It’s been over three years since we set out to find the best doughnuts around town, so we hit the ground running with big appetites to find Santa Rosa’s standouts. While visiting some of our favorite doughnut shops and cafes, we tasted a variety of sweets, from fritters to cronuts. And, of course, each doughnut received a rating which considered not only flavor but freshness and appearance, too.
See how we scored some of our favorite doughnuts in Santa Rosa. Click through the above gallery for more photos.
Johnny Doughnuts, Crodough, rating: 10/10
Stacked about three inches tall, the Crodough (also known as a “cronut;” a croissant crossed with a doughnut) is love at first bite. This Santa Rosa shop is well known for its unique approach to doughnuts, using russet potatoes for the base of its dough. Their Crodough is a nuanced blend of flakey and moist, with a cinnamon-sugar crispy outside and layers of vanilla custard on the inside. Save your appetite, or share it with a friend, because the Crodough is very filling. $4.35. 1200 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. For more information, go to johnnydoughnuts.com/menu.
Sam’s Donuts, “Sam’s Famous” bacon maple bar, rating: 9.5/10
Sam’s Donuts has been making their bacon maple bar for 30 years now. It is somewhat of a hidden gem in the world of doughnuts. If sweet and salty suits your taste buds, this one should satisfy your cravings. You can smell the bacon as it heats up, before it is served warm atop the maple bar. As a bonus, you can pick up a few convenience store items while you wait for your special treat. $3.50. 1031 Petaluma Hill Road, Santa Rosa. For more information, call 707-521-9303.
Tan’s Donut, buttermilk doughnut, rating: 9/10
Sometimes, simplicity goes a long way. Tan’s buttermilk bar doughnut is a wonderful example of this. It’s the kind of doughnut that anyone can enjoy, with a crispy outer layer and a cakey inside. You can taste how fresh it is with every bite. Though this doughnut has its roots in Southern California, Tan’s on Fourth Street bakes this bar with great skill. $1.85. 1074 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. For more information, call 707-568-3988.
Donuts and Bagel Cafe, raspberry jelly sugar doughnut, rating: 9/10
If filled doughnuts strike your fancy, Donuts and Bagel Cafe is the place to go. Choose from bars or heart-shaped (that’s right, it’s adorable) doughnuts that are either sugared or glazed, and next pick your filling: raspberry jelly or custard. On demand filling adds to the element of freshness, as well as the experience. The raspberry-filled, heart-shaped doughnut is the ideal ratio of pastry to jelly. $2. 750 Stony Point Road, Suite A120, Santa Rosa. For more information, call 707-285-1012.
Jelly Donut, lemon curd-filled doughnut with powdered sugar, rating: 8/10
Lemon curd-filled doughnuts are few and far between, which makes this treat from Jelly Donut so special. It’s tangy and sweet, and classically covered in powdered sugar, which balances the flavors. Honestly, it would be wrong to pass up a jelly doughnut at a place called Jelly Donut — but why not try one of the more unique choices while you’re there? Lemon lovers, this one’s for you. $1.75. 443 Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa. For more information, call 707-544-8494.
Tan’s Donut, blueberry fritter, rating: 8/10
This might just be the largest fritter around. Larger than the average hand, it’s an absolute treat. It’s not often that you come across a blueberry fritter (while apple fritters are a common treat at most bakeries), when you do, it’s hopefully as tasty as Tan’s. Comparable in flavor to a blueberry muffin, the fritter has the classic crispy glazed shell with a thick and moist doughnut-like inside. Similar to the crodough, this fritter is perfect for sharing, too. $2.75. 1074 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. For more information, call 707-568-3988.
Johnny Doughnuts, Maple Old Fashioned, rating: 7.5/10
A unique take on a classic, this large, circular maple old fashioned is decadently dense and cakey. The dough is sour cream based, making for a moist, almost chewy bite. This toasty doughnut has a hint of spice, which comes from the infusion of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in the dough. Arguably, this old fashion is a little underrated among its peers in the shop. Pair it with their old fashioned latte. $5.25. 1200 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. For more information, go to johnnydoughnuts.com/menu.
You can reach intern Lonnie Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.