New York City is a happy place for people seeking cupcakes, pastries and the occasional slice of pie. Discover our picks for the best bakeries in NYC and what to order at each bakery.
It wasn’t that long ago when New Yorkers could satisfy their sweet cravings with black and white cookies, glazed jelly donuts and ricotta-filled cannolis. Back then, before accelerated globalization, a 20-year food renaissance and an explosion of social media, eating sweets in NYC was relatively uncomplicated. You could easily find a solid family-owned bakery serving Jewish, Italian and German pastries throughout the city.
Things changed quickly in the 1990s. Manhattan’s explosion of wealth coincided with a restaurant revolution. That restaurant revolution brought great French-born pastry chefs like Dominique Ansel and Francois Payard to the city, providing a gravitational pull to an entirely new generation of young culinary talent. Cupcakes and cookies suddenly became fancy and trendy.
But cookie and cupcake shops were just the beginning. Ansel’s 2013 introduction of the cronut at his self-named Soho bakery showed that New York’s pastry scene had become a worldwide trendsetter. Not only did the cronut take the city by storm, but versions of Ansel’s croissant-donut hybrid started appearing in bakeries around the world. We even ate an excellent “doughsant” in Cape Town, South Africa.
Today, the cronut is just one of many New York pastries that’s achieved global status. After encountering recreations of Lafayette’s suprême and Levain’s chocolate chip cookies in both Paris and Toulouse, we can confirm that, in a turnabout, French pâtisseries are now getting inspiration from their American brethren.
The flow isn’t one-sided. Many of the best NYC bakeries now sell pastries that would look familiar to picky Parisians while other bakeries cater to insta-loving K-pop fans. This is the type of culinary confluence that gets our creative juices flowing. It also makes us hungry.
Discover our favorite NYC food favorites.
Our Picks For The Best Bakeries In NYC
Some of the best NYC bakeries are neighborhood gems while others have developed into local chains. Some have branched out to other cities while otheres have thriving online distribution businesses. Visiting them all would be a fun endeavor; however, doing so would be difficult to accomplish in a day, week or even month.
The better approach is to develop a pastry plan based on what tickles your personal fancy. Maybe you’re jonesing for pastries that your bubbe or nonna used to bake. Or perhaps you want to try a pastry that you saw online or in a magazine. This is the approach we take when we visit NYC multiple times each year.
Read on to discover our favorite New York City bakeries and our top picks at each.
1. Dominique Ansel Bakery
What can we say about Dominique Ansel Bakery that hasn’t been previously said by others and in his cookbook? The bakery achieved legendary status when owner Dominique Ansel introduced his revolutionary croissant-donut mashup in 2013.
Obviously that pastry is the cronut. And, while it’s been copied by bakeries around the world, there’s nowhere better to eat the cream-infused, flaky, layered pastry than at the Soho bakery where it was invented. Just don’t count on eating a specific flavor since a new one, like the cinnamon roll custard flavor we tried, is featured every month.
That being said, Ansel’s pastries are excellent across the board and there’s really no need to freak out if the cronuts are sold out. The DKA (i.e. Dominique’s Kouign-Aman) is a great option – a marvel of crispy crunchy layered wonderfulness that’s as good if not better than anything you’ll find in Paris. There are no bad options here. Follow your senses and order what makes you happy.
Top Picks at Dominique Ansel Bakery
Blossoming Hot Chocolate, Cronut and DKA
Dominique Ansel Bakery is located at 189 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012, USA.
Open since 2013, Andrew Carmellini’s Lafayette hit a nerve on March 31, 2022 when Scott Cioe, the restaurant’s executive chef, announced the suprême’s debut on social media. Now, crowds queue up to an hour for the chance to photograph and eat a suprême
We were lucky enough to stroll in without a wait during a February visit. It was Daryl’s birthday and we consider our short wait to be a birthday gift. Two suprême flavors were on offer – passion ruby raspberry and pistachio.
We chose pistachio since it reminded us of the pistachio escargot we’d eaten at Du Pain et des Idées in Paris – albeit a firmer and more modern answer to the French bakery’s neo-classic pastry. We also chose a maple pecan donut since we have a thing for New York’s donut scene. But it was the croissant hybrid that won the day with its flavorful cream, festive green glaze and smattering of pistachios.
Top Picks at Lafayette
24 Carrot Cake, Maple Pecan Donut and Supréme
Lafayette is located 380 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.
3. Levain Bakery
You might be confused by Levain Bakery’s name considering the word levain is more associated with bread than cookies. The bakery’s thick, bumpy, chipped-filled cookies are world famous but a closer look reveals that Levain Bakery sells bread too. In fact, bread was the original focus when Connie McDonald and Pam Weekes opened the Upper West Side Levain Bakery in 1995.
Things have changed over the past few decades. Levain Bakery now has numerous NYC locations plus additional locations in Boston, Chicago, LA and Washington, DC. And, while the bakery continues to sell baguettes and boules, it’s the cookies that most customers crave.
Levain’s signature cookie, chocolate chip walnut, clocks in at six ounces and tastes its ooey-gooey best when it’s still warm. We tried one of those as well as a two chip chocolate chip cookies baked with dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips and no nuts. Other cookie options include dark chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut chip and oatmeal raisin as well as a gluten free version of the signature cookie.
Top Picks at Levain Bakery
Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie and Two Chip Chocolate Cookie
Levain Bakery has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 167 W 74th Street, New York, NY 10023, USA.
4. Magnolia Bakery
Magnolia Bakery proves that you can create an empire around cupcakes. In fact it’s difficult to think that a fortuitous repurposing of leftover dough has grown into a worldwide business with multiple bustling locations around NYC plus international shops in countries like India, Philippines, Turkey and the UAE.
To be clear, Magnolia Bakery doesn’t just sell cupcakes. Full-sized cakes, cookies and brownies are also on the menu along with banana pudding. Pudding options include both classic banana pudding made with fresh bananas and vanilla wafers as well as a ramped-up red velvet version with chocolate shavings.
The bakery’s massive expansion and media notoriety, with appearances in Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada and Saturday Night Live, luckily has not impacted its quality. It’s still possible to eat a high quality cupcake or enjoy a cup of banana pudding to go. And, if you like to bake at home, you can buy a cookbook too.
The pudding we bought on a recent visit was creamy and decadent though a little lacking on banana flavor. The cupcakes, which are more difficult to mess up, were just fine with creamy buttery icing and dense cake.
Top Picks at Magnolia Bakery
Banana Pudding, Red Velvet Cupcake and Vanilla Cupcake
Magnolia Bakery has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 401 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014, USA.
Although Orwashers has been part of the Upper East Side’s fabric since 1916, the centenarian bakery is a classic example of pouring new wine in old bottles. Keith Cohen purchased the iconic bakery from the Orwasher family in 2008, ushering the bakery into the 21st century. He introduced artisan baking techniques that include steaming the bakery’s sourdough bagels in lieu of the typical boiling method used to make NYC bagels. (We’re still boiled bagel people but appreciate that they do their own thing here.)
Today, Orwasher’s sells pastries that are just as good as anything you’ll find in New York’s modern pastry scene. The UES bakery sells a range of traditional Jewish baked goods that include bagels, rye bread, rugelach and babka. Cohen even published an artisan bread cookbook.
We couldn’t help but notice counter employees injecting donuts with fresh fillings by hand when we walked in the bakery. Seeing that dedication to product prompted us to order a sugary donut, hand-injected with locally produced cherry apricot jam.
We also ordered a sticky bun babka muffin topped with caramel and walnuts. It was an irresistible combination of earthy, nutty caramel and buttery, dense pastry that has us yearning for a return visit.
Top Picks at Orwashers
Black & White Cookie, Jelly Donut, Rugelach and Sticky Bun Babka
Orwashers has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 308 E 78th Street, New York, NY 10075, USA.
6. Milk Bar
Everyone knows that story of Christina Tosi, the pastry chef who burst from David Chang’s Momofuku group to become an international star. Appearances on Chef’s Table, Chopped and Bake Squad aside, she’s published multiple baking cookbooks and has even appeared in national telecom ads. But these aren’t the reasons why Milk Bar is a top NYC bakery with locations in cities like Las Vegas and Seattle.
Milk Bar’s fame is all about her pastry ingenuity – like the compost cookies, which are baked with a crazy assortment of ingredients that include chocolate and butterscotch chips, coffee, potato chips and pretzels. There’s also her nostalgic cereal milk soft serve ice cream – a flavor that hearkens back to the cereal-eating days of our childhood. That ice cream was unique when it debuted more than a decade ago as were her naked birthday cakes and her milk bar pie (formerly known as crack pie).
As for us, we’re happy to eat Milk Bar’s bite-sized cake truffles which come in flavors like b’day and red velvet cheesecake. Each cake truffle packs a lot of flavor in one tasty bite. Plus, since they’re sold in packs of six, nine and twelve, cake truffles are ideal for sharing.
Top Picks at Milk Bar
Cake Truffles, Cereal Milk Soft Serve Ice Cream, Compost Cookie and Milk Bar Pie
Milk Bar has multiple NYC locations. The flagship bakery is located at 1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001.
7. Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery
Open since 2016 in the West Village, the original Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery is both stylish and well stocked. The bakery is a pretty sunlit space with a comfortable array of tables both inside and outdoors. The bakery offers classic items like cheesecake and carrot cake. It also bakes a range of pastries from scones to croissants along with esoteric items like croissant monkey bread.
Owner Umber Ahmad, an American pastry chef with Pakistani parents, left a successful Wall Street career to create Mah-Ze Dahr bakery. She partnered with pastry chef Shelly Barbera and got support from noted international chef Tom Colicchio. Fast forward to the present and there are now multiple Mah-Ze-Dahr bakeries in NYC plus one just outside of Washington, DC.
Overwhelmed by the many tempting treats displayed in glass cases during our visit, we ordered a slice of devil in ganache cake which we later learned is apparently one of Oprah Winfrey’s favorite desserts. Essentially chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache frosting, it was a satisfying choice for these two chocolate lovers.
Top Picks at Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery
Brioche Donut, Devil in Ganache Cake, Heavenly Cheesecake, Mah-Ze-Dahr Bar and Vanilla Choux
Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 28 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY 10011, USA.
8. Supermoon Bakehouse
Scientists consider a supermoon to occur when the full moon’s orbit is closest to the earth. It’s surely a special event. The same can be said about eating pastries at Supermoon Bakehouse in the Lower East Side.
Initially overwhelmed by the array of pastries and donuts on display inside the spartan bakery, we quickly settled on two – a passionfruit donut and a Ferrer Rocher cruffin. While we’d previously eaten our fair share of donuts, that croissant-muffin hybrid would be our first.
Filled with hazelnut cream praline, topped with cream and dipped in chocolate, that cruffin was a treat. However, the donut was the winner with its sweet brioche dough and bright yellow passionfruit filling.
Top Picks at Supermoon Bakehouse
Cruffins, Donuts, Eclairs and Uniquely Flavored Croissants,
Supermoon Bakehouse is located at 120 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002, USA
9. Win Son Bakery
We first visited Williamsburg bakery Win Son during the pandemic when it was raining cats and dogs and the bakery’s dining section was closed. We ate our donut and a pastry under an awning of a nearby bus stop, which provided us with a temporary respite from the rain.
It all sounds awful and yet it wasn’t. With its sweet and savory flavors, our freshly fried Millet Mochi donut was excellent enough to make the other issues moot. It was also the chewiest, most satisfying gluten-free donut we’ve ever eaten. (If you’re wondering, the pastry was great too.)
Open since 2019 as an offshoot to Win Son, a popular Taiwanese restaurant, Win Son Bakery only has two donuts, the gluten free Millet Mochi donut that we ate plus a Fermented Red Rice donut, on its eclectic menu. However, there are plenty of other sweet options worth trying like sweet and savory milk buns, banana tarts and custard toasts.
Top Picks at Win Son Bakery
Millet Mochi Donut and Bolo Bao (Pineapple Bun)
Win Son Bakery is located at 164 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206, USA.
10. Petit Chou
Walking into Petit Chou caused us to do a double take since many of the pastries on display appeared to be inspired by the pastries sold at the excellent Cedric Grolet in Paris. To us, that’s a good thing since we respect the pursuit of excellence. But we wondered how they would taste. After all, that’s what matters most.
We later found out that Queens-born Bassim Nasr trained in Paris which validated our suspicions – they tasted fastastic. Nasr opened Petit Chou in 2021 and bakes a varied selection of French pastries on site. Options include viennoiseries and the prettiest eclairs we’ve seen outside of France.
Somehow, we chose a hazelnut puff – a generously sized, icing-covered bun topped with hazelnut cream and microscopically crunchy pralinée. And, in case you’re wondering, it was decadently delicious.
Top Picks at Petit Chou
Choux Pastries, Eclairs, Macarons and Viennoiserie
Petit Chou is located at 229 1st Avenue., New York, NY 10003, USA.
11. Daily Provisions
Merriam-Webster defines a cruller as’a small sweet cake in the form of a twisted strip fried in deep fat’. (In other words, it’s a fancy donut.) Open since 2017, Danny Meyer’s Daily Provisions brings that definition to life the best way possible – by baking one of the most memorable versions of the choux based pastry.
Perfection is a big word but it’s difficult to imagine a more perfect cruller that the Meyer lemon poppy cruller that we ate at Daily Provisions. Not only did the moist French-style choux pastry ring’s outer shell have crispy, sugary crust but the donut’s flavors were also spot on – definitely lemony and without being overly sweet.
Don’t worry if you’re not a donut person, if such a thing exists. Daily Pastry also sells brownies, cookies, croissants and muffins in addition to its rotating cruller roster. Savory options like sandwiches, soups and salads are on the menu too.
Top Picks at Daily Provision
Cruller or Salted Fudge Brownie
Daily Provisions has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 103 E 19th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.
12. Breads Bakery
You may be wondering why a bakery called Breads Bakery is in this guide. And, yes, while Breads Bakery has sold an assortment of boules, challahs and baguettes since its original Union Square location opened in 2013, the local bakery chain also sells a myriad of pastries, many of which have Jewish roots.
Those roots can be traced to Uri Scheft, who was also the baker behind Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Lehamim Bakery. While Scheft has moved on, his baking legacy remains in the form of award-winning chocolate babka and rugelach as well as more mainstream cheesecake and cinnamon buns.
We tasted the rugelach and it was solid. We also tried the bakery’s unique black and white cookie – a viennoiserie-inspired cookie sandwich that’s nothing like the glazed NYC cookie classic. It was a bold concept that, for us, didn’t quite come together. Maybe our love for traditional black and white cookies is too strong. Next time we’re ordering a babka.
Top Picks at Breads Bakery
Babka and Rugelach
Breads Bakery has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 18 E 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.
13. Veniero’s Pasticceria
Veniero’s the classic East Village bakery dates back to the 19th century – 1894 to be exact. Antonio Veniero, an immigrant from Sorrento, was no baking novice when he opened his self-named bakery an ocean away from his homeland. Today, the bakery still sells traditional Italian desserts and it’s still operated by the Veniero family.
Our history with Veniero Bakery is more recent. We first visited the multi-generation bakery during the 20th century. Back then, pairing cannolis with cappuccinos was a fun way to end a night in the city. That’s still the case a few decades later.
Top Picks at Veiero’s Pasticceria
Canolli, Cheesecake and Italian Sweet Treats
Veniero’s Pasticceria is located at 342 E 11th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.
14. Partybus Bakeshop
Open since 2018, Partybus Bakeshop is a cute Lower East Side spot decorated with eye-catching pink partybus wallpaper. And, while many people might be attracted to the bakery’s fun decor, our eyes went straight to the pastries.
Partybus Bakeshop feels like a French boulangerie with its mix of breads and pastries but Jacqueline Eng’s products have an eclectic spin that’s pure New York City. Baked with locally sourced organic stone milled flour, her repertoire includes everything bagel baguettes, monster cookies and even pizza.
We opted to try a pistachio rose croissant during our visit. It was a good choice – the flaky pastry burst with unique flavors without being cloyingly sweet. We’d say that it created a party in our mouths but that would be crass.
Top Picks at Partybus Bakeshop
Cheddar Chive Biscuit, Double Chocolate Monster Cookie, Pig Ear and Pistachio Rose Croissant
Partybus Bakeshop is located at 31 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002, USA.
15. Petee’s Pie Company
We usually think about cheesecake when we think about NYC desserts but maybe we should think about pie too. After all, pies are an essential part of Americana in New York and beyond.
Petra and Robert Paredez opened the original Petee’s Pies on Delancey Street in 2014. A passion for pies was nothing new for Petra, i.e. Petee – her parents own a successful pie company in Virginia. You can taste that passion in every slice whether you bite into a slice of sweet fruit pie, creamy custard pie or buttery chess pie. You can also bake them at home if you buy the bakery’s cookbook – Pies for Everyone.
Popular pie flavors include salty chocolate chess and lemon chess (we chose the latter) as well as banana cream, Hudson Valley apple and lemon meringue. The pie shop also has special Nesselrode pies with chestnut custard and rum-soaked cherries during the holiday season. They’re all baked with locally sourced ingredients including apples, cherries and flour produced in New York state.
Top Picks at Petee’s Pie Company
Banana Cream Pie, Hudson Apple Pie, Lemon Chess Pie, Nesselrode Pie and Salty Chocolate Chess Pie
Petee’s Pie Company has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 61 Delancey Street, New York, NY 10002, USA.
16. Little Cupcake Bakeshop
Little Cupcake Bakeshop’s name is misleading since this Brooklyn-based bakery has been baking both cupcakes and full-sized cakes since the Lobuglio brothers opened the original bakery in 2005. But there’s nothing confusing about ordering cake here unless you’re deciding on the flavor.
Tempting options included black & white and red velvet as well as strawberry shortcake, which is apparently Taylor Swift’s favorite flavor (if that kind of thing is important to you.) Despite those temptations, we opted for a Brooklyn Blackout cupcake. Food & Wine made the bakery’s Brooklyn Blackout famous when it wrote about the cake in 2016 and for good reason. Its a knockout thanks to the combination of two different chocolate icings.
Top Picks at Little Cupcake Bakeshop
Black & White, Brooklyn Blackout, Red Velvet and Strawberry Shortcake
Little Cupcake Bakeshop has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located at 9102 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209, USA.
17. Cafe d’Avignon
You might think that Cafe d’Avignon has roots in Provence where the city of Avignon is located. You would be wrong. The bakery chain is actually the brain child of Yugoslavian immigrants who moved to America in the 1990s. They achieved success with Pain D’Avignon in Boston before expanding their horizons south to include New York.
Once in NYC, they started with a wholesale baking business before opening a bakery inside the Essex Market. More than a decade later, that bakery is going strong as are newer bakeries in located in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. They even published a cookbook filled with baking tips.
We meant to order a croissant or kouign amann during our visit but somehow ordered a piece of raspberry waffle cake instead. We simply couldn’t resist the buttery waffle cake baked with fresh raspberries. And, since the bakery uses Stumptown beans, we ordered a couple cappuccinos too.
Top Picks at Cafe d’Avignon
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, Cinnamon Kouign Amann, Croissant and Raspberry Waffle Cake
Cafe d’Avignon has multiple NYC locations. We visited the bakery located inside the Essex Market which is located at 88 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002, USA.
18. Sullivan Street Bakery
After learning the art of bread baking in Italy, baking legend Jim Lahey opened the original Sullivan Street Bakery in 1994 with wild Italian yeast and a mission to bake and sell handcrafted, small batch bread to the masses. While that original bakery is now closed, it’s fair to say that Lahey’s mission was a major success.
Not only has his bakery expanded north to Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, but he also won a James Beard outstanding baker award and a wrote an iconic New York Times article that single-handedly popularized the concept of no-knead bread baking. He later wrote a book on the same topic.
Don’t rule out pastries at Sullivan Street Bakery despite Lahey’s bread focus. Filled with sweet vanilla cream and dusted with powdered sugar, the yeasty bomboloni we shared was a delight.
Other sweet treats include olive oil cake, flourless chocolate colpa degno cookies and seasonal favorites like panettone. In a trendy move, we even noticed maritozzi during our most recent visit. The bakery also sells Roman-style pizza slices which are the opposite of sweet.
Top Picks at Sullivan’s Street Bakery
Bombolini, Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Sullivan Street Bakery has multiple NYC locations. The main bakery is located at 533 W 47th Street, New York, NY 10036.
19. Bourke Street Bakery
Bourke Street Bakery has a commendable pedigree that started in Sydney, an Australian city that’s obsessed with both coffee and brunch. Paul Allam and David McGuinness opened the original location on Sydney’s Bourke Street back in 2004, Allam published a cookbook five years later and they jumped multiple ponds to get to NYC in 2019.
We had high hopes for the bakery based on the many stellar review that populate the internet but, alas, it wasn’t our favorite. Perhaps pairing a chocolate croissant with a cappuccino wasn’t the way to go at this Aussie transplant. We’ll probably order an almond croissant next time unless we’re in the mood for a savory sausage roll or meat pie.
Top Picks at Bourke Street Bakery
Almond Croissant, Banana Bread, Carrot & Walnut Cake and Dark Chocolate & Sour Cherry Cookie
Bourke Street Bakery has multiple NYC locations. The original bakery is located in Australia.
20. Taiyaki NYC
Taiyaki NYC isn’t technically a bakery since it’s primary focus is ice cream. However, the Lower East Side shop serves its ice cream in fish-shaped waffle cones which we consider to be pastries. While you may or not agree with this thought process, there’s no doubt that you’ll agree that eating a fish-shaped waffle cone filled with colorfully swirled soft serve ice cream is fun.
Our #4 cone combo was big enough to share and straight out of Japan. Literally. Not only did it remind of Japanese street food we’d previously eaten in Osaka, but it was also named ‘straight out of Japan’. The combination of two types of matcha ice cream, red bean filling and a mochi rainbow was a winner. Plus, the waffle cone, i.e. the pastry, tasted great.
Make no mistake – the cones at Taiyaki NYC may be Insta-ready but they’re not just a novelty. Daryl loved the ice cream and compared its creaminess to Carvel. Since he earned the nickname ‘soft serve’ in the past, he knows what he’s talking about in this regard.
Top Picks at Taiyaki NYC
Fish-Shaped Waffle Cone With Fillings and Toppings of Your Choice
Taiyaki NYC has multiple locations in NYC and beyond. The original shop is located at 119 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013, USA.
Frequently Asked Questions
NYC has thousands of bakeries that are located in all five boroughs. They range from traditional to modern. The only way to find the best NYC bakery is to try them all. We recommend starting your exploration at Dominique Ansel Bakery, Lafayette, Levain Bakery and Magnolia Bakery.
NYC has more than one famous bakery. Dominque Ansel Bakery is famous for inventing the cronut. Lafayette is famous for inventing the suprême. Levain Bakery is famous for its generously sized chocolate chip cookies. Magnolia bakery is famous for making cupcakes popular again.
Hungry For More In NYC?
About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: December 18, 2023