The Best Doughnuts In Auckland: A Highly Subjective Guide

Grown Up Donuts added a special finishing touch to our tasting selection.

We’ve tried neon-pink icing, towering candy toppings and nostalgic jam and cream and selected these doughnuts as some of Auckland’s best treats.

Desserts are the best avenue to fill the adult heart with child-like glee.

A snowfall of icing sugar, ribbons of melted chocolate and towers of crumbled chocolate bars

Doughnuts, within the larger dessert canon, might be the treat best equipped to bring that blissful and happy feeling. The sturdiness of a yeasted or sourdough doughnut means it can withstand sweet flavours. This leads doughnut makers and bakers to joyful experimentation, loading up on chocolate bars, syrupy purees and loads of cream. They can also be toned down, for a tangy coffee pairing — glazed, cream and jam or cinnamon-sugared.

The majority of these shops and kitchens are designed primarily for pick-up options, good for catering or a surprise gift. However, a few also offer a spot to sit down with an accompanying cup of coffee for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break.

With spoons, cups of tea and napkins at the ready, the Viva team dove headfirst into this tasting challenge. Sampling doughnuts from 14 different establishments in Auckland, the doughnut maestros highlight the greatest flavours from each location and consider what each bakery might be best suited for (party? Weekend treat? Bringing joy to a corporate lunch?).

Grown Up Donuts

These doughnuts are packed with ribbons of filling and stand upright in their box, in a solid move to maintain structural integrity. While the doughnut serving largely maintains this format, the flavours are changed from week to week, which keeps the bakers constantly experimenting. In the past, the bakery has also brought back popular flavours due to customer demand — most recently reviving the mochaccino flavour.

General manager Sarah Johnson says the recipe for the doughnut is purposely kept under wraps. “Our dough recipe is a closely guarded secret that always produces a lighter doughnut without a chewy doughy centre.” Sarah continues, “We pride ourselves on using the very best ingredients, like real vanilla pods and paste, fresh strawberries, fresh whole eggs and real chocolate.”

The bakery also branches out into some exciting customisation — the box of doughnuts that we’re sent sees the treats topped with an edible Viva stamp.

There are other fun examples strewn across the bakery’s social media pages (think holiday-appropriate theming like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Halloween). They’d make a lovely surprise for a party, work lunch or special event. Grown Up Donuts is also set to expand into three more locations before the end of the year, following the close of their Manurewa store, at Sylvia Park, Ponsonby and Silverdale.

Tasting notes

“While I’m all for candy-coloured, goo-injected varieties of sweet treats, I’m really into the simplicity of this jam and cream doughnut. This doughnut has a light and pillowy texture, an ample offering of whipped cream, sweet and sharp jam and a generous dusting of sugar.” — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist

“A Tardis of a doughnut in which a classic exterior belies a luminously tangy centre that just went on and deliciously on. I’d pair this with a cup of Earl Grey and a teaspoon.” — Kim Knight, senior writer

Viva’s favourite flavour: Chocolate.

Price: A box of four filled doughnuts is $29, while a single filled doughnut is $7.70 each.

Where to get them: Grown Up Donuts currently has three stores in Auckland (Henderson, Wairau Valley and Auckland CBD), are available to order online and attend regular markets.

Butter Baby

This West Auckland bakery cooks up a wide range of delicious and photogenic sweet treats. Their menu offers everything from a lovely lilac ube kaya cake to giant cookies and rolled ‘cinny buns’. Matilda Lee is the baker and owner behind the bakery, which opened its flagship kitchen earlier this year. Matilda says that the doughnut flavours are often inspired by childhood snacks and specific regional ingredients. “Our handmade brioche doughnuts are filled and decorated with various flavours ranging from the humble jam and cream to the traditional southeast Asian flavours, such as pandan and sago.”

That pandan and sago doughnut was listed as one of the Top 100 Iconic Auckland Eats last year, cementing the bakery’s status as a local love. In our box, we’re treated to four doughnuts, including the A-list pandan and sago, ube, raspberry and cream, and Boston cream. The bakery’s Instagram boasts a loyal following of ‘Butter Babes’, as seasonal updates are relayed to customers. Those limited flavours are well-considered and crave-able — we’ll be hanging out until next April to hopefully test an autumnal doughnut filled with feijoa and kaffir lime jam.

Tasting notes

“The big, pillowy, brioche Boston cream from Butter Baby has all the hallmarks of a technically impressive baked good: a thin layer of chocolate icing that’s sweet and dark and gold-flecked, a filling that’s generous and potent in vanilla, and a casing that’s light enough to gently smush in your hand with each bite.” — Julia Gessler, digital editor

“The chocolate doughnut from Butter Baby could be the ideal alternative to a birthday cake for a small soirée. Until you cut into it and the custard oozes out. Still, it feels like a joyous celebration, with pretty gold flecks, a delicious centre and smooth mouthfeel. Dangerously moreish.” — Rebecca Barry Hill, writer

“In the wrong hands, this dough-custard-icing triumvirate can be overwhelmingly sweet. This version had great balance — a dense, cakey dough and just the right amount of dark chocolate icing.” — Kim Knight, senior writer

Viva’s favourite flavour: Boston cream.

Price: A box of four doughnuts is $26.

Where to get them: Order online, pickup in Westgate or from regular markets (stocks vary).

Tart Bakery

This vegan bakery offers a whole host of goodies, with the bakers performing magic mimicry with sandwiches, pies and sweet treats. Their doughnuts are no different — the creamy and fluffy textures are conceived with creative alternatives. To achieve that whipped cream texture, the bakers whip up coconut or lentil cream and add flavour with caramel, coffee or crushed freeze-dried raspberries. Aqua faba or chia seeds replace eggs and a margarine made from coconut oil replaces butter.

The bakeries all have an easy stroll-in, stroll-out vibe, which makes it ideal for a relaxed weekend meal or treat (and you can add a coffee to your order, with the alternative milk free of cost).

Tasting notes

“I’ve never made caramel without butter or cream but here’s proof it’s possible (and delicious) in an eclair-shaped vegan doughnut. I loved the topping — dreamy-sweet with a whispery crunch akin to a taro puff — but the doughnut was just okay. Feathery, airy and missing some heft.” — Kim Knight, senior writer

A slightly more guilt-free doughnut option perhaps... are these delicious ones from Tart. The whipped creamy centre doesn’t leave you feeling stodgy and full but rather delightfully content and the dough is light too. The flavours are strong and the sugar is not spared either.” — Annabel Dickson, fashion assistant

Viva’s favourite flavour: Strawberry cream.

Price: A box of six doughnuts starts from $48 and a single doughnut starts from $4.50 each.

Where to get them: 555 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Commercial Bay, University of Auckland campus or order online.

Crafty Baker

This West Auckland bakery serves up artisan breads (many of them sourdough), pastries, pies and, of course, doughnuts. Previously the shop was a service-only joint in Glen Eden. Now, following a long moving process, the owners are slowly putting the finishing touches on a bakery and cafe in leafy Titirangi. It’s a polished space to meet for a morning coffee and is in close distance to plenty of West Auckland’s walking tracks, Te Uru art gallery and the rooftop outlook of the Lopdell house — if you’re not a local, it might be worth meeting some friends here and making a day of exploring (this would be especially good for spring and summer plans).

The curated box includes all of their regular flavours, from a simple sugared cinnamon doughnut (vegan), ones dressed with passionfruit puree and berry cream, plus a couple of the house favourite, the raspberry cream. The dough is a mix of yeast and sourdough, supplying a little tang and a fluffy interior.

Tasting notes

“The consistency of these doughnuts was one of my favourites. Chewy but not too tough and the centre filling was fresh and not too sweet. The filling I would go back for... the blueberry! Often you’ll find the classic raspberry or strawberry jam centre but the blueberry was interesting and delicious.” — Annabel Dickson, fashion assistant

“There’s a lovely soft chew to these doughnuts, which are delicate and full of zingy, familiar sourdough flavour. I try the raspberry cream, a flavour I’m repeatedly drawn to in these taste tests, and it really nails the balance of sweet jam and mild cream (with a pleasing shower of icing sugar over the top). — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist

Viva’s favourite flavour: Cinnamon sugar.

Price: Cinnamon-sugared doughnuts are $5 and cream-filled doughnuts are $7.

Where to get them: 2/490 South Titirangi Rd, Auckland. @Craftybakernz

Wen & Yen

Wen & Yen boasts an extensive and inclusive list of doughnuts at their Rosedale and Titirangi spots, with allergen-friendly, gluten-free and vegan options for those who need appropriate alternatives. Wendy, who co-owns the store with Li-Yen, highlights that the brioche doughnuts are handmade and made fresh daily, and are also filled and iced with housemade sauces and fillings. They stock both classic round doughnuts, as well as long buns, with generous lashings of sauce and crunchy crumble toppings.

Our box has a lovely mix of offerings, including coffee caramel cornflake, vanilla glazed, raspberry cream, raspberry coconut custard and banoffee (a temporary option in line with a fair-trade programme). Along with the stock of doughnuts, Wen & Yen also stocks allergen-friendly goods, pies, cakes and other sweet treats. There’s also the option to eat in at the Titirangi spot (maybe pairing the dessert with another establishment in the Street Feast food court).

Tasting notes

“It’s been 10 years since I ate my last doughnut and I’ve missed them terribly ever since. My pursuit of a gluten-free doughnut has been relentless. Turns out, I should’ve gone to Wen & Yen all along. The little brown box that landed on my desk included a raspberry and coconut custard doughnut, the bakery’s vegan, no-added-gluten option. It was love at first bite; my teeth crunched through the crispy, cinnamon-sugar-coated exterior to the pillowy dough underneath. Anyone who has an aversion to gluten will understand just how rare this is, as most gluten-free baked goods have the consistency of cardboard. You’d never know the creamy, coconut-spiked custard inside was vegan, either, it tasted exactly like the full-fat, full-dairy, full-sugar version, which it absolutely should.” — Ashleigh Cometti, beauty editor

“Soft and fluffy, their dough is some of the best of the bunch, and the glazed doughnut is one of the best iterations of these that I’ve ever had.” — Emma Gleason, commercial editor

Viva’s favourite flavour: Raspberry coconut custard (vegan and gluten-free).

Price: A box of four filled doughnuts is $24.

Where to get them: 6/32 Constellation Drive, Rosedale; Street Feast, 490 South Titirangi; or order online.

Doe Donuts

Doe Donuts shines with a lovely pink bakery in Grey Lynn, which often sees a real bustle on weekends as doughnut enthusiasts visit for a treat. The bakery takes a playful approach, as co-owner Grace Tauber explains that the doughnut flavours are often inspired by other desserts. “Our flavours are derived from popular desserts, not only iconic to New Zealand but also experimenting with flavours around the world. We are not afraid to experiment in the kitchen with new ingredients.”

We were sent an array of dessert reimaginings, including tiramisu, creme brulee, Biscoff banoffee, custard slice, jam and cream, and apple fritters. The bakery also offers up mini doughnuts, designed to cater to a big crowd at corporate events, birthdays and other celebrations.

Tasting notes

“I loved the chunky apple topping, but especially love the way the dough keeps its voice — this is a puffball of undiluted doughnutness! (What is a fritter if not a very round doughnut?) And for the tiramisu... my regular coffee order is a long black. This was too OTT for me — but if you like a latte, then meet your new favourite takeout.” — Kim Knight, senior writer

“Dessert-inspired doughnuts? What kind of crazy mixed-up world is this? Well, the creme brulee doughnut from Doe Donuts is everything you’d fantasise about a pudding you can eat with your hands, and it’s a stand-out on a menu that includes tiramisu, Biscoff banoffee and custard slice. A crispy burnt sugar shell dissolves into a fluffy doughnut with a decadently creamy custard centre. The apple fritter doughnut with a vanilla glaze comes in a close second.” — Rebecca Barry Hill, writer

“The soft, dense yet fluffy consistency of the doughnuts from Doe Donuts was simply divine! The tiramisu flavour was a standout for me, not too sweet and just the right amount of coffee kick.” — Annabel Dickson, fashion assistant

Viva’s favourite flavour: Tiramisu.

Price: A single doughnut starts from $6.50 and you can build your own box online.

Where to get them: Great North Road, Grey Lynn; Commercial Bay; or order online.

Sneaky Snacky

This High St doughnut shop, lit by an inviting neon sign, would make a good pit stop during an inner-city traipse.

The sweet flavours definitely ruminate on richer tastes, with the menu filled with peanut butter and jelly, tiramisu, Biscoff and Oreo, dark chocolate and Earl Grey. However, this bakery also has an offering of savoury doughnuts, capitalising on the versatility of the slow-risen brioche dough. The flavours include hot chicken and cheese, with melty textures and umami profiles.

The shop also sells coffee and milkshakes, with the latter having a huge variety of flavours — we’d be keen on pairing one of the savoury picks with a sweet matcha, yuzu or coconut lime drink, for a full range of flavours.

Tasting notes

“I love a Japanese savoury doughnut (Mizu Bread is my usual go-to) but am pleasantly surprised to see Sneaky Snacky have their own version. The texture is great, soft and fluffy, but it could have done with a little more filling of mince. I do like the addition of furikake, though, overall a great combination of comforting flavours which is ideal this time of year.” — Dan Ahwa, fashion director

“I often find filled doughnuts too heavy, the filling too gluggy and cloying to get all the way through, but Sneaky Snacky’s are an exception. Try the Biscoff flavour (light and nostalgic and palpably biscuity), tiramisu (a personal favourite), or creme brulee (topped with crackling sugar).” — Julia Gessler, digital editor

Viva’s favourite flavour: Hot chicken.

Price: One doughnut starts from about $9.10 each.

Where to get them: 35 High Street. @Sneaky_snacky_nz

Deputy Donuts

This Beachlands-based bakery celebrates the fun of the sweet treat, committing to a theme and running with it. Along with the candy-loaded doughnuts, we’re sent an infringement notice. The offence? “Not trying Deputy Donuts.”

The notice is also quite helpful in outlining the flavours, as the doughnuts all have names relevant to the legislative title. Our box houses The Alias (raspberry mascarpone cream), The Defendant (spiced apple mascarpone cream), The Plaintiff (chocolate cream) and The Witness (caramel cream). It’s a fun and charmingly silly sharing box — great for younger sweet tooths or theatrical doughnut fans. The bakery also does custom cake orders, from poppy birthday cakes to elegant multi-tiered wonders.

Tasting notes

“The doughnut itself is so light and fluffy, but still has enough body to handle the honeycomb caramel cream centre. It kind of tastes like I’m biting into the centre of a Crunchie, one of my favourite chocolate bars. With those nostalgic flavours and the campy theming, this doughnut certainly brings a smile to my face.” — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist

“Deputy Donuts ‘The Witness’: It’s Day 537 of the Viva Doughnut Taste Test. My keyboard is sugar-sticky and my tastebuds are fried. Wait — is that a hint of fresh cream? How fluffy is that dough? And where did they find that candy bar that tastes like the criminally underrated Picnic (minus the peanuts)? Possibly my favourite so far.” — Kim Knight, senior writer

Viva’s favourite flavour: The Witness (caramel cream).

Price: A pack of four doughnuts starts from $25.

Where to get them: Order online and pick up from 15 George Town Drive, Beachlands.

Just Jess Boujee Bakery

At this bakery, plenty of the goodies are pink and playful — it’s a charming approach to set the doughnuts apart. With an HQ in Huapai and a punchy title, Jess Hekken rolls out Barbie-appropriate treats, from meringue-topped cupcakes to chunky ‘NYC-style’ cookies.

The doughnut towers look pretty incredible and would work well for a celebration where cutting a cake causes a bit too much fuss. The minis could also be a cutesy addition to a catering table. The bakery also offers custom-made cakes (many of the example cakes would fit perfectly on a Pinterest board), cookies and cupcakes, great for parties, weddings and other special occasions.

Tasting notes

“I love a rustic vibe when it comes to food, and this approach sets these doughnuts apart from the emoji-like perfection we’ve come to expect from this baked good. Once again, the powdered doughnut was the star for me. These are moist, fluffy and a bit chewy — this is what I like too — and they are so far from dry. The balance of sugar and cinnamon on these is perfect (a really integral equilibrium and easy to misjudge) and the bite of spice really comes through. I loved these.” — Emma Gleason, commercial editor

“A classic done well with no bells or whistles is hard to come by but the sugared doughnut from Just Jess was just that. It was a silent option among the pink and deliciously decorated other options but when we tried the little guy it was outstanding. It was all things moist, fluffy and chewy and so fresh. This consistency was followed throughout the other selections too.” — Annabel Dickson, fashion assistant

Viva’s favourite flavour: White chocolate.

Price: Doughnuts from the cabinet range from $8.50 to $12 or a ‘boujee’ doughnut tower starts from $85.

Where to get them: 16 Matua Road, Huapai, or order online.

Hare and the Turtle

Hare and the Turtle is a cosy Avondale cafe, with a cabinet that offers a generous offering of sweet goods. Their doughnut regular is a classic rhubarb jam with vanilla cream, dusted with icing sugar. Along with that everyday treat, we’re sent a limited-edition apple-crumble-inspired dessert.

However, the range also expands beyond this. Weekly, the cafe offers a special flavour, often dependent on the season and the availability of produce. Previous iterations have included lemon and ricotta, s’mores and blackberry curd and honeycomb. Sometimes, seasonal offerings also come with special deals for regular customers — last Easter, customers could swap feijoas for a free coffee.

The cafe chef Nicola relays that the doughnut has a melt-in-your-mouth-texture, and shares the aim to create a treat “light and fluffy with a perfect ratio of cream to jam”.

Tasting notes

“Covered in a generous sprinkle of icing sugar, this doughnut strikes a nice balance between sour and sweet. The green apple topping isn’t too overwhelming and I am happy to taste the natural flavours of the fruit.” — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist

“A slightly stodgy doughnut with a fantastically tart and in-season filling (texturally more like straight-up stewed fruit than jam, but this was a bonus in my book).” — Kim Knight, senior writer

Viva’s favourite flavour: Rhubarb jam and vanilla cream.

Price: A regular doughnut is $6 each.

Where to get them: 1/63 New Windsor Road, Avondale.

Doughnut Haus

These candy-topped sourdough doughnuts come from Ranui, sold in a little bakery called Kookie Haus. There are two options for the doughnut servings — a loaded doughnut heaving with decadence, or a simpler glazed treat. Within the scope of our tasting, we enjoy the loaded varieties of Snickers, creme brulee, lemon and strawberry cheesecake, as well as the vanilla and caramel macadamia glazed. The doughnuts are also 100 per cent vegan, welcoming plant-based foodies with a sweet tooth. The small shop is also known for its stock of hefty and half-melted chocolate chip cookies — it would be worth taking one of those away with your box of doughnuts too.

Tasting notes

“I tried the loaded ‘Snickers’ flavoured doughnut without realising it was vegan. Loaded means it was topped with a huge swirl of chocolate-hazelnut-flavoured pudding and a caramel and chocolate sauce. The doughnut itself was sourdough which gave it a nice savoury component, with a chocolate and peanut icing that reminded me of a choc-nut coated Mr Whippy ice cream, and an interior filled with caramel sauce. I wouldn’t call this an overly sophisticated flavour, but it’s definitely yum.” — Johanna Thornton, deputy editor

Viva’s favourite flavour: Creme brulee.

Price: A box of six glazed doughnuts is $25, while one glazed doughnut is $4.50 each. A box of six loaded doughnuts is $40, while one loaded doughnut is $7.50 each.

Where to get them: 2/20 Pooks Road, Ranui, and order online.

Daily Bread

The baked goods at Daily Bread attract a loyal following any day of the week, as customers queue to purchase their tangy 72-hour fermented sourdough, flaky croissants and strong coffees. Each store also offers a lively and roomy interior to dine in, making it a lovely stop for morning and weekend coffees. Doughnuts are just a part of the bakery’s repertoire but are a highlight among the sweeter caffeine accompanying snacks.

The baker relays that “real butter, whole milk and exceptional locally sourced eggs are used to carry the flavour and texture that creates the doughnut base”. The fillings are all created from scratch in-house, “to ensure they have a perfect balance of flavour, making sure the zing matches the sugar”.

The beloved local franchise has also just put the finishing touches on its Britomart store, which is nestled on Galway St next to the train station.

Tasting notes

“For something tart, this raspberry-rhubarb compote and mascarpone cream-filled doughnut is gently fried, finished with raspberry-sugar dusting. What makes this one special really is the fresh cream — who doesn’t love a mix of berries and cream? Great for spring/summer season when you’re after a doughnut that’s not too heavy. I matched this with a black Earl Grey tea which helps cut through the decadence.” — Dan Ahwa, fashion director

“One of my trusted and regularly frequented operations, of course, Daily Bread’s doughnuts are just as good as the rest of its fare. I’m very partial to the powdered category, and its cinnamon and brown butter doughnut is an excellent version of this. Airy but still with the density and tang you expect of this bakery, their crew are also very generous with the cinnamon. The girth is generous too, and visually these have great proportions.” — Emma Gleason, commercial editor

Viva’s favourite flavour: The (soon-to-be-released) Boysenberry Trumpet doughnut, with berry jam, chocolate and nuts.

Price: Daily Bread’s doughnut of the day starts from $6 each.

Where to get them: Newmarket, Ponsonby, Britomart, Federal St, Pt Chev and Belmont.

Mamas Donuts

This doughnut shop had its origin in Hamilton in 2006, first on a school court and then in a dinky caravan. Now Mamas Donuts has grown to fill five different locations across New Zealand, including Auckland’s North Shore, Dunedin, Hawke’s Bay and Tauranga. The business is run by two mums, Rachael Jaunay and Rebecca Cowley, giving the brand its title. The co-founders say that the aims of the project have developed over time. “Our vision quickly evolved into helping our team grow and develop their skills and inspiring other mamas to achieve their aspirations.”

The doughnuts are often hot in demand — the pair saw queues out the doors at their first brick-and-mortar in Hamilton. We tuck into a box of varying flavours, from the original vanilla glaze, to the more extravagant flavours, including maple pecan, butterscotch, chocolate custard and fruity fillings.

Tasting notes

“Their range of doughnuts were all impressive, but my favourites were the vanilla-glazed ‘OG’ — a classic, with a beautiful crackle to the glaze and you bite in, and just the right amount of vanilla without being overwhelming — and the chocolate custard, which tastes like childhood, particularly the icing. They don’t go overboard on the filling either, so you’re not facing an explosive situation on your hands. There’s also sensual (and double-drizzled) butterscotch and a rather lovely maple pecan which benefits from the sugar-tempering tang of cream cheese icing, both very good.” — Emma Gleason, commercial editor

“The jam and cream doughnut I trial is super light and fluffy, and not-too-sweet. The berry jam has a well-rounded flavour, with morsels of real fruit. The cream is mild, a little sweet, but well-balanced. As a midday treat, it’s very manageable and disappears from my plate quickly.” — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist

Viva’s favourite flavour: Long bun with cream and jam.

Price: A box of six doughnuts from the flavours range is $25.

Where to get them: 241 Glenfield Rd, Hillcrest, or order online.


This centre-city cafe offers a breezy eat-in opportunity, unlike many of the bakeries on the list. While doughnuts are offered as a part of the cabinet food, they’re certainly not the sole focus of the establishment — which works hard to fuel and caffeinate the journalists and office workers who mill about the surrounding precincts. The cabinet also supplies both savoury and sweet eats, appropriate for lunch, morning tea or a 3pm lull.

We sampled three flavours of the Scratch doughnuts: triple chocolate, apple pie and custard. However, these flavours also rotate and change, with matcha, banoffee and white chocolate pistachio recently making the menu (sometimes adorned with edible flowers for a cheery morning tea pick-me-up).

Tasting notes

“Not-too-sweet, not-too-fussy, but still full a lot of fun. The Scratch doughnut is cakey and tender. It would be a great pairing for a coffee meeting if you’re looking to charm. The double Flake topping on my chocolate pick also feels generous — but I’m reluctant to share.” — Madeleine Crutchley, multimedia journalist

“I loved the consistency with this selection of doughnuts. Not too sweet and not oily or over-sugared. They were also nice and moist, not dry at all. The flavours were standard for their descriptions, although the triple chocolate had a vanilla-bean centre when I would have expected chocolate.” — Annabel Dickson, fashion assistant

Viva’s favourite flavour: Apple pie.

Price: $5 each.

Where to get them: 5 Graham St, central city.

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