Whether you order one, a half-dozen or a full dozen, donuts have a way of putting a smile on your face.
Here’s where to find the best donuts in the Charlotte area and what to order at each spot.
Mark your calendar: June 4 is National Donut Day so keep an eye out for Charlotte donut shops celebrating with donut deals.
(1) MJ Donuts
MJ Donuts is an old-school shop with a small-town feel. But don’t let that fool you into thinking business is slow. It’s a popular stop in Pineville and will run out of its top flavors if you wait until too late in the day.
Most popular donut: Double chocolate cake. It’s a dense donut, but not too sweet.
Outside-the-box donut: The cinnamon crumb takes a basic glazed donut and elevates it with bread-like texture and sweet cinnamon sugar.
Specials: This shop is known for throwing in free donut holes with each order.
Price: Cake donuts are either $1.35 or $1.45, glazed range from $0.95 to $1.25. Specialty donuts like the apple fritter are $2.05.
Location/hours: Located near the Food Lion at 325 South Polk Street. It opens at 6 am on weekdays and 7 am on weekends and stays open until noon or all the donuts are sold out.
(2) Duck Donuts
The crazy-popular donut shop got its start in the Outer Banks and specializes in made-to-order donuts, donut sundaes, and donut sandwiches.
Most popular: Maple bacon is a crowd-pleaser. If you like sweet and savory, this is for you.
Outside-the-box donut: The blueberry pancake donut combines two of the best breakfast foods into one.
Price: All individual donuts are $1.52. Half a dozen cost $8.12 and a full dozen is $14.61.
Location/hours: 1710 Kenilworth Avenue, Suite 220. It’s open from 6 am to 3 pm Monday through Wednesday and 6am to 7pm Thursday through Sunday.
A tiny, no-frills donut shop tucked in the back of Growlers Pourhouse in a former storage closet.
Price: $1.49 for a single donut and $16 for an assorted dozen.
Location/hours: 3116 N. Davidson St. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 8 am to noon & 5-9 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 8 am to noon & 5-10pm.
Spring donut flavors: Reigning Donuts is currently featuring a new spring-inspired donut flavor through June 6.
(4) Krispy Kreme
Known for its “Hot Now” sign, the Winston Salem-based company is a North Carolina staple.
Most popular donut: Classic glazed.
Outside-the-box donut: The Krispy Kreme location in South End offers donut ice cream sandwiches.
Price: $1.19-$1.79 per donut
Location/hours: There are several locations in the Charlotte area; you can search for the one closest to you, see a map here. (It also tells you if the hot light is on.) Hours vary (most drive-thrus open at 6 am daily).
This donut shop is known for its square-shaped donuts. Your Mom’s was founded in 2013, and it now has two locations, Park Road Shopping Center and Matthews.
Must try donut: Your Mom’s is constantly adding new donut flavors to the menu, but the salted caramel is a must-try.
Outside-the-box donut: Lemon honey
Price: $3.75 each, $16.50 for a half-dozen, and $27 for a dozen.
Location/hours: Your Mom’s has two locations, plus you can find them at various pop-ups around Charlotte. The Park Road Shopping Center location (4205 Park Road) is open 7:30 am to 2 pm on Wednesday through Saturday and 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday. The Matthews location (11025 Monroe Road) is open 7 am to 2 pm on Wednesday through Saturday and 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday. These locations may close early if the donuts sell out.
If you’ve ever walked through Nebel’s Alley in South End, chances are you’ve probably smelled the sweet smells coming from Pepperbox Doughnuts.
Most popular donut: Cinnamon maple bourbon.
Outside-the-box donut: The flavors change seasonally, but right now the shop is offering a raspberry lemonade doughnut.
Price: Classic flavors (like glazed or lemon poppyseed) are $2 each. Specialty flavors are $3.25 each and filled donuts are $4. Or order a dozen classic donuts for $18 or a specialty dozen for $27.
Location/hours: Located in the Design Center near Barcelona Wine Bar at 101 West Worthington Avenue, Suite 150. Open Monday through Thursday from 7 am to 4 pm and Friday through Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm depending on how soon Pepperbox sells out).
(7) The Donut House
The popular Indian Trail donut shop has a sweet charm that draws in lots of families with small kids.
Most popular donut: Classics reign supreme. The ginormous apple fritter and the old-fashioned are the top picks here.
Outside-the-box donut: Combine two sweet things and what do you get? A super sweet thing. The Donut House has donuts covered in your favorite childhood cereal and others topped with candies like M&Ms and Reese’s.
Price: Specialty donuts range from $1.65 to $1.75. Donuts with cereal, candy, or cookie toppings are either $1.35 or $1.50. Most others are under $1.25.
Location/hours: 13803 East Independence Boulevard, in Indian Trail. The shop is open from 6 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 7 am to 1 pm on Sunday. On a busy day, they could sell out as early as noon.
This vegan donut pop-up frequents the Common Market in Oakwold. Owner Kacie Smagacz sells her pastries in various spots around town so keep an eye on her Instagram for the latest information.
Donut box: Every week, Smagacz takes about 40 preorders via Instagram for her weekend chef’s choice donut boxes. If you want to build your own box, it’s first-come, first-serve at the shop on Saturday and Sunday morning. Gluten-free options are available.
Price: $20 for 3-4 donuts, plus 2-3 specialty items like cinnamon rolls, cookies, and more. Everything varies from week to week.
Location/hours: Located at Common Market Oakwold at 4420-A, Monroe Road. Open Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 a.m.
This Concord donut shop and bakery has a variety of flavors, from Girl Scout cookie-inspired Samoa donuts to donuts topped with different sugary cereals. Plus, OMG Donuts sells other pastries like donut holes and apple fritters. Soon, a box of OMG donuts will be even easier to come across now that the shop is expanding to Monroe Road.
Most popular donut: Maple bacon — salty and sweet, no wonder it’s a crowd favorite.
Outside-the-box donut: Cinnamon toast crunch.
Price: Starts at $0.99 for a single glazed donut, up to $1.85 for more intricate donuts like maple bacon.
Location/hours: 10005 Weddington Road, Concord. Open daily from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm except for Monday when OMG is closed.
[Related story: Local favorite OMG Donuts expanding to Monroe Road]
(10) Suárez Bakery
Made-from-scratch bakery with locations in Park Road Shopping Center and Optimist Hall.
Most popular donut: Any of their donuts of the month
Outside-the-box donut: Key Lime Pie (this month’s donut)
Price: $1.50-$3.25 each
- Park Road Shopping Center – 4245 Park Road
- Optimist Hall – 1115 North Brevard Street
Park Road hours: Open 9 am to 5 pm on Monday through Saturday and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.
Optimist Hall hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 7 am to 9 pm, Friday from 7 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 8 am to 9 pm.
This Ballantyne shop had some of the softest donuts out of the bunch. Plus, SUGAR has both vegan and gluten-free options (just be sure to call ahead to make sure they’re ready!).
Most popular donut: Vanilla glaze.
Outside-the-box donut: Caramel glaze with espresso.
Price: $3.25-$4.25 per donut. $18 for a half-dozen and $29 for an assorted dozen. Gluten-free donuts are $3.75-$4.25 per donut, $20 for a half-dozen, and $36 for a dozen.
Location/hours: SUGAR is located in Ballantyne at 11914 Elm Lane, Suite 120. Open Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 7:30 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm.
(12) BW Sweets Bakery
In addition to selling donuts, BW Sweets sells cake slices, cookies, cobblers and macarons among other sweet treats.
Most popular donut: Birthday cake doughnut
Outside-the-box donut: Strawberry donut sandwich ($5.25).
Price: $2.65+ for specialty donuts, $8 for an assorted half-dozen, $14 for an assorted dozen.
- East Town Market Shopping Center – 5820 East W.T. Harris Blvd.
- South End (Centro Railyard) – 1425 Winnifred St.
East Town Market hours: Monday-Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm and from noon to 6 pm on Sunday.
South End hours: Monday from 2-7:30 pm Tuesday-Saturday from 11 am to 7:30 pm.
Formerly known as Fran’s Filling Station, Fat Cat Burgers + Bakeshop rebranded at the beginning of April and introduced a new donut walk-up window.
Most popular donut: Any of the stuffed donuts. The flavors rotate daily but you can follow their Instagram page to see what the donut of the day is.
Price: $1.75-$3.25 per donut.
Location/hours: Fat Cat is located at 2410 Park Rd. and the donut window is open on Monday from 8am to noon and Tuesday through Sunday from 8am until they’ve sold out.
Additional reporting (and taste testing) by Brianna Crane, Paige Hopkins and Emma Way.