Whether you’re eating one by yourself, or taking them into your virtual office to “share” with your teddy bear coworkers, donuts are wonderful. From glazed old fashioneds and apple fritters, to horchata and vegan ’s’mores, here are the best places in Chicago to get them.
There is nothing - we repeat nothing - not to love about D&D’s in Ashburn. Not only are the donuts fantastic, but this place is incredibly likable - you get handed a donut hole to try when you walk-in and they give away free (and actually delicious) giant donuts to any kid that brings in their report card. Everything is great - from the glazed and blueberry to the apple fritters that are about 10 inches across, three inches thick, and a literal wonderland of textures. In conclusion, cancel out the rest of your day and dedicate it to this donut.
After the world fell out of love with cupcakes a few years ago, a bunch of boutique donut shops started opening around Chicago. Firecakes in River North was one of those spots and has thankfully managed to stay around. They have great seasonal specialties (like a gooey meyer lemon or apple-spiced), but our favorite is their vanilla iced. The vanilla flavor is strong without tasting like extract, and it comes with little crunchy pearls. We can’t leave here without one.
Stan's Donuts & Coffee
We like going to Stan’s when we want a lot of variety or a donut that sounds like it was created by an eight-year-old. For example, they have a caramel marshmallow, Cap’n crunch, and our personal favorite, the biscoff (a.k.a. cookie butter-filled) pocket. If you don’t feel like feeding your inner child, consider ordering something like their pretzel-glazed or the pistachio old fashioned.
You might know Do-Rite primarily as the place that makes fried chicken sandwiches using glazed donuts as buns. And while that is a perfectly valid thing to order here, if you’re going to pair an animal with your donut, we’re fans of their maple-glazed bacon. They also make a great pistachio meyer lemon, and some great vegan and gluten-free varieties, too.
You can’t tell, but the donut pictured above is gigantic. Dat Donut in Chatham specializes in Texas-style donuts, which are about 10 inches in diameter and can be shared by two to three people. While we love their cartoonishly large donuts, another great option is their reasonably-sized strawberry. It’s not too sweet, and the flavor of the fruit really comes through.
If donut shops had coaching trees, then Old Fashioned Donuts would be Bill Parcells. This Roseland spot has been around for over 40 years, and people who have worked here (like the owners of D&D’s for example) have gone on to open their own successful donut shops. This place started the giant donut trend, but if you’re looking for a regulation-sized donut, their yeasted glazed is fantastic.
Dinkels has been in Lakeview since 1922, and this place is perfect if you want an assortment of the classics - like boston cream, jelly-filled, or glazed. Basically, the kind your boss would pick up for the office, if they liked you and if we still had offices.
Like Dinkels, Webers has been around for a long time (since 1930 to be exact). And if you’ve ever eaten those tiny pre-packaged glazed donuts at the gas station, this South Side shop is for you. Specifically their chocolate-covered cake donut. The chocolate icing has a rich cocoa flavor and isn’t too sweet. Plus, it covers the donut with the right amount of thickness to complement (not overshadow) the flavor of the cake.
There are only a few flavors of donuts to choose from at Butterdough in McKinley Park. But that’s fine, the horchata is what you want. The lightly-spiced glaze is poured on the donut right in front of you and pools in the container in a satisfying (and useful for extra dipping) way. The donut itself has an almost flaky texture and is very airy inside - which makes sense this place has some of the best croissants in the city.
The Doughnut Vault
The Doughnut Vault is another spot with a short menu of excellent donuts, and our favorite happens to be their perfectly fluffy yeasted vanilla-glazed. They also make a fantastic old fashioned, and you should probably get both. And while there was a time when the line for this place would literally wrap around the block (and run out of donuts before you got to the window), at least now you can pre-order online.
A lot of places have a few different vegan doughnuts on their menu. But Beacon (a donut shop that’s actually just a takeout window in an alley in Lincoln Park) devotes its entire menu to vegan donuts. You’ll find about 10 to choose from, with flavors ranging from s’mores to birthday cake, and they manage to be light and fluffy. And since they run out, don’t wait until the day-of to get one. Pre-order.
Bridgeport Bakery 2.0
If you’re wondering what happened to Bridgeport Bakery 1.0, it closed. But thankfully version 2.0 has the same delicious treats as the original. And while they have a lot of baked goods besides donuts, we like coming here for their long johns and bismarks. As a bonus, almost every donut is $1.50 or less, and for $5 you can purchase a donation box that goes to a neighborhood first responder, family in need, or shelter.
Delightful Pastries is known for its paczki (filled Polish donuts everyone buys on Fat Tuesday), which are available all year round. This is great news, not just because they’re delicious, but because you don’t have to take an entire day off work waiting in line on Paczki Day to eat one.