Uh, I can see the powdered sugar on the side of your face. You're not fooling anyone, and now you owe me a doughnut.


Seattle's Top 5 Doughnuts

Uh, I can see the powdered sugar on the side of your face. You're not fooling anyone, and now you owe me a doughnut.
Please pass the bear claw, one of those fluffy dough pouches filled with custard and covered in powdered sugar, an apple fritter, and a bacon-topped maple bar. That's right, it's time to talk dough, people, and not just any dough--deep-fried, iced, sugared, filled, dipped, dusted, and dunked. When last we discussed Seattle's Top Five Lattes, there was quite an uproar along the lines of a room full of people who hadn't yet had their morning latte. Luckily there were a few caffeinated wardens to keep the wolfpack in line and slap some sense into them! We can only hope this endeavor is as lucky. Might we suggest you reread our recent picks for Top 5 lattes after this, and then make a morning of it this weekend? Just let us know what time we should meet you there. You're buying.

5. Chuck's Donut Shop

5335 N.E. Fourth St., Renton

Go to your Internet map of Seattle, scroll a little to the riiiiiiiiight, down a bit . . . THERE! See? That's Renton. Even though it's definitely on the periphery of the Seattle area, Chuck's has been around long enough to see a few generations of cops with late stages of "patrol car spread" and "desk belly." If you happen to be in Renton furniture shopping, visiting relatives, or maybe actually living there (yes, diehard Seattleites, people actually do live outside the downtown core, weird as it may seem), Chuck's is right on the main drag, with that sugary jolt needed to get your glucose back up for the next couple hours. They may not be socially responsible, organic, or trans-fat free, but you know what they are? Yeah, that'd be scrumptious and perfectly oily. As one of Seattle's most sweets-educated food blogs, CakeSpy, notes, it's got just enough grease to coat your tongue, requiring a cup of coffee to go and a handful of napkins.

Favorite varietal: Maple bar. The frosting--not glaze--is like cake frosting, but mapley and sugary and we're not sharing.

Pictured: a rustic, no-named old fashioned, filled with jam and glazed.

Donuts_Chucks_Filled glazed_CakeSpy.jpg

4. Top Pot

10600 N.E. Ninth Pl. Seattle

Everyone's a critic of this place, love it or hate it. Almost as much as the crowd-splitting discussion over Starbucks versus local/anything that isn't Starbucks. Top Pot makes more than 40 varieties of "hand-forged" doughnuts. It's good enough for Barack, and it's good enough for our taste buds too. While their cake doughnuts dry out pretty fast, they're good when fresh and the crullers are always a crispy win, glazed or not. These are a little more healthy than the basic corner shop or mass-market doughnut you'll find, but still fill you up, and the flavors are pretty true to real life (no electric-pink strawberry goop here). You can even see the mini-blueberries in the dense cake doughnut.

Favorite varietal: Bavarian Crème Bismarck Filled.

Pictured: Apple Fritter.

Donuts_Top Pot_apple-fritter.jpg
Top Pot Doughnuts

3. Mighty-O Donuts

2110 N. 55th St. Seattle

Organic and vegan? Next you'll tell me it puts the seat down, opens doors, and actually gets its dirty underwear in the hamper too! It's hard to believe something so bouncy, delicate, and tasty has no butter, eggs, or sour cream in it. So seriously, what's in it? That'd be a blend of earthly flours and plant oils with spices and vanilla (you can download their ingredient list and nutritional facts from their website). Even Mighty-O's glazes are PETA-friendly, and so we say, "How could we not love a cakey, toothy ring of airy, crumby dough covered in a glaze that crackles with glee when bit into?"

Favorite varietal: lemon poppy: a true classic mix of flavors, but way better than a crappy muffin or lemon bar with powdered sugar.

Pictured: lemon poppy.

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Mighty-O Donuts

2. Frost

15421 Main St., Ste. H102, Mill Creek

With a flavor matrix that puts even the Cheesecake Factory to shame, Frost has recently taken the Eastside, and now Seattle, by storm. Fifty-two flavors and counting means you're either buying a dozen to share with those jerks in accounting who always take a bite out of the filled bismarcks and put them back, or you're running five miles every day for the next two weeks. With three categories of doughnuts, Classic, Premium, and Evolved, you'll be hard-pressed to choose between the Bananas Foster Fritter and the Southern Red Velvet.

Favorite varietal: salted caramel: a vanilla old-fashioned doughnut with handmade caramel, crystal sugar, & fleur de sel.

Pictured: salted caramel.

Donuts_Frost_Salted Carmel.jpg
Frost Doughnuts

1. Daily Dozen Doughnut Company

93 Pike St., Seattle

Just because they're mini doesn't mean they're small on taste, grease, or perfection. In fact, for their size, these four basic doughnuts (plain cake, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate frosting with sprinkles) are the Fab Four of this city. It's not because it's in the Pike Place Market, and it's not because you get to watch the creation process from beginning to end (although doesn't that make it a little more fun?). It's because the oil is hot, hot, hot, the shell is a super-thin and crispy crust, and the insides are almost melted yet somehow fluffy and steaming hot. The line is usually 10 people deep, which means you're rarely getting a doughnut that's sat around for more than two minutes. In fact, many times you're waiting for them to slide off the conveyor belt and into the bag. There's just the right amount of saltiness to the batter, so for the purists, a dozen regular are more than enough flavor to hoard in the corner while you watch traveling families and locals alike slow (almost to a stop) as they walk past. Served hot off the floating grease river in double-paper lunch sacks, the full four varieties, or just one kind alone, keep your hands warm, your mouth and wallet full, and you coming back next weekend for another hit from the dealer.

Favorite varietal: the cinnamon sugar mini-cake--the coating of sugar starts to melt and bind to the crust before you get to the second one.

Pictured: chocolate-covered with sprinkles and cinnamon sugar.

Bryan P. via

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