Doughnuts are the kings and queens of breakfast treats and a cruel temptress of anyone on a diet. Sure, you can go to Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts, but why not keep it local? There are locally-owned bakeries, each with their own twist on this storied, doughy delight. Here is our list, but please feel free to suggest additions.
1906 Frankfort Ave.
Open Tuesday-Saturday 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bussman’s Bakery offers more than doughnuts, with custom cakes and pies available as well, but the doughnuts are by no means a second thought. This is a solid place to go for any of your classic doughnut flavors (chocolate, creme-filled and fritters), and it’s affordable, too. From 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., doughnuts are $1 a piece or $10 a dozen, but after 2 p.m., you can get any doughnuts that are left at $2 for 3.
Clifton Donut Shop
2317 Brownsboro Road
Open Tuesday-Friday 5:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 6 a.m.-3 p.m.
Clifton Donut Shop offers a variety of yeast-raised and cake doughnuts, and even a few savory items including pigs in blankets and a specialty version of that with jalapeño and ham in a cheese bun. The store doesn’t bake focuses on variety for the weekends, with doughnuts such as the sour cream, old-fashioned cake doughnut, strawberry cake doughnut and the Tro-Nut (a croissant-doughnut). In his article “10 meals for under $10 in Louisville: 2017 Edition,” LEO’s Michael C. Powell wrote of Clifton’s French crullers as “very light and airy inside, creamy and sweet on the outside,” and that he tends to “go for a least a half dozen on any given weekend morning. You should too.” Prices range from 79¢ to $1.49 for individual doughnuts, $4.29 to $8.29 for a half dozen, and $7.99 to $15.99 for a dozen.
9841 Third St. Road
Open Tuesday-Sunday 5:30 a.m.-Noon
If you live in The South End, Donut Express is a good bet for quality doughnuts. The shop has over 15 varieties of doughnuts that includes all the classic flavors, ranging in price from 80 cents for a glazed to $1.70 for a bear claw or apple fritter.
3333 Bardstown Road | 4749 Dixie Highway | 9426 Shelbyville Road
Open Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Heitzman Bakeries opened 120 years ago, and with three locations evenly placed around the city, chances are one is within a short drive from you. The shop offers a number of breakfast delights, including Danishes, kuchens, muffins, hot breakfast sandwiches and, most important, doughnuts! The bakery has over 15 flavors of yeast-raised and cake doughnuts. We were told its most popular item is the apple fritter, which is made with a “combination of diced cinnamon apples & raisins laced with a smooth glaze.” The bakery also offers a specialty doughnut for each month, and during April the store is offering a strawberry glaze cake doughnut. Prices start at $1.40. A dozen is $11.50.
1011 E. Main St.
Open Tuesday-Thursday 6:30 a.m.-Noon; Friday-Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hi-Five Doughnuts boasts that it is “Louisville’s first female owned and operated doughnut food truck and storefront.” But that’s not all the store has to brag about — its doughnut selection is possibly the most unique in the city, with a variety that includes glazed to signature selections such as the Kentucky Fried Buttermilk Chicken Doughnut, the Bourbon Caramel with Bacon or the Sugah Doughnut. If you dream it, Hi-Five has probably already made it. And for those of you into food challenges, Hi-Five has one for you. The Widoughmaker is made of three, 7-inch doughnuts, a pound of bacon, a pound fried chicken and six eggs. It’s also smothered in sausage and gravy, has a grape jelly glaze and is topped with Frosted Flakes. If you can finish it in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. If not, it’ll cost you $50. Sabrina Felts, front house clerk at Hi-Five, said only two Widoughmakers have ever been ordered. One was for a group of five guys, and the other was a guy looking for a challenge. He failed but called the store to say he finished it 29 hours later.
3940 Shelbyville Road
Open Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Plehn’s Bakery has been providing the St. Matthews area with fresh breads, pastries, cakes, soups and more since 1924. The bakery offers a number of breakfast treats including over 15 flavors of kuchens, 10 flavors of Danishes and 35 flavors of doughnuts.
2118 S. Preston St.
Open Sunday-Tuesday 6 a.m.-2 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 6 a.m.-5 p.m.
Chances are, you’ve already heard about Nord’s. Even The New York Times has written about it, but trust us, the hype is well deserved. The store specializes in doughnuts and Danishes, and also makes custom wedding cakes and seasonal iced cookies. If you haven’t been yet, you need to go. But, be warned, parking is a little hectic due to the area and the store’s popularity. The waiting line will often snake out of the tiny storefront, but the staff is quick, and who can be mad while you’re in line to get delicious doughnuts?
North Lime Coffee & Donuts
1228 S. Seventh St.
Open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-Noon; Saturday 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
It made its name in Lexington, and now Louisville has its very own North Lime Coffee & Donuts, which claims: “We have the best doughnuts. We have the best coffee.” The shop offers all the classic flavors and nearly 50 specialty doughnuts, which they bill as being made from scratch, with simple ingredients. Specialty doughnuts include blackberry lemonade, bourbon caramel, s’mores, Wookie Nutella and many more. They call themselves doughnut Engineers. Not all of the specialty doughnuts are available every day, so you’ll have to check the shop’s social media pages to see what they have in store for you.
12907 Factory Lane
Open Tuesday-Saturday 5:30 a.m.-12 p.m.; Sunday 6 a.m.-12 p.m.
With quality doughnuts at a solid price, State Donuts sticks to the basics and do it well. Choose your filling and frosting, and order by six or 12. Or, grab a Long John, a cinnamon roll, a bear claw, an apple fritter or various other treats. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. If you live in Anchorage, Jeffersontown or Prospect, this place isn’t too far. If not, it’s still worth the drive.
Sugar & Spice Donut Shop
5613 Bardstown Road
Open Monday-Friday 5 a.m.-Noon; Saturday-Sunday 5 a.m.-2 p.m.
The family-owned Sugar & Spice Donut Shop offers over 30 varieties, all from an underlying recipe amended over the years to “give us the flavor and texture a perfect doughnut should have.” The shop also has “designer doughnuts,” including the “Chocolate Waffle Cone doughnut.” But the shops boasts about crowd favorites the Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes and the Cotton Candy Doughnuts.
1310 Winter Ave.
Open Saturday 8 a.m.-Noon; Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
While beignets aren’t exactly doughnuts, they’re close enough. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Cafe Beignet on this list about delicious, sugary treats. The Cafe is located inside The Fish House and is only open for select hours on the weekend, but if you’re a fan of New Orleans’ style beignets, it’s worth the wait. And if you haven’t tasted them before, The Cafe describes its beignets as “a hollow French pastry, fried to a golden brown and smothered in powdered sugar.” The cafe also offers them in cinnamon sugar, and the prices range from $1.50 for a single and $3.95 for three.