As a foodie, you know there are quite a few things you’ll need to try while visiting Portland, Oregon including great craft beer, delicious coffee, and some of the best farm-to-table (or pub) fare in the country. No top list of what to eat & drink in Portland would be complete without one of our favorite breakfast pastries, donuts! While Voodoo Doughnut may have put Portland, OR on the map as a donut lover’s destination, they definitely aren’t the only game in town. Not only does Portland have a ton of creative bakers whipping up delicious (and sometimes a little weird) creations, they also have a secret ingredient unique to the city itself….absolutely delicious water. While we can do amazing things with water filtration these days, sometimes the source really does make a difference. I mean why do you think bagels in NYC taste way better than anywhere else? Yup, you guessed it it’s the city water.
When you start to research the best donuts in Portland, you’ll most likely come across three names: Voodoo Doughnuts, Blue Star Donuts, & Pip’s Original Doughnuts. While Voodoo may be a tourist favorite (with the lines to prove it), local foodies tend to lean towards Blue Star Donuts or Pip’s Original Doughnuts. If you are only in town for a day or two and aren’t able to try all three, have no fear! I took one for a team and tried the most popular flavors at all three.
There is definitely a reason that Voodoo Doughnut has become a tourist attraction, but unfortunately in my opinion it’s not because they have the best doughnuts in town. It’s all about the experience, from the mood lighting to the revolving display case to the iconic pink boxes you are definitely paying for the experience. That’s not to say the donuts are bad, they are far from it, they just aren’t anything out of the ordinary in my opinion. Is it worth the stop or the lines? Well that depends on what you’re looking for. Looking for some bachelorette party worthy donughts or some insta-worthy pictures, then definitely stop in. But if you’re going for a culinary experience, you may have better luck elsewhere.
Go Here For: The Experience & Photo Ops
Donut to Try: Maple Bacon Bar
When you first walk into a Blue Star Donuts shop, the first thing you notice (assuming the line isn’t too long) is the delicious donuts in the display case. That is unless you stop in late in the day, in which case you may be disappointed to find out they’ve sold out of many of their donuts. Blue Star is definitely a first stop of the day kind of place because once they are sold out that’s it (their hours are literally until we sell out). If you go first thing like I did, however, you’ll be greeted by some seriously delicious looking & tasting donuts. Between my co-workers & I, we tried just about all of their flavors, and honestly you can’t go wrong no matter what you pick. They also serve Stumptown coffee, aka the coffee that made me like coffee. The only downside to Blue Star Donuts is the price. A donut will set you back $3 to $4, but one of the best donuts I’ve ever had I thought it was worth it.
Go Here For: Gourmet Donuts
Donut to Try: Lemon Poppy Seed Old Fashioned
Sometimes you just want something small to satisfy your sweet tooth, and when that happens you go to Pip’s Original Doughnuts home to some of the most delicious mini doughnuts I’ve ever tried. While Pip’s dougnuts may not be the prettiest or most creative looking in town, they definitely make up for it on taste. Plus they are small enough that you don’t feel completely horrible when you buy one of each of their six flavors! While a few of their flavors seem to always be on the menu like the Nutella & Sea Salt, Cinnamon Sugar, Honey & Sea Salt, and Dirty Wu ( a mixture of all three), depending on the day you head in there the other two flavors will be different. When I went the two rotating flavors were Candied Bacon & Maple and Meyer Lemon Pear-Butter. Six mini doughnuts will set you back just about $4 which isn’t too bad considering it’s the perfect amount of doughnuts. Besides delicious doughnuts, Pip’s also specializes in chai tea and they have a number of varieties to try. Don’t worry if you can’t decide which chai to try, in true Portland fashion they offer a flight!
Go Here For: No Frills Mini Doughnuts (and delicious Chai)
Donut to Try: Dirty Wu