The Best Doughnuts in America

It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to the often understated doughnut and modern innovators have only improved upon the timeless formula. Those willing to do a little digging will quickly see this classic treat is even sweeter and perhaps more ambitious than they ever previously imagined.

Portland’s diverse personalities breed no shortage of creative foodies, and no doughnut shop exhibits the unique parallel between food and art than local staple Voodoo Doughnuts. Located in Old Town Portland, Voodoo Doughnuts is a delicacy among the city’s residents. Voodoo Doughnuts are popular enough to have even inspired various styles of craft beer through Oregon’s Rogue Brewery like the curiously smoky bacon maple. It’s not uncommon to see lines wrapping around the building.

The Best Doughnuts in America

Pro tip, have your order ready and be prepared before you reach the register!

Voodoo has radically reimagined the doughnut, creating beautiful menu items that are loaded with curious charm. It starts with the signature Voodoo Doll doughnut, a unique doughnut filled with raspberry jelly and coated with delicious chocolate frosting before receiving a pretzel stake through the heart. The characteristics of the Voodoo Doll are all different.

Local favorites at Voodoo include the Macon Maple Bar, classic maple with a twist of freshly cooked bacon; Captain my Captain, vanilla frosting doused in Captain Crunch; Dirt doughnut, vanilla frosting treated with crushed Oreo crumbles; and of course, the Buttermilk bar, buttermilk dough with a classic glossy coat.

The great city of Chicago has long been considered a mecca for serious eaters so it’s no surprise The Doughnut Vault is considered one of the very elite doughnut shops in the country. Located in Chicago’s Loop, these finely crafted doughnuts are gigantic so it’s best you bring your appetite.

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It seems the mark of a fine doughnut shop is long lines with dozens of people waiting to get their fix. Be prepared to wait alongside the building if you arrive shortly after the Doughnut Vault opens their doors – sometimes Chicago weather can be dreadfully cold. Even extreme weather conditions can’t deter the appetites of hungry doughnut lovers in the area.

Local favorites include the Gingerbread Stack, three small and delectable cake doughnuts dusted with sugar; Chestnut glazed, a beautiful blend of chocolate and vanilla icing; and finally the Buttermilk Old Fashioned, a masterful take on the classic original recipe. These delectable doughnuts are only served for a short time, the shop closing when they run out their reserves – best to arrive early.

The creative minds on the east coast looked to improve upon the original doughnut recipe and rather than commit sacrilege, they produced the awe-inspiring ‘Cronut’ – a flaky marriage of croissant and doughnut. Although many food trucks attempt to emulate this divine creation, there’s no better place to nab the Cronut than Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York, New York.

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Located in the South Village, Domique Ansel Bakery stands out among the slew of bakers located in the city with their Cronut. After launching the pastry in early 2013, it quickly became the most talked about dessert item in history.

Domique Ansel Bakery only provides one flavor of the revered Cronut per month, making each bite something to truly covet. Prepared from a recipe that took months to develop, the Cronut arrives in rich flavor personalities like the Blackberry Lime and Fig Mascarpone, perfect for the more refined palate.

The line at this east coast bakery is notoriously long, people waiting hours just to purchase the Cronut. If you have time to kill and you’re determined to cross this off your bucket list, residents will happily advise good – no, great – things come to those who wait.

This article was written by Tyler Thursby, a traveling purveyor of doughnuts and frequent writer for Landings and Takeoffs.

Photo Credits 1, 2 and 3.


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