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Lost Larson
Photograph: Jessica Dawson Lost Larson

The 22 most amazing bakeries in Chicago

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

By Morgan Olsen
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Like many cities where diverse cultures have long met and melded, Chicago has a bakery scene that’s sizable and varied. The best bakeries in Chicago serve sugary confections from places close to home and far, far away. Whether you're looking for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie or a sugar-striped concha, sweet seekers can find some of the best desserts in Chicago in these humble storefronts. As an added bonus, some of the most beloved bakeries in Chicago double as the finest coffee shops Chicago has to offer, pouring piping-hot lattes and cappuccinos to accompany fresh-baked pastries, pies and cakes. Heck, we'd argue that these bakehouses are some of the best attractions in Chicago—but maybe that's the sugar talking. Give your sweet tooth what it wants at the best bakeries in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

The best bakeries in Chicago

Macarons
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

Restaurants Bakeries Streeterville

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).

Lost Larson
Photograph: Anthony Tahlier

2. Lost Larson

Restaurants 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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Brown Sugar Bakery
Photograph: Courtesy Brown Sugar Bakery

3. Brown Sugar Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Greater Grand Crossing

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.

Hewn
Photograph: Courtesy Hewn

4. Hewn

Restaurants Bakeries Evanston

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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Sweet Mandy B's
Photograph: Angela Melendez Carpenter

5. Sweet Mandy B’s

Restaurants Bakeries Lincoln Park

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.

Concha
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Markellos Baking Company

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.

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Bake Cake
Photograph: Courtesy Bake

7. Bake

Restaurants Bakeries Wicker Park

Upon entering this cheerful Wicker Park bakehouse, your eyes are instantly 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.

8. TeaPotBrew Bakery

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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Bang Bang Pie Shop
Photograph: Martha Williams

9. Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits

Restaurants Bakeries Logan Square

Missing Bang Bang? Dine-in service hasn't resumed, but you can browse the pie shop's pantry, place an order online and pick up your goods in Logan Square on Fridays between 4 and 6pm. 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.

Kristoffer's Cafe & Bakery
Photo: Erica Gannett

10. Kristoffer’s Cafe & Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Lower West Side

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.

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Baye's Little Bakery
Photograph: Courtesy Darnell Reed

11. Baye’s Little Bakery

Restaurants Soul and southern American Lincoln Square

Like many of us, chef Darnell Reed turned to baking during quarantine. Reed, who owns Luella's Southern Kitchen, enrolled in online classes through the Butter Book, a virtual learning platform created by the founders of Chicago's French Pastry School. It wasn't long before he realized that his hobby could easily translate to a new business opportunity, which is how Baye's Little Bakery was born. The menu is short and sweet, highlighting hummingbird cake, fried cherry hand pies, deep-dish sweet potato pie and butter pecan cookies sandwiched together with brown buttercream.

12. Weber’s Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Garfield Ridge

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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354.rb.ft.100best.Floriolex476New.jpg
Photograph: Erica Gannett

13. Floriole Cafe & Bakery

Restaurants Cafés Lincoln Park

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.

chiu quon pork bun
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

14. Chiu Quon Bakery Chinatown

Restaurants Bakeries Armour Square

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. 

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15. Alliance Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Wicker Park

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.

Dinkel's Bakery
Photograph: Brent Knepper

16. Dinkel’s Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Lake View

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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17. Bridgeport Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Bridgeport

This no-nonsense Polish bakery gets a lot of love for its pączki, but the pastry case is packed with plenty of other candy-colored confections on a daily basis. Shop cakes and doughnuts, eclairs and cookies, bacon buns and whole loaves. A word to the wise: The shop often sells out before closing time (and no, they don't have a Twitter or Instagram account to check), so call ahead for special orders.

roeser's bakery, humboldt park
Photograph: Nick Murway

18. Roeser’s Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Humboldt Park

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Bittersweet Pastry Shop

19. Bittersweet Pastry Shop

Restaurants Cafés Lake View

There's nothing bitter about this sweet Lakeview pastry shop. Though guests can browse and order tarts, pies and stuffed macarons from the glass case, Bittersweet is known for its signature and custom cakes, which can be ordered in fun flavors like strawberry-white chocolate, vanilla crème brûlée and lemon-raspberry. Save this pastry shop for a special occasion, and they're sure to delight your guests.

Saint Anna Bakery & Cafe
Photograph: Martha Williams

20. Saint Anna Bakery & Cafe

Restaurants Bakeries Armour Square

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.

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Cupcakes at Delightful Pastries.
Courtesy Delightful Pastries

21. Delightful Pastries

Restaurants Bakeries Portage Park

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.

Sfogliatelle at Scafuri Bakery
Photograph: Martha Williams

22. Scafuri Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Little Italy, UIC

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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