It took us about fifteen seconds to decide what our first food post was going to focus on. Burgers? Nah. Ice cream? Too many to cover. Donuts? Yep. Our favorite thing about donuts is that even the bad ones are still pretty delicious. Have you ever bitten into one and said “ew?” Us either (and we’ve eaten our fair share.) Even though we’ll never say no to fried cake for breakfast, we do have our favorites. Let’s be real, the fact that we both live within three blocks of a great donut shop says a lot. We’re practically experts. Here’s our list of the best donuts in Chicago:
You may have heard of it. Formally a bank vault, this tiny hallway holds the city’s tastiest donuts. We really hesitated recommending a place with such a ridiculous line, but we promise the wait leads to oversized flavor-packed heaven the size of your head. You will need to show up before the place opens if you’re hoping to try every flavor, as they typically sell out within one to two hours. Most locals track down the Vault Van, which only sells old fashioned varieties (our fav), for a much shorter wait time.
Must Try: Coconut Cream Old Fashioned (VV only), Gingerbread Stack
Pro Tip: Restoration Hardware passes out free DV mini old fashioneds to café patrons/savvy nearby pedestrians that line up before the store opens.
This is another River North establishment pumping out amazing pastries in a spot even smaller than the vault. Firecakes gave us something we never knew we needed by creating the donut ice cream sandwich complete with a smear of hot fudge. Thankfully this place has stayed pretty under the radar, so it allows for a quick trip any time of day. Additionally, Firecakes has a donut truck making its rounds in the city, counteracting all the times you successfully resisted free sweets in the break room.
Must Try: Vanilla Iced, Red Velvet Old Fashioned, Ice Cream Donut Sandwich
If you’ve ever woken up at 6:15am on a Saturday for 87 cent donuts and a free t-shirt celebrating Stan’s anniversary, then we should be friends. Stan’s started out in California as a small pastry shop feeding UCLA students and has turned into an institution in Chicago. These adorable pink and teal cafés offer up the largest variety of sweets ranging from Cap’n Crunch Bismarks to Donut Milkshakes topped with a tiny old fashioned.
Must Try: Pistachio Lemon Old Fashioned, Blueberry Fritter
Pro Tip: On random nights they offer buy one get one free deals. Keep your eyes open for signs!
You gotta give credit where it’s due, therefore any place making donut fried chicken sandwiches gets a spot on our list. Do-Rite is tucked away near the Magnificent Mile in a very plain building giving no indication that they’re selling one of the most indulgent creations in Chicago. The menu only lists only a few options available on a donut, but we’ve tried the breakfast sandwich on one and did not leave disappointed. Don’t even limit yourself to just a plain glazed; an apple fritter chicken sammy was a pretty genius creation they should consider adding as a seasonal item.
Must Try: Carrot Cake Donut
You know those places that just feel like home? While we’re very much city girls, we still long for grandma’s quaint house filled with handmade desserts warm from the oven. Dinkel’s is a comfort spot that’s been family owned since the 20s. Their donuts are not flashy or new, but they’re consistently made and best grabbed on the way to work. If you’ve ever thought to yourself that you needed an entire chocolate bar melted on your donut, this is the place for you.
Must Try: Chocolate Glazed Cake Donut, Coconut Cake Donut
Pro Tip: Don’t be a rookie. Grab a number.