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This is what a donut taste test looks like.
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanThis is what a donut taste test looks like.

Behind the scenes: Searching for the best donuts in LA

Written by
Erin Kuschner

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

In order to find the best donuts in Los Angeles, we would have to try them all, right? We would systematically make our way through donuts of all kinds from shops across the city, taking thorough notes and analyzing flavor profiles with each bite. What could possibly go wrong?

On Tuesday, the boxes started arriving. Most of the participating shops had given us "a few extra," ranging from donut breakfast sandwiches to monster-sized cronut cakes. Soon, our makeshift photo studio had turned into a bakery, complete with the sickeningly sweet smell of sugar that wafted down the hall, drawing in people from other offices on our floor. "Holy shit" was the common response when they saw the tower of donuts spread out before us. After Jakob, our photographer, shot donuts from each shop, we were ready to commence the taste test, which consisted of nine categories: glazed, chocolate, sprinkles, frosted, fruit-/jelly-filled, cream-filled, old fashioneds, fritters and specialty donuts. Our editor-in-chief, Sara, had drawn up a sign that read "Donut Ever Give Up." Spirits were high. It was 4:45pm.

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

By 5pm, we had given up. "Nobody mention throwing up," our assistant editor, Michael, had said before we started, but it was being mentioned. More specifically, "I feel like I'm going to puke," said Kate, our senior associate editor. Yeah, yeah, poor us, our jobs are soooo hard, but have you ever tried eating bites of 15 different donuts in 9 categories? It's not easy. None of us made it through each category, but all of the donuts were sampled—and while we can't reveal the final winners quite yet, we can share some of our favorites from the entire stash.

Kate, Jakob, Danielle (our kickass intern) and Ramona (our managing editor) all thought Donut Friend's Jets to Basil, a plain glazed donut stuffed with goat cheese and strawberry jam and topped with a balsamic reduction, was the best of the bunch. Sara had a soft spot for the tangy coconut passion fruit from Fonuts. Michael was a fan of Randy's plain glazed, while I thought the classic Old Fashioned from Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts was a treat I could scarf down every morning. A few other favorites: Stan's Donuts' custard-filled donut, Tony's Donut House chocolate donut, and a blueberry cake option from SK's Donuts & Croissants. The biggest surprise from the taste test? Krispy Kreme kept resurfacing in the top three spots across multiple categories.

Stay tuned for the full list of winners, as well as an overall list of the best donut shops in LA. In the meantime, here are a few numbers from Tuesday's donut extravaganza:

By the numbers

264 donuts

15 participating donut shops

9 donut categories

7 judges

4 hours to shoot and eat

1 bag of potato chips to cleanse the palate

0 regrets (Just kidding. All the regrets.)

What are your predictions? Who do you think has some of the best donuts in LA? Let us know in the comments below. 

Update: Here are the best donuts in Los Angeles—the results of our donut taste test.

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