When it comes to deep fried desserts, New Orleans is of course most famous for our beignets. And for good reason: our beignets are incredible. However, as righteous as it is to get down and dirty with the powdered sugar at Cafe du Monde and Morning Call, there are still plenty of bakeries in town specializing in traditional donuts, and these are the best places to get them…
1. Blue Dot Donuts
What you’re getting: Okay, so it’s a very old and tired cliche that cops love donuts. But stereotypes, as they say, exist for a reason. Case in point: Mid-City’s Blue Dot Donuts, which was opened by three active N.O.P.D. officers in 2011. With specialties like their Bacon Maple Long John, a Red Velvet with cream cheese donut, and giant apple fritters, you’d do yourself a favor by surrendering to these lawmen.
2. Buttermilk Drop Cafe
What you’re getting: Actor Dwight Henry made a splash on the Hollywood scene in a powerful turn as the father in the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. What people were surprised to learn, however, is that the man made — and still makes — some of the best damned donuts in New Orleans, particularly the crush-worthy namesake Buttermilk Drops.
3. Upper 9 Doughnut Company
Every Saturday at Tracey’s Bar
What you’re getting: Started as a pop-up between the short hours of 9a and 1130a on Saturday mornings at Tracey’s Bar, you have to be an early bird to get some of these beauties, featuring gourmet flavor combos and seasonal produce (the strawberry shortcake version is out of this world). Bonus: Pastry chef/genius behind Upper 9’s flavors, Melissa Haggerty, prefers being known as a “donut mistress”.
4. Daddy’s Donuts
What you’re getting: Sometimes, when it comes to the best things in life, it’s best to keep secrets secret. George “Daddy” Carlton comes from a donut family (his father operated three local bakeries), and takes his work seriously. His inimitable chocolate shells are a masterpiece, and Daddy’s famous apple fritter exists because of a heavily guarded, clandestine family recipe.
5. Baker’s Dozen Cafe
What you’re getting: If the red light’s on, you know there’s going to be some hot donut action inside the Baker’s Dozen. Best still, the name isn’t a lie — after selecting 12 of the 30 different varieties available (which should include their melt-in-your-mouth apple fritters), they’ll throw in an extra one on the house. Or as we say in New Orleans, lagniappe.
6. Tastee McKenzie’s
What you’re getting: People who grew up in New Orleans seriously mourned the passing of McKenzie’s bakery, who made our favorite king cakes and had that TV jingle that was impossible to scour from your head once it was in there (“Oh! McKenzieeeees!”). Fortunately, local chain Tastee Donuts took over the sadly deceased McKenzie’s and bought all of their recipes, including one for buttermilk drops that rival even Mr. Henry’s.