A Dessert Lover’s Guide to NYC Sweets

A dessert lover's guide to the best sweets, treats, & desserts in NYC

Planning a trip to NYC this summer? Want to find the best desserts ever? You’re in luck! Here’s a sweets-obsessed, dessert-lover’s guide on where to find the best sweets, treats, and desserts in NYC. To help you plan, I’ve grouped my favorite places together by location, so if you’re short on time, you can easily hit a few of these at once and have a sweet little NYC taste-testing spree. Enjoy!! :)


Columbus Circle

Bouchon Bakery — For me, no trip to NYC is complete without a macaron. And Bouchon Bakery does it best with their sweet, simple vanilla macaron. This is probably one of my favorite treats of all time. It’s sweet, soft, chewy, and flaky, and if you’ve never had one, put this on your list ASAP. Also be sure to pick up their PB&J macaron if you are lucky enough to find it! And if you’re looking for just a bit more indulgence, another one of my favs from Bouchon is their Peanut Butter & Jelly Parfait. Yum!

My previous posts on Bouchon: Sweet NYC, NYC Dessert Crawl, NYC Macarons.

Bouchon Bakery
Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor
New York, NY 10019

Wafels & Dinges Truck — From Bouchon, walk across the street to Central Park, and you’ll see the yellow Waffle Truck. Yep, it’s an actual truck! Get a Liege Waffle with your favorite toppings like butter, powdered sugar, fresh whipped cream, Nutella, Speculoos Spread (Biscoff) and strawberries. This is the best waffle you’ve ever had, and totally not to be missed! :) A vanilla macaron from Bouchon and a Liege Waffle from the Waffle Truck is the perfect sweet breakfast. :) Or dessert!

My previous posts on Wafels & Dinges: New York City, NYC Dessert Crawl.

Wafels and Dinges Truck


Upper East Side

Two Little Red Hens — Here’s where you can find the best cupcake in NYC. And yes, I’ve tried them all! :) The Brooklyn Blackout (pictured above) is the winner and definite crowd-pleaser here, but just the plain vanilla cupcake with sweet vanilla frosting is the cupcake standard to which I hold all other cupcakes, and it’s fabulous here. Come here hungry and indulge. This one’s worth it.

My previous posts on Two Little Red Hens: NYC Cupcakes

Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 452-0476

Serendipity — Okay, if you’re planning a trip to NYC this summer, stop what you’re doing right now and make a reservation to Serendipity. Right now! It’s that important. And also because they are known to book up more than a month in advance. And without reservations their wait times for a table average 2-3 hours. So go ahead. Make that reservation. I’ll wait. Really, I don’t mind. Go here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but what you really want to do is save room for dessert. Their frozen desserts and sundaes are absolutely to die for. And this is such, such a fun place, you really shouldn’t miss it :) Especially for a true sweet (and chocolate) lover! Now, as massive as these desserts are (enough to split between at least 2-3 people) make sure everyone at your table orders their own dessert — and something different — because you’ll want to try one of everything here. You need to try one of everything here. You need it, in your soul. My favorites here are the Frozen Hot Chocolate, the Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate, and the Forbidden Broadway Sundae.

My previous posts on Serendipity: NYC Cupcakes, New York at Christmas, Girls Week in NYC.

Serendipity 3
225 East 60th Street, New York, NY
(212) 838-3531

Dylan’s Candy Bar — This place is just fun, and definitely worth a peek inside if you’re in the area. It’s just a couple of doors down from Serendipity, so head there early (at least 30 minutes) and stop in here for a colorful candy store experience like none other. There is candy, candy, candy everywhere! :) Their chocolate bars (on a giant spinning rack just as you walk in the door) are my favorite thing here, with fun flavors like Brownie Batter, S’mores, Tiramisu, Red Velvet Cake, and Hazelnut. Pick some of these up to take home with you, they’re perfect for souvenirs!

My previous posts on Dylan’s Candy Bar — Chocolate Taste Testing Party, Girls Week in NYC.

Dylan’s Candy Bar
1011 3rd Avenue, New York, NY
(646) 735-0078


Lower East Side

DessertTruck Works — Three words here: Nutella Stuffed Doughnut. Made fresh when you order — so it’s warm and gooey — is an absolute must. Plus they’ve got some super fun macarons here too. With the many other daily-changing desserts on the menu that are sure to please, this is a must stop for a dessert lover.

*Update May 2013: According to a goodbye message on their website, Dessert Truck Works is now closed. Sad! Nutella Stuffed Doughnut, you will be missed!!

My previous posts on DessertTruck Works: NYC Dessert Crawl

DessertTruck Works
6 Clinton Street, New York, NY
(212) 228-0701

Clinton Street Baking — While this one doesn’t technically make my list as one of the best desserts in NYC, it’s worth noting that Dessert Truck Works is right next door to Clinton Street Baking, a popular breakfast and brunch spot famous for their blueberry pancakes. So if you’re feeling up to it, head here early (or on a weekday, because the lines can get long) for breakfast, then rush next door for your doughnut. But if you can only pick one of the two… Go for the doughnut and desserts next door. :) If you’re on a dessert mission, that is. :)

My previous posts on Clinton Street Baking: New York City.

Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant
4 Clinton Street, New York, NY
(646) 602-6263

Photo via Jenny Flake

Doughnut Plant – More doughnuts, yay! This is a nice walk from Clinton Street, so head here next. They have tons of yummy doughnuts in fun flavors like Creme Brulee, Carrot Cake, and PB&J. The peanut butter doughnut is drizzled with sweet, peanut butter glaze and stuffed with blackberry jam — it’s absolutely life-changing. If you’re a doughnut fan, you gotta see this famous NYC shop!

My previous posts on Doughnut Plant: New York City Doughnuts.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street, New York
(212) 505-3700


Union Square

Max Brenner— Put this on your reservations list as well! You can easily make reservations online at Go here for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, and be prepared for an incredibly fun, super delicious chocolate dining experience like none other. The food is always excellent here, but make sure you save room for chocolate! :) This is another place where everyone at the table needs to order their own dessert so you can sample some of everything. Their dessert menu is so massive, it’s impossible to choose just one! Everything I’ve tried here has been swoon-worthy, but two that stand out are this Spectacular Melting Chocolate S’Mores Sundae, pictured above, and my favorite, the Chocolate Pizza. Get it with everything on it except bananas: Sweet, soft pizza dough, melty chocolate, gooey marshmallows, and to-die-for peanut butter sauce all topped with perfectly crunchy hazelnut bits. Don’t skip the hazelnuts. Glorious. They also have a to-go bar, so be sure to find an excuse to stop by here another day. If it’s cold, get the hot chocolate. If it’s hot, get the 80’s Milkshake. It’s a chocolate milkshake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate magic shell. It’s perfection in every bite.

My previous posts on Max Brenner: Max Brenner, Girls Week in NYC.

Max Brenner
841 Broadway, New York, NY
(646) 467-8803

City Bakery — This place doesn’t look like much when you walk in, but don’t leave here without trying the Pretzel Croissant! It’s got the inside of a soft, flaky, buttery croissant, with the outside of crunchy, chewy, salty pretzel. Basically, it’s the perfect combination. And totally a must-try. Also pick up a chocolate chip cookie while you’re here, it’s the best! I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s soo ooey-gooey-chewy, and it’s got such a satisfying texture. It’s like you can taste every single bite of sweetness! :)

My previous posts on City Bakery: New York City.

City Bakery
3 West 18th Street, New York, NY
(212) 366-1414

Baked by Melissa — These tiny, tiny cupcakes (about the size of a quarter) come in a multitude of fun flavors. They’ve got Cookie Dough, S’mores, Chocolate Chip Pancake (my fav!), Oreo, Peanut Butter, and tons more. Plus a monthly special cupcake. It’s fun to just pop in here and grab a few bites to go! :) These three places in Union Square are all within walking distance of each other, and it’s a nice walk around NYC.

My previous posts on Baked by Melissa: New York City.

Baked by Melissa
7 East 14th Street, New York, NY
(212) 842-0220


Upper West Side

Levain Bakery — This is not really near anything else, but no trip to NYC is complete without at least mentioning it! :) Get the chocolate peanut butter cookie here and make sure they warm it up for you! I think the photo above speaks for itself. :)

My previous posts on Levain Bakery: Levain Bakery, Sweet NYC.

Levain Bakery
167 West 74th Street, New York, NY
(212) 874-6080


View A Must-Stop Guide to NYC Sweets from Kevin & Amanda in a larger map

Here’s a handy Google Map of all the shops mentioned above. These are my top absolute favorite spots, and those that I consider a definite must-see! :) But for more of my favorite NYC sweet shops, check out my NYC Pinterest Board. I’ve got all my favs, plus some new ones I’m dying to try.

Did I miss your favorite? Post your favorite NYC sweet in the comments section below!

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43 Responses
  1. TidyMom

    Thanks for this post Amanda! My girls and I leave for NYC tomorrow and have reservations at Max Brenner’s tomorrow night! I can’t wait!…….I might gain 10 pounds there if I follow your post! lol

  2. Lauren

    Quite a while ago (Maybe a year and a half ago?) I stumbled upon your blog while searching the internet for recipes. Ever since I’ve followed your blog, and finally I have Pinterest, but I can’t seem to stop myself from checking your page in my free time. I enjoy everything you post! Hopefully someday I will be able to travel and experience what you have. :)

  3. Cassandra

    I was in NYC last week and wished I had found this before I went! I did go to Grom which is a little gelato shop near Columbus Circle and it was divine.

  4. Stacie M

    I’m leaving for NYC this Sunday and was visiting your blog again to review your recommendations!! I was VERY excited to see this post just in time for my trip. The other day I asked my 10 year old daughter what she wanted to do our first afternoon in the city and she said “Eat!!!” I guess I’ve taught her well!!! LOL
    Thanks again :)

  5. BinomialBaker

    My boyfriend and I are going to NYC later this summer! This is so perfect! We are making reservations right now!

  6. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Great post! We’ll be in the city in June- can’t wait to take my kiddo to Dylan’s Candy Bar… I’ve never been there either!! Will be referring back to your post for recs!

  7. Linda

    OMG-I have been to NY twice now(most recently just last fall) Good thing I didn’t see this before because I would have spent all my time traveling the city in search of satisfying my sweet addiction!!!
    Love it!

  8. Carla @ Carla's Confections

    Wow! Those places all look fabulous! I hope to make a trip there! If I do I will be visiting this post again for more suggestions! :) I am taking a trip to Sydney, AU and a friend suggested Max Brenner! I can’t wait to taste all that yumminess!!!!

  9. Shannon @ Paper Made Bakery

    Holy smokes, does this nearly put me in a sugar coma just reading it! I’ve been to many spots you mentioned and I have to give you a hearty hurrah for all the doughnut shout-outs…I love me some doughnuts! Thanks so much for the list; it’s a truly must-have when packing for a trip to NYC!

  10. roganne

    what an AWESOME post! i have the clinton street bakery cookbook and their pancakes truly are to die for…i may never use a mix again!

  11. The Healthy Apple

    As a Manhattan gal – I must say this is a fabulous list! Great post and I will surely send this off to all those visiting NYC. Looking forward to finally meeting you in Seattle for BlogHer Food and the TreeTop tour this week!

  12. ML Holder

    This could not have come at a better time! Headed there for a long anniversary weekend and was going to hunt through your lists for this… now voila!
    Thanks from a Texas fan… can’t wait. (Yes, I stopped to make my Serendipidity reservations like you said to.)
    Trusting ya, Amanda! :)

  13. brooke

    Thank you for this list!!! I LOVE the map, too. I am now updating my bucket list to include each of these stops. :)

  14. Fulvia

    Great list but my fave cupcake is at Billy’s Bakery, not to be missed!!!
    Billy’s Bakery
    Chelsea. 184 9th Avenue b/w 21st and 22nd.

  15. Steph

    You have a lot of my faves on your list! You must try Sweet Revenge (62 Carmine St.), the cupcakes are delish and, if you are in the mood, you can have beer or wine as the do pairings.

    Also, Doughnut Plant has a Chelsea location on 23rd btw 7th and 8th. That place is hazardous to my weight!!!!

    And, next time you visit NYC you must got to Norma’s in the Parker Meridien Hotel for breakfast (make a res or you will wait especially on the weekends). While not a dessert, they may as well be…banana macadamia nut flapjacks with banana brown sugar butter and chocolate decadance french toast!

  16. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    I’m a native New Yorker, but your post gave me some ideas for places I haven’t gotten to try yet! This is a fantastic round-up–and completely well deserved honors given to all. But my favorite thing about NYC? I could give you about a billion more places to try that my friends and I love! Yum yum yum. :)

  17. Emilie

    I’ve been to about half of these places so I have a few more to go, including Serendipity…been wanting to go there for so long!

  18. Jessica @ The Budget Savvy Bride

    This is a great list!! Another I would add is Crumbs Bake Shop– their Elvis cupcake is INSANE, but all of their cupcakes have always looked amazing. Jacques Torres is also a must! Their chocolates are divine! :)

  19. Dana

    I had too much fun reading this list! I am fortunate enough to work walking distance from Bouchon (the one at Rockefeller Center), and live walking distance from Two Little Red Hens (which I discovered accidentally since it’s somewhat off the beaten path). Working at Rockefeller Center, I also have the terribly mixed blessing of working among Magnolia Bakery, Baked By Melissa (brought them to a party last weekend!), Jacques Torres chocolates, La Maison du Chocolat. Almost sobbed two weekends ago when I got to Levain too late. Other honorable mentions might go to Momofuku Milk Bar and Butter Lane Cupcakes. Also, not sure if this really gets to be mentioned under sweets (but I will mention it anyway): the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop Sandwiches with ‘gourmet’ PB, bananas, honey, fluff, and nutella? Is 8:44am an awkward time to be drooling?

  20. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    The “Melting Chocolate S’mores Sundae” would be worth the whole trip the NYC. You are a fabulous tour guide….you don’t miss a single detail!
    Blessings for an extraordinary day, Amanda!

  21. Nikki

    My husband and I are flying to NYC on the 14th and I’m so glad I’ll have your list on hand. How do you think the cupcakes at Magnolia compare? I just hope we have enough time to check a few of your mentioned places out!

    1. Steph

      Nikki, I am reading all the comments left for Amanda as I could live on desserts and never eat food! Also, I live near NYC so spend lots of time there and the many bakeries are one of my obsessions! In my opinion Magnolia is way overrated, there is ususally a line to get in, and the staff tends to be rude. I prefer Billy’s over Magnolia. The original Billy’s in on 9th btw 21st & 22nd (Chelsea) and the staff is always so nice. There is a smaller location on Elizabeth btw Prince & Houston (Nolita) and another location on Franklin St. btw Broadway & Church (Tribeca). Have fun on your trip!

    2. Stacie M

      I agree with Steph that Magnolia Bakery isn’t the place for cupcakes…they seemed dry and with little flavor!! Love their Banana pudding though :) The other places Amanda listed look like MUCH better cupcakes!!!
      Have a great time!!!

    3. Nikki

      Thanks for all of the additional information. Looks like we’ll skip Magnolia and check out better places for cupcakes, can’t wait!!!

  22. Kimberly

    Just went to NYC with my son’s jazz band for the Essentially Ellington festival (it is like the Superbowl for high school jazz bands!). The festival is held at Lincoln Center so the waffle truck is right outside the building. Those waffles are amazing! The speculoos (or cookie butter) is sooo delicious – especially paired with chocolate topping. Whole Foods is also inside the Lincoln Center and they have some wonderful baked goods as well. I also went to Magnolia Bakery and had a wonderful vanilla and buttercream cupcake and of course, a red velvet cupcake. Delicious! There is a Magnolia Bakery cookbook which I purchased and plan on baking myself silly this summer. Alas, we did not have as much time to visit the wonderful bakeries as I would have liked, but I can’t complain because the jazz was incredible!

  23. Kathryn

    Yay! We’re heading to NYC for a few days this summer and this guide will be invaluable in planning my route round the city!

  24. Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana

    I’m making a reservation at the Max Brenner’s here in Vegas ASAP :) Really craving that chocolate PB cookie right about now!

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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