11 of London’s best doughnuts (and where to buy)

You can keep your Olympic rings. We’ll stick to the sport of shovelling doughnut rings from the likes of Doughnut Time and Rinkoff Bakery down our gullet

Best doughnuts in London: Sweet treats from Doughnut Time

Ah, doughnuts. They may be unfairly maligned as a dieter's worst dream but is there truly anything more satisfying than wolfing down a freshly-made doughnut; the kind so dainty and doughy that it practically collapses between your forefinger and thumb? If there is, we really want to know about it – because that melt-in-your-hand-and-then-mouth sensation is pretty hard to match.

Is it a breakfast food? Is it a dessert? We're not too sure where we stand on the debate, ourselves. But more importantly: who cares? The moment you eat a doughnut is a moment to savour, regardless of what time of the day it is, and a moment that should never be accompanied by guilt of any sort. After all, the only thing capable of filling that gaping doughnut-shaped hole inside your soul are doughnuts. Lots and lots of delicious doughnuts.

Unfortunately, what's been eating away at your precious doughnut eating time is all those sleepless hours you've wasted pondering where the location serving the best doughnuts in London to cash in those hard-earned calories actually is. So how fortunate for you that we've been so kind as to point you (with our powdered sugar-coated fingers) in the direction of Foodism's pick of the 11 best doughnuts in London to satisfy your cruller cravings.

Doughnut worry, these guys have got you covered.

11 best doughnuts in London

1. Doughnut Time

Where? Various

Why? Check your watch. What time is it? 10:00am? That's doughnut time. 2:45pm? That would also be doughnut time. 2:00am? Once again, doughnut time. But how about one of the best places in London to get a gloriously fried ring of dough? That would be Doughnut Time.

Beginning life as a hole-in-the-wall doughnut store in Australia, Doughnut Time has rapidly grown internationally and now boasts twelve separate stores across London alone. You won't find such cleverly named and gloriously glazed creations like the Notorious P.I.G. (a strawberry glaze with strawberry buttercream, pink sprinkles and Percy Pigs) and Stranger Rings 2.0 (a chocolate glazed doughnut covered in Oreo crumbs, Nutella and..glitter) anywhere else—solidly establishing it as one of London's best doughnuts joints.

2. Dunn's Bakery

Where? 6 The Broadway, N8 9SN

Why? Dunn's Bakery has been throwing down the flours since 1820. Doughnuts, however, were only invented around 1847. Although Dunn's Bakery may pre-date the very doughnut itself, this family-run bakery has successfully managed to perfect the craft of making them over the years.

God knows it's had enough time to do so – the current crop of bakers are the sixth generation to run the shop. This alone makes them some of the bets doughnuts in London—the creations at Dunn's are absolutely textbook. They're soft, sweet and if you're capable of ordering just one single ring: you've got far more willpower than most of us mere mortals. We'll take 6.

3. You Doughnut

Where? 19 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3EJ

Why? To work out whether You Doughnut is really for 'you', all 'you' have to do is ask yourself this question: do you want to eat a fresh doughnut filled with molten cookie dough? Of course you do. Creative doughnut makers Betsy & Jo are the wonderful humans behind You Doughnut.

You Doughnut sells handmade doughnuts bites, freshly fried to order. It's difficult to do justice to the feeling of gorging on a salted caramel and toasted pecan ball of warm, doughy goodness. So just trust us when we tell you that this is one of the very best doughnuts in London, and one you simply need to experience for yourself. You Doughnut is a member of KERB and can regularly be found at the Shoreditch Street Feast Dinerama from 5pm to late, Thursday through Saturday.

4. Crosstown Doughnuts

Where? Various

Why? We'd go across town to get to Crosstown Doughnuts. We really would. Thankfully, there's plenty of Crosstown stores scattered throughout the city so we're never too far from some stunning sourdough doughnuts and never forced to actually exercise.

Not that we'd necessarily need to. Crosstown's Yuzu & Passionfruit doughnut is so light and delicate that it tastes almost healthy. The Peanut Butter Berry, on the other hand, is a square hunk of a pastry that's so indulgent we forget about our health altogether. The soft sourdough is lovingly topped with lashings of peanut butter glaze, Crosstown's own homemade blackcurrant compote, and a handful of toasted peanuts. And if eating that doughnut means sacrificing a bit of our physical health in exchange for adding great deal of happiness to our mental well-being? Well, to enjoy one of the best doughnuts in London, it's a trade we're willing to make.

5. Bread Ahead Bakery

Where? 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL

Why? A trip to Borough Market really isn't complete unless you've at least attempted to get a salted caramel doughnut from Bread Ahead. We say attempted because actually getting hold of one of these famous honeycomb-hatted breads from heaven can be pretty difficult. Bread Ahead is hugely popular and the stocks can be diminished fairly quickly—it is one of the best doughnuts in London, after all.

Our advice is to get there early and purchase at least one of every different doughnut they've got. You'll thank us later. If you want to go a step further and take your doughnut consumption into your own hands, Bread Ahead also host three-hour doughnut workshops for £80. Which seems a bit steep, however, the ability to create your own Bread Ahead doughnuts at a moment's notice? That's priceless.

6. Dominique Ansel Bakery

Where? 17-21 Elizabeth Street, SW1W 9RP

Why? We love croissants. We love doughnuts. Combine the two and you've got something that we can really sink our teeth into. That something is known as a Cronut. Created back in May 2013 in New York, the half-croissant half-doughnut hybrid was constructed by renowned pastry chef Dominique Ansel. He has since officially registered a trademark for the Cronut name. If you want to sample one (or two, or, realistically: three) of the flaky, fluffy pastries that have taken social media by storm, you can head on down to the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Victoria. There you will find the iconic Cronut in its original incarnation alongside a special flavoured iteration which they change on a monthly basis. Go nuts.

7. Dum Dum Doughnuts

Where? Unit 31, Box Park, E1 6GY

Why? The artisanal baked doughnuts made by Paul Hurley (aka 'The Donut Guy') might just be some of the best that the city has to offer. Dum Dum's crème brûlée doughnuts are a definite crowd-pleaser. They're the sort of pastry, filled with velvety vanilla buttercream and sealed with a crisp caramel crust, that we'd personally request to be pelted with if we were ever put in the stocks. So gentle and golden, we'd happily take a dozen of these to the face.

The creation that solidified Dum Dum as one of the best doughnut joints in London is the Zebra – intricate layers of croissant dough and chocolate croissant dough, filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate ganache. You can even get a giant 10” version of the Zebra (and other Dum Dum offerings) made for special celebrations. Be warned, however, Dum Dum is only open until it sells out. So get there early or be left hungry.

8. Happy Donuts

Where? 254 Portobello Road, W11 1LL

Why? Here's a challenge for you: try and be unhappy eating a doughnut. Honestly, just give it a go. We'll wait. Because you can't. It's impossible. Taking a bite of a doughnut is pretty much on par with receiving a healthy hit of serotonin right in the cerebral cortex. Buying a doughnut from Happy Donuts is therefore something pretty much guaranteed to make you happy. Doughnuts like the Ferrero Rocher (a slow-matured dough filled with 55% Valrhona chocolate and roasted hazelnut ganache, topped with additional chocolate icing and a whole Ferrero Rocher) and the cream cheese frosting-drenched Red Velvet rings make us very happy, indeed.

9. St John Bread and Wine

Where? 94-96 Commercial St, E1 6LZ

Why? It's hard to deny that St John is London's patron saint of quality food. Not content with merely being one of the finest locations for snout to tail eating, St John can also lay claim to having some of the city's holiest doughnuts. Which is admittedly a bit ironic considering that the doughnuts at St John are round and otherwise hole-less.

These tanned confections are filled to the brim with homemade jam and custard, simple but strong enough to give the other best doughnuts in London a run for their money. The doughnuts are up for grabs everyday at St John Bread and Wine and are also available at the weekends from the St John Bakery on Druid Street.

10. Rinkoff Bakery

Where? 222-226 Jubilee St, E1 3BS

Why? We love doughnuts. We love croissants. Don't worry, you're not suffering from déjà vu (or lazy journalism). We know that we've already talked about the cronut but it's high time that we talked about the crodough. Why? Because it's not trademarked. The crodough is what you get when your name doesn't happen to be Dominique Ansel and you just so happen to combine the croissant and doughnut in a carbohydrate Fusion Dance.

We unsurprisingly love them, too. Rinkoff Bakery specialises in creating crodoughs, frying croissant pastry like a doughnut to create that delicate puffed up pastry blessed with all the complex layers of a croissant. Note: they're definitely NOT cronuts. Absolutely nothing like a cronut, really. Nothing to see here, officer Ansel. The crodough is then filled with everything from decadent dulce de leche to toothsome toffee apple. While flavours like S'mores and Cherry Pie may sound as if they'll sit heavy in your stomach, Rinkoff's Bakery crodoughs are light, airy, and perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. Our only complaint is that they're perhaps a little too easy to eat. A box of 5 simply doesn't last long enough.

11. Bird

Where? Various

Why? Throwing around the term “genius” so willy-nilly can be a pretty dangerous thing. That being said, the person who decided to put fried chicken and waffles together in the same meal was a bonafide boffin. Bird offers up this sweet and savoury combination at its various chicken restaurants across London, also serving some seriously good doughnuts at its accompanying Doughnut Hatch. The hatch serves Canadian-style glazed doughnuts, made fresh everyday with a glaze that alternates on a daily basis. The doughnuts are only available until they're sold out, something that certainly doesn't take long when the restaurant's menu also contains a doughnut ice cream sandwich and a plate of cinnamon sugar-coated mini-Doughnut holes.

If you read that without drooling: well done. And if that doesn't solidify Bird as one of the best doughnut joints in London, try the ice cream sandwich: comprised of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, sandwiched in one of Bird's signature glazed doughnuts and showered in whipped cream and chocolate and toffee fudge sauces. If you read that without drooling: there's probably something wrong with you.