FRIENDS IN KNEAD
Looking for the best fresh-baked cookies, cakes, croissants, donuts, and artisanal bread in America? Try any of these 50 beloved hometown bakeries -- we've covered a variety of top-notch baked goods state by state. From mom-and-pop shops to high-end patisseries, you'll find spots to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings.
THE CONTINENTAL BAKERY
Stop by The Continental Bakery for authentic European-style bread and pastries like stone hearth-baked French baguettes, focaccia, and wild yeast sourdough, croissants, pocket pies, cakes, and truffles. The mellow atmosphere is perfect for sipping tea while indulging in an almond croissant or a couple white chocolate pecan sandies.
TWO SISTERS BAKERY
From sweet fruit Danishes, scones, cinnamon rolls, and vegan muffins to savory jalapeño cream cheese cheddar buns and multigrain focaccia sandwiches, Two Sisters Bakery is a welcoming eatery. The sheer variety of fresh-baked breads and fruit-filled and frosted cakes prepared in this beautiful house is reason enough to celebrate. Blackberry forest cake, anyone?
URBAN COOKIES BAKESHOP
Phoenix-based Urban Cookies Bakeshop, launched by a husband-and-wife duo, uses all-natural ingredients (locally sourced whenever possible) to bake up their fabulous cookie, dessert bar, donut, and bread creations. They even coordinate with local nonprofits through job training and mentorship programs and supply in-kind cookie donations for fundraisers to support the community. Dark chocolate walnut cookies never sounded so good.
NEIGHBOR'S MILL BAKERY & CAFE
There might be a line out the door, but you'll quickly discover what makes Neighbor's Mill Bakery & Cafe so special. There's much to choose from: six varieties of coffee, famous pumpkin cream cheese muffins and award-winning sandwiches, and more than 25 varieties of made-from-scratch breads -- from challah-peno to cranberry pecan to Greek olive to their bestselling 9-grain "Neighbor's Best" bread.
TARTINE BAKERY & CAFE
San Francisco, CA
With James Beard Award-winning pastry chefs Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt manning the kitchen, breads and pastries both shine at Tartine Bakery & Cafe. The shop's signature slow-fermented yeast breads produced with locally milled organic flours -- from Danish-style sprouted rye to ancient-grain loaves -- and exceptional passion fruit tarts and tres leches cakes have garnered a cult following.
MOXIE BREAD CO.
Inspired by Old World food craftsmanship, Colorado bread purveyor Moxie Bread Co. prepares all of its baked goods with organic heirloom wheat flour, which our bodies tend to digest easier than modern wheat varieties. The eatery whips up its rustic loaves, bagels, tartines, kouignoù amann (or dense, sugar-crusted croissants), and other sweets in a charming house built in 1880 just outside of Boulder.
NEIL'S DONUTS & BAKE SHOP
More than 30 varieties of classic, New York-style donuts -- and we're talking epic, mega-sized proportions -- are born at Neil's Donuts & Bake Shop. Pair a dark roast or toffee caramel coffee with any one of the melt-in-your-mouth pastries: apple-filled, Bavarian cream, or maple-frosted donuts, glazed crullers, cherry turnovers, cinnamon coffeecakes, and coconut cream pie are just a few options.
FRANK & LOUIE'S ITALIAN SPECIALTIES
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Italian delicatessen Frank & Louie's Italian Specialties is packed with imported meats, cheeses, vinegars and oils, pastas, and sauces alongside delicious baked goods. The tiny shop features homemade Italian pastries like ricotta cookies, almond biscotti, and cannolis plus monster-sized, fresh-to-go sandwiches.
The popularity of Orlando-based bake shop Se7en Bites may have increased since its recent appearance on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," but the Southern comfort food is worth the wait. Many of the breakfast dishes (served all day) feature savory buttermilk garlic biscuits, and the bakery's scratch-made sweets include vanilla-bean bourbon bacon moonpies, oatmeal cream pies, and sweet cream scones, available until the daily supply vanishes.
H&F BREAD CO.
Tucked away in an unassuming industrial park, H&F Bread Co. sells delicious breads, pastries, and local jams and condiments. Fresh-made bread, including Jerusalem bagels and pretzel rolls, and baked goods like sticky toffee cake, handheld pies, scones, and Danish pastries are prepared daily. You can expect high quality breads at this hidden gem since they regularly supply many Atlanta restaurants and farmers markets.
Since 1952, Leonard's Bakery has been serving up delicious baked goods to the masses in Honolulu. Soon after opening, malasadas -- Portuguese doughnuts without holes that have been stuffed with a creamy filling and coated in sugar -- quickly became the house specialty. Today, patrons can find hot malasadas in rotating monthly flavors like pumpkin custard at the bricks-and-mortar bakery or on the road via the Malasadamobile.
STANLEY BAKING CO. & CAFE
Situated near Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains and Salmon River, Stanley Baking Co. & Cafe definitely makes for a picturesque pitstop. A favorite gathering spot for tourists and locals alike, the "little log cabin with a kitchen" has everything a pastry and nature lover could ask for: a decadent breakfast of warm, homemade cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns, and almond bear claws and tables with breathtaking views of the peaks.
BANG BANG PIE & BISCUITS
All you need to know is in the name: Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits makes pie and biscuits that'll make your head explode (in a good way). A line of patrons out front of the small Logan Square shop is almost a guarantee, but it'll move quickly (plus there's a second spot now in Ravenswood). Load up with a biscuit sandwich with candied bacon, a side of cheesy grits, iced coffee on tap, and, naturally, a perfectly crusted piece of pie like chocolate pecan. If the weather permits, snag a spot on the outdoor patio to dig in.
Amelia's Bread specializes in hearth-baked sourdough bread in the Italian tradition, including classic, white sourdough; a rustic version of the French baguette; and focaccia seasoned with rosemary, sage, oregano, garlic, fresh parmesan, and olive oil. The charming bakery also showcases daily-made pastries like decadent oatmeal cookies, super-chocolatey buckwheat cookies, and perfectly flakey croissants.
Jaarsma Bakery has been giving Iowa a taste of Holland since 1898. The beloved, family-owned bakery is known for its authentic Dutch pastries made from scratch daily, particularly the "Dutch Letters," which are "S" shaped puff pastries filled with an almond paste, baked to golden perfection, then sprinkled with sugar.
UPPER CRUST PIE BAKERY
Overland Park, KS
Step inside Upper Crust Pie Bakery and you're bound to find a slice of heaven on the menu. The quaint neighborhood bakery boasts a family recipe-driven roster of mouthwatering pies, including a Dutch apple with streusel crumble topping and strawberry-rhubarb. Savory quiches like sweet corn and bacon and salted pecan bars are also available.
The stand-out maple bacon donuts at Nord's Bakery put the Louisville staple on the map. The airy, maple-glazed long john comes with a bacon strip on top to create a delectable sweet and savory combo. There are other fresh-baked donut varieties to nosh on too: apple fritter, custard filled, and tiger twist.
BREADS ON OAK CAFE & BAKERY
New Orleans, LA
Even non-vegans will be surprised by the delicious vegan treats at Breads on Oak Cafe & Bakery. The cozy corner cafe in New Orleans prepares everything onsite in a stone hearth oven using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The bakery has a full line of vegan offerings, including a cheese and herb bread, an "Egg McVegan" sandwich with vegan bacon, egg, and cheese on a fluffy buttermilk biscuit, and even Boston cream-stuffed brioche.
STANDARD BAKING CO.
Located in downtown Portland, the charming Standard Baking Co. churns out an array of breads and pastries like hearty German vollkornbrot (a brown bread), rosemary focaccia, divine chocolate rye cookies, and rave-worthy morning buns, hand-rolled croissants, and gooey brownies. The family-owned company's artisanal treats will open your eyes to a world of bread you never knew existed.
VACCARO'S ITALIAN PASTRY SHOP
If it's cannoli you crave, head to Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop, which has been a Baltimore institution since 1956. The classic Italian bakery is renowned for its almond cookies, cannoli, and rum cake, an Italian rum-flavored sponge cake with layers of vanilla and chocolate cream with sliced almonds to top it all off. For cannolis to go, they'll provide the cream filling separately so the cone doesn't get soggy.
FLOUR BAKERY + CAFE
Once a solo bakery on Boston's South End, Flour Bakery + Café has exploded into a nationally acclaimed pastry and sandwich empire with multiple city outposts. It's hard to argue with the bakery's "make life sweeter ... eat dessert first" motto when you're surrounded by caramel- and pecan-loaded sticky buns, brown butter cinnamon rolls, and Boston Cream pies. While you're at it, check out the savory category: Yummy sandwiches like ham and cheese on freshly baked focaccia should do the trick.
SWEETWATER'S DONUT MILL
Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, MI
Donut lovers will rejoice upon entering one of Sweetwater's Donut Mill's three Michigan locations. Homemade donut options run the gamut from simple glazed to strawberry cheesecake stuffed to s'mores, a chocolate cake donut with marshmallow topping and graham cracker bits, to candy bar-inspired creations loaded with caramel, frosting, peanuts, and coconut flakes.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN
Folks in Minneapolis have been hitting up Salty Tart at sprawling public markets and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport "Food Truck Alley" in Terminal 1 for sweet and savory treats. Chef Michelle Gayer has everyone hooked on her custom-made cakes, delicious cheddar jalapeño bread, and famous coconut macaroons (a.k.a. "crack-a-roons"). Seriously, Andrew Zimmern deemed them better than his own mother's macaroons.
French and Vietnamese-inspired eats are served at Le Bakery. The laidback, family-run bakery has bubble tea, stellar pastries like specialty cakes, coconut yucca pie, and lemon cream cheese turnovers, plus fresh-baked artisan breads to build tasty French Vietnamese banh mi and po'boy sandwiches.
MUD PIE VEGAN BAKERY & COFFEEHOUSE
Kansas City, MO
You'll hardly miss the eggs and butter from Kansas City's impressive vegan baked goods and coffee spot, Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse. The homey bakery and cafe pairs its coffees and teas with a terrific variety of vegan cupcakes, turnovers, dessert bars, and more. Try the German chocolate cupcakes or chai spice cupcakes with chai caramel made from their housemade chai concentrate.
HARPER & MADISON
Popular downtown Billings cafe Harper & Madison is best known for its locally roasted coffee, warm paninis, savory quiches, and European-inspired pastries and desserts like flaky croissants and fruit-filled Danishes. The cafe even hosts acoustic musicians in the evenings, when patrons can enjoy small plates, desserts, and champagne.
ORSI'S ITALIAN BAKERY & PIZZERIA
Long-running Italian throwback Orsi's Italian Bakery & Pizzeria starts each morning baking up delicious Italian breads to prep for baked goods, pizzas, and other specialty foodstuffs like the goudarooni, a variation on the calzone that can be stuffed with meats like hamburger, veggies like spinach, and cheeses.
Las Vegas, NV
When in Las Vegas, you definitely need to experience a showstopping bakery, and the Bellagio Patisserie, located inside the famous Bellagio Hotel, will set the atmosphere. Displays of extravagant candies and pastries -- from chocolate eclairs to truffles and tarts to mini key lime pies -- and a giant chocolate fountain stops foot traffic at the patisserie.
LA MAISON NAVARRE
The meringue-based confections at La Maison Navarre in Portsmouth make the bakery a worthwhile stop if you're living in or traveling through New Hampshire. One bite of a rose- or salted caramel-flavored macaron will sweep you away on a Parisian adventure. Other outstanding desserts include the chocolate croissants, Key lime and meringue tarts, and Nutella crepes.
You can't go wrong with any pastry selection at Palazzone 1960. Fresh Napoleon cakes, cannoli, rainbow cookies, chocolate lobster tails, Italian horns, and Tiramisu all pair well with a bold cappuccino.
Albuquerque's Rebel Donut shops make a range of hand-formed yeast- or cake batter-based donuts. You'll find your perfect one in the Rebel roster, which includes red velvet, cinnamon crumb cake, pancakes n' bacon, and the signature Breaking Bad-themed "Blue Sky" variety: a vanilla cake donut with blue cotton candy icing and blue rock candy. The shop even makes kolaches with divine fillings like sausage, cheddar, and jalapeño.
MOMOFUKU MILK BAR
New York, NY
Momofuku Milk Bar isn't your average bakery. They forego traditional pastries and favor super bold baked goods that actually resonate with people. Milk Bar's modern takes on home-style sweets equal exceptional cookies the size of your hand like the Compost cookie -- a sweet and salty medley of pretzels, potato chips, butterscotch and chocolate chips, coffee, and oats -- or "Crack Pie," an addictive, buttery pie that's now one of the bakery's most coveted desserts.
THE PEPPERED CUPCAKE
Alongside the usual suspects, gourmet cupcakery The Peppered Cupcake creates some of the most "out there" sweet and savory cupcakes you'll ever try, like peach and habanero, green pepper jelly with jalapeños, black cherries with horseradish, and more. They also make irresistible cupcake jars -- Mason jars stuffed with two cupcakes like almond joy and berry cream pie, layered like a trifle dessert.
NICHOLE'S FINE PASTRY SHOP
The seasonally changing menu at Nichole's Fine Pastry Shop in downtown Fargo covers small batch baked goods in the European tradition as well as classic American and local favorites. You'll find everything from lemon tarts to creme brulée to latkes to turkey pot pie with a puff pastry crust to single-serving cakes to four layer carrot cakes.
You'll find comfort foods like apple turnovers, old-world Polish paczki, and chocolate turtles at Kiedrowski's Bakery. The longtime family-owned bakeshop is known for its trademarked Snoogle -- a Lady Locks cookie and cheese Danish hybrid that's shaped into a stick and filled with cream. Through a happy accident, this bestselling pastry was created with leftover flaky cookies and sweet cream filling.
Oklahoma City, OK
You can believe the hype: Pie Junkie is hands-down the best place for a piece of pie in Oklahoma City. Savor every bite of the whimsical shop's decadent peanut butter chocolate pie made with creamy peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache, which are blended together on top of a graham cracker crust.
KEN'S ARTISAN BAKERY
Ken's Artisan Bakery stands out for its top-quality breads like country brown, baguette, pain rustique, and raisin pecan -- all made with locally grown, sustainably farmed wheat. The wildly successful Monday Night Pizza events inspired Chef Ken Forkish to open a stand-alone, wood-fired oven pizza joint in 2006. Dig into herbed goat cheese croissants for something savory and French-influenced macarons, brioche cinnamon rolls, seasonal fruit tarts, and hazelnut butter cookies for something sweet.
One of the largest retail bakeries in the country, Oakmont Bakery, is so chock-full of breads, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, donuts, and other pastries that you'll likely have a hard time choosing. The "Attitude Cupcakes" line, with its "Double Trouble" cupcake (a velvety-smooth chocolate buttercream-filled luscious chocolate cake with chocolate ganache coating), would be a fine place to start. It's dangerously good.
SEVEN STARS BAKERY
Seven Stars Bakery makes from-scratch breads and pastries from three locations in Providence. To enhance flavor and texture, they use regionally sourced, 100% organic whole grains and other basic ingredients -- but never preservatives. The buzzing bakery's notable bread options include naturally leavened bread studded with Vermont cheddar cheese, lemon pound cake soaked in lemon juice, and cherry pistachio biscotti.
Architects-turned-bakers Bill Bowick and David Bouffard opened up the small-batch Sugar Bakeshop to whip up a variety of homemade treats just like their moms and grandmothers used to make. The playful Southern bakery churns out tasty cupcakes, pies, and cookies. Seasonal cupcake offerings include hazelnut and pistachio, and then there are always year-round flavors like double chocolate and caramel. Of course, you'd do well to also pick up a classic chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
Sioux Falls, SD
CH Patisserie brings a little slice of Paris to the heart of historic downtown Sioux Falls. World Pastry Championship and Bravo's "Top Chef Just Desserts" winner Chris Hanmer's sophisticated shop bakes "The Favorite," a petit gateaux, or small cake, with dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and praline crunch, among many other small specialty cakes. Other baked goods like chocolate pretzel macarons, lemon tarts, pork and bean brownies, and bacon maple brioche will also satisfy your sweet tooth.
Even after 30 years, Merridee's Breadbasket regularly draws customers to its collection of old fashioned, made-from-scratch baked goods. Simple, yet flavorful egg bread and Viking bread, four-grain loaves prepared without eggs or sugar, are among the artisanal bread selections. The country-chic bakery's prized seven-layer bars, chocolate raspberry cream cheese brownies, and seasonal strawberry rhubarb pies are the perfect remedy for anyone with a sweet tooth.
EL BOLILLO BAKERY
El Bolillo Bakery prides itself on its wide variety of tres leches cakes and namesake bolillos -- one of the staple breads for the Hispanic community. The Houston-based Mexican bakery is known for their bolillo bread and has grown to become the local Texas spot for reasonably priced Mexican breads and other pastries like pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread), churros, fruit empanadas, and more.
FILLINGS & EMULSIONS
Salt Lake City, UT
If you're looking for quality and originality in your pastries, Fillings & Emulsions will be your go-to spot. While the delicate macarons loaded with fresh fruit and caramel and almond croissants are delicious, the Latin bakery's meat pies are legendary. Thanks to a family recipe for Cuban picadillo, they're savory, slightly sweet and always baked in a flaky and buttery puff pastry. There are three must-try variations: ground beef and pork, chicken, and Cuban sandwich.
KING ARTHUR FLOUR CAFE
The well-known King Arthur Flour Cafe is something of a one-stop shop for all your baking needs. In addition to the hearty sandwiches, homemade biscotti, and cinnamon-streusel coffee cake, which you can certainly enjoy at the charming cafe, the brick-and-mortar outpost also houses a state-of-the-art baking school and store for essential tools and baking ingredients. Don't forget to pick up some of that cranberry-orange scone mix!
RED TRUCK RURAL BAKERY
Marshall and Warrenton, VA
Former magazine art director Brian Noyes launched his second career as a countryside food purveyor in the red 1954 Ford truck he bought off fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. He deemed it the Red Truck Rural Bakery while schlepping his breads, pastries, and seasonal jams to local stores. He's since upgraded to bricks-and-mortar sites in Warrenton and Marshall, where you'll discover his popular moonshine cakes and other liquor-inspired cakes, grab-and-go sandwiches on housemade bread, and more.
Macrina Bakery was named after the 4th century Greek mystic and visionary, but it's built its name on simple, superb breads that complement every meal (many varieties come in loaf, roll, and baguette form). Chef Leslie Mackie's bakery quickly became Seattle's go-to destination for rustic artisan breads and non-bread goods, and it's now expanded to four cafes. The pastry collection includes apple turnovers made with roasted Washington apples, jam-topped buttermilk biscuits, and bundt-style lemon lavender coffeecake.
ROYALICIOUS BAGEL BAKERY
Charles Town, WV
The cheerful, family-run Royalicious Bagel Bakery bakes New York-style bagels, Italian pastries, and sizable sandwiches and salads. They showcase fresh-baked butter cookies, sweet and crunchy chocolate walnut meringue cookies, chocolate-covered rainbow cookies with raspberry jam, chocolate cigars, and lemony, airy anginetti and Italian wedding cookies for dunking in coffee or tea.
MADISON SOURDOUGH BAKERY & CAFE
The best sandwiches start with great bread, and Madison Sourdough Bakery & Cafe specializes in naturally leavened, ie sourdough, breads using Wisconsin grown wheat, rye, and corn. Daily and specialty breads range from signature MSCo sourdough to a sandwich rye loaf packed with sprouted rye berries. Beyond the bread, they've transformed simple, local farm ingredients into some of the freshest pastries and breakfast and lunch dishes.
Whether you're stopping in for a quick lunch or more drawn-out weekend brunch, Persephone Bakery is the ideal place to load up on savory snacks and sweet treats. Naturally, the bread pudding French toast, scone skillet, chicken hoagie with melted gruyère, and lattes are best consumed on the perfect little outdoor patio surrounded by mountain scenery.