New York City’s doughnut scene is marked by a solid mix of old and new. Classic shops like Peter Pan are still fan favorites, while others like the Doughnut Project slip savory flavors such as everything spice with cream cheese frosting onto the pastries. Here’s where to go for a doughnut in NYC.Read More
17 Doughnuts to Seek Out in NYC
Glazed, filled with jam, newfangled with everything seeds — these are the top doughnut shops in New York City
Hanging behind the pastry counter of this century-old Upper East Side bakery is a row of enormous plastic syringes. They look like something used to feed antibiotics to a horse, but they’re actually loaded with jam, ready to fill jelly doughnuts to order. Pick a chocolate-glazed or sugar-coated base, then choose from one of six or so different jams for an intensely personal doughnut experience.
Underwest is not the easiest doughnut shop to get to, being inside a car wash on 12th Avenue, over four long Midtown avenues from the nearest subway. But it is entirely worth the trip for the tender little cake doughnuts made by Scott Levine, who was once a sous chef at Chanterelle. The sugared variety are freshly fried to order, don’t skip the pre-made glazed doughnuts. Go for the almond-topped brown butter doughnut, which is rich, moist, and nutty-tasting.
Grace Street Coffee & Desserts
Fresh from the fryer, Grace Street’s ho-dduk are doughnut pockets filled with a molten cinnamon- and walnut-spiked caramel. Eat with caution, as the gooey sweets have a tendency to squirt very hot — but addictive — caramel.
Sullivan Street Bakery
The light and chewy bomboloni at Chelsea Italian cafe Sullivan Street Bakery — now also in Hell’s Kitchen — come with one of three fillings: tart raspberry jam, fresh vanilla-flecked custard, or extra silky chocolate ganache. The amount of filling is restrained, and these doughnuts aren’t quite as big as some of their competitors, so two are ideal.
The Donut Pub
It can be hard not to pause beneath the glowing neon of the Donut Pub, especially since the doughnuts are just a dollar and change. This classic, 24-hour doughnut counter, open since 1964, will occasionally throw things like crushed Oreo’s onto its doughnuts, and now offers a dizzying array of Cronut knockoffs, but as always, the basics are best. The crullers and the honey dips are great, and coconut lovers will appreciate both toasted and untoasted coconut doughnuts here.
The crullers are the breakout star at this Danny Meyer cafe, off to the side of Union Square Cafe. They tend to sell out by mid-morning, so hurry to try the cinnamon sugar, maple, and glazed varieties. The inside is moist and creamy, buoyed by meringue in the batter, while honey turns the twisted exterior extra dark and crunchy.
Umber Ahmad and Shelly Barbera’s West Village bakery serves the team’s signature dense brioche doughnuts, which are filled with a standout vanilla cream and dusted with sugar. The doughnut hole extracted from the center of the pastry comes along with it, sitting on top of the regular doughnut.
The Doughnut Project
These big, chewy yeast doughnuts often get a savory turn at the Doughnut Project, where flavors could include olive oil and black pepper or everything spice with cream cheese frosting. If savory doughnuts especially appeal, opt for the beet version, which comes dipped in an earthy, magenta glaze and generously filled with ricotta so lightly sweetened this doughnut could almost qualify as lunch.
Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
Peter Pan is a Greenpoint institution where servers wear teal and pink, the doughnuts cost $1.10, and there are always a few old regulars perched at the counter. The red velvet doughnuts are popular, but the best options are even simpler. Go for the pillowy honey dip, or the craggy sour cream cake doughnut.
Known for its over-the-top stunt pastries, Supermoon’s round, filled doughnuts are worth the hype, made with springy, chewy yeasted dough. Flavors change weekly, but a recent $5 doughnut was inspired by the super blood moon, made with red brioche dough, raspberry jelly and glaze, dehydrated strawberry, pink meringue, and red and white chocolate pieces. Skip the croissants in favor of the doughnuts.
The tiny cafe within Missy Robbins’ pasta powerhouse Lilia serves excellent bomboloni that are like a doughnut version of tiramisu that’s been yeasted, fried, and filled with a mascarpone and espresso mixture. There are also fritelle, little fried, savory dough balls inspired by the flavors of cacio e pepe.
With outposts in Brooklyn and Queens as well as Manhattan, Doughnut Plant is now a giant among New York doughnut makers, and one of the few that excels equally at cake and yeasted varieties. The flavors are always interesting, and new specials appear often, but the classics have stayed on the menu for a reason. For cake doughnut lovers, go for the condensed milk-injected tres leches. If yeasted is preferred, the peanut butter and jelly doughnut is chewy, flavorful, and not at all goopy.
Pies 'n' Thighs
The wait for brunch at Pies ‘N’ Thighs in Williamsburg will never be short, so when hunger demands immediate food, just pop in and buy a doughnut from the counter. The dense, softball-sized cake doughnuts come in cinnamon sugar and chocolate, while the raised variety is butter pecan crunch flavored. Doughnuts are usually gone by dinnertime, so don’t expect a doughnut dessert.
These totally vegan doughnuts stack up surprisingly well for being egg-free. There are yeast and cake variations, as well as different kinds of filled doughnuts, like a vegan Boston cream and a peanut butter and jelly-filled doughnut. The shop followed up with a second location in the East Village.
This Bed Stuy-born shop specializes in enormous, soft-yet-chewy yeast doughnuts dunked in a range of glazes that go well beyond the basic chocolate and vanilla. Some of the standouts are the tropical flavors: the fuschia-frosted hibiscus and bright, cocoa nib-peppered passion fruit. Dough doughnuts can now be found in coffee shops and food halls all over the city, but they’re softest and freshest directly from the Bed-Stuy or Flatiron outposts.
Du Jour Bakery
This Park Slope cafe offers simple yeasted doughnuts three ways: sugared, glazed, or in Boston Cream form. All are good and fresh, but the Boston Cream doughnut is the real standout. It’s fist-sized, glazed in rich, real dark chocolate, and generously packed with thick, not-too-sweet vanilla pastry cream that’s a far cry from the corn starch-thickened custard in an average Boston Cream. A newer version includes a creme brulee version, filled with pastry cream and topped with a crackly sugar glaze.
This is another old-school shop, open 24 hours in far south Brooklyn, where the doughnuts are outrageously cheap — a dozen is under $6. The options don’t go beyond the simple classics, but the yeast doughnuts are airy, the cake doughnuts dense and crusty, and the jam-filled, rock-shaped pom poms are like the doughnut version of a thumbprint cookie. Shaikh’s is also the only doughnut shop on this list also selling decent tacos.