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The best donut shops in Chicago

Here's where to find the best donuts in Chicago, plus our taste tests of all the local shops and recipes

Photograph: Martha Williams
Old fashion doughnut at Doughnut Vault

National Donut Day may be the first Friday in June, but in Chicago, it's Donut Day every day. The number of donut shops continues to grow, Chicago restaurants (and even some of the best bars in Chicago) are constantly adding them and you can even get them turned into ice cream sandwiches. Here's where to find the best donuts in Chicago.

The best donuts in Chicago

Doughnut Vault

With two brick-and-mortar locations of Doughnut Vault and one food truck all open early in the morning until they sell out (and yes, they do sell out), this Hogsalt (Au Cheval, Bavette's and others) spot is the place for donuts. If you haven't gotten your hands on one of these sticky, delicious beauties, start with the buttermilk old-fashioned, but if you have, you know that any of the flavors are fantastic (we're particularly big fans of the pistachio). They don't run cheap, but with a sweet glaze and a crisp outside with a soft cake interior, we aren't complaining.

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River North

Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken

If yeast-raised donuts are your favorite, Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken is the place to be. The vanilla bean glazed and chocolate glazed are pillowy and flaky, sweet but not cloying and quite large. Of course, there are old-fashioneds and a Valrhona chocolate cake donut—go ahead, indulge yourself—and there's plenty of gluten-free donuts to pick from with daily specials for those with certain dietary restrictions. Just go early, both locations shut down when they run out, which comes as no surprise with these delectable donuts.

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Stan’s Donuts

Stan's is prolific in the city—we're talking six locations. The original comes from Los Angeles, but with the help of Labriola Baking Company, Chicago's become home to Stan's as well. A perk of Stan's—it's open until 9pm or later, so you can get a late night donut fix. There are lots of donuts to choose from, from standard glazed to pockets stuffed with peanut butter. Whichever you choose, you're sure to enjoy it, whether it's for breakfast or on your way home from a post-work drink.

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Wicker Park

Dat Donut

You can get donuts at this Chatham institution 24 hours a day. What more could you ask for? The list of flavors is overwhelming, and you can get truly massive original glazed yeast donuts, if getting donuts at any time of day wasn't already enough. Having a hard time deciding? Just go with your gut, the airy dough will be perfect regardless of your choices.

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Glazed and Infused

Yes, the name is kitschy. But damn if these aren't tasty. Raised donuts are king here, and you've probably heard a thing or two about the maple bacon long john. But fear not, that sweet and savory indulgence isn't the only thing on the menu, which includes a donut or two for chocolate fiends and donuts emblazoned with "Happy Birthday," for the last-minute birthday gift you received.

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West Loop

Old Fashioned Donuts

We could take a cue from the cops who stalk this bare-bones donut shop and go for a couple of the poofy glazed beauties in the case. Or we could make like the locals and snatch up chocolate-slathered cake donuts as if there were a blackout coming. But really, anytime we make it to this South Side institution, we’re too busy homing in on the apple fritters—unparalleled rounds, as big as your head, with cinnamon-spiked peaks and valleys dotted with gooey apple hunks.

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Beavers Coffee + Donuts

Beavers Coffee + Donuts serves up mini donuts for the cutest breakfast you could ask for. Sugar toppings are free (cinnamon, powdered, granulated and chocolate), but you'll pay a little more for signature toppings like turtle and Reeses. Plenty of choices and small bites for your friends who can't seem to make a decision.

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West Loop

Firecakes Donuts

Jonathan Fox's offering to the donut-crazed masses is adorably vintage, with boxes of mostly classic flavors (old-fashioned buttermilk; chocolate-glazed) wrapped in cute bakers' twine. The triple-chocolate is a solid replication of chocolate birthday cake, and the old-fashioned is one of the most modest in town—a fact that will thrill smaller eaters. Yet the only Firecakes donut that really makes a statement technically isn't a donut at all: It's the crisp and surprisingly light apple fritter.

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River North

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