Did you know that we happen to have some of the most picture-worthy donuts right in our backyard? In Orange County, donut shops are not only known for their delectable donuts, but also for their unique designs and artistic expression. Browse our list of shops below, and indulge in French crullers, Boston cream, jelly-filled, glazed and old fashion donuts with flair — and don’t forget to capture the moment!
Afters Ice Cream
Multiple locations, aftersicecream.com
We know what you’re thinking — Afters sells ice cream. But home to the infamous milky bun, a donut-like pastry, we felt that Afters had to be included on our list. Since their opening in 2015, Afters has taken Southern California by storm. Join the thousands of others posting to Insta and Facebook with these colorful and creative creations. Pick your flavors — Cookie Monster, Vietnamese coffee or jasmine milk tea — and enjoy it within a warm, soft milky bun.
Star Wars, Simpsons or Frozen-themed donuts, you name it, and Crafted Donuts will make it. Place your custom order for a special occasion, or stop by the shop to see what they’ve come up with for the day. They offer classic choices like the maple bacon donut, but they also serve unique flavors like lemon poppy seed. Plan to be there early or check Insta before arrival because they are open until they sell out, and they sell out fast.
DK’s Donuts of Orange
3744 E. Chapman Ave, Orange
DK’s Donuts has one of the most colorful menu we’ve seen yet. They make the most of their sprinkles and toppings, creating gorgeous unicorn and mermaid donuts, to name a few. Their panda donut even uses Oreos for the little guys’ ears, adding another layer of flavor and cream. Quick, snap a pic before you devour that donut.
17420 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, thedonutteryhb.com
Forever dedicated to crust and crumb, The Donuttery offers a unique variety of donuts, including cake, specialty and vegan donuts. Just thinking about their red velvet and carrot cake donuts makes me want to head to H.B. and sample for myself. If you’re in the neighborhood and feel like breakfast or lunch, the shop also serves a breakfast menu, sandwiches and coffee.
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I used to scratch my head over the mania behind red velvet cakes. Its popularity was so pervasive at one point in time that I believe I even came across a recipe for red velvet dog biscuits 🤦🏼♀️. My snafus with the red velvet cake (1) the skimping out on cocoa with only a trace amount to justify its chocolate-esque existence, (2) the role acidity actually plays in setting it apart from conventional chocolate cake is questionable, and (3) why the red? Why not green or yellow or blue?… Then, came red velvet—deep fried with a crumb so balanced that all questions and cynicism subsided. It's a seriously good donut that deserves fanfare in its own right. It needs no categorizing, no analysis. It is what it is. And I’ll admit, the red is eye catchingly pleasing. 😍 #redvelvet #redvelvetdonut #redvelvetcake #creamcheesefrosting #sublime
4442 E Chapman Ave, Orange
Head to Friendly Donuts for a dossant. Okay, so maybe it’s just another word for a cronut, a croissant and a donut, but it certainly sounds exotic and delicious. In addition to their cronut sandwiches, Friendly’s has some pretty amazing topping choices, including Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch and M&Ms. Taste the rainbow in every bite.
Glee Donuts & Burgers
Multiple locations, gleednb.com
With mom-and-pop shop vibes, Glee Donuts is a great destination for family outings. Their freshly baked, assorted donuts pair perfectly with a fruity smoothie. Choose from 12 smoothie options at Glee Donuts with flavors like Passion Orange Guava or Pina Colada. If you just simply aren’t in the mood for a donut, browse their extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus for protein bowls and specialty burgers.
Good Town Doughnuts
2930 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, @ The Lab, goodtowndoughnuts.com
Calling all donut freaks! You don’t want to miss out on Good Town Doughnut’s handcrafted delights. They offer a wide variety of vegan donuts, so don’t let your diet interfere with your love of sweets. Situated among the Gypsy Den Cafe and Habana Bakery at The Lab, Good Town certainly earns its place as a hot spot for foodies.
17655 Harvard Ave., Irvine, poqetdonuts.com
Poqet Donuts is the very first donut shop in OC to offer build-your-own donuts. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Just select your base, filling and toppings to create a perfectly customized and perfectly you donut. Not sure what to order? Don’t worry, Poqet’s signature creations are pretty amazing too. With flavors like lemon meringue and pistachio créme brulée, your options to explore are endless.
Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee
Multiple locations, sidecardoughnuts.com
The team at Sidecar Doughnuts is committed to creating the “world’s freshest donut,” and boy do they deliver. Although Sidecar does not offer customizable options, every month they come out with new original creations. Their past flavors have included the pumpkin donut in the fall, chocolate peppermint for the holiday season, hibiscus lime margarita in the spring, and passion fruit in the summer. With these new and renewed flavors (they love bringing back favorites!), Sidecar always keeps us on our toes.
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It's sad but true… today we bid a fond farewell to our April flavors: #SidecarChefSeries kick-off flavor, Passion Fruit Matcha (designed by our fave @chefbrookew!), Strawberry Buttermilk, Nutella Chocolate Chip in #SantaMonica, and Southern Honey Cornbread in #CostaMesa. Come and get 'em while their hot! 🍩☕️️❤️ *Not all #aprilflavors shown in this pic by @whatchewwant, but it was too delicious looking not to #regram immediately! #eatmoredoughnuts #madedifferent #thisishowwedomondays
Zombee Donuts & Bakeshop
802 E. Chapman, Fullerton, zombeedonuts.com
Every day feels like Halloween at Zombee Donuts. Their themed menu includes the Zombee Mascot, Coffin, Cereal Killers and so much more. Not only do their donuts look great, they taste even better. Zombee Donuts fry their donuts in Palm Oil instead of Lard, eliminating an aftertaste. We know you’re dying to try, and they are dying to have you.
- Donuts may have been created by mistake. One story explains that a cow kicked over a pot of oil into a mixture of pastry.
- The word “doughnut” was shortened to “donut” in the late 19th century and popularized by Dunkin Donuts’ name.
- The largest donut ever made was an American-style jelly donut, made in 1993 in Utica, New York. It weighed 1.7 tons, and it was 16 feet wide and 16 inches high.
- As of 2013, the U.S. alone makes over 10 billion donuts a year.
- National Donut Day is June 2nd.