The outside of World's Fair Donuts in St Louis

Searching for the Best Donuts in St Louis

I absolutely love donuts. So, the last time I was in St Louis enjoying all the things to do in the city, in addition to checking out the BBQ, which is my favorite out of anywhere I’ve traveled, I also took it upon myself to try as many donuts to look for the best donuts in St Louis.

Like Southern food, Midwestern food is pure comfort and the local foods I tried in St Louis like toasted ravioli, frozen custard and gooey butter cakes really surprised me. I figured since everything else was so delicious, the donuts should be too, right?

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The Best Donuts in St Louis

Before I started my quest for the best donuts in St Louis, I researched the different donut shops in the area. Just like in many cities, there are plenty of new, trendy donut shops with all kinds of crazy and outrageous flavors.

Even cereal on them. Excuse me ma’am, cereal is for milk. Anyway, those donuts aren’t for me. I’m an old school kind of gal. The classics only please.

Even with the classics – I don’t like to get too fancy. To keep it simple and easy to compare, I decided that, if possible, I would get the same kind of donuts from each place.

First a plain glazed or sugared donut. Then, a chocolate covered donut – which is my favorite, and lastly, if possible, the specialty donut from each shop.

Now, you maybe wondering if I went into a sugar coma. Thankfully, I managed to avoid that. I was in town for two weeks so I kind of paced myself and did a lot of walking. Here’s how it went.

World’s Fair Donuts

In 1904, St Louis hosted the World’s Fair. Who would have thought the donut would still be paying homage to that event even now?

But that’s exactly what World’s Fair Donuts, located at 1904 (see what they did there) South Vandeventer Avenue is doing all these years later.

No, they weren’t selling donuts back then but they have been baking up glazed buttermilk cake donuts, long john’s and blueberry chip cake donuts – their specialty – for more than forty years. The majority of those years at this location.

When I visited, Peggy Clanton, half of the couple that has made World Fair Donuts famous, was in the shop. Let me tell you, she was a delight and I was sad to find out that Peggy suffered a fall in 2020 and the couple sold the shop.

However, by the looks of things the new owner isn’t changing a thing. They still sell 16 varieties of doughnuts and sell them for less than $1 each, tax included.

I loved everything I got here, including the blueberry chip donut, which is their special creation. World’s Fair is was exactly the old school donut shop I was hoping for.

The case full of donuts at Worlds Fair Donuts in St. Louis
World’s Fair- making donuts since 1904

Old Town Donuts

Next up on my donut quest was Old Town Donuts located in the Florissant area. Could they have the best donuts in St Louis? Florissant, to the north of St Louis, is considered a second ring suburb. It’s also one of the oldest settlements in the state.

So it’s no surprise that Old Town has been making donuts for over 30 years, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day! Pretty impressive. According to their website, Old Town runs three shifts to ensure the freshest donuts.

At Old Town, I was greeted by friendly faces and that donut smell that lets you know immediately you’re in the right place. I’m not sure what the specialty of the house is but I ordered my chocolate covered standby – this time it was a cream-filled. And it was delicious!

I loved the yeastiness and crispy texture of the glaze had on these donuts. Just as promised, they were very fresh. So delicious in fact, I deviated from a recent I-70 road trip just for donuts from Old Town.

  • Old Town Donuts
  • 510 N New Florissant Rd, Florissant, MO 63031
  • (314) 831-0907
All the donuts in the case at Old Town Donuts Florissant Missouri
Everything here is made fresh everyday
The donuts from Old Town Donuts in St Louis Missouri
Chocolate covered was my favorite

Donut DriveIn

Another long standing St Louis favorite I visited while I was in the city was Donut Drive-In. They’ve been around since the 50’s and still use the same family recipe they used with they opened.

Their donuts are so famous, they’ve been featured on Food Network and voted best donuts on Route 66.

Keeping with my donut plan, I purchased a plain glazed and a chocolate covered donut. The texture and consistency were near perfect and everything I want from a donut.

However, the customer service was not the best and I’ll admit that soured my experience a bit. Just because you’ve been around a long time doesn’t mean you can forget to be nice. I would give them another go because I really did like the donuts. Hopefully, I just caught them on a bad day.

  • Donut DriveIn
  • 6525 Chippewa St, St. Louis, MO 63109
  • (314) 645-7714
Are Drive In Donuts in St Louis the best donuts in St Louis?
DriveIn Donuts on Route 66

Duke Bakery

Last but not least on my search for the best donuts in St Louis, I ventured over to the other side of the Mississippi to try Duke Bakery in Granite City, Illinois. Even though “Granite”, as the locals call it, is in Illinois, it’s considered the Greater St Louis metropolitan area.

Could the best donuts in St. Louis be across the state line? Duke has been around since 1951 so I thought they were probably a good contender.

I arrived late in the afternoon and unfortunately, they didn’t have a huge selection left but they still had my favorite chocolate covered donut. It was huge and it was the only donut I bought there.

Up until the moment I tasted the Duke donut, Krispy Kreme chocolate covered had always had my favorite chocolate iced, but after I tasted the Duke donut, I cannot stop thinking about it.

It was perfect! From the texture, to the yeastiness, to the chocolate. I don’t know what kind of chocolate they use but it’s what chocolate dreams are made of.

  • Duke Bakery
  • 3202 Nameoki Rd, Granite City, IL
  • (618) 877-9500
A chocolate covered donut at Duke Donuts in Granite City, IL
Perfection! Chocolate covered donut from Duke Donut

Final Thoughts About the Best Donuts in St Louis

So there you have it. What were the best donuts in St Louis? Which one was my favorite? Honestly, it’s was too close to call. Each place had something that I really enjoyed. It’s clear I’m going to need a repeat visit to St Louis to figure it out.

Besides these four donut shops, there are plenty of others in town and I’d love to spend some more time searching for the best. Do you have a favorite in St Louis that I don’t know about? If so, please leave me a comment and tell me what I need to try next.

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  1. Bill McKenzie says:

    Next time you visit Donut Drive In be sure to try their apple fritter. It’s huge, dark hard-crusted and very tasty. Makes other apple fritters seem puny and insipid in comparison.

    1. Oh yum! I love a good apple fritter with a good crust. Thank you for sharing! Putting it on my list!

  2. Steve Jefferson says:

    Old Town Donuts is absolutely wonderful. Great choice.

    1. My favorite. I recently drove through and had to stop. 🙂

  3. Renee Schultz says:

    Thank you for the article. My family prides itself in being Official Donut Connoisseurs.
    Unfortunately since you have visited, the BEST donut shop here in St. Louis which was World Fair Donuts was bought out by Strange donuts. Strange donuts in my opinion is the absolute Worst donuts ever.
    I really wish when World’s Fair Donuts owners passed away, it would have been taken over by someone who was true to keep the Same recipes and traditions. The current owner said he was going to do that, – but has not in any way done so.
    I know the others you mentioned and they are all good, but none compares to the fried pies, old fashioned, and lemon or cherry donuts from World Fair. (I have not visited the one in Granite City. ). I am very tempted to open my own donut shop with old fashioned type donuts and bring back a bygone era that needs to be resurrected.
    I was very sad to hear of the passing of the Owner of World Fair Donuts. May she and her donuts rest in peace.

    1. Oh no this makes me so sad! I really had hope they would continue to use the same recipes. I know that is possible bc one of my favorite donut shops in Alabama was bought out and the new owners continue to use the old recipes. It’s like nothing changed.
      As far as the news about Peggy, RIP, that makes me really sad as well. Thank you so much for the update and I will add a bit to the article.
      Also, you should definitely open your own shop! The old school donut shops are the best! Thanks for sharing and for your support.

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