The Philly food staple is the cheesesteak, the epitome of umami flavor—a savory combination of cheese and beef (often with peppers and onions, too). But the city has it’s fair share of sweet treats too, most notably a strong donut scene. When you want a good ball of deep-fried dough to go with your cup of coffee, be sure to hit up these spots that serve up decadent, donut-y goodness.
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Over 40 types of homemade Pennsylvania Dutch donuts are on display at Beiler’s, and perusing the delectable showcase in Reading Terminal Market can make it difficult to decide what to get. Some choices rotate seasonally, but the perennial top prospects are the apple fritter, the maple bacon, and the M&M-topped chocolate-frosted donut. Every treat (yeast or cake) is hand-rolled, fried, and hand-filled or frosted, so authenticity is a top priority here. The line is always long, but it’s worth the wait.
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Fewer places in Philly do it better than Federal Donuts. A variety of modern flavors catch diners’ eyes, but it’s the “old-fashioned,” heavy, cake-style dough that keep them coming back. Check out the coffee donut, a glazed option with coffee powder, the apple cake with streusel crumbles, and the staff favorite, must-try strawberry lavender—the sweetness of the berry-flavored sugar donut is offset by a floral bite, making it a creative flavor combo.
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Undrgrnd Donuts is a food truck with only glazed cake donuts, so this isn’t for those lacking a voracious sweet tooth. The classic choice is the “Homer,” frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing and topped with crispy bacon—can’t go wrong with sugary and salty. Other good eats are the “Wake Up,” a chocolate donut dusted with espresso and chocolate, and the granny-smith-topped caramel apple.
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Despite being recognized by the Huffington Post for their excellent donuts, Frangelli’s is one of Philly’s best-kept secrets. It’s been a South Philadelphia establishment since 1947, and the donuts still keep customers happy. Check out the Franolli, a huge donut filled with fresh-cannoli cream and chocolate chips, or The Jelly-filled, which is stuffed with preserves)—rather than corn syrup and artificial flavoring—and rolled in your choice of powder or crystal sugar.
cover image @federaldonuts