10 Places To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth In New York City

Photo of Kate Howley
24 November 2016

In this place buzzing with sweet treat trends, you may find yourself in need of a little direction when it comes to choosing your next dessert outing in New York City. We profile 10 places to satisfy your sweet tooth in NYC.

Vanilla Cupcake from Magnolia Bakery | © Kate Howley

Magnolia Bakery

Bakery, Dessert, $$$
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Magnolia Bakery is the place for a great cupcake
Magnolia Bakery is the place for a great cupcake | © Citizen of the Planet / Alamy Stock Photo
Magnolia Bakery is one of those classic New York City staples that we encourage you to visit at least once. With five locations across NYC and many more globally, the word has spread; this is the place to go for a great cupcake. Pay a visit to their original Bleeker Street location which has a cozy, vintage vibe. In addition to their classic cupcakes like vanilla, chocolate and Red Velvet, Magnolia also features a cupcake calendar with special flavors such as coconut, banana and caramel each day of the week. If cupcakes aren’t your thing, they also have displays stacked with cakes, bars, muffins and pies. For a sticky and sweet surprise, try the Hummingbird Cake or their famous banana pudding. All are guaranteed to please.

Maison Kayser

Restaurant, French, $$$
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Dipped Ice Cream from Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Dipped Ice Cream from Big Gay Ice Cream Shop | © Kate Howley
Maison Kaiser is a French boulangerie that takes elegant to another level, showcasing dessert as an art form. Indulge in delicate pastries filled with exotic ingredients like mango and passionfruit, or try the classic eclair filled with pistachio or coffee. On the go? Choose from an assortment of travel-size treats like mini-tartes or cookies. Finally, each dessert is adorned with chocolate and painted with “EK” for founder Eric Kaiser. This is the place for authentic French baked goods in NYC.

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Ice Cream Parlour, Dessert Shop, American, $$$
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WV Shop 3
Big Gay Ice Cream serves up unique flavours | © Big Gay Ice Cream
You know you’ve arrived in New York City when you see that giant rainbow above Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Changing the face of soft serve ice cream as we know it, Big Gay will dip, smash or drip any topping your desire onto your cone, from crushed Nila Wafers to wasabi pea dust. Alternative desserts on offer include ice cream sandwiches and shakes. If you’re feeling particularly daring, try the ginger curry or Horchata milkshakes. Decorated with unicorns and other cheerful visuals, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop has become a NYC dessert icon.

Max Brenner

Shop, $$$
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Chocolate Rice Pudding from Rice to Riches
Chocolate Rice Pudding from Rice to Riches | © Kate Howley
If you love chocolate so much that you’d do shots of it, then Max Brenner is the place for you. A full-service restaurant as well as a chocolate shop, this is the chocolate capital of NYC. The menu is loaded with waffles, crepes, pastries and more. For date night, try the sharing fondue for two – the perfect aphrodisiac. If getting messy if your thing, go for the Chocolate Chunks Pizza with ‘the works’. Max Brenner even offers a chocolate syringe with pure liquid chocolate that you squirt into your mouth. Embrace your inner child out at this chocolate lover’s paradise.

Rice to Riches

Dessert Shop, Dessert, $$$
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When you eat at Rice to Riches you just have to accept that you’ll leave too full to move. With 15 different flavors like ‘Fluent in French Toast’ and ‘Sex, Drugs and Rocky Road’, each flavor is sweetly satisfying. Top your rice pudding with any combination of crunchy embellishments such as ‘Black Magic’ (chocolate crumble) or ‘Unity’ (cinnamon raisin crumble). Be sure to note the walls, with funny comments including ‘Limit: 500 rice puddings per customer’ and ‘Forget love, I’d rather fall in rice pudding’. Before you leave, we recommend buying a sumo-sized tub of rice pudding to save for later.

The Mister Softee Truck

Mister Softee Inc. was founded in 1956 and has been loved by all, young and old, ever since. You don’t need to walk very far in New York before stumbling across a truck, and if you live in the suburbs, just listen for that classic jingle. Inexpensive and always delicious, a classic vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles is the way to go on a hot summer day in Central Park. If you’re a risk-taker, try the double – two cones conjoined together with any combination of soft serve and topping you’d like. The summer hasn’t officially started until you have a Mister Softee cone.

Interior of IT’SUGAR | © Kate Howley


Candy Store, Pastries, American
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Vanilla Gelato from GROM
Vanilla Gelato from GROM | © Kate Howley
Coney Island is an iconic destination that everyone should visit on a hot summer day at least once. After some arcade games and a hot dog at Nathan’s, stop by IT’SUGAR for some candy. Inside and out, this shop is exploding with color and overindulgence, selling three-pound gummy worms as well as popular Asian candies. They also sell sunglasses, plush dolls and novelty items. IT’SUGAR is sure to elicit child-like euphoria from the second you walk in until the last bite of your 32oz Rice Krispies Treat.


Made with only the purest ingredients, GROM creates beautiful, fresh gelato in a variety of refreshing and decadent flavors, all listed in Italian. Not to worry if you can’t decide on only one flavor – you can create any combination you desire. Choose from classics like pistachio or coffee, or try something out of the ordinary like Liquirizia (licorice) or Caramello al sale (caramel with Himalayan pink sea salt). GROM is so dedicated to staying fresh and natural that their website provides detailed information on gelato ingredients and their sources.

Crack Pie from Momofuku Milk Bar | © Kate Howley

Milk Bar

Bakery, American, $$$
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Cereal Milk Soft Serve-3
Milk Bar's soft serve tastes just like cereal milk | © Milk Bar
Milk Bar is well-known in NYC for breaking the mold with innovative desserts. Try their signature cereal milk soft serve, inspired by the delicious milk left behind in your cereal, their iconic Crack Pie, or their birthday cake truffles. After falling in love with their products upon taking your first bite, you can buy their cookbook or reference their recipes online to make all your favorites at home. Stop by the Carroll Gardens location on Sundays and the Upper West Side location on Saturdays to play musical chairs for a chance to win a free weekly cake.

Pastry from Ferrara's

Bakery, Cafe, Italian, Dessert, Pastries, $$$
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Ferrara’s has delighted Little Italy with its incredible Italian pastries and old-world New York atmosphere since 1892. The selection is vast and enticing, and if you can’t decide on just one, the ‘Trio of Three’ is always a great option – that way you can choose three miniatures of any of their famous desserts. The Sfogliatella (a flaky pastry filled with baked ricotta, farina and fruit) and the cream puffs filled with Bavarian cream are classic Italian favorites. Along with excellent coffee and espresso, they also make their own sodas in-house. Luckily, they’re also open for breakfast so you can indulge in a variety of sweet treats any time of the day.

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