Our Picks For The 8 Best Donut Shops In Chicago
By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 30, 2016 6:46AM
By Rebecca Skoch
It’s been years since the humble donut usurped cupcakes to claim the crown for trendiest pastry. With boutique bakeries still popping up and established shops adding additional locations, the donut trend shows no signs of slowing down. Here are a few of the amazing places in town where you can grab a dozen.
Gurnee Donuts, via Facebook
Grabbing breakfast at Gurnee Donuts might take a little longer, but it is well worth the drive. Featuring an array of sugary pastries, you'll find traditional choices like long-johns and glazed rings alongside more imaginative seasonal options. Recently they’ve gotten buzz for their tender (and very purple) ube donut, which gets its distinctive lavender color from the Filipino staple root vegetable. It has been selling out fast and lines at the door form early, so plan ahead to make sure you’ll be able to snag one.
This new cafe located off The 606 opened quietly less than a year ago, and has been a welcome addition to a north Humboldt Park area previously devoid of coffee shops. Arrive early for donuts, as supply dwindles quickly as the morning progresses. The donuts taste like those you’d find at an old-school family bakery, but with a few fun flavor twists—we’re smitten with the vanilla glazed topped with flakes of coconut and cinnamon. The buttermilk cake donuts are also notable, with a crispy dark-brown exterior and just a hint of glaze that makes them the perfect companion to your morning cup of coffee.
Glazed and Infused, via Facebook.
With inventive flavors and surprising fillings, there's nothing old-fashioned about the donuts at Glazed & Infused. Topped with everything from mini M&Ms to entire strips of bacon, both raised and cake varieties are superb. Staple selections are always available, but they have daily specials that highlight local events—like the Cubs clinching the World Series—or feature seasonal flavors such as pumpkin buttermilk and cider spice. Grab a dozen in the morning to share and you’re sure to be the most popular person in your office.
Offering donuts on the weekends in their OSB back room, these treats have all the personality and flair you'd expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant. With creative flavors like lemon-filled salted caramel and German chocolate, each week brings a new batch of bold combinations (check out what’s available on Instagram or Twitter before heading over). Whether you're waiting for a table for brunch, need a snack before heading to the Logan Farmer’s Market or just want something a little sweet, Longman has the best donuts in Logan Square.
Firecake Donuts, via Facebook
Whether you’re in the mood for chocolate hazelnut long-johns or ice cream donut sandwiches, there are a million ways to indulge your gluttony at Firecakes. The selection changes daily, and the flavors that stand out most offer a playful, grown-up take on the classics. The vanilla glazed is donut perfection—simple and straightforward, it doesn't require any trendy additions to make it shine. With an airy, melt-in-your-mouth dough, a thin sheen of vanilla bean-specked icing and a scattering of shimmery candy bits, it is sure to win you over with just one bite.
Image via Pleasant House Baker Twitter
Pleasant House has long been a comfort food staple in Bridgeport, and their donuts are just as delightfully different and unexpected as the rest of their offerings. Selection varies week to week, with options ranging from apple fritters made with sourdough and fried to a borderline-controversial golden brown, to naturally-leavened raised donuts stuffed with creamy vanilla custard and congealed berry jam. Find them at the Pleasant House Pub or the 61st Street Farmer’s Market.
Now with six locations across the Chicago area, this California-based bakery is quickly taking over the city. Bright and cheery, the pastel-colored shop offers dozens of donut flavors alongside other baked goods like pretzels and bagels. The raised donuts are good, but Stan’s cake donuts are truly exceptional—crumbly and dense, with lots of little crevices and edges fried to golden-brown perfection. While you can't go wrong with the traditional plain old-fashioned, we’re partial to the lemon pistachio donut’s combination of salty, sweet, and tart flavors.
Starting in the tiny space off the back of Gilt Bar, Doughnut Vault donuts can now be found at Hogsalt group locations all over the city, including Three Greens Market in River North, CC Ferns in Humboldt Park, both Doughnut Vault locations (River North and West Loop), and the roving Vault Van. Purists will be happy with their assortment of conventional choices, but it is hard not to fall in love with some of the daily specials, which feature clever flavors such as Mexican hot chocolate and raspberry old-fashioneds topped with streusel crumble. You can find what’s available (and when they’ve sold out) on Twitter @doughnutvault.