From apple pie to ice cream to chocolate chip cookies, Americans sure do love dessert. While some people enjoy whipping up their favorite desserts at home, sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to an expertly crafted pastry, slice of cake, brownie sundae or other decadent sweet treat at a charming dessert shop. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, these local favorites are the best places in each state to get dessert.
To find the best dessert shop in every state, we looked at online reviews from locals and tourists as well as ratings from local and national publications like newspapers, magazines and travel guides. We made sure these spots had a variety of dessert offerings rather than only offering just the best ice cream or the best doughnuts in each state. We also focused on places that stay open into the evening so you can swing by for a sweet treat after dinner.
Chez Lulu was opened to showcase the traditional European breads and pastries from Continental Bakery next door. This classic French cafe atmosphere in the middle of Birmingham is the perfect place to enjoy after-dinner drinks or coffee paired with freshly made croissants, crepes, macarons, creme brulee, pot de creme, cheesecake and other indulgent delicacies. On Fridays and Saturdays, this chic cafe is open until 10:30 p.m.
Anchorage’s Sweet Caribou is a family-owned and -operated French patisserie that makes thousands of macarons every week. But these versions of the classic delicacy boast Alaska-sized flavor. The flavors range from classic to inventive and nostalgic, such as macarons flavored like Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereal or Nerds candy. For those looking for something heavier, this bakery also makes rich cupcakes in flavors like bourbon pecan and salted caramel chocolate.
If you have an appreciation for keen attention to detail and elegant design, HeeMee’s cakes and confections are not to be missed. The Instagram-worthy creations are baked fresh and from scratch and are the brainchild of HeeMee, who honed her skills in the kitchen as a home baker before bringing her art to downtown Tucson. The cake and pastry options change daily, but the shop also offers bingsoo, a Korean dessert made of shaved ice and milk.
Handcrafted chocolate runs through everything at Bentonville’s Markham & Fitz, from cookies to truffles to spiked drinking chocolate. For a behind-the-scenes look at where the magic happens, you can tour the Markham & Fitz factory, and the shop is open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for when that weekend sweet tooth strikes.
Los Angeles is king when it comes to trendy desserts, but B Sweet Dessert Bar looks back to look forward. The shop is known for its wild interpretations of classic bread pudding with flavors like ube (purple yam), green tea and churro. In addition to bread pudding, B Sweet serves up Halos — hot pressed glazed donut ice cream sandwiches — along with other more traditional bakery fare like pocket pies, cheesecake and brownies. The brainchild of owner and founder Barb Batiste, B Sweet Dessert Bar boasts a long list of celebrity clients and high-profile events, meaning this is a place where you are definitely eating like a celebrity. And if you can’t make it all the way out to LA, the shop has some selections you might be able to find in your grocery store freezer aisle. The shop itself is open late, until 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The “d” in the name of Denver’s D Bar doesn’t stand for its hometown city. Rather, it stands for drinks, dining and most importantly, dessert. This stylish bar is owned by Food Network celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard and has a counter designated just for those grabbing dessert. The dessert menu ranges from fun spins on classic dishes, such as a Funfetti sundae or baked-to-order milk and cookies, to funkier fare like spiced sponge cake with oven-roasted figs and brown butter ice cream. If you’d rather drink your dessert, D Bar also offers spiked coffee and rich dessert martinis.
NoRA Cupcake Company, which has locations in Middletown and New London, specializes in cupcakes but also bakes plenty of other treats such as cake bites, whoopie pies and chocolate-covered chocolate chip cookies. Vegan and gluten-free treats are also available. It’s hard to pass up the cupcakes, however, which come in dozens of whimsical flavors and themes.
Delaware’s Mug & Spoon is known for its epic, over-the-top milkshakes. After a long day of fun in the sun or a romantic dinner in Rehoboth Beach, cool off with a creamy, dreamy shake such as the Mermaid Shake, a whimsical creation topped with cotton candy and edible glitter, or the chocolatey Blackout Shake. Mug & Spoon also offers sweet coffee drinks, sundaes and ice cream scoops atop fresh-made waffle cones.
Key lime pie is the signature dessert of the state of Florida, and one of the best slices of this iconic pie in the Sunshine State can be found at Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. This Key West institution also offers breakfast, lunch and other delectable Key lime confections such as key lime saltwater taffy, key lime pie bars and key lime pie on a stick, which is a slice of the shop’s famous pie dipped in Belgian chocolate.
Georgia is known for its Southern fare, but visitors will be transported to a European coffeehouse at Café Intermezzo, which has multiple locations around the city. Offering more than 70 kinds of homemade pastries as well as cakes and pies, the Midtown Atlanta location is open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
JoJo’s Shave Ice makes all of its cream syrups from scratch, which makes it a little different from that snowcone you would get at your little brother’s baseball game. Offerings include dry plum and cold brew coffee as well the tropical flavors of your surroundings like the fruity special, which is made from pineapple, papaya and passion orange as well as macadamia nut ice cream. The plain and simple is available for the traditionalist, boasting grape, cherry and lime flavors.
If you’re attending a wedding in Boise, cross your fingers that the couple snagged their cake from Amaru. The sweets shop nabbed Wedding Wire accolades every year from 2010 to 2018 and isn’t afraid to go outside the box when it comes to cakes and cupcakes. Amaru offers cake flavors of Guinness chocolate, Mexican mocha and apple cider with filling choices ranging from champagne buttercream to huckleberry buttercream to eggnog buttercream. Croissants, muffins, a variety of cookies as well as French macarons also grace the menu.
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate/Yelp
When stepping into Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, it might appear you’re at a local bar, but the menu is going to look a little different than the drinking establishments down the road. That’s because at Mindy’s, the hot chocolate is taken as seriously as the cocktails. You can get it medium (milk chocolate with a touch of dark chocolate and a hint of caramel), Mexican, dark, or butterscotch (half caramelized white chocolate, a fourth butterscotch, a fourth milk chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla bean and orange peel) and all topped with a house-made marshmallow. And while that might be the namesake dessert, Mindy’s also offers a full restaurant and bar and another dessert menu featuring pies, ice creams, milkshakes and sorbets.
The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers/Yelp
This Indiana spot has the stamp of approval of Oprah, with the shop’s crumb cakes nabbing a spot among Oprah’s 2019 favorite things, but the bakeshop has also been featured on the Food Network and sells some of its fare through high-end food purveyor Williams-Sonoma. And all of this success comes from behind the doors of an unassuming picturesque fairytale-style cottage.
Don’t let its name mislead you: Creme Cupcake in Des Moines, Iowa, celebrates every kind of dessert, not just cupcakes. This elegant dessert lounge pairs pastries and sweets with signature cocktails and drinks. Its menu is organized so that each dessert is next to a suggested tea, coffee, wine, beer or cocktail to complement its flavor. Creme Cupcake is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays but it also encourages guests to eat dessert first during happy hour every Tuesday to Saturday from 4-7 p.m.
Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates/Yelp
Since opening in 2005, Cocoa Dolce has expanded to three locations around Wichita, each with a dessert lounge within its shop for visitors to relax and enjoy a sweet creation. Along with assorted chocolates, freshly baked pastries and gelato, Cocoa Dolce offers tea, coffee, craft beer, wine and cocktails.
Sweet Surrender Dessert Café/Yelp
Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe takes the cake when it comes to dessert in Kentucky thanks to its Southern spins on classic confections. In honor of the Kentucky Derby, its mint julep cake is moist, fluffy chocolate cake layered with bourbon and creme de menthe buttercream. Other tempting creations include a flourless chocolate torte, peanut butter mousse pie and red velvet cake.
While most dessert spots on this list have massive menus that make it near-impossible to decide on a sweet treat, tourists flock to the famous Cafe du Monde 24 hours a day, seven days a week with one dessert on their minds: beignets. These fluffy French doughnuts are made-to-order and dusted with powdered sugar. They’re a perfect way to start or end your day enjoying the culinary delights of New Orleans.
Labadie’s Bakery has been around for almost 100 years and claims to be the originator of the iconic Maine whoopie pie. Besides the classic chocolate cake and vanilla cream combo, Labadie’s offers other whoopie pie flavors such as chocolate and peanut butter or raspberry with coconut as well as cream rolls.
Vaccaro's is a local Baltimore favorite that has been serving authentic Italian pastries and desserts since 1956. This family-run business is known for its cannolis, rum cake and over 30 varieties of Italian cookies and biscotti. Visitors can also stop in for gelato, sundaes, paninis and mufalatos.
There are a handful of Boston bakeries with fierce, loyal followings, but Mike’s Pastry is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike for its famous, beloved cannolis. In business for more than 70 years, Mike’s offers 19 flavors of the Italian treat, including plain, mint chocolate chip, Nutella, Oreo, limoncello and more. Other menu items include ricotta pie, biscotti, macaroons and cookies.
An underrated American travel destination, Detroit is home to many tasty dessert shops, but Astoria Pastry Shop takes the cake when it comes to confections in the Motor City. This family-owned Greektown bakery has been open since 1971, offers over 100 pastries and stays open until at least midnight seven days a week for its hungry customers. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional treats like baklava or trendier fare like cronuts, Astoria Pastry Shop will have you covered.
Located in Minneapolis’s Warehouse District, Edward’s Dessert Kitchen is a bright, airy and Instagrammable spot to enjoy dessert in Minnesota. Snag a cozy booth or a spot at the semi-circle cocktail bar before indulging in a freshly made dessert with unexpected ingredient combinations such as caramel and Chinese five-spice snickerdoodle cookies or mango coconut creme pie puffs.
One of the best places for dessert in Jackson, Mississippi, is La Brioche. Though the name is French, this bakery and restaurant’s fare takes inspiration from all over the world, thanks to the experiences and heritage of its co-founders, who are sisters originally from Argentina. That’s why along with daily croissants and stuffed brioche buns, the menu features quiche, empanadas and alfajor — dulce de leche sandwich cookies.
Bailey’s Chocolate Bar/Yelp
One of America’s best dessert spots is Bailey’s Chocolate Bar in St. Louis. This bar and dessert shop offers boozy chocolate confections in any form you can imagine, from ice cream martinis and chocolate cocktails to chocolate stout cake and brownie sundaes with Bailey’s ice cream. Those interested in fruity, nonalcoholic and even vegan creations also have plenty of options to choose from.
For more than 35 years, Bernice’s Bakery in Missoula, Montana, has whipped up fresh, homemade pastries, cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats. About 20 years ago, this classic bakery expanded to include a seating area where guests could pull up a chair and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dessert with a cup of coffee inside the cozy shop. Bernice’s also offers vegan and wheat-free options.
The Rabbit Hole in Lincoln is a top Nebraska dessert destination. This charming “Alice in Wonderland” themed cafe offers a rotating menu of desserts and pastries baked from scratch every morning, including cream puffs, cake slices, cake pops, cheesecake and more. While enjoying a sweet treat, have a cup of tea or coffee or sip on a signature cocktail.
Plenty of Las Vegas restaurants and chains serve larger-than-life desserts, but for something more modest yet satisfying, head to Is Sweet Coffee & Dessert. This coffee and dessert shop is open until midnight seven days a week and serves a rotating list of whimsical, creative confections such as matcha crepe cake, ice cream-stuffed honey toast or a gooey sizzling brownie served on a hot plate with a scoop of ice cream.
A New England specialty, popovers are light, airy rolls that “pop” up over the edge of the muffin tin while baking. They’re best enjoyed hot, direct from the oven, which might be why visitors flock to Popovers on the Square in Portsmouth. The freshly baked popovers come with house-made maple butter. Warm popovers also serve as the base for the signature ice cream sundae, which comes with two scoops of ice cream, caramelized bananas, caramel and chocolate sauce, walnuts, whipped cream and a cherry on top. This cafe and bakery also offers gluten-free popovers as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner with mini popovers serving as side dishes.
According to a 2019 study, Ocean City has the highest concentration of dessert shops per capita nationwide. But for something a little more lavish than ice cream on the boardwalk, head to Sook Pastry in Ridgewood. Owned by pastry chef Keum-Sook Park, Sook offers French-style pastries, savory and sweet crepes, French toast and more. Sook is open late until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, making it a great place for an after-dinner treat.
There are plenty of places to grab a drink in Santa Fe, but the sweetest sips in town can be found at Kakawa Chocolate House, which is famous for its drinking chocolate. Flavors range from sweet to bitter to spicy, and if you can’t decide, opt for a flight to sample four. Other chocolate creations include truffles, ice cream, brownies and cookies as well as New Mexico-inspired treats like chocolate-dipped peppers and Hatch green chile caramels.
New York City is home to many famous dessert spots such as Milk Bar, Serendipity 3, Junior's and Magnolia Bakery. But if you want something more off the beaten path, head to the delightful Butter & Scotch in Brooklyn. This women-owned retro-style cafe and bar is open until midnight most nights and extends its hours until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. On top of serving slices of what they claim is the best birthday cake in NYC, Butter & Scotch’s staff also whip up indulgent creations like boozy milkshakes, s’mores, Key lime pie, brownies and more.
This North Carolina dessert, cocktail and coffee lounge is a relaxing place for an afternoon treat or a nightcap; Bittersweet is open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. Dessert options include a stout float or a s’mores sundae, but Bittersweet is known for its signature salty chipwich ice cream sandwich, which is rolled in bourbon caramel corn.
North Dakota native Nichole Hensen opened this European-inspired cafe, which is the perfect place to meet a friend for coffee or grab an after-dinner treat thanks to extended hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Airy specialty pastries include eclairs, napoleons and cannolis, and richer treats range from bars and cookies to tarts and truffles.
For a perfect spot for date night in Ohio, check out Chocolate Cafe in Columbus. You can consume your chocolate any way you like here, from dessert martinis and cherry jubillee hot chocolate to chocolate-covered strawberries to rich brownies. Of course the menu includes multiple iterations of Buckeyes, from the classic to Buckeye martinis and Buckeye cheesecake.
La Baguette Bistro/Yelp
On top of having the best sports bar and the best food truck in the state, Oklahoma City can also claim the best dessert spot in the Sooner State. La Baguette’s bakery and cafe is owned by two French brothers and is located next to its romantic sister restaurant next door. Diners at the restaurant know to always leave room for dessert, which ranges from French classics like crepes and chocolate mousse to carrot cake and cheesecake.
Oregon has plenty of sweet spots that have earned national acclaim like Voodoo Donuts and Salt and Straw ice cream. But when locals want to relax over coffee and dessert, they head to Papa Haydn, a Portland institution that actually brought one of the first espresso machine to the city. This family-owned spot has two locations that each offer two dozen desserts, including old-school delights like baked Alaska and layered meringue confection boccone dolce.
Philadelphia might be famous for its cheesesteaks, but this city also knows how to do dessert, especially at Franklin Fountain. Open until midnight seven days a week, Franklin Fountain offers modern spins on vintage soda fountain favorites, such as a chocolate malt topped with a homemade toasted marshmallow or the Lightning Rod sundae topped with espresso and chocolate-covered espresso beans. There are also baked goods like fruit pies, whoopie pies and more to choose from.
Named among the best dessert spots in the country by Fodor’s and other publications, Pastiche has brought quality, craftsmanship and flair to its European-style pastries and desserts for more than 35 years. Eclairs, cannolis, tarts and tortes line the display case. Once you’ve made your selection, cozy up next to the fireplace or grab a spot next to the windows filled with fresh flowers.
At Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe in South Carolina, dessert isn’t an afterthought but the star of the show. The menu is chock full of tempting treats like dessert martinis and cheesecake, but the most popular item to order is the Tollhouse pie, a warm gooey pecan chocolate chip pie topped with whipped cream. Kaminsky’s is located downtown near several restaurants and is open late until midnight or 1 a.m. seven nights a week.
CH Patisserie is not just the best bakery in South Dakota, but it also ranks among the best in the nation. After winning “Top Chef” and the World Pastry Championships, celebrity chef Chris Hanmer opened CH Patisserie, where he dreams up sophisticated selections that transport you to a cafe in Paris. Must-tries include the classic French macarons or the flakey chocolate croissant.
The Soda Parlor/Yelp
Nashville is known for its food scene, especially its fried chicken. To help kill the heat after some Nashville hot chicken, order an old-fashioned soda, an extravagant sundae or a cookie ice cream sandwich at the Soda Parlor. The smell of freshly made waffles fills the air at this lively, retro spot. Use your sugar high to power you to a new stellar score on a vintage arcade game like Ms. Pacman.
Ohh La La Dessert Boutique/Yelp
Texans love their dessert, from their iconic pecan pie to Texas sheet cake. Perhaps that’s why Ooh La La Dessert Boutique has expanded to three locations in the Houston area. Locals love this shop’s cakes, pies, cupcakes, cookies and pastries as well as the whimsical atmosphere perfect for ending a family dinner or a romantic date.
A local, family-owned Salt Lake City favorite since 2003, Hatch Family Chocolates has everything from tiny hand-dipped chocolate morsels to cool, creamy ice cream to rich, satisfying desserts. To combat the chilly Utah winter, Hatch serves up some of the best hot chocolate in the state with dark, milk and even vegan options. Another specialty is the Karmel Malone Krispie, a Rice Krispie sandwich filled with caramel and marshmallow cream named after former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone.
Whether you want to start or end your day with something sweet, Mirabelles Cafe is the place to go in Vermont. Enjoy a breakfast pastry like a spiced apple danish with your morning coffee, or a light macaron or cream puff for an afternoon snack. For a show-stopping dessert, try Mirabelles’ famous creme brulee cake, which is like two delicious desserts in one. Vanilla cake filled with creamy custard is topped with sugar that gets melted into a caramelized layer.
This quaint cafe specializes in desserts, making it the perfect place to end your evening in Richmond, Virginia. Huge slices of fluffy cake come in a variety of rotating flavors like Butterfinger, strawberry Nutella and blackberry lime. Other offerings include Key lime pie, creme brulee and bread pudding. The Shyndigz to-go cafe makes it easy to grab dessert on the fly. You can also pick up take-and-bake kits to bake your own Shyndigz cake or pie at home.
If you’re looking for a pick-me-up on a rainy Washington day, head to Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Seattle for rich chocolate desserts. The house specialty is the Dark Decadence molten cake served with ice cream, though Hot Cakes also offers warm chocolate chip cookies, boozy milkshakes, roasted-to-order s’mores and more.
There’s more to the Washington, D.C. sweets scene than the famous Georgetown Cupcake. Locals and tourists alike flock to another Georgetown bakery a few blocks away. A charming, hole-in-the-wall family bakery, Baked & Wired boasts a wide array of tasty treats, such as mini cakes, pie by the slice, brownies, macaroons and more, as well as gluten-free and vegan options.
Recognized by publications like WV Living, Rock City Cake Company is known for its cake innovations. Cake rolls, cake balls, cookie cakes, cake pops and even cake push pops — they offer almost every iteration of cake you could imagine. This rock ‘n’ roll bakery also has every treat under the sun, including truffles, donuts, pastries and more. Rock City has a comfortable loft atmosphere and hosts live music.
Honeypie’s rotating roster of pies and cupcakes keeps locals coming back to try out its latest offerings, made from ingredients sourced from regional Wisconsin farmers. Honeypie also serves lunch, dinner and brunch, but its desserts are the real stars of the show. Pie selections include Midwestern-inspired flavors like Milwaukee Mud Pie as well as modern mashups like ginger chai cream. In the warmer months, satisfy your sweet tooth while lounging on Honeypie’s outdoor patio, and in the chillier months, cozy up in the coffeehouse-inspired interior.
Meeteetse Chocolatier rose to fame behind the humble origin story of its founder. Ranch worker and rodeo rider Tim Kellogg first began creating decadent, European-style chocolate truffles and other confections using local ingredients to sell at community fundraisers. They became such a hit that Kellogg opened a storefront in his small town of Meeteetse and then another location in Jackson, Wyoming. Although Kellogg does ship his creations, they can also be enjoyed freshly made at his shop in Meeteetse. If you’re looking for more of the best places in America to get your chocolate fix, check out the best chocolate shop in every state.
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