Louisvillians, we’re pleased to tell you that today is the eve of National Doughnut Day, which actually is observed twice in the US — once on the first Friday of June and again on Nov. 5.
So that you can plan to celebrate this foodie holiday appropriately, we’ve written a hole guide to donuts in Derby City. Read on for 7 places to get your fill, or no fill if that’s your jam.
Hi-Five Doughnuts, 1101 E. Main St.
These “ladies of the morning” are bringing you (almost) endless options when it comes to a savory donut — from the KY Fried Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich to The Mini Widoughmaker made with fried chicken, bacon, a farm fresh egg, and smothered in sausage gravy, corn flakes + a grape drizzle. Did you almost pass out? Because we did.
DYK: Hi-Five Doughnuts is Louisville’s first woman-owned and operated donut shop. Owners Annie Harlow + Leslie Wilson started their fried dough journey in 2013.
La Pana Bakery y Cafe, 1001 Logan St.
If you’re looking for a custard treat off the beaten path, try this Oaxacan-inspired micro bakery’s lechecilla donut, which are cinnamon-sugar coated donuts filled with Oaxacan vanilla custard.
Drink pairing: Try it with the cortado on the menu — iced or hot.
Reader and self-proclaimed donut aficionado Chris W. wrote in to tell us that Julian’s Kitchen, a ghost bakery, is “making some of the best donuts anywhere” — from classic glazed to devil’s food cake to apple fritter and hamburger donuts” + they’re all vegan.
Drink pairing: Since you can pick up these vegan delights in V-grits, also home to Chimera Brewing, we suggest sipping its Evolution barrel-aged rye porter for a nice roasty pairing.
North Lime Coffee and Donuts, Multiple locations
The square yeast donuts — plain glazed or chocolate iced — are what put this regional chain on the map, so you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t try one in addition to its other specialty treats, like the funnel cake donut.
Drink pairing: Dip your donut in the Night Owl espresso drink made with half and half and shaken to frothy perfection.
Plehn’s Bakery, 3940 Shelbyville Rd.
Reader Eric W. wrote in to tell us about “the best doughnut on earth” — the yum yums from this St. Matthews bakery. It’s a cinnamon twist with white and chocolate glaze and Eric insists you need to know about it.
Our pick: The pretzel donut
Sugar & Spice, 5613 Bardstown Rd.
Sugar, spice, and order everything twice at this Fern Creek shop with 30+ varieties of donuts in flavors like banana cream pie, turtle sundae, chocolate oreo cheesecake, and more.
Our pick: Don’t sleep on the chocolate peanut butter cake
Jeff’s Donuts, Multiple locations
While owners Jeff Brown + Diana Green’s goal is to make donuts available for second and third-shift workers, their 24/7 model benefits us all. This bakery is serving up classics, bismarks + Texas-sized donuts. Reader Kathy F. said Jeff’s Donuts is the cat’s meow, especially at about 3 a.m.
Our pick: Glaze donut with custard topped with almond slices
When we say classic, we’re talking long johns, sprinkles, glazed, and chocolate iced.
Clifton Donut Shop, 2317 Brownsboro Rd.
Start your morning at this bakery that won Best Chocolate, Best Glazed + Baker’s Choice in the Star Duck Charities’ 2021 Doughnut Challenge.
Our pick: Classic pink with sprinkles
Nord’s Bakery, 2118 S. Preston St.
Home of the maple bacon long john donut with an entire piece of bacon on top, this St. Joseph neighborhood bakery usually has a line out of the door on the weekends, so get there early.
Drink pairing: Snag a local coffee from Sunergos next door.
Heitzman Traditional Bakery and Deli, 9426 Shelbyville Rd.
This bakery has been in Louisville for 130+ years and offers a selection of sweets, including assorted donuts in all the familiar flavors.
Our pick: Classic long john