Typically, beach towns are slow and laid back. So we sometimes forget that New York, the city that never sleeps, is essentially a series of islands. Of its five fast-paced boroughs, only The Bronx is on the mainland. So as we scour the city hunting for the best donuts in Queens, we’ll look into the history, background, and fascinating trivia of this Long Island borough.
Best Donuts in Queens
1. Little Flower
Let’s talk more about New York’s five boroughs. They are Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Staten Island and Manhattan are standalone islands while Queens and Brooklyn are on the western side of Long Island. For reference, Long Island has two other counties besides Queens and Brooklyn, but they’re counted as part of the suburbs.
- Name: Little Flower
- Address: 25-35 36th Ave Queens, NY 11106
- Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/little-flower-queens
- Phone: Not Listed
- Hours: Mon to Thur – 7 am to 4 pm; Fri to Sun – 8 am to 4 pm
Our first donut stop is a bit confusing. It was formerly an Ecuadorian restaurant, is currently run by the 26-year-old son of nearby Sami’s Kabab House, has only been open a few weeks, and shares a name with a Californian sandwich shop. Still, if you’re in the neighborhood, check it out – you’ll be impressed. Try their cardamom donut with its Afghan custard filling.
2. Doughnut Plant
The boroughs of New York are said to be coextensive, which means they have counties that share their names and borders. Queens County covers the same physical space as Queens Borough. The difference is that boroughs administratively fall under New York City while counties answer to New York State. Luckily, the doughnut shops still have the same address!
- Name: Doughnut Plant
- Address: 31-00 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
- Website: https://www.doughnutplant.com
- Phone: 212-505-3700 ext 310
- Hours: Wed to Sun – 8 am to 4 pm
Doughnut Plant is one of them, and it’s quite aptly named. Note the spelling – this is what they use in Europe, but you can use them interchangeably since both versions are globally accepted. This donut factory started in 1994 and has five outlets around New York. Their signature style is sourdoughnuts, made with their proprietary sourdough wild yeast starter.
3. Alpha Donuts
Almost every New York movie has that cliché scene where someone yells ‘I’m from Neeu Yohwark’ like it explains everything. Which it does, at least in the context of the film. But the pandemic shifted things. The 2020 census places the population of Queens at about 2.5M, but as residents moved back to their hometowns for lockdown, the city’s size shrunk. A lot.
- Name: Alpha Donuts
- Address: 45-16 Queens Blvd Sunnyside, NY 11104
- Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/alpha-donuts-sunnyside
- Phone: (718) 472-4725
- Hours: 6 am to 10 pm daily
Finding the best donuts in Queens can be tricky because so many shops shut down during the pandemic, and not all of them re-opened afterward. Alpha Donuts seems to be doing okay though, so you could check them out. Their chocolate cruller (a coiled donut made with brioche dough) is a big hit, and their Boston Creams aren’t bad either. Or try a deli sandwich.
4. Gonuts Doughnuts
Some people did stick around for lockdown. Some were born and bred in Queens. Others couldn’t leave because going home was impractical. The census suggested close to half the folk living in Queens were born outside the US. But physically speaking, Queens is the largest geographical borough, and the second largest by population (after Kings County, Brooklyn).
- Name: Gonuts Doughnuts
- Address: 90-18 Corona Ave, Queens, NY 11373
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/gonuts.doughnuts.nyc/
- Phone: (929)666-7217
- Hours: Mon to Sat – 7 am to 6 pm; Sun – 7 am to 4 pm
COVID aside, the Corona Avenue address of Gonuts Doughnuts is purely coincidental. Also, yes, they spell it the European way – with all those extra letters – but for the record, both donuts and doughnuts are grammatically correct. Their quirky menu has baked cake donuts like Green Lady and Free Panda plus fried yeast doughnuts like Emoji and Querida Dulcinea.
5. The Dough Club
Because Queens has such a diverse ancestral mix, it’s considered the most ethnically and linguistically diverse spot on the planet. But neighborhoods are still pretty segregated, and communities are built around cultural enclaves and social connections. Initially, Queens was one of the original dozen New York counties. Back then New York was considered a province.
- Name: The Dough Club
- Address: 136-17 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354 (Taiyaki Flushing ins Queens Crossing)
- Website: https://www.thedoughclub.com/
- Phone: (917) 826-7821
- Hours: Mon to Fri – Noon to 8 pm; Sat & Sun – 1 pm to 8 pm
As we said before, lots of cafés and donut stores didn’t survive the pandemic. Flushing’s Black Label Donuts certainly didn’t. But The Dough Club made it, and they have several New York branches, including one in Flushing. They serve mochi donuts. These are Japanese rice cakes made of rice flour. They look like frosted donut holes strung together like a bracelet.
6. Dough Doughnuts
Queens County probably got its name from Catarina – Queen Catherine of Braganza. This Portuguese princess married King Charles II, making her the queen of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Similarly, Kings County (coextensive with Brooklyn borough) was named for her husband, King Charles II. The settlements started in 1683 but weren’t formalized until 1898.
- Name: Dough Doughnuts
- Address: 21-70 31st St, Astoria, NY 11105
- Website: https://www.doughdoughnuts.com/
- Phone: (718) 540-9170
- Hours: Mon to Sat – 9 am to 7 pm; Sun – 9 am to 6 pm (or until sold out)
While the naming of this doughnut store makes for good SEO, it can be a little puzzling to ask for directions to Dough Doughnuts. They’re worth the trip though, and they offer a dozen year-round flavors, more than twenty seasonal options, plus four vegan variants. You can spot the vegan versions because they’re shaped like pentagons. The other two come in rings.
7. Ugly Donuts & Corn Dogs
A third county – Richmond (coextensive with Staten Island Borough) was allegedly named for the First Duke of Richmond, said to be Charles’ illegitimate son. That same year (1898), the towns of Flushing, Newtown, Jamaica, Long Island City, and Western Hempstead were merged to form the borough of Queens. The rest of the area became part of Nassau County.
- Name: Ugly Donuts & Corn Dogs
- Address: 136-84 Roosevelt Ave. Flushing, NY
- Website: https://www.uglydonutsncorndogs.com
- Phone: 347.506.0425
- Hours: 11 am to 8 pm daily
There’s a large community of Asians in Queens. They include families from Korea, China, the Philippines, and South Asia. So joints that sell ethnic food have an instant market. One such outfit is Ugly (Rice) Donuts & Corn Dogs. They specialize in Korean street food. They have two outlets in Flushing, a popular Korean neighborhood, plus four more around New York.
8. Tim Hortons
Today, four of the towns that conjoined to form Queens are still connected. Jamaica, Long Island City, Newton, and Flushing are important neighborhoods in Queens, but Hempstead is administratively under Nassau County. One of the reasons Queens continues to thrive is its mixed economy. It has global airports, tourist sites, profitable sports teams, and a film hub.
- Name: Tim Hortons
- Address: 93-40 Sutphin Blvd, Queens, NY 11435
- Website: https://www.timhortons.com/
- Phone: +1 718-725-0002
- Hours: 7 am to 11 pm daily
As a diverse city borough, Queens plays host to tons of global franchises including some surprising ones. Tim Hortons is one such example. This Canadian doughnut brand developed Timbits, their in-store version of doughnut holes. You can order your Timbits as well as other donut flavors and coffee at their Jamaica Station take-out and drive-through.
9. Café Boulis
Aside from the broad cultural influences in Queens, class clashes are sometimes a concern. Flushing and Long Island City are undergoing gentrification. Housing within the borough has massive gaps between high-rise and low-rise neighborhoods. Historically, Queens (and New York in general) was called New Amsterdam because the first settlers were Dutch.
- Name: Café Boulis
- Address: 30-15 31st Avenue, Queens, NY, 11106
- Website: http://www.cafeboulis.com/
- Phone: (718) 806-1014
- Hours: Mon to Sat – 7 am to 8 pm; Sun – 8 am to 8 pm
Astoria is a neighborhood in Queens, and it has a massive Greek population. It also has a good proportion of Middle Easterners, Italians, and a big LatinX community. Café Boulis is a Greek eatery that specializes in traditional dishes. Their top sellers are indigenous desserts and pastries like loukoumades (Greek doughnuts), filo/phyllo (puff pastry), and kourabies.
While the Dutch got there first, they were soon outnumbered by English settlers. The English residents had to follow laws from the Netherlands, which they didn’t always like. Back then, Flushing was known as Vlissingen. When the English eventually took over New Amsterdam in 1664, they renamed the area York Shire aka New York. Rikers used to be called Huletts.
- Name: Comfortland
- Address: 4009 30th Ave Astoria, New York 11103
- Website: https://www.comfortlandnyc.com
- Phone: (347) 642-9932
- Hours: Monday – Closed; Tue to Fri – 10 am to 9 pm
- Weekend Hours: Sat – 9 am to 9 pm; Sun – 9 am to 8 am
Also, JFK Airport was once known as Idlewild Airport. It opened in 1948. LaGuardia is a bit older, officially opened in 1939. Now let’s talk comfort food … and it doesn’t get much better than Comfortland. Their pun-filled menu has it all! Po’boy sandwiches. Cannoli doughnuts. Jelly-bomb donut holes stuffed with raspberry jam. PB Oreos. Parmesan fries. Even biscuits!
11. Croffle House
In the early 1900s, Queens was serviced by railroad and you could only access Manhattan via ferries or through bridges in Brooklyn. Between 1905 and 1908, the railroad went electric. In 1909, they completed the Queensboro Bridge and in 1910, they finished the tunnels under the East River. Next came the Steinway Tunnel in 1915, fully linking Queens to the Subway.
- Name: Croffle House
- Address: 40-17 149th Place, Flushing, NY 11354
- Website: https://crofflehouse.com
- Phone: 917.908.0405
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 am to 9 pm; Sat & Sun – 10 am to 9 pm
Dominique Ansel invented the cronut in 2013 and was unhappy about other eateries copy-catting her new dish. She even sent out cease-and-desist letters! So we’ll stick with a less patent-heavy delicacy – the croffle. It’s a croissant-waffle hybrid that’s big in Korea. It’s also a popular doughnut shop in Flushing. Aside from croffles, they serve mochi, tarts, and cakes.
12. Sweetleaf Café
As we said before, Manhattan and Staten Island are standalone land masses. But they also have smaller islands that are part of their administrative territory, such as Manhattan’s Ellis Island and Staten’s Hoffman Island. Meanwhile, Brooklyn and Queens are formed from a few smaller islands. The ‘islets’ of Queens include Rikers jail complex and Broad Channel.
- Name: Sweetleaf
- Address: 10-93 Jackson Ave (at 11th St), Queens, NY
- Website: https://www.sweetleafcoffee.com
- Phone: +1 917-832-6726
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 am to 7 pm; Sat & Sun – 8 am to 7 pm
For some of us, a coffee house is the perfect place to sip jet fuel and nibble on sweets while chasing deadlines. But while Sweetleaf provides the caffeine and the sugar high, they only allow laptops in the designated computing area – sorry! Try their doughnut holes in spicy flavors like pumpkin and apple cider. They have three outlets around Long Island City.
13. Purple Dough
While Queens as a whole is culturally diverse, neighborhoods tend to be more streamlined. Sections of the borough are nicknamed Little Italy/Colombia/Manila/Guyana/Punjab. The black population centers around Jamaica while Asians from China, Korea, and South Asia seem to flock to Flushing. Rockaway is largely Irish and Astoria traditionally attracts Greeks.
- Name: Purple Dough
- Address: 3805 69th Street Woodside, NY 11377
- Website: https://purpledough.com
- Phone: 646-726-2187
- Hours: Delivery Only– Text to Order
Eastern Europeans conglomerate around Ridgewood and Maspeth and lots of Filipinos settle in Woodside. These are just generalizations though. They weren’t built as racial sectors. Kora was a popular online-only Filipino donut store. It opened in Woodside (Little Manila) during the pandemic, but is currently closed. Try the baked donut flavors at Purple Dough instead.
What’s your favorite spot for donuts in Queens? Tell us where to find it and why you love it!