We’re not here to argue about the spelling of donut or doughnut, we’re here to help you find the best local treats in Knoxville (aka NOT Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme)! Whether you like cake or yeast style, we’ve got a list that covers the county so read on!
Admiral’s Dough Joe, Beaver’s Dough Joe, and Panther’s Dough Joe – You may have noticed a similar theme here…these are all owned by the family and are named after their shop’s closest high school mascot: Farragut Admirals, Karns Beavers, and Powell Panthers. Specializing in yeast donuts, you’ll see the glazed and sprinkled classics (you won’t go back to Krispy Kreme after having these), and they have a variety of filling options too like Bavarian custard, apple, and raspberry jelly. Their signature item is a Beaver Tail”, similar to an apple fritter.
Status Dough – With a shop in Bearden and a spot next to The Phoenix Pharmacy downtown, Status Dough covers a bit of territory with everything from buttermilk old-fashioned, cake, yeast, and even specialty donuts. They claim: “It’s not about the status, it’s about the dough” and we have to agree on that! For you Polish confectionary enthusiasts/Fat Tuesday celebrators, they do Mardi Gras right with pączki (pronounced “pownch-key” and is like a jelly or crème filled donut…but somehow better)!
The Donut Palace – This spot is in northwest Knoxville close to Clinton Highway on Schaad Road. Expect fluffy yeast style donuts with a variety of toppings including classic frosting, m&m’s, coconut flakes, and more.
The Donut Shop – This iconic shop is on Broadway, just north of downtown. They’ve got a great collection of cake donuts great for the ‘gram and your tastebuds too – try one covered in Fruity Pebbles, Oreos, or save yourself the difficulty of deciding and get an assorted dozen. They have Mahalo Coffee and also carry Cruze Farm whole milk, chocolate milk, and coffee milk. Yum!
The Donut Theory – Gluten-free food truck, often found at Pratt’s Country Store in Fountain City, Southside Garage in SoKno, and other places throughout town. Laura, the founder, happens to have Celiac Disease and spent years searching for a good gluten free donut, only to find herself disappointed over and over. They wanted to create a product that was not known for being “okay for gluten-free,” but left people saying, “there’s no way that’s gluten free,” because it is so good.
The Sugar Queen – Operated by a dynamic mother and three daughters, The Sugar Queen is the product of many years of baking, dreaming, and sheer determination to spread joy through the communal love of really good food. Here you'll find doughnuts bigger than you've ever seen 'em, better than you've ever tasted, and with enough butter to keep you coming back for more! Their truck specializes in serving a variety of fresh, homemade yeast doughnuts and dreamy soft pretzels big enough to satisfy the hungriest of guests. Catch them at Central Filling Station, McKay’s Bookstore, and other places around town. Or visit their donut/ice cream shop combo off Chapman Highway in SoKno!
Richy Kreme Donuts – Maryville's fave shop now has a spot in Knoxville; find them in the Rocky Hill neighborhood on Northshore. You'll want to follow them on social as they do all kinds of specialty donuts that are often available for one day only, like a peach fritter for the Orange and White Game or a churro donut to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Get 'em while they're hot!
The Ultimate Doughnut – This neighborhood spot in Karns (northwest Knoxville) on Oak Ridge Highway is known for their great morning combos. Get a kolache, croissant, bagel, or donut and a drink – so many choices, so little time. They even have donut sandwiches: get a bacon or sausage, egg, cheese on a glazed donut!
Hope this helps you find some glazed goodness on your next visit to Knoxville!