By Valerie Heimerich
Sacramento residents take their donuts seriously and the battle for supremacy can be cause for great discussion, with enthusiasts debating the merits of raised vs. cake, and between glazed, plain or frosted. Searching for the perfect blueberry donut and apple fritter are common quests in the capital city, and these small businesses offer the best of the best.
2711 Del Paso Road, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95835
Two of the most common woes voiced by donut devotees are that the time spent waiting in line can be excessive and that the particular donut they have been craving will have sold out by the time they arrive. Newly opened Natomas Donuts defeats those problems with an online/ mobile app for advance ordering and time-specific pick up. The selection of both classic and updated treats, all made from scratch and by hand, include buttermilk, blueberry and custard bars, raised donuts with jelly or whipped cream filling and others topped with mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles, M&Ms and more. The cake donuts taste like real cake, and the blueberry bars and donuts have a rich blueberry flavor. A full coffee bar serves hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks and a nice selection of loose leaf teas. The owners plan to add new menu items soon, including muffins, scones and peach fritters.
2950 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95818
Marie’s is a Curtis Park institution; the small building only serves customers through a walk-up window and lines can become quite lengthy. The shop is especially popular with college students and late night revelers, as it opens at 11 p.m. and offers fresh donuts throughout the wee hours. Marie’s generally stays open until late afternoon, although the hours are flexible. A longstanding base of loyal fans rave about the glazed whipped-cream donut, cinnamon rolls and sugar cake donuts, and there is plenty of love for the apple fritters. The quality is high and the prices are lower than average; bring cash, as credit cards are not accepted.
Related: Best Chocolate Shops in Sacramento
Family Donuts & Deli
9045 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Carmichael, CA 95608
Family offers a delicious selection of classic and special treats, including peanut butter rolls, Boston Cremes, raisin squares, eclairs, raspberry jelly filled donuts, cream puffs and a chocolate chip topped roll with even more chocolate inside. In addition to excellent traditional donuts, customers flock there for numerous vegan options. Indeed, Family has earned some of the highest praise possible for such baked delights, that non-vegans can’t tell that the donuts are vegan. Family also serves fresh deli sandwiches and salads, and are known for great customer service.
2648 Watt Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821
Anyone who has dreamed of splitting a pastry with Freddy Krueger will love Donut Madness, the self-proclaimed “horror based donut shop.” The donuts are delicious, but the main draw is the quirky scary movie theme. Sit down and relax with an Electric Chair, a cake donut topped with chocolate icing and Cocoa Puffs, or munch on a few raspberry-drizzled, apple fritter Brains. For treats served with a side of word-play, try the cereal-topped raised donut called Cereal Killer or a Children of the Cornflakes donut with cereal and peanut butter icing. The iced cake Exorcist includes crumbled Butterfinger candy, Cujo is topped with Rice Krispies, marshmallows and a drizzle of peanut butter.
9176 Kiefer Blvd.
Customers visit this mom-and-pop shop for traditional raised and cake donuts, long-johns and well-made coffee drinks, but also for unique takes on the classics. Maple or chocolate iced yeast donuts offer a salty-sweet combination when topped with fresh bacon and Cro-Nots, one of the bakery’s specialties, are croissants which are iced, filled and deep-fried like donuts. Choices include a cinnamon sugar dusted cro-not and ones filled with freshly made whipped cream or sweet Bavarian custard. Eclairs and lighter-than-air French crullers are favorites, as are savory selections like the turkey and cheese jalapeño croissant.