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Brooklyn's Best New Doughnuts: Dough and Dun-Well?

Brooklyn's Best New Doughnuts: Dough and Dun-Well?

"There's this new doughnut place in Brooklyn, and I've heard they blow Doughnut Plant away."

So went a tip passed along about Dough, a Bedford-Stuyvesant shop that, having opened in 2010, isn't actually that new. But another shop in Brooklyn, Dun-Well, which opened in December 2011, is new, necessitating a Brooklyn doughnut taste-off. And after visiting both, it's safe to say that one of these doughnut shops should be included in any conversation about the best doughnuts in New York City, and perhaps even the country. The other place can be compared to a much-buzzed about Los Angeles doughnut shop, Fo-Nuts, but unless you're vegan, well, one visit is enough.

Dun-Well opened just a few months ago in East Williamsburg, the creation of Christopher Hollowell and Daniel Dunbar, who claim on their site that "it's the premiere vegan doughnut shop on planet Earth." The two met in college in Ithaca where they developed a passion for vegan cooking. That's all well and good, but their vegan doughnuts face the same problems all vegan versions of any cooking face: they're vegan. And with that comes inferior flavor and texture.

You walk inside Dun-Well into some twisted-mustachio, soda jerk, 19-whenever aesthetic — that quintessential hipster vibe that has become so cliché. Thankfully, there's absolutely no accompanying attitude, but there is the expected sepia-toned, bow tie, wood, and Old West feeling going on. That would be fine if the doughnuts were amazing. It could even be cool. And you want the doughnuts to be great. You don't want to go into a place and have suspicions confirmed. But they are.

The doughnuts aren't amazing. They're not bad. They're fine. They look pretty, there's a nice glaze, but they taste vegan. They're not airy. They're not moist. They're a bit chewy. They taste like doughnuts for picky people with diet restrictions. Ten bucks says a blind taste test with Krispy Kreme results in a win for the chain.

Still, the owners have said that they plan on serving 50 varieties of doughnuts (about $2.50 each), with rotating flavors — from Earl Grey Tea and Mexican Chocolate to Lavender Lemon. And there are a few commendable flavors; on a recent visit, that meant the Margarita Doughnut — a sweet, tart frosting with salt accents. The peanut butter frosted doughnut with jelly inside (a now-tired combo) is also just fine, but the doughnut, the actual vehicle, has the same relatively dry thickness as the others."As the baseline for a good pizza starts with a margherita, so the test of a great doughnut begins with the glazed."

"Vegans and those with egg and dairy dietary restrictions often sacrifice flavor and texture to satisfy their sweet cravings, but Dun-well Doughnuts allows them to enjoy fried doughy delights along with their non-vegan friends," notes the Dun-Well web site. Admirable intentions, but if your diet allows you to, leave the vegans to enjoy them.

The other side of this taste-off is a different story altogether. Dough has already garnered critical acclaim. It was featured by Liza de Guia in a Food Curated video and, before his tenure began, The New York Times' restaurant critic Pete Wells included it in his 2011 $25 and Under column "A Flowering of the Doughnut Arts," in which he somewhat perplexingly compared Dough (then new) with doughnuts at The Brindle Room(also new then, but their Wonder City Donuts is a side business of the restaurant), Doughnut Plant (not new at all), and Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop, which has been making doughnuts in Greenpoint for more than 60 years. Still, being compared to one of the country's best doughnuts (Doughnut Plant) and one of New York's beloved institutions is no faint praise.

At Dough, there are only a few of each type of glazed yeast doughnuts on offer at any one time, something that inspires confidence that what you're about to taste is going to be good. Passion fruit, Earl Gray, dulce de leche, lemon poppy, chocolate frosting with cacao nibs — these are just a few of the flavors available at Dough, and the combination of the high quality of yeast doughnut and creativity of flavors are enough to make you question the true extent of Doughnut Plant's grip on the city.

As the baseline for a good pizza starts with a margherita, so the test of a great doughnut begins with the glazed. If you're serious about doughnuts, the glazed at Dough is worth a crowded subway ride on the L and a transfer to the unreliable G. Airy and moist, chewy and thick, with a sticky coating that cracks thickly, comparing Dough's glazed to Peter Pan's just isn't fair. In comparison, the Greenpoint institution just seems behind the times.

With a doughnut flavor like cheesecake and graham cracker dust, your skepticism could be justly warranted. Plenty of doughnut places have a hard enough time making doughnuts, let alone cheesecake, and there are enough bad cheesecakes in New York to fuel at least three Junior's locations. So, when in answering the question, "What else should I get?" the counter person answers, "The cheesecake doughnut," you'd be forgiven the wince you feel when hoping that wasn't going to be the answer. But the cheesecake topping is creamy and whipped with an airiness and judicial spread across the top that doesn't make it overwhelming. That graham cracker dusting helps add texture, too.

Then there's the crème de chocolat. Pete Wells, God bless him, has noted that the "the chocolate has lacked intensity at times." Either they took note of his criticism or he must have an everlasting gobstopper in his back pocket. This is a chocolate cream filled doughnut that looks like the best Boston cream you ever had, and delivers on the darkest of chocolate desires. Biting into the doughnut causes an eruption of chocolate out the top and a sweet gush that's mellowed by the sweet airy dough.

So, dough or doughn't? If you love doughnuts, you'll be drawn to try out both of these Brooklyn spots. Dun-Well? Unless you're vegan, pass. Dough? Why haven't you been? They fry mighty fine in Bed-Stuy.

Peter Pan Donut and Pastry

There is no better way to start a morning in Brooklyn than with a fresh donut from Peter Pan’s and a cup of coffee. The old-fashioned donut shop with uniformed staff is a Greenpoint mecca for doughnut lovers. Fans of chocolate glazed and old school donuts, will find themselves instantly addicted to their sugary treats. Go early, because I’ve been there when they’ve run out of donuts. If you can’t get to Peter Pan Donut and Pastry, Brooklyn Farmacy in Carroll Gardens sells fresh Peter Pan donuts on Sunday mornings.

10 Best Doughnuts in New York, 2012

Doughnuts may just be bits of dough, dropped into hot oil, but a fine piece of fried dough can be a truly beautiful thing. From classic cake doughnuts and glorious yeasted beasts, to creamy stuffed buns, here are our 10 favorites in NYC right now.

Don’t see your favorite here? Tell us all about it in the comments.

10. Dun-Well
It’s Christmas in July right now at Christopher Hollowell and Daniel Dunbar’s Williamsburg shop, which means the staff saunters about in velvet Santa gear, celebrating with dense, chocolate-peppermint doughnuts. We like Dun-Well’s fun, laid-back approach to vegan baking. And this glazed wreath, dusted with cinnamon sugar, is a nice sweet puff of holiday cheer. 222 Montrose Avenue, Brooklyn

9. The Donut Pub
This narrow, tiled shop on 14th Street has been slinging its simple, classic doughnuts since the early 1960s. The next time you’re looking for something affordable and celebratory, keep in mind that a dozen chocolate dippers–the Pub’s chocolate cake doughnut with a chocolate glaze–will make a suitable, if somewhat trashy substitute, for an actual cake. 203 West 14th Street

8. Orwasher’s
Keith Cohen updated the original Orwasher’s, an Upper East Side bakery founded in 1916, when he bought it in 2007. He also decided to revive and continue some of the bakery’s old traditions, like the jelly doughnuts. The super-light yeast buns are fried off site, then filled to-order with extremely tasty jams from Beth’s Farm Kitchen. The strawberry, pictured, is delightful. 308 East 78th Street

7. DuMont Doughnuts
Dalia Jurgensen oversees the doughnut set-up at Dumont’s little counter on Bedford Avenue, which fries the beignet-like puffs to order. A donut robot sends squirts of batter through a conveyor belt of oil until, finally, they reach the end as dark, often-deformed, delicious crisps with creamy-but-cooked centers. The sweet heat of the ginger-sugar is terrific, and plain ones with a side of extra-thick dulce de leche are fun to share. 314 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn

6. Pies ‘n’ Thighs
These big, soft, sticky confections are available at the counter in fun flavors like ginger-grapefuit or pecan (which trumps the classic cinnamon-sugar). The fancier filled doughnuts collapse like dense stars and will require careful transportation along with a serious appetite. Go for the lemon-curd-filled pistachio or rhubarb jelly. 166 South 4th Street Brooklyn

5. Bottega Falai
Iacopo Falai’s classic, Italian-style doughnuts are our favorite things to grab on the go from this SoHo shop. The elegant, airy bomboloni are dredged in sugar and filled with fruity jam, pastry cream perfumed with vanilla, or lightly sweetened whipped cream. It cuts like a fine, feathery cake, which makes it easy to share, and it’s full of actual flavor, not just sugar. 267 Lafayette Street

4. 606 R&D
Ilene Rosen and Sara Dima, formerly of City Bakery, run this bright, charming Prospect Heights restaurant with a pastry counter up front. In January, they raised $10,000 via Kickstarter to train staff at Donut University (yes, seriously), purchase a mixer, and invest in a donut-making machine. This means you can pop in almost anytime for 606’s wee cake doughnuts, dredged in cinnamon sugar. It’s so nice to be reminded that a hunk of deep-fried dough can be a tender, delicate affair. 606 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn

3. Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop
Husband-and-wife duo Christos and Donna Siafakas met while working at a doughnut shop, then took over this old bakery in Greenpoint together. Peter Pan gets just about everything right–the adorable green and pink uniforms, the colorful displays of sprinkled rings and cream-filled buns, the boxes that get expertly tied up with hanging reels of string, and of course, the doughnuts. During rush hour on the weekends, the lines can be ridiculously long, but these beauties really are worth the wait. I love the classic, soft cake doughnut, cratered all over with crispy nooks and crannies, and washed with a very thin layer of glaze. 727 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn

2. Doughnut Plant
Mark Israel started in the ’90s, baking doughnuts by night then hopping on his bicycle in the morning to deliver them to various New York cafes. Now he has shops around the world, and his consistently excellent confections have earned him a very passionate fan base. Stop in for a visit and you’ll get why: The lovely cake rings, the crisp churros, and genius jelly-filled squares are always right on point. The chocolate-glazed and Blackouts are immensely popular, but I always gravitate toward the fruity selections, and right now, the blueberry-glazed yeasted doughnuts are killer. 379 Grand Street

1. Dough
Fany Gerson took months to tweak the yeasted dough recipe and frying technique for this lovely Bed-Stuy shop, and it shows. Dough pushes gorgeously light, plus-size doughnuts with soft, sighing middles. And they’re dressed up in some of the most exciting, delicious glazes in town, from blood orange with candied orange slices, to cheesecake dusted with buttery Graham crumbs. Doughnuts are rolled, stamped, fried, and hand-dipped throughout the day, in a glass-encased kitchen you can swoon over while you eat. Note: the dulce de leche, topped with slivers of toasted almonds, is something of a masterpiece. 305 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn

Doughnuts Are Very Popular in Brooklyn

Take one in a to-go bag from Peter Pan buy a dozen from Mike’s Donuts & Coffee fill a box at Dough for your coworkers or have one with a cup of coffee at Dun-Well Donuts, there’s a fresh doughnut renaissance happening in Brooklyn. The borough plays a big part in New York City’s rich doughnut history–which you can learn all about in a new exhibit at City Reliquary. But if you’re looking less for doughnut facts and more for an actual place to pick up few today, here are a some new and delicious faces, as well as some classic spots, around Brooklyn.

When it comes to classic Brooklyn doughnut shops, Peter Pan in Greenpoint, deservedly, gets a lot of love. But it’s not the only old-school spot worth checking out. Mike’s Donuts & Coffee has passed the test of time as a premiere doughnut shop in Bay Ridge. Located at 6822 5th Avenue, everyone from the cast of The Sopranos to Rachael Ray to Edible Brooklyn have raved about their homemade doughnuts.

Mike’s was started by Mike Neamonitis in 1976, when he arrived in Brooklyn from Greece, not knowing a word of English. With his wife and son, he created the business, making fresh donuts twice a day. Even as the company expanded, Neamonitis kept the shop a family affair.

“Doughnuts used to be an older-crowd type of thing,” said John, Mike’s son-in-law, who joined the company full-time in 1997. “Now, it’s an everyone type of thing. Glazed, jelly and cinnamon donuts are the greatest selling but we do a lot of wholesales to restaurants in the area. Dunkin Donuts is our competitor across the street. But while they sell their donuts at $9 or $10 a dozen, ours are $6 a dozen. That’s why people come to us.” Mike’s Donuts & Coffee closes only on Christmas and New Year’s Day and is open daily from 4am to 6 or 7pm.

In Sheepshead Bay, Shaikh’s Place serves up almost 50 different varieties of the deep-fried dessert food. Everything from the classic glazed doughnut to ones with coconut flakes, which is how they became better known as The Doughnut Shoppe. Shaikh’s is open 24/7 and makes fresh donuts night and day. The shoppe itself is a throw back from a bygone era–soda fountain machine included–and its prices are two–a glazed donut is only going to cost you 70 cents. You can find Shaikh’s at 1503 Ave. U (between E. 15th & E. 16th sts.).

Newer additions to Brooklyn’s donut legacy include Dough, which is located on the corner of Franklin and Lafeyette avenues on the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill border, as well as in the pastry cases of several local coffee shops, including Brooklyn Roasting Company and Bitter Sweet, and at the Brooklyn Flea on weekends. Dough’s flavors have inspired strong loyalty among fans. “Dough definitely makes me feel like I want to marry their doughnuts,” said Jackie Balzer, a Clinton Hill resident, who was picking up a few at Dough’s Smorgasburg spot last fall. “My favorite doughnut is the lemon poppy seed doughnut because I’m pretty sure it has all your favorite illegal drugs in it.”

Despite, or perhaps because of the wide selection of flavors, no single doughnut has emerged as a clear winner (though here at BB we’re partial to the dulce de leche). “All our donuts are popular,” said Chris, a server at Dough. “Not one over the other.” He did weigh in on his own preference, though. “My favorite doughnut is also the lemon poppy seed. Doughnuts are very popular in Brooklyn.” Dough’s rings of goodness are also available at Gimme Coffee, though they seem to sell out quickly.

Located at the intersection of Bushwick and Montrose aves., Dun-Well Doughnuts is a quaint, classic, wooden, coffeehouse-looking spot. “Our Mission is to be the premiere vegan doughnut shop on planet Earth and reverently carry on the tradition of doughnut making in a manner that is both innovative and ethical,” is written on a small chalkboard right underneath the main counter. The shop got its start as a food craving when Christopher Hollowell (the “Well” in Dun-Well) called up his buddy Dan Dunbar (the “Dun”) after having watched a Simpson’s anniversary episode in which doughnuts played a starring role. Christopher and Dan agreed to make it their quest to create an amazing doughnut and open NYC’s first all-vegan doughnut shop.

There are about 40 flavors of donuts to choose including lemon poppy seed, maple blueberry, Mexican chocolate, rum raisin, earl gray tea and almondine. “I brought home a bunch of doughnuts for my girlfriend one day in a brown bag,” said Nicholas Cuomo, a Williamsburg resident who was standing outside Dun-Well with bag of doughnuts in hand on a recent morning. “My favorite was definitely the Mexican Chocolate.” Dun-Well also serves Brooklyn egg creams, local Italian sodas and freshly brewed coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company.

Rings Around the City

The toasted pistachio cardamom doughnut at the Cinnamon Snail truck in Midtown.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

The toasted pistachio cardamom doughnut at the Cinnamon Snail truck in Midtown.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Bouncy doughnuts, made without animal products, are found at the Cinnamon Snail truck, which offers both cake and yeast versions and aims, more ambitiously, “to help you transform into a being of pure light who can serve all living creatures simultaneously and eternally.”

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

The shamanism is in the glazes, including one of Thai basil and coconut milk, bright and grassy, and another of cardamom topped with rosewater-candied pistachios, radiating warmth.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

The Thai basil and coconut milk doughnut at Cinnamon Snail.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery’s doughnuts have a more classic profile. Made in Chelsea and available only online, they are near-perfect circles, with stray bulges that call to mind love handles.

Credit. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Carpe Donut NYC, a food truck and offshoot of Carpe Donut in Charlottesville, Va., focuses on one cake doughnut, made with organic flour, pastured eggs and Christmas-scented apple cider, fried to order and given a shake of cinnamon sugar.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Carpe Donut may be the softest in town, chewy and undercooked at the center, like a Hawaiian malasada. Eat it at once, while the heat lasts.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Doughnuttery in Chelsea Market.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Doughnuttery relies on a machine that drops a knot of dough into a trough of hot oil, where it bobs until ejected by a metal claw.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Frying the miniature cake doughnuts at Doughnuttery.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Doughnuttery’s small golden pouts take three bites at most to eat.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

A dark-chocolate dipping sauce accompanies the sugar-coated cake doughnuts at Doughnuttery.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

The lemon pop mini doughnuts at Doughnuttery.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

The sugar doughnut at Du Jour Bakery, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is the work of T. J. and Vera Obias, husband-and-wife pastry chefs whose résumés include stints at Morimoto and Dovetail.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

A vanilla cream bombolini at Du Jour Bakery.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Orwasher’s Bakery on the Upper East Side opened in 1916.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Only recently did Orwasher’s revive its tradition of making jelly doughnuts.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Here they are filled for you, to order, the pliant balls of fried dough punctured with scissors and shot with preserves that taste of fruit, not sugar.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Only a bead of jam on one end betrays what’s inside the Orwasher doughnut.

Credit. Sasha Maslov for The New York Times

Dough, fried. It is a humble snack, fuel for late-night stakeouts, comfort after a day toiling at the nuclear power plant.

Its pleasures are prehistoric — fossilized ring-shaped cakes have been unearthed, dating back 8,000 years — and democratic. Free doughnuts were handed to the huddled arrivals at Ellis Island, to lines of hollow-cheeked men during the Great Depression and to soldiers on the battlefields of the First World War, by Salvation Army volunteers who requisitioned helmets as deep fryers and punched holes with spent artillery shells.

In New York City, the doughnut no longer resembles the Dutch olykoek that Anna Joralemon started selling in 1673 from a shop on lower Broadway. Along with a hole, it has acquired glazes in Barbie hues, fillings that wheeze forth on first bite, even do-it-yourself accessories like a syringe primed with jam, waiting to be stabbed in.

It has ballooned to a bagel’s proportions and shrunk to a teething ring’s lost its eggs and butter (and its quintessential fluffiness), in deference to vegans bypassed the fryer for the oven (further sacrificing fluffiness) and been crossbred with a croissant, to widespread hysteria and imitation. (On Monday, Dunkin’ Donuts began selling its own hybrid.)

Since my colleague Pete Wells last assessed the city’s doughnut scene three years ago, some two dozen new doughnut contenders have emerged: bakeries, food trucks, freelance bakers hustling at outdoor markets and restaurants with a serious sideline in American viennoiserie. In the past three weeks, I’ve sampled 77 doughnuts from 22 vendors. A precious few I ate whole.

I do, however, have mixed feelings about the recent explosion of styles and shapes, which sometimes threaten to capsize the whole idea of a doughnut. My survey made me realize that, at heart, I’m a purist — albeit not immune to the appeal of the zanier specimens.

The yeast doughnuts at Dough Loco in East Harlem are lopsided and misshapen, like soufflés that gave up halfway through. They are almost pranks — not a surprise, coming from Corey Cova, who as chef of ABV, a wine bar, brought the world the foie gras fluffernutter. But they are traditional in texture, compressing slightly under the teeth, then rebounding. An excellent version dredged in powdered sugar suggests an accident with a snow globe another comes swathed in frosting the color of lox, which proves to be sour orange, a nicely tart corrective to the underlying sweetness. But an experiment with raspberry sriracha, stoplight-red, squanders both ingredients’ best qualities.


My favorite doughnuts, from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, have a more classic profile. Made in Chelsea and available only online, they are near-perfect circles, with stray bulges that call to mind love handles. The bakers, Umber Ahmad, a former Goldman Sachs executive, and Shelly Acuña, previously the pastry chef at Aldea and the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, fashion them in the style of brioche — trickier and more time-consuming than regular dough, but richer and more tender. Piped discreetly with pastry cream speckled black with vanilla bean, they are as chic as a non-French pastry can be and priced accordingly: $20 for six (including doughnut holes), with $15 for delivery. Somehow, while I was eating them, this seemed reasonable.

A more modest alternative is the sugar doughnut at Du Jour Bakery, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the work of T. J. and Vera Obias, husband-and-wife pastry chefs whose résumés include stints at Morimoto and Dovetail. The hole is barely the size of a quarter, the dough slightly oblong, like a stretched-out zero, exhaling under the teeth. Scattered crystals of sugar cling to it, and crunch. (All the doughnuts mentioned here are the yeast variety unless otherwise noted.)

Carpe Donut NYC, a fire-engine-red food truck and offshoot of Carpe Donut in Charlottesville, Va., focuses on one cake doughnut, made with organic flour, pastured eggs and Christmas-scented apple cider, fried to order (with a few ready-made for those who don’t want to wait) and given a shake of cinnamon sugar. It may be the softest in town, chewy and undercooked at the center, like a Hawaiian malasada. Eat it at once, while the heat lasts.

Specialists in miniature cake doughnuts, including Doughnuttery in Chelsea Market and Carvin’s Mini Donuts in Harlem, rely on a machine that drops a knot of dough into a trough of hot oil, where it bobs until ejected by a metal claw. (Sometimes it’s better not to know where your food comes from.) The result: small golden pouts, three bites at most, with a crispy veneer. At Carvin’s, they come with squeezes of peanut butter and cream cheese, crumbled Oreos and bacon bits, and optimistic names (Love, Happy, Smile). Doughnuttery is more worldly, dusting its doll portions in sugar laced with the likes of lavender, lemon or cacao nibs all benefit from a dive in dark chocolate, one of several dipping sauces on offer.

Then there are the giants. The butter pecan crunch doughnut at Pies ’N’ Thighs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has the radius of a soup bowl and the potency of a sticky bun, studded with shattered toffee and pecans, with a glaze close to syrup soaking in. Nearby, St. Balmain has a doughnut that is hulkier still, evoking a Parker House roll, browned on the outside and pale within. Judged as bread, it is fluffy as a doughnut, too dense. A $5 version arrives with a personal syringe, for you to inject it with cream, chocolate or jam.

Orwasher’s Bakery on the Upper East Side opened in 1916 but only recently revived its tradition of making jelly doughnuts. Here they are filled for you, to order, the pliant balls of fried dough punctured with scissors and shot with preserves that taste of fruit, not sugar. Only a bead of jam on one end betrays what’s inside. A few blocks away, Flex Mussels, which operated a doughnut satellite in Grand Central Terminal a couple of years ago, still offers doughnuts after dinner you can order them to go, plump and approaching eiderdown, with sugar veils and unexpected inner resources, the best among them a vivid Meyer lemon curd.

When is a doughnut no longer a doughnut? On the Upper East Side, Butterfield Express, an extension of the venerable Butterfield Market, puts doughnuts in the oven out come cupcakes, with holes. The low-fat versions at Holey Donuts in the West Village undergo a secret 22-step cooking process that avoids deep-frying. They are stored, unadorned, in temperature- and humidity-controlled cases that evoke incubators, then frosted to order. The dough is preternaturally puffy but has almost no give, and the frostings are as subtle as giggles.

At the vegan bakery Dun-Well Doughnuts in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which has a backdrop of black-and-white photographs purposefully askew and a soundtrack seemingly cranked through a gramophone, a chalkboard announces a mission to “reverently carry on the tradition of doughnut making in a manner that is both innovative and ethical.” The doughnuts, mostly the yeast type, are similarly weighty.

Slightly bouncier versions, likewise made without animal products, are found at the Cinnamon Snail food truck, which offers both cake and yeast doughnuts and aims, more ambitiously, “to help you transform into a being of pure light who can serve all living creatures simultaneously and eternally.” The shamanism is in the glazes, including one of Thai basil and coconut milk, bright and grassy, and another of cardamom topped with rosewater-candied pistachios, radiating warmth.

What to Cook This Weekend

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the weekend. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • Gabrielle Hamilton’s ranchero sauce is great for huevos rancheros, or poach shrimp or cubed swordfish in it.
    • If you’re planning to grill, consider grilled chicken skewers with tarragon and yogurt. Also this grilled eggplant salad.
    • Or how about a simple hot-dog party, with toppings and condiments galore?
    • These are good days to make a simple strawberry tart, the blueberry cobbler from Chez Panisse, or apricot bread pudding.
    • If you have some morels, try this shockingly good pan-roasted chicken in cream sauce from the chef Angie Mar.

    I must now confess that I have never tried the fabled Cronut, available only at the SoHo bakery of its creator, the classically trained French pastry chef Dominique Ansel. I would not rise at dawn and wait. Instead, with that parcel of time, I went to Enrico’s Pastry Shop in the Morris Park section of the Bronx for a croissant-meets-doughnut by Jolie’s Sweet Creations that had mainlined cream but whose layers had sadly stiffened to Café Boulis in Astoria, Queens, for Greek loukoumades, shiny, nearly hollow rings of fried dough, with oil sloshing at the bottom of their foil bin and to Grace Street in Koreatown for a ho-dduk, a pocket of dough disclosing liquefied brown sugar syrup so hot that it left a burn mark on my upper lip. (It was delicious.)

    Every corner of New York has its doughnut now. There is room for all of us, the minimalist and the profligate, the nostalgist and the radical.

    And for me, too, the doughnut reactionary. Toward the end of my tour, I wound up at Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop, which has stood in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for more than half a century. Step in and you inhale sugar. Choose one, any one. It is warm, bristling and submits just enough, then springs back.

    Best Donuts in NYC

    Those who visit this little shop should come with a big appetite and an adventurous palate. The specialty here is oversize donuts that are crisp, fluffy and uniquely flavored. Dulce de leche, hibiscus, orange glaze, and lemon poppy seed are among the fan favorites and can be credited for converting many donut doubters, too. Part of Dough’s charm is the classic craftsmanship put into each donut. All the cutting, frying, and dipping is done by hand, and the donuts are baked in small batches, guaranteeing that they’re always fresh.

    2. Doughnut Plant

    A basement of a Lower East Side tenement building is where this donut shop began—a humble bakery where owner Mark Isreal made and sold donuts (using his grandfather’s recipe) on a bicycle to local coffee shops. At the same time, he began perfecting his own techniques of making donuts using fresh fruit and nutty glazes that inspired delicious donut flavor combinations like Matcha Green Tea, Rose Petal and Peanut Butter and Blackberry Jam. Some would say this was the start of the city’s gourmet donut movement. Now, more than two decades later, Doughnut Plant is a New York City staple, sprouted in four locations across the city and even in Tokyo. Signature donuts include Tres Leches and Blackout filled cake doughnuts, the jelly-filled square donut, as well as the world’s original crème brûlée doughnut.

    3. The Doughnut Project

    A quick read of this donut shop’s menu is enough to get anyone in the door, with intriguing item names that include Those Beetz are Dope (sweet beet glaze and ricotta cheese), Constanza (a salted chocolate glaze with buttered pretzel, ritz, & potato chip crumble), and the Everything Donut (light cream cheese glaze, roasted poppy seeds, black and white sesame seeds, pepitas, and a hint of garlic and sea salt), It’s unique flavor combinations like these that keep people coming back time and time again. And the names are fun to say, too!

    4. Dun-Well Doughnuts

    Many ideas are born out of necessity and some are created from just being hungry. This all-vegan donut shop was built on both. The initial inspiration came after Christopher Hollowell (the “Well” in Dun-Well) watched a donut-themed episode of the Simpsons. He shared the idea with his buddy Dan Dunbar (The “Dun” in Dun-Well) and the quest was on not only to create a killer donut shop, but to create the best vegan donut shop in the world! With old-fashioned charm and a hipster vibe, NYC’s first all-vegan donut shop was born. There are over 200 different flavors in their menu rotation, including french toast, peach cobbler, chai tea, and root beer. The donuts aren’t just for the activists and diet-restricted either, even non-vegans are known to enjoy these animal-conscious confections from time to time.

    5. Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop

    When a donut shop gets a celebrity endorsement like this: “If I had a penis, I would put it in this doughnut,” (Tina Fey telling Esquire about her white-cream-filled powdered donut experience) you know they’re on to something. This classic pastry shop is another New York gem whose tales are old as time. A place where there’s no shortage of the usual suspects like crullers and jelly donuts done to perfection. If a donut can make you rethink your sexual orientation (as Fey so eloquently put it), you’re sure to become one of Peter Pan’s glutton groupies too.

    6. Orwasher’s Bakery

    This beloved bakery on the Upper East Side has been feeding hungry New Yorkers for over a century. Its rise to fame started with its handmade breads, then a few years ago they decided to expand their offerings and take a stab at donuts, literally. Orwasher’s filled-to-order donuts (plain white sugar or chocolate-iced) are injected with a “jam-gun” and pumped full of delicious, farm-fresh jams right in front of you. The rotating selection of flavors, including strawberry, sour cherry, red and black raspberry and blueberry are sourced locally and are, hands down, the best jelly-filled variety in the city.

    7. Doughnuttery

    Bigger doesn’t always mean better, but the proof is in the powdered sugar, so to speak. One bite of a mini cake donut from this small booth in the Chelsea Market and you’re hooked. The mini treats are made fresh right before your eyes in a donut machine, then they’re shaken in a specialty sugar mixture of your choosing. Some must-try flavors include Urban Monkey (coffee, banana, and coconut), Paris Time (lavender, pistachio, and vanilla) and Cacaoboy (cacao nibs, chocolate cookies, and mesquite). Kick your sugar rush into overdrive by ordering a side of one of their own DoughDips dipping sauces.

    8. The Donut Pub

    When your stomach rumbles for a melt-in-your-mouth glazed donut in the wee hours of the night, a trip to this 24-hour retro shop on 14th street is sure to satisfy your tastebuds. Still rocking the 60s decor with the neon signs, shiny metal bar stools, and marble countertops, it’s one of the oldest donut shops in New York City with over 50 years of decadent history. It’s a place where honey-dips and chocolate glaze rule and the frilly fritters take a back seat. Starting at $1.50 a pop, you can experience a traditional-style donut in all its glory and an authentic New York donut dining experience, to boot.

    9. Mike's Donuts

    The name is simple as are the donuts and prices of this family-run shop in Brooklyn. But what this long-serving establishment lacks in fandangle it more than makes up for with its scrumptious donut recipes. Traditional favs from jelly and cream, to marble cruller, Boston cream and more are served fresh daily at unbelievably low prices (a dozen donuts for only $4.50!), When both your wallet and stomach are empty, who you gonna call? Ya, that’s right, they deliver, too!

    10. Sullivan Street

    Since 1961, this iconic bakeshop in Bay Ridge has been serving Scandinavian sweets and some of New Yorker’s favorite desserts. Their take on the peanut butter and jelly donut is a popular choice fluffy, soft, smothered in a sweet peanut butter glaze, and stuffed with blackberry jam. It’s the perfect afternoon snack that tastes just like the PB&J sandwiches mom use to make only better, because it’s covered in sugar, and well, it’s a donut! Sorry, mom.

    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.

    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.

    The 11 Best Doughnut Shops In NYC

    Is it a luxurious breakfast? A satisfying dessert? The perfect sweet snack with your afternoon coffee? Indeed, a doughnut is all these things (and more!) but though these pastries are easy to find in this beautiful city of ours, some yeasty/cakey treats are much, much better than others. For this list, I ate mountains of doughnuts over the course of a couple of months, revisiting perennial winners and seeking out random neighborhood gems. And although some long-time favorites were caught slipping, there are, thankfully, plenty of newcomers eager to take their place. And so, in no particular order, here are the 11 Best Doughnut Shops In NYC, rated as such for consistent deliciousness across flavors and styles.

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    PETER PAN DONUT AND PASTRY SHOP: It's been about 65 years since the Peter Pan began hawking its remarkable donuts on Manhattan Avenue (and half a dozen since Tina Fey articulated what generations of pastry lovers had been thinking), and the wonderfully old-school Greenpoint shop shows no signs of slowing down. The doughnut choices ($1.10 to $1.55 each) are vast, and everything's delicious, from classics like Honey Dip and the Old Fashioned Cruller to the more newfangled S'mores and Tahitian Cream drizzled with chocolate. It's places like Peter Pan that ensure I will never leave New York.

    Peter Pan is located at 727 Manhattan Avenue between Meserole and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-3676

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    MOE'S DOUGHS DONUT SHOP: It seems unfair that a five-block radius in Greenpoint is home to TWO of the best doughnut shops on the planet, but here we are. Moe's Doughs, of course, is run by a former Peter Pan baker. The quality here is just as good as the original, and maybe sometimes even a tiny bit better. Moe's, which prices its doughnuts at $1.10 to $1.50 each, is not afraid of going gimmicky (there's a Rainbow Cake doughnut, and a Samoa-cookie one), and the candy-colored Strawberry is a bit alarming (though delicious). But the flavors are big, the pastry soft and fresh, and the love evident in each bite.

    Moe's Doughs is located at 126 Nassau Avenue between Eckford Street and McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-349-1216 Moe's on Facebook).

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    CARPE DONUT: Every coffee cart in town will sell you a breakfast belly bomb, but don't you dare lump the Carpe Donut truck in with those guys. These $2.25 chewy, craggy marvels are as simple as can be—there's only one flavor available, and it's Organic Apple Cider—but the taste and texture is a revelation. I've eaten three in one sitting and enjoyed the last bite as much the first. If this truck is parked anywhere near you on any given day, you owe it to yourself to indulge.

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    THE DOUGHNUT PROJECT: Though this West Village shop has only been open just shy of a year now, the Doughnut Project has quickly become a leading creative force in the breakfast pastry world. Chef Troy Neal totally pulls off such innovative sweet-and-savory creations as Bone Marrow Chocolate, Pineapple Habanero, and, Gothamist favorite, the Everything Doughnut. The doughnuts run $3.75 to $4.50 each, and less crazy flavors are available as well (the menu changes often), plus the comfortable, low-key vibe of the place, located on a quiet stretch of Morton Street, encourages frequent visits.

    The Doughnut Project is located at 10 Morton Street between 7th Avenue South and Bleecker Street in the West Village, with a new outpost in the Gansevoort Market at 353 West 14th (212-691-5000

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    DUN-WELL: If somewhere in the back of your mind you still have any doubt that vegan doughnuts can be as good or, in the case of Dun-Well, much better than your basic animal-product pastry, let this Bushwick shop put it to rest once and for all. Just ignore the oddly surly staffers and dive right in. The $2.50 to $2.75 selection changes all the the time, but my go-tos include anything in the Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter, Maple Glazed, Salted Caramel Glazed family, though the fruity ones are equally good. And thank you for saving the planet by eating vegan.

    Dun-Well is located at 222 Montrose Avenue between Bushwick Avenue and Humboldt Street in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn there's also a newer shop at 102 St. Marks Place in the East Village (917-555-1212

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    UNDERWEST: At first it seemed weird when Underwest opened, in 2014, inside a busy car wash along the West Side Highway. But chef Scott Levine quickly proved he was serious about the doughnut life by churning out some of the best cake-y pastries, running about $2 to $3 each, in town. The menu's short, but everything's amazing, with moist cake and a glaze that's thick, sweet, and intense—Maple Waffle and the new Lemon Poppyseed are particularly hard to resist. And though you can now get Levine's creations in coffee shops like Everyman Espresso, a trip to the mothership is still really the way to go.

    Underwest is located at 638 West 47th Street inside the Westside Highway Car Wash (212-317-2359

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    NOSTRAND DONUT SHOP: If only all old-school, breakfast-counter, neighborhood doughnut shops were as good as this one. Located on a bustling corner in Flatbush, Nostrand Donuts serves a solid array of first-rate treats, all of which are dense, sugary, satisfying as hell, and only $1. Toasted Coconut, Chocolate Marble (heavily glazed), and Chocolate Frosted are my favorites, but get a mixed dozen, bring them home, be a hero.

    Nostrand Donut Shop is located at 1449 Nostrand Avenue between Martense Street and Church Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn (718-826-3008).

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    DOUGH: Dough is in danger of feeling played out—you can't swing a stick in this town without hitting one of Fany Gerson's pop-up doughnut booths, usually with a long-ass line attached—but fortunately for us, Gerson's is not one to rest on her Hibiscus-pink laurels. A recent visit to the Bed-Stuy original confirmed that Dough, whose offerings run $2.75 to $3.25 each, is still at the top its game, with both classic yeast and newer cake varieties coming out fresh and packed with flavor. We all have our favorites—I'm a Dulce de Leche with Almonds man. or a Salted Chocolate Caramel one—but you can really order with impunity here and walk away feeling good about life.

    Dough is located at 448 Franklin Avenue at Lafayette Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and at 14 West 19th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Flatiron (347-533-7544

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)


    This eclectic diner in Astoria—"never use two ingredients when eight will do" seems to be menu motto—is a crazy popular neighborhood spot, especially for brunch, and especially on Sundays, when Montana D'Alessio Barbieri shows up with one or two of her outrageously sweet and delicious doughnuts. Like everything else here, Montana's $4.50 doughnuts lay it on thick two recent creations were the crunchy-gooey Chocolate Nutella Crumb Cake and the borderline obscene Banana Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter and Jelly, rolled in Nilla Wafers. Each one counts as a full meal, but don't let that stop you from eating two.

    Queens Comfort is located at 40-09 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens (718-728-2350

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    DOUGHNUT PLANT: This venerable Lower East Side institution (well, since 1994. but the basic recipe is from the 1930s, when chef/owner Mark Israel's grandfather ran a bakery in North Carolina) has seen a lot of success, with four shops across three boroughs and countless coffee shop clients. And that success is all earned—Israel's goodies, whether in the yeast, filled, or cake families, are highly creative, dessert-sweet, and still made with love after all these years. Personal favorites include Tres Leches, Peanut Butter and Jam, Creme Brulee, and any of the fun "holiday" ones, but the menu is long and well worth exploring in full.

    Doughnut Plant has locations on the Lower East Side, in Chelsea, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and in Long Island City, Queens. (929-373-4997

    (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

    MAH-ZE-DAHR BAKERY: Umber Ahmad and Shelly Barbera's West Village bakery has been open for just a few weeks at this point, and in that time I've only been able to get my hands on their Brioche Donut twice (they sell out quickly). But it's enough to know that these are truly extraordinary doughnuts, perhaps even the very best single doughnut in the city. The dough is both fluffy and dense without being too bread-y, it's generously filled with a thick vanilla custard, and a layer of sugar crystals on top adds both sweetness and crunch. And, as you can see above, you get to eat the hole too. These will make you very happy.

    Make This Hanukkah the Sweetest Yet with Sufganiyot from These Brooklyn Doughnut Shops

    Whether grabbing one on the go for a quiet commemoration on your own or lighting your menorah candles with a crew, here are the places to go for jelly doughnuts worthy of a 2,000-year-old celebration of light.

    Whether you’re grabbing one on the go for a quiet commemoration on your own, or lighting your menorah candles with a crew, here are the places to go for jelly doughnuts worthy of a two-thousand-year-old celebration of light. Above: The Doughnut Plant’s Menorah Ripple

    If you’re anything like me, the end of year holidays are as much about food—especially desserts—as they are about traditions and symbolism. When all of those things come together, it feels like the *chefs kiss* of celebrations.

    Hanukkah is a perfect example of this assertion. The holiday dates back about 2,200 years, to when a small group of freedom fighters accomplished the unthinkable by overthrowing their powerful oppressors. As they moved to mark the occasion with a ceremony, another miracle occurred: The oil they thought would only provide enough energy to light the ritual candle for one night somehow lasted eight days and nights.

    Today, the Jewish diaspora around the world continues to celebrate the festival of lights every year with traditions that honor the miraculous events of that week, by lighting the menorah candles each night, playing a game called dreidel and eating hearty foods fried in oil, like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), both of which have storied myths of their own: Latkes are said to be the legacy of a righteous badass named Judith, while sufganiyot are believed to be the result of a confluence of contributions from various cultures within the diaspora.

    Which brings us to this moment, some two-plus millenia after that first Hanukkah, ready to celebrate another year of history and family and miracles—and I can’t imagine a better way to do that than with rich, sweet, fried dough (like I said, I’m all about the holiday desserts).

    So whether you’re grabbing one on the go for a quiet commemoration on your own, or lighting your menorah candles with a crew, here are the places to go for jelly doughnuts worthy of a two-thousand-year-old celebration of light.

    Where To Eat The Best Doughnuts in New York City

    No breakfast pastry makes us more nostalgic about our childhood than the doughnut. But somewhere along the way, they got a bad rap and became unhealthy. Not buying into this notion, mom-and-pop bakeries stood their ground and continued filling racks with powdery, glazed, and jelly-filled delights. Today, top pastry chefs are using the doughnut as their muse, introducing new and never-before-imagined flavors. Craving a doughnut now? From classic staples to modern inventions, here is where you can find the best doughnuts in NYC.

    Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop, 727 Manhattan Ave

    Located in Greenpoint, this neighborhood bakery has been making some of the best doughnuts in NYC for more than 60 years. Husband and wife owners Donna and Christos Siafakas bought Peter Pan Bakery thirty years ago and have worked hard to maintain the look and feel of the original. Doors open at 4:30 a.m. when sleepy-eyed patrons arrive for their coffee and pastry fix served up by uniform-clad waitresses. Twenty different varieties of donuts fill rack after rack. You can expect classics like the cruller, chocolate frosting with sprinkles, sugar raised, and sour cream.

    Doughnut Project, Multiple Locations

    If the vibrant décor at this doughnut den is any indication of its product, then we are in for a tasty, colorful treat! Doughnut Project is on a whole different level when it comes to putting an original spin on the classic. Mind-blowing flavors include “Those Beets Are Dope” with beet glaze filled with ricotta whip (winner of the 2016 DonutFest), “PBJ 2.0” with blackberry glaze and peanut butter whip filling and a touch of house blackberry jam, and “The Bronx ” with simple glaze and a touch of Italian olive oil and black pepper.

    Dun-Well Doughnuts, Multiple Locations

    Chris Hollowell and Dan Dunbar channeled their passion for vegan cooking and gifted us with Dun-Well Doughnuts. While everything is vegan, nothing is missing regarding taste and texture here. Quite the opposite actually, and the flavors are as inventive as ever! The menu changes daily – past mouthwatering offerings include salted caramel pretzel, blueberry French toast, lemon ginger cookie, chocolate raspberry, and Boston cream.

    Du’s Donuts and Coffee, 107 N. 12 th St

    Du’s Donuts and Coffee is a modern, airy café located in The William Vale hotel. Established chef Wylie Dufresne put in some serious homework to fully understand the baking science behind the donut. He’s blended new and familiar ingredients in his donut recipes to create a daily menu that is anything but ordinary. Imaginative flavors include brown butter key lime, creamsicle, peanut butter yuzu cinnamon and apple, and chocolate and caramel brownie.

    Dough, Multiple Locations

    What sets Dough apart from the rest of the doughnut shops is, well, it’s dough. It uses a brioche type, yeasted dough, which inflates the doughnut’s fluffiness to a whole new level. The menu offers a delicious selection of flavors from chef Fany Gerson, and the doughnuts are made in small batches throughout the day to guarantee freshness. Highlights include dulce de leche with almonds, chocolate cocoa nib, chocolate stout, and chai cream. Cake doughnut fans, Dough has a whole separate menu for you too.

    Also, if your sweet tooth is calling, try these sugary treats. And the best cheesecake in New York! Plus, everyone should visit this Brooklyn bakery.