Living in a city like Chicago has a number of big advantages – beautiful street art murals, striking city skylines, high-quality vintage shopping – but perhaps my favorite thing about it is all of the delicious food I had access to. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for decadent brunch restaurants, high-end Michelin restaurants, or neighborhood jaunts, Chicago has excellent food in every category.
And doughnuts are no exception. Chicago knows how to make an awesome donut.
I didn’t really grow up eating doughnuts. It wasn’t a big thing for either of my parents, but when I moved to Chicago I started to see the donut eateries popping up all over the place. I was intrigued and I would sample them every now and then. Once I became a regular coffee drinker, my enjoyment of doughnuts increased even more. Especially with old fashioned doughnuts. I fell in love with them. It became my preferred side to accompany a double shot espresso on an indulgent weekend morning. In the process, I figured out which Chicago donut purveyors were my favorites, insight that I am here to share with you!
These are the 6 Best Places to Find Doughnuts in Chicago
This hole-in-the-wall doughnut shop was located just a few blocks from my office, so buying a dozen delicious doughnuts became a staple way our team celebrated wins or staff achievements. The brainchild of iconic Chicago restaurant group Hogsalt, of Au Cheval and Bavette’s fame, Doughnut Vault’s fried confections have become quite popular in the city. It is not uncommon to see their doughnuts sold out just a few hours after opening across their three different Chicago locations. You may want to arrive early and plan on waiting in line for a taste of their creative specials, like dulce de leche, whiskey caramel old-fashioned with pecans or honey bun cake. If you’re more into the classics, their buttermilk old fashioned doughnut might be my favorite in the entire city.
If there is one Chicago doughnut purveyor you’ve already heard of, it is most likely Stan’s. This local chain has become the city’s premier doughnut shop with multiple locations all over town. Their lemon pistachio old-fashioned was the first doughnut I ever tried in Chicago, and it remains a personal favorite. I used to pop into their Wicker Park location whenever I had a tough day at work, thanks to the convenient location directly next to the Blue Line stop. Their iconic pink signs and colorful interiors are inviting and fun, making for the perfect backdrop to their flavorful fried creations. Stan’s excels on variety, ranging from old fashioneds and fruit fritters to Captain Crunch Bismarks and Biscoff pockets stuffed with cookie dough or peanut butter.
Whenever I saw the Beaver Donuts food truck driving around the city, it put a smile on my face knowing that someone was about to enjoy their delicious fried convections. This is my husband’s favorite Chicago doughnut spot – they used to park near his office in the Loop every week, so his team would regularly go and pick them up. You’ll smell these doughnuts before you see them because Beaver fresh fries their doughnut holes to order. The smell is divine. You can get them with cinnamon sugar, chocolate, powdered sugar or a mix. Let me tell you, these donut holes are pillowy pockets of perfection.
You might know Do-Rite primarily for it’s indulgent fried chicken sandwiches with glazed donuts as buns. This over-the-top creation is what originally made this shop famous, but the delicious doughnuts don’t stop there. Their classic buttermilk old fashioned is well-known for it’s light but dense interior. The vanilla bean glazed yeast doughnut is another popular option, as well as the pistachio-Meyer lemon. They also do seasonal offerings like a Michigan apple fritter or Valrhona chocolate cake. As a bonus, the shop carries gluten-free and vegan options as well. Get there early or order ahead—all five open locations shut down when they run out of doughnuts.
Although Ipsento is best known for their caffeinated beverages, it makes this Chicago Doughnut guide thanks to its creative and cute mini doughnuts. This Bucktown coffee shop is located next to the 606 bike path and it is a popular place for digital nomads and home office workers. You can expect a buzzy vibe and lovely views over the corner park. The mini doughnuts come in a variety of seasonal flavors, each more delicious than the last. Think zesty lemon or cinnamon pumpkin latte or sage maple blueberry. You can buy them individually or in packs of a half dozen. Regardless, I can almost guarantee you won’t be going home with any extras because the more of them you pop into your mouth, the more of them you’ll want.
A fairly new addition to the Chicago doughnut scene, this River North purveyor made a splash when it opened. The colorful exterior of their small shop is just a preview for the colorful and creative creations you can enjoy inside. They have great seasonal specialties like a summery Meyer lemon or fall-inspired apple cider donut, but their most famous donut is the vanilla iced. Managing to balance that careful line between a flavorful vanilla vs a strong extract flavor, Firecakes nails it with cute little crunchy pearls on top. They change the colors with the season, so it always feels fresh while keeping the delightful flavor. There is a cute patio out front for enjoying the city vibes while snacking on your doughnut.
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What is your favorite style of doughnut? Comment below!
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