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Top 10 donuts in the Twin Cities

The rest of America may run on Dunkin', but we like our donuts local
The rest of America may run on Dunkin', but we like our donuts local

For those of you who were in valiant pursuit of a better beach body this year, you're officially out of the woods with this most recent cold snap; for those of you who weren't, as you were. The season of indulgence kicks off somewhere right around now, and when it comes to treats, nothing satisfies quite like a donut: part cake, part fry, part pure, unadulterated sugar. You take it easy. We've taken the work out of scouting the best shops around town for your glazed, filled, or frosted needs -- from the classic to the experimental. Sit back and sink your teeth into our roundup of the Twin Cities' 10 best donuts.

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Mel-O-Glaze keeps it classic
Mel-O-Glaze keeps it classic
Emily Weiss

10. Mel-O-Glaze, Plain raised glazed
4800 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis

Mel-O-Glaze has been a sugary pillar of the Keewaydin community for over 65 years, serving up crusty cake donuts, cinnamon-laced apple fritters, and jelly-filled Berliners in the few-frills family-run bakery. Though their pastry case is usually stocked with all kinds of goodies, the bakery is synonymous with the classic raised glazed donut, a tall and light yeasted donut with a thick, almost flaky layer of extra-sweet, ever-so-slightly lemony glaze. Serious sweet tooths may go for the one with the extra layer of chocolate frosting, but we purists appreciate the plain version.

A better brand of breakfast bar
A better brand of breakfast bar
Courtesy Mojo Monkey Facebook page

9. Mojo Monkey, Maple bacon bar 
1169 W. Seventh St., St. Paul

Many bakeries do the salty-and-sweet thing well, and even more look for any opportunity to cash in on the never-dying bacon craze, but with a great ability to capture and combine pure flavors, Mojo Monkey's maple bacon bar is the best of all those bests. The not-too-thick and not-too-thin layer of frosting has intense maple flavor, and the bacon strips are chewy-crisp, just the way we like them at breakfast. Think of the bar as a portable pancake feast, but more pillowy and more sinful.

Serious cinnamon-sugar
Serious cinnamon-sugar
Kelly Moritz

8. The Lynn on Bryant, Buttermilk apple cider donut 
5003 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis

The crispy exterior of the Lynn on Bryant's buttermilk apple cider donut gives way to an interior cake that smacks of pure fall nostalgia. It's the kind of donut you can imagine hauling home by the bagful from your favorite U-pick orchard. Though it has buttermilk tang and cider goodness, it's the oh-so-crunchy, sugar-crusted exterior on this one that made us swoon.

 


Knotty and naughty: The Cro-Knot
Knotty and naughty: The Cro-Knot
Courtesy Angel Food Facebook page

7. Angel Food Bakery, Cro-Knots
Filled to the berry brim
Filled to the berry brim
Kelly Moritz

6. Donut Hut,  Blueberry Bismarck 
31 Little Canada Road E., Maplewood

This filled and frosted treat is a feat of architectural genius, yeasted and allowed to rise, then fried and injected with the gooey filling that makes the blueberry Bismarck at Donut Hut a multi-sensory delight. Slathered with milk-white icing, this Bismarck has a winning dough-to-blueberry ratio and the fresh-baked texture that only truly lasts to early afternoon.

Lady in red at Glam Doll Donuts
Lady in red at Glam Doll Donuts
Emily Utne

5. Glam Doll,  Femme Fatale 
2605 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

So many of Glam Doll's handmade donuts are delightful, but the Femme Fatale is a real killer. Gilded with vanilla frosting and filled with fresh raspberry curd that's just tart enough to balance out the sweetness of the dough, this is certainly the sexiest Bismarck in town.

 


Perfectly pumpkin for fall
Perfectly pumpkin for fall
Kelly Moritz

4. Royal Grounds, Pumpkin donut 
4161 Grand Ave. S., Minneapolis

More of a super moist cupcake in texture than the average donut, we're not complaining about this pumpkin delight at Royal Grounds. Baked, not fried, and injected with a cream cheese frosting center, this treat tastes good any time of year, but especially now; pumped up with true pumpkin flavor and warm spice, it's perfect alongside a piping hot coffee. All that, plus bonus points for being secretly gluten-free.

Top 10 donuts in the Twin Cities
Courtesy Chef Shack

3. Chef Shack, Indian-spiced mini donuts 
Mill City Farmers Market, 704 S. Second St., Minneapolis

We thought the classic fair food bag of greasy, cinnamon-sugar mini donuts couldn't possibly be improved upon, but then we had the famous ones from Chef Shack's truck at the Mill City Farmers Market. They're fragrant, crisp, familiar, and yet wholly unique; there's a good reason that Chef Shack advertises these as a signature item right on the truck's windshield.

A fatter fritter
A fatter fritter
Kelly Moritz

2. Granny Donuts Apple fritter
1555 Robert St. S., West St. Paul

The best thing about the apple fritter at Granny's Donuts is not making the hard decisions. You don't have to choose between a dough fried so hard it crackles and melts in your mouth and a softer, more gentle crumb. Starting on the edge and moving inward, this massive fritter gifts the eater with a range of textures and levels of doneness. Fruit is all but absent on the outskirts of this pastry, but the inside is oozing with apples. Bring a friend, and commence your donut excavation.

A perfect specimen from A Baker's Wife
A perfect specimen from A Baker's Wife
Rachel Hutton

1. A Baker's Wife Cinnamon sugar cake donut 
4200 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis

A simple classic, perfectly executed. If there is a single better item for less than $1 at any bakery in town, we don't know what it is. 

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