There are plenty of American classics that the Windy City is known for when it comes to food – the hot dogs that no trip to Wrigley Field is complete without, Chicago Deep Dish pizza, loaded with cheese, and Maxwell Street Polish Sausage. But the food scene in Chicago offers a whole lot more than just these classics – incredible fine dining complements the hearty comfort food that the city is known for, but for a perfect snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are also some amazing donut shops worth visiting. From the authentic bakeries and mom and pop shops, to some incredible flavor combinations and Instagram-worthy offerings, these are two of the best donut shops that everyone should try at least once in their life.
For the best in classic flavors, you can’t do better than Doughnut Vault. Although it’s important to aim to get there early, because these little-fried rings are so good that they usually sell out, fast! If you do end up disappointed, you can also grab them at Sawada Coffee, CC Ferns, and Three Arts Club Café, owned by the same restaurant group. Doughnut vault prides themselves on artisanal, fresh donuts baked daily, and their classic flavors include buttermilk old-fashioned, lemon poppyseed, and toasted almond. Enjoy these (or some of their ever-changing menu of slightly wilder flavors) in a unique space that features brick walls and leather chairs. It feels a little more like an independent coffee shop than a bakery.
On the other end of the spectrum from the classic American donut is the bomboloni - an Italian hole-less donut tossed in sugar. At BomboBar, a walk-up window on the side of an Italian restaurant, you can get bomboloni, gelato, and spiked coffee, in perfectly Instagram-worthy combinations. The best part? You can choose from flavors like salted caramel, Nutella, and raspberry for your bomboloni. They come in squeeze bottles to be injected into the donut or just poured over the top! These sweet treats can also be bought as minis, slipped onto the straw of a decadent milkshake, and chopped in half to become a bomboloni ice cream sandwich if you just can’t decide between the donuts and the gelato. For those who really can’t get enough, you can also buy these Italian desserts in boxes of four, six or twelve.
Of course, there are dozens of other options for incredible sweet treats in the Windy City. From the dessert donut at Pub Royale that gives this American classic an Indian twist with deep fried Naan dough flavored with chai, or the vegan and gluten-free selection at Do-Rite Donuts. Where is your favorite place to kill a donut craving in Chicago?