Besides cheering for their beloved Sox and Pats and complaining about the weather, few things are as sacred to Bostonians as donuts. The sheer ubiquity of Dunkin' is proof enough of the city's love for these pastries (although the chain dropped the "Donuts" from its name back in 2019). More than simple sugary rings, donuts are an excuse for hardworking Bostonians to slow down and indulge, if only for a couple of minutes.
The city's donut options run the gamut from decades-old mom-and-pop shops in the suburbs to trendy brunch spots in the heart of the city. Given just how many places sell donuts in Boston, you'll have no trouble finding some good ones. In fact, you'll probably have the opposite problem — too many quality donut shops and not enough time or stomach capacity to try them all. Thankfully, we've curated a list of the best spots for donuts in Boston to help you out. On this list, you'll find shops specializing in classics like jelly-filled alongside up-and-coming joints experimenting with flavors like fried chicken, bacon, and strawberry shortcake. If you're ready to embark on an amazing culinary adventure, then grab a cup of coffee and loosen your belt.
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Since opening its first location in the South End in 2015, Blackbird Doughnuts has expanded to six total locations in and around Boston. That means you can get your donut fix whether you find yourself near Fenway or in Harvard Square in Cambridge. Blackbird makes some seriously great donuts, but that's not the only reason it made the list of Boston's best donut spots. What we love about this chain (which is owned by the folks behind Banyan Bar + Refuge and Sally's Sandwiches), is that it always has something new.
Each month brings 10 flavors, a new donut cake, and plenty of seasonal specials. Past flavors have included everything from spicy chickn n' waffles (brioche donut with a honey-butter glaze, fried chicken crumble, and a maple drizzle) to root beer float (brioche donut with a vanilla root beer glaze, vanilla whip topping, and a chocolate straw). In addition to these more out-there flavors, you'll always find classics like chocolate cake donuts, vanilla glaze, and Boston Cream. And let's not forget about the vegans, as Blackbird Doughnuts always has at least one dairy-free option on the menu.
Union Square Donuts
Bostonians can't get enough of Union Square Donuts and it's easy to see why. Not only do these donuts strike the perfect balance between pillowy and chewy, but they're also award-winning. That's right, Underground Donut Tour voted Union Square's maple bacon donut the best unique donut in the country in 2022. Union Square's treats have also made appearances in Fodor's 10 Best Donut Shops in the United States and USA Today's Best Donuts in the Country.
Donuts come in a range of permanent and seasonal flavors that will appeal to even the pickiest eaters. Permanent flavors run the gamut from basic (honey-glazed) to setting new donut flavor trends (Vietnamese coffee). In between, you'll find familiar flavors like cookies & cream, sea salt whiskey caramel, and moon pie reimagined in donut form.
Seasonal flavors are a great way to get into the holiday season, whether you're celebrating the Fourth of July with firework donuts or cozying up to fall with cider donuts. If you follow a plant-based diet, you'll be happy that Union Square offers at least one vegan donut option daily. The chain has two shops in Boston proper, one at the Boston Public Market and one at Time Out Market in the Fenway, as well as three more locations in the Greater Boston area.
Mike's Donuts is a Boston-area favorite that holds its own in a list of top donut locations in the U.S. The secret recipe for Mike's famous honey-dipped donuts was invented in 1969, but the famous Mission Hills shop at the Roxbury Crossing T station didn't open its doors until 1976. Since then, husband and wife team Bruce and Maria Weinograd have protected the recipe and delighted Boston-area donut fans with their tempting treats. Order just one for breakfast or go for a dozen to share with colleagues. We recommend ordering more than one. Not only because these donuts are that delicious, but also because rumor has it that you get free donut holes with bigger orders.
Since opening, Mike's has expanded to a second location at the Forest Hills T station in Jamaica Plain and broadened the menu to include sandwiches, soup, and ice cream. Besides donuts, Mike's also serves a range of coffee beverages that includes flavored drip coffee, espressos, and cappuccinos. You can even purchase a reusable 20-ounce coffee mug that's good for the environment and saves you money.
Doughboy Donuts & Deli
What do you do when you get a donut craving in the middle of the night? You could drive around hoping to find a late-night Dunkin' that's open. Or you could eliminate the guesswork and head straight for Doughboy Donuts & Deli in South Boston. Doughboy is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It even has a drive-through window. That means you can satisfy your sweet tooth without having to get dressed, which sounds like a pretty great setup to us.
When you come to Doughboy, you'll find classic donut flavors like jelly-filled, vanilla-frosted, and Boston cream. Along with these standbys, there are more out-there flavors like butternut, Fruity Pebbles, and chocolate coconut. If you're craving something a bit different, but are still in the mood for something sweet, Doughboy serves up croissants, turnovers, muffins, cupcakes, and cookies. As the name suggests, Doughboy also offers deli meals that include sandwiches (hot and cold), pizza, and salads. But don't write this off as a glorified fast food joint. Doughboy's menu also features roast chicken, turkey with Thanksgiving sides, and pot roast.
Brassica Kitchen + Cafe
Looking at Brassica Kitchen + Cafe's wood-accented exterior, you'd have no idea that it's one of the best spots for donuts in Boston. If anything, it looks like a carefully curated hipster dwelling that specializes in avocado toast. Funny enough, this trendy spot (which is located across the street from the Forest Hills T Station) does have a pretty killer brunch menu, but let's get back to the donuts.
Brassica serves homemade donuts out of its cafe on Thursday and Friday mornings only. That's one reason why they usually sell out before noon. The other is that these donuts are dynamite. Flavors change from week to week but expect unique flavors like white chocolate-apricot, Thai tea, coconut, brown butter, and maple bacon. That said, donut purists can nosh on traditional flavors like vanilla glazed with sprinkles or honey-glazed. Given the popularity of the donuts and the small size of the cafe, we recommend getting there right at 9 a.m.
Anna's Hand Cut Donuts
You'll have to trek over to West Roxbury to sample Anna's Hand Cut Donuts, but we promise the trip is worth it. As soon as you approach the storefront and see the Do-Nuts & Coffee, est. 1965 sign, you'll feel like you jumped 50 years back in time. Inside, the no-frills counter, stools, and donut racks let you know that you're in the kind of authentic neighborhood donut shop that just doesn't exist anymore.
Anna's specializes in light, fluffy donuts in a variety of nostalgic flavors such as honey-dipped, chocolate, and powdered sugar. No matter which flavor you choose, you'll be in donut heaven. However, if you really want to experience the best of what Anna's has to offer, then we suggest trying the jelly-filled donuts or sticks. Both are massive and bursting with fresh black raspberry jam. Besides donuts, you'll find other morning treats like crullers and muffins. True to its old-school feel, Anna's closes at 1 p.m. and only accepts cash.
Gail Anns Coffee Shop
Gail Anns is located in Arlington, a quaint suburb just outside of Boston. From the green awning outside to the Formica tables inside, this tiny neighborhood spot looks and feels like the type of place your grandparents would bring you to on a Saturday morning. The shop has been a local favorite since its founding back in 1954. In fact, Boston Magazine awarded the shop its prestigious Best of Boston Award in 1999, citing the perfectly fluffy texture of the donuts as the reason behind the win.
Although it's been some time since the award, Gail Anns Coffee Shop is still one of the best Beantown spots for sweet treats. Speaking of which, Gail Anns offers no less than 20 different types of donuts each day. Here, you'll find all of the donut standbys -- and frosted, glazed, and cream-filled are just the tip of the iceberg. For the true hedonists out there, we recommend the Boston cream stick, a chocolate-dipped, vanilla-custard-filled masterpiece.
A trendy Southie spot renowned for its wood-fired pizzas and seafood specialties, The Broadway is also one of our favorite spots for donuts in Boston. Here, pastry chef Matthew Dworkin is always experimenting with unique ways to elevate the simple donut. That means there are no boring flavors to be found. Rather, you should expect flavors like brown-butter maple bacon, Cap'n Crunch strawberry shortcake, and a Little Debbie-inspired Cosmic Brownie donut.
While the donut offerings are unique in and of themselves, it's the addition of alcohol that really sets Broadway's pastries apart. Yes, you read that correctly. The Broadway will add a shot of booze-infused filling to your donut for an additional $5. Some of its winning combinations include a Fluffernuter donut with a Frangelico-butterscotch shot and a Chipwich donut infused with Bailey's. As you can see, there's a lot to love about these sweet rings. Perhaps the only downside is that The Broadway's donuts are only available on weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until they sell out).
Nestled between Cambridge and Beacon streets in Allston-Brighton, Twin Donuts announces its presence with a cursive sign and silvery overhang that look like they came straight out of the 1950s. And this decor isn't just a gimmick. Twin Donuts has been serving hungry college students on a budget, service workers, and commuters since 1955.
Like a lot of Boston-area donut shops, family-run Twin Donuts is no frills. Here, the donuts (and other breakfast foods) are simple, tasty, and generously sized. The flavors don't break any donut boundaries, but you're guaranteed to find old standbys like lemon, apple spice, honey-dipped, and Bavarian cream. Prices have increased over the years, but Twin Donuts remains one of the most affordable (and delicious) spots for donuts in Boston. It opens at 6 a.m. and the donuts sell out fast, so you'd better drag yourself out of bed if you want to sample some.
Donut Villa Diner
Donut Villa Diner opened its first location in an old strip mall in Malden (just north of Boston). It wasn't long before the '50s-inspired decor and dishes caught on. In recent years, the chain has expanded to locations in Newton, Cambridge, and Arlington. No matter which location you choose, you'll find yourself transported back in time the minute you open the door. Old school hits blare from the speakers, neon signs light up excited diners' faces, and swiveling stools hug the counter. True to its name, Donut Villa Diner's donuts are incredible. Massive in size, pillowy in texture, and undeniably fresh, these are the kinds of donuts most people only dream about.
The classic honey dip is the chain's best-seller, but we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. As an example, you could try the Nutella-topped Boston cream donut or experiment with the matcha white chocolate. There are even some gluten-free and vegan options. Besides serving donuts au natural, Donut Villa Diner also serves dishes made with donuts. For instance, there's Donut Benny, a riff on Eggs Benedict that comes with a poached egg on top of a donut, finished with hollandaise sauce. Or there's the donut cheeseburger, which is exactly what it sounds like — a cheeseburger served on two donuts instead of a bun.
If there's one donut shop pretty much every Bostonian can agree on, it's Kane's Donuts. The first location opened in Saugus, a cozy Northshore town located about 20 minutes north of Boston, in 1955. Husband and wife team Peter and Kay Delios took over the chain in the 1980s, expanding to an additional location in Saugus and another one in Boston's Financial District. In addition to expanding the brand, the couple helped usher their donuts to victory in Boston Magazine's Best of Boston awards in both 2009 and 2018.
Fans of Kane's praise the donuts' fluffy texture and balanced sweetness. Fans also note the brand's ability to churn out classic flavors (honey dip, chocolate glazed, and lemon filled) alongside more unique offerings (maple bacon, crème brûlée, and cookies & cream). In addition to experimenting with flavors, Kane's also plays around with different styles of donuts. Here, you'll find yeast donuts, cake donuts, and filled donuts. There are also plenty of gluten-free options on the menu, making Kane's the ideal breakfast spot for just about anyone.
Greco's Greek-style loukoumades may resemble the donut holes popularized by a certain nationwide chain, but don't you dare confuse them with Munchkins. Whereas Munchkins are densely cakey and cloyingly sweet, loukoumades are light, airy, and perfectly complemented by the different toppings on offer. It makes sense that loukoumades are so delicious. After all, they're generally considered to be the first donuts in the world, so they've had some time to perfect the recipe. That's why we have no hesitation in recommending them as a must-try Greek food.
Greco serves its loukoumades out of four Boston locations: Back Bay, Sea Port, Downtown, and TD Garden. There are three flavors available: Classic Greek (honey, walnuts, and cinnamon). Bougatsa (custard creme, phyllo, cinnamon, and powdered sugar), and Yaya's (hazelnut praline, Oreo cookies, and powdered sugar). The Classic Greek is obviously the most authentic flavor, but who can resist sinking their teeth into a fried ball of dough topped with Oreo crumbs?
Located on Mystic Avenue in Medford, Demet's Donuts is another Boston-area donut shop that requires a bit of a commute. With its simple sign and unassuming brick exterior, it's the type of place that you could easily miss if you're not looking for it. Like many of the best spots for donuts in Boston, Demet's is an old-school shop that's been churning out homemade donuts for over 30 years.
Unlike trendy locations that play around with all manner of wacky toppings, Demet's prefers to keep things simple by serving only classics like cinnamon-sugar, powdered, and jelly-filled. You can't go wrong with any of these flavors, but where Demet's really shines is with its blueberry cake and Boston cream donuts. Both are simply bursting with fresh, gooey filling. Given Demet's reputation, we recommend getting there early (it opens at 5 a.m.). Fair warning — the spot can and will sell out by noon. It's also worth noting that the shop only accepts cash. Along with donuts, Demet's sells bagels, coffee rolls, and breakfast sandwiches.
Donuts With A Difference
Medford, Massachusetts isn't known for much, but when it comes to donuts, this city is spoiled for choice. Founded in 1984, Donuts with a Difference is yet another award-winning donut shop in the Greater Boston area. It won both Boston Magazine's Best Donut award in 2014 and NBC Boston's Best Donut in the state in 2017. The tiny shop is located in a nondescript strip mall on Riverside Avenue that reveals nothing about the tempting treats found inside.
Donuts with a Difference is best known for its light and airy raised donuts. They're perfectly fried and crispy on the outside, yet fluffy on the inside. At the same time, they don't taste like fry oil, something that's common amongst cake donuts. Some of the shop's most popular flavors include honey-dipped, chocolate cake, and jelly-filled. Keep in mind that the shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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