Best Bakeries & Desserts in Austin

If you’ve hung out around here for more than 5 minutes, you know I love desserts. Simple homemade treats, to decadent bakery specialties, a week (ok let’s be real, a day), doesn’t go by where I’m not enjoying a treat. Sweet over salty any day—who’s with me? Or the best is a chocolate chip cookie with Maldon sea salt sprinkled on top.

While part of my life’s mission is to discover the world’s best chocolate chip cookies, I do expand my dessert repertoire to explore beyond this classic.

I think desserts are so much more than an indulgence or ending to a meal—they can make for a thoughtful gift, an unexpected surprise, a condolence, a celebration, a sentiment of love, a gesture of hospitality—you get it. I’m convinced that sweets can be nothing short of a spiritual experience and should not be something people think of as a “special treat” or feel shame for if you have a few.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. I’ve racked my brain, notes, and photos for the best bakeries in Austin. Is it cookies you’re looking for? Your new Saturday morning cinnamon roll? The best birthday cake? The best cookie delivery to send to a friend? The best dessert to send on Valentine’s Day? I’ve compiled and categorized my favorite bakeries for all kinds of occasions. Read on and enjoy some of the happiest foods with me later!

 

COOKIES

Best Overall Bakery

ThoroughBread is my top choice if you want an all-around winning cookie in Austin. Their cookies are unmatched—gooey and fully loaded with the goods, so they’re thick and heavy—no fear that it will crumble in your lap. They serve four different cookies and four different breads in a small bakery in Zilker. The banana nutella cookie is a must-try—it’s like chocolate heaven with a hint of banana. The PB&J cookie is also a fun twist, and the classic chocolate chip is my all time favorite and first cookie I recommend to everyone in Austin. This one’s good for gifts too, because the cookies are sizable and look pretty wrapped up in a box.

Best Sprinkle Cookie

épicerie is a French café & grocery tucked in Allandale, and they have the best sprinkle cookie in Austin and basically anywhere. It’s the perfect consistency—soft, with extra height, and good flavor for a seemingly simple choice. While you’re there, grab a croissant and their chocolate chip cookie too which I’d say is probably my second favorite after ThoroughBread and one that is less rich and less oozey.

 

Best Specialty Cookie

Teddy V Patisserie’s cookie reminds me of New York’s famous Levain cookie. It’s a giant and dense one—7 oz and 125 chocolate chips to be exact. The owner, Elisia, also makes a gluten free option! You can find these at Texas Mueller Farmers Market, Cafe Medici, and the dough at Central Market to bake at home yourself, plus they offer local delivery and nationwide shipping—an awesome gift to treat someone who lives far away.

Best Custom Iced Cookie

Hayley Cakes is the master behind Austin’s best custom made iced cookies that actually taste good. She’s got a bakery on South Lamar and her cookies are great for a party when you want a specific shape, color, style, and wording placed on top.

 

Best Everyday Cookie

Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, hailing from Houston (shout out to my hometown), serves a really good cookie that’s the perfect size for one of those “I just want a cookie today, but don’t want to go into sugar shock” days. It’s cooked perfectly with just enough gooeyness. It’s also a great gift because they’re boxed beautifully and a total crowd pleaser. This I would say, is the PERFECT everyday cookie and one that will never be in a disagreement about. P.S. Love their cookie dough ice cream, too!

Best Cookie Sandwich 

Baked Bear is my go-to for ice cream cookie sandwiches. It’s a fam-friendly spot in Seaholm Plaza. They have a blue Cookie Monster ice cream that kids go crazy for, a yummy mint ice cream and sea salt caramel that I am wild about, and solid cookies to make it an ice cream sandwich. The cookies and rich ice cream are a perfect combo, but beware, it might knock you out.

Most Nostalgic 

Kellie’s Baking Co. on Burnet Road feels the most homemade to me—like maybe a recipe your niece would find on Pinterest and bake for you. Their stuffed cookies are creative and decadent—The stuffed Reeses’s cookie or brookie (brownie + cookie combo) with marshmallow fluff are my top picks. You can also get custom cookies with photos printed on them—tell me a better birthday gift than a cookie with your friend’s face on it? Or a great opp for your company logo. Make sure to stop by early in the day because they close shop at 4 PM.

Best Delivery 

Tiff’s Treats is a homegrown (or should I say homemade) Austin bakery. It’s the OG delivery cookie, and albeit basic, everyone is happy to receive a no one is ever mad about warm cookie delivered to their door with a note in the brand’s endearingly simple Comic Sans font. It’s a staple for UT students and to be honest, when I was in college I would hunt down my friends on their birthdays knowing they’d have a box in their dorm room! The cookies are average, but their brownies are a hidden gem, so make sure to include the huge slab or brownie full of chocolate chips on your next order. However, if you are making that cookie order, the M&M, Snickerdoodle, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip are my top cookie choices.

Honorable Mention & Best Grocery Store Cookie

Henbit’s Monster Cookie is similar to Teddy V’s, but has pecans and a hint of lemon zest. While I was a bit confused by the citrus, the texture of this namesake cookie puts a smile on my face and makes it all better. You can get them at Fareground, the Downtown Whole Foods, or online.

Best Hotel & Restaurant Cookie

Carpenter Hotel’s chocolate chip cookie is a solid option whether you’re dining at Carpenter’s Hall or popping into Hot L Coffee. It’s best enjoyed in their lobby with a record playing and newspaper in hand. 

Best Pop-Up

Vivian’s Boulangerie is run by local pastry chef Kendall Melton. She used to work for the Contigo group and started pop-ups that she ran online with her infamous sea-salt bourbon brown butter chocolate chip cookie as well as a fabulous chocolate chocolate cookie and other laminated pastries. Be sure to follow her on social to see when she will put her goods on sale! P.S. There IS glitter on her goodies and she is obsessed with cats.

 

CAKES & CUPCAKES

Best Old School Birthday Cakes

The no fuss, old school Russell’s Bakery up north is hands-down my fave for birthday cakes, specifically, the vanilla cake with raspberry filling which is not a flavor I’d traditionally even order so you know it’s THAT good. The coconut is another high ticket! They’re just so good—moist, the perfect icing sweetness, and even good after freezing and reheating. 

Best New School Birthday Cakes

Paper Route (setting up shop at the walk up window connected to Cenote on E. Cesar Chavez) is another great B-day cake option. When you talk to the owner, Aaron, you can tell he is so happy to be there making cakes, and it makes you want that slice all the much more. You can order custom cakes with fun flavors like Reese’s, Lemon Kiss, Chocolate Feather Fudge, and more, or get it by the slice Friday-Sunday. He also makes hand pies and cookies every now and then.

Best Chain

Sprinkle’s at The Domain serves overall satisfying cupcakes but it’s the ice cream—the Peanut Butter Ice Cream that really kicks me into a better mood. Also great for a gift or celebration. 

Best Underrated 

Chez Zee, a bistro up north, has some delicious desserts no one talks about. I still think about the Creme Brûlée French Toast I had years ago. They also have cakes, cheesecakes, and pie by the slice in flavors like Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake, Andes Crème de Menthe Cheesecake, and Kahlua Crunch Pie.

Best Bite Size

You might miss Sandra Bullock’s restaurant, Walton’s Fancy & Staple, tucked on West 6th St., but it’s a really solid option for breakfast, lunch, brunch, and their Golden Eggs, nutmeg infused yellow cake dipped in melted butter & coated with cinnamon sugar. Although cake balls might seem so 2010, these are a one bite wonder.

Best Restaurant Slice 

Truluck’s Chocolate Cake, and particularly the seasonal Peppermint Chocolate Cake brought me to my knees and had me talking about it the entire month of December.  It’s a classic tall looking steakhouse cake, sliced thick and generously iced, yet it is SO soft and some of the best icing I’ve ever had that is not too buttercreamy.

Prettiest Cakes

The Feathers & Frosting fringe cake is the most recommended cake, and I just got it for my 35th birthday! I obviously got the cookie dough flavor. It’s topped with a mountain of cookies and brownies. What makes her cakes stand out is the delicate “fringe” that she makes with the buttercream icing. They are gorgeous.

Best Vegan Cupcake 

Capital City Bakery serves up vegan cupcakes out of a cute house on the east side. You’d never guess they were vegan and can choose from a whole array of flavors—Confetti, Strawberry Blonde, Cookie Dough, Honey Bear, and a Damn Fine Cake. I had an awesome seasonal Birthday Banana and Carrot Cake here.

 

 

 

PASTRIES, DONUTS & MORE

Best Place to Sit Down & Stay Awhile

MML Hospitality took over old Austin staple, Swedish Hill, and preserved its name while overhauling the pastry offerings. It’s like Gjusta (from LA) meets Russ & Daughters (from NYC). Go for the laminated dough pastries here—I love their croissants and kouign-amann. Also, if you go on a good day, the Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite. Just make sure they are light in color and that’s your green flag to GO!

Best Coffee Shop Pastries

I like the cinnamon roll and seasonal bars at Mañana at the South Congress Hotel. They also sell ice cream made by Amanda Rockman by the pint that makes for a fun dinner party dessert—try the yogurt parfait and peanut brownie pints.

Best Babka

If you read my newsletter, you know I love Babka ATX. The owner, Sariel, is from Israel and has adapted her traditional family recipe to create the best Babka I’ve ever had. It’s especially doughy, and you know I fall for anything doughy or gooey. Her chocolate babka has the perfect amount of chocolate, and she makes a butter pecan option that I’ve never seen before. She also has minis that are an ideal snacking size probably around 2 slices each if I would guess. Find her at The Texas Farmer’s Market at Mueller, Thom’s Market, and she ships!

Best Neighborhood Secret 

It’s rather unexpected, but welcomed nonetheless that Meteor, the South Congress wine shop, bike shop, coffee shop trio happens to have really good brownies and pizza. Just look at that brownie thickness. 

Best Local Delivery

My vote goes to Scull House Sweets. I love this little cottage bakery because the founder, Ryn, started during the pandemic and makes such incredible desserts. Her hand pies are amazing—go for the brown sugar cinnamon (i.e. pop tart). As for her cookies, while you might think the salted chocolate chip would be my favorite, the Norma Jean is my fave—it’s filled with coconut and corn flakes. She also makes cookie cakes which is a game-changer, perfect for a birthday party. She offers delivery within 10 miles for $6. Did someone say surprise cookie cake? (P.S. Her cookies are the ones on my website homepage). You can also find her treats at Texas Farmer’s Market at Mueller.

Best Pies

Tiny Pies—the name says it all. With locations on South Lamar and Burnet, you can get a delish mini pie wherever you are in Austin. They fit in your palm, so you can definitely try a few. They serve sweet and savory, and I obviously go for the sweet—Tart Cherry and Texas Two Step (pecan pie meets brownie) are two of the most popular, and I prefer the fruity ones. These would be a great wedding dessert, and you can also add messages for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and whatever you’d like to celebrate with a bite sized pie.

Best Gluten Free & Vegan

Ok, so you would never know or even dream that a Thai restaurant would have an amazing bakery, but Thai Fresh does—so good they opened up their own dedicated bakery and ice cream shop, Gati. Plus, everything is gluten free, but all you GF haters, you’d never know because they use the best, quality ingredients! When dining in, make sure to get the Salted Caramel Brownie and ask for it heated up, and the Coffee Cake at room temp, which is the most moist coffee cake I’ve ever had and the crumble topping is to die for. They also make custom pies and cakes, great for the holidays, and their vegan ice cream is delicious—go for the chocolate or golden milk which are coconut based but do not taste coconuty or icey like other vegan brands. You can get the goods at their South Austin restaurant, or dedicated bakery, Gati, on the east side. 

Worth the Drive

Located at Treaty Oak Distillery in Dripping Springs, Abby Jane Bakeshop is a must-stop. This renowned baker serves croissants, bread, and more Thursday – Sunday until 4 PM. She uses 100% stone milled flour from the next door neighbor, Barton Springs Mill, so everything is super tasty and high quality—I recently had a really delicious savory scone with cheese and chives.

Best French Pastries

French pastry fanatics, rejoice. Elizabeth Street Cafe is my go-to for seasonal macarons, the perfect light treat after a bowl of pho. Their Bouchon Chocolate (like a skinny cylinder brownie) is pretty decadent and dense, but good no doubt, and their Vietnamese Coffee and Almond Croissant is a sweet start to the day.

Best Donuts

Some mornings, you just need a nice warm donut. My choice is Salty Donut which came here from Miami. They offer two kinds of donuts: Cake and Brioche. A few specialty options include: Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake, Brown Butter and Salt, and Maple and Bacon. They come in a beautiful package, so are great to pick up for the office or a kids’ birthday party.

I also like the cake donut from Bougie’s, and for a more quintessential hole-in-the-wall donut shop, Shipley’s Red Cherry Ice Donut has me teary eyed since the age of 4.

 

Best Cheesecake

Self-taught, Russian baker and UT instructor, @ogi_the_yogi, makes a decadent Dulce De Leche Burnt Basque Cheesecake. It’s gluten-free, luxurious, and creamy.  She makes these weekly, so sign-up for pick-up (usually on the weekends).

Best Unique Pastries

The founder of dõ bakery, Camila, started baking from home during pandemic and now accepts online orders for pick up on Saturdays at Camp East 2903 E 12th St. I love the pan sobao sweet bread, a traditional Puerto Rican bread that’s so light with a hint of sweetness (Surprisingly, I prefer it over the desserts). She also has brioche, guava and cheese rolls, and cinnamon rolls, so go check out her Tiny Bread Shed as she calls it!

 

MY RECS FOR SPECIAL HOLIDAYS

Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking to up your game, while getting some brownie points for originality and thoughtfulness, here are some ideas: A box of Teddy V’s Cookies, or some of their dough for a cookie baking date. A surprise morning delivery of Elizabeth St. Cafe pastries and Vietnamese Coffee, or a box of colorful Macarons. Feeling funny? Get your fave couple pic printed on some Kellie’s Baking Co. sugar cookies. 

If you’re more of a Galentine’s celebrator, I think a box of Tiny’s cookies, Salty Donut donuts, or custom cookie cake from Scull House Sweets would be welcomed by any gaggle of girls looking to indulge.

Fourth of July & Summer

Tiny Pies makes fun, festive pies for holidays, and a tiny cherry pie to ring in Fourth of July just seems fitting. When in doubt, who doesn’t love a pint of ice cream when the temperatures are in the triple digits? Keep reading for my fave scoops.

Thanksgiving & Winter Holidays

Thai Fresh + Gati is a no-brainer. Their custom order, seasonal options are simply the best, and you don’t have to worry about accommodating those with special diets, because they have so many gluten free and vegan options that those used to allll the gluten and dairy will love to. P.S. You can custom order pies without specific ingredients that you might be allergic to or even lower sugar. The pecan pie is the best I’ve ever had (Confession: It even turned me away from my once lifelong favorite, Good Co., in Houston). They offer items like Pecan Pie, Chocolate Cacao Cake, Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Icing, and Apple Crumble Cheesecake.

 

 

NEED ICE CREAM WITH THAT?

Ice cream deserves a blog post of its own, but for now, here are my top picks: