Holy Moly: Donut Shops in San Diego

Few treats are more classic and delicious than the good old-fashioned donut. In San Diego, the resurgence of the pastry is in full swing, with local bakeries proving the donut is worth diving into. So, dunk your dozen in coffee, opt for a jelly-filled creation or just get down and deep-fried with donuts from these shops ranked highly by Yelp users.

Lil’ Orbits (Pacific Beach)
This tiny business is a treasure and it certainly has the goods. Cronuts (croissant-meets-donut) may be all the rage but have you ever hear of a Crobit? It’s a mini version of the cronut and Lil’ Orbits makes batches daily. However, when they’re gone, they’re gone, so get there early. Besides the latest craze, patrons will find warm and fresh mini donuts on the daily, pumping out of the fryer and covered in cinnamon, powdered sugar and an assortment of other toppings, reminiscent of a snack one might eat at the fair.

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Peterson’s Donut Corner (Escondido)
If you’ve got a big appetite and no miniscule maple bar will do, this is the place for you! Giant options here include an oversized cinnamon twist or glazed raised donut. Seriously, we dare you to finish it. This shop also has its own special version of the Cronut: it’s square and comes with multiple toppings. Plus, Peterson’s produces all the nostalgic, old-fashioned favorites you could want covered in sprinkles and sugar.

Donut Bar (Downtown San Diego)
Waiting in line for this popular spot is worth it, as sweet satisfaction will be had. The baked daily selections vary from Nutella and salted caramel donuts, to blueberry Meyer lemon and blood orange. But beware: when the donuts run out, you’re out of luck. Yelpers have written more than 500 reviews since this location’s opening and its fan base is strong. If you haven’t snagged one of the reputed rounds yet make sure you add it to your “to-dough” list.

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VG Donuts & Bakery (Cardiff-by-the-Sea)
Although peeking through the window here reveals delicious wedding cakes and cookies, don’t be fooled. This bakery is all about the donuts and the line of locals in the morning proves it. The coastal community comes from miles around for the red velvet and vanilla coconut cake variety. The obsession for the raspberry and strawberry jelly-filled donut is a common affliction, too. Get them while you can.

Donut Stop (Torrey Hills/Mira Mesa)
Break open that piggy bank: this pastry heaven is cash only. Regulars hang out and play chess over coffee while customers stock up on their favorites. The blueberry donut gets rave reviews here and the cream-filled concoction also has a huge fan base. Traditional options like maple bars and apple fritters will fill out your baker’s dozen, and don’t forget to throw in a couple of donut holes.

Donut Touch (Scripps Ranch)
It’s a mirage near a gas station, filled with cake-like concoctions that will make you fill up more than the tank of your car. Grab a dozen and make sure you include the popular bear claw and a few crullers. You’ll also find bacon maple bars, fritters, birthday cake donuts with sprinkles and old-fashioned donuts. It’s a pit stop that you’ll want to make more than once.

Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.

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