From old-fashioned crullers to avant-garde treats, you won’t want to miss these 10 exceptional New York doughnut spots.
As Homer Simpson once quipped, “Doughnuts: is there anything they can’t do?” Indeed, the simple combination of fried dough and sugar seems to work wonders on weary (or just plain hungry) souls.
With the proliferation of new shops that feature envelope-pushing flavor combinations and innovative techniques, New York City has become a doughnut lover’s paradise in recent years. On your upcoming trip to New York, satisfy your sugar craving at one of these 10 stellar shops.
Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop
A true institution, Peter Pan Donut has been serving the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint for the past 62 years. Don’t be fooled by their incredibly affordable offerings and no-frills decor — these doughnuts are a cut above the rest. Try the Apple Crumb doughnut and you’ll realize why the shop has attracted a devoted group of loyal customers.
Just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you have to lead a doughnut-deprived existence. This East Williamsburg spot doles out vegan doughnuts to rival their non-vegan counterparts. With revolving flavors like French toast cherry pie and maple pecan chocolate, Dun-Well will delight everyone from the avowed carnivore to the strict vegetarian.
The doughnuts at Dough have generated a ton of hype — and for good reason. This shop dishes out enormous doughnuts made throughout the day from scratch, so you’re guaranteed an ultra-fresh treat. The flavors — which run the gamut from hibiscus, to lemon poppyseed, to cheesecake — are seasonally-driven, so you’ll be able to sample new offerings on each return visit.
Credited with sparking the doughnut renaissance of the early 2000s, Doughnut Plant still delivers. The owner, Mark Israel, draws inspiration from the doughnut recipe developed by his grandfather, who opened a bakery in 1916, while adding a decidedly modern twist to the flavors — coconut-lime or rose petal, anyone?
The shop has expanded to four different locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn and supplies many restaurants across the city, so you can always find a nearby location to get your fix.
Not all doughnut shops are created equal; but only Underwest is located inside an actual carwash. If you venture over to 12th Avenue’s Westside Highway Car Wash, you’ll find Underwest’s delicious treats being fried up by an actual robot. The doughnuts are cake-style and come in innovative flavors, such as halva and brown butter.
The Donut Pub
This Chelsea mom-and-pop shop has been serving light and fluffy doughnuts since the 1960s. Their signature is the traditional glazed doughnut — known as the honey dip — which is neither bland nor cloyingly-sweet. The Donut Pub is open 24 hours a day, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth at any hour.
The newest addition to New York’s doughnut scene, the Doughnut Project might be the most original spot yet. It serves up yeasted doughnuts with tongue-in-cheek names like the “Constanza” (salted chocolate with buttered pretzel) and “These Beetz are Dope” (beets and ricotta cheese).
Adventurous eaters won’t want to miss the outrageous “Everything” doughnut, which is topped with a light cream cheese glaze, poppy seeds, black and white sesame seeds, pepitas, garlic, and sea salt.
If you think that doughnuts are a uniquely American treat, think again. At Grace Street in Herald Square, you can sample ho-dduk, a Korean take on the doughnut. Filled with cinnamon sugar and walnuts, you can elect to have your ho-dduk served à la mode, with ice cream made from locally-sourced milk.
Perhaps no “best-of” list would be complete without mentioning the bakery’s famous creation: the ‘cronut,’ a hybrid between the croissant and the traditional doughnut. Since its debut at Dominique Ansel Bakery in SOHO two years ago, the hype still hasn’t died down. Wake up early and wait in line for a chance at snagging one of these decadent delights.
If you find yourself in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, don’t miss Leske’s Bakery, a doughnut institution that has been serving the community for over 50 years. You can sample Nordic-inspired delicacies as well as New York staples such as black-and-white cookies — but their giant, fluffy doughnuts, which come in bold flavors like peanut butter and bacon, are not to be missed.
(Image credit: Leon Ephraim/Unsplash)