mary’s donuts

Looking through my past donut posts I was surprised to find I have never done a dedicated post to my favorite donut shop in town! What?! Oh it’s been mentioned on here before but I felt it was high time to officially share with you my very favorite donuts in San Diego: Mary’s Donuts.

I swear it’s not because we share a name, either.


I don’t even remember how long we’ve been coming to Mary’s Donuts but it’s been a few years now. After our failed Star Dust hunt, Jake surprised me by just heading in the direction of Santee. After we had donuts I asked if we could go to a certain coffee shop again and he said, “Well, I wanted to surprise you with something.” And I said, “Okay, baby, do your thing!” and when we got onto the 125 I knew just where he was taking me. He knows how to cheer me up! 


The only sad thing was they didn’t have my favorite crullers out yet (usually available after 8PM on Saturdays) but really any choice at Mary’s Donuts is an excellent choice. A lot of people like those crazy large apple fritters you see at the top left. 


There’s nothing really “fancy” here unless you consider maple bacon, red velvet and blueberry fancy. They have some gigantic sized donuts on the top shelf a lot of the time for when you’re feeling extra gluttonous. I’ve never been disappointed by a donut here and the service is always so, so, so friendly and nice. Regular donuts here at $.90 cents. “Fancy” donuts are $.95 cents. The apple fritters and super twists and other big things are like $1.80. Very reasonable prices.


Here’s a peek behind the counter. The lady on the left is making fresh donuts! The lady on the right is super nice! 


The walls of this little shop are covered in photographs of customers from the many years they’ve been around.


I also dig their seasonal donut art on the windows. 


Jake let me pick out all the donuts, what a surprise, right? My first choice was this buttercream filled chocolate yeast donut. 


The sweet buttercream is only in the donut hole and really it’s about all the buttercream you need. I think filled the whole thing would overkill it so that extra bit of sweetness in the middle ends up being a nice treat instead of making it too rich. The donut itself is soft and made just right. It still tastes fresh and the chocolate top is semi-sweet so it doesn’t hurt your teeth. 


I hadn’t tried their red velvet cake donut before and it looked so pretty with the crumbles on top of the frosting! Like a true red velvet, it had a very mild chocolate flavor. The thing I always love about cake donuts is that outer crispiness that they have and this one was no exception. 

The twist donut was also very good – though Jake and I sighed a little in remembrance of the one we had in Yucca Valley that was still fresh and warm. If this one had been warm still it would been the best, maybe. It’s hard to gauge when you can get the twist donuts fresh out of the fryer though but man, it was still a really good donut. 


The best one we had that day was this cute heart shaped maple bacon donut! The bacon is cut into little bits and it’s not tooooo much bacon (yes, there is such a thing). It’s the perfect amount to give you that salty-sweet flavor combination. The maple glaze isn’t too sweet and the yeast donut was perfect. Yum! 

Mary’s Donuts is not a frilly fancy place. The donuts are affordable, fresh, and made all day long. I love this place! 

Mary’s Donuts
9031 Mission Gorge Rd.
Santee, CA 92071
(619) 448-4800
Open 24 hours

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8 thoughts on “mary’s donuts

  1. Use to be a regular stop on the longish drive for pre dawn surf sessions, some 30 yrs ago. It was before hwy 52 was built, it was called Zona’s Doughnuts and day olds were only a nickle.

  2. Yay, heart shaped donut! Their crullers are so awesome when freshly made. Nighttime is the right time, haha. The folks here are super super nice!

    One of these days, you’ll get lucky and find Star Dust open. The long guy working it isn’t as crabby as people make him out to be. He’s just all business and people shouldn’t expect him to be Mr.Feelgood.

    1. Jake tried to get Star Dust for me last Friday morning but they weren’t open early, either. 🙁 We’ll get it again one of these days!

  3. “Like a true red velvet, it had a very mild chocolate flavor.” Yes!! I’ve not had a true red velvet donut 🙁

    Looking forward to trying Mary’s!

    1. Hi Jenn – I’ve had some good ones and some not so good ones. Every shop is a little different of course but I do like the ones at Mary’s!

  4. today i ate half of a boring krispy kreme donut because it was sitting in the shared kitchen area of work and i was hungry. it made me think of this post with much tastier looking donuts!

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