19 July 2021 (updated)

Go Nuts for Donuts: The Best Virginia Beach Donuts

There's nothing like waking up to a box of fresh donuts in the morning. While classics like Dunkin' and Sugar Shack are hard to beat, we've got suggestions for the best Virginia Beach Donuts around.

What Is the History of Donuts?

I know you didn't ask for it, but you're going to get a little lesson on the history of the doughnut.

Now, donuts are actually a snack food steeped in folklore and legends. Surprised? Yes, the classic ring of dough has a hazy (and glaze-y?) past. The Dutch were making olykoeks, or “oil cakes,” as early as the mid 19th century. These early doughnuts were simply balls of cake fried in pork fat until golden brown. Because the center of the cake did not cook as fast as the outside, bakers sometimes stuffed the cakes with fruit, nuts, or other fillings that you didn't need to cook.

As the Dutch began to settle in the United States, they continued to make their olykoeks. Other cultures continued to influence the donut, eventually morphing them into what we call doughnuts today.

Why Do Donuts Have a Hole in the Center?

Hansen Gregory, an American ship captain, had a solution for the gooey center of donuts instead of filling them. In 1847 Gregory punched a hole in the center of the dough ball before frying. The hole increased the surface area and exposed to the hot oil, and therefore prevented the uncooked center.

Some say he impaled a doughnut on the ship’s steering wheel so that he could use both hands to steer. That's story is a little bit more embellished as far as legends go. However Gregory came up with putting a hole in the middle of his olyk, history credits him credited with inventing the classic shape.

Photo By: @6ixfoodie_

Where Did the Word "Doughnut" Come From?

The origin of the name “doughnut” is also highly debated. Some say it refers to the nuts that were placed inside of the ball of dough, while others claim it refers to another popular shape for the olykoeks, “dough knots.”

The first written record of the word “doughnut” is in Washington Irving’s 1809 publication, A History of New York. By the early 1900s, many had shortened the word to “donut.” Today, English speakers use  “doughnut” and “donut”  interchangeably.

The Rise of the Modern Donut

In 1920, Adolph Levitt created the first automated doughnut machine. 1934 World’s Fair in Chicago featured this futuristic automated donut-making process. The Fair advertised doughnuts as “the food hit of the Century Of Progress." Donuts became an instant hit across the country. They've been a comfort food, snack, and breakfast item for Americans ever since.

Best Places to Get Virginia Beach Donuts

Now that you've had a proper introduction to this tasty pastry's origins, here are some of our top picks for places you can get donuts in Virginia Beach (and beyond)!

Duck Donuts (Oceanfront, Virginia Beach Boulevard, Landstown)

Here, you can get made-to-order cake donuts. Current menu highlights include flavors like "peach cobbler," "strawberry shortcake" "coffee cake," and "cinnamon sugar." With a convenient oceanfront location right off the boardwalk and Laskin Road, you can finish out your beach day with a sweet treat everyone will love. They also have great coffee if you're looking for something to wash down donuts.

Duck Donuts Photo By: @eatinwithb

The New Place to Get Virginia Beach Donuts: Okie Doughkie

The sister company to one of our favorite ice cream shops, Lolly's, this up-and-coming donut shop has everything you could ever want in a donut. Simple, sweet, made-from-scratch glazed doughnut perfection. And yes, although they're SQUARE, this is one of the coolest donut shops around. Co-owners Joey Launi and Hunter Hangar have paved the way for a new must-try snack or dessert in Vibe District.

Okie Doughkie Photo By: @marygm757

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

You can't go wrong with a classic (or should I say "klassic?"). We had a Krispy Kreme right by my college, and when the "hot and now" sign was lit up, you'd know where to find us. You really can't beat their classic melt-in-your-mouth glazed donuts. Although, I could never say no to some of Krispy Kreme's other flavors like Cake Batter, Maple-glazed, Reese's, and Kreme-filled. Be sure to grab fun paper a hat while you're there--it's just part of the experience. They also have great promotions where you can get free or discounted donuts!

Krispy Kreme Photo By: @chuppyeats

Virginia Beach Donuts From Bakeries

While specialty donut stores are great, plenty of bakeries make the ring-shaped treat we know and love. Here are some of our top picks for bakeries where you can get amazing donuts (among other treats).

Kolache Factory

This counter-serve chain bakery serves classic Czech pastries in dozens of both sweet and savory flavors, plus plenty of other mouth-watering baked goods. If you haven't tried a Kolache yet, you're missing out.

Kolache Factory Photo By: @polyglotfoodie

Sugar Plum Bakery

If you want donuts, but also plenty of other sweet options to choose from, the Sugar Plum Bakery has everything you need. Sugar Plum is a local bakery that serves the needs of individuals with disabilities through employment, education, and training and helping them become independent and contributing members of our communities. They have excellent seasonal cakes and pies, specialty desserts, bread, bars, pastries, cookies, cakes, and doughnuts! You name it, they've got it! And it all looks incredible.

Sugar Plum Bakery Photo Credit: @vbcravings

Naas Bakery

Family-owned and run, not many establishments or bakeries do yeast donuts quite like Naas. Whether it's glazed, chocolate-covered, custard-filled, cinnamon sugar, or jelly-filled, you can't go wrong. Not only do they have tasty donuts, but they also have a large selection of other treats like pies and baked goods. This place is pretty popular with the locals. So, if you're looking to get donuts, you'd better get there early in the morning!

Naas Bakery Photo By: @mrsashleyyy

Naas Bakery Photo By: @e_moneyvb

Outside Virginia Beach/ Hampton Roads

Amazing Glazed (Chesapeake, VA)

This gem located on Johnstown Road had my friends and me trekking from Newport News to Chesapeake just to get these donuts one morning. And we were not disappointed. We would recommend their build-your-own menu option. They say "you pick it, we stick it!" That means you pick a cake donut flavor, select one icing, and select a topping and/or one drizzle, and enjoy!

Amazing Glazed Photo By: @donutphunk

Carol Lee's Donuts (Blacksburg, VA)

If you ever road trip up to Northwest Virginia, you'll likely see all the beautiful mountains the region has to offer. But one of the more bustling towns is Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech. Because it's a college town, you'll find a must-try college-kid-approved establishment--Carol Lee Donuts. According to Yelp-- their Toasted Coconut has been rated the best doughnut in the state of Virginia! Not much can top that title.

Carol Lee's Donuts Photo Credit: @ronsnoms

Carol Lee's Donuts Photo Credit: @foodvsmia

Sandy Pony Donuts (Chincoteague, VA)

Okay, first off, 10/10 for the name. Adorable. Not only can you get delicious donuts from this spot--you can also tasty açaí bowls! After a long day of seeing the ponies and spending time at the beach, a donut (or açaí bowl) will definitely hit the spot.

Sandy Pony Donuts Photo Credit: @whatdaneats

Try Some of the Best Virginia Beach Donuts

Whether you're grabbing breakfast, brunch, or dessert, these donut shops, bakeries, and cafes won't disappoint. Don't forget to share pictures of your delicious doughnuts on FamilyApp (to make everyone else jealous, of course). So grab someone you love, hop in the car, and go grab a box of donuts from one of these Virginia Beach donut shops. You deserve it.


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