In a city as diverse and food centric as New York, narrowing down the best bakeries across the five boroughs was a challenge. But we live to serve, so we popped into spots big and small, fancy and quaint to try the best bread, pies, pastries and cakes across the city. Because it was difficult to choose just one winner from each category, we also named two honorable mentions that should be on your list. Whether you live next door or have to travel an hour to reach these bakeries, they are all worth a detour for their expertly-made baked goods. Without further ado, these are the best bakeries in NYC.
Best Italian Pastries: Settepani Bakery
Post-2000, Williamsburg is known more for international dining than for multigenerational Italian bakeries. But Settepani is one of a handful off the L train with that cozy neighborhood vibe and owners who seem to know every customer by name. There are two four-level display cases with pastries on the left and cookies on the right. Grab an espresso and some rainbow cookies, and take a seat at one of the two tables. In 30 minutes, you’ll watch patrons order cannoli, tiramisu and panettone (the flavor of which changes monthly) with an enthusiasm that can cause a knee-jerk “I’ll have what they’re having” reaction.
Honorable Mention: Villabate Alba
If you want to know what Mulberry Street would look like without tourists, head to 70th Street and 18th Avenue in the heart of Bensonhurst any time of the year. Villabate Alba is cash only, and there’s no photography allowed inside. The almond cookies and biscotti are the top sellers, but as the Alaimo family came from Sicily, you have to try the cannoli or cassata.
Honorable Mention: Artuso Pastry
The Bronx’s Little Italy has several multigenerational Italian bakeries, but Artuso’s is the only one with an intersection named after a family member. The different flavored cannoli will stand out the most, but you should also try the red velvet cake, known for its light, airy crumb and thick, sweet frosting.
Best Macarons: Macaron Craft Oizumi
This is the most fun macaron spot in the five boroughs. Named after veteran pastry chef and Yokosuka native Miwa Oizumi, Macaron Craft has all of the classic flavors, but with a twist. For $1 extra per macaron, you can get them shaped like cartoon characters, including Pikachu, Baby Yoda and Shiba. The rule of thirds goes out the window here, as the buttercream is similar in thickness to the two outer shells combined. Strawberry is Miwa’s favorite and a good choice, and the more intense flavor of the salted caramel is a stand-out, too.
Honorable Mention: Thierry Atlan
This father-and-daughter chocolate boutique in SoHo has 20 different macaron flavors as well as macaron ice cream. You won’t have to guess what you are tasting here. Anything with berry is a good choice, but you should also try the chocolate macaron, as it’s namesake Thierry Atlan’s favorite. His daughter Julie prefers passion fruit, which is a top seller.
Honorable Mention: Macaron Parlour
Located where Chinatown meets the Lower East Side, Macaron Parlour is NYC’s most vegan-friendly macaron spot. Many flavors are available plant-based or with the standard egg protein shells, including the best-selling red velvet. Instead of floral-inspired options, you’ll find fun flavors like Cheetos and Party Time, made with a mix of salted Valrhona milk chocolate and dulce de leche.
Best Greek Pastries: Victory Sweet Shop
This family-owned bakery has its origins in the Greek islands of Nisyros and Rhodes. Victory Sweet Shop has been serving galaktoboureko, portokalopita, tsoureki bread and other Greek pastries in Astoria since 1968. It manages to play the hits like baklava and karidopita (walnut cake) with tasty precision while also offering lesser-known cakes like nougatina, an almond cake with layers of custard cream topped with walnuts and whipped cream. To mix some savory with all the sweet, check out the adjacent Victory Garden Cafe, which the Sakalis family opened in 2012.
Honorable Mention: Artion Bakery Patisserie
At Artion, you can help yourself to a variety of Greek cookies and flavored baklava. This spotlessly clean bakery is set back from 31st Street and has a small counter where you can grab items like custard cream-filled bougatsa and the popular cheese pies.
Honorable Mention: Lefkos Pyrgos
Whether looking for outside-the-box ideas or traditional items like baklava and cheesecake, you’ll find them here at 33rd and Ditmars. There are several cheesecake options, but the baklava cheesecake stands out the most, with a piece of baklava resting on a layer of cheesecake held together by a plastic wrapper. Don’t miss the trigona panoramatos, phyllo dough pockets filled with yellow pastry cream.
Best Cakes: Lady Wong
Lady Wong takes Southeast Asian flavors like pandan, calamansi and durian and infuses them into different pastries. Highlights include the 21-layer mille crepe cakes and sweet, small, jello-like steamed cakes known as kuih. There’s a new item every weekend, making it hard to stay away. Check out both locations, one in the East Village and the other in Midtown where they have a stall at Urban Hawker.
Honorable Mention: AnnTremet Cake
AnnTremet simultaneously feels like a French patisserie and a modern Asian bakery. Instead of dense cakes with thick buttercreams, you’ll notice less sugary, more airy bites. Digging into some of the mini cakes (like the bunny cheesecake) with your fork can feel like destroying a cherished art project. Be sure to try the afternoon tea experience.
Honorable Mention: Evelyn’s Kitchen
Located along First Avenue in East Harlem, Evelyn’s Kitchen has the best red velvet cake in the city. Period. Both the cake and frosting are thick, making it one of the densest cake slices you’ll ever try.
Best Asian Bakery: Kape’t Torta
Gingoog native Nora Galleros and her partners opened this welcoming bakery back in 2019 to bring Filipino bread and desserts like yema cake and ube cheese pandesal to New York City. The bakery’s name translates to “coffee and cake,” both of which are must-tries. The ube cheese pandesal are not much larger than a golf ball and often sell out by mid-afternoon. You should also try the halo-halo, which straddles the fence between drink and dessert.
Honorable Mention: Kuih Cafe
Chef, co-owner and Kuala Lumpur native Veronica Gan opened this small, mostly takeout spot with her husband right before the COVID-induced shutdowns. Menus are written in chalk and change every Friday. You have to try the mini burnt cheesecakes, which has a Basque-style texture with Southeast Asian flavors like black sesame, durian, ube and even Milo from time to time.
Honorable Mention: Harper’s Bread House
Located where Chinatown meets the Lower East Side, Harper’s Bread House has a mix of standard sweet and savory pastries and attention grabbers like pumpkin sticky rice. You’ll also see 20-plus onigiri options with standard fillings ranging from spicy tuna to curiosities like Swiss chicken wing and chicken kimchi cheese. You’re sure to see older community members sipping hot tea next to 20-somethings taking selfies while drinking ube bubble tea.
This $12 Slice of Cake Will Transport You to the French CountrysideA Bordeaux-raised baker opens up shop in the East Village.
French Patisserie: Pâtisserie Vanessa
As you approach the northwest intersection of 89th and Lexington, ignore the tall buildings aand look straight ahead to Pâtisserie Vanessa. This authentic French patisserie will transport you to namesake Vanessa Silengo’s native Marseille, where the encased Le Choux and Charlotte pastries look almost too pretty to eat. The former have a firmer bottom topped with chantilly cream, while the latter are airy with the mousse inside encircled by a delicate wall of homemade ladyfingers.
Honorable Mention: Mille-feuille Bakery Cafe
Named after what we in North America tend to refer to as Napoleon, Mille-feuille has a few NYC locations, and everything is made from scratch in Brooklyn. The macarons are a must-try, as is the decadent five-layer namesake pastry. The pistachio croissants are seasonal, but you can get the rolled almond croissants all year, which are coated with sliced almonds and powdered sugar and filled with a semi-sweet almond paste.
Honorable Mention: Heritage Grand Bakery
At Heritage Grand Bakery, the focus is on ancient grains and memorable presentations of French classics. Executive Pastry Chef Damien Herrgott started in Besançon, France, and has been working in New York for more than a decade. Milling is done on-site, and you can even see the machine through a window at the end of the bakery. But before you get there, you’ll notice standout pastries like eclair puffs topped with chocolate and a gold flake. The pinkish macaron shells separated by an outer layer of fresh raspberries are called ispahan. Vanilla millefeuille are visible from 40th Street. Kings Cakes (Gallette des Rois) are available during the holidays.
Best Bread: Librae Bakery
Librae is a vibe. On a trip to pick up bread for InsideHook’s olive oil tasting, every table was taken, and duos or trios of people with coffee and pastries socialized on the sidewalk outside, even if they didn’t have a seat. It felt delightfully European, people actually taking a moment to enjoy their breakfast. And who wouldn’t want to savor Librae’s breads, which are undoubtedly the best in the city. The rye baguette and oats & seed sourdough are spectacular, and the everything sourdough pretzel is a revelation. The seasonal focaccia is also not to be missed. Come for the loaves, stay for the pastries, all using Middle Eastern-inspired flavors and Danish fermentation techniques.
Honorable Mention: Balthazar Bakery
All these years, and Balthazar still has some of the best bread in New York. Yes, you can enjoy some when you sit down for a meal at the iconic restaurant, but you can also pop into the teeny tiny bakery next door to get fresh loaves. The multigrain pan loaf makes for the most decadent toast ever, and the naturally leavened levain boule is perfect for soaking up every last pit of pan juice from a roast chicken or other saucy dish.
Honorable Mention: Saraghina Bakery
Located around the corner from Saraghina Pizzeria, this small bakery has a curated assortment of groceries and breads, and it’s definitely worth the detour. They sell a variety of naturally-leavened loaves, like bianca (a traditional mountain bread from Italy’s western Alps) and a sesame bastone. The focaccia is unbelievably good, whether you choose plain or something like the Rossa, which is topped with tomato sauce, olives, capers and Parm.
Best Doughnuts: Dough
When I lived in Clinton Hill and Dough was in its original location in Bed-Stuy, it became my go-to every time I needed something sweet. And although it moved on from its tiny storefront on Lafayette Avenue, it’s still the best doughnut in New York City. They have that lightly crisp exterior and pillowy interior that makes a doughnut so good. I never thought of myself as a fruity doughnut person, but Dough changed that with their hibiscus and lemon poppy seed flavors. They have a few vegan flavors, and seasonal doughnuts like mango coconut and banana hazelnut keeps things exciting throughout the year.
Honorable Mention: Dun-Well Doughnuts
Even non-vegans can appreciate Dun-Well’s delicious vegan doughnuts. They have classic flavors like Boston cream and chocolate sprinkle, but unique creations like blueberry sweet corn and raspberry rose matcha cream are not to be missed.
Honorable Mention: Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
I’m pretty sure people would try to fight me if I didn’t mention this Greenpoint institution, but that’s not the reason I’m giving it props. Peter Pan has been around for 60 years, and their sweet, sticky donuts are exactly what a donut should be — and the prices are right, too. I’m a jelly powder and honey dip fan, but they’re known for the red velvet, so get a baker’s dozen and go nuts.
Best Cupcakes: Billy’s Bakery
At my first NYC job, a co-worker purchased Billy’s Bakery cupcakes for someone’s birthday. I took one bite of the banana and knew it would be one of the best I’ve ever eaten. The cake is like the richest, sweetest, most delicious banana bread you’ve ever tasted, and the cream cheese frosting has the perfect texture and just the right amount of tang. But even if you’re not a fan of banana, Billy’s has a cupcake for everyone. The red velvet and bourbon salted caramel cupcakes are also excellent, and you can’t go wrong with chocolate if that’s what you’re craving.
Honorable Mention: Magnolia Bakery
You really can’t talk about New York cupcakes without talking about Magnolia. Whether you have a hankering for confetti or classic chocolate, you know that this mainstay will deliver something sweet and delicious. For a true New York moment, try the Carrie Cupcake, a nod to SATC made with vanilla cake, pink vanilla buttercream and a daisy.
Honorable Mention: Little Cupcake Bake Shop
This mini New York chain has locations across the city, many with charming cafes where you can sit and enjoy their outstanding cupcakes. The Golden Vanilla is absolute heaven, as is the Brooklyn Blackout, for which they are known. At their Bushwick location, Bake Shop, they even sell vegan and gluten free versions that are just as good as the real, buttery thing.
Best Cookies: Ceremonia Bakeshop
A friend brought over a box of Ceremonia cookies to a recent gathering at my apartment, and I practically screamed after trying the rainbow sprinkles. I’ve been chasing a cookie this good ever since, but why bother — with a storefront in Williamsburg, I’m lucky enough to snag these cookies whenever I want. The aforementioned rainbow cookie is amazing, as is the chocolate chip and special flavors like toasted sesame with white chocolate and pretzels. They also serve savory treats like sausage rolls and breakfast sandwiches if you need to temper the sugar high.
Honorable Mention: Maman
What started as one Soho storefront in 2014 has grown to an international sensation, but maman is just as good as the day it opened. While we love going here for savory eats like sandwiches and salads, the baked goods are outstanding, especially the cookies. Try the nutty chocolate chip, stuffed with macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts and dark chocolate wafers.
Honorable Mention: Levain Bakery
These iconic cookies are hyped for a reason. You would think that cookies this large would have too much cake and not enough of an ooey, gooey center, but Levain absolutely nails the texture. The bakery is known for its chocolate chip walnut cookie, but the dark chocolate peanut butter chip is legitimately one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Be on the lookout for limited edition flavors like caramel coconut chocolate chip and rocky road.
Best Pie: Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen opened Four & Twenty Blackbirds in 2009 because they were hard-pressed to find freshly baked pies made with local, seasonal orchard fruit. The shop has since been nothing short of a sensation, and they still make the best pies in New York City all these years later. The salted caramel apple and bittersweet chocolate pecan are delicious even outside the confines of Thanksgiving, and pies like Salty Honey and matcha custard show off their creativity and skill. Their pie of the month is always changing, so you constantly have a reason to go back for more.
Honorable Mention: Pies ‘n’ Thighs
When I first moved to NYC and lived in Williamsburg, there wasn’t a lot around — until Pies ‘n’ Thighs opened their brick and mortar on my corner in 2010. I was there multiple times a week to order a Hippie Banjo for breakfast and a slice of pie for later. I was partial to adding a slice of cheddar to the apple, grabbing a few slices of bourbon pecan for the roomies and potentially coming back later for the banana cream. Even through Williamsburg’s many changes, they still serve some of the best pies in the city.
Honorable Mention: Martha’s Country Bakery
I’ve purchased many a cake from Martha’s over the years, and I can always trust them to deliver top-notch quality baked goods. But I recently stopped in for something sweet and discovered their tremendous pies. The cherry and triple berry are outstanding, but you can’t go wrong with any type you choose.
Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.