Courtesy Donut Factory
They’re fluffy, yeasty, sugary and all-around indulgent: We’re talking about doughnuts, of course. Who doesn’t love those puffs of pillowy deliciousness? Today’s dizzying array of decadent descendants of this once-humble treat have gone far beyond jam-filled or glazed, with pastry chefs elevating them to edible art and creating unique flavors that range from refined French brioche to exotic matcha-mochi.
Ready to go on a hunt for the best doughnuts the Greater Seattle area has to offer? Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork (you’re welcome): Just follow our powdered-sugar trail to these local bakeries and shops that have achieved doughnut perfection, and get ready for some seriously sticky fingers and happy faces! We’ve also included a fun bonus tour to sample some of these fried treats in one go!
With four gorgeous city locations, General Porpoise may well be the holy grail of fancy Seattle doughnuts. Owner Renee Erickson, a James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef, got her inspiration for the concept from the famous doughnuts created by the St. John Restaurant group in London. The brioche dough is almost impossibly light and fluffy, and the fillings are a nod to their British roots, with classics such as vanilla custard and lemon curd, and with fresh, seasonal flavors such as quince jam in the mix. Teens will love the swanky décor that lands General Porpoise on the list of Seattle’s most Instagrammable cafés, while coffee-connoisseur parents will be pleased with the carefully curated array of caffeinated beverages.
Raised Doughnuts owner and pastry chef Mi Kim discovered her love for doughnuts as a child, when her dad would buy them from the local gas station to sweeten early-morning drives. Her own flavor creations raise the bar (pun intended) on those simple childhood memories. From her take on the traditional maple bar to imaginative monthly specials, such as the chocolate chip cookie doughnut or “The Noodle,” which is iced with a chocolaty doggy face, these are not your average pastries. For the more adventurous, the savory “Everything Doughnut” is a unique variation on its bagel brother. The Central District shop is soon moving to Midtown Square. Follow Raised Doughnuts for updates; plus, keep an eye out for its pop-ups around town.
In Mill Creek Town Center, Frost brings a taste of artisanal doughnuts closer to those of us who live outside of Seattle proper. Kiddos will be delighted by the oodles of sprinkles on chocolate and vanilla cake doughnuts, while parents will appreciate the novelty of Moscow mule or spiced Aztec chocolate varieties. The location also serves a full breakfast and lunch menu until 2 p.m., so you can get a sandwich or omelet into your littles before the sweets. (The doughnut French toast is always an option, too!) Bonus: Elevated Sportz and the Arena Sports Family Entertainment Center are both a short drive away for burning off that sugar rush!
If you haven’t yet had the chance to try the much-hyped sensation that is the mochi doughnut, you’re in for a real treat. Orlando brand Dochi — the treat being a culinary cross between a doughnut and mochi, of course — brings the fusion dessert to the Pacific Northwest. Each crispy bubble of ring-shaped dough is filled with a chewy bite of mochi, the glutinous Japanese rice sweet. Funky flavor choices include ube, taro pebbles and matcha-Oreo, plus there are fun rotating specials such as Unicorn Candy and Lucky Charms (stalk Dochi’s Instagram feed to see the latest taste sensations). There’s no standalone shop; to find these delights, you’ll need to venture into the Uwajimaya food hall in the Chinatown–International District or inside The Eatery at Lam’s Seafood Market in Tukwila.
You’ll know you found this insanely popular Hillman City bakery café when you spot the long customer queue outside the doors, a line that often forms long before the 10 a.m. opening. You’ll need to arrive early if you want to get your hands on one of the incredible brioche doughnuts: The first-come, first-served bakery is open Thursdays through Sundays, and usually sells out of doughnuts by noon! Inside, the cozy, light-flooded space feels like a friend’s (very chic) living room. Everything is made in house from scratch. Homemade honeycomb or pandan leaves make their way into unexpected fillings, such as coconut milk custard or cardamom-scented basmati rice pudding. The Flour Box also serves a selection of fun beverages.
Dreaming of a tropical escape? If you can’t make it to Hawaii’s sandy beaches, the island-inspired delicacies at The Donut Lab might just be the perfect consolation treat. The company looks to bring a taste of the tropics to Seattle with its take on the malasada, a Portuguese-style doughnut delicacy popular in Hawaii. The fluffy, sugar-crusted pastries come in a variety of exotic flavors, including guava, macadamia nut and piña colada. Currently, the shop doesn’t have a storefront: You’ll need to order online and pick the doughnuts up in Renton to get your malasada fix.
Over-the-top decadent is how we would describe the sugary temptations at Donut Factory, which loads up its confections with everything from Oreos to bacon. Indulge in a doughnut version of your favorite candy bar, cinnamon roll or s’more; or go for a classic Bavarian cream or a fun PB&J option. The University District location is a hop and a skip from the Burke Museum, making it the perfect pre- or post-visit refueling stop. There is also a location in Lynnwood.
Ever tried a beignet before? If not, you’re in for a treat. These airy, crispy golden puffs are a New Orleans specialty made with a choux-like pastry. The square fritters are typically sold in servings of half a dozen or more, dusted with powdered sugar and served piping hot out of the fryer with a dipping sauce of melted chocolate. Jet City Beignet brings the yummies to Seattle at pop-up stands and ghost kitchens around town; you’ll need to check the calendar to catch them, but trust us, they’re worth it! You can also purchase packages of the company’s beignets in the freezer section at all Metropolitan Market locations to fry up at home.
Considered a venerable local institution, Mighty-O may not have the glitz factor of some of the other shops on this list, but the doughnuts are definitely on point, consistently tasty and made with all-organic ingredients — and without eggs and dairy, making Mighty-O one of the few vegan-friendly doughnut shops in the area. The focus is on dense, chewy cake doughnuts in chocolate, vanilla, iced and glazed options, along with specialty flavors, such as the wildly popular French toast. Five convenient locations around the city mean you’re never too far from a yummy treat.
Just can’t decide which of these amazing doughnutty creations to try first? How about leaving it up to a local doughnut expert (yes, that’s a thing) to decide and be your guide? Go on a delicious family adventure with the Underground Donut Tour, starting in Belltown and heading to Pike Place Market. You’ll check out some of Seattle’s best doughnut shops, learning about their history and other doughnut-related trivia along the way. But most importantly, of course, you’ll sample all of the fried sugary goodies you can handle!