Best donuts in Boston
Just follow the crowds and the aroma of fried dough. The uber-popular bakery has made waves from day one, turning out inimitable flavors like maple bacon, berry pistachio and sea salt bourbon caramel. Having grown into a larger space, Union Square Donuts now serves even more quick-to-sell-out options, including donut holes and vegan versions.
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).
Who would have thought the region’s best donuts would be found in a nondescript North Shore storefront? For 60 years, the nationally renowned Kane’s (Bon Appetit is a fan) has churned out a rotating menu of some 40 daily flavors, from crème brûlée and lemon chiffon to eggnog. The 3:30am opening time means you need to get there as early as possible. The newer satellite location in the Financial District ensures worker bees can get their donut fix in between meetings.
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.
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.
Only on Sundays, the city’s myriad Flour locations put out a vanilla cream donut that’s more than worth an early-morning rise. Joanne Chang received her training from a French pastry chef, which explains why these textured babies are so unrepentantly decadent. (There’s usually a raspberry jelly version available, too.)
This long-standing shop’s 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.