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Over the past several years, I have traveled far and wide across The Natural State in search of the best doughnuts. And my “research” has yielded a dynamite list of doughnuts that would make any state proud. Please keep in mind, these are the 10 best shops I have come across, but I fully admit there are still many out there to be discovered. In no particular order, here are my Top 10 Doughnut Shops.
Dales is an old school shop with fantastic doughnuts at reasonable prices, and while they are tasty, especially the blueberry cake doughnut, the apple fritter is without question the pride and joy of their collection. It is the circumference of your face, filled with bits of apples, and absolutely worth the drive from any corner of Arkansas.
Just make sure to arrive before 8:30 a.m. at Mark’s or run the risk of them running out of your favorites like the chocolate bowtie, glazed, coconut, and chocolate iced. Marks’s doughnuts are big and doughy, but also amazingly light.
If you are on the way to Memphis and hankering for a doughnut, Howard’s is just a stone’s throw off Interstate 40. And they even open at 4 a.m. These are excellent doughnuts across the board, and Howard’s has a fantastic blueberry cake, but this is another case where the apple fritter is the star. Howard’s version is a little crunchier on the edges than a typical fritter and is divine with a cup of coffee.
There is nothing like waking up early and devouring 2-3 glazed doughnuts at Spudnuts in El Dorado. The potato flour-based doughnuts are a little thicker in texture, but still light enough to keep you coming back time and time again.
No, Cinnamon Crème is not your standard doughnut shop. They do plenty of amazing baked goods like breads, pies, and cinnamon rolls. But they also excel at rustic-shaped, chocolate iced doughnuts, and it is darn near impossible to visit the storefront and not leave with at least one.
The Donut Palace has a few locations around Arkansas, and I imagine they are all under the same ownership. I have only been to the one in Sheridan and can tell you the chocolate iced old fashioned was worth the 45-minute drive from Little Rock.
If you are looking for a cute doughnut shop with playful takes on the classics, Spa City Doughnuts on the edge of Hot Springs is the place for you. And they get bonus points for having kolaches.
Lybrand’s serves up a plethora of doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and, of course, apple fritters. Their fritter is a little thicker and doughier than most, but it is just as satisfying.
Country Village is another great bakery that also happens to do an excellent job with doughnuts. And if doughnut holes are your thing, this is your place.
Fresh Donuts is an absolute gem of a doughnut shop. If you live in Conway, I truly hope you know about the place. For the rest of Arkansas, if there is a better cinnamon twist out there, please let me know. The one at Fresh Donuts is so light, sweet, and filled with cinnamon in every nook and cranny. And true to the storefront’s name, the twist is as fresh as can be.
For more great breakfast pastries, check out my list of 8 Great Cinnamon Rolls in Arkansas.
*Header photo courtesy of Country Village via Facebook
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