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 needs to 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, one can be found in Atlanta.
Pastry chef Kamal Grant is a donut genius-at-work charming Sublime Doughtnuts, and his creations are some of the most original in the country. It’s nearly impossible to not walk out of here without four or five of his trademark donuts, in varieties like Oreo ice cream "burger," s’mores, and salted caramel balsamic. But if you see the fresh strawberries and cream variety, go for it: fresh strawberries and strawberry cream cheese between two halves of a glazed donut? Simply unreal, and better than any strawberry cheesecake.
It’s so good, it made it to #17 on our national list, and since it’s the only one from the city to make our ranking, it’s also the title winner of the best donut in Atlanta.