What’s up, Nomsters! There seem to be donut shops on almost every corner, but some of them you can just tell don’t prioritize quality or use old frying oil, and just make bad donuts. The spots we mention here are NOT those types of places. In fact, they’re pretty much the exact opposite. These are some of the absolute BEST donuts we’ve ever had! Read on to see our must try donuts in the SF Bay Area!
1. Third Culture Bakery
Located in Berkeley, Third Culture Bakery makes incredible mochi donuts with the perfect combination of fluffiness and chewy mochi goodness. They come out with new, unique flavors every season. Ever had a Mango Passion Fruit mochi donut? Or how about a Strawberry Guava mochi donut? There tends to be a line out the door when they open, so be sure to arrive a little early. They’re definitely deserving of being included in our list of must try donuts in the SF Bay Area!
For a deeper dive into Third Culture beyond just their mochi donuts, see our full post about them here!
2. Johnny Doughnuts
Johnny Doughnuts has several locations in the Bay Area including SF, San Rafael, Marin, and food trucks in various places and their donuts are huge! But what sets them apart is their texture. We were told that they’re made using potatoes, which makes them much denser than normal donuts, and it’s almost like a cake density. They have a wide range of of styles and flavors, and our favorites were definitely the old fashioned ones. Make sure to get there early before they sell out!
3. SF Dough
SF Dough is right down on Market between 10th and 11th, and they make some awesome donuts including this ridiculously tasty fresh strawberry filled specialty donut! They’re big, fluffy and will satisfy any sweet tooth so don’t miss them! They also serve some mouthwatering pizzas (things made with dough, get it?) so fill up and be happy.
For everything you need to know about SF Dough, see our full post about them here!
4. Rainbow Donuts
Also in Berkeley, Rainbow Donuts doesn’t look super fancy when you walk in, but their donuts are super creative, fun, and delicious! The donuts themselves are made in the more traditional way, but they find so many flavor combinations and toppings that make their specialty donuts worth waking up early for. Like the other places mentioned above, they tend to sell out of their special donuts quickly, so if you want more than just the typical glazed and chocolate, be sure to get there early!
5. Dynamo Donuts
Dynamo Donuts in San Francisco’s Mission District is more traditional as well, but their flavors are unique. We actually really like their fruity glazed donuts the best! They tend to have some tartness to them, kind of like a lemon tea cake, but with other cool flavors like passion fruit. Don’t miss them!
Mochill is located in San Francisco’s Japantown, and they make awesome mochi donuts that you can order to pick up at the Japantown Center! So if you’re in the city and get a mochi donut craving, you don’t have to go all the way to Berkeley. It looked to us when we visited them before shelter in place that they were constantly making new batches of donuts all day, so we don’t think they’d run out of any particular flavor, but it still might be a good idea to order ahead. While the black sesame and matcha flavors were good, we recommend the mango and cinnamon sugar the most!
For more info, check out our blog post on them here!
7. Chuck’s Donuts
Without a doubt, you need to try Chuck’s Donuts’ ube donuts and Nutella donut holes! The donut holes are basically the size of a regular donut, but sliced in half and filled with an absurdly delicious amount of Nutella. The ube donuts are covered in ube frosting with some also having coconut bits on top, and they were more dense like cake donuts than they were fluffy.
8. Apple Fritter
I’m a big fan of cake donuts, and Apple Fritter makes, among other things, ube, matcha, and strawberry cake donuts that are out of this world! If you order delivery, they come in a set of two — one crumb coated and the other glazed. They were moist, full of flavor, and I personally love it when the donut itself has a unique flavor rather than just putting a flavored frosting on a regular donut.
For more awesome Bay Area recommendations, check out our San Francisco Bay Area Tab HERE