If there’s one sugary food that says “employed American,” it’s probably the doughnut. Many of us have experienced the relief of finding a fresh box of them in the break room after skipping breakfast. Packed full of flavor, these little rings of sugary goodness are an icon of American snacking and coffee breaks, with good reason. Plain cake doughnuts never fail to satisfy, but you can also find them in an infinite variety of unique and modern flavors.
Whether you want to eat one on your way to work or dip one in coffee at your desk, doughnuts are tasty pick-me-ups that can make your life (and the life of those in your office) a little brighter. Bringing in a couple dozen could be the way to make up for giving everyone your cold last month. However, you don’t want to be so basic as to bring doughnuts from some mega-chain. Sourcing local doughnuts shows that you care and you have good taste.
Thankfully, San Diego is home to some incredible doughnut makers. There are all kinds available around the county. In fact, you can even find doughnuts specially paired with local craft beer if that’s what you’re craving. If you need a place where you can grab a dozen or more fresh doughnuts to go, we’ve curated a list of some of the best options around San Diego.
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Devil’s Dozen Donut Shop
Location: 2001 Kettner Blvd.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to noon, Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to noon
If you’re looking for fresh, homemade doughnuts, it doesn’t get much better than Devil’s Dozen Donut Shop. After all, they bake up fresh doughnuts every hour throughout the day. Don’t let the name or the occult-themed décor of this bakery and coffee shop turn you off. The tastes inside are downright heavenly!
Some doughnuts are regularly in stock, like chocolate, vanilla bean, traditional doughnuts and cinnamon sugar. Others, like Nutella Hazelnut, Tres Leches, Key Lime, Lucky Charm and Irish Cream rotate weekly. These doughnuts are as flavorful as they are good-looking, and they are incredibly fresh. If you’re hoping to ingratiate yourself to your coworkers, bringing in a box of Devil’s Dozen doughnuts will probably do the trick.
Devil’s Dozen Donut Shop also has fresh java. They make their Dark Horse Coffee in house. They roast small batches of beans daily, ensuring an ideal degree of freshness. They’ve got standard brewed coffee and tea, as well as cold brew coffee and nitro coffee. You can order up an espresso drink, potentially with almond or soymilk, if you prefer. If you’re taking a box of doughnuts to go, you can get a full box of coffee, too.
Location: 2360 University Ave.
Hours: Seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Craving something sweet while headed to work in North Park? Golden Donut has what you want. They offer perfectly made doughnuts daily, and they happily take advanced and special orders for those who are craving a specific kind of treat. As their name implies, Golden Donut has perfected the art of making a lovely, golden cake doughnut.
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You can keep it simple, with the glazed old-fashioned or even plain cake doughnuts. If you’re craving something a little more adventurous, there may be bacon chocolate or maple bacon doughnuts in the case, as well as other classical baked goodies. Chocolate long bars, apple fritters and doughnut holes are also commonly available. As an added bonus, Golden Donut is locally acclaimed for having some of the best croissants in the city.
They serve a variety of caffeinated drinks, including Vietnamese and Thai Iced Coffee and Tea. Like some of the best doughnut places, Golden Donut can sometimes run out of options well before their evening close time. However, if you make it there early enough to have your pick, your co-workers will surely be thanking you after biting into one of these doughy rings of flavor.
Location: 631 B Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to noon, Friday: 7 a.m. to noon, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday: 8 a.m. to noon, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday: 8 a.m. to noon
In need of a quick carb fix in the downtown area? Stop into Donut Bar for a flavorful pick-me-up. One of the best things about Donut Bar is that they’re open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday. Whether you want something sweet to start off your work day or during your night out, you can find it here!
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They are probably most famous for offering the Homer’s Donut, ripped straight from everyone’s favorite 90s cartoon. A fresh yeast donut, topped with pink cake batter glaze and rainbow sprinkles, the Homer’s Donut is popular for its simplicity and the clever allusion.
Their other offerings change daily. These include Boston Creme, Mud Pie, Nutella, PB&J, Butter Beer (adorned with Harry Potter glasses) and even Maple Bacon. If you like unusual flavors, there’s the Monte Cristo, which includes ham, Swiss and American cheese, and raspberry-cranberry compote.
It’s important to note that although they are theoretically open until noon, once they sell out of doughnuts for the day, they’re done. They make one big batch of doughnuts to last the whole shift. Getting there early is the best way to ensure you get what you’re craving.
Location: 601 W Washington St.
Hours: Seven days a week from 3:30 a.m. to midnight
Nestled between Hillcrest and Mission Hill, Donut Star is an unassuming but locally beloved doughnut shop. Donut Star made a name for themselves in 2011, during the blackout. While most other places closed down, Donut Star was serving fresh baked goodies by lantern light.
If you love classic cake doughnuts, fritters and cream puffs, Donut Star has you covered. You probably won’t find any risky, cutting-edge flavors here, but you can find a perfectly made buttermilk doughnut with cream filling. This place prides itself on making simple treats with a careful eye to quality. Their old-fashioned doughnuts are something of local legend, with flavors that include chocolate, cake and blueberry. You can also find other fun flavors, like coconut and crumb cake.
They have incredibly fair prices. You can easily grab a couple dozen to treat your co-workers without breaking the budget. For a long time, they were a cash-only establishment. These days, you can pay with a credit card, but there is a $0.50 surcharge for doing so. It’s worth it for the convenience.
Lucky Donuts House
Location: 909 Grand Ave., Ste. 8
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday: 5 a.m. to noon
There’s simply no better option for fresh, flavorful doughnuts in Pacific Beach than Lucky Donuts House. They’ve been making amazing baked goods for more than 15 years at this family-owned doughnut shop.
Do you need more than a plain doughnut to get you moving in the morning? You can order up their Lucky Breakfast, which is a fried egg, ham, cheese, bacon and sausage sandwiched between two plain glazed doughnuts. They also make croissants, and you can get a sandwich with egg, ham, cheese and bacon, and a chorizo bolillo, stuffed with chorizo, cheese and jalapeños.
Lucky Donuts House works with quality ingredients to make superb, delicious donuts that are deceptively simple. In addition to their original glazed doughnuts, they offer chocolate and chocolate rainbow sprinkles. You can also order up a Lucky Danish, made with Bavarian cream or a Conchas, which are Mexican pastries, with white frosting or chocolate.
If you’ve ever wanted your own apple pie, then consider their apple burrito. It’s cinnamon and sugar-flavored fresh baked apples wrapped in a flour tortilla. You’d be surprised how addictive it can be!
Love reading about tasty treats? Donut stop there, keep reading about more goodies around San Diego!