The South’s Best Doughnuts

Do-nuts, donuts, or doughnuts. Spell them how you want; it’s hard not to love these warm, familiar, and delicious confections.

 Harlow's Doughnuts

They’re often the staple of the office meeting, sometimes the main reason people show up. Yeasty dough? Fried? Add sugar, and then a little more sugar, and then top that with some icing and maybe some sprinkles? Can you seriously say no?

And they’re cheap—so cheap, in fact, that they were an important treat during the Great Depression. Deemed poor people’s food, it took Clark Gable’s doughnut etiquette lesson to Claudette Colbert in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night to make them popular with all social classes. Even today, the soft, glaze-encrusted morsels of steamy perfection are a bargain.

For many Southerners, our first taste of doughnut bliss came from a box with a familiar red and green logo: Krispy Kreme has been a fixture in the South since they first started selling doughnuts through, literally, a hole in the wall of their bakery to passersby in 1937. There’s a reason why they’re still around and a growing chain across the nation. They make a mean glazed doughnut when you can get it fresh from the oven.


  1. Can’t believe HOLE doughnuts in Asheville didn’t make the list. They are amazing….always handmade and served hot.

  2. Another great donut shop not mention is The Donut Shoppe in Jacksonville, FL. Donuts made fresh everyday and if you snooze you lose because they sell out and only open until 2:00.

  3. I thought donuts were fried! Your article says fresh from the oven. Learn something new every day. In Orlando, I used to watch Krispy Cream donuts come down the conveyor belt from the fryer and under the sprayer that sprayed glaze on the hot donuts.

  4. Nice list, but not AT ALL complete without mention of Houston, TX’s Shipley Doughnuts or Shreveport, LA’s Southern Maid. These are two of the South’s–point blank, period!

  5. Elvis Presley endorsed exactly ONE product in his entire life: Shreveport’s Southern Maid Donuts. Nothing comes even close to a melt-in-your-mouth hot Southern Maid donut.

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