The Ten: Best Doughnuts

Words and photo by Nevin Martell

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

This time around we’re tackling Homer Simpson’s favorite food that’s not beer: doughnuts.

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

I have seen the future of doughnuts and its name is Astro. Former Fiola pastry chef Jason Gehring has reinvented the jelly doughnut by turning it into a square with a hole at the center. He pipes the filling into the four struts, thereby maximizing the jelly to dough ratio. Genius! His tropical take on the sweet includes a tangy passion fruit glaze and a just-tart-enough lemon curd. The shop doesn’t open until early next year, but Astro is catering events this holiday season.

Lyon Hall

Doughnuts are a must-order when you brunch at this corner favorite in Arlington. The flavors rotate, so you might get the sweet heat of an Asian five-spice, coffee-spiked mocha, or a straight-up vanilla glazed. You also get a free doughnut hole with if you order the platter of four. Winning!

Pizzeria Orso

You probably don’t expect doughnuts at a pizzeria, but executive chef Will Artley is a master of the sweet treats. Order the lemon glazed crowned with a spiral of rich Nutella cream. After you’ve stopped softly sobbing with joy and licked your fingers, you can drop us a thank you email.


The sterling brunch at this Silver Spring standard-bearer is made even better by a plate of pastry chef Carolyn Crow’s doughnuts. Choose between chocolate, raspberry and dulce de leche – or go on a binge and get all three.

Krispy Kreme

When the Hot Now sign lights up, it triggers an irresistible Pavlovian urge for freshly fried glazed doughnuts. It doesn’t matter that Krispy Kreme is a global chain, they still make a damn fine doughnut that deserves your utmost respect.


Kept moist and fluffy with ricotta, these divinely delicious bomboloni come with a house-made burnt honey gelato that is – of course – the bee’s knees.

Bayou Bakery

Chef-owner David Guas continues a long-loved Crescent City tradition by firing up soft, yeasty beignets to order. Arriving with a snowfall of powdered sugar, these golden squares go best with a cup of bold, bracing Counter Culture coffee.

District Doughnut

Though their shop isn’t open yet, this start-up bakery is doing catering so you can try their lovingly crafted rounds. My favorite was the PB&J, which was bursting with a gramma-style strawberry jam and topped with a sweet peanut butter glaze.


The yeasted doughnuts on the Penn Quarter brasserie’s brunch menu are fried to order, tossed in cinnamon sugar, and filled with either lemon curd, chocolate ganache, or a seasonal house-made jam. The perfect way to kick off a weekend morning.


Pastry chef extraordinaire Tiffany MacIsaac has decided to stop flirting with doughnuts (she’s featured them on the menu at Birch & Barley before) and is now going steady with them. At the forthcoming GBD – which stands for Golden Brown Delicious – she will feature flavors like the Satisfy the Hunger (devils food cake doughnut topped with salted caramel glaze and honey roasted peanuts) and the Breakfast of Champs (brioche doughnut with a bourbon butterscotch glaze and smoked bacon by her chef husband, Kyle Bailey).

  • anonymous

    What about eventide restaurant?

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  • CityEatsButt

    Another one for the annals of meaningless lists: 3 of 10 places on here haven’t opened yet. seriously…dumb

  • John C. Winters

    Sweeet. New additions to bucket list…

  • John C. Winters

    Figured I would do another on this one. Just got back from Astro, hard to see from the street but walking is OK. Big, fluffy, good looking and tasty doughnuts in a wide variety of interesting flavors. Not sure about the $2.50-$3.00 price tag for each one, but a great trip. Worth the D.C. traffic. One down, nine to go.