Dessert trends come and go, but the donut never goes out of style. We leave behind the summer of soft serve and look to fall-inspired donuts highlighting the comforting flavors of the season for some Insta-inspiration. Below are our top picks from favorite NYC donut shops (plus bakeries and restaurants) that are perfect for the ‘gram.
Sweet potato cake donut from Donut Diva at Queens Comfort
You can find Donut Diva’s homemade cake donuts at Queens Comfort, the funky Astoria staple popular for its brunch, on Fridays and Sundays. Flavors change weekly, with favorites and seasonal specialties in a regular rotation. This past Sunday, Donut Diva whipped up these sweet potato cake donuts topped with a brown sugar glaze and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Other fall flavors that have appeared on past menus (which you may see again) include salted caramel apple cake, pumpkin butterscotch cinnamon sugar and purple sweet potato with marshmallow glaze and candied pecans.
Pumpkin spice donut at ACME
For his new fall menu, chef Brian Loiacono crafts an elevated dessert with a pumpkin spice donut at its center. It’s topped with a classic diplomat cream (a combination of pastry cream and whipped cream, with rum and vanilla added for flavor) and praline cookie crumbs made by crumbling a pecan sandy and mixing it with butter.
Crullers at Daily Provisions
You’re not going to want to pass up these crullers at Danny Meyer’s bakery/cafe, where they’re offered in three flavors — maple (pictured above), cinnamon and glazed — and served warm. Developed by pastry chef Daniel Alvarez, these modern takes on a classic are hand-piped to create their classic shape, and the resulting product is perfectly crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. They’re made fresh each morning and available while supplies last.
Donut pikilia at Ousia
For dessert, this Midtown Greek eatery from the Molyvos team offers a donut sampler of square yeast donuts, with Greek ingredients incorporated into the glazes and fillings. Flavors rotate seasonally, with current offerings including brandied apple with spiced dried fruit, mastika (a tree resin native to Greece which is used to make ouzo) with pistachio and mastika chocolate mousse with candied pecans.
Pumpkin with spiced pepitas donuts at Doughnut Plant
Bringing back a seasonal favorite, Doughnut Plant’s pumpkin with spiced pepitas donuts come in three varieties — yeast, cake (pictured above) and doughseed. Real pumpkins are incorporated into the from-scratch batter used to make the donuts, which are topped with spiced pumpkin seeds (pepitas). The doughseeds feature a pumpkin custard filling and are topped with a pumpkin glaze. If you’re not big on pumpkin, apple cinnamon donuts — Doughnut Plant’s spin on the classic apple cider donut — are also back on the menu.
Apple cider/buckwheat donut at Du’s Donuts & Coffee
Since opening a donut shop at The William Vale hotel earlier this year (and recently launching a pop-up at Chef’s Club Counter), acclaimed chef Wylie Dufresne’s creations have drawn fans for their unique flavors (think peanut butter and yuzu and honey fennel pollen) and picture-perfect presentation. Currently on the ever-changing menu is this apple cider/buckwheat donut created in collaboration with Mark Welker, the executive pastry chef of Make It Nice restaurant group. It’s a buckwheat donut with an apple cider glaze that’s topped with puffed buckwheat groats, apple chips and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.
Orange-scented creme brûlée donut at Sugar Factory Artisanal Donuts and Coffee Bar
At Sugar Factory’s Upper West Side location, corporate executive pastry chef Max Santiago is crafting sparkly, technicolor donuts; we expect nothing less from the sugar fiends known for their over-the-top, supersized creations. Currently on offer is this orange-scented creme brûlée donut made with brioche dough that’s been raised for 24 hours, with an orange-vanilla bean custard filling, a torched sugar crust and candied orange zest.
Pumpkin crunch donut at Dun-Well Doughnuts
Vegan donuts are topped with soft serve (at the Brooklyn location) and scoops of Three Little Birds’ small-batch (and of course, vegan) ice cream at these shops in East Williamsburg and the Lower East Side. The pumpkin crunch donut is a straightforward yeast donut finished with a pumpkin glaze and oat granola. We recommend topping it with the classic vanilla–apple cider twist soft serve currently available at the Brooklyn location this month.
S’mores donut at Underwest Donuts
Serving meticulously glazed and sugared cake donuts out of a car wash (plus a kiosk outside Penn Station), Underwest Donuts offers a number of fall-inspired treats including its s’mores donut, inspired by the iconic campfire snack. The graham and marshmallow cake donut is topped with a chocolate glaze and finished with graham crackers, mini marshmallows and a jumbo toasted marshmallow. Look for other fall donuts on the menu like mulled cider and pumpkin ginger.
Caramel apple fritter at The Doughnut Project
This decadent creation from the donut mad scientists behind the everything donut and beet-glazed, ricotta-filled “those beetz are dope” is filled with apple chunks and topped with caramel sauce. You’re going to want to call ahead if you’ve got your heart set on this hot commodity, though, as only a limited number are made per day and served beginning one hour after doors open. Other fall flavors on the menu include cinnamon pepita (cinnamon glaze topped with candied fired pepitas) and brown butter carrot (brown butter carrot glaze topped with sunflower seeds, quinoa and flaxseed).