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Liberation Donuts
Photograph: Time Out / Morgan Olsen

The 15 best donut shops in Chicago

From cake to raised, here's where to find the tastiest donuts in Chicago anytime of day

Written by
Morgan Olsen
&
Emma Krupp
Contributor
Mikayla Price
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You could say there is nothing better than eating at the best brunch spots in Chicago, but if you aren’t in the mood to wait in line or forgot to make yourself reservations, checking out Chicago’s best donut shops is just as satisfying. We’re always on the hunt for the most delicious pastries Chicago has to offer—and we found them in old-school bakeries, a pick up window in an alleyway and everywhere in between. So make a fresh pot of coffee or visit your favorite coffee shop in Chicago and grab a dozen donuts to enjoy.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best new restaurants in Chicago

The best donuts in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Chatham
  • price 1 of 4

Usually open from early in the morning until late in the evening (unless it’s a Sunday), this Chatham institution specialises in pillowy pastries that are as sweet as they look. If it's your first time, go for a box of the original glazed yeast donuts, which practically melt in your mouth. The best part? Unlike costly downtown shops, Dat Donut keeps its prices low; one donut will run you a buck and change. If you are feeling especially hungry or have a big sweet tooth, Dat also has you covered with their tasty “Big Dat Donut” that costs less than $4.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • River North
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Hogsalt's doughnut dispensary is notorious for selling out fast, so you may need to act quickly if you want to secure you favorite fried dough delicacies. Follow Doughnut Vault's Twitter account for updates on new flavors plus daily closing times. Once inside, you'll find classics like the buttermilk old-fashioned alongside wacky specials including honey bun cake, birthday cake and whiskey caramel old-fashioned with pecans. These pastries aren't cheap, but trust us when we say they're worth every penny.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Streeterville
  • price 1 of 4

If yeast-raised donuts are your jam, Do-Rite is the place to go. The vanilla bean glazed is a crowd favorite—it's pillowy and flaky, sweet but not cloying and quite large. On the creative front, you can't go wrong with the cinnamon crunch raised, Michigan apple fritter, pistachio-Meyer lemon or Valrhona chocolate cake. Do-Rite doesn't discriminate against vegans or the gluten intolerant; there are daily specials for each, including a delightful orange-olive oil pastry that's 100 percent vegan. Get there early or order ahead—all five open locations shut down when they run out of dough.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Ashburn

After being taught the art of dough by the one and only Burritt Bullock—owner of Old Fashioned Donuts—Devell Brittman opened D&D's Place with his wife, Lolita. The shop has won the hearts of donut-loving folks across the city ever since, most recently scooping the both Judge's Choice and Crowd Favorite awards at the 2020 Chicago Donut Fest. Stop by for a perfectly fluffy glazed donut, a Texas apple fritter the size of your head and heaps of equally  tantalizing flavors, like lemonade and fresh strawberry. 

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Weber’s Bakery
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Garfield Ridge
  • price 1 of 4

If you grew up in the Midwest, there’s a good chance your archetype of a bakery looks a lot like southwest side institution Weber’s. After all, the focus at this perpetually-packed spot is on hearty, comforting fare that’s descended from German, Polish, and Scandinavian roots, yet over time has evolved its own regional character. The cake donut, surprisingly light beneath an icing of chocolate ganache, is a customer favorite. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • River West/West Town

Based out of Upton's Breakroom, Liberation Donuts is a bakery that’s at the forefront of the vegan pastry revolution. You don’t have to feel guilty about indulging when the doughnuts bear names like indness, a classic cake donut, or Compassion, a vanilla donut with rosemary jam, and Sanctuary, topped with bruleed sugar and pineapples. If you’re looking for something photo-worthy, For Greta is easily the most picturesque, topped with whipped cream and a strawberry. Plus, 50 percent of sales of the Total Liberation doughnut benefit animal and human rights nonprofits.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Wicker Park
  • price 1 of 4

Stan's is one of Chicago's most prolific dough purveyors—we're talking ten locations and counting, plus outposts in the suburbs. Though the company was originally founded in Los Angeles, Chicago-based Labriola Baking Company brought the brand to the Midwest, and we're thankful they did. No matter what store you frequent, the massive pastry case is sure to be filled with Biscoff pockets, Captain Crunch Bismarks, dozens of old-fashioneds and sprinkled cake donuts galore. Unlike others on this list, Stan's keeps its shops open late-ish into the evening (until 8pm at most locations), so you can get your donut fix any time of day. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Lake View
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Families with strollers crowd this Lakeview bakery on weekend mornings in search of fresh-baked cinnamon buns and donuts. Grab a number and contemplate your choices, like a classic chocolate-glazed long John or a craggly cake donut dipped in vanilla frosting. Once your number is called, resist the urge to jump over the pastry case to retrieve your doughnuts.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Lincoln Park

This shop is easy to miss but hard to leave. Located in an alley in Lincoln Park, Beacon became a doughnut destination after it went viral on TikTok. The shop’s 24-hour batches of brioche dough are so rich (yet equally light) that it is almost hard to believe that they’re vegan. Whether you’d like a seasonal flavor like the pumpkin cinnamon bun or the classics, like lavender vanilla or double chocolate and sea salt, there is a flavor for everyone. Snap a pic and wash your sweet treat down with locally-roasted Halfwit coffee. Beacon only boasts a walk-up window and closes once it runs out of doughnuts, so be sure to get there early and order ahead online (or opt for delivery).

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Roseland
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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 an apocalypse coming. Any time 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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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Albany Park

They don’t call this place Somethin' Sweet for nothing. This family owned business in Albany Park combine “the best of midwestern hospitality and Californa-style donuts.” Cake-style doughnuts are the hearty staple and it’s difficult to decide between flavors like vanilla, chocolate, cherry, blueberry, lemon, red velvet and devil’s food. If your sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, Somethin' Sweet also pffers delectable raised twists, mouth-watering french crullers and fresh doughnut holes you can eat on the go.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • River North
  • price 1 of 4

Jonathan Fox's offering to the donut-crazed masses is adorably vintage, with rows of donuts both classic (buttermilk old fashioned, apple fritter and jelly-filled) and wildly imaginative (churro, orange-poppyseed and maple-bacon). Make note: The epic, sprinkle-coated Birthday Cake donut will make you the hero of every office party. With locations in River North, Lincoln Park and a mobile truck, Firecakes is one of Chicago's most beloved donut makers.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Portage Park
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Mother-daughter team Dobra Bielinski and Stasia Hawyrszczuk opened this Jefferson Park bakery in 1998 and have established it as the preferred stop for those seeking Polish pastries. Case in point: You can buy deliciously filled paczki—a delicacy normally available only around Fat Tuesday—year-round. "Regular" donuts (i.e. plain, glazed and chocolate fudge) are also standbys.

  • Restaurants
  • West Loop

If you're searching for the city's most wildly indulgent (and Instagrammable) dough, look no further than BomboBar, a walk-up window on the side of Bar Siena in the West Loop. The counter specializes in bombolini, hole-less Italian donuts that are tossed in sugar. Each cloud-like pastry comes with an injectable tube of flavor; pick from salted caramel, raspberry, vanilla bean custard, Nutella and s'mores. The best part? You can squeeze jelly or cream all over every nook and cranny of these sweet Italian treats.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Evanston

With three different varities to choose from—basic, fancy and rotating—DB3 Donuts has something that will appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Try one of the Evanston shop’s three different types of chocolate doughnuts or reach for the cream filled coffee, topped with white chocolate pearls. And if you’re trying to impress someone, why not send them custom donut letters? That’s right, you can send a message in words formed from doughnuts—a delectable gift that is customizable all the way down to the sprinkle colors.

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