommend giving their wares a try. They only make glazed… but what a glazed!

  42. 81

    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

  43. 82

    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?

  44. 84
    Michael Greener

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

  45. 87
    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!!

  46. 89

    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.

  47. 92
    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!

  48. 95
    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.

  49. 96

    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.

  50. 98
    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.

  51. 100

    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.

  52. 101
    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!

  53. 102
    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.

  54. 103
    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?

  55. 106
    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

    • 107
      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.

  56. 108

    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.

  57. 110

    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.

    • 111

      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.

    • 112

      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.

  58. 113

    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…

  59. 115

    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!

  60. 117

    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.”

  61. 119
    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?)

  62. 121
    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!

  63. 124
    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…)

  64. 126

    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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