I know what you’re thinking, Southern California and donuts? Aren’t both LA and the OC home of juice cleanses, kale and fitness? Yes, yes and YES, but despite it’s health obsession, Southern California still has some of the best donut shops I’ve ever visited.
Over Christmas break I flew home to LA and took it upon myself to do some serious research on the best donut places in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego county. And after 3 weeks of driving all over Southern California and trying more donuts than I can count, here’s my list of some of the best donut shops in SoCal.
Blue Star Donuts– I may be a little biased because I currently live in Portland, but BlueStar is hands down the BEST donut places I’ve ever visited. The quality of the ingredients in the donut is what really sets it apart from other donut places. My favorites? The Passion Fruit and Cocoa Nibs Donut, the Chocolate Almond Ganache Donut and the Blueberry Bourbon Basil Donut.ICDC– All I can say is that I am obsessed with this place. I have this thing for sweet and salty snacks, such as, chocolate covered pretzels and fries dipped in a chocolate frosty. So you can imagine my love for ICDC when I discovered they had a Salt & Pepper Caramel Donut and a Salted Chocolate Pretzel Donut. They are both amazing and if sweet and salty is your thing, ICDC is the place to visit.California Donuts– This place is Instafamous and known for its fun toppings such as, fruity pebbles, cinnamon toast crunch and Oreos, and their use of custom letter donuts. Try their Blueberry Toast Crunch, Panda or Pink D’oh-nut. My personal favorites were the strawberry n nuts and the chocolate strawberry.Donut Friend– Another favorite of mine, this place actually had some of the most unique donuts flavors I have ever tasted. I seriously bought half a dozen just for myself! From rosewater and mango chill glazes to lavender cake donuts, this place and its donuts will blow your mind away!Birdies LA -What I love about this donut shop is the fact that they sell fried chicken in addition to donuts. Talk about a winning combo! So, grab some lunch or dinner and a little dessert for later all at the same place.DK’s Donuts– Ok so you’ve heard of the croissant donut hybrid known as the cronut right? Well this place does the LA version of a cronut, except they call it an O-Nut. They have a ton of toppings and fillings to go with their O-Nuts, but my personal favorite? Nutella Strawberry.
Sidecar Doughnuts– I love Sidecar because its quality of donut reminds me of Blue Star. Keep an eye out for their monthly favors, as they change with the season and are all pretty much amazing. My favorite donuts were the Butter and Salt donut and the Salty Caramel Donut. (Note: Sidecar also has a location in Los Angeles)Poqet Donuts– Don’t you hate it when you like a donut but not the toppings, or when you like just the toppings and not the donut? Well Poqet has solved that problem. At this donut shop, you are the master of your own donut. You can create your own donut but picking the donut, filling and toppings. Enjoy a donut that is as unique to you!Crafted Donuts-Thie donut shop also has some pretty cool flavors such as, Banana Creme Pie, Pecan Praline and Almond Joy. But the best part about this place? The fact that they have a HUGE Simpson style donut. I’m talking a bigger than my hand, bright pink with sprinkles donut!
Afters Ice Cream– Although Afters is not technically a donut shop, I felt that they needed to be included in this list. Afters makes ice cream sandwiches with ice cream and glazed donuts. They are most known for their Cookie Monster, which is an ice cream sandwich made with blue cookies and cream ice cream in between a glazed donut. But if blue ice cream isn’t your thing, try any one of their ice cream flavors in a donut ice cream sandwich. (Note: Afters has locations throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County)
Donut Bar– This place is so good, the only thing I have to say about this place is get there early because they sell out so quickly, like by 11 am….. even on a weekday! My tip is to grab a donut and walk around downtown San Diego or Coronado Island.Nomad Donuts– What I love about this place is that they often partner with San Diego breweries to create unique flavors and beer/donut pairings. They also have a large selection of vegan donuts for all of my fellow vegan friends out there.