Donuts are a pretty universally loved food. Who doesn’t love the sweet, doughy, glazed or frosted goodness of a great donut? While there are plenty of Krispy Kremes and Dunkin’ Donuts all across Iowa, we’re looking at the smaller places – the local donut joints where you can sit and have some pastries and some coffee with your neighbors.
Some of our favorites are listed here in alphabetical order.
1. Bentley's Bakery, 11101 Plum Dr, Urbandale, IA 50322
Bentley's makes a wide variety of traditional from-scratch treats, but they've also got a selection of unique yummies like the Snickers donut, Kit Kat donut, and maple bacon donut.
2. ChuChu Donuts, 106 SW State St, Ankeny, IA 50023
The apple fritter is the star of the show here, getting consistently high ratings from customers. But really, you can't go wrong with any of the many, many choices at ChuChu.
3. Daylight Donuts, 3560 E Court St, Iowa City, IA 52245
Yes, we know - Daylight Donuts is a chain. But hear us out. The location is a locally-owned franchise, all of the ingredients are locally sourced, and DANG those donuts are tasty. Actually, that last thing was probably all we needed to say.
4. Donut Hut, 4941 Douglas Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310
Bypass the big-name chains and make your way to this unassuming little place for some of the greatest donuts of your life. Be prepared to wait in line on the weekend (it's worth it).
5. The Donut Stop, 500 W Sheridan Ave, Shenandoah, IA 51601
Well-known to night owls and early birds, Donut Stop is a family-owned shop that's been selling melt-in-your-mouth delicious donuts for more than 30 years. Their glazed donuts will blow away any of those you'll get at a big corporate place.
6. Donutland, 4307 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Donutland may be a chain, but this one in CR is the last remaining of the original Donutland shops. Their super-fresh donuts are worth the wait in the line you'll encounter on weekend mornings. Remember to bring cash, though - they don't take cards.
7. Donuts & More, 1717 Brady St, Davenport, IA 52803
Stop in at Donuts & More for a dozen before work and be the hero of your office. The retro-looking store has some of the tastiest treats in the area, but be warned that they run out of favorite flavors pretty early in the day.
8. Dough & Joe, 114 N Elm St, Cresco, IA 52136
This place is about so much more than just donuts, but let's just try to stay focused. The creme-filled long johns here are the best you'll ever have anywhere. They're so good, in fact, that one couple had a ton of them flown to Colorado for their wedding in place of a cake.
9. Golden Delight Bakery, 2289 Johnson Washington Rd, Kalona, IA 52247
If you ever want to be able to eat a donut from a big corporate chain again, steer clear of Golden Delight. This Amish bakery uses nothing but fresh, whole ingredients and old-fashioned preparation methods to make the most amazing donuts you've ever tasted. Seriously - this is what donuts were meant to taste like.
10. Hiland Bakery, 3615 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313
Hiland Bakery offers darn good donuts at reasonable prices, which would explain why you've got to get there early if you want your pick of the pastries. They also make amazing cakes, pastries, and cookies, so even if you're too late for donuts, there will still be something sweet for you.
11. Hurts Donut Co., 1301 5th St, Coralville, IA 52241
It's easy to become overwhelmed by the huge variety of creative creations at Hurts Donut. Frostings and candies and cereal and marshmallows...nothing is out of bounds when it comes to the toppings on these sugar bombs. Open around the clock every day -"25/8," as they like to say - these pastry angels don't even take holidays off.
12. Jaarsma Bakery, 727 Franklin St, Pella, IA 50219
Pella's delightful Dutch heritage is on full display inside Jaarsma Bakery. You sort of have to try the Dutch letters if you visit since this town is where they originated in the U.S. But while you're grabbing some of those S-shaped cookies, be sure to grab a few of Jaarsma's fresh donuts as well. The pecan rolls are out of this world.
13. Korner Bakery, 122 1st St NW, Hampton, IA 50441
This small-town bakery is packing some BIG donut goodness. Just look at the size that donut. They're so good that you might even be tempted to eat a little donut after polishing off the giant one.
14. Mad Ox Bakery, 215 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
You'd be hard pressed to find a staff friendlier than the folks at Mad Ox. Are they so happy because the donuts are delicious or are the donuts delicious because they're so happy? The world may never know. Either way, this place is a must-stop whenever you're in CB.
15. Mahalo's Coffee Co Mini Donuts & Catering, 4800 Mills Civic Pkwy #105, West Des Moines, IA 50265
"Mahalo" can be roughly translated to mean "thanks" or "grateful," and that's exactly how you'll feel after sampling the amazing coffee and mini donuts at this sweet shop. The tiny donuts are gourmet caliber. And since they're mini, that means you can eat 10 or 20 of them and not feel guilty...right?
16. Main Street Donuts & Cafe, 606 W Main St, Ottumwa, IA 52501
Situated in the old Hostess building on West Main, Main Street Donuts brings an old-fashioned quality to their homemade treats. Here there's just handmade dough, hand-decorated donuts, and a sense of community that benefits the entire town.
17. Storm Lake Bakery, 616 Lake Ave N, Storm Lake, IA 50588
Formerly Page's Bakery, this shop has been serving fresh, delicious donuts for well over 50 years. The apple fritters and creme-filled long johns are perennial favorites.
18. Sunkist Bakery Co., 4607 Morningside Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106
This Siouxland favorite makes some of the most ridiculously tasty creme-filled long johns you'll ever taste. It's a small place frequented by locals who know that there's nothing better than a fresh, warm donut to wake you up. Swing by the ATM before you visit - they only take cash or checks.
19. Topped Doughnuts, 129 N Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, IA 50023
Attached to CJ's Bagels, Topped serves gourmet donuts (or doughnuts, in this case) with flair. If you really want to treat yourself, try their red velvet doughnut topped with cream cheese icing and white chocolate shavings. YUM.
20. Wyman's Spudnuts, 1104 US-71, Okoboji, IA 51355
Whenever you're in the Iowa Great Lakes area, a stop at Wyman's Spudnuts in a must. The shop is located in an old gas station and has a decidedly fun and quirky vibe. They have seasonal specialty flavors that will knock your socks off.
This list is anything but exhaustive – there are SO many more great donut places out there. What are your favorites? Add them to the list in the comments!