VooDoo Donuts vs Blue Star Donuts: Which is better?

It’s no secret that people love donuts and they love taking photos of their donuts. So much so that there over 6.1 million photos with the hashtag #donuts on Instagram. Whether it is ironic donut jewelry or donut floaties, the doughnuts food trend seems to be here to stay.

In cities around the US there are rival doughnut shops and locals will always tell you what their favorite donut shop. It should come as no surprise that Portland has not just one, but two, world famous donut chains‚—VooDoo Donuts and Blue Star Donuts.

Like all great food debates, the answer of which is better, Voodoo or Blue Star, depends on who you ask. Never one to listen to other people’s opinions, I had to try donuts at both shops to make up my mind on which was my favorite Portland donut shop.

Here are my thoughts on Voodoo Donuts vs Blue Star Donuts fried confectionary treats. 

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VooDoo Donuts

VooDoo Donuts is one of those popular “must see” Portland activities that you find on the Top 10 lists for visiting the city. It is the established donut place and has been around since 2002. They have become so popular that they expanded into other cities around the country (such as Austin & Denver) and even have plans to take it international.

I first visited VooDoo Donuts in 2012 and I was not sure quite what to expect. Inside their original shop, you’ll find bright pink walls, funky dressed staff and a twirling case of sugar-laden donuts in all shapes and sizes. Their style is big and bold. The donuts are topped with all kinds of crazy treats, like sugar cereal, snickers pieces or chocolate chips. The whole vibe is meant to be over the top.

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I ordered a few of their more “famous” flavors, like Old Dirty Bastard, Maple Bacon and Snow Capped. The Old Dirty Bastard (seen in the first photo) had all kinds of crazy toppings, like oreos, peanut butter, and fudge frosting. The snowcapped had shaved coconut, chocolate frosting on a chocolate donut. Maple bacon is pretty self explanatory but you get the gist — VooDoo donuts shoots for outrageous flavors. Their portion sizes are big, so bring your eating pants.

I think the consistency and texture of the donuts is pretty good. Very traditional with fluffy, squishy and velvety insides. The toppings, are yes, completely over the top and ridiculous. But that’s what is sort of cool about the whole experience. It’s meant to be fun! It is meant to be something that you do once in a while. It’s something you enjoy for the thrill and naughtiness inherently associated with eating donuts.

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Blue Star Donuts

If Voodoo is meant to be a whole experience, Blue Star is the opposite. It’s all about the donuts. Their locations are simple and small on the inside with minimal flair or fancy bells and whistles. Expect plain white walls, a few bar stools and a single counter showcasing about 10 different flavors.

They pride themselves on the donuts and only the donuts.

Blue Star has equally creative flavors as Voodoo, but they are creative in their flavor profile and complexity of taste, not for the crazy or excessive toppings. This is like a foodie version of donuts—elevated combinations of ingredients designed to excite and enlighten your palette.

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Again, I ordered a few different options to try them out. I got a blueberry bourbon basil classic glazed donut, as well as a lemon poppyseed glazed buttermilk donut. I don’t always love classic donuts, but this one was great. Like really great. Amazing consistency with a fluffy doughy inside and perfect glaze to donut ratio.

And then there was the lemon poppy seed donut. Wow, just wow. I’m partial to buttermilk or sour cream donuts as it is, but this was top-notch. Like top 3 I’ve ever had. The inside managed to be dense and fluffy at the same time, and the flavor from the lemon was well balanced and not overwhelming. The sugary light glaze was just enough to fulfill your sugar tooth without completely blowing out your taste buds and giving you gut rot.

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My Verdict on Voodoo vs Blue Star Doughnuts

Overall, I liked both establishments for different reasons. Voodoo is a fun and quirky experience all around, and the donuts they serve up only reaffirm the excessive vibe they are going for. Their staff are interesting people and their locations are cool.

Blue Star is simple in it’s experience, but packs a punch in their awesome donuts and unique flavor combinations. I think that Blue Star’s donuts are higher quality, and if I could only eat one of them again, I would choose Blue Star hands down. But if you’re in Portland, I definitely think both are worth a visit!

Need suggestions of what else to eat in Portland besides donuts? Check out my food travel guide for savory suggestions just as delicious Voodoo and Blue Star!

Nothing like a good donut rivalry to get you excited! In Portland, there are two excellent spots of delicious and creative doughnuts. Find out which spot is better between Voodoo Donuts and Blue Star donuts!

Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

5 thoughts

  1. I’ve never actually heard of Blue Star donuts (I’ve also not been to Portland..yet). While i love over the top and fun stuff sometimes, I like the simpler things too.

    Not sure I’m the biggest donut person, but I’ll definitely check these out if/when I visit (it’s a must..right?)

    1. Portland is absolutely worth a visit! I love it here, really fun place to explore. And yes, when you do come, definitely check out Blue Star. There are bunch of locations around the city, so no matter where you stay, you’ll probably be close to one :)

  2. I had heard of Blue Star Donuts before my visit to Portland, but we only had time to visit one of the shops so we chose VooDoo, which I think is the more famous of the two. I absolutely loved their donuts and now have random cravings for their donuts specifically, but I will definitely have to try B;ue Star if I’m ever in Portland again! :)

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