The Best Donuts In Los Angeles
From the unique Chinese/donut shop hybrids that came out of the influx of Cambodian immigrants in the 1970s to the Googie architecture that graces some of our shops, it's safe to say that SoCal has quite a storied history when it comes to fried dough. There are countless variations of this classic portable breakfast sweet available in Los Angeles. Want something simple? There are plenty of small, family-owned stands that will slang you a solid glazer. How about a food crafter carefully crafting yeast-raised donuts topped with seasonal produce? Our city has that as well. There are so many donuts that it was hard to narrow it down to our top 10, but here are our favorites.
Photo courtesy of David Gilbert
Stan Berman opened his first shop in Westwood Village in 1965, and UCLA students have been flocking there for his filled confections ever since. It's a good thing the shop is open until midnight, because these eclair-esque custard puffs are seriously crave-worthy. Yes, there are peanut butter donuts and pretzel donuts, but keep it traditional and go with the custard or jelly-filled.
Stan's is located at 10948 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles, (310) 208-8660
Jim Nakano and his wife Miyoko has been running his shop along Route 66 for nearly 4 decades, with the star of the show being their seasonal strawberry glazed donuts. Jim avoids using any artificial colors and flavors, highlighting the luscious berries with dough that's made with potato flour. Each year Angelenos go crazy when the The Donut Man starts selling the fruit-stuffed donuts. Who said our city doesn't have seasons?
The Donut Man is located at 915 E Rte 66 in Glendora, (626) 335-9111
Perhaps more of a homing beacon than the LAX air traffic control next door, Randy's giant donut in the sky is an iconic L.A. institution. The building was designed by Henry J. Goodwin in 1953, and has been used in countless films since then. But it's not just Hollywood fluff—the donuts are actually quite good. Try the French Kruller or the apple fritter.
Randy's is located at 805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, (310) 645-4707
BLINKIE'S DONUT EMPORIUM
This humble mom-and-pop Woodland Hills shop bakes an assortment of glazes, bearclaws and a rainbow of sprinkles and frosting that aren't at all flashy. Just lovely dough and friendly service. We've been huge fans since our high school years. A personal favorite is the cake dough with sprinkles.
Blinkie's Donut Emporium is located at 4884 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, (818) 884-4456
Photo of Donut Friend's Chocolate From the Crypt by Jean Trinh/LAist
Donut Friend in Highland Park might be considered the Pinkberry of donuts. Owner Mark Trombino, a former drummer and producer for the likes of Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World, recently opened the customizable donut shop. There are over 30 different toppings ranging from the traditional (strawberry and maple, for instance) to the unique (think balsamic reduction sauce, crushed Butterfinger, and rosemary). Pick from a variety of doughs, glazes, fillings, and toppings with only your imagination as your boundary. And in case you have any dietary restrictions, there are gluten-free and vegan options available too.
Donut Friend is located at 5107 York Blvd, Los Angeles, (213) 995-6191
Bacon + donut. Need we say more? Quite frankly, we're kicking ourselves that we didn't think of it first. This is likely one of our favorite confections, donut or not, in the city. There are some other great items on Monica May's pastry list as well, like her hand made Pop Tarts or the Red Velvet Donut, but this one takes the (fried) cake.
Nickel Diner is located at 524 S Main St, Los Angeles, (213) 623-8301
This Miracle Mile walk-up shop is cash-only, but the fact that it's open 24 hours totally makes up for it. They've got some really fun flavors, like maple bacon, but the best is the blueberry cake donut. Over at Kettle Glazed they've tried hybridizing this classic with Nickel's maple bacon glazed, but it's really too much of a good thing. Stick with the original.
SK is located at 5850 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, (323) 935-2409
This is a crullant (Photo by Emma Gallegos/LAist)
This is not, I repeat, NOT a Cronut™. However, Semisweet Bakery in downtown has come up with its own take on the most viral pastry of 2013 with its crullant, a sort of cross between a French cruller and a croissant. It's got all the flaky goodness of a croissant except it's crispy and glazed on the outside. The crullants sell out if you don't get there early enough, but we're glad that we don't have to brave the insane lines to get it. The bakery also recently introduced bruléed crullants filled with custard and topped with layers of caramelized sugar. -Emma Gallegos
Semisweet Bakery is located at 105 E 6th St., Los Angeles, (213) 228-9975
BOB'S COFFEE & DONUTS
This Farmer's Market stall isn't flashy by any means, but it's a staple on the Angeleno donut circuit. Go for the apple fritter or the classic cake donut and you won't be disappointed. Also impressive: the high quality people watching. God bless L.A.
Bob's is located at 6333 W 3rd St #450, Los Angeles, (323) 933-8929
Janeen Gudelj makes yeast-raised, farm-fresh donuts in a myriad of flavors including our our personal favorites -- the Razzy Lemon LuLu and the Orange Zest Pistachio. Our favorite thing about her donuts is that they're never heavy or too sweet, and they don't leave you with a guilty belly ache. She has been known to pop-up at events like Artisanal L.A., but her business is mostly done through ordering since she doesn't have an official store front.
You can purchase Donut Snob's wares by ordering here.