If you know anything about visiting Portland, Oregon, you’ve probably heard that Voodoo Doughnuts is a must try. It, no doubt, is a social media hotspot. But when it comes to the city’s best tasting donuts, does Voodoo Doughnut deserve the claim to fame? It’s a question we wanted to answer during our recent visit to Portland. And I don’t mind telling you that we took the task very seriously, going so far as to arrange a blind taste test. Our semi-scientific approach required input from ten family members, ranging in age from two to eighty-two. I’m happy to report that we came away with a clear winner of the title Best Donuts in Portland.
Our blind taste taste included donuts from three Portland favorites: Voodoo Doughnut, Blue Star Donuts and Annie’s Donut Shop. We sought out to crown a winner in each of the following categories: Best Cake Donut, Best Raised Donut, Most Creative Donuts and Overall Best Donut. We began our experiment by visiting each location early on a Sunday morning. If we had included an award for best ambiance, Blue Star would have received my vote.
The location we visited (3549 SE HawthorneBlvd.) was spacious and airy and clean.
I also appreciated their descriptive and minimalistic donut display.
Annie’s Donut Shop had a similar straightforward, though more traditional, approach to displaying their donuts.
Voodoo Doughnut was entirely different. It has a much darker vibe. I found it nearly impossible to match up the descriptions on their menu with the unidentified doughnuts on display in their rotating display cases. This set up, combined with a line that stretched out the door, made it difficult and a little bit stressful to order.
Nevertheless, we came away from our early morning excursion with several dozen donuts to taste.
Each of the participants in our taste test was given a voting slip. We cut each donut in quarters and presented the tasting samples on an unmarked paper plate. After tasting three samples, our taste testers were asked to choose a favorite from each category. They came away with a clear favorite on where to find the best donuts in Portland.
Best Donuts in Portland Taste Test Results
Best Cake Donuts
In the category of Best Cake Donuts, Blue Star Donuts was the winner with 60% of the vote. For me, the passion fruit vanilla cake donut with a hint of cayenne pepper was a runaway winner, though I will say that the Butterfinger chocolate cake from Voodoo was quite good.
Voodoo Doughnut came in second place in this category, with 30% of the vote.
Annie’s Donut Shop received just 10% of the vote.
Best Raised Donuts
In the category of Best Raised Donut, Blue Star Donuts won again with 60% of the vote.
Voodoo Doughnuts and Annie’s Donut Shop tied in this category, with each taking 20% of the vote.
Most Creative Donuts
The winner in this category came away with 80% of the vote. The blue ribbon goes to Blue Star once again. With flavor options like Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk, Passion Fruit Cocoa Nip and Cointreau Creme Brulee, it’s easy to see why.
Voodoo Doughnut took home 20% of the votes for most creative donut. Annie’s Donut Shop did not receive any votes in this category.
Best Overall Donuts
It will probably come as no surprise that the winner of best overall donuts goes to Blue Star.
Voodoo comes in second place again with thirty percent of the vote. Annie’s Donut Shop did not receive any votes in this category.
Our taste testers had a lot to say about Blue Star’s donut offerings:
“I loved the Mexican hot chocolate and creme brulee flavors. They were unique and really yummy!”
“I liked carrot cake best; it had an amazing texture.”
“That blueberry cake donut was so, so good. Best I’ve ever had.”
“I can’t help but remember the delicate and subtle hint of lemon in the donut I voted for in the best raised donut category.”
There you have it, friends. Looks like you know where to go when you’re looking to try the best donuts in Portland. Enjoy!
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