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Friday, June 3, 2016

Glazed & Confused: Baton Rouge's Donuts, Ranked

by Sydney Blanchard

If Team Bite and Booze loves anything, it's a blind taste testing. At our staff meetings, someone's always pitching a blind taste test idea, like the one we did for Baton Rouge boudin balls and the one we did for pumpkin beers. They're super fun, informative, and the results are always surprising. 

To celebrate National Donut Day, we felt another blind tasting was in order.

donut ranking
An assortment of Baton Rouge donuts, ready to be tasted and ranked.

Research & Hypothesis


We came up with a list of donuts shops around town – some chains, some our favorites and some we'd never heard of before – and ordered plain glazed from each establishment. 

They way we saw it, if you can't pull off a plain glazed, you can't call yourself a donut shop.

Methodology


Blair moderated the tasting, with me, Chuck, interns Drew and Hannah, and Blair's brother Jake acting as the tasters. She brought out bites of donut from each of the 10 shops as well as a plated whole donut, and we were asked to rank the donuts on their appearance, fluffiness, texture and overall taste on a scale of 1 to 5, one being the worst and five being the best.

We then added up our scores in each category (appearance, fluffiness, etc.) and ranked the highest scoring donuts in order of worst to best.

Experiment & Conclusions 


Below you'll find our blind, unbiased conclusions. We found not all plain glazed donuts in Baton Rouge are created equal, but truly, all were tasty. Fried dough covered in sugar is hard to beat.

10. Dunkin' Donuts Overall Score: 63


It came as no surprise to anyone that Dunkin' Donuts ranked low, but I'll admit, I didn't think it would fall dead last. Dunkin' scored relatively high in appearance but low in fluffiness, texture and overall taste. In my notes I wrote "meh" next to this one, which pretty much summed up everyone's feelings.

9. Thee Heavenly Donut Overall Score: 67


Thee Heavenly Donut ranking so close to the bottom breaks my heart! These were the donuts of my childhood, and I was sure they'd come out on top. I don't know whether they had an off-day or if they've changed the recipe since I was a kid, but this was the most hotly debated donut of the day. Jake loved it, Drew and I hated it, and Hannah was on the fence. I wrote "nasty" on my scorecard, and couldn't finish my bite-sized piece.

8. Prince Donuts Overall Score: 69


I'm the one who picked up the Prince Donuts, and while I was super impressed with their spotless, tastefully decorated shop and selection of boba teas, no one was impressed with their plain glazed donuts. The appearance ranked high for me, but the overall taste scored a 2. My notes? "Gross." Really nailing the descriptive phrases lately.

7. Tiger Deaux-nuts Overall Score: 70


Creativity and interesting flavor combos abound at Tiger Deaux-nuts, but their plain glazed donut was a huge (literally, this thing was gigantic) disappointment. I gave its appearance a 5, fluffiness a 3, texture and overall taste a 2. This is another I couldn't bring myself to finish, which is a bummer considering how much I love their specialty donuts.

6. Southern Maid Donuts Overall Score: 71


I'd never heard of this Prairieville donut shop, but Chuck vouched for it. For me, the plain glazed ranked low in appearance but scored a 3 in overall taste; not shabby. A little to sweet for me (and perfectly sweet for Jake), we all agreed this one earned its spot in the middle.

5. Mary Lee Donuts Overall Score: 72


Mary Lee is a Baton Rouge institution. I'm sure this ranking will rustle the feathers of those die-hard Mary Lee Donuts fans, but I wrote "too doughy" on my scorecard, despite the fluffiness of the donut. The overall taste got a 3 from me. They weren't great, but I wouldn't turn down a Mary Lee donut either.

4. Coffee & Dough Overall Score: 76


None of us had ever heard of or been to Coffee & Dough, but this was my highest ranking donut. The appearance was nothing special, but I rated this donut a 5 in fluffiness, texture and overall taste. I might go out of my way to get these again.

3. Krispy Kreme Overall Score: 77


There's a reason Krispy Kreme has become a nationally recognized brand, and it's probably because they've gotten close to perfecting the art of frying bread and covering it in sugar. I'm so ethically and philosophically opposed to supporting chains, but that's where the blind taste test comes in handy. You can't let your biases cloud your taste buds' judgement. For this one, I wrote "too sweet" on my score card, and I gave its overall taste a solid 2. I definitely wouldn't make the drive to North Baton Rouge for these donuts, but they get the job done.

2. Crispy Donuts Overall Score: 81


In my college years, I lived close to Crispy Donuts, and I was obsessed with their kolaches. Little did I know, they're serving up the second-best donuts in Baton Rouge. This little shop located right next to a gas station impressed the tasters: its appearance scored a 5 and overall taste scored a 4. This was the last one we tried, and despite being filled to the brim with fried, sugary goodness, we all managed to enjoy this bite of plain glazed heaven.

1. Mr. Ronnie's Famous Hot Donuts Overall Score: 83

Coming in on top is Mr. Ronnie's! My only note for this one was "perfectly round," but apparently we also found it perfectly delicious. I gave it a 5 in appearance, and 4 in fluffiness, texture and overall taste. We couldn't agree on every donut, but we all agreed Mr. Ronnie's deserved the top spot in our list.

I'm pretty sure this tasting took a good five years off of my life, but count on Team Bite and Booze to ask and answer your toughest food questions.

Do you agree with our ranking? Are there any shops in and around Baton Rouge we missed? Let us know!