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The Best Doughnuts in Vancouver

If you've got a hankering for delectable O-shaped pastries, check out some of the finest doughnut makers in Vancouver

From innovative newcomers to classic dough friers, here are Vancouver’s five best doughnut shops.

But what makes the best doughnut? How does a small doughnut shop overcome Timmy Ho's iron grip on the market? First, a doughnut must be round – a proper symbol of the eternity of comfort food. Square doughnuts, for example, are not a good idea.

In terms of yeast vs. cake, both are valid doughnut languages. As long as the doughnut is fried in fresh oil, it doesn’t much matter.

Lastly, any doughnut can be improved with organic flour and innovative toppings/fillings made with quality ingredients. It doesn’t hurt if the doughnut shop serves a good coffee either.

Here’s a roundup of five first-rate doughnut shops in Vancouver.

Lee's Donuts, Granville Island

This Granville Island institution isn’t glamourous and it doesn’t need to be. Lee’s slings fresh, fluffy doughnuts from a crowded corner of the Public Market. The line is always long, but the turnover is fast.

Because Lee’s doughnuts are made on-site, you’re likely to get a warm honey dip – their classic flavour – that melts as you eat it. While most other Lee’s varieties are snore-ific staples, mango-filled and butternut crunch are worth a try.

Edible Flours, 2280 West Broadway

This young Kitsilano bakery does vegan right. You can select from a chocolate or vanilla base, which is also available gluten-free. Get your treat lovingly dipped in chocolate or glazed with your choice of raspberry, maple or vanilla.

Don’t confuse vegan food with austerity; they’re not averse to garnishing with pink sugar, organic raspberries or vegan chocolate chips. Every treat is pretty, pretty.

Edible Flours wins mega brownie points for the quality tea and coffee choices, plus the comfy, low slung couches. Unlike many a doughnut shop, this is a little corner where you can sit and savour.

Ethical Bean, 1315 Kootenay St

Note: Ethical Bean recently discontinued in-house doughnut line.

Baker Katie McGuire excels at organic, fair trade doughnuts and doughnut holes. Ethical Bean’s diligence sourcing materials goes beyond flour and dairy to include salt and baking powder. The result is a cake doughnut purist’s fantasy – simultaneously fluffy and dense.

The seasonal array is always changing: look for lavender, ginger, pumpkin and eggnog. As Ethical is primarily an (ethical) coffee shop, you can't go wrong with any of the Canadian-roasted brews.

Duffin's Donuts, 1391 E 41st Ave.

Duffin's Donuts is an oddly successful iteration of restaurant wherein you can get yeast doughnuts, Mexican tortas and Chinese food all in one place, 24 hours a day.

The variety of doughnuts is staggering. Expect to see garish icing, candied fruit, sprinkles and extra shiny chocolate glaze.

While the buttermilk lemon donut is worth mentioning as a tangy-sweet coup in citrus glaze, the other doughnuts prove the point that true greatness needs focus. Duffin's menu is too vast to hit a home run on any one item. But you can get a 'good' doughnut at any hour of the day.

Cartems Donuterie, 408 Carrall Street

With a full-scale bakery on Commercial Drive and an edgy pop-up shop in Gastown, Cartems Donuterie symbolizes all the thrilling glory of Vancouver’s hip, young culinary scene.

Cartems breaks the doughnut shop mold by offering yeast doughnuts - like their classic vanilla bean glazed - alongside cake specialties such as callebaut white chocolate coconut and honey parmesan.

All doughnuts are made with local organics and are fried in coconut oil.