Best in Asheville Review: Doughnuts in WNC, who wins best donuts? Map of Asheville doughnut shops, Donut Directory

Dozen Duck Donuts next to Dozen Hole Doughnuts

Holy cow after being on the Whole 30 Diet, and falling off during the Covid, we were running for some sweets. Time to find the best doughnuts in Western North Carolina.  Friends and coworkers have their favorites.  We’ve been hearing about all the doughnut shops in town for years. It’s well past time to start trying them out…

Map of Doughnut Shops around Asheville

Asheville Doughnut Shop Reviews

We’ve only been to a few shops, so there’s only a few reviews below.  This is a ‘living post’, so I’ll continue to update and add to the reviews as we continue violating our Whole 30 diet.

Fresh made-to-order cooked for you Doughnuts

Duck Donuts

First time we dropped by Duck Donuts, we missed them at 5:10pm.  (They closed at 5pm the day we went.)  Soooo disappointed.  We sadly repeatedly yanked on the locked door, watching them shut down inside, as if it were some kind of joke. (We didn’t eat lunch, planned to have doughnuts.)  Second time we checked the hours before heading that way.  We went while they were open, instead of closed.  Regretfully they were still out of bacon donuts…. but…

Duck Donuts are prepared fresh, while you watch them being made.  Duck Donuts makes plain cake donuts. Soon as they come out, the skilled donut-tender (I made that up, instead of bartender) whisks away like an artist, whipping up each doughnut individually.

A Duck Donut is a uniform cake batter, some call it an ‘old fashioned’ doughnut. They currently cost around $18/dozen (12 donuts).  Choose from dozens of toppings, almost like an ice cream sundae shop.  There’s a bunch of preconfigured flavors that combine toppings, or you can create your own.

I’m not always the biggest fan of cake donuts, I prefer a more ‘elephant ear’ texture, Dunkin Donut style.  But wow wee was I blown away. Duck Donuts changed my mind forever.

Duck Donuts offers a huge variety of freshly made to order, super moist cake batter doughnuts. I can’t wait to visit them again soon!

Hole Doughnuts

Bakers Dozen donuts from The Hole Doughnut - with 3 missing

Bakers Dozen, with 3 already eaten.

First time we went to Hole Doughnuts, they were only open for pre-orders on the website.  Nobody was allowed inside, and the small parking lot was jam packed without one empty space.  Each car seemed to have a different state: New York, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota. And there was a growing gaggle of folks waiting outside for their order.

Hole Doughnuts are prepared fresh, while you wait.  We couldn’t really see from outside, but others waiting outside said it’s really cool to see them made.  Since we couldn’t see them made, I’m not sure how they finish them.  Hole Doughnuts have a fritter texture rather than cake.

The Hole Doughnut Asheville NC Fritter Pastry DessertHole Doughnuts currently costs $30/bakers dozen (13 doughnuts).  They have four different doughnut choices and it’s not possible to configure your own – or it’s not advertised.  While we couldn’t see them being made, if the baker was anything like the server, Lori, it’s understandable why they’re so delicious.

Hole Doughnuts offers about four different freshly made to order, fritter batter doughnuts. I can’t wait to visit them again soon!

Not just doughnuts and donuts!

Duck Donuts and Hole Doughnuts both have other stuff, too.  Like coffee.  What would a doughnut shop be without coffee?

Duck Donuts serves self-branded hot coffee and espresso drinks.  They also offer a huge Coffee Bucket to-go size and CocaCola branded products.

Hole Doughnuts serves up fresh LOCAL coffee from PennyCup Coffee Co.

Covid-19 Compliance – Yay!

Both Duck Donuts and Hole Doughnuts were seen to be in strict compliance with the most draconian safety measures against the corona-virus.  Staff at both doughnut shops were wearing face masks – the correct way, and using gloves when handling food.  All other customers we saw also had masks – even when waiting outdoors in line.

Who wins, Duck Donuts or Hole Doughnuts?

The honest truth is I cannot choose.  YOU MUST VISIT BOTH.  Duck Donuts and Hole Doughnuts are completely different experiences.  It’s like trying to compare Deep Dish Chicago-Style Pizza with New York Thin Crust Pizza. Or soft serve vs hard ice cream.  How could you choose?  So what do you want?

Duck Donuts offers a huge variety of flavors.  They are uniformly shaped cake batter doughnuts.  It’s a franchise, which means you can get this comfort food in lots of places. Duck Donuts will satisfy any sweet tooth, seems more sugar is available. Double Delicious! Cost per dozen is about $18 (12 donuts).

Hole Doughnuts offers about four choices of exquisitely chosen sweet and salty flavors.  They are irregular shaped fritter batter doughnuts.  It’s a locally born and owned business, reminds me of an artisan bakery.  Hole Doughnuts are classy with bold, yet delicate flavors. Double Delicious! Cost per bakers dozen is about $30 (13 doughnuts).

I can’t wait to visit them both again soon!

Western NC Doughnut Directory

Here’s a list of doughnut shops in Asheville

Where to find best donuts and doughnuts in Asheville

Here’s the places we’ve visited: If you visit either or both (we suggest both), let them know Virtual Lab Rats told you about them…

5 stars
Duck Donuts
www.duckdonuts.com Franchise Locator
Phone 828-575-2177
182 Merrimon Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

5 stars
Hole Doughnuts
www.hole-doughnuts.com
Phone 828-774-5667
168 Haywood Road
Asheville, NC 28806

Wait… here’s more artisan doughnut shops in and around Asheville

We just love doughnuts. Here’s a few places we haven’t visited yet.  They might possibly be ‘better’ than the others.  Maybe we haven’t visited the ‘best’ yet.  They’re on our to-do and we’ll update this post when we do.  If you have a specialty doughnut shop you’d like included here, let me know, happy to add it.

Ava’s Doughnutswww.fb.com/avasdonuts
Phone 828-676-1884
26 Carl Alwin Place
Asheville, NC 28803

Geraldine’s Bakery – www.geraldinesbakeryavl.com
Phone 828-252-9330
840 Merrimon Ave
Asheville, NC 28804

HenDough Chicken & Donutswww.hendough.com
Phone 828-595-2885
532 Kanuga Road,
Hendersonville, NC

McFarlan Bakerywww.mcfarlanbakery.com
Phone 828-693-4256
309 N Main St.
Hendersonville, NC 28792

Mr. Bob’s Do-Nutswww.mrbobsdonuts.com
Phone 828-659-7132
60 S Main St
Marion, NC 28752
AND
Phone 828-668-6418
212 E Main St
Old Fort, NC 28762

The Underground Cafe with DoughP Doughnutswww.theundergroundcafe828.com
Phone 828-412-5718
22 S. Pack Square LL100
Asheville, NC 28801

Vortex Doughnutswww.vortexdoughnuts.com
Phone 828-552-3010
32 Banks Avenue, Suite 106
Asheville, NC 28801

Worldwide Giants

Dounkin’ Donutswww.dunkindonuts.comFranchise Locator
Multiple locations, 5+ in Asheville area

Krispy Kreme Doughnutswww.krispykreme.comFranchise Locator
Multiple locations, 2+ in Asheville area

UPDATED 10/31/2020 – Need updated again? Let me know.

Phil

Grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA., previously lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida areas, and recently co-located to Asheville, North Carolina area. Trained as an Army MP, but bit of a renegade career wise. Phil has owned businesses in insurance, private investigations, surety bail bond industries, and has experience in computer network engineering, hospitality in-room advertising, asset recovery and repossession, and even a few years traveling most of the lower 48 states, Ontario and Northern Mexico as a commercial over the road truck driver. Career long entrepreneur, property investor and rental manager. Phil loves sharing his experiences of great food, travel, experiences and products.

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