Flaky pastry, decadent treats, sweet confections, indulgent desserts—these top Chicago bakeries have it all and then some. Calories be damned.
Manned by star pastry chef Aya Fukai—Eater’s 2016 National Pastry Chef of the Year and a James Beard Award nominee in 2017—this West Town spot wows with whimsical delicacies like Samoa cakes (chocolate brown sugar cake frosted in dulce de leche buttercream, rolled in toasted coconut and drizzled with chocolate) plus pull-apart milk bread, black sesame cakes and more. 1332 W. Grand Ave.
“French-inspired with a modern twist” is the motto of this Wicker Park go-to, famous for its elaborate, whimsical custom cakes and iced cookies, gorgeous fine pastries, plus croissants, quiche, macarons, bars and more. 1736 W. Division St.
A North Shore institution since 1938, this Evanston classic turns out everything from cupcakes and danish to breads, birthday cakes, macarons and tortes. Don’t miss the special holiday selections, from lamb cakes on Easter to strudels, pretzels and Black Forest cakes for Oktoberfest. 1000 Davis St.
A go-to for celebs like Oprah, Michael Jordan and Eddie Vedder, this Lakeview fave since ‘92 scores with killer cakes—from red velvet to banana milk chocolate—plus savory and sweet pastries, pies, breads and more. 1114 W. Belmont Ave.
Cake is the name of the game at this James Beard Award-nominated South Side favorite, where owner Stephanie Hart and team serve up slices of everything from pineapple coconut cake and signature caramel cake to cheesecake, cupcakes and more. 328 E. 75th St.
Renowned for its barbecue pork buns, sesame balls, moon cakes and other Chinese delicacies, this Chinatown and Uptown favorite has been a staple since 1986. 2253 S. Wentworth Ave., 1127 W. Argyle St.
Formerly the pastry chef for Chicago three-star Michelin restaurant Grace, owner Bobby Schaffer has channeled that culinary passion into this delightful neighborhood destination. The cardamom buns are justifiably craveworthy, and the double chocolate croissant is the best we’ve had in Chicago. 5318 N. Clark St., 2140 W. Division St.
A fourth-generation family-owned institution, Dinkel’s turns out its signature stollen as well as cookies and custom cakes, breads, pretzels, rolls and more. 3329 N. Lincoln Ave.
Starting as a stand at Green City Market, this Lincoln Park go-to is manned by former Tartine Bakery chef Sandra Holl (2015 Jean Banchet Awards Pastry Chef of the Year) and husband Mathieu and serves up fab pastries, cookies and sweets. Pro tip: Don’t miss the incredibly flaky chocolate almond croissant. 1220 W. Webster Ave.
In the heart of the Gold Coast, this authentic Belgian bakery from notable breadmaker Renaud Hendrickx offers signature Belgian country bread and brioche plus countless croissants, delicate pastries and decadent chocolates to an adoring crowd of regulars. 100 E. Walton St.
This breadcentric bakery is considered one of the best in the Midwest, and after tasting the hand-shaped and naturally fermented loaves—from polenta pumpkin seed to cranberry walnut—we bet you’ll agree. Also must-tries: flakier-than-flaky everything croissants, delish pastries and a classic grill-at-home cheese sandwich. 1733 Central St., Evanston
Talk about a pedigree: Owner Pierre Zimmermann is a former World Baking Champion from Alsace who decamped to Chicago in 2010 and presides over this Old Town favorite. Expect swoonworthy baguettes, croissants, danish, macarons and more. 1547 N. Wells St.
Chocolate French fry pie, anyone? Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s reign as the queen of Randolph Street continues with this recent sweets-centric addition to her Girl and the Goat empire, and we can’t get enough. More Cheez-It crunch cake, please. 820 W. Randolph St.
Since 1948, customers have been lining up at this Northwest Side bakery for classic cakes and slices, croissants, danish, cookies, kolachky and more. 2458 W. Montrose Ave.
A Pilsen tradition since ’73, this Mexican bakery offers everything from traditional conchas and empenadas to gorditas dulces, donuts, cookies, tortillas and much more. 1634 W. 18th St.
Four generations after John C. Roeser Sr. fired up the ovens in 1911, this West Side go-to is still family-run and still going strong. Look for scrumptious custom cakes plus pastries, pies, breads, cookies, fry cakes and donuts—even ice cream. 3216 W. North Ave.
A playful menu of sweet treats—from snickerdoodle and vegan vanilla cupcakes to iced confetti rice krispie treats, double doozie cookies, banana chocolate chip muffins and custom cakes—have made this a Lincoln Park fave since 2002. Now in Streeterville too. 1208 W. Webster Ave., 254 E. Ontario St.
No need to fly to Paris: Some of the best macarons you’ll ever have are served up at this storefront manned by classically trained chefs, a Lincoln Park mainstay since 2002. From classics like pistachio, chocolate and vanilla to quirkier flavors like Bailey’s, carrot cake and Lucky Charms, you can’t go wrong with any selection. 2108 N. Clark St.
Photography by: By Emily Carley; by Kate Morrison; courtesy of Sugargoat