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The 22 most amazing bakeries in Chicago

Satisfy your sweet tooth with sugary confections from the best bakeries in Chicago

Morgan Olsen
Emma Krupp
Written by
Morgan Olsen
&
Emma Krupp
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Looking for things to do in Chicago this weekend? Satisfy your sweet tooth and make an early morning trip to one of the best bakeries in Chicago. From 100-year-old vanguards to trendy new spots serving up unusual flavor combos (we're looking at you and your chocolate french fry pie, Sugargoat), Chicago is home to pretty much every type of bakery you can imagine. Whether you're looking for pÄ…czki, picnic-ready fruit tarts, pillowy concha or something else entirely, sweet seekers can find some of the tastiest desserts in Chicago in these humble storefronts. Want to throw in a coffee with that croissant order? Rest assured, several of these spots also double as some of the best coffee shops in Chicago. Let your cravings be your guide as you exlore the best bakeries in Chicago—and remember, the early bird beats the long lines.

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  • Restaurants
  • West Loop

Craving European-style baked goods? You’ve come to the right place. Bittersweet has been churning out croissants, scones, tarts, cakes, cookies and other sweet treats from its Lakeview café since 1992, becoming a part of countless Chicagoans’ daily routines. The bakery is perhaps best known for its ornate cakes, which have been ordered by local celebs like Oprah and Michael Jordan—but we’re equally enamored with its selection of savory quiches and sandwiches. Order a cup of coffee and don’t think twice about treating yourself to something flaky or frosted.

 

The best bakeries in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Streeterville
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What this scrappy retail operation lacks in size it makes up for in expertise. Belgian chef Renaud Hendrickx is the creative genius behind 12 buttery croissant varieties, pastel-toned macarons and a variety of cakes and breads that make us never want to give up carbs. Though the front room is teensy-tiny, guests are invited to poke their heads into the kitchen to see what Hendrickx is baking (he might even offer you a sample if you're nice).

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Andersonville

This Andersonville bakery and café pays homage to the neighborhood's Scandinavian roots in the most delicious way. Chef and owner Bobby Schaffer—whose star-studded resume includes Grace and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York—is the culinary mastermind behind a drool-worthy pastry program that encompasses cardamom-scented chocolate croissants, lingonberry almond cakes and calamansi meringue tarts. Savory enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to, too, with Lost Larson's selection of open-face sandwiches that are topped with fresh produce and quality meats.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Greater Grand Crossing
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Stephanie Hart turns out a number of "down-home delights" at her bakery, many of them smacking of the shop’s eponymous ingredient. Peach cobbler, pineapple upside-down cake and sweet-potato pie, as well as by-the-slice or whole cakes such as caramel, German chocolate and red velvet are just a sample of Hart’s cavity-producing creations. Celebrating? Custom cakes are Hart’s specialty, and she goes to great lengths to please with creative concoctions.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Evanston
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With its range of Eurocentric items like petite, olive-stuffed brioches and super flaky kouign amann, no one could call the pastry program at Evanston’s Hewn an afterthought. It’s just that the bread here is so well crafted, it sort of takes the cake. Each day this snug, carryout-only bakery offers its signature country bread—a large, dark boule with a chewy crumb that’s mildly sour, thanks to a 17-hour fermentation—along with a couple of rotating choices from a menu that includes inventive loaves like caramelized onion rye and whole wheat Gruyere. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • West Loop

Chef Stephanie Izard's culinary empire got a little sweeter last year with the opening of Sugargoat, a bakery housed inside Little Goat Diner that features the creations of Izard and pastry chef Faith Taheny. Inspired by each chef's in-home baking experiments during quarantine and the flavors of their childhood (think fries dipped in milkshakes and pancakes topped with lots of maple syrup), Sugargoat serves a rotating menu of cakes, pies, cookies and cupcake, along with muffins, bagels, scones and croissants in the morning (plus Dark Matter coffee). Keep an eye out for unusual pastries like the chocolate french fry pie, which uses a french fry crumble crust and chocolate malt filling. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Lincoln Park
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They had us at hello, those dreamy, creamy cupcakes. (Us and every other Chicagoan with taste buds.) This sweet-as-can-be bakeshop may have cornered the local market with its simple little chocolate and yellow cakes slathered in a colorful array of buttercreams, but there’s much more to salivate over here. We like the puddings (butterscotch, chocolate, banana with Nilla wafers), the crispy, big-as-your-head cookies, the seasonal fruit crisps, the whoopie pies. We haven’t found a dud yet.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Albany Park

Upon entering this small but mighty Latin bakery, you'll grab a basket and a pair of tongs from the folks working the counter. Do a lap and plot out your order before opening the pastry cases and helping yourself to pillowy conchas, stuffed churros and colorful, candy-studded cookies—all made fresh daily. You may as well toss in anything else that catches your eye, as most pastries ring up well under a dollar. Racks of buns and breads are constantly being ferried from the back kitchen to the tight storefront so that you can snag something fresh from the oven.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Near South Side

Life's sweet at Veranda Runsewe's South Loop bakery, where the pastries are baked fresh daily and the custom cakes are crafted with love. The muffins and loaf cakes pair nicely with the lengthy list of tea varieties, from cinnamon-plum and jade oolong to matcha-ginger buzz. To see Runsewe's skills on full display, you'll want to order a cake, which can be customized to your every whim—whether you want it covered in sprinkles, dripping in caramel or iced to perfection.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Wicker Park
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Walk into this cheerful Wicker Park bakehouse, and your eyes will instantly be drawn to the jam-packed pastry case, which displays platters of freshly baked muffins, buttery scones, decorated cookies and sprinkle-covered cupcakes. The assortment changes daily, but you'll want to show up early for prized items like weekend sticky buns and flaky croissants.

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  • Logan Square
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There are plenty of seasonal options to drool over at this beloved pie shop (like the swoon-worthy Summer Pie, a frozen confection laden with raspberry swirl ice cream, lemon verbena curd and farm fresh berry compote), but we're especially fond of the key lime pie, which you can snag year-round. The shop's Logan Square location is open Thursday through Saturday for takeout and patio dining—stock up on pies, scratch biscuits and granola or fill your kitchen with delightful smells when you snag take-and-bake cookies or Bang Bang's coveted biscuit mix.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Lower West Side
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Kristoffer's is synonymous with tres leches cake—more specifically, one of the best versions of the delicacy in all of Chicago. The family-owned business in Pilsen makes the milk-bathed sponge cake in seven flavors—from vanilla and coconut to chocoflan and caramel. You can get it by the slice, but after just one bite, you'll wish you'd ordered a full cake for yourself.

Weber’s Bakery
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Garfield Ridge
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If you grew up in the Midwest, there’s a good chance your archetype of a bakery looks a lot like this Southwest Side institution. After all, the focus at this perpetually packed spot is on hearty, comforting fare that’s descended from German, Polish and Scandinavian roots, yet over time has evolved into its own regional character. Breakfast pastries are a particular strength here; the cheese sweet roll, with its silky filling and buttery streusel topping, is a worthy indulgence, while the cake doughnut, surprisingly light beneath an icing of chocolate ganache, is a customer favorite. 

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  • Restaurants
  • CafĂ©s
  • Lincoln Park
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With an assortment of breads, tasty sandwiches and seriously delicious cookies in its repertoire, this airy Lincoln Park bakery-café certainly has range. But Floriole’s soul is its French pastry, skillfully executed by owner Sandra Holl. Among our favorite offerings are the canelés, petite, fluted cakes with caramelized exteriors and custardy cores flavored with vanilla and rum. Another showstopper is the lovely gateau basque, a sweet, almond meal–rich cake filled with pastry cream and tart berries and baked till it's golden.

  • Restaurants
  • River West/West Town

Armed with a fine-dining background and stints at RIA and Sixteen, Aya Fukai took her talents wholesale in 2018, adding toothsome pastries to the menus at etta, Tempesta Market and All Together Now. Fans of Fukai’s pristine pastry work can now shop a selection of macarons, pies and cakes at her West Town storefront. We're especially drawn to the bakery's more fanciful, whimsical cakes—the Paris-Brest, a 9-inch creation comprised of praline mousse-filled cream puffs and hazelnut crunch, is fit for a tea party, while rice flour lends appealing chewiness to the matcha mochi cake. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Armour Square
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Dim sum fans are accustomed to cart service and ordering cards, but the majority of the small dishes traditionally served originated in tea houses and bakeries in southern China. Chinese bakery Chi Quon has been making these delectable items for decades, attracting locals and visitors from around the city with dishes like fresh BBQ pork buns, sesame balls filled with bean paste and decorative mango mousse cake. Pop in for a snack or make a meal out of the various baked goods on display. 

Alliance Bakery
  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Wicker Park
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Alliance is perhaps best known for its elaborate celebration cakes, which are proudly displayed in the windows for passersby to ogle. But this bakery also traffics in coffee drinks and other pastries, like cookies, macarons and tarts, which are available to take away or to bring next door to a seating area. Bookmark the custom cake work for a special day and stock up on macarons any day of the week.

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  • Bakeries
  • Lake View
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Filling Lakeview with heavenly aromas since 1922, this popular German bakery reliably turns out cinnamon-raisin stollen, German chocolate and butter cookies and its signature “sip’n whisky cake,” a moist Bundt cake made with sour mash whiskey. The real draw, though, is the strudel, which comes in several varieties, such as praline-pecan, cherry-cheese and poppy seed.

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  • Bakeries
  • Bridgeport
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This iconic Polish bakery closed in October 2019 after decades of serving pÄ…czki, doughnuts, cookies and other candy-colored sweets to its fans. Thankfully, new ownership swept in and restored the spot to its former glory. Shop cakes and doughnuts, eclairs and cookies, bacon buns and whole loaves—and of course, don't miss out on the bakery's much-loved pÄ…czki.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Humboldt Park
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One of Chicago’s oldest family-run businesses has operated out of the same storefront, distinguished today by its vertical neon sign and quaint painted lady facade, since its establishment in 1911. Today it’s a good all-arounder, with doughnuts and danish for breakfast, and a wide selection of cake slices and cookies (many in Chicago sports team motifs) for dessert.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Portage Park
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Mother-daughter team Dobra Bielinski and Stasia Hawyrszczuk opened this Jefferson Park bakery in 1998 and have established it as the preferred stop for those seeking Polish pastries (or other European sweets for that matter). Polish specialties like angel’s wings cookies and kolachki are always popular, but come Paczki Day (Fat Tuesday in the Big Easy), this place sells thousands of the lard-fried, cream-filled doughnuts, including one specific to the holiday filled with boozy custard. Coffee cake, muffins and breads have universal appeal year-round.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Armour Square
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One of Chicago’s finest Chinese bakeries offers an impressive range of treats both savory and sweet from its Chinatown storefront. The cha siu bao—brioche-like baked buns filled with sticky barbecue pork—make a good option for an on-the-go lunch, and the oblong egg tarts have a fan following for their just-barely-set custard filling and crumbly shortbread crust. Between bites, sip on the Hong Kong–style milk tea, a creamy, sweetened black tea that’s refreshing over ice.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Little Italy, UIC
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More than a century after its establishment, this family-run Taylor Street bakeshop continues to turn out spot-on renditions of southern Italian classics, like mildly sweet, cinnamon-scented cannoli that are filled to order and dipped in your choice of chocolate or chopped pistachios. With selections that many Italian-American bakeries offer only at Christmastime—tender, fig-stuffed cuccidati and crisp, pine nut-encrusted pignoli, for instance—the cookie section also impresses. On the savory side, the thick-crusted Sicilian pizza is uncomplicated, salty goodness.

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