5 NYC Sweet Institutions

New York is filled with some of the best bakeries, dessert bars and cafes in the world, bringing in eager locals and tourists alike. Here is a mini guide to the must-try sweets in the city.


If you didn't know already, this place is home to the wonderful doughnut and croissant hybrid - the cronut. If you don't mind waiting in line 2 hours before the bakery opens, then by all means do it. We did...twice - the first time we just missed out and the second TOTALLY made up for it. Cronuts aside, there are so many other great pastries to try here like The DKA (caramelised croissant with a crisp shell and flaky interior) which I highly recommend, or the Cookie Shot (choc chip cookie shaped like a shot glassed filled with vanilla milk) They also have a lunch menu with sandwiches, salads and soups if you don't have a sweet tooth. Also, Dominique is there doing his thang almost every day, so theres a good chance you'll be able to sneak a quick perv wave.

GET: The DKA or cronut (if you're crazy enough to line up that early)
COST: $5.25 DKA & $5 cronut (max 2 per person)


Crack pie, corn cookies and my favourite, the cereal milk soft serve are a few of the milk bar's classics. One of the best things is that there are 5 locations across NYC and open till late (11pm) with the one in the East Village closing at 12am - perfect for a late night dessert run. This is why I love New York.

GET: Cereal milk soft serve (ask for crunchy bits/crushed cornflakes on top)
COST: $4.50


Known for their classic cupcakes, Magnolia is a New York favourite with its warm and inviting interior, reminiscent of grandma's kitchen serving a variety of delectable baked goods and desserts from cakes, pies, brownies to banana pudding and icebox pies. I've often heard that this place is a little overrated which could be the case, but I still think its worth a visit, especially if its your first time. The strawberry cupcake was pretty amazing.

GET: Red velvet or strawberry if they have it
COST: $3.50


These doughnuts are special - not only are they eggless, they're also handcrafted every day with fillings and jams made from scratch and are free from preservatives, artificial nasties and contain no trans fat. The tough part is choosing what to get because everything looks incredible. The doughnut menu breaks into three categories:

1. Yeast - these are light and fluffy and also the largest in size.
2. Cake - like the name suggests, its slightly denser and also smaller in size
3. Filled - no explanation necessary but creams, jams & custards are used

The Tres Leches cake doughnut has been rated one the best doughnuts in NYC and is my personal favourite here. It melts in your mouth and is pure doughnut bliss! Other popular flavours include: Creme Brûlée, Blackout, Carrot Cake, Coconut Cream.

GET: Tres Leches
COST: $3- $3.50


Finally, a rice pudding that doesn't suck. Solely dedicated to rice pudding and with over 20 flavours like french toast, peach mango, rocky road and marscarpone with cherries, they've got a great range of subtly sweet to exotic and intense flavours with toppings to compliment. The interior feels like you're in a food court in space which is pretty cool. Take the opportunity to sample before you decide and ask to get your flavours split, that way you can try something else. It'll probably be the best rice pudding you'll ever have

GET: French toast or rocky road
COST: $7.00 serves 1 to $40.00 serving 10

Other notable spots include:

  • Clinton St Baking Co (pancakes)
  • Serendipity 3 (frozen hot choc)
  • Matsunosuke (japanese chiffon cake & banana cream pie)
  • Cha An (black sesame creme brûlée)
  • Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co (hot fudge sundae)
  • The General (Try the General's Freezer) Click here for the menu