What, exactly, is a donut? At The Daily Meal, we define a donut as an item that you would expect to see in a donut shop: the familiar ones we know and love (of both the raised and cake varieties), like crullers, apple fritters, and other donut-shop classics — you know them when you see them.
So, in order to assemble our most-recent ranking of the 25 best in the country, we more than doubled the number on the previous list from the year before. We stuck to strict criteria in looking for the best individual donuts in America: Freshness is key; are these legendary donuts — ones that inspire cultish devotion to the shop that sells them? We considered both plain glazed and extravagantly topped creations, but there must be a balance between all the components, be it bacon or blueberry jelly. Most importantly, these donuts need to be almost too good: fresh, soft, gooey, perfectly proportioned, and intended to leave you wanting just one more bite. There were over two dozen we believed deserved to be included on our list, and as it turns out, three can be found in New England.
You really can’t find a more delicious donut in the Boston area than the chocolate honey-dipped at Verna’s, a no-frills cash-only donut and coffee shop that makes their donuts fresh every morning and has inspired a cult-like devotion among its fans. For more than 60 years they’ve been turning out the simple and delicious honey-dipped donut, recently renamed the Honey “Tip" in honor of former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O’Neill. While it’s delicious as-is, the addition of chocolate glaze raises the level of deliciousness to the stratosphere.
It’s so good, it made it all the way to #7 on our national list, beating out the blueberry jelly donut at Congdon’s Doughnuts in Wells, Maine (#8) and the cinnamon donut at Dottie’s Diner in Woodbury, Connecticut (#20). This means that Verna’s Honey “Tip” is not only the seventh-best donut in the country, it’s also the title winner of the best donut in New England.