Bake

How to Find Your Spirit Donut in Portland, Oregon

September 23, 2015

Sometimes "work" means eating every donut in Portland. We did it all for you. 


Our spread of donuts, ready for tasting.

After settling into window seats at the coffeeshop Heart in downtown Portland, Oregon, Managing Editor Kenzi and I surveyed the task at hand: Eating over a dozen donuts. The donuts—which ranged from old-fashioned to lavender-glazed and Cointreau-injected—came from shops all over the city, carefully selected after scouring the internet and friends for recommendations. Four boxes of donuts and several coffees later here are the donuts we loved—plus how to find your ideal donut the next time you're in Portland:

If you like alpaca sweaters, have spent a summer volunteering on a farm in Wyoming, and take your lattes with chai instead of coffee: 
Pip's Original Doughnuts and Chai
Pip's miniature donuts are fried to order at their down-home, small shop in Northeast Portland. While each donut has the same slightly cake-y base, you can customize the sugar and toppings on them—the sleeper hit was a maple bacon that donut that had the recognizable umami of bacon without an overwhelmingly meaty flavor. And it's no surprise that we finished every last bite of their Nutella and Sea Salt donut.

  
Left: A rare no-line moment at Voodoo Donuts, witnessed by Kenzi. Right: The counter at Delicious Donuts.

If you spent all of last month's expendable money going to Alinea and you frequent coffee shops that could be set in Nancy Meyers' films
Bluestar Donuts
Bluestar's claim to fame is that each donut's base is a brioche (the recipe for which comes from the South of France), they use only local and certified-sustainable ingredients, and they fry in rice oil. (Cliff notes: They're fancy.) At the shop, I had to limit myself to choosing just four (it helps to be selective when you have 10 other donuts to eat), but finally settled on: O.G. (Original Glazed), a blueberry-rosemary, an apple fritter, and their Contreau Crême Brulée donut with the booze housed in a syringe sticking out of the top. We repeat: a syringe sticking out of the top.

More: Do as we did and pair you coffee with donut—here's how to make the perfect match.

If all you want from your donut is to dip it in a $1 coffee: 
Delicious Donuts
A local favorite, there isn't anything flashy about this donut shop. It looks like the inside of an expanded gas station—and will make you feel like you're passing through a small town on a road trip—and churns out no-frills donuts that are almost always gone by noon. Get there early or call ahead of time—they'll reserve donuts for you, which earns them triple points in our book. 

If you're one to follow a crowd, but also have a black magic-loving side:
Voodoo Donuts
We've heard it time and time again—Voodoo is for tourists, but we had to test the waters for ourselves. And when we saw on opportunity (no line!) we grabbed hold of the moment and ordered their classic glazed donut and a chocolate-covered cream donut. And you know what? We kind of loved them. In Kenzi's words, "I think Voodoo's glazed donut may have been my favorite."

Are you booking your flight to Portland now? Tell us your favorite Portland donut in the comments below!

Top photo by Alpha Smoot

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15 Comments

vernette May 27, 2016
Blue Star hands down. I loved the blueberry rosemary and valrhona chocolate! I was fortunate to visit Portland in March and I fell in love. I will be back for sure.
 
Ruth M. May 27, 2016
If you happen to be in Victoria BC Canada, for CAN$25 www.empiredonuts.ca will delivery 12 of the best donuts you've ever had in you life to your door. Better than Portland's best!
 
JunieB May 27, 2016
No one mentioned Blue Star!
 
ExTexan May 27, 2016
Voo Doo is good. but nothing beats a hot Krispy Kreme original glazed!
 
Debra October 28, 2015
I was in Portland back in August this year. It was my first visit in 12 years. I had one donut while I was there. It was a maple/bacon from Voo Doo and I gobbled it down. Yum. I made note of these other places you mentioned. I am hoping to go back there in 2017. Thanks for sharing your hard work.
 
Elizabiete September 25, 2015
Tonalli's has the best donuts. A still warm apple fritter on Sunday morning will bring joy to your heart.
 
PJ September 29, 2015
I came on here to say that! Last place I went on my first visit there; first place I went the next time. Their classic dipping sticks and their apple cider cake doughnuts rule. Took one to eat in the airport before my flight home.
 
soojasaurus September 25, 2015
I think Heart Coffee may be my favorite place in portland! Miiiiight event skip the donuts for some Heart. Maybe.
 
karen S. September 25, 2015
There is a tiny shop in Tigard that, I swear, has the best donuts in the entire Metro area. It is called Tigard Donut and is on Hwy 99 just before Gaarde St. They often sell out before noon, and end up closing early. Their glazed blueberry cake donut is delish!
 
Jonah O. September 23, 2015
Love this!!
 
Katelinlee September 23, 2015
A Voodoo-hating Portlander here. Voodoo is less than a half-mile walk from Pearl Bakery, which is one of my favorite bakeries ever, anywhere. Skip the line and get a cinnamon crown!<br />
 
Sam D. September 23, 2015
Coco donuts are the best donuts in town.<br />http://www.cocodonuts.com/
 
Author Comment
Leslie S. September 23, 2015
I was actually staying right around the corner from there! Next time!!
 
Alexandra V. September 23, 2015
I agree, Voodoo's "Mexican Hot Chocolate" spiked with cayenne and "Raspberry Romeo" rival any of the gourmet alternatives. When Pip's has strawberry rhubarb sauce....a good time. Plus Voodoo Too is way more laid back than the Old town location.
 
Nessa J. September 23, 2015
< Born and raised in Portland. I like to tell people that Blue Star is like VooDoo "grew up and out of their angst". Must try the Meyer lemon curd filled at Blue if they are available next time you visit!