When I was a kid there was a little hometown bakery named Mrs. G’s about a mile from where I lived. On occasion, my Mom and I would stop in there and pick up a donut. As I got older, I would ride my bike down there sometimes on Saturday mornings. Mom was always a big fan of the “I’ll buy if you fly” mentality and it was usually pretty easy to get her to pick up the bill on 2 donuts. The donuts weren’t anything too special, but something about walking into that bakery and seeing all the fun colors behind the bakery counter just made my day.
My love affair with donuts went unrealized, but certainly grew. In high school, I worked at Target. Back then, many of the stores including the one I worked in had a McGlynn’s bakery on site. It was great- on break I would go get a glazed or a long john and head to the breakroom for my 15 minutes of peace and quiet. I went to college in Duluth and for a couple of years I lived very close to the House of Donuts. HOD was one of those perfect little college gems. They served tacos and giant burritos that were super cheap and of course…. donuts. HOD stayed open until 2am which made it a perfect spot to stop or walk down to late night. Nothing quite like tacos and a bear claw after being at the bar all night.
As time has gone on, I have become quite the donut aficionado. I don’t get them that often, but when I do, I go for the good stuff. I always look for independent bakeries when I am travelling someplace new (The cover photo is a raspberry filled with pretzel stake though the heart donut from Voodoo Donut in Portland, OR which I had on a trip out there) and believe in Karma of Donuts. We are pretty blessed in the Twin Cities. There are quite a few fantastic donut shops and bakeries across town and even around the state. They range from old school mom and pop to creative and downright weird. Below is the list of my favorites.
The best donuts in Minnesota.
Mojo Monkey Donuts -West 7th, St Paul – Best for Beignets and Bismarck’s
This place is incredible. They turn out these amazingly light fluffy donuts with incredible flavor combinations in this tiny little storefront on West 7th. I honestly don’t have a favorite from this place- they are all just delightful and many of them have a local flair. Their menu is huge and rotates so best to look at their website if you are looking for something specific. I am particularly fond of their bismarks , but they also serve made to order beignets on the weekends that are to die for.
Angel Food Bakery & Donut Bar -Downtown Mpls -Best for Events, Dough-naparts, and Maple Bacon
Angel Food is the kind of place you want to get a coffee and work for a while at the bar. It has a coffee shop kind of feel to it, but you can see the bakers running around taking things out of the oven and making the whole place smell wonderful. The décor, the donuts, the beautiful cakes etc all give it this sort of urban hip feel. Angel Food does a lot of events- weddings etc and also has these fun donut letters they can do to spell out any message you may want. Not sure what to get? Full slice of bacon on their maple bacon donut.
Granny Donuts- West St. Paul- Best for Apple Fritters and Bavarian Cream
Granny Donuts is exactly what you would expect when you hear the name. It is a no frills mom and pop bakery in an obtrusive, largely working class neighborhood right on Robert Street in West St. Paul that has been turning out great donuts for thirty plus years. Still on it’s original owners, it is exactly the kind of spot we all think of when you are half asleep and just need to pick up a donut on the way to work to get your day off on a good start.
Lindstrom Bakery- Lindstrom- Best for Scandinavian Donuts
Lindstrom Bakery is a little further out there, but if you are headed that way, it is worth stoping for one of their Scandinavian donuts. In this, the Swedish of towns, the Scandinavian donut is probably what you would expect. It is sweet without being sugary, tasty and has a classic feel that you would expect to find from your favorite grandmother growing up. Lindstrom Bakery has a host of other products too- they are a full service bakery, but it is the donuts that made the sign outside and it is the donuts that keep me stopping by.
Glam Doll- Minneapolis (North East and Phillips) -Best for Atmosphere and Unusual Flavors
Glam Doll gets a lot of press for being the best donuts and they are great, but what puts them over the top is their fun flavors and funky yet classic atmosphere. Its the kind of place where you expect to find a real life pinup girl behind the counter, but instead you find a large selection of wacky flavors, such as mac and cheese, peanut butter and sriracha, and even a fried chicken waffle. Now with two locations, an ever-expanding menu and a large hot pink eating area, they roll a lot of donuts into the Cities and keep people happy.
Peace of Cake- Food Truck- Best for Mobile Donuts & Sugar Toppings
Peace of Cake is a mobile donut shop. They specialize in artisanal mini donuts. It tasty and on the move. They have fun and creative sugar mixes and drizzles that are gooey good. The donuts are great with “cheffed up” flavors that are unusual and make you question what else can be turned into a donut. If you catch it in your neighborhood, it is a must go to for your sweet tooth fix or have them come to you for your next event.
Bogarts- South Minneapolis – Best for Burnt Butter Glazed
Close to Lakewood Cemetary, Bogarts has quite the following. They have a small, but mighty menu in their little storefront and the line is often out the door. Like a few others on this list, once they are out, they are closed so go early. Everything here is good, but I make special trips for the Burnt Butter Glazed.
World’s Best Donuts- Grand Marais- Best for cake
World’s Best is known for their cake donuts. Most of the time cake donuts are pretty boring and bland, but World’s Best knows the secret to making them. Theirs are outstanding- flavorful and not too dry. It is a Grand Marais institution now on their fifth generation of bakers. It is a great spot to try the next time you head up North.
Sssdude- Nutz- Dinkytown, Minneapolis- Best for Late Night and Crazy Toppings
The new kids on the block are making quick headlines withtheir weird candy coated fun flavors, their square shape and their chalkboard wall. Funky weird flavors topped with candy and cereal and late night weekend hours make this a no-brainer for the college scene. Located right in the heart of Dinkytown, I am jealous of all the students who can walk over for a post bar -hopping Old Dirty Bastard or Gay 90’s donut at two am.
Suga Rush -University Ave, St. Paul- Best for Old Fashioned and Bear Claws
Suga Rush is a classic mom & pop donut shop with a twist. The owner bought the place as it was about to go under and taught himself how to make donuts in 3 days. Now it is a thriving business located right on the Green Line on University Avenue. Prices are reasonable and the staff are always friendly. It is an easy place to stop in and get a dozen to go.
Cardigan- Downtown Minneapolis Skyway- Best for Crullers
With a nice mix of traditional and new age flavors, Cardigan has donuts for everyone but make sure you check out their special inspiration donut before making a decision. Those are only around for three days at a time so eat ’em while you can. Cardigan is in the skyway which makes it a perfect option for those downtown. Reroute your skyway commute to go right past it.
Rebel Donut Bar- NE Mpls- Best for Challenging your Taste buds
Rebel is a new bakery that is still looking for it’s brick and mortar home. In the meantime, they are being created at home and you can find them at a variety of pop up events and pickup/delivery while they build their customer base. Featuring unusual and weird flavor combinations such as grapefruit, or caramel pretzel, they will bring out your adventurous side in beautiful and bite sized baked goods.
Mel O -Glaze -Nokomis, Minneapolis- Best for Fritters and Glazed
This old school mom and pop bakery has been around for 70+ years. Close to Lake Nokomis, it is a great spot to stop after a walk around the lake or on the way to the ball fields. The fritters and turnovers are massive and can feed more than one if you are willing to share. They are probably most known for their fritters which are wonderful, but I am also partial to their simple glazed.
A Bakers Wife- South Minneapolis -Best for Danish
This is another old school bakery with an inconspicuous exterior that turns out some great donuts. It is a neighborhood institution filled with locals and is a popular spot for pre-work donuts going out the door by the dozen. Bakers Wife is a full bakery and has some great cookies and wonderful croissants in addition to their donuts. They are closed on Monday’s and I hear they only take cash to plan accordingly.
Yo Yo Donuts- Minnetonka- Best for Peanut/ Nut and Gluten Free & Long Johns
Yo Yo has a special texture- it is different than most, but it makes for a damn tasty donut. They have plenty to offer besides the donuts, but the donuts are the heart of the business. I would however, recommend you also get a scoop of their homemade ice cream while there. Yo Yo has a large spacious seating area perfect to have a leisurely coffee with your donut but like many of these hot bakery spots, will sell out of their top flavors pretty quickly so go early.