Your Eaten official guide to the Best Doughnuts in London (aka our attempt to smuggle 17 doughnut puns into a 900 word blog post).
Never have we ever met a person who did not appreciate a good doughnut when they saw one (at least, not anyone we’d be friends with). Few other sweet treats invoke such instant happiness that your eyes glaze over and your taste buds ring out with joy. The wonderfully indulgent treat beloved by the hole of the world has transformed from rather humble origins to become an enigmatic beast of the pastry world. And whilst we would happily trough down on any (and all) doughnuts put in front of us, the fact is that some are simply batter than others in terms of flavour, inventiveness and sheer deliciousness. Created from the combined brain power of our Eaten aficionadoughs, knead on to discover the top 10 fried and tested, cream of the crop doughnuts that London has to offer.
What we love about this wonderful group of bakeries is their simplicity; you’ll find no whacky toppings or outlandish flavours here, just beautifully crafted dough filled with copious amounts of raspberry jam, praline, salted caramel or vanilla cream. Bread Ahead’s doughnuts are simple elegance at its best and subsequently their Borough Market stall is often jam-packed, so be sure to get there early to avoid missing out on the goods and curse(tard)ing yourself.
After a slightly dubious history in Australia, Doughnut Time launched in the UK in 2017 and, with a little clever PR work, were back to their eccentric best. The doughnuts here are loud and unapologetically extravagant - think Willy Wonka meets Paul Hollywood on an acid trip. Combined with genuinely intriguing flavours and a very pun-filled menu, you’ll find this is one bakery you dough-not wanna miss. Try the Ice Ice Bae Bae (surprisingly vegan!)
Once a humble food stall in Clerkenwell’s Leather Lane, Crosstown raised the bar for doughnuts everywhere when it unveiled its yeast-risen sourdough recipe, which produces a distinctly bread-like tang. When married with decadently creaming fillings, Crosstown transcends other casual doughnuteries and perfectly encapsulates everything we love about doughnuts.
If you’re craving a sweet treat, Duck & Waffle perhaps isn’t the obvious dough-to, but the much celebrated savory menu hides an absolute gem of a doughnut. Their spicy ox cheek doughnut is unlike anything you’ve tried before; spicy meat with a sweet and crunchy crust encased in a soft doughy centre...don’t ask us how, but it absolutely works. Although a little pricey, for uniqueness alone this beauty is definitely worth your dough.
The holey grail of the doughnut world is the ever popular St. JOHN Bakery. Our favourite of their stores is tucked away in Neals Yard and champions classically simple doughnuts that Homer himself would be proud to eat. The dough itself is exceptional, but it is the filling that really makes the doughnuts here special: a dense, creamy center of vanilla custard that transforms the doughnut into an absolute showstopper. In the run up to Christmas make sure to look out for their festive specials - spiced gingerbread doughnut, anyone?
Scott of the Antarctic. Susan Boyle. Christopher Columbus. Sometimes, being first isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Whilst the internet (and hordes of New Yorkers) were losing their collective minds over Dominique Ansel’s ‘Cronut’, old-school bakery Rinkoff were quietly perfecting their own croissant /donut hybrid. The result is the ‘Crodough’; delicate laminated croissant pastry layers filled to the brim with soft custard and sprinkled with delicately fine sugar. Our favourite of the many varieties now available is the gloriously messy Toffee Apple Crumble, filled and coated with a thick, sticky apple sauce.
Bird is probably best known for its fried chicken and wings, but behind all the meaty crispy goodness lies its very own doughnut hatch (!) ready to satisfy any post-chicken sweet cravings. The doughnut selection changes every day, but past favourites have included coffee, cherry, blackberry and honeycomb. After a night out in Shoreditch, there really is no better accompaniment to your walk home than a bag of warm, greasy doughnuts.
I am very much of the belief that a doughnut is a doughnut, i.e not designed to be healthy in any way possible. I was most skeptical, therefore, at the thought of DumDum’s ‘baked’ doughnuts, which promised to be a much lower fat alternative to the fried version we all know and love. I had to concede, however, that DumDum doughnut do an incredible job of tasting exactly the same as a ‘real’ doughnut, with around a third of the calories. By swapping palm oil for sunflower, preservative for natural ingredients and using as much local produce as possible, DumDum retains all the joy of doughnuts in a guilt-free little ball of fun.
From the creators of ‘You Doughnut’ - (remember those cute mini donuts covered in molten cookie dough?)- comes Dreamin’ Dough, a new concept centered on an improved recipe and using 100% vegan ingredients. Our favourites are the Salted Caramel Popcorn (cinnamon sugared doughnut bites, salted caramel sauce, popcorn and peanut brittle crumb) and the Chocolate Ooreo (doughnuts with indulgent chocolate sauce, oreo crumb & ice cream). We love the ethos behind this bakery and their determination to ensure vegans, too, can enjoy great tasting doughnuts.
When you think of exciting artisan doughnuts or cute little hidden gems, Krispy Kreme doughnuts stacked in your local Tesco is probably very far from what you’re imagining. HOWEVER. Hear us out. If you head to one of Krispy Kreme’s bakeries, you’ll find a doughnut heaven full of colourful, freshly baked, wonderful smelling pastries that are a million miles away from their soggy supermarket counterpart. There is a reason Krispy Kreme is one of the most popular doughnuts in the hole world, and their bakeries do an excellent job of showcasing this.