A donut topped with strawberries and blueberries on an orange background

A Tour Through Texas’ Doughnut Capital

When it comes to these fried pastries, Dallas-Fort Worth reigns supreme

by Ramona Reeves

Photos by Brittany Conerly


Doughnuts are a beloved comfort food that stirs up strong feelings about the ideal place to grab a dozen. I’ve personally sought the most exemplary examples every place I’ve lived— New York, the Deep South, and all across Texas—and I can easily say Dallas waves the banner of fried dough supremacy.

And I’m not alone in that assessment.

Based on density and diversity of local shops, the Big D was crowned America’s doughnut capital by The Washington Post in 2023. One of the main reasons for this growth is the approximately 1,600 shops owned by Korean Americans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In addition to that kind of mom and pop presence, you can’t glaze over the prevailing creativity of the following examples that have made DFW the sweetest cluster of pastry shops anywhere.

Hypnotic Donuts

With caffeinated creations like its Espresso Yo’self coated with coffee-flavored icing, caramel, and a dusting of java grounds, it’s easy to see why this shop near White Rock Lake has mesmerized Dallas sweet tooths for more than a decade. A confectionary trailblazer in many ways, Hypnotic continues to innovate with vegan offerings and a gluttonous variation on fried chicken and waffles, complete with a seasoned chicken breast, pancake syrup, and a squiggle of Sriracha on an open-faced glazed doughnut. “There weren’t a lot of craft doughnut shops when we started [in 2011], and we’ve built a reputation as being different,” says general manager and head baker Matt Kurilla.
9007 Garland Road, Dallas. Open daily, hours vary. 469-720-3413;

A donut with golden frosting on a tan background

Jarams Donuts specializes in elaborate creations like this cookie butter variety. Opening image: Shops like Jarams have turned Dallas into a doughnut mecca.

Bright pink donuts topped with pink and chocolate frosting

From left: Raspberry and chocolate brioche doughnuts at Carte Blanche.

An overhead view of a golden apple fritter on a napkin next to a cup of coffee

Cliff’s Donut excels at the classics, such as apple fritters.

Jarams Donuts Lakewood

The artfully decorated confections at Jarams defy the labels of breakfast treat or mid-morning snack. In fact, the shop advertises its creations for holidays, weddings, and other special occasions. If this sounds hyperbolic, I dare you to take a look at its ornate cream cheese and mixed berry variety and say it doesn’t look good enough to elicit an “I do.” Started by Michael Ji in 2012, the Jarams brand (now with two locations) really took off with the ingenuity introduced by his daughter, Blair. Thinking beyond chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles, she saw the doughnut as a canvas for artistic expression. For instance, a halved Twinkie garnished to look like George Washington peeking out of a spangly red, white, and blue Fourth of July offering. Or a red velvet cruller embellished with icing rosettes, marketed as a sugary alternative to a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day. “I have always been an artistic person,” Blair says. “I started with drawing cute Halloween icons on doughnuts, then I began to explore alternative flavors and incorporate some of my favorite desserts [such as crème brûlée]. Doughnuts are a creative outlet for me.”
2117 Abrams Road, Dallas. Open Mon-Sat 6 a.m.-noon, Sun 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
469-248-0257; jarams.com

Mustang Donuts

There’s something to be said for the kind of neighborhood institution that sneaks doughnut holes into your bag just for being a familiar face. And for excelling at deep-rooted standards, such as an elite chocolate éclair or yeast-risen strawberry glazed that boasts a sumptuous, soft interior in every single bite. This 35-year-old Hillcrest neighborhood icon epitomizes that comforting ethos with its no-frills aesthetic and cast of long-tenured employees. Situated on a quaint block adjacent to the SMU campus, Mustang’s sparse interior specializes in posters of local teams at Highland Park High School, as well as a handwritten sign enumerating “The Best Things about Mustang Donuts.” No. 1 on that list: You get to eat doughnuts. It’s hard to argue with that.
6601 Hillcrest Ave., Suite D, Dallas. Open Tue-Sun 5 a.m.-noon. 214-363-4878

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Cliff’s Donut & Cafe

The standalone restaurant has changed hands a few times over its six decades, but the old-school diner vibe and Formica tables adjacent to the doughnut display cases still exude a timeless charm. Current owner Chris Han studied food science in Korea before arriving in the U.S. and taking over Cliff’s in 2015. He puts his training to good use with offerings like the apple fritters, which have a crackly outer shell and a not-too-saccharine glaze still reminiscent of the diced Granny Smiths at the heart of the dessert. There are also endeavors that go further afield, such as a maple-glazed version generously dressed with glistening bacon bits and plump breakfast burritos heaped with eggs, sausage, cheese, and a house-made jalapeño hot sauce. For those in a hurry, Cliff’s has a drive-thru, but visitors are always rewarded by popping inside to peruse Han’s latest toothsome tours de force.
2433 W. Shady Grove Road, Irving. Open daily 5 a.m.-noon. 972-790-2511

A Hole New World
Other standout shops
in the Dallas area

Detour Doughnuts and Coffee
8161 FM 423, Frisco.

Earnest Donuts
4740 US 121, Suite 700, Lewisville.
214-469-1177; earnestdonuts.com

Max’s Donut Shop
105 N. Greenville Ave., Allen.

Lone Star Donuts
1727 N. Beckley Ave., Dallas.

Urban Donut
2805 Allen St., Dallas.
469-444-1303; urbandonut.com

Carte Blanche

As its name implies, the impetus behind Amy and Casey La Rue’s Lower Greenville restaurant was to create a blank slate for expressing the couple’s culinary range. A classically trained French pastry chef, Amy develops all the dreamy bakery items, such as a decadent, yet delicate sweet potato brioche doughnut drizzled with brown butter caramel. The concept for the bakery was born during the reflective days of the pandemic, as Amy spent time on her home patio pondering an elevated doughnut program using elegant ingredients like a French-style pâte à choux dough, Valrhona chocolate, and baked figs. Now, those apple crumble crullers and hedonistic bars topped with the likes of candied orange and chiffon cake croutons have helped Carte Blanche fetch a five-star rating from Forbes—the only such designation in the state.
2114 Greenville Ave., Dallas. Open Fri-Sat 7 a.m.-noon, Sun 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 214-434-1538; carteblanchedallas.com

Editor’s Note: Carte Blanche in Dallas has closed since this story first appeared in the March 2024 issue.

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