I don’t care how you spell it, there’s one thing we can all agree on – they are goooood. It’s truly a treat that appeals to all ages and can be enjoyed anytime. From El Cerrito to Downtown Oakland to San Francisco, here are our favorite Bay Area donuts (and doughnuts)!
Classic Donut Shops
Donut Time at El Cerrito Plaza. I found this place on a whim, and it’s just so cute I think it deserves a special mention. Nothing frilly here, just good ol’ fashion goodness. Grab a glazed and sit in their spacious back booth on a rainy day.
Donut Savant on 38th Avenue, Oakland. Classic donuts are reinvented in a mind-blowing delicious way at Donut Savant. Don’t miss the cronut and filled-style treats, though there are no wrong choices here!
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Pinole, Concord, and Fremont. While we prefer local, small businesses, we can’t deny the allure of Krispy Kreme for a kid. Take a field trip to see a miniature donut factory in action – hot donuts right off the presses! Can’t beat that freshness anywhere.
Donut Petite on Santa Clara near Webster, Alameda. Come for the donuts, and stay for the adorable vibe of the shop. Cronut, mochi-nut, cake, raised: you’ll find a variety of options here, plus delicious espresso drinks. It’s a great place to sit and enjoy a little donut date with your littles.
Dream Fluff Donuts on Ashby near College Avenue, Berkeley. This shop has been in business since 1940 and is a staple of Berkeley’s Elmwood business district. It serves up homemade, organic donuts for takeaway or dine-in. The space is cozy and has an old-fashioned soda shop vibe. There’s often a small line, though it moves fast and is worth the wait. The shop also dishes out other breakfast items and sandwiches.
Pepples Donut Farm on San Pablo, North Oakland. You have probably had one of Pepples’ donuts at one of our favorite coffee shops, but there’s no better place to eat a Pepples donut than the real deal. With flavors like lemon poppyseed, matcha green tea, and orange creamsicle, you can’t just try one. Plus they are vegan, which makes them healthy, right?
Rainbow Donuts on San Pablo and University, Berkeley. You can get extra cute donuts like the Cookie Monster or a unicorn for kids and savory bacon maple donut for yourself. They also have breakfast items and sandwiches.
Dick’s Donuts on High Street, Oakland. Locals flock to Dick’s Donuts. The unassuming shop is filled with warm, fresh classic options with beautiful flavors to please a variety of taste buds. Bring cash, though. No cards are accepted.
Mochinut in Berkeley, San Leandro, Hayward and Concord. If you’re looking to venture from the classic glazed donut, consider the mochinut. It’s a twist between a classic donut and a Japanese mochi. They have a crispy exterior and super light interior texture. The menu of flavors is quite large. Based on the flavors my family tasted, I’d say mochinuts are sweeter than most donut options, which made them a hit with my kids.
Colonial Donuts on LaSalle in Montclair Village, Oakland. Choose from dozens of tasty favor combinations and styles. If your kids are like mine, the abundance of sprinkled options will be sure to please. Bonus: It’s within walking distance of Montclair Park and Playground. There’s also a shop located on Lakeshore, near Lake Merritt.
Johnny Doughnuts in Larkspur, San Rafael and San Francisco. If you love to fill your Insta with food photos, this is the place to go. Not only are the donuts (and shops) truly beautiful, the round wonders are fantastic. There’s a good size menu, plus vegan and wheat-free options. I found the raised doughnuts to be quite tall and large, so you could totally share a treat and still fulfill a sugar craving. The Marin County Mart location in Larkspur is worth the drive because of the adorable shops and kid-friendly play area and activities.
Bob’s Donuts in SF’s Nob Hill. Yes, it’s in San Francisco, but if you are ever in need of a donut the size of your face, Bob’s Donuts is where it’s at. Their 10-inch glazed donut is not only big, it’s good too. You have to go, just so you can say you went. We always take our out-of-town guests to Bob’s; we’ve decided it’s actually cooler than the traditional Golden Gate Bridge crossing for visitors!
Dynamo Donuts in the SF Marina. Another San Francisco favorite, but if you go here, you can actually see the Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy your maple bacon donut with a view, they serve a pretty good cup of coffee too.
Bakeries That Serve Delicious Donuts
Timeless Coffee & Bakery on Piedmont Avenue, Oakland. For those who enjoy plant-based options, stop into Timeless for a vegan donut. You’ll discover a delicious, light and airy treat. Pair with a coffee and you’re set. There are a handful of locations throughout Oakland near kid-friendly destinations: in downtown near Snow Park and Fairyland, at Jack London Square for prime train and boat watching, and in Elmwood a short walk from Willard Park.
Ono Bakehouse on MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley. If you love filled donuts, come here for a malasada — a fried confection that has origins from Portugal, but is also extremely popular in Hawaii. Flavors rotate weekly and typically include a fruit flavor. Malasadas are only available on Fridays and Saturday. You can pre-order or drop into the bakery. Ask if you don’t see any on display. Definitely worth the calories!
Donuts Any Time
And sometimes you just want a dozen warm, glazed, sticky, pink box of doughnuts without all the frills. That’s where your friendly neighborhood joint comes in. You know the one that always throws in the extra munchkins, only takes cash, and is open 24 hours? Yes, that one. Here are the ones we’ve taste-tested, approved, and keep going back to – Happy Donuts, Lee’s Donuts and King Pin Donuts – but we know there are so. many. more.
Tell us, where do you get your donut fix? Or is it doughnut?
[Photo Credit: Anna Azimi and Whitney Moss as noted]
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