Here are two fun words: Fried. Dough. Did that get your attention? Glaze that fried dough and you have possibly the most perfect round treat there ever was, besides pizza of course. If you’ve ever read a Hello Friday post, even just one, you’ve probably gathered that I love all things food. Carbs in particular. (Unless you read Trend to Try: Tassels & Fringe—-then, you have no clue!) And, since Wednesday was #nationalfitnessday, I was inspired to put together a list of the best donuts Chicago has to offer. (I seriously came up with this idea while I was on the elliptical—so, it counts.)
Some may say that donuts are the new cupcakes. And although in the world of sweet trends, I’d say they’re definitely upstaging their competition, there’s also something nostalgic about donuts. I can remember being a little girl and stopping for donuts after church with my grandparents. Donuts for breakfast, when they’re sweet enough to be dessert, feels exciting—the true definition of a treat. They bring people together—they’re a “meeting” food. And, if you bring them into the office, you’re undoubtedly the coolest person at work that day. Maybe even that week. My husband and I had a donut truck, Carpe Donuts, at our wedding—-they served unlimited, warm, apple cider donuts. It’s the first thing we settled on in our wedding planning process and ever since then, donuts hold an extra special place in my heart (And my stomach. And probably my thighs.) With so many donut-like counterparts—zeppolis, churros, beignets, fritters, crullers, these deliciously fried goodies translate to just about every cuisine. Oh, donuts, I love you. So, without further ado, here are my picks for the best donuts in the Windy City.
There is nothing wrong with Do-Rite Donuts. They have two locations in the city—one in the loop and another just off of Michigan Avenue on E. Erie (this location also serves chicken sandwiches. I have yet to try the chicken, but from what I hear, I’m missing out.) They offer vegan and gluten-free options and boast varieties like candied maple bacon (which tastes a lot like pancakes, bacon and syrup—a winning combination) and chocolate old fashioned. Don’t miss the chocolate glazed either.
Dinkel’s holds the top spot as my favorite donut in Chicago. There I said it. Their chocolate glazed donut is hard to beat. Dinkel’s offers mostly cake donuts, which are a little more dense and less sweet than the typical donut. Their cake donuts are a perfect contrast to the sweet glazes and toppings. And, although their donuts are definitely the standout here, Dinkel’s is a full bakery with a variety of pastries, cookies and cakes. Also, Dinkel’s is just fun to say.
Glazed & Infused
I’ve only had Glaze & Infused once, but it definitely left an impression. Their velvet cake donut with cream cheese frosting is perfection. There are six locations in the city, so chances are if you’re in Chicago, there’s one nearby, but only the Wicker Park location has the cool “We Can Donut!” Rosie the Riveter mural.
Ok, so technically, these aren’t donuts…they’re “Wonuts,” part donut, part waffle. Both Waffles Cafe locations—E. Ohio & N. Broadway, serve these donut hybrids. When I first went a few years ago, there were only a few flavor options: red velvet, chocolate and birthday cake. That menu has grown with the Wonut’s popularity though, and now Waffles offers 10 different flavors, along with vegan and gluten-free options. If you’re looking for a unique donut experience (think: the cronut craze in NYC), then this is Chicago’s equivalent.
Stan’s Donuts in Wicker Park is right across the street from Glazed & Infused—on that special block on N. Damen, the sweet smell alone is enough to make your mouth water. Stan’s has all the elements of a traditional donut shop, but with a unique twist—their variety of donut flavors and a colorful wall display of KitchenAid mixers, help set them apart. Their 3rd and newest location in opening about 3 blocks away from my apartment, which can best be described as a recipe for a diet disaster. Also, very inappropriately, it’s right next door to my gym. Very funny, Stan.
In terms of Chicago donuts, Doughnut Vault was my first love. It’s a tiny shop in the River North neighborhood and every weekend, from opening until they sell out, the line stretches down the street and around the next block. I’ve waited in that line quite a few times and let me tell you, it’s worth it! They offer tried and true donut flavors like glazed, chocolate glazed and old-fashioned and then, they usually have a few specials each week which are posted on their website. Just to make the world a better place, there’s now a Doughnut Vault truck which I swear tracks my every move with GPS, because it’s very conveniently parked outside of my work on weekdays and in Lincoln Park on Saturdays, near the Green City Farmer’s Market. Nothing like off-setting fresh produce with a glazed treat—-it’s all about balance. Right?
Y’all these are mini s’more donuts from Beaver’s Donuts. I have a weird obsession with anything mini and these tiny donuts are no exception. You can find Beaver’s Donuts in the French Market on N. Clinton or catch their truck by checking locations updated on their website. My first experience with Beaver’s Donuts was at this year’s Taste of Chicago, and this is what I have to say about it: they were served warm, covered in chocolate and marshmallow. And really, I don’t think there’s anything else that needs to be said.
Somehow writing this, I feel like I’ve gained 10 pounds. As you can see, the research for this post was intensely hard and grueling work, but somebody had to do it. Next time you’re in Chicago, find these spots and decide which donut is your favorite.
See you next Friday! xx, Devon