Contemplating the Spudnut

We need to talk about Spudnuts for a second, folks.  As part of my ongoing quest to locate the best donut in the city of Los Angeles, I dragged my indulgent and unsuspecting Gentleman Caller (bless his heart – and after a Spudnut or two, his heart probably needs all the blessings it can get) to the Spudnuts location at Venice and Sawtelle.  So, Spudnuts, as the name suggests, are donuts that are somehow made out of potatoes.  The process by which this is accomplished is unclear, although there is a sign up in the store claiming that it is Scientific, so I imagine it involves a madman in a lab coat cackling maniacally at a stormy sky as a lightning bolt hits a potato, transforming it into an old-fashioned glazed.  Actually, though, I think really they just use potato flour.


Spudnuts were apparently a bit of a thing, once upon a time in the not-terribly-distant past.  The Spudnut was invented by two brothers in Salt Lake City back in 1939, and at one point the franchise had about 350 locations, but now the parent company seems to be no more, although there are still a few surviving stores around – there are four in LA and a few more in Southern California (the truly obsessed can find a comprehensive list of where to get a Spudnut here).

So anyhow – we ordered the largest donut in the shop, which was a huge sort of bearclaw-fritter hybrid, full of apples and raisins and (weirdly) peanuts and coconut.  (Spudnuts also has more conventional donuts as well, and does a good cream-filled, which I’d tried on a previous visit.)  And, you know, it was good, but the whole potato thing kind of escapes me.  I mean, it gives the donut a bit of a different texture – it’s sort of denser – but it’s not really different enough to be remarkable.  If I didn’t know in advance that the donut was made of potatoes, I wouldn’t have guessed.  So, I guess I’m a little bit meh about the whole Spudnut thing.  Is anyone out there a Spudnut fan who can extol the virtues of the humble Spudnut for us?  Has anyone tried any of the other Spudnut stores in the area?

Oh, and I will leave you with a Proven Scientific Fact that I discovered about donuts:  you know when you buy a dozen donuts at midnight and they sit out all night and you want one for breakfast, but by then they’re kinda stale?  WELL, throw one of those in a frying pan (I recommend non-stick because lord knows you don’t want to add MORE grease to that donut) and give it a minute or two on each side and the glaze will get caramelized and crispy and the inside will get warm and lovely, and voila, you will have a refried donut, my most clever invention ever.

8 thoughts on “Contemplating the Spudnut”

  1. Real Spudnuts are enough different from regular doughnuts that pretty much anyone can tell the difference. Flavor, texture, etc. I remember way back as a young teenager encountering the real thing on a family vacation and we all loved them, and they stayed fresh longer which my mother said was due to the potatoes. I haven’t been to this shop, or any in the Southern California area, so I don’t know how authentic this version is. Try some other Spudnut shops and see how they are. Suggestion – try a plain glazed raised version. I guess I am truly obsessed because I maintain the SputnutInfo site :-)

  2. My grandmother and aunt used to make “potato donuts” with left over potato that was just the best. I use their recipe from time to time, but this is even better…just walk in and grab some. Thanks for sharing.

  3. There are two next to USC. Every Saturday morning during football season, I would eat Spudnuts and bagels at the crack of dawn with my section of the marching band. I work near Exposition Park now, and we still sometimes bring in Spudnuts. I like them, but honestly, I only buy them if they’re convenient. My real doughnut love goes to Krispy Kreme.

  4. Well, I think I need to get to another Spudnuts location to see if I can get a more authentic spudnut experience. But I still just love the idea of a potato donut. And I’d love to make my own, so I might have to get that recipe from you, Frazgo.

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