Blackbird Doughnuts hatched with a tiny space on Tremont Street in Boston (ironically, situated between a series of fitness centers) and now has shops in Fenway, Harvard Square, Newton Centre, and elsewhere, including the downtown food hall High Street Place. Owned by the folks behind South End spots Banyan Bar + Refuge and Sally’s Sandwiches, a madcap influence is evident in some of the more curious flavors in the rotating selection of doughnuts, such as Everything Bagel and nostalgic riffs on cider doughnuts. Brioche and cake doughnuts are on the menu—try the vanilla bean-glazed signatures side-by-side—as well as doughnut ice cream sandwiches. The original shop now shares space with Sally’s Sandwiches—and you can bet Blackbird Doughnuts are one of the breakfast sandwich bread choices.
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Boston and Dunkin’ may be forever intertwined (even if Dunkies drops the "Donuts"), but for true fried dough inspiration, run to one of these small shops. They may not have SNL sketches made about them, but their doughnut-making powers are second to none. Check out curated guide to bakeries dishing up the best doughnuts in Boston.
Union Square Donuts began as a popular vendor at local farmers markets, and now has an artisan doughnut empire with two locations in Somerville, one in Brookline, and stalls at The Boston Public Market and Time Out Market food halls. Substantially sized yet somehow airy and fluffy, Union Square Donuts fashioned a core roster of flavors including Maple Bacon, Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch, and Sea Salt Whiskey Caramel (made with Bully Boy whiskey). Seasonal flavors include Vietnamese Coffee, Orange Creamsicle, and traditional cake-style Apple Cider Donuts. One or two vegan varieties are always on offer, and USD also sells coffee, doughnut holes, and rotating other brioche baked goods like cinnamon rolls.
Clear Flour Bread bakery may have built its reputation on European-style breads and pastries, but the class-act joint in Brookline also bakes off a hand-cut doughnuts each day. The single subtle flavor of Black Currant is a fitting match for the renowned bakery’s rustic ethos: A light, fluffy baked doughnut speckled with tangy dried currant and encrusted with just enough sugar. If you want a fresh version of this decidedly lighter treat, drop by around 8:30 or 9 a.m.—it usually sells out by 1 p.m.
Belmont-based Linda’s Donuts is a living throwback to a time when doughnut shops served as unassuming neighborhood hangouts. Located on the Watertown border, Linda’s has been in business for decades and run by the same family for nearly 40 years. It looks like the inside hasn’t changed since the first Bush administration, and what else hasn’t changed? The timeless appeal of its products, from classic honey dip to jelly and Boston cream-filled doughnuts. Regulars stick around for a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel breakfast sandwich and some local gossip, and the coffee is always fresh. Linda’s has modernized in a key ways: It’s no longer cash-only, and it’s on Instagram.
A hipster newcomer Kane’s is not: The Saugus-born bakery has been selling oversized, flavor-packed doughnuts out of its original location since 1955. (A newer Saugus location boasts a retro drive-thru just off of Route 1.) The legendary shop entered Boston proper in 2015 with a small Financial District location, where our favorite old-school offerings—Honey Dip, Raspberry Jelly—sit side-by-side with stacked behemoths like The Turtle, a chocolate cake doughnut festooned with dark chocolate, Heath Bar crumbles, caramel frosting, and a honey glaze. Gluten and dairy intolerant doughnut lovers are taken care of by Kane’s, too, with plenty of fun-yet-allergy-friendly flavors.
Brassica Kitchen + Cafe
Much like eclectic Jamaica Plain where Brassica Kitchen + Cafe resides, this place has something for everyone from morning ’til night (at least, on the weekends). During weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday, fresh doughnuts are on display in rotating flavors like Vanilla Sprinkle, Pretzel, Wild Huckleberry-glazed, and crispy-ridged Churronuts. Pair them with a steaming cup of locally roasted Fazenda Coffee or a refreshing mocktail like Spirulina Lemonade, crafted in-house by the flavor-driven hippies behind this destination-worthy neighborhood spot.
Going out for Sunday brunch may bring to mind Mimosas or a Bloody Mary (just us?), but if there’s ever a reason to skip boozy brunch in favor of fast-casual, it’s the Sunday-only doughnuts at Flour Bakery + Cafe. Fluffy, tender pillows rolled in sugar and filled with vanilla pastry cream or house-made raspberry jam, these doughnuts are worth going into town for. No surprise, coming from James Beard Award-winning baker Joanne Chang—luckily, there are nine locations of this beloved bakery from Back Bay to Cambridge, the Seaport, and more.