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Make a Hole in One With Denver’s Best Doughnuts

The pair behind Pandemic Donuts make their picks for best doughnuts in town.

Doughnuts suit any season, any occasion, or any time of day—and there’s so much room for variation in the doughnut realm that nearly every preference can be accomodated. Would you rather get up at the crack of dawn to get them fresh out of the oven or sleep in before a leisurely stroll to a bakery? Do you seek out new flavor combinations or stick to the classics? Is there a perfect beverage to pair with the pastry?

Ultimately, the correct answer is left to the eater. If you haven’t honed your pastry preferences just yet, Denver offers a host of shops that will help you explore a multitude of the sugary snacks…because no one can eat just one in a sitting. To send you in the right direction, we spoke to a couple industry pros to get their picks for the finest Denver doughnuts.

Pandemic’s doughnuts come with the hole – Courtesy of Pandemic Donuts

Gabe Henning and Michael Milton know a thing or two about doughnuts. They started Pandemic Donuts out of their apartment in the early weeks of the pandemic after losing their jobs due to COVID-related restrictions. Their Instagram storefront went viral—not only because of the brightly colored desserts, but as a way to spread cheer during dark days. In the past year, Pandemic has expanded to selling at Queen City Collective Coffee while continuing to offer morning weekend deliveries.

“Waking up and discovering a box of doughnuts waiting for you in the kitchen may be the best way to start the day,” Henning says. But ultimately, what makes a good doughnut depends on the person and their mood, she adds. Here’s Henning and Milton’s list of their favorite spots around town.

Stowaway’s crullers may look simple, but their flavors are anything but — Courtesy of Stowaway Kitchen

Stowaway Kitchen

“I may be a little biased, having worked for Amy [Cohen] and Hayden [Barnie, owners of Stowaway,] for several years. Every dish or treat they put on their menu is so thoughtful and unique. My favorite of their doughnuts are their crullers. First off, they’re typically gorgeous, and everyone knows we eat with our eyes first. I’m a firm believer in that. They’re super crispy on the outside and so light and eggy on the inside, they almost melt in your mouth. And the flavors they choose are always so different. You won’t be able to find anything like them in Denver.” 

You will have to plan ahead to get your hands on these sweet babies, as they are only available on Sundays.

The early bird gets the…er, doughnut…at Berkeley. Everyone else gets disappointed, as the shop often sells out. — Photo Credit: Thomas Kolicko

Berkeley Donuts (Denver)

“Mine and Michael’s favorite type of doughnut is a cake doughnut. And because we don’t make them ourselves, we’re always looking for somewhere to have one. Berkeley Donuts makes the best cake doughnuts.The texture is amazing and somehow comforting. They’re crispy on the outside and light and cakey on the inside. And I really like how simple and delicious they are. They’re not trying to do anything too crazy with their flavors, which is exactly what I like in a doughnut.”

Sometimes you just can’t improve on a classic. — Photo Credit: Claire Duncombe

City Donuts (Aurora, Denver, and Littleton)

“They are just a classic doughnut shop that does it really well! Their doughnuts are consistently fresh and delicious.”

Parlor is a chain (the horror!) but with doughnuts this good, we’re willing to forgive them.  —  Courtesy of Parlor Doughnuts

Parlor Doughnuts (Aurora, Denver, and Ft. Collins)

“I really like how different Parlor Doughnuts are. They’re a lot like a croissant, but better because (I’m assuming) they’re fried and topped with tasty glaze. The texture of their doughnuts is insane—so buttery and flakey and craveable. They also take their coffee game a bit more seriously than other doughnut shops, which I always appreciate.”

Talk to us! Email your recommendations (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com.


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