26. Nutella pocket with banana
As you'll see, I didn't like the Nutella pocket very much on its own, but the addition of banana only made it worse. But, you cry, a banana with Nutella on it is a healthy, delicious treat! Eat one of those instead of this cloying doughnut.
25. Peanut butter banana pocket
MAKE IT STOP. Somehow the damn banana flavor undid everything good about the peanut butter pocket, which, by itself, I really like. Makes me want to cry. But if you like peanut-butter-banana sandwiches, this is the one for you.
24. Biscoff pocket with banana
Banana. Is. The. Devil. Why would you pollute otherwise perfect cookie butter with banana? This is a crime against what should be an awesome doughnut.
23. Cinnamon sugar cake
What’s the point of this? I don’t know why this exists. It’s tough, it’s doughy and the interior has no flavor at all. If you really want cinnamon, this is it, but otherwise, I’d say no.
22. Coconut creme
Too much shredded coconut combined with the sticky glaze makes this doughnut a bit soggy, which means you can’t get the grip on it you want with a creme doughnut.
21. Chocolate glazed
It’s a pretty typical chocolate doughnut. Not recommended. Just go for it and get the double chocolate old fashioned, already!
20. Coconut cake
My least favorite of the cake doughnuts. I don’t like Stan's cake doughnuts and I hate shredded coconut, so there’s basically nothing to love here.
19. Vanilla cake with sprinkles
Go somewhere else and get a cheaper version. The delicious vanilla icing isn’t enough to save it.
18. Glazed twist
It’s a glazed twist. It’s standard fancy doughnut shop fare, not as good as Krispy Kreme and better than Dunkin' Donuts. That being said, the glazed twist is the way to go if you like icing, because you get more coverage without that pesky hole in the middle. But it’s huge, so if I ate a whole one, I’d slip into a coma.
17. Maple bacon caramel
This is decadent (how could it not be, it’s maple bacon caramel) but it’s not as good as Glazed and Infused’s maple bacon long john, which has a whole strip of thick, maple-glazed bacon on top. This is a standard glazed bar with a bacon crumble on top, and while the crumble is delicious, it doesn’t cover the whole doughnut. Plus, the rest of the doughnut is too bland for me.
16. Blueberry old fashioned
The blueberries add a tiny bit of extra flavor, but not enough to order it unless you are a huge blueberry fan or are really bored with vanilla.
15. Chocolate old fashioned
The chocolate icing is too soft, making the outer layer less crisp than I usually like it (see: Do Rite, the Chicago master of the old fashioned). I like the outside to be extra hard, so that when you bite into the doughnut you get that deep satisfaction of going through the shell and getting to the creamy, soft center. It has a good flavor, but I’d go for a different chocolate doughnut at Stan’s.
14. Vanilla old fashioned
Same problem as the chocolate old fashioned. This is decent, though.
13. Blueberry fritter
It’s not as good as the apple fritter. It’s a little too dense and hard to eat, and the blueberries come across as cloying, while the apples come across as nice and crunchy.
12. Nutella pocket
Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t like this one. I love Nutella—I would eat a piece of cardboard if you smeared enough on it. But the chocolate overpowers the flavor of the Nutella, so you don’t get any interesting hazelnut flavor.
11. Cap'n Crunch
I expected to like this, as I secretly love Cap'n Crunch cereal. But I didn’t get the point. There was a single piece of Cap'n Crunch on the top, but the rest of the doughnut just tasted like a regular glazed doughnut. Not recommended.
10. Lemon curd bismark
Stan’s has bismarks down pat. Real fruit flavor without the cloying fakeness, and the powdered sugar is perfect for the slightly tart lemon.
9. Double chocolate old fashioned
This is a big improvement over the standard chocolate old fashioned found elsewhere. If you like chocolate, this is the old fashioned doughnut to get at Stan’s. The doughnut itself is chocolate, which helps. I still think the crust is too wimpy for an old fashioned, but it’s not bad.
8. Apple fritter
This is an excellent, if not innovative, apple fritter. Unlike the old fashioned, this is crispy enough, and it’s got big chewy chunks of apple—perfect for pretending you are eating something vaguely healthy.
7. Blueberry bismark
This is an amazing fruit doughnut. None of that artificial red gunk that squirts out of most jelly doughnuts; this has a thick, fruity blueberry jam inside that tastes like actual fruit from a real bush. The sugar on the outside is delicious and provides great texture.
6. Peanut butter pocket
It’s nice and crispy, with a good shot of not-too-sweet peanut butter. I wish all of Stan's “pockets” were a bit more full to the brim—you can take two the three bites without getting much filling—but the flavors are delicious. It’s like eating an inside-out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
5. Vanilla-orange old fashioned
This one is awesome. The texture isn’t perfect (see my previous musings on proper old fashioneds), but the orange flavor makes a huge difference. It’s got a serious citrusy hit, with nice pieces of orange peel on the outside.
4. Buttermilk bismark
This may be the only creme-filled doughnut I’d ever spend money on. The thick chocolate coating is perfect, and the buttermilk filling is slightly tangy and a little less sweet than the typical Boston Cream.
3. Buttermilk bar
This is what a basic doughnut should taste like. This is what I’d have for breakfast every day if calories didn’t exist. It’s got that tang of buttermilk, which makes everything taste creamier, it’s got a really healthy hit of frosting, and it’s nice and crisp.
2. Biscoff pocket
Wow. This doughnut is filled with Biscoff cookie butter, which is not a typical doughnut filling. It’s not cloyingly sweet and it’s thick, so it doesn’t squirt all over you. It’s like eating a cookie stuffed inside a doughnut, which is awesome. It’s also got a nice, dark caramel drizzled over the top, which adds some depth.
1. Lemon pistachio old fashioned
My favorite of them all. It’s really got a solid hit of pistachio flavor, with a nice hint of lemon on the finish. It’s crispy on the outside, and while it’s not nearly as citrusy as the vanilla-orange old fashioned, the mix of flavors is wonderful. I could eat two.
Last year's National Doughnut Day was pretty epic for Time Out. Staffers busted their guts eating nearly every doughnut in Chicago (in addition to creating a doughnut mix tape and featuring doughnut-themed clothes, among other doughnut-related insanity).
Stan's Donuts & Coffee opened in Wicker Park in February of this year, which means Stan's didn't have the honor of being included in Time Out's taste test. For National Doughnut Day 2014, I rectify this injustice by eating all of the doughnuts Stan's offers and ranking them.
Stan's has some delicious, innovative doughnuts, including versions made with buttermilk, real fruit and Biscoff cookie spread. But not everything is so great. Every doughnut filled with banana should be discontinued immediately, and its basic cake doughnuts just don't stand up to the competition. Here are 26 Stan's doughnuts (note: availability varies), ranked from worst to best.
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