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, two can be found in New York City.
This little shop, nestled into a cozy corner of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood (with a second location recently opened in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood), is quietly turning out some spectacular doughnuts. The owners of Dough stick to yeast as opposed to cake donuts, and it’s a recipe that they’ve perfected. The key is freshness, and freshly fried donuts are brought out of the kitchen almost ceaselessly. The offerings are continuously changing, but never cease to surprise. Passion fruit, hibiscus, Earl Grey, blood orange, chocolate glazed… you might just have to return a few times before your cravings for these donuts will be satisfied, but they most likely never will be. If you see the lemon poppy donut on offer, make sure you buy a couple: big, light, fluffy, and bursting with bright, lemony goodness, one bite of these will put a smile on your face every time.
It’s so good, it made it all the way to #3 on our national list, beating out the crème brûlée donut at Doughnut Plant (#22) This means that Dough’s lemon poppy is not only the third-best donut in the country, it’s also the title winner of the best donut in New York City.