Donuts in Los Angeles

If you were wondering what I have been doing the past few months, the title of this post covers a lot of ground towards the answer.  In addition to visiting a slew of mostly newly-opened, but also older, donut shops in Los Angeles, I’ve also moved jobs twice which has compromised my commitment to blogging.

Donuts have a special place in my heart, even though I am not a true sweet tooth, but more of a savory tooth.  When I was a child, on Saturdays my mom used to drive a mile or so down Montana Avenue in Santa Monica to Carl’s Bakery, a small bakery that carried very basic donuts.  My donut of choice was the glazed twist.  Occasionally I would get a chocolate glazed, raised donut instead.  We were not cake donut eaters, we stuck with the yeasted, raised donuts.  So donuts signaled a departure from the normal daily breakfast which usually, at our house, involved either pancakes, french toast, waffles, date bread, biscuits, sometimes some bacon, and occasionally cold cereal with milk.  Fruit may have been offered, but I don’t remember much beyond orange juice.  Clearly, not bad, but still donuts were better!

As I got older I developed a fondness for Trader Joe’s bran muffins and into my later teens I was drinking smoothies and shakes for breakfast, with some fruit.  I spent one summer trying very hard to slim down before college by drinking Herbalife shakes (my mom tried them too) until my father, after watching a late night exposé on the company that revealed in his opinion some nefarious practices and possibly quackery, purged our cupboards of all the shakes and supplements and that was the end of that adventure.  But back to donuts.

These days our donut tradition is on Christmas Day.  Nearly everything is closed, but Stan’s Donuts in Westwood, CA, home to the UCLA campus, is not.  And so we go.  Some years my beautiful (and  . . . vegan!) neice Katy is in town and she accompanies us.  Stan has been making donuts for forever, and he’s 86 and still shows up to work every day.  What’s neat about Stan’s is he’s named various donuts after local icons, for example, the late Huell Howser donut is a VERY thickly peanut butter stuffed chocolate bar and the Bruin is glazed cake donut covered in blue and yellow sprinkles.

First let’s take a look at Stan’s and some other classic, iconic Los Angeles donut shops and their creations:

The Famous and Original Maple Bacon Donut

The Famous and Original Maple Bacon Donut from Nickel Diner

Ube Bacon Donut

Ube Bacon Donut from the apparent home of the original “Cronut,” DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica

Stans (1 of 1)

A Few Selections from Stan’s in Westwood

katie at stans (1 of 1)

Katie at Stan’s


Mike at Stan’s


The “Bruin,” Stan’s

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Buttermilk Bar at Primo’s Donuts in West Los Angeles

Now on to some newer donut emporiums:

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Maple Bacon Donut from Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica

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Sugar Raised Donut and Crumb Cake Donut from Cofax


Honey Sea Salt, my favorite, from Cofax

assorted cofax

Coconut Horchata, Lemon Pistachio, Chocolate Cake and I can’t remember what the bottom left is, Cofax


Hibiscus Cake, Cofax

green pantz

See what I did to my pants? Smart!

The best new donut shop in LA in my opinion is Blue Star Donuts.  They use brioche dough and fry in rice bran oil.  Yum.

Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blue Star Donuts

Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blue Star Donuts

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Lineup at Blue Star Donuts in Venice, CA

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Dark Double Chocolate Crunch Creme Filled Donut from Blue Star Donuts

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The Duke of Donuts and his Diplomat

We met the “Duke of Donuts” on opening day at Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica.  He explained that his mission in life is to eat and report on donuts.  I said, “what about biscuits,” and he said, ” . . . eh, peasant food.”

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Country Ham and Egg Donut from Sidecar Donuts

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Buche de Noel Donut with Callebaut Chocolate Glaze, Pistachio and Meringue Button

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Malasada with Huapia Creme from Sidecar Donuts

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Seasonal Gingerbread Cake Donut from Sidecar Donuts

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Cinnamon Crumbcaker, Sidecar Donuts

I’d love to hear from you and your donut opinions.  Are you a cake donut gal?  Raised?  Apple fritter?  What are some of your favorite donut shops where you live?  Have you ever made donuts at home?  Any tips or cautions?

Have a very happy holiday season, y’all!!

26 Comments on “Donuts in Los Angeles

  1. Sue so good to see you!! I have been drooling over your instagram photo’s of these beauties. Doughnuts and I go way back and it’s a torrid love affair. It started as a child, every Saturday morning my Dad and I would go to the local doughnut shop and get a dozen glazed hot and soft and delicious, I can almost taste them. I definitely am a raised (yeast) doughnut lover and plain glazed is my favorite with chocolate glazed coming in second. I love the cinnamon twist glazed variety also. I do like cake also, the cider doughnuts from the farmers market are pretty wonderful. My favorite place for doughnuts in Brooklyn is Dough, IMHO they are the best in the world. Big and soft and fresh and really really good. Enjoyed this!!

    • Hi Rena, thank you so much for noticing I’ve been gone and for the welcome back. Clearly, donuts aren’t really simple or healthy foods but they can be fun!

  2. So what you’re saying is…we haven’t seen you on your blog for a while because you’ve been busy consuming your body weight in donuts???? 😉 Hee hee xx
    I’m afraid I cannot comment other than to say: fabulous photos! I have no donut history or love to add, but it’s good to read yours x

  3. So good to see you and your inimitable photos back. I used to make donuts when I had a big family around to consume them, but no longer. And no really remarkable donut shops around here. I am tempted by that ham and egg one, and next time I am in NYC I will look for Dough as Suzanne suggests.

    • The ham and egg was actually one of the few that I ate. As I said I am not a big sweet tooth, much prefer all the other tasts — sour, bitter, salty!

  4. Oh my goodness. I can’t imagine a better way to spend time! Those doughnuts look amazing. I’ve become a fan of the baked doughnut if done right. Cider doughnuts are my new fave, but growing up I was always a Boston creme gal.

    • Hi Amanda, great to hear from you. I can’t wait to catch up on your beautiful and soulful blog! Also you are the second person who’s mentioned Cider donuts so I do need to find one soon; must say I have never heard of them!

    • Thank you! It feels good to be back and I’m excited to catch up with all my favorite blogging friends, you included of course. xx sue

  5. Sue my own work stress has me barely hanging in there. But I’m so glad I popped by your photos are amazing (even though I love seeing your stuff in Instagram). And the fact that good donut are virtually impossible to find in Spain just makes me so envious 😉 I especially like the sound of the donut in brioche dough! Wishing you a great week ahead! xx

    • Oh Sofia my thoughts are with you dear! Go sit at the piano! Sending you lots of warm fresh donuts in spirit 🙂

      • Oh gosh I should go to the piano. Thanks for the donut spirits 🙂 I love it! Tomorrow is a public holiday here thank goodness so in the morning I’ll go to swim some laps,… and in the afternoon a bit of work I’m afraid! 😦

  6. What an incredible line up of doughnuts! The ham and egg doughnut looks particularly enticing, though I have to admit I find all of them very very enticing. I loved hearing about your evolving breakfast traditions and the current christmas doughnut tradition. I hope work and jobs has settled down now! Ah, I wish I had some nice doughnut shops around… though maybe best there aren’t 🙂

  7. What a way to wrap up all the doughnuts I have been watching on Instagram! Wish we had more than Krispy Kreme here’ !

  8. Hi – don’t know whether you recall but we sat next to you at Superba a couple weeks ago… enjoyed your blog, went to Paramount Coffee Project and enjoyed it.

    Just tried a place I have never been to on Abbott Kinney called Salt Air and another in MB called Fishing with Dynamite I thought you’d enjoy.


    John Bruckman

    • Oh, how nice to hear from you John. I enjoyed your blog so much too. Especially the carbonara video! We have been to both Salt and Air and FWD, both very nice. We like Connie & Ted’s for seafood as well. Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach is good for pasta and pizza too, one of the chefs is a friend of ours. Hope to see you out and about and looking forward to reading more from you.

    • Also, John, sorry to say I am behind on blogging and frankly use Instagram for my food “reviews” . . . do also try Lodge Bread, the pizza is quite good. Cheers!

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