Where to Get Great Doughnuts, from Coast to Coast

The lines often stretch around the block for these popular doughnut shops, and once you're biting into a decadent, deep-fried ring of dough, you'll understand the reason why.

"Doughnut" or "Donut"?

The correct, dictionary-approved spelling for these treats is “doughnut,” though the shorter “donut” has been around since the late 1800s. No matter how you spell it or which variety you favor (cake, yeast or old fashioned), one thing is certain: Doughnuts have broken out of breakfast and become more than just a pair-with-coffee staple.

Portland, Ore.: Blue Star Donuts

It wouldn't be a Portland doughnut without a batter made from only local ingredients: bread flour from Shepherd's Grain, cage-free eggs from Stiebrs Farms, whole milk from Sunshine Dairy and European-style butter from Larsen’s Creamery. The mixture is made from scratch every day with a classic brioche recipe, and, of course, there's Stumptown Roasters coffee for pairing.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Blue Star Donuts

Blueberry Bourbon Basil features a glaze made from organic blueberries, fresh basil leaves and Bulleit bourbon. Cointreau Creme Brulee is a creamy vanilla custard-filled brioche doughnut with a caramelized sugar crust. But that's not all: It's topped with a pipette of Cointreau syrup. Looking for a buttery cake doughnut? Try a Buttermilk Old Fashioned, made with a horchata cinnamon glaze.

Los Angeles: SK's Donuts

This family-owned and -operated spot has it all: doughnuts, croissants, breakfast sandwiches and even a SKronut. Plus, it's open 24 hours a day, so if you're not an early riser, you can still get your doughnut fix.

Must-Try Doughnuts at SK's Donuts

Nutella, chocolate chip and even apple pie SKronuts will satisfy your need for the trendy doughnut-and-croissant hybrid. With affordable pricing ($1 each for regular doughnuts), you can indulge in every style, from classic glazed to red velvet cake.

New York City: Dough Loco

After amazing feedback (and some pretty epic lines), this doughnut shop has found new, larger digs to satisfy demand. They've tripled production to be able to crank out 1,000 per day. It's all new to owner Corey Cova, who "had no idea how to make doughnuts until I opened a doughnut shop."

Must-Try Doughnuts at Dough Loco

From quirky concoctions like maple miso and green tea to classic varieties like chocolate topped with sprinkles, you never know what will be available on a given day. But that's all in the fun. One thing is for sure: There will be Intelligentsia coffee on hand for your early morning arrival.

Washington, D.C.: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

You may recognize co-founder Jeff Halpern's name: He's a professional hockey player who played for the Washington Capitals, among other NHL teams. He and co-founder Elliot Spaisman grew up playing hockey together and doughnuts were their reward of choice after games. Grab fried chicken or Sriracha wings before choosing your dessert.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Astro Doughnuts

You might find a new favorite day of the week based on Astro's rotating doughnut calendar. Beat a case of the Mondays with Coconut Cake or enjoy the weekend with Elvis (think peanut butter-banana filling). No matter what day of the week you stop by, though, there are some pretty awesome daily flavors that include Vanilla Glazed, Creme Brulee and even Maple Bacon.

Atlanta: Sublime Doughnuts 

This shop already has an international claim to fame: There are two locations in Bangkok. Back in the original location in Georgia, about 2,500 doughnuts are sold on a daily basis. Owner Kamal Grant estimates the largest single order to be 1,200 doughnuts. That's a whole lot of glaze.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Sublime Doughnuts

Think beyond the classic ring with Sublime's A-Town varieties (mocha or cream) baked in honor of the shop's hometown. If a truly decadent dessert is what you're after, try their "burger" styles: doughnut sandwiches filled with strawberries and cream or ice cream, plus toppings.

Philadelphia: Federal Donuts

With five locations in the past five years, this doughnut shop is on track to complete its mission statement: total world domination. Friends Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook, who own local restaurant Zahav, and Tom Henneman and Bob Logue, owners of Bodhi Coffee, came up with a simple concept to fit their needs: cake doughnuts, fried chicken and coffee. Only. And that trifecta has turned this doughnut shop into a Philly favorite.

Must-Try Donuts at Federal Doughnuts

The menu varies by location, so if your heart is set on a specific variety, check the menus on the website before setting out. The hot, fresh doughnuts come out just like that and are doused in spices and sugars like vanilla, strawberry-lavender and cinnamon. If you're looking for a fancier doughnut, try the Blueberry Mascarpone, Sticky Bun or Chocolate Sea Salt varieties that come with a slightly higher price tag.

Boston: Union Square Donuts

These doughnut slingers are based in Somerville, Mass., but they pop up all around the city at farmers markets and coffee shops, so if you see them, snag one of their creations. Be sure to arrive early; on weekdays the shop shuts down at 1 p.m.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Union Square Donuts

From traditional Boston Cream or Vanilla Bean to the creative Sea-Salt Bourbon Caramel or Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch varieties, you really can't go wrong. Depending on when you go, check out the special seasonal flavors on the menu.

Denver: Glazed and Confuzed

This new shop is a small, family-run business that focuses on local, organic and seasonal ingredients. And with the doughnuts having popped up at farmers markets and local coffee shops, the space is a welcome spot for fans. There's plenty of seating, so you can have your doughnut and eat it on-site too.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Glazed and Confuzed

The menu changes seasonally, so don’t delay if something strikes your fancy (think carrot cake or pecan pie). Try the Chocolate Glaze with Vanilla Infuzed Brown Butter or (for adults only) the Mojito with rum, fresh lime and mint. In need of a party solution? Order the extra-large doughnut that's almost 3 feet in diameter and is available on the catering menu.

Miami: Mojo Donuts

Whether you pick fancy, gourmet or "the biggie," all of these well-topped doughnuts are under $2 each. Though Mojo Donuts opens quite early, it's first come first serve, and when a doughnut flavor sells out, it's gone for the day.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Mojo Donuts    

Adventurous doughnut lovers may have met their match with the 420 Munchies flavor, a glazed doughnut topped with chocolate, Snickers and potato strings. Other favorites include les-outrageous though still-delicious combos like guava and cheese, chocolate and peanut butter, and s'mores.

Chicago: The Doughnut Vault

This doughnut spot understands the need to plan ahead: A calendar shows the schedule for the week, so you can check out the flavors and pick your arrival date in advance. Can't make it to the brick-and-mortar store? They have a doughnut van that makes scheduled stops around the city.

Must-Try Doughnuts at The Doughnut Vault

You can't go wrong with a classic like the buttermilk old fashioned or vanilla and chocolate glazed paired with a $1 cup of coffee (the glazed variety are about double the size of your average doughnut, so plan accordingly). The latest specialty flavors have included pumpkin spice, birthday cake, salted caramel and honey bun, but you never know what will be on the weekly calendar.

Houston: Christy's Donuts Kolaches

What's not to love about this super-affordable shop that throws in a free doughnut hole with every doughnut order? At less than a dollar per doughnut, you'll be able to try a variety of flavors and even a kolache or two.

Must-Try Doughnuts at Christy's Donuts

Stick to the regular doughnuts like Chocolate or Cinnamon glazed, or go for the filled varieties like Bavarian or Chocolate Cream.