You might know of Louisville from that famous romcom, Elizabethtown. In one scene, Kirsten Dunst’s character teaches Orlando Bloom’s character how to pronounce the city’s name. But Louisville has lots of other claims to fame, and we’ll run through some of them as we learn where to find the best donuts in Louisville. Grab your trusty travel mug and let’s go!
Best Donuts in Louisville
1. Jeff’s Donuts
George Rogers Clark founded Louisville in 1778, naming it after the French monarch, King Louis XVI. Its strategic location made it the primary port between the Gulf of Mexico and the Ohio River. It also became a major railroad city when the Nashville and Louisville Railroad chose it as a starting point. The railroad eventually stretched 6,000 miles across the country.
- Name: Jeff’s Donuts
- Address: 6401 New Dutchmans Pkwy Louisville, KY 40205
- Website: https://www.jeffsdonuts.com
- Phone: (502) 365-3299
- Hours: All day and night
A historic city deserves a legacy doughnut shop, and Jeff’s has been in operation since 1979. They serve more than 40 kinds of doughnuts including long johns (plain rectangular or cream-filled donuts sometimes called Berliners), Bismarks (jelly-filled rectangular doughnuts), and Texas doughnuts (massive 14” doughnuts that can feed 6 to 8 people!)
2. Hi-Five Doughnuts
Unless you live under a rock, you recognize the words, ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, I’m the greatest, and I’m so pretty!’ They weren’t always said in that order, but Muhammad Ali often used this phrase to ramp himself up before fights. Arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. Where? Louisville Kentucky of course!
- Name: Hi-Five Doughnuts
- Address: 1011 East Main Street, Butchertown, Louisville
- Website: https://www.hifivedoughnuts.com
- Phone: (502) 409-5584
- Hours: Wed to Fri – 7 am to 12 pm; Sat & Sun – 8 am to 12 pm; Mon & Tue – Closed
Ali fought his first amateur bout when he was 12, and by age 18, he won a gold medal at the Olympics and soon turned pro. You need to be careful high-fiving a boxer – you may lose an arm! But at Hi-Five Doughnuts, you’re safe. They spell it the European way, though both options are right. The female-owned food truck packs a tasty punch, and yes, they have a storefront.
3. King Donuts
There was a time when people would dramatically quit their jobs on social media. They would set up elaborate pranks and send-offs that would publicly blame their bosses. One such event saw an alleged KFC employee claiming to ‘reveal the 11 secret herbs and spices’ on his way out of the job. Except he only listed 10, which was funny, and got him a lot of clout.
- Name: King Donuts
- Address: 608 Lyndon Lane Louisville, KY, US 40222
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/LyndonLn/
- Phone: +1 502-890-5293
- Hours: Tue, Wed, Thur, Sat – 5 am to 5 pm; Sun, Mon, Fri – 5 am to 4 pm
What does this have to do with Louisville? Well, it’s the original home of the Colonel, and of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which later rebranded as KFC. Now let’s look at another member of the deep-fried Louisville monarchy – King Donuts. In addition to standard rings and twists, King Donuts occasionally serves star-shaped and heart-shaped donuts + glazed donut holes.
4. Annie May’s Sweet Café
Colonel Sanders was known for his trademark white suit, goatee, and string tie. And while everyone called the outlet KFC and rarely said the name in full, the name didn’t officially change until 1991. At the time, the owners were worried about all the obesity talk in the news. They figured having ‘fried’ in their name was bad branding so they trademarked KFC.
- Name: Annie May’s Sweets Café
- Address: 3110 Frankfort Ave. Louisville, KY 40206
- Website: https://www.anniemayssweetcafe.com
- Phone: (502) 384 -2667
- Hours: Tue – 10 am to 3 pm; Wed to Fri – 10 am to 6 pm; Sat – 9 am to 2 pm
Speaking of healthy treats, Annie May’s serves all sorts of allergy-free desserts including cakes and cookies. They sometimes offer mini-doughnuts in cupcake cases, but they’re not on the regular menu so you could call ahead to confirm serving dates. Annie May developed food allergies in adulthood, so her snacks have zero gluten, dairy, nuts, shellfish, soy, or eggs.
5. Nord’s Bakery
Today, KFC is the world’s second-largest food franchise after McDonald’s. And although Colonel Sanders is intuitively associated with the brand, he sold it for $2M in 1964. That’s close to $20M in modern money! As part of the deal, the Colonel received an annual salary that would continue until his death. He continued to represent the brand at public events.
- Name: Nord’s Bakery
- Address: 2118 S Preston Louisville KY 402017
- Website: https://www.nordsbakery.biz
- Phone: (502) 634-0931
- Hours: 6 am to 2 pm daily
KFC isn’t the only Louisville spot for tasty fried treats. Check out Nord’s Bakery for toasty baked and deep-fried goodies. Their menu covers cakes, cookies, and over twenty types of doughnuts including Holland Creams and PB& J Long Johns. They also offer French Fry doughnuts and Maple Bacon doughnuts. On weekends, they serve cake doughnut specials.
6. Clifton Donut Shop
Franchises are a big part of the fast food field. They provide a workable opportunity for individual entrepreneurs to benefit from global chains while allowing consumers to enjoy their trusted treats around the world. Louisville is the headquarters for Yum! Brands. It started life as Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. and currently manages KFC and Pizza Hut.
- Name: Clifton Donut Shop
- Address: 2317 Brownsboro Rd Louisville, KY, US 40206
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/cliftondonut/
- Phone: +1 502-749-6896
- Hours: Tue to Fri – 5.30 am to 1 pm; Sat & Sun – 6 am to 1 pm; Mon – Closed
Yum! also runs The Habit Burger Grill and Taco Bell. Their previous clients include A & W Restaurants and Long John Silver’s. But let’s talk about an independent doughnut store, Clifton’s. This beloved donut shop is popular among the locals and supports artistic aims. A famous neighborhood painter – cheekily named Starvin Artist – has a mural on their wall.
7. Plehn’s Bakery
You may not have heard of The Run for the Roses, but you’ve most certainly heard about the Kentucky Derby. This world-famous Louisville horse race gets its nickname in the cutest way – the winning horse is draped with a blanket of roses. The race grabs attention around the world and some call it ‘the most exciting (and fastest) two minutes in the sporting world.’
- Name: Plehn’s Bakery
- Address: 3940 Shelbyville Rd Louisville, KY 40207
- Website: https://plehns.com/
- Phone: 502.896.4438 or 502.895.8223
- Hours: Tue to Fri – 7 am to 5 pm; Sat – 6.30 am to 5 pm
The first ever Kentucky Derby was held at the Louisville Jockey Club which was later christened Churchill Downs. The event on May 7th, 1875 had 10,000 spectators. Today, the annual derby starts on the first Saturday of May. Another historic city site? Plehn’s Bakery opened in 1924 and still running to date. They serve over 20 donuts, fritters, and pretzels.
8. Sugar and Spice Donut Shop
There’s another phrase you may have heard, even if you’re not a sports fan. The phrase is Louisville Slugger, and it’s a famous brand of baseball bats made in Louisville Kentucky. The company that makes the bats is called H & B (Hillerich & Bradsby Company). They later sold the brand to Wilson Sporting Goods in 2015 but the bats are still made at the H & B factory.
- Name: Sugar and Spice Donut Shop
- Address: 5613 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40291
- Website: https://sugarandspicedonuts.com
- Phone: (502) 231-1411
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 5 am to noon; Sat & Sun – 5 am to 2 pm
Sugar and Spice is an amazing name for a doughnut shop, and this one opened in 1982. They have more than thirty doughnut varieties including rectangular toffee bars and black forest bars. And while some donut shops offer crullers (coiled twists) or fritters (soft batter donuts), Sugar and Spice also serves critters – cute little doughnut holes in various flavors.
9. North Lime Coffee & Donuts
On the ground – so to speak – Louisville extended its borders to encompass Jefferson County in 2003. Technically, the area is now referred to as Louisville/Jefferson Metro County, or Louisville Metro for short. But lots of people still say Jefferson County when they mean Louisville Metro. It’s something to consider as you scout the best donuts in Louisville.
- Name: North Lime Coffee & Donuts
- Address: 1228 S. 7th St., Louisville, KY 40203
- Website: https://www.northlime.net
- Phone: 502.384.2320
- Hours: Mon to Thur – 7 am to 1 pm; Fri to Sun – 7 am to 3 pm
Have you checked out North Lime Coffee & Donuts? They have two outlets in Louisville and two more in Lexington. Their menu of handcrafted doughnuts changes every day of the week and they have a daily list of the flavors offered at each branch. Visit their website to see what they’re serving and try something new. They have tasty vegan and gluten-free options.
10. Wiltshire Pantry
Random question – why was Louisville named for a French King? Well, during the Revolutionary War to gain independence from British colonists, the French helped out a lot, so the city’s founders named Louisville in their honor. As a tangent, the famous Lewis & Clark expedition (no relation to King Louis) started at the falls opposite Louisville Kentucky.
- Name: Wiltshire Pantry
- Address: 901 Barret Ave Louisville, KY, 40204
- Website: https://wiltshirepantry.com/bakery-and-cafe/
- Phone: (502) 224-9588
- Hours: Mon to Sat – 7 am to 2 pm; Sun – 9 am to 2 pm
The French are quite fussy about their pastries. And even among other nationalities, bakers and pastry chefs sometimes dismiss doughnuts as being too basic for their superior skills. But buyers want what buyers want, and bakers will often acquiesce to their demands. Stores like Wiltshire Pantry strike a tasty compromise – they serve filled doughnuts on Sundays!
11. Tasty Donuts
Here’s another curious and contradictory fact. As a port city, Louisville was a major slave trading hub. But the state next door – Indiana – was a free state. So lots of runaway slaves hid out in Louisville on their way to freedom in Indiana. But the city also hosted ethnic tensions between Irish and German immigrants, leading to the battle of Bloody Monday.
- Name: Tasty Donuts
- Address: 8683 Preston Highway 40219 Louisville, KY, US
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Donut-Shop/Tasty-donuts-112353897168906/
- Phone: +1 502-398-5002
- Hours: 5 am to 1 pm daily
August 6th, 1855 was an election day, and the clashes between Protestants and Catholics left 22 dead. But Louisville was largely peaceful, even during the civil war. It became a center for the Union and despite nearby battles, Louisville remained unscathed. That said, after the war, recovery efforts were largely – and ironically – run by veterans from the Confederacy.
12. Heitzman Bakery
Because of the vast number of black migrants starting 1870, Louisville was known as the Gateway to the South. During the Great Migration, tons of African Americans moved to Needmore in Louisville. It came to be known as Little Africa. This led to residential zoning in 1914, but courtroom activism by the NAACP overturned the punitive racial zoning laws in 1917.
- Name: Heitzman Bakery
- Address: 9426 Shelbyville Rd, Louisville, KY 40222, USA
- Website: https://heitzmanbakery.com
- Phone: 502-426-7736
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 6 am to 6 pm; Sat – 6 am to 5 pm; Sun – 6 am to 4 pm
In the 1940s, Louisville had more black cops than any other southern state, but the system ran in parallel, with black law enforcement only patrolling black neighborhoods. Today, the area formerly called Needmore is known as Park DuValle. And Heitzman Traditional Bakery & Deli has been around since the beginning. They opened in 1891 and are still in operation!
13. Donut Sky
Some residents refer to their city as the place where northern enterprise and southern hospitality meet. The moniker was inspired by the McAlpine Locks and Dam that created a hydroelectric hub at the Falls of the Ohio River near Louisville. Despite this, the Great Flood of 1937 destroyed the city. 70% of the city was submerged, and they later built flood walls.
- Name: Donut Sky
- Address: 6470 N. Preston Hwy, Hillview, KY, United States, Kentucky
- Website: +1 502-955-1288
- Hours: Tue to Sat – 5.30 am to noon; Sun – 6 am to noon; Mon – Closed
We’ve talked a lot about Louisville’s larger racial communities, so let’s close with a tribute to a local Cambodian family that proclaims – in their own words – “All we do is donuts!” The owner, Raksmey Ek, passed on from COVID in 2021. The store closed for a few months, but it re-opened in March. His wife, Martha Mendez, and their kids continue the tradition.
What’s your favorite doughnut spot in Louisville? Give us directions in the comments!