There’s a bit of a schism in the cut-throat world of Melbourne doughnuts. On one side you've got the bakers of the new school, who cover American-style doughnuts in OTT confections like fruit loops, m&m’s. On the other side are the more traditional bakers who follow the Queen Vic Market Bombolini approach: sugar on the outside, custard, jam or some other delicious goo on the inside.
But when it comes to 3:30pm in the afternoon and you're craving something sweet, it probably doesn't matter what it is as long as it hits the spot. Here is where to find the best doughnuts in Melbourne for 2021:
MURRUMBEENA & FAIRFIELD
Oasis is one of our favourite Middle Eastern cafes and they also happen to do the best doughnuts in Melbourne’s southern suburbs. Golden fried, drizzled in sweet sugar syrup, with a fragrant whiff of orange blossom. Try their Nutella doughnuts to mix things up, they do not disappoint. Gooey warm Nutella centres, surrounded by some of the softest dough in town. A dusting of sugar rounded things out nicely. Would highly recommend a road trip to Murrumbeena to check these out.
Shortstop Coffee & Donuts
A slick little doughnut shop, hidden in the backstreets behind Lonsdale and Elizabeth. Short Stop is the brainchild of Anthony Ivey and Sinye Ooi, who worked on their doughnut recipe for 12 months, travelling all over the US, sampling different techniques. The result is perfectly fluffy dough, and toppings to make your head spin. The organic honey and milk crullers are excellent, but keep an eye out for rotating specials like Earl Grey, Red Velvet or maple walnut with burnt brown butter.
Doughnut emperor Morgan Hipworth started Bistro Morgan in his early teens (in case you weren’t feeling bad enough about your life direction today). Bistro Morgan has gone gangbusters since then and is now considered to make some of the best doughnuts in Melbourne. His pinnacle has got to be the Creme Brulee—a brioche doughnut filled with handmade vanilla bean custard and then top with burnt crunchy toffee on top. Basically the classical French dessert in doughnut form.
"An Aussie bakery with an American twist" is how Candied in Spotswood spruiks itself. Organic bread, homemade lamingtons, savoury pies and vanilla bean soft serve—you can get it all here. But they also do cracking doughnuts. If you only try one, make it the vanilla slice doughnuts. Piped custard and a biscuit disc, dusted with icing sugar. Dangerously delicious. Goes pretty well with an apple pie milkshake too...
All Day Donuts
This is Raph Rashid's doughnut joint, the genius behind Beatbox Kitchen and Taco Truck (two of Melbourne's OG food trucks). It's a simple set-up, but that's part of the charm: just a few laminex tables and a green-tiled counter, that's about it. Raph likes to let the doughnuts speak for themselves. There are usually around six or seven varieties on rotation, including the OG (original), rose crème with chocolate and raspberry sprinkles, and coffee glazed with passionfruit curd. And as the name suggests, you could eat these things all day...
Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop
Mr Nice Guy’s is Melbourne’s premier vegan bakery, the brainchild of husband and wife team Lucas Cook and Deb Kantor. Can 100% plant-based doughnuts stand up to their full-cream counterparts? Short answer: yes. Mr Nice Guy’s actually bakes ‘bronuts’ (brioche doughnuts). Give the Homer Delight Bronut a whirl—a clever reimagination of the iconic pink-sprinkled doughnut from The Simpsons.
Smith & Deli
The famed vegan deli from the Shannon Martinez’s Smith & Daughters, this place specialises in traditional Jewish deli goods, including some truly excellent bagels and a banging pain au chocolat. The cream-filled doughnuts are also something pretty special. Vegan and animal-friendly, and 100% delicious. Keep an eye out for Smith & Deli's cinnamon and cardamom sugared ones too.
The Oakleigh Doughnut Co
OAKLEIGH & SOUTH YARRA
You should all be familiar with the acronym TODCO by now, the Oakleigh and South Yarra-based doughnuts stores. A relative newcomer to the scene TODCO has established itself with some of the best doughnuts in Melbourne. Their range of doughnuts includes the classics as well as more inventive and timely numbers—the TODCO take on the traditional Greek dessert Galaktoboureko is out of this world. The ‘Galakdough’ is a vanilla custard-filled doughnut with a baked filo triangle and cinnamon-spiced sugar syrup on top.
Ascot Food Store
You know the doughnut/syringe combo? Where you inject the doughnut with fudge sauce like a doctor administering a life-saving serum? Ascot Food Store started that trend in Melbourne. They were the syringe OG, but have since moved on to more classical-styled doughnuts. And we have to say, looks-wise, these things are ridiculous—like chunky baked dinosaur eggs, crusted in shards of chocolate and raspberry.
American Doughnut Kitchen
QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET
Just join the queue, mate. The American Doughnut Kitchen has been pumping out piping hot Bombolini-style jam doughnuts since US pilots came to Melbourne during WWII. People travel from miles around to try these things. And the wait isn't bad either—if you look through the window you'll see the doughnut crew hard at work, kneading the dough and firing off little balls with the speed of a semi-automatic. Careful of the jam spray when you take that first bite: it comes out hot, delicious and very unpredictable. A red hot contender for the best doughnuts in Melbourne.
Dandee is another Melbourne trooper, and it's been selling fluffy, sugar-coated doughnuts since the 1960s. You'll see the gold and purple vans at markets and footy matches all over the far east. It was founded by Dick Bell (actually an ex-employee of American Doughnut Kitchen) and there's a friendly cross-town rivalry between the two. Dandee's hot jam doughnuts are a classic, and if you haven't been before, you should start with them. Make sure you come back and try the piped Nutella doughnuts too—they're worth the drive.
Editors note: Dandee Donuts are currently available at Dandenong Market each Tuesday.
Baker D. Chirico
SOUTH YARRA, ST KILDA & CARLTON
One of the daintier doughnuts in Melbourne, and proof that good things come in small packages. Baker D. Chirico’s bombolino comes piped with vanilla-flecked custard and rolled in an interesting mix of sugar crystals and finely grated citrus peel. Gives them a wonderful zing on the tongue. All you needed was a sunny Carlton morning and a piping hot espresso to complete the picture. If you haven’t checked out these guys on Faraday St (or Fitzroy St, St Kilda) do it immediately.
Tivoli Road Bakery
Formerly known as MoVida Bakery, Tivoli Road is an institution in its own right (you can tell by the Saturday morning queues cramming the busy counter). The artisan bread and pastries are tempting, but nothing beats a Small Batch latte and a lemon-curd, sugar-dusted doughnut to go. Head down to nearby Rockley Gardens and eat both while sitting in the sun. Your perfect Melbourne morning right there.
When Daniel's Donuts opened in Springvale, the crowds were so big they had to stay open 24-hours, just to get everybody through. That's nuts, even for a food-obsessed city like Melbourne. This is the second venture for the family-run bakery (they also own Daniel's Bakery in Wyndham, which broke records a few years back for selling over 10,000 Nutella doughnuts in a single day). Does it live up to the hype? You betcha. Try the cookies and cream for a sugar hit to the brain: piped with fresh cream and topped with crushed Oreos. It's crazy good.
BRUNSWICK & CBD
One of the gourmet doughnut houses responsible for Melbourne's doughnut obsession, Doughboys Doughnuts is an institution, located in both the CBD and on Sydney Road in Brunswick. The doughnuts here are hand-dipped in small batches, to ensure maximum quality. The flavours are off the charts too. Ever heard of a Pandan doughnut, stuffed with pandan coconut custard and topped with a pandan coconut milk glaze and salted coconut snow?
Editors note: Doughboys Donuts CBD store is currently closed in lockdown.
On a sugar hunt? Check out Melbourne's best vanilla slices here.
Image credit: Doughboys Donuts