My kids just completed the best “research” of their lives: DONUT TASTING. Sounds brutal, doesn’t it? We bopped around town this week to try and find the Best Donut Shops in the Twin Cities. We break down the deets from each bakery visit in hopes that you will pack up your clan some random morning and start the day with a tasty surprise for your littles! Glazed, cake, maple, sprinkled, off-the-wall? We tried ‘em all. I’m not going to say I’m exhausted, but I am full. My thighs and mid-section are now requesting some much-needed time off. Maybe MinneMama needs to look into researching Zumba classes next…whew.
Monday – Thursday 7am–9pm
Friday – Saturday 7am–1am
This pink and black vintage donut shop is filled with couches, old school diner furniture, and, oh yeah, incredibly unique donuts! The selection here is #1 in my book, with donuts covered in sriracha, muenster cheese and bacon crumbs. The staff were very sweet to my kids (who got crumbs all over an adorable blue vintage couch), so points in my book for their understanding and kindness in that regard. Indoor seating is plentiful and, though Glam Doll is in a pretty busy neighborhood, there is still free street parking available. Prices range, but average about $3/donut…and they melt in your mouth. This place is nothing short of amazing. A+ from this mama!
Tuesday – Friday 6:30am–12pm
Saturday – Sunday 7:30am–12pm
Bogart’s is a “classic” donut shop, with a wide open door in a quaint, quiet neighborhood and a glass counter filled with raised glazes and traditional chocolates and a staff that loves children and their jobs. After standing in line for a few minutes on a Friday morning (worth it…so worth it), I ordered an entire box at $2/donut, not forgetting to include a few of their well-known brown butter glazed. Street parking is free and there is no seating, but we didn’t mind one bit. They had a bucket of chalk outside so my kids spent 30 minutes coloring on the sidewalk while I sat against the building and simply enjoyed the moment (and my coffee). The donuts are fresh (they start baking for the day at midnight…no rest for the weary) and they are dog-friendly. I’d go back here on the regular, no questions asked.
Monday – Saturday 6am–6pm
YoYo is tucked into a shopping strip off of Shady Oak Road and has a big parking lot with plenty of available spots. Their donuts are a fun variety pack of sweetness and are made fresh every morning (which explains why the place smells so good!). YoYo is known for the Bacon Maple donut, which is maple glaze with a strip of bacon on the top. Yes, it sounds revolting. Is it? No way! It’s amazing. A dozen cake donuts here will run you $16.99, and you can pick and choose from Smore, Dirt & Gummy Worm, Espresso, Coconut, Cookies & Cream, and I’ve even seen Fruit Loop…just to name a few. My husband would do almost anything for one of their caramel rolls too. The two things I love the most about YoYo Donuts (excluding the consumption of the actual donut) are A) their plentiful seating and cleanliness, including outdoor tables and chairs and B) their lattes and other “fancy”-type coffees available for those mornings when a donut just won’t cut it.
Plus, major bonus should it apply to you: This is the only peanut/tree nut free donut & ice cream joint in all of the Twin Cities!
Tuesday – Saturday 6:30am–6pm
This place is so cool, it doesn’t even have a website. I pulled up to this one solo (free street parking) while my kids were at daycare and quickly realized this hole-in-the-wall corner shop with an old sign, beat-up awning and cluttered decor was a bakery for the ages. Walking in smelled like heaven if heaven is lined in kneaded bread (which I hope it is). The staff was very friendly to me, and the cashier’s sweet salesmanship convinced me to try a little of everything, including what they are best known for: their American Tea Cakes. There are no words for this pastry, unless “iwantthistobemymealmorningnoonandnightfortherestofmylife” were a word. I bought my kids sprinkle donuts and my husband their also-famous cinnamon sugar donuts – all were pretty good as well. Regret not trying their biscotti with coffee. Be warned: this place is CASH ONLY…but they get away with it because A Baker’s Wife proves that being modern has nothing to do with being delicious.
Monday – Friday 6am–6pm
Saturday – Sunday 7am–6pm
Six blocks south of A Baker’s Wife sits Mel-O-Glaze Bakery. This bakery sits alone on a corner at a busy, under-construction intersection, but free street parking is still available without a problem. It’s a big space with a few tables, but they still pack a punch with their glazed donuts and the guy behind the counter was very friendly to me. I bought a few raised glazed, plus some Angry Birds cookies for my son and his friends. The cookies were OK (more cute than tasty), but the glazed were classically delicious. At about $2/donut, I enjoyed them, but not sure it would become a regular stop for me, though I’ve heard I should’ve tried their donut holes. So (shocking)…I’ll probably go again.
Tuesday – Saturday 5-11am
Valley Pastries is easy to overlook. It sits quietly in a strip mall between a liquor store and a Thai restaurant. The parking lot is never crowded and there is never, ever a line. This means nothing, people. The donuts served here are quite possibly the most sinful of baked goods to ever enter the western metro. With no seating and accepting cash or check only, the sweet elderly woman (owner with her husband) serving you sits quietly and patiently waiting for you to place your order. And, man, she is mighty good at baking up her fried apple turnovers and Bavarian Creme donuts. It’s not going to make a list of “Most Well Knowns” in the Twin Cities, but I strongly urge you to not just drive by either.
Monday – Friday 5am-10pm
Saturday – Sunday 5am-5pm
I honestly can’t remember the last time I was in West St. Paul, so driving around looking for this bakery was like cruising a foreign country. But, just like discovering a hand-made cannelloni in the heart of Italy, this as-classic-as-it-gets donut shop made our cross-metro venture well worth the trip. I say “classic” because A) it’s cash only; B) it only serves your traditional flavors; and C) it opened in 1987 and, with the plastic yellow spinny chairs and tiny square tables, I’m going to guess hasn’t done a lot of modernizing in the past 25 years. Can you blame ’em? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is still an occasional line out the door on the weekends because – I kid you not – these pastries will literally melt in your mouth. We had glazed and sprinkled, but their Bavarian Creme and Crullers are supposed to be their claim to fame. I’ll go on record to say that their glazed donut holes could beat anything out there. No one should pop 13 doughballs of goodness as fast as I did. At $1 a donut and $1.75/dozen holes, I’d happily wait in line too.
I tried very hard to hit all the best bakeshops in the metro area, but that is simply an unrealistic task for one person. Here is a list of some that didn’t receive a visit, but still deserve a shout-out:
- Mojo Monkey, St. Paul
- Hans Bakery, Anoka
- Puffy Cream Donuts, Eagan
- Sarah Jane’s Bakery, Northeast Minneapolis
- Donut Hut, Little Canada
- Heights Bakery, Columbia Heights
- PJ Murphys Bakery, St. Paul
- Sunrise Doughnuts, Bloomington
- Denny’s 5th Avenue Bakery, Bloomington
- Hi-Quality Bakery, Cannon Falls
- Hanisch Bakery, Red Wing
- Sleepy V’s, Minneapolis
What did I miss? Any hole-in-the-wall favorites? Share your secrets in the comments below to get them added to the list…