Turns out that donuts aren’t just an American cliché associated with police officers and clumsy dads. What began as a mostly Dutch confectionery, perfected by an American in the form of a perfect hole through the center (to allow for even cooking) is now an image metonymic with the country as a whole. And if you can’t see the image in your head, perhaps our Donut States of America map can help you along. After analyzing thousands of travel blogs from across the web, we here at Hopper can tell you exactly which shops reign supreme in the donut world, based on which donut shops are blogged about most. Planning your next donut tour across America? You don’t want to miss out on these five hot spots.
Photo by cherrylet/Flickr.
At Glazed and Infused, even their chocolate donut is fancy – a chocolate cake donut covered in chocolate ganache, topped with white chocolate pearls and dark chocolate shavings – which is an indication of the level of decadence at play at Glazed and Infused. Always fresh and taking tips from the French pastry world, this donut shop has quickly turned into Chicago’s go-to place for donuts. First-time visitors should forego the typical holed donut and prepare their palates for the crème brûlée, a round crème-filled berliner coated in a crispy sugar crust. With one location in Lincoln Park and one in West Loop, Chicagoans and visitors now have options on where to get their next sugar fix.
Donut lovers who are willing to get weird in Portland finally have a home in Voodoo Doughnut – and judging by their massive acclaim, it seems that most donut lovers are in fact very excited to get weird. There’s really no weirder than the Voodoo Doll Doughnut, which straight-up looks like a gimmick, molded into the shape of a person, arms raised and slapped with a roaring face and a pretzel stake through its heart – but its bark is much worse than its bite. Its bite is basically a vanilla donut filled with raspberry jelly with chocolate frosting. Get it at any of their four locations across Portland and Eugene.
One of the city’s most celebrated bakers did the pastry world a favor when she decided to experiment with the humble donut while she was away on maternity leave. The resulting combinations are those of a mad scientist. There’s lemon buttermilk, passion fruit milk chocolate and a host of gluten-free options. As much as a maple bacon donut has grown almost tired in this deliciously deranged era of donut-slap-happiness we live in, their maple bacon – wait for it – apple donut has positively stolen all the blog hype, and it turns out it’s freakin’ good. And so is their coffee from celebrated San Francisco roasters, Four Barrel Coffee. Do it up with a latte and dip that stuff.
Federal Donuts has managed to perfect a certain balance of simplicity and complexity. If that sounds contradictory, then one glance at the menu should ring crystal clear. They specialize in three things: coffee, donuts and chicken. That’s all. But therein lies the beauty – the chicken seasonings are subtle but surprising, ranging from za’atar sumac to ballpark BBQ (depending on location) and their donuts are the exact same way, with a variety of flavor combinations that are both familiar yet out of the ordinary. This includes grapefruit/brown sugar, vanilla lavender, chocolate covered strawberry, balsamic/raspberry, cookies and creme and more. With such enormous talent and five locations all across Philly, it’s no wonder they’ve been able to garner such blog buzz.
Once a humble neighborhood bake shop in Greenpoint, Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop has turned into a massive name in the donut industry, with a large and devoted following which includes Tina Fey, who recently gushed to Esquire, "The best donut? That’s Peter Pan Doughnuts in Brooklyn." While the rest of New York has only recently jumped on this donut craze, producing all manners of bake labs, Luther sandwiches, donut hybrids and new, unimaginable levels of gluten-free, Peter Pan, like its elven namesake, has managed to stay young for the past 60 years. It’s simple recipe: combine neighborhood-friendly prices, innovative flavors, an unflinching devotion to tradition, and, of course, a master baker behind the counter. The result? The most popular little donut shop in all of the land. Suck on that, Dominique Ansel!