Whether you spell them donuts or doughnuts, there is no denying that Americans love this sweet breakfast treat. Our passion for this sweet treat has inspired tv shows, from Superior Donuts on CBS to Donut Showdown on the Cooking Channel. We just can’t get enough! It made us wonder what are the best donut shops in NC?
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When I was a teenager, I wished for a short period of time that I worked in a doughnut shop. That was after my much longer desire to own and manage a KFC, but that is a story for another day. But doughnuts (and yes, I’m spelling them donuts and doughnuts interchangeably throughout) have really changed since I was a teenager. Donuts are no longer simple fried pieces of dough. Instead, doughnuts’ flavors are limited only by your imagination and creativity. Let’s explore some of the best donuts in North Carolina and where to find them.
The Start of Donut Shops in NC
Beginning in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts started as a door-to-door sales company. The secret yeast-raising recipe had been purchased years earlier from a chef in New Orleans. Vernon Rudolph decided that he wanted a better way to sell the family product and the factory and store were born. Considering the strong ties between the iconic Krispy Kreme company and NC, it isn’t surprising that our state has so many wonderful donut shops.
So as we’ve explored our wonderful state and sampled some wonderful donuts and compared notes with friends and other fans of the sweet treats, where are some of the best doughnut shops in NC? Listed in no particular order, we scoured the state to find the best local businesses to compile this list of North Carolina’s best donut shops.
Best Donuts in North Carolina
4205 Park Road, Charlotte (Park Road Shopping Center)
11025 Monroe Road, Matthews
You know a place is good when you’re at a donut place and even as people are commenting about how good it is, strangers are telling you, if you ever get to Charlotte, you should go to Your Mom’s Donuts. The power of word of mouth across the state is that powerful when it comes to the best donut shop in NC!
Your Mom’s Donuts is the farm-to-table movement in the donut world. Not only is Your Mom’s Donuts local, but they also support local farms and use fresh ingredients. This means that something you may have had one visit, may not be available the next since flavors and products tend to be seasonal. There are eight standards plus rotating weekly or daily flavors. The most popular donut is the cinnamon sugar with cream cheese buttercream icing. Of course, the lemon honey is a special treat too. The problem is that once you try one flavor, you don’t want to try any of the others! It’s a nice problem!
310 E. Main Street, Carrboro
8200 Renaissance Parkway, Durham (Southpoint)
401 Foster Street, Durham (Downtown)
1391 Walter Reed Road, Suite 102, Fayetteville
169 Grand Hill Place, Holly Spring (Holly Springs Towne Center)
1100 Market Center Drive, Morrisville (Park West Village)
6325 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh (Sutton Square)
8301 Brier Creek Parkway, Suite 101, Raleigh (Brier Creek)
530 Daniels Street, Raleigh (Cameron Village)
Opening its doors in 2012 in Durham, we were lucky enough that their original location was less than two miles from our home. For purposes of this post, we’ll focus on their donuts. While I favored their maple log with bacon, my sons always veered towards their oreo covered donuts. We loved their cronut experiments (remember those?). Their apple fritters are the size of an adult hand and the perfect sweet treat.
With more than 16 additional locations even into Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia, here is another franchise that started in North Carolina.
100 W. Bias Lane, Duck
Too many additional locations to list!
Starting in Duck on the Outer Banks (hence the name!), Duck Donuts now has locations spreading as far south as Puerto Rico and as far west as California. North Carolina is dotted with Duck Donuts, so you’re never too far from one of the best donut shops in NC!
Duck Donuts can be anything you like. Each donut begins with a vanilla cake donut which is made to order. Each donut is then coated, topped, and drizzled with your chosen toppings. A menu helps those of us unsure what flavor combinations work best. Or be your own chef and design your own creation!
1401 N. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach
114 Princess Street, Wilmington
With two locations, one in downtown Wilmington and one which we included as one of the top things to do in Carolina Beach, Wake ‘n’ Bake rose from the shadows of a local favorite after winning the Donut Showdown on the Cooking Channel in 2017. Where Wake N Bake truly shines is with its signature donuts. Creations like Samoa, recreating a Girl Scout cookie, or Dat Ghost Fire, infused with ghost pepper, you’ll find some unusual flavor combinations. They have so many great combinations that we recommend sharing them with friends so that you can try multiple variations!
168 Haywood Road, Asheville
Hand-rolled in front of you in their open kitchen, at Hole Doughnuts in Asheville, you get to see your donut being made. No matter how many you order, the yeasty treat is rolled, fried, glazed, and served piping hot! So grab a seat, sip on some coffee, and enjoy the artistry!
Looking for something a little unique? Not afraid to experiment, Hole combines flavors like grapefruit and basil or try one of the all-time favorites like chocolate sumac.
532 Kanuga Road, Hendersonville
Touting “America’s two comfort foods under one roof,” HenDough in Hendersonville offers both fried chicken and donuts. HenDough serves a mix of cake, yeast, and filled donuts, as well as bear claws and fritters. While technically not a donut, if you’ve got the time to sit down and enjoy a meal, you may want to try the Donut French Toast or Donut Breakfast Sandwich for a change of pace! If you’re visiting Greenville, SC, visit their other location too!
1002 Ninth Street, Durham
Starting from humble beginnings as a donut stand selling doughnuts from a tricycle at the Durham Farmer’s Market, to a brick-and-mortar building and eventually expanding into its current location within a few years, Monuts is a local favorite. They expanded into a full breakfast menu and even lunch! But the tasty donuts will make you the favorite co-worker or friend when you appear with a boxed dozen!
3120 N. Davidson Street, Charlotte
Served from a window facing 35th Street in the NoDa neighborhood in Charlotte you’ll find Reigning Doughnuts. Unlike other donut stores that close early, Reigning Doughnuts serves their hot doughnuts morning and night — which makes sense since they’re located in one of the trendiest spots in town. That is how my son and I found them — a family was sitting at a picnic table across from this unassuming window almost fighting over a box of donuts. In addition to a variety of flavors, each day of the week features a special. Call me crazy but I want to go back on a Friday night to try their Hot Sauce Icing with Chicken Skins!
6320 Capitol Blvd., Suite 123, Raleigh
5108 Wake Forest Hwy, Durham
1307 Buck Jones Road, Cary
Your traditional, down-to-earth delicious doughnut store is Baker’s Dozen, with three locations in the Cary-Raleigh-Durham area, so you’re never too far from a location. There is a reason that this doughnut shop has great reviews across multiple forums – they deliver a great product. People rave about the apple fritter with its big chunks of apples. The donuts are light and airy and priced right. Baker’s Dozen is one of those places where people get into a routine of stopping by to place regular orders for their workplace or family — so much so that some people don’t even have to say what employees already know their regular customer’s orders!
13 Boardwalk, Carolina Beach
Several of my friends and North Carolina natives would never speak to me again if I failed to mention the iconic Britt’s Donut Shop in Carolina Beach. Open since 1939, Britts is a North Carolina institution that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area. They only serve glazed donuts – but they’re served as quickly as they’re made. Due to their freshness, you’ll get a buttery, melt in your mouth, sweet treat. But be prepared to wait! They’re open every day during the summer season until they sell out.
Looking for more things to do in North Carolina? Check these posts:
- Top 5 Drive-In Movie Theaters in NC
- 6 Best Lavender Fields to Visit
- 10 Best NC Wine Trails to Visit
- 26 Veteran Owned Breweries in NC to Visit Right Now
Annick, The Common Traveler