You may know it as the City of Oaks, because of the endless oak trees lining its streets. And you might know it was one of the earliest planned cities in the US. This system works, and over two centuries since it was incorporated, Raleigh is still one of the fastest-growing cities in these United States. But where can you buy the best donuts in Raleigh? Let’s find out!
Best Donuts in Raleigh
1. Baker’s Dozen Donuts
You may have heard of the Research Triangle or just The Triangle. This is an academic hub that grew around the Research Triangle Park of 1959. The park includes the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. It encompasses the top colleges – North Carolina State University, Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina.
- Name: Baker’s Dozen Donuts
- Address: 6320 Capitol Blvd Suite 123 Raleigh, NC, US 27616
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Baker-s-Dozen-Donuts-2-940717312644612/
- Phone: +1 919-803-0837
- Hours: 6 am to 5 pm daily
Raleigh is the biggest city in the Triangle. This makes it a top spot for university students of all shapes and sizes. So whether you’re a Silicon Valley transplant or an artsy music major, you’re likely to subsist on delights from the Baker’s Dozen. Try a chocolate glaze topped with coconut shreds or dotted with cute clovers. Or go greasy with apple fritters and maple bacon!
2. Rise Biscuits & Donuts
At first, Raleigh was largely an agricultural town. It was named after Walter Raleigh and was designed in a grid format. The city was barely damaged by the Civil War though its economy did suffer. But the RTP Project (Research Triangle Park) helped revive the city and pivot toward science and technology. Raleigh is mostly in Wake County but straddles Durham too.
- Name: Rise Biscuit & Donuts
- Address: Village District (formerly Cameron Village) 530 Daniels St. Raleigh, NC 27605
- Website: https://risebiscuitschicken.com/locations/raleigh-village-district/
- Phone: (984) 200-6966
- Hours: 7 am to 2 pm daily
Donuts (or doughnuts, both are correct, though Americans prefer the shorter option) can be baked or fried. And at Raleigh Rise, you can order fried chicken, donuts, and country biscuits that are typically served with meat and gravy. For your doughnut fix, their flavors include chocolate, salty cap’n, maple bacon, sprinkles, Cheerwine, apple fritter, and biscuit beignets.
3. Sola Coffee Café
If you’re curious about how Raleigh avoided destruction during the war, it was an extremely deliberate and strategic event. When the Civil War broke out, North Carolina opted out of the Union and built breastworks to protect the city from the army. Later, the (former) governors planned a surrender to keep the city safe, evacuating the current governor as part of the deal.
- Name: Sola Coffee Café
- Address: 7705 Lead Mine Rd, Raleigh N.C. 27615
- Website: https://www.solacoffee.com
- Phone: (919)-803-8983
- Hours: Monday to Saturday – 7 am to 3 pm
You’ve probably seen those restaurant chalkboard memes that say something like ‘No Wifi. Talk to your neighbors like it’s 1989!’ Sola Café abides by this mantra. You can only get WiFi on weekdays. But on Friday mornings and all-day Saturday, you’ll have to let go of your screens! But donuts and treats? Those are available anytime, so sip, snack, and enjoy!
4. Daylight Donuts
Raleigh is the seat of Wake County, which was named for the North Carolina Governor’s wife, Margaret Wake Tryon. This was way back in 1771. The governor’s name was William Tryon by the way, and Wake County was carved out of Orange, Cumberland, and Johnston Counties. Raleigh became the capital in 1788, incorporated in 1792, and chartered in 1795.
- Name: Daylight Donuts
- Address: Stonehenge Market 7550-101 Creedmoor Rd Raleigh, NC 27613
- Website: https://www.daylightdonutsraleigh.com
- Phone: (919) 676-7442
- Hours: Tuesday to Sunday – 5 am to Noon
If you love the dough but are worried about the nut, Daily Donuts is your spot. All their goodies are nut-free, with no peanuts or tree nuts. And during the week, you can get special discounts that bundle your doughnut or muffin with a coffee for the big kids or milk for the smaller ones. Kids can also get a dozen donut holes to go with theirs. Try the Dutch Crumb!
5. Relish Raleigh
A touch of trivia – Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh in 1808. He grew up to serve as Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President and when Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States. Unfortunately, he was impeached because he prioritized unification over slave protection, but was narrowly acquitted with a single vote.
- Name: Relish Raleigh
- Address: 5625 Creedmoor Rd Raleigh, NC 27612
- Website: https://www.relishraleigh.com/
- Phone: (919) 787-1855
- Hours: Mon to Thur – 11 am to 9 pm; Fri – 11 am to 10 pm;
- Weekend Hours: Sat – 9 am to 10 pm; Sun – 9 am to 3 pm
Politics aside, let’s talk Relish. This craft kitchen bourbon bar serves everything from appetizers and hors d’oeuvre to caviar and regional mac ‘n cheese (Cajun, French, Italian, Mexican, Southern, Alfredo, etc.) Their dessert menu impresses with its banana pudding jar, but they also have fried cake doughnuts with either a chocolate or raspberry dipping sauce.
6. Tepuy Donuts (@ Idle Hour Coffee Shop)
Despite its early opposition to African American rights, Raleigh later became a leading academic center for the higher education of freed slaves. The city’s institutional firsts included Estey Hall for black women, Leonard Medical Centre for African American doctors, St. Augustine’s College for freedmen, and the country’s first school for deaf and blind blacks.
- Name: Tepuy Donuts (@ Idle Hour Coffee Shop)
- Address: 1818 Oberlin Road Raleigh, NC 27608
- Website: https://www.tepuydonuts.com
- Phone: (984) 389 6429
- Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 am to 5 pm; Sat – 8 am to 5 pm; Sun – 9 am to 5 pm
Some coffee houses serve as eateries, but most choose to focus on their specialty in-house coffee blends. The Idle Hour Coffee Shop follows this template, serving artisanal goodies from Tepuy Donuts rather than frying up their own. You can also buy Tepuy Donuts at the Iris Coffee Lab. Popular flavors include banana pudding, s’mores, and lemon pistachio.
7. Bestow Baked Goods
Despite the promising start, things went south. By 1898, Raleigh had two black congressmen and one was named George Henry White. Oddly, it was the Republican Party that was black-leaning back then, and the Democrats were largely supremacist. So by 1900, blacks had lost their voting rights and the bulk of the black middle class left Raleigh for friendlier pastures.
- Name: Bestow Baked Goods
- Address: 4208 Lassiter Road Holly Springs, NC 27540
- Website: https://bestowbakedgoods.com
- Phone: (919)-473-9225
- Hours: Wednesday to Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm
Sadly, there wasn’t another African American in the North Carolina Congress until 1992. On the upside, Raleigh still plays host to tons of thriving black-owned businesses. One such example is Bestow Baked Goods from Holly Springs. They have a rotating menu but you can try their sweet potato doughnuts or their ring-shaped snack cakes. They do weddings as well.
8. Sweet Della’s Treats
In the 60s, about a quarter of Raleigh’s population was black, and when the Civil Rights Act entrenched the black vote in 1965, the black middle class took an active role. In 1973, Clarence Lightner became the first black southern mayor in a city with a white majority. But desegregation unintentionally slowed business in East Hargett Street aka Black Main Street.
- Name: Sweet Della’s Treats
- Address: 2322 Lazy River Dr St, Raleigh, NC, United States, North Carolina
- Website: https://www.sweetdeallstreats.com/
- Phone: 919.264.0184
- Hours: Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri – 8 am to 5 pm; Wed – 8 am to 12 pm
Fortunately, the city’s black businesses didn’t all cave in to the pressure, and lots of them are still thriving today. Check out Sweet Della’s Treats if you want a gourmet doughnut or any other delicious delight. Heads up though – their website is a little tricky to find because #typo, but search engines can still discover it, so phew! Maybe their webmaster can redirect!
9. Bright Spot Donuts
The city of Raleigh is prone to weather damage, and some of the hurricanes that have come through over the years include Hurricanes Hazel (1954), Fran (1996), Dennis (1999), Floyd (1999), and Florence (2018). But in true Raleigh spirit, the residents leaned into this by naming their state hockey team the Carolina Hurricanes, formerly the Hartford Whalers.
- Name: Bright Spot Donuts
- Address: 1501 Sunrise Avenue Raleigh, NC 27608
- Website: https://www.brightspotdonuts.com/
- Phone: Order Online
- Hours: Thursday to Sunday – 7 am to Noon
Now let’s talk about Bright Spot Donuts. If you visit their website, you might mistake them for a construction crew. But that’s just because they’re excited about their new premises and are showing off the building process. But they do make donuts using organic ingredients all sourced or milled locally. Signature flavors include sourwood honey and buttermilk vanilla.
10. Burney’s Sweets ‘n More
Raleigh has always been into the arts. The North Carolina Symphony launched at the height (or depth?) of the Great Depression with Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in 1932. In 2001, it expanded to include Fletcher Opera Theatre, Betty Ray McCain Gallery, Meymandi Concert Hall, Progress Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, Lichtin Plaza, and Kennedy Theatre.
- Name: Burney’s Sweets ‘n More
- Address: 4500 Falls of Neuse Rd #100, Raleigh, NC 27609
- Website: https://www.burneyssweetsandmore.com/raleigh
- Phone: (919) 298-2800
- Hours: Tuesday to Thursday – 7 am to 6 pm; Fri – 7 am to 8 pm
- Weekend Hours: Saturday – 8 am to 8 pm; Sunday – 8 am to 5 pm
When Thomas and Doris were looking for a second chapter gig, they settled on a donut shop. Their first store opened in 2011 followed by a second in 2013. They eventually handed over to Gina and Michael, who grew the business into a thriving franchise. Their menu includes fried croissants (yes, that’s a thing!) plus close to a dozen varieties of donuts, fritters, and crullers.
11. Kitoko Bites
Because Raleigh was built around a grid, it has a highway along its circumference. This road is called the Beltline. Some call it the Raleigh Beltline or the Cliff Benson Beltline, and its route is the Interstate 440, sometimes defined as the I-440 or the I-40. Most of Downtown Raleigh lies inside the Beltline. This region includes the entire central business district area.
- Name: Kitoko Bites
- Address: 1201 Agriculture St Raleigh NC 27603
- Website: https://kitokobites.com
- Phone: (984)238-6032
- Hours: Friday – 10 am to 3 pm; Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm EST
Back to doughnuts – what exactly makes them vegan and/or gluten-free? At Kitoko, they don’t use soy, eggs, corn, butter, milk, or honey. What’s in them then? Flour milled from cassava or yucca tubers, ensuring all the doughnuts are gluten-free, allergen-free, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Plus their doughnut holes are so beautifully crafted!
12. Shyah’s Vegan Bakery
The portions of the city that lie outside the Beltline are typically defined as East, West, North, South, and South-East Raleigh. More recently, some residents have sub-categorized part of the north as Midtown Raleigh. Midtown covers the North Hills, Crabtree Valley, and the Greenway System. It’s mostly a commercial area with a sizeable residential footprint.
- Name: Shyah’s Vegan Bakery
- Address: Knightdale, NC 27545
- Website: https://www.shyahsveganbakery.net/
- Phone: 1-855-912-7305
- Hours: Sunday to Friday – 9 am to 9 pm; Saturday – Closed
Satellite towns like Holly Springs, Morrisville, and Knightdale are often counted as part of Raleigh so let’s check out a popular vegan bakery in the latter. Shyah’s specializes in baked cake-style doughnuts so don’t expect anything fried. Available donut flavors include maple walnut, birthday cake, coconut bacon, sprinkles, and glaze. She has other baked goodies too.
13. Harris Teeter Supermarket
Sometimes, you want fancy sweets and treats from a dedicated pastry shop or bakery. But while lots of dedicated bakeries turn their noses up at doughnuts, you can always find a hearty one at your local diner, coffee shop, or snack kiosk. If you’re not too fussy, you can grab a dozen donuts at the closest convenience store, grocery aisle, or supermarket chain.
- Name: Harris Teeter Supermarket
- Address: 14520 John Rex Blvd Raleigh, NC, US 27614
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Harris-Teeter-1396607660562023/
- Phone: +1 919-554-4167
- Hours: 6 am to 11 pm daily
Locals recommend swinging by Harris Teeter for your fried fix. Their doughnuts aren’t customized, but they’re sweet, large, and filling. You can also order sandwiches and deli meats as well as cupcakes and beverages. It’s a convenience store, so you won’t have to order ahead or spend ages perusing the menu. Plus there’s always parking and everything is fresh!
What’s your top doughnut spot in Raleigh? Tell us how to find it and what you love about it!