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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

The best donuts in Boston to try right now

From a glorious, classic glazed to over-the-top concoctions, the best donuts in Boston are sure to satisfy

Written by
Eric Grossman
&
Time Out Boston Staff
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Even in the most trying of times, there's something comforting about getting a warm, freshly-made donut. So next time the urge strikes, get your morning sugar fix at one of these superior donut purveyors. Boston's best donuts can be found at old-school mom-and-pops, trendy bakeries, and even lauded restaurants. Unusual flavor combinations— blackberry lavender, s'mores, tahini brown butter—mean they’re not just for a morning treat anymore. Looking for something more substantial? Check out the best breakfast and best brunch spots in Boston. And if you have a serious sweet tooth, check out the best desserts and best pies in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

A donut maker we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

  • Restaurants
  • Fenway/Kenmore

The award-winning team behind Somerville's Union Square Donuts, led by co-founder Josh Danoff, has been serving up mouth-watering treats throughout the Boston area for more than a half-dozen years. USD takes its craft to the next level by making each donut from scratch every day; brioche dough is used to create light and airy pillows, each with a soft and fluffy texture. All glazes, sugars, jams, and creams are made in-house using real ingredients. Find their most popular flavors and more at Time Out Market Boston.

Best donuts in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • South End
  • price 1 of 4

This South End shop helpfully explains the differences between its raised donuts (made with a brioche dough) and cake donuts (made with buttermilk and sour cream). Keep an eye out for offbeat flavors such as sesame sriracha, blackberry lavender, and everything bagel (brioche doughnut filled with whipped cream cheese, topped with toasted garlic, onion, sesame, and poppy seeds).

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • price 1 of 4

For 60+ years, the nationally-renowned Kane’s in Saugus has churned out a rotating menu of some 40 daily flavors, from crème brûlée and lemon chiffon to eggnog. The huge coffee rolls are standouts too. The Boston location in the Financial District ensures worker bees can get their donut fix — paired with Stumptown coffee — in between meetings.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • West Roxbury
  • price 1 of 4

How can you tell this place is a relic? “Do-nut” is hyphenated in the sign, it’s cash only, and the tiny shop closes at 1pm. But what’s old is still delicious, which is why regional residents trek over to West Roxbury for their donut fix. Here, the donuts are light and fluffy; coconut and honey dip are two of the musts, as well as a jelly stick that might take two visits to consume. 

  • Restaurants
  • South Boston
  • price 1 of 4

This no-frills joint in South Boston has been a fixture for more than 40 years. Craving a doughnut at 3am? You’ll find a wide variety of fresh ones at any hour: Maple Frosted, Honey Dip, Boston Cream, Fruity Pebble, crullers, and more. Even the drive-thru is 24 hours, when you need that sugar fix, stat.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Allston/Brighton
  • price 1 of 4

This long-standing shops 1950s facade is an Allston icon — as are its cheap, tasty donuts. The compact joint opens at 4am, making it a regular haunt of early risers and night owls alike. Also an inexpensive spot for a hot breakfast, the kitchen churns out basic egg dishes and the like.

  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

Centre Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain was beloved for its homemade donuts, so Little Dipper, which took its place, continues to offer some very tasty options. The donuts are available every day, but are especially popular at brunch. Chocolate coconut and Boston Cream Pie are favorites.

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  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • Somerville
  • price 2 of 4

The pie case at this modernized diner in Davis Square is a sight to behold, and the pies live up to the hype. The rotating weekend-only donut selection is worth seeking out as well. You may find flavors such as s'mores, topped with toasted marshmallow, or strawberries and cream.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • price 1 of 4

On the Brighton-Brookline border sits a European-style bakery that makes out one of the most unusual donuts in the city: a currant donut that’s baked, not fried. Based on a rare Swiss recipe, the donut received the ultimate accolade from Food & Wine, which named it one of the best in the country. Arrive early or you may find it has sold out.

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Back Bay
  • price 1 of 4

Homemade Greek honey donuts known as loukoumas—basically a far superior take on the Dunkin’ munchkin—are the perfect way to satisfy a sugar hankering without going overboard. And Gre.co, choose among five varieties, including the Yaya’s (hazelnut praline, Oreo cookies,) and the Golpho (caramel, almonds, sea salt). Or you can go (doh)nuts and fashion your own, choosing from toppings like dark chocolate, pistachios, coconut flakes and walnuts.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 3 of 4

This coastal-inspired Cambridge restaurant by Chef Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow has a popular Sunday brunch menu that features a donut basket that changes weekly. Creative flavors may include blueberry apricot, chocolate pistachio olive oil, or strawberry meringue. Hooked? The signature cinnamon sugar croissant doughnuts are available daily on the dessert menu.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • West Cambridge
  • price 2 of 4

Sofra's donuts are usually only offered on weekends, and worth seeking out. The Persian Spice brioche donut features cinnamon, rose petal, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and coriander, while the tahini brown butter donut is a savory, indulgent option (topped with a milk chocolate-sesame ganache) that often sells out early.

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