I have an insatiable sweet tooth, which is why leaving New York feels impossible. The reason? The best desserts in New York City can’t be matched anywhere else in the world.
Like with most things, New York City has the cream of the crop. Treats from all over the world find their way to this little tiny island and help make NYC that much sweeter. Walking down the street is like walking through a minefield of flavor bombs waiting to ambush you around every corner.
And ambush me they do. Let’s just say I am not the most disciplined New Yorker and I have a tendency of letting my cravings get the best of me. To that end, let my experiences help guide you to the best desserts in New York City.
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Desserts in New York City
Warm cookie from Levain Bakery
Chances are good that you’ve heard of Levain, arguably the most famous chocolate chip cookies in New York City, if not the world. Consistently ranking among the best desserts in New York City, their gooey chocolate chip walnut cookies have amassed a cult-like following.
Rarely, in a city offering SO many food options, does a place stand so far above the rest but Levain Bakery is an exception. These incredible treats will reappear to you in dreams.
They keep the menu fairly small (five cookies and a few baked goods) which makes ordering a breeze. The line stretches well out the door most hours of the day and can be up to an hour long during the weekend. Have I waited in line for 1+ hours for a cookie? Yes. Did I regret it? Absolutely not, at the end of the day it’s one of New York City’s best desserts.
Apart from the cookies, I’m also a sucker for their oatmeal raisin scone. I order it every time I go and find it to be perfectly soft, warm and satisfying. Highly recommend.
To make matters worse, I currently live a mere two blocks from the original bakery on West 74th street and pop in twice a week on average. Living so close to the best desserts in New York City seems to be making my pants shrink! My willpower is definitely tested often (and let’s just say I’m not winning).
Address: 6 shops in New York City
You might enjoy reading: 10 Seductive Cookies in New York City That Live Up to the Hype
Pinklady Cheese Tart
I discovered Pinklady Cheese Tart by chance after I had a craving of the airy cheesecakes I had in Japan. Desperate, I hopped online and tested what I knew to be true: the best desserts are in New York City and thankfully I was right.
I made a beeline for Pinklady Cheese Tart after seeing photos of their delectable cheesecakes which confirmed it was just what I was after. The best desserts in New York City come from all over the world, and these Japanese delicacies do their country proud.
They look like a pie thanks to the thick crust, which is needed since the cheese stuffing is more gooey than the typical cheesecake. After the first bite it’ll start to seep over in a flood of delicious filling.
There are also different flavors like matcha, ube, blueberry, chocolate and the original cheese filling. My suggestion is to bring a friend. This way you can each get different flavors and you’ll be able to try more of the best desserts in New York City.
Address: 11 Mott St, New York, NY 10013
Cronut from Dominique Ansel
Often considered one of the most innovative bakeries in New York City, Dominique Ansel is beloved by locals and visitors alike.
I first visited for the world-famous Cronut and left with a handful of the best desserts in New York City. Everything Dominique Ansel touches turns to gold. And I must admit this iconic bakery in NYC is completely worth the hype, even long after the cronut sells out in the early morning hours.
I’ve visited Dominique Ansel Bakery plenty of times and can tell you confidently that it’s impossible to be disappointed when visiting. The best way to describe this popular New York City bakery would be: Michelin-star quality at a fraction of the price.
Visiting Dominique Ansel feels like a treat, the baked goods are bound to leave a lasting impression. You’ll undoubtedly find yourself back (in line) in no time flat joining the other folks seeking out the best desserts in New York City.
Address: 189 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
The cronut flavor rotates monthly. Follow Dominique Ansel on Instagram for updates on this month’s flavor!
Nutella cruffin from Supermoon Bakehouse
Supermoon Bakehouse is the brainchild of Ry Stephen, the mastermind behind L.A. and San Francisco’s Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.
Today Supermoon Bakehouse is home to the best desserts in New York City and with one visit you’ll understand why. Renowned for its creativity and innovation, the baked goods have folks waiting on line for 1+ hours. The star of the show is the Nutella Cruffin, a mixture between a muffin and croissant which tastes as good as it sounds.
Intricate layers of airy doughy goodness entangled with a soft and creamy nutella center. Sheer perfection.
Address: 120 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
Banana bread pudding from Magnolia Bakery
I would be a fool to talk about the best desserts in New York City and not mention the famous banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. I’m talking world- famous, and for good reason. Banana pudding is a dessert many have tried to make but few have perfected like Magnolia.
It’s not uncommon for Magnolia Bakery to be sold out of it on some days, especially their seasonal flavors. Seasonal flavors are still fairly new to Magnolia, but let me tell ya – it’s a step in the right direction.
The classic banana pudding is creamy, fresh and absolutely divine. Now add chunks of red velvet cake or salted caramel with chocolate covered pretzels and voila!, we have the best desserts in New York City.
My personal favorite was the apple crisp banana pudding they churned out last November. The amount of times I stepped foot into Magnolia, they should’ve given me an apron and put me on the payroll.
For those of you who don’t plan on visiting New York City anytime soon but still need your fix, fret not. Magnolia Bakery has options to ship one of the best desserts in New York City directly to you, or you can order the DIY banana pudding kit.
Address: 7 shops in New York City
Chocolate babka from Breads Bakery
A few years ago the chocolate babka at Breads Bakery was named the best in New York City — arguably the best in the world. Excuse me, but how could I possibly sleep at night until I tried it for myself?!
Without skipping a beat, I rushed to the bakery first thing the next morning to try the acclaimed babka and see what all the fuss was about. Well, little did I know I’d be enjoying one of the best desserts in New York City.
Dark chocolate ribbons enrobed in Nutella delicately folded into layers of airy dough pockets — I was hooked, and have been returning to this bakery every other week since. I’ve actually made a tradition of swinging by this bakery to pick up some New York City desserts for my mom because she loves the babka too.
Local’s Tip: Breads Bakery recently opened a new bakery in the Upper East Side. They chose to create a baked good exclusive to the location and landed on a delicious twist on the iconic black-and-white cookie. I consider this one of the best desserts in New York City and would drive an hour out of the way for this thing. I can’t recommend it enough.
Address: 4 shops in New York City
Earl grey tea ice cream from Van Leeuwen
Van Leeuwen burst into the New York City dessert scene in a very usual way. They started with a food truck, scooping velvety ice cream in hopes of keeping New Yorkers moving. What was unusual, however, was how quickly they grew from food truck to brick-and-mortar shops throughout NYC.
In fact, you can now find Van Leeuwen in a handful of big cities cross the country, but New York City is still home. You can swing by any of their 19 stores to get your hands on some of the most refreshing desserts in New York City.
What sets them apart from other popular ice cream shops is their creativity. In addition to exciting monthly flavors, Van Leeuwen stocks unique flavors like brown sugar cookie dough, Scicilian pistachio and earl gray tea (my favorite!).
But the best part about this beloved New York City ice cream shop is their adamant refusal to use artificial flavors, keeping the ice cream as natural as possible. None of that artificial junk here folks. Oh, and did I mention that they also churn out some of the best vegan ice cream in NYC as well? Seriously, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
So if you’re in search of the best dessert in New York City, you need not look further than this local gem.
Address: 19 ice cream shops in New York City
Creme Brulee Doughnut from Doughnut Plant
Every great foodie city has their go-to spots for amazing doughnuts and Doughnut Plant is at the top of our list for best dessert in NYC!
Customization is the name of the game here. There are vegan and gluten free options and everybody is sure to find something to satiate their sweet teeth.
With multiple locations in NYC, make sure prioritize these doughnuts in your quest for the best desserts in New York City. Their case is overflowing with stunning options like the seasonal fresh blueberry Sourdoughnut and the ever classic chocolate sprinkle.
However we recommend trying their signature crème brûlée donut so you can taste for yourself what made them a household name for the best desserts in New York City. Each donut is filled with vanilla bean custard and individually torched to caramelize the sugar topping. Save a bite for us!
Address: 5 shops in New York City
Petee’s Pie Company
New York City is no stranger to good pies. And I’m not talking about pizza pie, I’m talking best desserts in New York City pies. Petee’s Pie Company is leading that charge. The family owned business has a quaint and cozy vibe with a homestyle taste.
Petra “Petee” Paredez was born to bake. Her parents own a successful pie company in Virginia so it is no surprise she’s able to hold her own amongst the best bakeries in the city. The dedication to her craft shows itself in the all of her pies and treats.
Quality doesn’t waver either, you can taste the fresh and real ingredients with every bite. Regardless of which flavor you get, you’ll understand why we consider this one of the best desserts in New York City. you won’t make it down the block without wanting to come back for more.
I’m partial to traditional apple pie, but there are plenty to choose from.
Address: 61 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
Cream puff from Bibble & Sip
New York City, you beautiful thing you! Consistently bringing us glorious treats and delicious desserts. My next recommendation is tiny but mighty- I’m talking cream puffs.
These are not just any old cream puffs, we’re talking best dessert in New York City cream puffs.
Bibble & Sip is a bakery located in midtown. Trained in French confectionery and inspired by Asian flavors, everything they offer is worth a try. The desserts they serve are decorated playfully and are incredibly cute.
However the cream puff stands out from the rest and warrants a spot among the best desserts in New York City. Bibble & Sip offers an array of flavors, but I could not suggest the matcha cream puff enough.
The puff itself is made of the most delicious dough with an airy texture. As for the cream (the star of the show) no words will do the cool and smooth flavor justice.
Address: 253 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019
Bouncy cheesecake from Keki Modern Cakes
Adding Keki Modern Cake to my list of best desserts in New York City was a no brainer. Where I struggled was deciding what to add to the list. Everything here is that good!
After many debates with my wife and many “research” calories later, I’ve settled on the Japanese cheesecake. It’s some of the best dessert in New York City.
Take everything you think you know about cheesecake and toss it out the window. Keki’s bouncy cheesecake is like nothing you’ve ever had before. It’s silky, it’s airy, it’s perfect. The cheesecake is not the only thing that dances. After one bite you’ll be busting out your happy moves and jiggling in harmony.
Address: 2 shops in New York City
Chocolate Cake from Mah-Ze-Dahr
Chocolate cake has to be mentioned when talking about the best desserts in New York City. A fan favorite since its inception, you can find it at grocery stores, bodegas, cafe’s and half the restaurant in Manhattan. However I have yet to find a slice as good as Mah-Ze-Dahr’s.
The cake is thick, I don’t mean the slice, I mean the cake itself is dense. It’s rich, and it’s heavy because it’s moist. The frosting is equally jam packed with flavor. It is soft like butter and smooth like ice cream.
Mah-Ze-Dahr has really done something here, they’ve created one of the best desserts in New York City. They’ve created the perfect cake for anniversaries and classy birthday parties. If you’ve screwed up bad enough it’s also a great apology cake (don’t ask me how I know this).
Address: 3 shops in New York City
One of my favorite date night activities is having dinner in Greenwich Village then stopping by for a slice of chocolate cake. Check out 12 Charming Restaurants in Greenwich Village Worth the Wait to see where I suggest grabbing a bite!
24-Layer Cake from Maison Pickle
Maison Pickle is a beloved restaurant on the Upper West Side where you can expect enormous servings, beautiful presentation and an energetic vibe. Their 24 layer cake is no exception and thus it’s among the best desserts in New York City.
On our first visit to Maison Pickle the waitress told my wife and I that “skinny people are easier to kidnap – so our portions aim to reduce that risk”.
The cake is exactly what it sounds like. 24 layers of perfectly moist cake that requires an entire high school football team to finish. There are two ways to enjoy your mountain of sugar, either chocolate or vanilla confetti cake. There are also other dessert options on the menu but these two really steal the show.
The large portion ensures leftovers for the next day (and day after, for that matter). So not only is this some of the best dessert in new York City, it’s also enough dessert for multiple days! Hard not to love that.
Address: 2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
S’mores Churro Cone from ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
So this next spot is not for the faint of heart. At ChikaLicious we’re stepping into dangerous territory. Combing three classic treats; churros, s’mores & ice cream, we get the masterpiece that is the S’mores churro cone.
The base of this NYC delight is a perfectly fried, doughy churro. Add to that delicious soft serve ice cream and top it all off with a toasted marshmallow & graham cracker- we got the trifecta. This is one of the best desserts in New York City because the marshmallow is toasted to perfection. Just the right amount of gooey that pairs fantastically with the ice cream and sprinkles of graham cracker dust.
As if this combination wasn’t enough, Chikalicious offers a multitude of unique creations to pick from. You can go with the good old classic s’mores (my favorite!) or you can take a ride on the wild side and go for something more innovative like cheesecake, charcoal sesame or tiramisu.
Whatever you end up picking, I guarantee there is no wrong choice. This really is one of the best New York City desserts out there.
Address: 203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003
Nutella Churros from Boqueria
I bet when most folks recommend Boqueria, they’re telling you to grab dinner there because the food is impeccable. While that is true, that’s not why I’m here today.
I ate my weight in sweets, scouring NYC for the best desserts so you didn’t have to. I hope by taking on such a burden, I’ve built some trust with you (lol). Trust me when I say the Nutella churros at Boqueria are worth writing home about.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve scarfed down my dinner in an effort to get it out of the way and get to the best desserts in New York City. Feel free to call me crazy, but only after you’ve tried them for yourself!
These delicious sticks of fried dough are like little golden nuggets. Finding gold in New York City, it would be a selfish not to share. Oozing with warm Nutella and dusted in just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon, these churros are easily one of the best desserts in New York City.
Address: 4 shops in New York City
Best Desserts NYC (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the best desserts in New York City:
- Levain cookies
- Pinklady Cheese Tart
- Cronut from Dominique Ansel
- Nutella cruffin from Supermoon Bakehouse
- Banana bread pudding from Magnolia Bakery
- Chocolate babka from Breads Bakery
- Earl Grey Tea ice cream from Van Leeuwen
- Creme Brulee Doughnut from Doughnut Plant
- Petee’s Pie Company
- Cream puff from Bibble & Sip
- Japanese cheesecake from Keki Modern Cakes
- Cereal Milk Soft Serve from Momofuku Milk Bar
- Chocolate Cake from Maison Pickle
- S’mores Churro Cone from ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
- Nutella Churros from Boqueria
Map of the best desserts in New York City
And there you have it my friends – a quick roundup of the best desserts in NYC. Cheers!
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