50 States of Doughnuts

No matter how you spell it, these fried, baked, topped and filled creations from around the country encourage you to start the day on a sweet note.

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Creme Brulee Doughnut at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken: Washington, D.C.

Its square shape is a bit of a departure from the more typical round, which has turned this doughnut into a social media sensation. The Dupont Circle go-to (which also serves a twist on Southern chicken and waffles) fills its most-popular doughnut with vanilla custard pastry cream, tops it with vanilla glaze and torches it for that signature caramel-flavored bruleed finish.

Go to: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Churro Doughnut at Pink Box Doughnuts: Nevada

After creating churro-inspired treats for Cinco de Mayo, Pink Box Doughnuts (where pastry chefs bake for a staggering 18 hours each day) decided to offer them the entire year, not only in celebration of Mexico’s independence. Their long, glazed bar has a freshly fried and cinnamon-garnished churro sunk into the middle, and it is topped with a generous amount of creamy dulce de leche.

Go to: Pink Box Doughnuts

The Salt Caramel Doughnut at General American Donut Company: Indiana

Housed in an old print shop on the back side of Indianapolis’ Fountain Square district, General American Donut Company is decorated with mid-century modern furniture, industrial finishes, and funky and pop culture accents. Like the candy of the same name, the raised Salt Caramel doughnut is a yeast doughnut frosted with housemade caramel and sprinkled with sea salt. (It’s perfect with the Stumptown Coffee they brew too.)

Go to: General American Doughnut Company

Bacon Doughnut at Nord’s Bakery: Kentucky

Who can resist a nice crispy piece of bacon? Not many people who walk into this family-owned German-American bakery in Louisville, that’s for sure. The Maple Bacon doughnut at Nord’s Bakery starts with a hand-crafted yeast long john; it's topped with homemade maple glaze and a slice of bacon. “It’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty,” says owner Mike Nord. "Breakfast and dessert rolled into one yummy pastry!"

Go to: Nord’s Bakery

Strawberry Balsamic Doughnut at Acorn: Colorado

The ever-changing eclectic daily flavors at this New American restaurant in Denver include mint-bourbon, five spice and pomegranate; no matter the flavor, they are usually history by lunchtime. Taking a cue from a popular summer salad flavor, this sweet, sour and savory doughnut is covered with a strawberry glaze, topped with a doughnut hole and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Go to: Acorn

Strawberry-Glazed Doughnut at Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee: Virginia

When Sugar Shack founder Ian Kelley was researching and testing flavors to open his shop, he used whatever happened to be in his fridge at the time, including strawberries. Today the strawberry-glazed variety is made with fresh strawberries over a yeast-raised doughnut. Co-owner Tanya Bartek says it just tastes like summer. “Every bite tastes eerily like eating the perfect berry straight from the field.”

Big Poppa Tart Doughnut at Donut Bar: California

Unabashedly supersized and decadent, this doughnut (which comes in three varieties: s’mores, blueberry and strawberry) arrives stuffed with a full-sized toaster pastry. Customers are known to line up at the door hours before the shop opens to snag one of the 120 sold daily, and celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Seacrest and Duff Goldman call themselves fans.

Go to: Donut Bar

Ovaltine Cream-Filled Doughnuts at Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts & Coffee: Washington

When Seattle’s Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts & Coffee first opened its doors in 2002, the owners put Ovaltine lattes on the menu. The popularity made them realize it would be a natural thing to showcase in doughnut form. A yeast-raised bismarck doughnut is piped with a chocolatey, malty Ovaltine-custard filling and topped with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, for a nod to a beverage that was many staff members’ childhood favorite.

Hibiscus Doughnut at Dough: New York

Its strikingly gorgeous hue is the first thing that attracts customers to the Hibiscus Doughnut at Dough, a cult-favorite Brooklyn-based shop. Chef and founder Fanny Gerson hails from Mexico, and one day while developing flavors, she craved hibiscus water. She bought some flowers at a Mexican deli nearby, and as she was drinking the water she pictured a doughnut glaze. The result is heady, exotic, slightly tart and ready for photos.

Go to: Dough

King Kong at Five Daughters Bakery: Tennessee

It takes three days to make the 100 Layer Donut, in which croissant dough is used to create a light and flaky appearance and texture. Flavors include chocolate with sea salt, a vanilla cream and seasonal fruit flavors. The King Kong is flavored with maple and topped with locally sourced bacon, making for a monster of a pastry good anytime.

Go to: Five Daughters Bakery

Gooey Butter Doughnut at Strange Donuts: Missouri

Gooey butter cake, a flat, firm, dense cake made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar and eggs, is a St. Louis specialty. Strange Donuts’ Gooey Butter option captures the coffee cake’s richness, complete with its delicate dusting of powdered sugar. Natives to the city respect the shop’s take on the culinary tradition, while tourists are happy to be able to find a portable version to tote around town.

Fancy Doughnut at District Donuts: Louisiana

“Creatively glazed and finished with housemade toppings” touts the menu of New Orleans’ District Donuts when it comes to the Fancy doughnut, an ever-changing creation that might include garnishes like crumbled Oreos, rainbow sprinkles and tasty glazes. Order one with a drip coffee, chocolate milk or nitrogen-cold drip coffee from their line of taps, and while away time in the Big Easy.

Go to: District Donuts Sliders Brew

Maple Bacon Long John at Glazed and Infused: Illinois

The full strip of bacon on top of the Maple Bacon Long John can be a little intimidating (not to mention the doughnut’s hot dog-like appearance), says Glazed and Infused Owner Scott Harris, but the sweet, smoky and salty flavors are a synergistic winner. To make it, a hand-cut raised yeast oblong yeast doughnut is topped with Vermont maple glaze and a full strip of maple sugar-candied peppered bacon. For those on the go, it’s basically a full breakfast in a doughnut.

Mother Clucker at Gourdough’s: Texas

Irreverently named? Perhaps. Decadent? Absolutely. Inspired by chicken and waffles, the sweet-meets-savory doughnut comes from Gourdough’s, a shop that got its start in a vintage Airstream trailer. A piping-hot doughnut is piled with crispy Southern-spiced fried chicken strips and smothered in warm honey butter. Skip the coffee and wash this one down with a local beer or a cocktail.

Go to: Gourdough's Public House

Apple Fritter at Congdon’s Doughnuts: Maine

A fritter is basically any kind of fried patty of deliciousness. Located in Wells, Congdon’s Doughnuts has been baking for 61 years, and the apple fritter has become the top-selling sweet in the glass case. Cinnamon and chunks of apple are mixed into dough, which is hand-cut, fried and topped with glaze. Fritter fanatics can also partake in versions full of juicy Maine blueberries or bacon-studded maple too.

Go to: Congdon’s Doughnuts

Sweet Heat Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery: West Virginia

In this university town with a student-to-resident ratio of six to one, junk food reigns. To make Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery's Sweet Heat, a shell doughnut is filled with peanut butter mousse, then iced with chocolate and topped with roasted chopped peanuts and Route 11 Mama Zuma’s Revenge Jalapeño Potato Chips. “After each bite the richness of peanut butter and chocolate is subtly replaced by the heat of the chips for a unique eating experience,” says owner Pamela Berry.

Go to: Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery

Custom Doughnut Letters at Flyboy Donuts: South Dakota

Need a birthday or thank-you gift? Skip the cards and flowers and order these custom edible letters from Flyboy Donuts in Sioux Falls. They can be spread with any number of flavored glazes, then topped with candies, crushed cookies or colored sprinkles. Y-E-S, please.

Go to: Flyboy Donuts

Louie Doughnut at The Donut Whole: Kansas

Whimsical or terrifying depending on your perception, the Louie at The Donut Whole is a tribute to an automaton who played a turn-of-the-century band organ at the gates of defunct Wichita amusement park Joyland. The from-scratch buttermilk cake doughnut is dipped in cream cheese glaze, decorated with a blue buttercream ruffle and harlequin sprinkles, and topped with a jumbo cherry red gumball “nose.”

Go to: The Donut Whole

Maple Bacon Doughnut at Glaze Donuts: New Jersey

Opened in 2014, Glaze Donuts, a small chain of shops around the state, uses only the highest quality natural ingredients, with no preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colorings. (And they’ve also partnered with Uber for a doughnuts-on-demand National Doughnut Day charity event.) Their yeast-based Maple Bacon doughnut is topped with a maple glaze and bacon bits for a result that’s savory, sweet, salty and utterly addictive.

Go to: Glaze Donuts

Blue Cheese, Pear and Cabernet Doughnut at Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts: South Carolina

Pastry Chef Allison Smith’s mother, who loves to indulge in a glass of red wine with cheese and fruit, jokingly suggested creating a doughnut at Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts in Charleston that uses all three. Smith accepted the challenge, filling a doughnut with fresh pear compote and blue cheese, then topping it with a Cabernet Sauvignon-based glaze and a drizzle of honey. It would be equally enticing at breakfast or a tony cocktail party.

Go to: Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts

Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch Doughnut at Union Square Donuts: Massachusetts

Like a mash-up of brown butter brickle ice cream and hazelnut biscotti, the Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch doughnut at Union Square Donuts is crafted using a butter-based brioche dough (which gives it a light and airy, almost pastrylike texture, according to co-owner Josh Danoff). It’s topped with a butter glaze and sprinkled with toasted, crushed hazelnuts, and it's a perfect example of the globally inspired doughnuts at the Somerville store.

Go to: Union Square Donuts

Cointreau Creme Brulee Doughnut at Blue Star Donuts: Oregon

Made from a classic brioche recipe that originated in the South of France, using sustainable bread flour, cage-free eggs, hormone-free whole milk and European-style butter, this doughnut is great to begin with. To make it destination-worthy, Blue Star Donuts’ staff fills it with creamy vanilla custard, torch-fires sugar to brulee the top, then serves it with a squeeze-your-own pipette of Cointreau, orange zest and pure vanilla paste for a sweet citrus flavor.

Go to: Blue Star Donuts

Thai Coconut Doughnut at Rollover Doughnuts: Arizona

A penchant for spicy Thai food stirred Rollover Doughnuts' owners Brad and Kat Moore to bake up a pastry treat that encompasses the colors and flavors of their favorite Southeast Asian cuisine. A hand-rolled brioche doughnut is filled with a chile pepper-tinged coconut custard and topped with coconut icing and toasted coconut flakes. Lip-tingling with the right amount of burn, this doughnut is the perfect example of sweet heat meets breakfast treat.

Go to: Rollover Doughnuts

Maple Bacon Doughnut at Duck Donuts: North Carolina

Launched in 2006 in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Duck Donuts now has 26 locations. The popular Maple Bacon version starts with one of the shop's signature vanilla cake doughnuts. It’s topped with a salty-sweet duo of maple syrup and bacon, leading to a creamy and smoky tantalizing blend of tastes and textures. To say it inspires a devoted following is an understatement: One couple even got engaged over the warm and made-to-order pastry.

Go to: Duck Donuts

New York Cheesecake at Sweetwater’s Donut Mill Doughnut: Michigan

The three locations of Sweetwater’s Donut Mill are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s a good thing, as the Cheesecake Doughnut practically flies off the shelves. An ode to the Big Apple’s most-well-known dessert, it’s a yeast bismarck doughnut filled with tangy cream cheese filling and topped with bright-pink strawberry cream icing — both made using Sweetwater’s in-house recipes.

Go to: Sweetwater’s Donut Mill

Churro Doughnut at Federal Donuts: Pennsylvania

Inspired by the classic Mexican deep-fried, sugar- and cinnamon-dusted street treat, Federal Donuts' Churro doughnut is a baharat spiced-infused cake round topped with cinnamon sugar and dark chocolate. Staff at the four Philadelphia-area shops (which first opened in South Philly in 2011) deem it a familiar, delicious flavor combination that’s not something you see every day.

Go to: Federal Donuts

Cannoli Doughnut at Donut Crazy: Connecticut

The shop assistant’s family owns an Italian cheese shop in East Haven, so a subtly sweet doughnut riff on the classic ricotta cheese-filled cookie shell was the perfect way to represent a bit of the boot. The original name for it was actually the Mambo Italiano; either way, it’s enjoyed by all who crave that classic Italian dessert, even at breakfast.

Go to: Donut Crazy

Key Lime Pie Doughnut at Glazed Donuts: Florida

It would be a pretty massive omission if Key West’s first doughnut shop didn’t offer an homage to the region’s most-famous dessert. To create Glazed Donuts’ Key Lime rendition, a yeast doughnut is filled with housemade Key lime curd, topped with bruleed meringue and sprinkled with graham cracker streusel. Owners Jonathan and Megan Pidgeon admit it’s messy to eat, making it hilarious for newcomers to watch.

Go to: Glazed Donuts

Crunchy Mister Doughnut at Revolution Doughnuts: Georgia

When can you nosh on a doughnut for lunch sans guilt? When it’s this salty, sweet, smoky and creamy take on the French sandwich the Croque Monsieur. To create it, Revolution Doughnuts' chefs slice a pillowy yeast doughnut in half lengthwise, spreads it with housemade bechamel sauce, fills it with a slice of black forest ham, tops it with Gruyère cheese, and bakes it until it's gooey and crunchy. Mais oui!

Go to: Revolution Doughnuts

Turtle Bay Doughnut at Mahalo’s Mini Donuts: Iowa

A Hawaiian-themed doughnut shop in the middle of Des Moines makes perfect sense at Mahalo’s Coffee & Mini Donuts. The owners were inspired by their love of the Hawaiian Islands and the "aloha spirit," and they love dishing with customers about their experiences in our 50th state. Named for a popular resort on Oahu, the miniature Turtle Bay cake doughnut is topped with chocolate and caramel glazes and crushed pecans, just like turtle candy.

Go to: Mahalo’s Mini Donuts

Fastnachts at Krumpe’s Do-Nuts: Maryland

Fastnacht is German for “night before the fast,” and it’s a tradition to eat deep-fried, sugar-covered Fastnacht doughnuts the day before Lent starts. Krumpe’s Do-Nuts in Hagerstown has been selling them for 75 years. The day before Lent isn’t the only celebration: On Dec. 31 a giant doughnut is even dropped from the clock tower on the square, and doughnuts, coffee and hot chocolate are doled out to help ring in the new year.

Go to : Krumpe’s Do-Nuts

Mango-Glazed Doughnut at Mojo Monkey Donuts: Minnesota

The exotic flavors of this mango-glazed doughnut are one example of Owner Lisa Clark’s mission to make amazing raised doughnuts (assisted by her pastry-enthused children). Mojo Monkey Donuts’ signature yeast dough (crafted with locally brewed beer, yams and parsnips) is made into a ring, then topped with organic mango glaze and unsweetened coconut for a tropically inspired treat.

Go to: Mojo Monkey Donuts

Katrina Pieces at The Tatonut Donut Shop: Mississippi

After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, there was a desperate need for supplies to keep local Mississippi businesses running in hard-hit areas. Staff of The Tatonut Donut Shop in Ocean Springs decided to take the irregular edges of dough that were typically discarded and fry them instead. The results, called Katrina Pieces, were such a hit that they ended up staying on the regular menu even after supplies were back to normal.

Go to: The Tato-Nut Donut Shop

Glazed Yeast Doughnut at Julie’s Sweet Shoppe: Arkansas

At first glance, this doughnut seems pretty simple, but owner Julie Goodnight points out that it’s entirely handmade — including the glaze. The result is amazingly large and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweetness and a perfect texture. It also brings in the regulars in droves; patrons come for the doughnuts and stay for the coffee and convivial conversation.

Go to: Julie’s Sweet Shoppe

The Dirty Dave at The Dirty Dozen Donut Shop: Montana

Named for owners’ Joe and Kristin Thomas’ friend’s teenage son, David, who frequently suggested new doughnut flavors to create — mostly involving alcohol and quickly shot down — the Dirty Dave is the result of his first great idea. The Dirty Dozen Donut Shop's offering is spread with peanut butter and topped with crumbled Oreos. The duo loved the delicious results, and the cookie concoction remains one of the shop's top sellers.

Strong Pimp Hands at Polar Donuts: Oklahoma

Inspired by owner Younts Waters’ mom’s apple pie, Strong Pump Hands at Polar Donuts are kind of like bear claws, but they have a bit more of an irreverent connotation. The glazed, four fingered doughnuts are filled with apple chunks and cinnamon, and they are among the most-popular (not to mention talked-about and Instagram-worthy) options on the menu of a shop that’s been on the Oklahoma City scene for more than two decades.

Go to: Polar Donuts

Pie Doughnuts at The Doughnut Hole: Nebraska

Pie becomes portable with the genius Pie Doughnut at The Doughnut Hole in Lincoln. The shop started as a farmers market stand and combines traditional, classic flavors with modern flair. The unique, fresh and eye-appealing creations include those filled with blackberry, peach, blueberry or apple, topped with crumbles and drizzled with icing.

Go to: The Doughnut Hole

Purple Haze at Stonehouse Baking Company: New Hampshire

Dead rock stars — including Elvis — make their appearance on several doughnuts at Stonehouse Baking Company. But Owner Denis St. Pierre pays homage to Purple Haze, the signature song of the Seattle-born legend Jimi Hendrix with a homemade vanilla cake doughnut topped with black raspberry icing.

Go to: Stonehouse Baking Company

Blue Corn Honey Pinon Doughnut at Rebel Donut: New Mexico

Funky Albuquerque shop Rebel Donut likes to dabble both in pop culture and traditional New Mexican ingredients. One example of its ode to the local culinary scene is the Blue Corn Honey Pinon doughnut, a creative, eclectic take on ubiquitous cornbread. It’s made with blue cornmeal, drizzled with a honey glaze and topped with toasted pinon (or pine) nuts.

Go to: Rebel Donut

Grandona at Let Them Eat Cupcakes: Hawaii

If the malasada (a Portuguese pastry made legendary in Hawaii by shops, including Leonard’s Bakery) and the croissant had a love child, it would be the Grandona, says the owner of Let Them Eat Cupcakes on Oahu. It features layers and layers of flaky, sugary and buttery pastry, and it is available only on Fridays. Island visitors and natives naturally gobble them up, first come, first served.

Go to : Let Them Eat Cupcakes

Bison Pride Doughnuts at Sandy's Donuts: North Dakota

Owner Sandy Ostlund shows his pride for the North Dakota State University football team, the Bisons, by making doughnuts just for tailgating. The Bison Pride doughnuts are topped with green and yellow frosting — the school’s colors. Sandy’s also makes the Horns Up, which is shaped as the hand gesture fans make to cheer their team. On game weekends, the shop sells upward of 10,000 per day.

Go to: Sandy’s Donuts

The Buckeye Donut at Buckeye Donuts: Ohio

Known as the Buckeye State, Ohio has a namesake nut that grows from a native tree indigenous to the state. The nut inspired a lookalike treat of peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, which inspired Buckeye Donuts in Columbus. Filled with peanut butter and dunked in chocolate, the Buckeye Donut has been served since the shop opened its doors in 1969.

Go to: Buckeye Donuts

Rhode Island: Coffee Milk Doughnut at PVDonuts

For those who haven’t tried Rhode Island’s beloved coffee milk, imagine drinking sweet, creamy coffee ice cream that’s been melted down. The supersized Coffee Milk doughnut, which is about three times the size of the standard one, is a buttery brioche-dough base covered in a coffee-milk glaze made with beans from Dave’s Coffee. Chocolate espresso beans are the final garnish.

Go to : PVDonuts

The Rumi at Guru Donuts: Idaho

Before opening their Boise shop, husband and wife Angel and Kevin Moran sold their doughnuts at farmers markets; today they still use locally grown fruit and glean inspiration from market stalls for creations like this exotic and aromatic bismarck doughnut, called The Rumi. It’s filled with a jam made from rosewater and plums from Kelly’s Canyon Orchard, and it's all dusted with vanilla-infused sugar.

Go to: Guru Donuts

Raised Cinnamon Crumb Doughnut at Banbury Cross Donuts: Utah

A staple on the Salt Lake City culinary scene for the past 30 years, Banbury Cross Donuts keeps locals and visitors alike sugar-fueled with cake doughnuts, bismarcks and buttermilk bars. Their best-selling coffee cake-hybrid offering is fried, then immediately dipped into a glaze and then cinnamon sugar for a two-for-one morning treat.

Go to: Banbury Cross Donuts

Vermont: S’mores Doughnut at Doughnut Dilemma: Vermont

One fall evening, Doughnut Dilemma co-founder Michelle Cunningham was sitting by a campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores. She realized the fluffy, chocolatey flavor would be ideal in a doughnut. To create her vision, she stuffs a doughnut with homemade marshmallow fluff, then tops it with chocolate and crushed graham crackers.

Go to: Doughnut Dilemma

Scholbe the Cheesecake at Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts: Wisconson

Named for the fan who submitted this flavor suggestion, which was inspired by strawberry cheesecake, the Scholbe the Cheesecake has become one of Holey Moley’s favorite doughnuts. A yeast doughnut is filled with housemade strawberry (and sometimes raspberry) jam, covered with cheesecake topping, dusted with graham cracker crust and finished with another dollop of jam on top.

Go to: Holey Moley Coffee + Doughnuts

Dino Bone Doughnut at Dino’s Donuts: Alaska

Named for owner Jeanine Keppel’s dog, this Anchorage shop — opened in 1985 — has quite a loyal local following. Out of the 50 varieties of fluffy, fresh and delightful offerings, it’s the signature doughnut that’s most popular with toddlers and the school-age set (kids and dog lovers of all ages, really.) As its name suggests, the Dino Bone is worked into the shape of a canine treat and covered with a vanilla glaze.

Go to: Dino’s Donuts

Chocolate-Hazelnut-Filled Doughnut at Heavenly Donut Company: Alabama

While studying abroad in London, Heavenly Donut Company co-owner Kimberly Beiersdoerfer fell in love with the creamy, nutty goodness of that ultimate toast topper Nutella. Her creation, a bismarck doughnut filled with light and fluffy chocolate hazelnut cream, pays homage to the land across the pond. And it’s only available on Fridays, making it that much more covet-worthy.

Turtle Doughnut at Cowboy Donuts: Wyoming

Out of the 55 unique varieties of doughnuts and kolaches made in this Rock Springs bakery each day, the confection-inspired Turtle doughnut often sells out most quickly. A freshly made doughnut is covered with homemade chocolate fudge icing, topped with cinnamon candied pecans and finished with housemade caramel. Sweet tooths: Think outside the candy box.

Go to: Cowboy Donuts

S’mores Doughnut at Gooey Donuts: Delaware

The top-selling option at this Milton store is the bakery version of everyone’s favorite campfire-side treat. A yeast shell doughnut is filled with marshmallow, covered in chocolate glaze, and topped with graham cracker cereal and mini marshmallows. The best part? No sticks or charcoal are required.

Go to: Gooey Donuts

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