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The best donut shops in NYC

These donut shops offer everything from crullers to Cronuts, making for the ideal stop for a sweet pick-me-up

Photograph: Karen Biton-Cohen
Doughnuts at Underwest Donuts

Cupcakes have been the dessert du jour in NYC for longer than many of us have lived here, but they’re getting a run for their money from the rapidly buzzy doughnut. Fortunately for us New Yorkers, donut shops in NYC go beyond the big national chains—here, you’ll find everything from chili-sauced and PB&J-inspired varieties to Dominique Ansel’s trademarked sweet crossbreed, the Cronut. So are doughnuts the new cupcakes? See for yourself: We rounded up the best doughnut-focused dessert places in the five boroughs.

Best donut shops in NYC

Dominique Ansel Bakery

The Soho bakery offers a long list of crafty and innovative pastries, but none have the mass appeal nor the nickname-readiness of the Cronut: a croissant-slash-doughnut. Lines were spilling out of the shop’s doors for weeks following the creation's debut, and Cronut mania doesn’t seem to be dying down. So just how genius are these feats of French pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s imagination? Pretty darn good: They're filled with a light cream center and fried in grapeseed oil, and the accoutrements tend to change up (so far there’s been a rose-vanilla and a lemon-maple iteration) for maximum buzz. $5

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Donut Pub

One thing doughnuts have that cupcakes don't: rich, creamy fillings. This mom-and-pop icon from the 1960s, with retro neon signage and a throwback long marble counter lined with swivel stools, excels in the genre, so seek out crème, chocolate crème, vanilla crème and, especially, Boston crème (pictured above). Another strong suit of the Donut Pub: They're open 24/7. $1.15–$2.35

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Doughnuts do not get any fresher than those at Clinton Hill's Dough. The colorful yeast doughnuts are made throughout the day completely from scratch using seasonal ingredients (the staff even steeps the hibiscus it uses for its deep-pink hibiscus doughnut). In addition to eight varieties available daily—cinnamon sugar, plain, chocolate with cacao nibs, salted caramel, dulce de leche, cafe au lait, lemon poppy and coconut—you're bound to come across one or more new varieties each week, based on new market finds, like blackberries. Standard doughnuts $2.25, filled doughnuts $3.75

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Dough Loco

With a kitchen recently turned over to Jimmy’s alum Jay Medford, this daffy East Harlem doughnuttery is not for plain purists. That’s because the behemoth fried-and-frosted pastries coming out of the petite storefront are slathered in unexpected flavor combinations like lychee-ginger, pistachio-wasabi and a standout gochujang-pineapple, curbing the rolling spice of the Korean fermented chili paste with a hint of tropical sweetness. Hell, even basic chocolate’s not safe from a Loco makeover, getting hit with a smattering of potato chip crumbs. $3.

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East Harlem

Doughnut Plant

Even the vanilla-bean flavor is delicious at this doughnut mecca, but Mark Israel has gone on to dream up so many more. In addition to peanut butter and blackberry jam (pictured), chocolate chip cookie and strawberry, they’ve got the devilishly delectable blackout cake, which is made super moist by its rich pudding filling, and the famous tres leches doughnut. Renowned for their quirky square shape, the yeast varieties here are some of their best, and include the pleasantly subtle coconut cream (the filling is lime-flavored!) and the vanilla bean and blackberry jam. The one thing they all have in common? They’re worth the trip. $2.25–$3.25

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Lower East Side

Orwasher’s Bakery

These fluffy doughnuts are fortified with jam courtesy of a Hudson Valley farm and come in a multitude of seasonal flavors. You won’t find any of that processed nonsense here—the jam contains whole pieces of fruit, from fresh blueberries, seedy raspberries and strawberry chunks (try the sour cherry or the black raspberry, an Orwasher’s staff favorite). Plus, the pastry gurus will fill them right before your eyes. Fans of pie, meet your new favorite breakfast. $4.25, one dozen $44

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Upper East Side

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop

The Greenpoint standby serves up old-fashioned doughnuts with astonishing variety—here, you’ll find everything from crispy crullers, long braided doughnuts, red-velvet cake, holiday-specific doughnuts and many kinds of jelly-filled varieties. Direct sweet-toothed little ones to the white cream coconuts or the apple-pie–filled doughnuts, dusted in a cinnamon sugar crumble, to make you feel like it’s Thanksgiving all year round. $1, one dozen $10.50

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Underwest Donuts

New York has plenty an eatery hidden in its deepest nooks and most unexpected crannies—joining the ranks of these cloak-and-dagger dens is this pocket-sized doughnut dive from Chanterelle vet Scott Levine wedged inside a car wash. The old-fashioned cake-style coffee dunkers are pulled from an automatic Donut Robot, which fries and cools the rings behind a glass wall as cars are scrubbed and buffed. Choose from sugared, glazed or plain pastries in flavors like brown-butter, cocoa-raspberry, lime-coconut and even a shredded halva-topped number. $2.50.

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Hell's Kitchen


Martin M
Martin M

Fully agree withe "The Donut Pub" being the best! Fantastic place - I even went on an Iceberg (www.iceberg.travel/meet/new-york/) event there recently...ate too much...haha.