Boston residents get picked on a lot. Mostly because of their accents … and their politics. You can’t fault their doughnuts though – those are divine! But where can you buy the best donuts in Boston? Stick with us and we’ll tell you! And we’ll share some fun doughnut tales as well.
Best Donuts in Boston
1. Blackbird Doughnuts
Have you heard of Boston cream pies? Are they cakes, pies, doughnuts, or what? Today, we have a separate cooking utensil for every task, including distinct dishes for pies, flans, cakes, and pizza. But in the late 1800s, you had one pan that baked everything from meat to sweets. Due to this, pie and cake were used interchangeably, hence a cream pie is also a custard cake.
- Name: Blackbird Doughnuts
- Address: 492 Tremont St. Boston, MA 02116
- Website: https://www.blackbirddoughnuts.com/south-end
- Phone: 617.482.9000
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 am to 4 pm; Sat to Sun – 8 am to 4 pm
The cake – or pie – was sandwiched with cream and topped with chocolate, so it could also be called a chocolate cream pie. Over time, this dish was miniaturized and turned into a Boston cream pie doughnut, with chocolate glaze on top and cream filling in the middle. Try the Blackbird version filled with vanilla bean custard. Their doughnuts use brioche dough.
2. Kane’s Donuts
American culture sometimes seems to evolve overnight, but other times, change is slow. This is especially true of our attitude towards foreign entrepreneurs, even though a lot of our national treasures came from overseas. Take doughnuts as an example. The idea may have come from the Brits, but it was Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam that cemented the snack.
- Name: Kane’s Donuts
- Address: 90 Oliver St. Boston, MA 02110
- Website: https://www.kanesdonuts.com/kanes-downtown
- Phone: (857) 317-2654
- Hours: 7 am to 2.30 pm
But let’s get back to the present time. In case you’re mixed up about the spelling, most of the world says doughnut, but we mostly say donut. Both are correct though, and the focus is on the taste. And while the Dutch mastered doughnuts early on, Kane’s Donuts made its mark in 1955. They’ve had an outlet in Boston since 2014. Grab a coffee roll with your doughnut.
3. Doughboy Donuts & Deli
New Amsterdam is now known as New York, and while we’re used to hearing about Irish and Italian roots, it’s the Dutch that gave us fritters and beer. Fritters are a sort of doughnut with meat fillings, and the original sweet dough snacks were called olykoek – oily cakes. That said, we get our modern concept of American doughnuts from Cambodians in California. Imagine!
- Name: Doughboy Donuts & Deli
- Address: 220 Dorchester Ave., South Boston
- Website: https://www.doughboydonutsanddeli.com
- Phone: 617 269-7560
- Hours: Open 24 Hours
New York is a 24-hour city. But if you’re looking for a doughnut shop that fits your schedule in Boston, try Doughboy. They’re open day and night, and since it’s also a deli, you can get your sandwich fix and have the doughnut for dessert. The deli closes earlier though. And it’s based in Dorchester, which used to be a separate city but is now considered part of Boston.
4. GreCo Truly Greek
As the story goes, a pair of enterprising Cambodian refugees got into the doughnut business. Their names were Ning Yen and Ted Ngoy, and they came up with the idea of selling a dozen doughnuts as a standard serving size. In Asia, red is a lucky color, so they wanted to buy red boxes. Pink was cheaper though, so they went with that, and those pink boxes are still in use!
- Name: GreCo
- Address: 225 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02116
- Website: https://grecotrulygreek.com/
- Phone: +1 617-572-3300
- Hours: 11 am to 10 pm
Now let’s look at another set of restaurateurs, this time from Greece. Their focus is on the doughnut holes, which are called loukoumades, though the Turks call them lokma. Their phyllo dough balls are coated in honey, oreos, hazelnut pralines, walnuts, custard crème, cinnamon, or sugar. GreCo has four Boston outlets, so look for the one that’s closest to you!
5. Lionheart Confections
What are doughnuts made of? It depends on your recipe. Some bakers prefer cake flour, but you can also use specialty doughnut flour, which has more protein. In some places, rice flour is acceptable. Many culinary experts don’t consider it a doughnut if it doesn’t have yeast, since it’s the most popular leavening agent. But you can add acid to dairy if you’ve run out.
- Name: Lionheart Confections
- Address: 1370 Dorchester Ave
- Boston, MA 02122
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/lionheartconfections/
- Phone: Order on Instagram
- Hours: Weekends until sold out
What if your tastes lean toward the whimsical? Then you’ll love Lionheart Confections. The pop-up store is based at Reign Drink Lab and has a roster of doughnuts that are constantly changing. The boss is Kate Holowchik, a local chef who specializes in pastry and has a cult following for her gorgeously tasty creations. She also does serial pops up in a lot of places.
6. Union Square Donuts
Sometimes when you’re making doughnuts, you had the yeast all laid out … except you forgot to bloom it so you didn’t know it was flat. The easiest substitute is to mix an edible acid with an alkaline item. The bubbles from the reaction will cause your dough to rise. Acid options include lemon juice or cream of tartar, and the base can be milk, buttermilk, or baking soda.
- Name: Union Square Donuts
- Address: 100 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02108
- Website: https://www.unionsquaredonuts.com
- Phone: 617-209-2257
- Hours: Wednesday to Saturday – 8 am to 4 pm; Sunday – 10 am to 6 pm
Of course, you don’t always want to fry your dough at home. And if you don’t mind waiting in line, Union Square Donuts has exciting artisanal flavors and five outlets. Try their sea salt bourbon caramel. If you want something with a bit of bite, the brown butter hazelnut crunch is a huge hit. Seasonal offerings include an alluringly alliterative raspberry rhubarb ricotta.
7. Mike’s Donuts
In the baking space – and more specifically in the doughnut space – you may get mixed up about baking soda and baking powder. Cake-leaning doughnuts will often use baking powder as their leavening agent, while bready doughnuts opt for baking soda. The difference? Baking powder is baking soda plus acid, so you don’t need to add buttermilk or lemon juice to it.
- Name: Mike’s Donuts
- Address: 1524A Tremont St., Boston
- Website: https://www.mikesdonutsboston.com
- Phone: 617-427-6828
- Hours: 5 am to 4 pm
But for a lot of us, doughnuts are a quickie snack and you don’t want the fuss of making them from scratch. Mike’s Donuts takes advantage of this, with two outlets around train stations. The Mission Hill store is fully-fledged, but the kiosk at Forest Hill serves equally fresh pastry and stays open longer – up to 6.30 pm. The honey-dipped doughnut is still iconic since 1976.
8. Sofra Café
You may also wonder how cakes differ from doughnuts, especially cake doughnuts. Lots of different factors play a role. Cakes are baked, so they’re fluffier, and cake doughnuts have a texture somewhere between cake and puff pastry. Besides, you can bake doughnuts too if you’re worried about fat absorption as they fry. Doughnuts have more elasticity and gluten.
- Name: Sofra Café
- Address: 1 Belmont Street Cambridge, MA
- Website: https://www.sofrabakery.com
- Phone: 617-661-3161
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 11.30 am to 5.30 pm
Earlier, we looked at a Greek eatery. Now let’s check out a Turkish one. Sofra is known for its traditional dishes, and its menu has a handy glossary to help you identify what you’re ordering. Sofra serves doughnuts as part of their breakfast menu. You can buy their standard old-fashioned doughnut or you can try the brown butter doughnut with milk chocolate glaze.
9. Twin Donuts
Have you ever wondered what the different ingredients do in a doughnut recipe? Sugar makes them sweet, but it also provides that rich, golden brown color. Eggs emulsify, which means they help the oil and water mix better. Shortening (fat that’s solid at room temps) is for aeration and softness while milk fats, ironically, keep the doughnuts fresher for longer!
- Name: Twin Donuts
- Address: 501 Cambridge St., Allston
- Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/twin-donuts-allston
- Phone: 617-254-9421
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 4 am to 5 pm; Sat – 4 am to 4 pm; Sun – 6 am to 4 pm
Shopping for the best donuts in Boston can be tricky. Certain neighborhoods like Allston-Brighton, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plains are annexed regions with different addresses, but they’re considered part of Greater Boston. Twin Donuts is one such venue. Based on an Allston street corner and styled like a retro diner, it offers the cheapest doughnuts around.
10. Clear Flour Bakery
Two ingredients that are often ignored in the baking (or frying) process are water and salt. A pinch of salt helps the ingredients bind better, and heightens the sweetness of the dish. And water dissolves everything and hydrates proteins and starch. This breaks down the nutrients and activates ingredients so they can mix, mingle, and cook in your baking tin or frying pan.
- Name: Clear Flour Bakery
- Address: 178 Thorndike Street, Brookline MA, 02446
- Website: https://www.clearflourbread.com/pastries
- Phone: 617-739-0060
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 am to 7 pm; Sat to Sun – 9 am to 6 pm
Clear Flour Bakery is on the border between Brookline and Brighton, which are both parts of Boston’s metropolis. So yes, this restaurant qualifies. And their signature doughnut is a currant doughnut that they bake instead of frying. This makes sense since many classically trained chefs will blanch if you ask them to make doughnuts or fries. It’s just too plebeian!
11. Anna’s Hand Cut Donuts
Lots of communities around the world have doughnut variants, and here in the US, our local population may influence the type we eat. In Hawaii, they have an eggy, sugar-coated version called malasada that’s probably Portuguese. We also have potato doughnuts called spud nuts or fastnacht. You make them with potato flour or potato starch, and they hail from Germany.
- Name: Anna’s Hand-Cut Donuts
- Address: 2056 Centre St., West Roxbury, Boston
- Website: https://m.facebook.com/profile.php
- Phone: +1 617-323-2680
- Hours: 5 am to 1 pm
But sometimes, your community wants to stay small and remain within its roots. And this West Roxbury bakery thrives on that idea. The shop has a retro style with seating at the counter. Their doughnuts are divine, but the shop doesn’t have a website or much of an online presence. They’re only open half-day and only accept cash, so carry enough change!
12. Donut Villa Diner
Other regional specialties include New York’s cronut. It’s a croissant doughnut, and yes, it was invented by a French dude from SoHo. In 2013!! In pie country, you’ll get seasonal cider doughnuts. Many immigrant communities popularise their local fried dough snack among their neighbors. Polish pączki, German Berlines, and Israeli sufganiyah are top examples.
- Name: Donut Villa Diner
- Address: 20 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
- Website: https://www.donutvilladiner.com/location/cambridge/
- Phone: (617) 714-5018
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 6.30 am to 3 pm; Sat to Sun – 7 am to 3 pm
Technically, Cambridge is part of Boston, so the restaurants there are valid. The Donut Villa Diner started in Malden, which some folk consider to be a Boston suburb. We’ll focus on their Cambridge outlet though. They offer gluten-free versions of their top sellers, including coconut, almond, and honey-dipped ones. Of course, they serve Boston and Bavarian cream.
13. Linda’s Donuts
You might be familiar with Homer Simpson, the Patron Saint of Doughnuts. But did you know he broke a record? When The Simpsons Movie opened in Sydney (2007), Aussies made a giant doughnut by stacking 90,000 individual ones. They made it into the Guinness Book! But apparently, Canadians consume the most doughnuts per capita. Hello Tim Hortons!
- Name: Linda’s Donuts
- Address: 247 Belmont St. Belmont, MA 02478
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/lindasdonutsbelmont/
- Phone: (617) 484-9844
- Hours: Tue to Fri – 6.30 am to 2 pm; Sat to Sun – 6.30 pm to 1 pm
Over on this side of the border, our final eatery is from Belmont, a suburb in the western part of Boston. Belmont is mapped onto the Greater Boston area. Unfortunately, they’re not serving doughnuts this summer. They have other pastries and have mentioned on their IG page that the doughnuts will be back in time for Halloween. Until then, try the other 12 spots.
What’s your favorite doughnut spot in Boston? Where is it and why do you love it? Tell us!