A great donut is a balance of sugary sweetness, airy dough, and deep fried umami. That simple triad of flavors has almost endless permutations. Bakers can go big and add everything to the mix from bacon to Capt’n Crunch. Or they can keep things subtle and let the yeast-risen dough shine on its own with a deep, fat-fried texture and maybe a dusting of sugar. (Granular sugar, not powdered — powdered donuts make too much mess for too little gain.)
Rocking up to the donut shop and making an informed decision on which to choose can be a tough task. There are just so many options. Also, doughnuts feel like special treats — this is fried dough covered in sugar, we shouldn’t be eating them daily — so you don’t want to punt on your choice.
That’s where we come in. We decided to rank our favorite donuts for National Donut Day. Are there any hard and fast rules for this ranking? No, not really. This is more about taking years of eating deep fried dough around the country and deciding which ones still get us excited whenever we walk into our local shop.
10. Classic Glazed
A classic glazed donut is a great place to start any doughnut journey. The airy, yeast-risen fried dough needs to be both light and fatty. Then, of course, there’s the glaze. The cane-sugar syrup glaze should have a crunch to the exterior that gives way to a thick, soft syrup texture closer to the dough.
It’s a delicate balance to pull off. If someone gets it right (maybe a little sea salt?) then it’s a joy to behold.