donut panic / grantville – san diego, ca

I first heard about Donut Panic from a post CC made on her blog about it. I read “fancy gourmet flavors” and “reasonable price” and I was instantly interested! After a ho hum experience with Donut Bar, I’ve been wary of any gourmet donuts with high prices but the reasonable price part struck a cord with me and I wanted to check it out. I told Jake about it and he actually stopped in here without me and talked to the owner, Linda, and found out a little more about the business. She runs the shop with her dad. Jake asked her what made her and her dad decide to open the shop she said simply, “We were unemployed!” They found the shop for sale on craigslist (seriously, is there anything you can’t find on craigslist?!) and decided to just take the plunge.

The fancy pants gourmet donuts here are vegan which is a bit of a popular trend these days – either for health reasons or lifestyle reasons. Normally “vegan” would make me cringe but the flavors sounded so intriguing that I just had to check it out.


There’s Jake at the counter. On the right side are the “regular donuts” and on the left are the specials when they have them.

Donut Panic Menu

The signage, which still has prices still listed as the old name of the shop (“Sunshine Dozen Donuts”).

Game Night at Donut Panic - San Diego

There are more vegan options than just donuts and they gave Game Night every Wednesday! Very cool. 


There’s also a record player playing some tunes. A little hipster, eh? 

The normal donuts at Donut Panic

Here’s a closeup of the regular non-vegan donuts. We didn’t partake of any of the normal ones this time around. Jake had actually gotten me some to try but then left them in his car and so I didn’t get to try them… I forgive him. 

Vegan Donuts from Donut Panic San Diego

[vegan donuts / $1.50 each]

Okay here’s the donut porn you came here to see – the fancy, gourmet vegan donuts! They had six special flavors for that day. The flavors rotate on the days they are offered (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday). I’ve read that Linda’s stated she has around 40-ish different flavors on rotation – crazy!

pink vanilla bean vegan donut

This is the vanilla bean one. I loved the bright, happy looking (yes, happy!) sprinkled donut. 


Here’s the inside. It’s yeast based and you can see specks of vanilla bean in the donut (it’s tiny). The texture of these vegan donuts is a little different from traditional –  they’re light and fluffy but also a little chewy. The donuts are made with soy milk and potatoes so there’s definitely a different texture and chewiness to these that you don’t get in regular donuts – but they are delicious!


Here’s the vegan chocolate donut. The chocolate tasted a bit dark – I should have asked what they used for it (if it was just plain cocoa or carob). Same lovely chewy texture though, but one of the plainer flavors. Still, if you need a chocolate donut fix and are vegan then this is definitely for you, my friend. 


One of my favorites was the Orange Almond flavored vegan donut. It has a glaze that’s got orange bits and zest in it and topped with almond slivers – yum! The orange flavor is quite potent – there is NO mistaking you’re eating something orange flavored – and the bits of crunchy almonds helped give it a little bit more texture. Jake didn’t like this one because he doesn’t like orange flavored things but I loved it. It tasted bright and almost refreshing – if donuts could be refreshing. 


The other favorite of the day (for Jake, T and myself) was the Earl Grey donut. I love the specks of tea flakes on top and that you can taste the flavors of earl grey without it being super overwhelming.  So light and fluffy and completely covered in glaze! I love that the glaze dripped all the way down to the bottom on this one – it made it look more dramatic and you got more delicious glaze in each bite. The more familiar chew was present that I was really starting to enjoy (almost more than regular donuts…. almost!).


Here’s a cross section of the earl grey – you can see it’s got a bunch of hollow points. This makes it taste similar to a cruller as well – but not quite as airy. 


This is the Maple “Bacon” donut. The faux bacon is actually coconut that’s been cooked with soy sauce and liquid smoke to give it that smoky flavor. T really liked this one a lot and thought it tasted a lot like bacon. I thought it had a similar smoky component but didn’t really taste or have the same mouthfeel as bacon (obviously). It was still a very creative way to do a bacon flavor and I liked the combination. I’d probably just want a plain old maple one next time though but it was fun to try it! 


The last of our donuts was a jelly filled. 


Hellooooo, jelly! This was filled with raspberry jelly. I’m not usually into jelly donuts because the jelly tends to uh, get all over my shirt, but I like them from time to time. I liked this well enough though it wasn’t one of my favorites.

I’ve heard about/read about so many other interesting flavors like rosewater-cardamom, lemon-lavendar, saffron pistachio, chocolate espresso Bavarian creme, Mexican chocolate, coconut lime, matcha, salted caramel… with a line up like that, I’ll definitely be back so I can sample them all! 

The vegan donuts at Donut Panic are made ONLY on the weekends (around 9AM) and Wednesdays (in the evening around 6PM). They also now offer vegan cupcakes on Fridays and sometimes do other specials (I spied “Donut Bread Pudding” on the Facebook page (linked below)). Don’t be afraid of the vegan donut: just go and check it out already and prepare for deliciousness!

Other posts/articles about Donut Panic:
Pink Candles at Ridgemont High
Eater San Diego
Scoop San Diego

Donut Panic
6171 Mission Gorge Rd Suite #113
San Diego, California 92120
(619) 280-1894

Donut Panic on Urbanspoon

16 thoughts on “donut panic / grantville – san diego, ca

    1. Hi Leanne – Haha I was also suspicious but the flavors sounded too intriguing so I didn’t care. This is the only vegan donut I’ve ever had so I can’t compare it to any other vegan ones but compared to regular donuts they were good. I liked the texture and the flavors are yummy.

  1. I second Leanne’s sentiments. I’m still a sucker for the regular glazed donut (when served fresh) at the now unpopular Krispy Kreme.

    Hey – BTW – did you know it’s National Doughnut Day on June 6. Krispy emailed me – don’t judge – and informed me that they’re giving away a FREE donut (we spell this the same way Mary!), ANY donut, on that day.

    Where’s your infamous plastic bib thingy when you need it most (for the vegan donuts here) 🙂

    1. Hi Faye – Yes, I did know that (I’m also on Krispy Kreme’s mailing list, haha). I would still get the original glazed though since I think all of their donuts taste the same but with different toppings. The original one is the best! You should still try this thought if you get a chance – it’s not weird or scary because it’s vegan, I promise 🙂

  2. hi leanne, mary and faye – i personally cringe at the word ‘vegan’ and yes, i have tried at least one vegan pastry (at Dark Horse Coffee). It was a so-called donut that wasn’t even baked and it was small, horrible and tasteless.

    Now THESE are something else. They are worth a try Leanne. They have the most amazing texture because they are made with potato flour. the flavors are really great (i’m still waiting to try the pistachio saffron) and best of all, affordable, compared to those (cough) hipster donut places like you know where! $3 each? I think not!

    thanks for the ‘link love’ mary. glad you and jake got to try this place. the owner is such a sweet gal.

    i also got the email from Krispy Kreme and yes, I will use it, ha ha!

    1. Hi CC – Man, I totally want to try that pistachio one, too! I follow Donut Panic on Instagram and Facebook and haven’t seen that flavor pop up yet. These donuts are really good! I wonder if it’s what the “Spudnuts” were like which were made with mashed potatoes. In any case, they’re very good and the prices are so reasonable that I will go back for more.

  3. Oooh I thought Donut Bar was disappointing too!! I still haven’t found THE donut place to go to in SD and also am a bit worried about vegan donuts but their flavor combinations sound awesome! And Donut Bread Pudding? Ok someone has to do a post on that.

    1. Hi J.S. – I saw they did donut bread pudding over the weekend since I follow them on Facebook. Will definitely have to try that soon. Donut Bar was really disappointing to me, I really thought it was would be more melt in your mouth, fluffy, crispy, etc but it just tasted like any other donut and I paid way too much for them. Have you also tried Mary’s in Santee or Peterson’s in Escondido? Those are two other shops that I love!

    1. Hi Eddie – I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I just can’t agree with them! If people want to stand in line and pay that much for an overhyped donut, they’re welcome to. I’ll stick with Donut Panic, or Peterson’s or Mary’s Donuts, thank you very much. 🙂

    2. Oh, Eddie. Long ago, I learned to form opinions on my own, by researching, thinking and doing-not just listening to what others say.

      With food items, there is so much paid-for advertising/product placement/pseudo restaurant ‘reviews’ that I am wary when I don’t hear about it from non-professional sources.

  4. It’s basically the same donut with different icings and each donut, and each icing, is done very well. The donut is both light and chewy, if that is a description that makes sense. it also doesn’t get all stale and hard the next morning.

    Linda will be doing donut pairings at the Beer Festival at the San Diego County Fair (June 20-22).

    I stopped in on Friday and only one flavor vegan cupcake was available (peanut butter chocolate). Looked like a normal(not large outrageous) cupcake and it tasted great and had a very moist, normal cake texture. I’d have to compare it to a non-veganone to notice a difference.

    1. Hi Cathy – Our donuts didn’t last until the next day but that’s good to know. I was curious about the vegan cupcakes as well – I’ve had better experiences with vegan cupcakes in the past so I’m not as cautious of those. That’s awesome she’ll be doing beer pairings at the fair!

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