Nine Favorite Doughnuts in Phoenix

Categories: Top Lists
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Jackie Mercandetti
Doughnuts with salted butterscotch at The Grind.

​Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm -- doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme's tanked (twice) in this town, and Dunkin' Donuts can't even make it on Mill Avenue, but a truly great doughnut? That's a different story, as the sugary fried stuff takes centerstage on menus at ritzy restaurants and boutique doughnut shops continue to pop up around town. Here are nine of our faves. Grab a glass of milk and read on.

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Erica O'Neil
Cowboy Ciao

9. Bomboloni from Cowboy Ciao
The bomboloni at Cowboy Ciao are called "the fancy doughnut situation" for a reason. They're fancy. But what isn't at Cowboy Ciao? After the Stetson Chopped Salad or the Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry, we like to end our lunch or dinner with the fancy doughnut situation. The bomboloni are airy, featherweight dough pockets filled with a tart berry jam. That alone is reason to indulge, but the creme fraiche dipping sauce on the side? That's reason to moan mid-doughnut. We like to nibble at our doughy, tart bomboloni to take full advantage of the rich sauce on the side. It's like liquid custard, or liquid gold, depending on whom you ask.

Deep-fried and rolled in sugar, after the jump.

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Jackie Mercandetti
Europa Pastry Cafe.

8. Raspberry-filled Paczki from Europa Pastry Cafe 
Although we always feel like we're butchering the name when we ask for them, the paczki from Europa Pastry Cafe are worth tripping over a mouthful of consonants. For those not initiated into the glories of Polish doughnuts, you're in for a treat. Paczki are essentially fruit-filled, deep-fried pastries topped with a sugary sweet glaze. Europa Pastry Cafe always has a couple flavors on hand like raspberry and apricot, and they even had prune the last time we visited. Our favorite is the raspberry, a tart berry filling surrounded by a light dough that seems a bit richer than the traditional yeast-based doughnut. But the only way to tell is to snag one and try it for yourself.

7. Salted Butterscotch Doughnut from The Grind
You probably know The Grind for its fancy coal-fired burgers and sweet potato fries, but sometimes we skip the burger and order dessert first. (Being an adult does have its perks!) The salted butterscotch doughnuts from The Grind are worth it. Five mini doughnuts are arranged on a platter, dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with a salted butterscotch sauce. The sauce is the main event here, and luckily you get a whole bowl for extra dipping. We promise not to tell if you double dip (been there) or sip a spoonful of that sugary goodness solo (done that).

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Claire Lawton
Maple bacon (right) from Rainbow Donuts Cafe.

6. Maple Bacon Donut from Rainbow Donuts Café
How could anything get better then one of Rainbow Donuts' light and airy fresh glazed doughnuts? You could start with bacon. The 7th Street doughnut and coffee house takes their already amazing doughnut, glazes it with sweet maple frosting and then covers the top with bits of smoky bacon. It's not doughnut for the faint of heart and you better keep it far away from you vegetarian friends, but if you love bacon it doesn't get much better this.

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Jackie Mercandetti
The Parlor.

5. Mixed Berry Zeppole from The Parlor
The Parlor has won many awards for their pizza, but it's the zeppole that hold a special place in our heart. A great meal deserves a great finish, and the mixed berry zeppole are the perfect sweet treat. Zeppole are more like doughnut holes than a regular fluffy doughnut with a hole. An order of zeppole come with a pile of deep fried berry dough balls. A quick roll in sugar adds some sweet crunch, and the dessert is served with a couple different dipping options, lemon poppy jam and honey whipped ricotta. The flavors are a perfect complement to the berry zeppole, which are the perfect end to an Italian meal.

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Jackie Mercandetti
LaMar's Donuts.

4. Bavarian Cream-Filled Bizmark from LaMar's Donuts
LaMar's Donuts is one place that doesn't do anything small, from cinnamon buns the size of a frisbee to maple bars almost double the size of those at grocery stores. Thankfully, LaMar's big doughnuts taste good, and with doughnuts this tasty it's hard to choose a favorite. At the moment, the Bavarian cream-filled bizmark is leading our pack. The first bite of this doughnut is fluffy and light with a sweet chocolate icing. But it's the second bite that yields luscious Bavarian cream, a rich custard that's not overly sweet. Cream-filled perfection.

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Tedd Roundy
Fry's.

3. Remainder Doughnuts from Fry's
After a long day, there's nothing quite like picking up a dozen doughnuts for $3.99 at your local Fry's. At around 6 p.m., the bakery pulls the donuts from their usual case and sorts them into boxes to sell off the remainders en masse. The boxes are completely random: Some are heavy on the jelly, others mostly chocolate-glazed and cinnamon buns. We look for the one with the most white -chocolate-glazed doughnuts with rainbow sprinkles. Not just another slave to the white-chocolate revolution (see White Chocolate Reese's and White Chocolate Kit Kats), we started eating these donuts after seeing The Prophecy 3 (2000). In this bizarre, straight-to-DVD film starring Christopher Walken, an angel named Zophael with his own theme music stops in a doughnut shop. Spying a white-chocolate-glazed doughnut with rainbow sprinkles, he says, "I'll take one of those...with the colored fragments on top." Us? We'll take 12 of those.

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Erica O'Neil
Bosa.

2. Apple Fritter from Bosa Donuts
Bosa has been our go-to for a quick doughnut and cuppa joe in the morning, and over time we've eaten our way through their menu. Old fashioned buttermilk bars, glazed devil's food, maple bars, chocolate dipped crullers, we haven't found a doughnut that we dislike. But the one we keep returning to time after time is the apple fritter. Rich fritter dough is deep fried to crisp perfection and studded with cinnamon spiced apple chunks. A light sugary glaze ties the entire fritter together, with each bite equal parts fruity, crispy, and melt-in-your-mouth good.

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Jackie Mercandetti
Noca.

1. Duo of Warm Doughnuts and Holes from Noca
Noca's doughnuts are elegant in their simplicity. The sweet potato dough is light, fluffy and pleasingly chewy -- very reminiscent of a beignet in the best possible way. Complementing, rather than drowning out, the hearty sweetness of the dough is a layer of not-too-sweet maple sugar. Served fresh from the fryer they're accompanied by three dipping sauces. Go right for the milk jam: caramelized milk goes with these doughnuts like milk with cookies.

Do you have a favorite doughnut hole? Tell us all about it in the comments section.

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3 comments
Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Oh, wow, this is funny & funky!!

Hey, Amy -- why am I banned from posting comments at work?!  My submissions just "spin"..

Jason
Jason

These make we want to grab stretchy pants and embrace my inner fat kid...

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