50 States, 50 Donuts

By Zagat Staff  |  February 21, 2014
Credit: Artisanal LA

There's no food more unassuming and American than the donut, yet right now there's also no food more in tune with the zeitgeist - from chefs putting gourmet spins on classic recipes to super-decadent bacon-topped oddities and the explosive popularity of the Cronut. To showcase the regional diversity and history of the humble American pastry, we've selected a single donut that represents each state. Donut purists, be warned: Our definition of the donut is broad enough to include ethnic varieties like kolache, modern mash-ups like the Cronut and regional specialties like the malasada. Click through the slide show to learn about them all - and if we missed your personal favorite, let us know in the comments below. 

  • Credit: ereyesleblanc via Flickr

    Alabama: Peach Fritter at Heavenly Donut Company  

    The Backstory: Alabama isn't known for donuts, but they do have one pastry specialty: palm-sized deep-fried pies. Splitting the difference between a handpie and a donut is the fritter, a fried hunk of dough filled with hunks of fruit compote. Being the South, a sweet stone fruit like peaches makes perfect sense.

    Where to Find It: For an ethereal version of a peach fritter, look no further than Birmingham’s Heavenly Donut Company. The peach fritter they created maintains a nice crunch to the outside while keeping the aromatic peach inside creamy and light. They make all their fried treats by hand and in small, personal batches, so it’s no surprise this treat came out so successful.

  • Credit: izik / Flickr

    Alaska: Assaleeak, or Alaskan Fry Bread

    The Backstory: There are many versions of fry bread throughout the Southern U.S., but Alaska’s assaleeak distinguishes itself with the use of a yeast-raised dough instead of baking powder. Traditionally, the puffy circles of deep-fried dough are served hot with a drizzle of honey or jam.

    Where to Find It: Most Alaskans riff on their family’s own unique fry bread recipe at home, but versions can be purchased throughout the state. Find them disguised as “elephant ears” during late summer at the Alaska State Fair or get them from Anchorage’s BobCatz Indian Tacos & Frybread. The food stall has since closed, but they’re still happy to take any catering orders.

  • Arizona: Churros at Just Churros

    The Backstory: Arizona's a young state, and there are constant reminders that before it was part of the United States, Arizona was part of a greater Mexico. The border may be a distinct line on a map, but Mexican and American cultures are intertwined here, and that's nowhere so obvious as with our food. So the Arizona donut? The churro! It's fried dough extruded into a long, star-shaped tube, eaten plain or filled with vanilla or chocolate cream, but always dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

    Where to Find It: In Tucson? Track down the Just Churros food truck. Up in Phoenix, your best bet is the dulce de leche churros at Cristal's Bakery (or, honestly, at just about any Mexican restaurant, street fair or any other place where people love sweets).

  • Arkansas: Chocolate-Glazed Long-John at Dale's Donut Shop, Benton

    The Backstory: While Arkansas seemingly has no indigenous donut varieties, family-owned and operated Dale's Donut Shop out in Saline Country has been putting its spin on the American staple for years. The long john, as it is known in this neck of the woods, is somewhat similar to an éclair, a long yeast-risen pastry that is injected with chocolate filling and glazed with it as well.

    Where to Find It: Dale's Donut Shop in Benton

  • California: Strawberry Donut at The Donut Man

    The Backstory: A Route 66 SoCal staple that's been around since 1972, the Donut Man is one of those shops you need to go out of your way for. The reason? Owner Jim Nakano's strawberry donut - not actually a berry-flavored donut, but a sort of pastry sandwich featuring massive glazed berries stuffed in to a split glazed yeast donut. Once strawberry season is over, Nakano and his team turn to peach. The shop is open 24 hours, and you’ll see bakers baking all night long.

    Where to Find It: The Donut Man, in the Northeastern LA suburb of Glendora, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley

    915 E. Rte 66; 626-335-9111

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    Colorado: The Olé at Glazed & Confuzed

    The Backstory: Sure, we could have gone with the Maple Blazer Blunt from Voodoo Doughnut, in honor of Colorado’s recent foray into recreational pot. But that was invented in Oregon, whereas Glazed & Confuzed is homegrown. The Olé, a yeast-raised donut covered in chipotle-chocolate ganache and crushed tri-color tortilla chips, is a gooey-crunchy tribute to a state that loves its Southwestern-style Mexican grub.

    Where to Find It: Founder Josh Schwab will be opening his own shop this spring; in the meantime, you can find his creations at numerous Denver cafes, including Kaladi Coffee Roasters, Spinelli’s Market and more (click here for a full list). 

  • Connecticut: Pumpkin Donuts at Faddy's

    The Backstory: You can always count on a number of things when fall hits the Northeast - nippier temps, a head-spinning array of fall foliage... and pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING. And while we'll never say no to a slice of pumpkin pie, its donut-form cousin would be equally welcome on our Thanksgiving table.  

    Where to Find It: Cops and donuts are the most clichéd combo in pop-culture history, but it was reportedly a police-buddy friend who inspired Mike Rittlinger to open this donut and ice cream shop in 2005. His apple cider flavor gets a lot of raves, but the pumpkin flavor is a fall fave for many. 

  • Delaware: The Delaware Donut at Donut Connection

    The Backstory: What happens when you take a thick breakfast sausage link, top it with American cheese, wrap the whole thing in donut batter and bake? Good things. While no one seems to know when and where this pig-in-a-blanket twist was invented, it is definitely a state specialty. Donut Connection franchises exist all over the East Coast, but none other than the DE outposts carry this sweet and savory treat.

    Where to Find It: We’ve confirmed the Delaware Donut is available at Donut Connection shops in Milford and Harbeson, both easily accessible if you're driving on Route 113 as it runs up the coast.

  • Florida: Guava & Cream Cheese at Sweetness Bake Shop & Café

    The Backstory: South Florida's Cuban community inspired this tropical-fruit-infused treat. Based on a traditional Cuban flavor combination, this fluffy pastry is filled with slightly tart guava marmalade and is then topped with a mild cream-cheese glaze that balances everything out.

    Where to Find It: Head over to Hialeah's cozy little Sweetness Bake Shop & Café to try the guava and cream-cheese donut paired with a classic cortadito (warm milk and and espresso) for a true Cuban dessert experience. 

  • Georgia: The A-Town Cream at Sublime Doughnuts

    The Backstory: A trailblazer in Atlanta's donut scene, Kamal Grant started baking donuts using fresh ingredients and creative recipes before it was trendy. His Sublime Doughnuts sits in a deceptively modest-looking strip mall across from the Georgia Tech campus, but there's nothing modest about the A-Town Créme, an Atlanta-shaped spin on the custardy Boston cream donut. Like the state itself, it's sweet, creative and unassuming, and it looks back at tradition while also moving forward.

    Where to Find It: Only at Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta's Home Park neighborhood (or in to-go boxes of donuts scattered around homes and offices all over town)

  • Hawaii: The Malasada at Leonard's Bakery

    The Backstory:
    Though these egg-sized balls of fried dough originally hail from the Madeira Islands off Portugal, they made their way to Hawaii in the 19th century by way of the Catholic Portuguese who came there to work the sugar plantations. Initially, malasadas were made on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Malasada Day, which takes place right before Lent. In order to prepare for the religious holiday, workers would use up all the sugar and butter to create these treats. Now, you can find them all year round on the islands.

    Where to Find It: An old and honorable donut like the malasada should be enjoyed hot and fresh, and Leonard’s Bakery, which has locations on Honolulu and Waipahu, serves some of the best on the islands. This old-school bakery has been whipping up the hole-less donuts since 1962 and offers these hot, sugary treats stuffed with chocolate, custard or coconut. You can also eat them plain or topped with cinnamon sugar.

  • Idaho: Hipsterberry at Guru Donuts

    The Backstory:
    Yes, Idaho's most famous food product is the potato, but oddly enough, there aren’t a lot of donuts made with potato. Aside from the spud, the Gem State grows a lot of lavender and even has a yearly festival for the flower in Nampa. They also grow plenty of berries, so with that in mind, a combo of the two ingredients helps make a great donut that truly represents this state.

    Where to Find It: Guru Donuts in Boise creates a lot of unique donuts, and their Hipsterberry is just one of them. Combining the floral essence of local lavender with the bright, tart sweetness of fresh wild berries, the brilliant purple-pink glaze on this donut gives this treat a fun, fresh twist. All the donuts here are handmade, and right now, this tiny, year-old shop is working with the Idaho Potato Commission to develop a potato cake donut - unfortunately, it’s not ready just yet.

  • Illinois: Bacon Butterscotch at Endgrain

    The Backstory: Chef Enoch Simpson’s rise to fame can be traced back to a single donut. He started making the impossibly fluffy and flavorful rings at Nightwood, and then moved over to Girl & the Goat, before opening his own restaurant/donut emporium. Here, find a selection of delicious donuts including the flagship bacon butterscotch.

    Where to Find It: At Simpson's casual Roscoe Village spot, Endgrain.

  • Indiana: Glazed Yeast at Long's Bakery

    The Backstory: The specialty of Indianapolis mini-chain Long's Bakery is a picture-perfect glazed yeast donut. Come early and bring cash, because the lines are long, the freshly baked donuts go quickly and Long's doesn't accept plastic. Those lucky enough to snag a hot glazed yeast donut are in for a treat; his melt-in-your-mouth donuts are covered in a slightly sweet glaze that doesn’t overpower the delicate pastry.

    Where to Find It: Long’s Bakery has two locations around Indianapolis.

  • Iowa: Apple Spice at Daylight Donuts

    The Backstory: While corn may be the most abundant crop in the Hawkeye State, corn donuts have yet to catch on. Fresh apple spice donuts, though, pay tribute to the state’s rich history with the beloved fruit. Back in 1872, the Red Delicious apple was discovered on an orchard in the state.

    Where to Find ItOne of Iowa's staple donut shops, Daylight Donuts, is also one of the state’s few shops making fresh, homemade donuts. The bakery makes their yeast-raised treats beginning at 10:30 PM the night before, and the entire process (from baking to frosting) takes three hours per batch. Their signature apple spice donut comes in two forms: plain and caramel glaze.

  • Kansas: Bumblebee at The Donut Whole

    The Backstory:
    Funny enough, donuts topped with sunflower seeds just aren’t prevalent in the Sunflower State, so we went with the next best thing, the honeybee. The honeybee is Kansas’ state insect, so a donut that tips the hat to this busy creature deserves to be crowned with the title of official donut of Kansas.

    Where to Find It: Wichita's The Donut Whole, where the chocolate cake donut is made with local flour milled at Stafford County Flour Mills, and topped with their homemade citrus glaze and chocolate sprinkles. The result is a donut that looks kind of like a sunflower and honeybee combined, and tastes like what would result if a cup of hot cocoa and an orange decided to make love in an oven. In other words, it’s a delectable creation worthy of Kansas.

  • Kentucky: Bourbon Glazed at Magee's Bakery

    The Backstory:
    Though you may find bourbon-glazed donuts all across the country, the only place that can really claim them as their own is Kentucky, the home of this beloved brown spirit. “Making a bourbon donut starts out a lot like making a bourbon ball, but has even more bourbon in it,” said Laura Bersson, pastry chef and back-of-house manager of Magee’s Bakery. “The bourbon flavor is not subtle, and we believe that's why people love them so much.”

    Where to find: Like a good bourbon, the donuts made at the family-owned Magee’s Bakery in downtown Frankfort are done in small batches, from scratch, and use quality ingredients. Though this 58-year-old bakery uses many different types of bourbon, the spirit of choice is Buffalo Trace, and you can find it in all their bourbon-filled donuts including the Mint Julep, Bananas Foster, and Bourbon and Bacon.

  • Louisiana: Beignets at Cafe du Monde

    The Backstory: It doesn't have a hole, but it smells and tastes like a donut to us, so we're going to include this classic fried pastry. While the origin of the dish is French, they are most famously associated (and served) in the city of New Orleans. First brought to the Big Easy by the Acadians (the same French colonists that settled in Quebec), they are now enjoyed all over the country.

    Where to Find It: There are some who say that the beignets at the original Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter are overrated, but you know what isn't? The setting. Right off Jackson Square and open 24 hours, a stop at the indoor/outdoor powdered-sugar palace is a New Orleans must-stop for even the most jaded foodies. 

  • Credit: Nora Kuby via Flickr

    Maine: Blueberry at Congdon's Family Restaurant and Bakery

    The Backstory: 
    Naturally the state donut of Maine would have to have blueberries in it; after all, it’s the food the Pine Tree State is best known for. It’s not a bad combination either; in fact, blueberry donuts are kind of like the sweeter, fluffier cousin of the blueberry muffin.

    Where to Find It: In the small town of Wells, Congdon’s Family Restaurant and Bakery took up residence in 1955 after 10 successful years in Kennebunk. Their claim to fame came from selling donuts made by the family’s matriarch, lovingly known as Nana. The eatery is still family-owned, and they continue to make donuts the way Nana did, including their blueberry option, which, you guessed it, is a cake donut stuffed with mildly tart local berries. Each batch is baked fresh every day.

  • Maryland: The OC Sand at Fractured Prune

    The Backstory: There are plenty of donuts in Maryland, but there is probably only one named for - and inspired by - the very ground that Maryland beachgoers walk on. This dipped-to-order donut is dunked still warm into a honey glaze and gilded with cinnamon sugar. And while the Maryland-based donut chain is known for its wacky and colorful creations and its choose-your-own toppings option, the simple OC Sand is the best introduction for newbies.

    Where to Find It: Fractured Prune now has multiple franchise locations throughout the country listed here.

  • Massachusetts: Boston Cream Pie at Union Square Donuts

    The Backstory: The Bay State's most iconic dessert is the Boston Cream Pie, created in 1856 by Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at the Parker House Hotel, today the Omni Parker House and America's oldest continuously operating hotel. In 1996, it was deemed the official state dessert. Naturally, plenty of places have taken that pie and twisted it into donut form.

    Where to Find It: We're partial to the Boston Cream Pie donut served at Union Square Donuts in Somerville. Why? Because while donuts have a reputation for being junk food, the team here uses local New England products (like Cabot butter) and farm-fresh produce (freshly squeezed juices for flavor) to create gourmet, handmade donuts that have kept the still-new spot packed since it opened last year. They do more than justice to the Boston Cream Pie legacy, turning out a luscious take with homemade vanilla bean pastry cream and bittersweet chocolate fondant in a brioche donut.

  • Credit: Flickr/regan76

    Michigan: Cinnamon Spice at Franklin Cider Mill

    The Backstory: When in Michigan, especially during the fall, there are two things one must consume: hot apple cider and warm cinnamon spice donuts. 

    Where to Find It: Bloomfield Hills' Franklin Cider Mill, built in 1837, only makes one type of donut, based on a classic German recipe. The fluffy donut has a crispy exterior and is bursting with cinnamon flavor. The Mill is only open from the Saturday before Labor Day to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

  • Minnesota: The Outlaw at Glam Doll Donuts

    The Backstory:
    Minnesota's annual State Fair is famous for deep-fried food, from skewered, deep-fried candy bars and cheese curds to Lil' Orbits Donuts, a franchise of mechanical donut-making carts that started in Minneapolis in 1974 and is a regular sight at outdoor fairs around the state. 

    Where to Find It: Lil' Orbits are common at the State Fair, but they don't have any brick-and-mortar outposts. If you can't make it to the fair, try the Outlaw by Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis. This small, hole-less treat comes stuffed with lemon cream cheese, cherry icing, and a brown-butter crumb on top. You could say it’s like a fried candy bar, but it also tips its hat to Minnesota’s vast berry-growing areas. It’s sweet, tangy and unbelievably indulgent.

  • Mississippi: The Katrina at The TatoNut Shop

    The Backstory: After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Ocean Springs' breakfast standby TatoNut Shop was one of the few buildings that came out of the storm unscathed. With people craving a taste of normalcy and a line out the door, Tato-Nut’s bakers had to make due with dough scraps lying around the kitchens. Miraculously, the makeshift donut became a hit and has been a menu staple ever since.

    Where to Find ItTatoNut in Ocean Springs often has lines out the door for their fried dough. The Katrina is made with dough “debris” rolled up into a giant log and is either topped with a plain glaze or chocolate frosting.

  • Credit: The Donut Stop / Facebook

    Missouri: Cinnamon Glob at The Donut Stop

    The Backstory: Say hello to the classic cinnamon roll on steroids. The idea for the baseball-sized Cinnamon Glob (just 75¢) was “more or less just an afterthought,” explains founder Ken Klepzig. “I just threw cinnamon on some scrap dough I had, fried it and glazed it.” The idea might have been quick, but the final product is the result of a frying process that took more than six months to perfect. 

    Where to Find It: The Donut Stop has two locations in St. Louis.

  • Credit: Granny's Gourmet Donuts

    Montana: The Bozeman Cream at Granny's Gourmet Donuts

    The Backstory: Hungry breakfastgoers line up at Granny's for seasonal fruit-stuffed confections, clever mash-ups like strawberry daiquiri and apple cider and sprinkle donuts often done in Montana State Bobcats colors (blue and gold). The most Montana-centric variety, though? The Bozeman Cream, a variation on the Boston cream that tops the pastry with vanilla frosting instead of chocolate.

    Where to Find It: Granny's Gourmet Donuts, a kitsch-filled shop tucked into a hut in Bozeman.

  • Nebraska: Fruit-Filled Kolach at Verdigre Bakery

    The Backstory: Another ethnic pastry that's been adopted as a donut variation, the kolach is a fruit-filled pillow of dough that originated in Central Europe and has a cult following in parts of the Cornhusker State. The small town of Prague, Oklahoma, is often referred to as the home of the world’s largest kolach, and Omaha's Verdigre hosts a kolach festival yearly in honor of the town’s Czech roots.

    Where to Find ItThe beloved Czech pastry sells out at Verdigre Bakery almost daily. Stuffed with vibrant fruit fillings like apricot and cherry, the handheld treat is a perfect wake-me-up breakfast while you’re on the go. The bakery also ships them around the country.

  • Nevada: The Fat Elvis at Pink Box Doughnuts

    The Backstory: As the city's unofficial motto states, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” That includes taking a gamble on this decadent pastry inspired by the King of Rock 'n' Roll. The bakery pumps their gourmet donut (and your arteries) with a rich peanut butter and banana crème, and then tops the doughy dessert with a classic chocolate glaze and a caramelized banana slice.

    Where to Find It: Pink Box Doughnuts encourages locals and tourists to, in lieu of getting eloped by an Elvis impersonator, pig out on their guilty pleasures instead.

  • New Hampshire: Fried Dough at Blink’s Fry Doe

    The Backstory: For many living in New Hampshire, summer isn’t complete without getting a stretch of fried dough from the bright-orange Blink’s stand on the Hampton Beach boardwalk. The selection is refreshingly bare-bones - choose from a mix of more than 20 different sweet and savory toppings like powdered sugar (the classic) or minced garlic to slather on your dough.

    Where to Find It: Blink’s Fry Doe, open during the summer on the Hampton Beach boardwalk.

  • New Jersey: Zeppole at Zeppoli Restaurant

    The Backstory: You may have already tried these at your local street fair: this Italian donut is a deep-fried dough ball that's topped with powdered sugar and sometimes filled with custard or jelly. Traditionally served on St. Joseph's Day in March, you can find these year-round at a variety of restaurants. 

    Where to Find It: A 35-seat trattoria in Collingswood, Zeppoli serves an exemplary version of the street-fair classic.

  • New Mexico: Apple Green Chile Fritter at Rebel Donut

    The Backstory: One of the foods New Mexico is known for is green chile, namely the stuff that famously comes out a little town called Hatch. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the donut that represents the state best would have this pepper in it.

    Where to Find It: You can chow on all sorts of unique donuts at Rebel Donut in Albuquerque, but if you want a real taste of New Mexico, order their apple green chile fritter. This special treat gets made solely with Hatch green chiles, and combines those smoky and spicy peppers with the sweet crispness of the apple and hot, sugary dough.

  • New York: The Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery

    The Backstory: Despite extreme overexposure, the Cronut is definitely NYC's most high-profile donut - and there's no point in denying it. Created by pastry chef Dominique Ansel at his tiny SoHo bakery, Ansel was classically trained and honed his skills at fine-dining meccas such as Daniel before inventing this ingenious mash-up of donut and croissant. 

    Where to Find It: Rip-offs abound, but we advise you to go straight for the original and wait in line at Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo.

  • North Carolina: Traditional Glazed at Krispy Kreme

    The Backstory:
    Most people know of Krispy Kreme, which expanded across the U.S. about a decade ago. What most people don’t realize is that they are responsible for the traditional glazed donut, which they debuted in 1937 in Winston-Salem when Krispy Kreme founder Vernon Rudolph first started selling donuts out of a local grocery store. The hot, yeasty treat with that melty sugary topping proved so popular, the late entrepreneur went on to open retail shops that now number in the thousands and stretch to Canada and Mexico.

    Where to Find It: Of course you can get a glazed donut at any Krispy Kreme location, but for a more artisanal and hands-on approach, try the option at Rise Biscuits and Donuts in Durham. For 95¢, you can get a fresh cake donut topped with their own glaze recipe. It might not be the original, but at least they aren’t made by machines.

  • Credit: Jonathunder/Wikipedia

    North Dakota: Rosette at Quality Bakery

    The Backstory: North Dakota is home to a large population of Scandinavian descendants, and many of the residents continue to carry out the pastry traditions of their ancestors. One beloved fried treat is the rosette, a confection made when batter is poured into a flower-shaped iron and then fried until crispy; the hot shell is then dipped in powdered sugar. The final pastry is light, flaky and sweet; it's a holiday favorite, though you can find rosettes in many bakeries year-round.

    Where to Find It: Fargo's Quality Bakery turns out these treats for less than a dollar per pastry.

  • Ohio: Buckeye at Buckeye Donuts

    The Backstory: The buckeye tree is central to Ohio culture - it is the state's official tree, the mascot for the beloved Ohio State University sports team and also a candy - buckeyes, which are balls of peanut butter dipped in candy, so they resemble the tree's nuts. Got it? Of course, there's a donut inspired by the candy.    

    Where to Find It: Columbus' 24-hour Buckeye Donuts' namesake is a chocolate-glazed donut filled with a dollop of peanut butter.

  • Credit: jeffreyww / Flickr

    Oklahoma: Fried Pie at Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies

    The Backstory: Though it's called fried pie, we'd argue that this hand-held stuffed pastry is more like a donut than a pie. And though Alabama claims to have invented the treat, Oklahomans have declared the deep-fried piecrust pockets a Sooner creation. They’re usually filled with fruit or cream, but can also be served with savory fillings like bacon, egg and cheese.

    Where to Find It: Though they have locations across Texas and Arkansas, we recommend heading to Davis to visit the flagship location of Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies.

  • Oregon: Bacon Maple Bar at Voodoo Doughnut

    The Backstory: Maple Bars, as they are colloquially known on the West Coast are basically slang for an éclair-style donut - a long yeast-risen pastry with filling inside. At the famed Voodoo Doughnut, based in Portland, their quirky spin on the classic maple-glazed variety includes a bacon topping. Maple bars are also known as Berliners or Long Johns elsewhere in the U.S.

    Where to Find It: Voodoo Doughnut has three locations in Portland

  • Credit: Federal Donuts

    Pennsylvania: Sticky Bun Donut at Federal Donuts

    The Backstory: This is one of the rotating flavors of “fancies” at Michael Solomonov’s cult-fave fried chicken and donut shop in Philadelphia. Sticky buns were originally invented by the Pennsylvania Dutch, so this cakelike pastry lands in the sweet spot where hip and history cross paths. It’s almost ridiculously sweet to taste, thanks to the coating of pecan-studded caramel glaze - but it wouldn’t channel a true sticky bun if it wasn’t.

    Where to Find It: Currently, there are two Federal Donuts locations in Philadelphia: on Sansom Street in Center City and on Manton Street in Pennsport. Two more Philly stores are scheduled to open soon (West Poplar and University City), and there have also been rumors of expansion to DC.

  • Credit: Courtesy of Allie's Donuts

    Rhode Island: Raspberry Jelly Sticks at Allie’s Donuts

    The Backstory: For nearly half a century, this donut shop has been Rhode Island's go-to for deep-fried dough confections. One of their top-sellers is the mightily-sized raspberry jelly stick, which clocks in at a box-busting (they don’t fit inside Allie’s standard half-dozen boxes) 5-in. long and 3-in. tall. Unsurprisingly, the secret to their perfect chewiness is in the donuts’ closely guarded dough recipe. Hint: it’s a combination of yeast-raised and regular cake donut dough.

    Where to Find It: North Kingston's Allie’s Donuts

  • Credit: Courtesy of Glazed Gourmet

    South Carolina: Sweet Potato Doughnut at Glazed Gourmet

    The Backstory: Glazed Gourmet founder Allison Smith created this donut to do two things: one, to create something she could put brown butter on - “I absolutely love the flavor; it also makes an amazing glaze” - and two, to create a fall-appropriate menu item. It just so happens the donut perfectly exemplifies Southern cuisine. The cake donut’s batter is made with a sweet potato purée doctored with spices like nutmeg and cayenne, and the donut is topped with a brown-butter glaze and a sprinkling of chopped, cinnamon-toasted pecans.

    Where to Find It: Glazed Gourmet in Charleston

  • Credit: John Pozniak/Wikipedia

    South Dakota: Fry Bread at Cheyenne Crossing

    The Backstory: In 2005, South Dakota legislators designated fry bread the state's official bread, recognizing the contribution of the state's Native American tribes to the area's culinary history. To make fry bread, flat rounds of dough are fried in oil until they puff up, creating a crispy base that's often topped with savory fillings to create an Indian taco or dusted with powdered sugar for a sweet treat.

    Where to Find It: You'll find fry bread and Indian tacos all over the state, but Cheyenne Crossing is famous for its Indian tacos. But you'll find fry bread all over the state.

  • Credit: Photo used with permission from Foodspotting

    Tennessee: Buttermilk Drops at Gibson’s Donuts

    The Backstory: Buttermilk drops are originally from New Orleans, but the owners of Memphis’ iconic Gibson’s Donuts helped make a name for them in Tennessee by adding them to their menu as a nod to their French Quarter roots. Unlike traditional donuts, buttermilk drops have no center hole and taste something like a buttermilk-glazed cupcake.

    Where to Find It: Gibson’s Donuts in Memphis

  • Texas: The Boudin Kolache at Shipley Do-Nuts

    The Backstory: First you have to know what boudin is - a spicy sausage of rice and meat from Louisiana. Next, you need to know what a kolache is - a Central European breakfast pastry stuffed with sweet and savory fillings that was imported to Texas by immigrants from Central Europe. Stuff one into the other and voilà, the boudin kolache is born. The mash-up of both cultures is a delicious but carb-heavy gut bomb that you quite literally cannot find anywhere else in the world.

    Where to Find It: Select locations of Shipley Do-Nuts in Houston. Always call ahead to check first. They sell out quickly.

  • Utah: Chocolate-Covered Cherry at Fractured Prune

    The Backstory: Utah's official state fruit is the cherry, and the Beehive State harvests over two billion of them each year. Dessert junkies automatically think of pie when they think of cherry desserts, but Utah bakers are using sweet and tart varieties to glaze and fill donuts.

    Where to Find It: National franchise Fractured Prune has an outpost in St. George where you can try the chocolate-covered cherry donut, which is bathed in a vivacious cherry glaze and rolled around in miniature chocolate chips.

  • Credit: Big Picture Café / Facebook

    Vermont: Maple Donuts at Big Picture Cafe or Guild Fine Meats

    The Backstory: Did you know Vermont produces twice as much maple syrup as any other state? Sounds like as good a reason as any to make lots of yeast-raised, maple-glazed donuts.

    Where to Find It: The all-local, all-organic Very Small Donuts from dine-in theater Big Picture Café in Waitsfield are a solid example of the maple-glazed donut. We also suggest the excellent version found at Burlington's Guild Fine Meats. If you’re feeling decadent (or hungover), get the Bad Idea - they use the donut to make a breakfast sandwich with housemade sausage, Vermont cheddar and a fried egg.

  • Virginia: Apple Butter Cinnamon Donut at The Apple House

    The Backstory: A family-run spot near Front Royal has been making these donuts with the same recipe since 1963. The regional favorite ups the ante of the usual apple-cider donut by using concentrated apple butter instead. These heavily spiced, moist cake donuts are fried fresh daily and tossed with sugar while warm - and day-olds are destined for bread pudding. The old-fashioned treats even have a quaint price by urban standards: 79¢ apiece.

    Where to Find It: The Apple House in Linden, a country kitchen/gift shop combo that serves as a fine example of the types of places that line rural Virginia byways. 

  • Credit: Adam Kuban via Flickr

    Washington: Apple Fritter at Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts

    The Backstory: Technically, a fritter is anything battered and fried in oil or lard, a tradition that came to North America along with the British settlers. Today these small cakes tend to take a main ingredient - in this case apple - and mingle it with an egg-and-milk batter before deep- or pan-frying the dish to create a crackling, sugar-tinged pastry. Based on Washington’s dedication to the good old apple (they harvest over 100 million 40-lb. boxes of apples a year), it’s only appropriate their fried treats would get stuffed with the fruit.

    Where to Find It: For a classic rendition of the apple fritter made with cubed, local fruit and their special cinnamon and spice mix, the raised dough treats at the mini Washington chain Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts take the deep-fried cake. 

  • Credit: Tomaro's Bakery / Facebook

    West Virginia: Pepperoni Rolls at the Donut Shop or Tomaro's Bakery

    The Backstory: Just as Texas has kolache, West Virginia has the Pepperoni Roll, which is essentially a spicy meat-stuffed donut. To better absorb the hot pepperoni oil, they're traditionally made with white pizza dough. It’s often said that the state’s Italian immigrant coal miners inspired the roll, as it was originally created to be a quick lunch that could be eaten one-handed while still holding your tools.

    Where to Find It: Pepperoni rolls can easily be found around the state in convenience stores, bakeries and gas stations. Some bakeries, like the Donut Shop near Buckhannon or Tomaro’s Bakery in Clarksburg, make them from scratch.

  • Wisconsin: Fudgie Cruller at Manderfield's Home Bakery

    The Backstory: Sweet dough that's been pulled and twisted into an oblong shape, fried and then coated with powdered sugar, icing or served plain, crullers are believed to have been first brought to the states by German immigrants, which is why they're especially popular in Wisconsin where many first settled.

    Where to Find It: Crullers are popular statewide, but we like the Fudgie Cruller from Manderfield's Home Bakery. This local favorite with locations in Appleton and Menasha and roots stretching back to 1934 turns out a long list of donuts in addition to the chocolatey cruller, but its rich, cakey taste makes this one a hard treat to pass up.

  • Wyoming: Don's Peanut Donut at Cowboy Donuts

    The Backstory: In 2010, a pair of donut fiends created Cowboy Donuts in Rock Springs because there were no other fresh bakeries in town. Since then, the shop's cred has extended well beyond its hometown. The store specializes in old classics like fresh-raised yeast donuts and chocolate-glazed, and it's become known for its kolache. But it's the Don's Peanut Donut, a buttermilk round topped with crushed peanuts, that has local history: it's named for the father of one of the founders, a man nicknamed Cowboy Don who served as inspiration for the shop.

    Where to Find It: Cowboy Donuts in Rock Springs