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Design-your-own donuts at the new Duck Donuts in Paramus. Here's a first look at the new spot. NorthJersey.com

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During the scalding hot days of mid-summer, I began dreaming about crisp autumn mornings full of fresh donuts warm from the fryer — a slightly crisp exterior, a fluffy, steaming interior, doused in sweet glaze or crunchy sugar. 

We need a definitive list, I decided, of the best donut shops in each county in New Jersey. I wrote a similar story in 2019 about burgers. Why not take on a similar mission, but for donuts?

My search began by talking to readers, chefs and donut experts. Hundreds of people emailed me with suggestions. I tried nearly all of them and then some, picking out my favorites by judging their texture, outside crisp, topping options and ratio of filling to dough. At each place, I sampled a classic glazed and at least one specialty donut for research purposes, of course.

Now, a few months later, I’m ready to share what I’ve found with not just one, but several lists of amazing donuts of all shapes, sizes and flavors. Keep your eye on this story throughout the fall — we'll update it with links to all our donut countdowns, roundups and recommendations. Plus, the first week of September, we'll continue to update a sharable guide with links and summaries of all our donut coverage.

Burgers: 5 things we've learned while searching for the best burger in NJ

Hidden gems: 8 of the best restaurants in North Jersey you've been missing out on

They put what on their fries?: North Jersey’s craziest French fry toppings

Vegans — keep an eye out on Tuesday. That’s when our roundup of shops that offer vegan donuts is dropping.

On Wednesday, we have a story about the most unique donuts I've found so far along my journey.

But that’s just a taste of the donut delights to come. In September, you can expect guides on how to be an expert donut hunter (trust me, I made many mistakes along the way); where to get those melt-in-your-mouth bite-sized donuts; the most unique donuts I came across; and where to get apple cider donuts in the fall.

Subscribers only: One of a kind! 5 unique donuts you can find in New Jersey

Vegan donuts: 12 places to find them in New Jersey

Plus, I’ll be naming the best town and best county for donut eating, as well as the ultimate story: the best donut shop in each county in New Jersey. What you’ll find on the list is my favorites based on the aforementioned criteria, whether they be yeast, cake, sourdough, apple cider or otherwise.

What qualifies me to make such bold claims? Years of being a food reporter — and an extremely high blood sugar from two months of donut-eating. Of course, debate is welcome and encouraged. Feel free to let me know your favorites by reaching out at kingr@northjersey.com.

Follow along on the North Jersey Eats Instagram page for updates. And, be sure to subscribe (or stay subscribed) to NorthJersey.com or your local site so you don’t miss anything. Subscribers have unlimited access to all of our content.

Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.

Email: kingr@northjersey.com 

Twitter: @rebeccakingnj 

Instagram: @northjerseyeats

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