- Los Angeles has so many great doughnut options.
- We visited four of LA’s most celebrated doughnut shops – SK Doughnuts, Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts, Primo’s Doughnuts, and Randy’s Doughnuts – to see which is the best of the best.
- Overall, we felt Primo’s were the best doughnuts in Los Angeles.
The following is a transcript of the video:
Joe Avella: Los Angeles has over 1,500 doughnut shops for you to get your fix of hot, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuty goodness.
Los Angeles kind of gets this reputation for everyone always eating healthy all the time, right?
Sydney Kramer: And they are. Joe: Right. But did you know that Los Angeles is also the doughnut capital of the United States? Sydney: I actually did not know that, and I was really surprised to find out.
Joe: Since the 1970s, doughnuts have been an important part of LA’s food culture, and this city has been responsible for the evolution of doughnuts in the US. For this episode, I used various popular websites like Yelp, Eater, and Thrillist to whittle down the list to four of LA’s best doughnut spots. Sydney: We’re definitely trying each shop’s classic glazed doughnut, and also one or two of their specialties to get a feel for what they have to offer. Awesome. I am ready to eat some doughnuts. Joe: Let’s do it.
Our first stop is SK Doughnuts. Located in Mid-Wilshire, SK is known for having a wide variety of both classic and premium-topped doughnuts.
Heng Te: Our doughnuts are always fresh, light, fluffy. No matter what time you come, it’s always consistent.
Joe: For 30 years, SK has been serving up fresh, delicious doughnuts to hungry Angelenos. Started by Heng Te’s parents, it’s been family-owned and operated the entire time.
Customer: It’s really good.
Joe: So, we definitely gotta go Nutella. Sydney: Classic glazed. Joe: Yep. I want something with sprinkles on it. Sydney: Yeah, pink sprinkles. Joe: Definitely want some with the Fruity Pebbles on it. Sydney: Of course. Joe: Right there, yep. I’m a man-child. I gotta have my cereal.
The variety at this place is so great, and that’s why I took you here. Sydney: I thought the reason that Joe took me here was because my initials are SK. Joe: No. Sydney: Let’s start with the glazed. Joe: If you can’t do the glazed right, close up shop. This is like the litmus test. Is that the right thing? Sydney: This is the litmus test for the perfect doughnut. Joe: Litness? Sydney: Litmus. Joe: Litmus test. Sydney: Litmus. Oh, wow. Sydney: The flakiness of the glaze, it’s not, like, melted into the doughnut; it’s laying nicely on top of the doughnut. So when you bite into it, you get a little bit of, like, a crunch, some nice texture. Joe: That guy has that thing. I’ll go ahead and call that the glaze ladle. It’s just like a huge thing, like a gallon of it, and he’s just like, ba-bam, across, like, a whole dozen, and they’re drenching the doughnuts in this incredible glaze. Sydney: This is the fluffiest glazed doughnut I’ve ever had in my life, no question. Joe: I gotta dip it in the coffee. I gotta dip it in the coffee. Oh yeah, that’s so good.
Joe: Picking it up on that mic? Sydney: That’s the stuff.
Joe: So, this one has fruit on it, so technically it’s healthy. That doesn’t sound right. Mm, I’m going for a strawberry. Sydney: Joe just called a raspberry a strawberry, that’s how much fruit he eats on a regular basis. Joe: Wait, what’d I say?
Next, we’re heading to LA’s Original Farmers Market to try a true classic: Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts. Since 1970, it’s been a must-visit for anyone in LA serious about doughnuts. Sydney: And it’s cash only, so heads up. Joe: Oh, yeah. Thanks for paying. Sydney: Yeah, OK.
Joe: Bob’s is known for the classics, and there’s over 30 varieties to choose from. Sydney: I made sure we got the big one.
Joe: These feel very, like, classic. Even just looking at the cake, it looks a lot thicker. It looks closer to, like, a buttermilk doughnut or even like an old-fashioned, which I love. Sydney: Yeah, very old-school LA, very diner vibes. But we’re outside. It’s always good weather in Los Angeles, so you can always eat a doughnut outside here. This looks fluffy. Joe: Yeah, thicker, amazing consistency, dough is cooked perfectly. The glaze is really delicious. This is about as classic as you can get when it comes to doughnuts. Sydney: This feels and tastes like they make their own mix here in the shop. Joe: Yeah. I bet if I got in a time machine and went back to 1950 whenever this place was opened, that doughnut tastes exactly the same. If it worked well 50 years ago, it’s gonna work well today, and they’re absolutely right. Sydney: I am so freakin’ excited for this sprinkle doughnut. Well, first of all, look at that. Nothing falls off. Maybe one or two, you’re good. Joe: Look at this. Sydney: But yeah, that cake. Joe: Look at that. Sydney: Cake doughnut, baby. This is a really, really light cake doughnut. It’s not heavy at all, but I appreciate that it, like, maintains its structure as you take a bite. Bob’s is awesome. I loved every doughnut here.
Now, we’re headed over to Primo’s Doughnuts in Mar Vista. Since 1956, Primo’s has thrived by delivering consistently great classic doughnuts with a few specialties.
Ralph Primo: We’ve been in business 63 years. My father, when he started the business, it was highest quality. Everything had to be the utmost in terms of quality.
Customer: I’ve been coming here for more than 20 years. Customer: The doughnuts are great!
Joe: Well said. It has also been said, Sydney, that Primo’s Buttermilk Bar is the best doughnut in LA. So I would like to try one. Sydney: You read my mind.
Joe: I feel like they don’t get much fresher than this. We just saw them glaze these, like, 15 seconds ago. Sydney: They are still warm, and they are shiny. Joe: Mm. Oh, man. I mean, the way it melts in your mouth, the cakeyness of it is, like, so soft, you know. Sydney: Mm. Joe: It’s, like, pillowy. And the glaze is perfect on this. Sydney: It’s less sweet than some of the other, like, yeasted, raised doughnuts that I’ve had, and I love how you can see, like, all the layers. Joe: I feel like I’m biting into a doughnut pillow. This is so fantastic. Sydney: Yeah, doughnut pillow is the right way to say that. I think the difference between this and the other ones I’ve had is, like, the glaze kind of stays on. The doughnut doesn’t crumble, doesn’t crackle off. Joe: Everyone says that this is the thing to get here. Sydney: They are known for these Buttermilk Bars. Joe: Look at the size of this. Sydney: It’s a heavy boy. Joe: Yeah, no kidding. Sydney: All right, let’s do it. Joe: Whoa, dude. This is not what I was expecting. This is way better. Sydney: It has a very familiar taste, but I can’t, like, put my finger on it. Almost like a bread pudding or like a tres leches or like that kind of texture. Joe: Yeah. Sydney: They must, like, glaze them while they’re super hot, and then they sit there and they get a little, like, wet around the outside and still nice and cakey on the inside but still crispy. Joe: You know, it reminds me of those butter cookies. You know what I’m talking about? Sydney: Uh-uh. Joe: OK. The flavour of these are way different than a standard doughnut, because it’s more emphasis on the ingredients, the dough, how everything works together, than just packing something with sugar. Sydney: Yeah. Joe: That make sense? Sydney: Yeah, the quality here you can tell. You can see it. You can taste it. You can feel it.
Joe: For our last stop, we’re going to LA’s iconic doughnut sign, Randy’s Doughnuts in Inglewood.
Thomas Bartsch: Our doughnuts, you know, first and foremost, they’re made fresh every day by hand, which is very different; a lot of other companies use machines. We use proprietary ingredients that are proprietary just to us. They are so high quality that they last longer.
Customer: I’m from New York. My cousin lives out here. She just told me they’re the best doughnuts in LA. They’re good. Sydney: Located near the airport, Randy’s iconic doughnut sign has been seen in numerous TV shows and movies.
Nick Fury: Sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to exit the doughnut.
Sydney: But it’s not a gimmick. These doughnuts are considered by some Angelenos to be the best. Joe: It’s also the only spot we’re visiting with a drive-through. Thanks for driving, Syd. Sydney: Yep, I always drive. So, what kind of doughnuts are we gonna get? What do you think? Joe: Definitely gotta go glazed, chocolate raised. I think those are the most popular two here. Sydney: Yep. Joe: I’m thinking some with sprinkles. Sydney: Yep. I saw, like, some colourful ones, like some Froot Loops, I think, or some kind of, like, cereal. Joe: Yeah, that sounds really good. Sydney: OK. Joe: Let’s do that. Sydney: Great.
Thomas: So, here’s your doughnuts. Sydney: Amazing. Thomas: And your coffee will be coming in a minute. Sydney: Thank you. Sorry, my arms are short. Yeah. Thomas: I’ll get you your coffee in a second. Sydney: Cool, thank you. Joe: Sydney with the T. rex arms.
Sydney: There’s not, like, a median, is there? Joe: No, not at all. Sydney: OK, cool. Joe: I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t look. Sydney: Are you f—ing kidding me?
Joe: So for a buck 15, you get this big doughnut. This could easily take care of me for breakfast. Sydney: I mean, you say that, but when you eat a doughnut, you always wanna go back for a second one, you know? Joe: Let’s find out right now. Ready to bite? Sydney: Let’s do it. Joe: Let’s do it. Sydney: Ready to bite. Joe: Mm, yeah. Sydney: I’m savouring it. Let me savour it. Joe: That is fantastic. You know, you can judge a doughnut place by how good the glazed is, and this is a fantastic glazed doughnut. Sydney: It’s excellent, yeah. Joe: I’m gonna go in for the chocolate. Sydney: Yeah. Joe: I’m not waiting for you. You want this one? Sydney: No, I’m doing the cake doughnut. Joe: OK. Sydney: That’s my jam. Joe: Man. Sydney: I would never go for chocolate raised. Like, I would never. Joe: You should. ‘Cause this is excellent. So, we got cake doughnuts, and we got raised doughnuts. Raised are fluffy. Cake are thick. Their raised goes a little more cake, which I like. This is, like, a thick doughnut. Sydney: It is kind of cakey. Like, the raised is weirdly a little cakey, but that’s kind of great. Joe: Oh, it’s great. Sydney: Yeah. Joe: And this frosting’s incredible. Sydney: Joe takes the most massive bites I’ve ever seen in my entire life for a doughnut. It’s like, “I’m gonna have one more bite,” and it’s, like, half the doughnut. Joe: That’s two. That’s two bites. Why is it that eating a doughnut and just staring at that Randy’s Doughnuts sign’s, like, it’s hypnotic.
Sydney, we went to four of the best doughnut places in Los Angeles, and now we have the difficult task of picking which was our favourite. You ready? Sydney: I think we’re gonna have the same one this time. Joe: I don’t think so. On the count of three? Both: One, two, three. I told you, I told you. Joe: Yeah. Sydney: All right, so why did you love it so much? Joe: Everything, starting with that glazed doughnut, was incredible, and then, of course, the Buttermilk Bars were amazing. I mean, I just thought every single thing that we had there was probably the best thing we had while we were eating doughnuts in Los Angeles. Sydney: Even the plain glazed I think was just absolute perfection. It wasn’t too sweet. There was, like, the right amount of glaze on top. Joe: But I don’t know, I feel that there’s only four good doughnut places in Los Angeles. What do you think? You think there’s some others? Sydney: I think that we missed probably a lot of doughnut shops. We picked some pretty great ones, but let us know what else we need to go try, and until next time.
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