Houston's 10 Most Unique Doughnuts

A Morningstar haul: a matcha-glazed yeast doughnut, a peanut butter cup cake doughnut and a salted lime pineapple fritter.
A Morningstar haul: a matcha-glazed yeast doughnut, a peanut butter cup cake doughnut and a salted lime pineapple fritter. Photo by Erika Kwee

Who doesn't love fried dough? one, so it's hard to get a doughnut wrong. That is, unless you're tasting 22 doughnuts side-by-side, in which case some doughnuts tend to rise to the top. In any case, these 10 doughnuts are taking the art of fried dough to the next level with endlessly creative toppings, fillings and presentations. Get on them.

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Glazed's churro doughnut is stuffed with a cinnamon-sugar custard.
Photo by @eatglazed

10. Churro doughnut from Glazed, 1333 Old Spanish Trail

Although there are plenty of unique doughnut options at this 24-hour doughnut shop in the Medical center (see: the "dirty zebra" or the trashy cereal-topped doughnuts), the churro doughnut is the one that caught and held our tastebuds at attention. Rolled in a thick layer of cinnamon and sugar and filled with a thick and creamy cinnamon-sugar custard, the churro doughnut is pure insanity when fresh from the fryer.

9. Pandan doughnuts from Tiger Den, 9889 Bellaire

Little square fried doughnuts like beignets are so airy, fluffy and crispy that they're almost as light as air at this Bellaire ramen destination. Paired with a pale green creamy pandan custard for dipping, its a perfect, deceptively light ending to a meal no matter how heavy you go with your ramen choice.

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This popsicle-flavored doughnut melts in your mouth, not your hand.

8. Popsicle doughnuts from River Oaks Donuts, 3601 Westheimer

River Oaks Donuts is home to the longest list of doughnut hole options you'll find in Houston (or maybe anywhere). You can get them chocolate-cappuccino cream-filled, Nutella-filled, as cake holes, or even as fritter bites. Need doughnuts for a special occasion? Alphabet letter doughnuts will run you $1.29 each, you can get a giant glazed birthday doughnut for under $20, or you can purchase a doughnut hole tower in varying sizes. However, it's the popsicle-flavored doughnut that caught our eye for perfect summer noshing. "They melt in your mouth, not your hand," advertises the Instagram caption. There's only one way to find out.

The strawberry cheesecake cronut from The Grove took top honors during our doughnut tasting last year.
Photo by Erika Kwee

7. Strawberry cheesecake cronut from The Grove Do-Nutz & Deli, 815 Plantation in Richmond

You might find a few other strawberry cheesecake doughnuts around town, but The Grove ups the ante with a doughnut base that's made from a cronut (the famous croissant-doughnut mash up). Layers of flaky, crispy, just-greasy-enough dough stack up into a hefty doughnut covered in a layer of fine graham cracker crumbs topped with a drizzle of strawberry frosting, a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh strawberry. It's pure, unparalleled decadence even in the face of other delicious options like the red velvet, cookie butter, or salted caramel doughnuts.

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Doughmaker doughnuts are deliciously crusty and topped with a variety of creative toppings.
Photo by @doughmakerhtx

6. Orange pistachio doughnuts from Doughmaker Doughnuts, 13515 S Post Oak

We were going to talk about the s'mores doughnut that comes with a giant bronzed marshmallow on top of chocolate ganache with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs...BUT it was phased out earlier this year to make way for the new seasonal menu. While we wait for its return, the stalwart orange blossom-honey pistachio is always a crowd-pleaser. An artisanal-ish citrus-infused honey glaze is topped with crushed pistachios for an unusual but delightful flavor pairing. In the mood for some protein? The perfectly crusty doughnuts at Doughmaker also work well with a piece of crispy fried chicken on top for the honey butter fried chicken stunner.

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The maple "bacon" doughnut at Ripe Cuisine makes bacon out of coconut.
Photo by Erika Kwee

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Erika Kwee is a freelance food writer, photographer and contributor to the Houston Press who particularly enjoys exploring the many unique sweet spots around Houston. She is constantly on the hunt for exceptional pad thai, vegetarian dumplings and pancakes.