The average American eats 31 donuts per year, according to a 2018 survey from Dawn Foods, a global supplier of bakery ingredients – with over a third of consumers eating donuts at least once a month.
While America’s obsession with these fried treats is generations old, recent decades have seen a wave of independent and small chain donut shops sweep the nation. Of the 10 billion donuts made in the U.S. annually, the two most ubiquitous chains account for less than half. Krispy Kreme sells up to 1.6 billion a year, while Dunkin’ sells 2.9 billion – including munchkins. (These are the Dunkin’ Donuts capitals of America.)
To compile a list of the best donut shops in America, 24/7 Tempo consulted articles and rankings on a variety of sites, including Eater, Food & Wine, Thrillist, Time Out, and Tasting Table, as well as numerous local and regional sources, then made a final choice based on editorial discretion. Some of these shops offer virtually nothing but donuts, while others are full-service bakeries or cafés known for the quality of their donuts as well as other foods. Most of the shops here are independent one-unit operations; exceptions are noted as such.
According to Dawn Foods, some 82% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers are interested in trying donuts offering adventurous and novel flavor combinations – and most of the best donut shops in the nation offer some edgy flavors that push the envelope beyond the everyday glazed and cream-filled varieties. From olive oil and black pepper to broccoli cream to strawberry matcha, the varieties at these purveyors are virtually limitless.
Southern California has long been known as a donut mecca, and five of the best donut shops are in that regionl. Los Angeles boasts a donut shop for every 7,000 residents, while the rate in the rest of the country is closer to one per 30,000. Four shops are in Texas, which is also known for its plethora of donut purveyors. (This is the best donut shop in every state.)
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