Why not pick up a dozen for breakfast? (You could even share 'em... maybe.)
Here are our Top 9 favorite doughnut shops to try.
Holtman's (Loveland, Over-the-Rhine, Williamsburg): Holtman's has quickly become the gold standard of Cincinnati doughnuts. Their cake isn't too heavy, their yeast isn't too airy, and their specialty doughnuts — maple bacon, red velvet, and "specials" like caramel macchiato — are swoonworthy. The Over-the-Rhine location is open late on weekends for your evening doughnut fixes (or if you just don't want to get up early to battle the lines).
Sotto (Downtown): An Italian restaurant on a doughnut list? Yes, you read this correctly. Sotto has ricotta doughnut holes that are the perfect end to a pasta dinner. They're also delicious on their own; no one will mind if you just stop in for coffee and doughnuts. Served with three homemade sauces — caramel, chocolate, and my favorite, pistachio— they're an unexpected delight.
Top This Donut Bar (Evanston, Fort Thomas): If the average doughnut options don't do it for you, try Top This. This chain allows guests to customize doughnuts by type, glaze and toppings, which include items ranging from Fruity Pebbles to Andes mints to bacon. You can even top a cinnamon roll! Doughnuts are $1.70 with one topping, and each additional topping is 25 cents.
St. Lawrence Bakery (Price Hill): There was a time on the West Side when there were bakeries on nearly every corner, near every Catholic church that defined each neighborhood. While many of those are gone, St. Lawrence Bakery (near St. Lawrence Church) is still around. For more than 150 years, it has been making doughnuts. You might remember your parents or grandparents picking them up after Mass. But if you're new, I suggest trying a hand-cut glazed doughnut, or a cream-filled one.
Pink in a Blanket (Burlington): While Pink in a Blanket has a variety of typical doughnuts (cream-filled long johns, blueberry cake, glazed yeast, among others) they're known for one that looks like it's straight out of the Simpsons: the Fruity Pebble doughnut. This one-of-a-kind pastry has pink frosting and instead of sprinkles or coconut or another typical doughnut topping, they substitute colorful Fruity Pebbles. It's childhood in a bite.
Bonomini Bakery (Northside): This tiny bakery is a Northside staple that attracts doughnut lovers from across the city. During Lent, the shop is known for its Paczki, Polish-style jam-filled doughnuts that are actually offered year-round. Those are good, but don't skip the fried danish twists and crullers either.
Ms. Cheri's (Milford): Ms. Cheri bakes the doughnuts here while her husband runs the counter. It's an adorable addition to already-nostalgic downtown Milford. Strolling down Main Street with a doughnut is a walk down memory lane. They're known for their "doughssant", a version of the trendy cronut, but this one is a bit simpler: croissant dough, deep-fried and glazed.
Graeter's (multiple locations): Graeter's is known for its ice cream, but its baked goods — especially doughnuts — also are spectacular. Try a cheese crown, a cross between a doughnut and cheesecake, or a jelly doughnut.
Bonnie Lynn Bakery (Blue Ash, Landen, Montgomery): Bonnie Lynn is an East Side tradition since the '60s. While it tends to be known for cakes, the bakery does a steady doughnut business, too, with all of the traditional favorites (cake, yeast, filled — you name it). The danish is exceptional, if you prefer something a little fruitier (and less fried) than a traditional doughnut.
Where do you get your favorite doughnut? Let us know!