Best Of Chicago

Best Donuts In Chicago: I’m Right (You’re Wrong)

March 8, 2012 2:00 PM

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By Mason Johnson

It wasn’t until 1994 that I understood the importance of the donut.

The Lion King set me straight. At 29, I was just young enough to really get it, ya know? Meaning finally entered my existence when one of the most famous songs in Disney history came on: The Circle of Life. Sure, literally, according to the movie screen, the circle of life was a matter of nature. The reciprocal magic of life and death. But nothing is ever what it seems, my friends. I saw the circle of life for what it really was: an allegory for donuts.

Ever since then, I’ve devoted my life to the consumption of life, the consumption of donuts. Please, let me share my experience with you…

pastries Best Donuts In Chicago: Im Right (Youre Wrong)


Dinkel's Bakery

3329 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Il
(773) 281-7300

Dinkel’s has been in Chicago so long, it’s practically been absorbed into the concrete, brick and steel that this great city is composed of. It’s the bakery your parents went to, and their parents too.

All of their offerings are good. You won’t go wrong with one of their cakes, and their bread is superb. Their donuts live up to the same quality as everything else they have.

Check them out on Wednesday, when you can get three donuts for $3.99.

Bridgeport Bakery

2907 S. Archer Ave.
Chicago, Il
(773) 523-1121

A popular neighborhood delight, you have to get to Bridgeport Bakery nice and early if you want to choose from the best of the best (especially on the weekends). While my favorite is their chocolate donut (I’ve always had plain tastes), everyone else will tell you to try their bacon buns. And not because they’re bad. Because they’re good. Why would people tell you to try something bad? Unless they’re your enemy. In which case, why are you taking food advice from your enemy?

Old Fashioned Bakery Inc.

11248 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Il
(773) 995-7420

The process of finding the right donut shop for you is kind of like the amazing, animated movie Cinderella. You’re the Prince (sigh) and you’re trying to find your one true love. You met her once and, for whatever reason, stole her shoe. To find her again, you go around the country fitting young ladies with your stolen shoe, hoping beyond hope that there’s only one size five in the entire kingdom.

In this analogy, the shoe isn’t a shoe, but a donut. Personally, my shoe is Old Fashioned Donuts. If you want a donut that’ll fit just right, this is the place to go.

Their selection will change with the season (to fit your mood perfectly). I can’t wait till summer comes around so I can have one of their blueberry donuts. Their specialty is the apple fritter though. Gigantic and always pipin’ hot, you’ll wonder how anyone can go through life without ever having had one.

dirtybettys website Best Donuts In Chicago: Im Right (Youre Wrong)

(credit: Dirty Betty's)

Dirty Betty's

2475 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, Il
(312) 348-0300

Dirty Betty’s, the Dr. Jekyll to Cookie Bar’s Mr. Hyde, has a large selection of gourmet donuts that are crazier than your wicked stepmother (seriously, she’s insane, bro). Their baked donuts, which harbor “all natural” claims (whatever, who cares, they taste great), come in such flavors as (my favorite) cinnamon sugar, as well as the wilder espresso glazed and the fresh banana with a chocolate nutella glaze. They even offer a bunch of vegan selections! Crazy, right?

To find out more about Dirty Betty’s, read “Difficult Decisions At Dirty Betty’s.”

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The Doughnut Vault

400 N. Franklin St.
Chicago, Il

While it seems like the natural way to go, I’m not going to make any vault puns or jokes about heists. Sorry.

I will say this: Doughnut Vault’s doughnuts whisper to me in the middle of the night. Not literally, of course. That’d be insane. I’m just saying, they’re really good, and sometimes when I lay awake at night underneath my Aladdin comforter, I crave their tasty treats.

Though I’m the kind of guy to have the same thing over and over, that’d be a waste at the extremely popular Doughnut Vault. They’re like mad scientists who are too bored to do science so they bake donuts instead; they’re always messing with new flavors and recipes. One of my favorites, thus far, has been their red velvet cake doughnut. Made for Valentine’s Day, it was truly love.

Will I ever taste perfection again?

That’s it! Those are my top five picks. You may have noticed that your favorite is not on the list. I don’t care. Seriously. I don’t care at all. Feel free to say something about it in the comment section below. I might read it and feel horrible! Who knows?
View Comments
  • donut woman

    talk of donuts gets me all hot and bothered. think i need to wash off after reading this

  • Alfonso DiFreggi

    Dunk Donuts in Melrose Park are the best. Period.

  • Paul

    What about Huck Finn’s? They sell donuts there the size of your head!!!!

    • Mason Johnson

      You underestimate the size of my head.

      I’ll have to check them out!


      • JTA

        yeah, they’re not quite as big as mason’s head, but they’re the only thing in chicago that comes close


  • Vicky

    Here are some more places for yummy donuts: Deerfield’s Bakery in Deerfield, Gerhard’s in Lake Forest, Morke’s in Palatine and Biehl’s in Delavan, WI.

    • Mason Johnson

      Thanks for the suggestions, Vicky! Morkes has some great chocolate!

    • Arf Doggie

      Deerfield Bakery is SO good!!!!

    • Roberta Waker

      Biels in Delavan used to be based in Chicago many years ago when lines formed around the block to get almost anything baked by them. They moved to Delavan and started small; now they can barely keep up with the donuts, cookies, cakes, etc. Their butter cream icing is to die for. It’s a way to drive but well worth it.

  • Jocelyn Dorsey

    You forgot about DAT doughnuts. Hands down the best doughnut in Chicago.


      Im with you jocelyn

  • Coco

    Old fashioned donuts is one of the best. Now I have to do a donut run to try the rest. LOL.

  • Darlene

    Mason, honey,

    Please quit being so snarky. There are zillions of great donuts out there beyond the list you provided.

    I can’t believe you were on Archer Avenue and didn’t stop by Weber’s Bakery.

    Please be so kind as to re-start your Donut Search.

    I’m waiting.

    • Jim Marro

      I agree with Darlene….Weber’s has fab donuts

    • Mason Johnson

      Okay, Darlene, I’ll be less snarky! But people comment less when I’m nicer, which means there’s less of a chance they’ll tell me to go to THEIR favorite place, which means there are fewer cool places for me to visit.

      I’ve been into Weber’s Bakery. They’re great! Truth be told, they’re probably just as deserving as most of the people on this list. But if I added every great place with a donut, the list would be gigantic. I draw the line at five, and I stick to it.

      Thanks for commenting,


  • fff

    Huh, the only only good donuts are within the city limits of Chicago. But donuts make you FAT. Keep your unhealthy food in the city. We have good healthy food in the suburbs, even though CBS Chicago is too trendy and urbane to report on the uncouth suburbs.

    • Mason Johnson

      I like the suburbs! Glad you do too, fff.

      Feel free to tell us about some of the good, healthy places I can check out.

      • Trixie

        Agree with you Art. Just found Petersen’s 👍
        Their chocolate iced cake doughnut is so scrumptious 💗
        They must use fresh oil for every new batch…They are closed on Mondays so I will have to wait til tomorrow for my doughnut fix.

  • Rolie

    Wolf’s Bakery in Oak Lawn has the best chocolate cake donuts anywhere!!!! Get there early before they’re gone.

    • Katie

      Wolf’s is in Evergreen Park…..and yes, the best!

    • Chris

      Wolf’s is the best. Any list without them on it isn’t a good list. Sorry.

  • art

    Petersens bakery in Hoffman Estates on Algonquin Road IS THE BEST! PERIOD. EXCLAMATION POINT!!

    • Mason Johnson


  • debbie s

    huck finn donuts are the best fresh tasty and lots of icing my grandsin loves them

  • Vicdalia D

    Talk about arriving early to buy donuts and everything else in pastry try Webber’s Bakery on Archer Ave in Chicago mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joe

    Sorry, I wouldn’t eat anything called “Dirty” let alone “Betty”!

    I’ve tried them and meh, not mind blowing like the doughnuts at Wolfs. If you hit up an independent bakery, then Wolf’s it is….going big biz, then hit Huck Finn’s. Doughnuts are a classic and should stay that way and not get tricked out with all sorts of junk on ’em.

    Trendy is for clothing, not doughnuts.

  • konradg

    Anyone who has ever had a Chocolate Cake Donut from Heinemann’s Bakery knows that there is no equal………………case closed.

  • Christine C.

    One of the best donuts I’ve had is from Impallaria in Bridgeport. Since you did mention Bridgeport bakery…They are big (not as big as huck finns) but a good size and nice and crisp on the outside but so soft in the inside and the icing is just perfect! Not too sweet. Try them out! Now if you have a place that has bacon donuts please post!!!

  • Bill

    Chicago sweet connection on northwest highway has the best chocolate cake donut.

    • RutheeGee

      I agree, Bill! Love anything from Sweet Connections!

  • Centurion

    I don’t know much about donuts…but Huck Finn does work for me.
    Mason…I feel bad, I have nothing to argue with you about.

    • Mason Johnson

      This is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Fudgie

    I agree with Jocelyn! If you have not tried Dat Donut you are missing the boat. That’s okay, it means more for me!!!

  • Ron K.

    Hey chris c., i’m with you on impy’s bakery here in Bridgeport i’ve had donuts from most parts chgo.and they’re up with the best.Bridgeport bakery’s are good too.

  • Evan Taylor

    Wheeling Donut on Dundee rocks, Great chocolate and vanilla long johns,

  • Robert

    Dat Donuts is very good, but not as good as Old Fashioned Donuts in my opinion.

  • Sal

    The challenge of picking the “best” donut place is the style of donut you like. Cake, yeast, cruller, etc. I would argue that a more distinct (and accurate) list can be created if it is separated by type.

    Growing up in Bridgeport, I am partial to Impalaria’s yeast donuts – especially the choco long john – been going there since I was a kid. Foggy in my memory for cruller’s is a place on 47th and Ashland (which I think is no longer there) but Huck Finn’s are pretty good. For cake donuts, I like a small place in the burbs called Honey Fluff in Countryside. Nice crunchy outside, moist and soft inside.

    I am going to Dat’s this weekend becuase of this list – thanks for the recommendations!

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