Chicago has some of America's Best Donuts, putting it at the forefront of the trendy donut scene. The best way to experience Chicago's donuts is to go on a donut tour.
The prime example of Chicago's best donuts is The Doughnut Vault in River North. Every morning, Tuesday through Saturday, there’s a line forming outside The Doughnut Vault as early as 7 a.m. Better get there early because when the shop is sold out of donut chef François' donuts for the day, you’re out of luck. At $3 a pop (sometimes more), these are no ordinary donuts. In addition to tasty specials like carrot cake or maple-bacon donuts, The Doughnut Vault also has classics like old-fashioned buttermilk and glazed.
Dinkel's Bakery has been serving donuts and other delights since 1922. Get their famous apple cider donut (rolled in cinnamon sugar) or the maple glazed. For old-school original glazed donuts, head to Dat Donuts, where the donuts are massive and delicious.
Those that love quality donuts but hate early wake-up calls can fulfill their craving at Glazed & Infused, which offers the convenience of four locations (a fifth location in Lincoln Park is on the way) and regular hours. Pastry chef Tom Culleeney has teamed up with chef Scott Harris to create a daily rotating lineup of donuts that includes chocolate chip cookie (chocolate chip cake with milk chocolate glaze, crumbled cookies, and pecans) and salted caramel crunch (apple-cinnamon cake with salted caramel glaze and peanuts).
You can also stop by Do-Rite Donuts in the Loop, which makes its donuts in small batches — 36 at a time — throughout the day. Funky flavors change daily and include PB&J Bullseye, candied maple bacon, and caramelized pineapple-rum. Do-Rite Donuts also offers a daily gluten-free option like Valrhona chocolate glazed strawberry on Mondays and banana glazed Meyer lemon pistachio on Friday, and vegan donuts like chai spiced maple glazed on Mondays and Tuesdays and baked banana with banana glaze on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These options ensure that you can satisy your sweet tooth during your visit to Chicago without having to crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn.
Ashley Henshaw is the Chicago Travel City Editor for The Daily Meal.