Chicago, America's Second City, actually ranks eighth in the nation for its per capita availability of donuts. Chicago is beat out by donut-crazed Boston, Long Beach, New York, Fort Worth, Dallas, Los Angeles, and D.C. (stat)
Even with its relatively low ranking amongst the nation's most populous cities, there are plenty of artisanal donuts to be found in this city. Check them out in...
Our 9 favorite donuts in Chicago:
Chestnut Glazed from Doughnut Vault
A basic of the yeast donut family, it can be pretty tricky to honor the glazed donut's heritage while still creating a unique donut. So why venture off the beaten tourist path for a glazed donut from Doughnut vault? Because they. Are. Huge! And delicious.
We love the chestnut glazed, but of course you can't go wrong with the chocolate glazed or vanilla glazed, either. Other consistent offerings at the Vault include buttermilk old fashioned and gingerbread stack (a trio of sugared gingerbread cake donuts).
In addition to those donut flavors served every day, Doughnut Vault offers a daily special and a seasonal jelly donut. Our recent favorites have included a passionfruit old fashioned and a peanut butter chocolate cake donut.
Note: each Doughnut Vault location has a unique menu. The chestnut glazed can be found at the River North location.
River North: 401 N. Franklin St.; West Loop: 111 N. Canal St.; Anywhere: the Vault Van's location varies. check their twitter page for daily updates.
Double Chocolate Old Fashioned from Do-Rite Donuts
"Double" and "chocolate" are words that go best together for many of us. Do-Rite's double chocolate old fashioned will be a highlight for any chocoholic touring the city.
Other Do-Rite donuts we love include: carrot cake & cream cheese old fashioned, bombolone with Italian custard, and pistachio Meyer lemon glazed. Also don't miss the Sweet Heat donut and chicken sandwich at the Do-Rites Donuts & Chicken location (Magnificent Mile).
Note: Do-Rite Donuts also has gluten-free and vegan donuts.
The Loop: 50 W. Randolf St.; Magnificent Mile: 233 E. Erie St.
Lemon Pistachio from Stan's Donuts
So many, many options at Stan's Donuts. It's almost hard to know where to begin. So we suggest beginning with Stan's lemon pistachio old fashioned. Then work your way down the menu!
We also love the toffee cake and the orange old fashioned. Sweet-and-salty lovers will enjoy the maple caramel bacon pecan bar, and kids will like the extreme blue inside the coconut blue velvet cake donut.
Note: Stan's Donuts also has gluten-free and vegan donuts.
Wicker Park: 1560 N. Damen Ave.; Streeterville: 259 E. Erie St. Ste. 100; Lakeview East: 2800 N. Clark St., also 3300 N. Broadway; South Loop: 26 E. Roosevelt Rd.; Magnificent Mile: 535 N. Michigan Ave.
Pink Lemonade from Doodle's Doughnuts
The dough part of the dough-nuts at Doodle's seems just slightly less sweet than the average donut, which means the toppings and fillings can run the show. And that's just what happens with our favorite Doodle's donut, the Pink Lemonade; the tart lemon custard filling shines against the donut's contrasting, subtle sweetness.
We also enjoy Doodle's Girl Scout-inspired samoa. And bacon fans shouldn't miss the maple bacon glazed donut, featuring bacon from a sixth-generation family farm in nearby Wisconsin.
Note: Doodle's Doughnuts also has gluten-free donuts.
Old Town: 1419 N. Wells St.
PB&J from Glazed and Infused
Peanut butter and jelly is such an obvious choice for a favorite donut, it's surprising it's not a standard on all donut shop menus. Somehow, we've rarely seen a PB&J donut in the city, and love the version served at Glazed and Infused.
We also love the maple chocolate chip, the blackberry cheesecake, and especially the seasonal cranberry coconut almond.
Lincoln Park: 939 W. Armitage Ave.; River North: 30 E. Hubbard St.; Streeterville: 201 E. Delaware Pl.; The Loop: 222 N. LaSalle St.; West Loop: 813 W. Fulton Market
Coconut Cream Cake Donut at Firecakes Donuts
You'd never guess Firecakes' donuts originated from the recipes of a Wisconsin logging camp more than a century ago. But we're glad lumberjacks had such good taste in donuts. Our favorite: the Coconut Cream cake donut.
We also love Firecakes' peach fritter and the Valrhona chocolate & espresso cream. And the addition of pineapple makes their maple glazed pineapple & bacon donut stand out in the almost-overdone maple bacon donut trend.
River North: 68 W. Hubbard St.; Lincoln Park: 2453 N. Clark St.
Raspberry Bismarck at Dinkel's Bakery
Way up north, Dinkel's is a general pastry bakery, not a specialize donut shop. As such, it takes some peering over the counters to find their donuts, which seem something of an afterthought. But the effort of locating the donuts pays off with the Raspberry Bismarck.
We also like the sour cream old fashioned that keeps true to Dinkel's almost-95 year history; no artistic fluff here, just a good old fashioned, well, old fashioned.
Lakeview: 3329 N. Lincoln Ave.
Funky Monkey Donut Milkshake from Beaver's Coffee & Donuts
Does a milkshake with bananas, chocolate, and donuts need further explanation? Nope! Beaver's funky monkey donut milkshake ingredient list speaks for itself.
Fluffernutter donut truffles, on the other hand, might need some discussion. They are mini donuts (usually purchased in multiples of four) drizzled in melted peanut butter and marshmallow creme. They are finger-licking good... which is fortunate, as their messiness necessitates licking the fingers!
West Loop: inside Chicago's French Market, 131 N. Clinton St.; Anywhere: Beaver's truck location varies. Check their twitter page for daily updates.
Salted Caramel Bombolini at Bombobar
Warm, salted caramel oozing from a sugared yeast donut is about as good as life gets, with our Bombobar favorite, the salted caramel bombolini.
Other favorites at Bombobar include the mixed berry bombolini and the vanilla bean custard bombolini. And a non-donut favorite at Bombobar: their highly photogenic backdrop that calls out to photography lovers and instagram addicts.
West Loop: part of Bar Siena, 832 W. Randolf St.
What did we miss?
If you have a fav Chicago donut that we haven't tried, let us know in the comments!
More Chicago and donut goodness!
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