For a city that’s weather forecast calls for 100 percent chance of skin year round, Miami’s dessert game is strong. You’ll find Cuban bakeries peddling pastelitos in neighborhoods beyond Little Havana, plus cupcakes and healthy-sweets shops sprinkled throughout the city, from Coral Gables to Hialeah. For the city’s best croissants, fresh bread and other irresistible treats, consult our guide to the best bakeries in Miami. For a caffeinated complement, grab your snack to go and visit one of the best coffee shops in Miami.
Best bakeries in Miami
Fireman Derek has been in the pie-making business for nearly 20 years and it shows. The tart and creamy key lime, which he makes following a classic recipe (no sugar in the crust), flies off the shelves, as do his other “world-famous pies,” including the crack pie and salted caramel. Buy them whole or by the slice at this quaint corner shop, which also sells fresh-baked cookies, muffins and a variety of Panther coffee and espresso drinks.
This unassuming cafe is home to some of the best croissants on this side of the Atlantic, in part because the French staple can be ordered toasted. (Sorry, purists.) But if a hot, flaky almond croissant isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer a strawberry Napoleon (Buena Vista Deli’s best-seller) or savory slice of quiche (we recommend the goat cheese and mushroom).
For those days when you really want to “cheat” but don’t want to undo all of your hard work in the gym, Francesca Morello, whips up good-for-you desserts that are under 140 calories. Cupcakes, muffins, brownies and other desserts are made using protein powder rather than traditional flour, sweetened with stevia and whipped up with coconut milk—resulting in gluten-free desserts that are low in carbs and sugar and high in protein. Just take the popular Whey2Go brownie, for instance. It packs in an impressive 25 grams of protein! There are currently 42 cupcake flavors available, with more constantly being added, plus a variety of doughnuts, truffles, cakes and cake pops that can be ordered in or delivered.
When you grow up eating Cuban pastelitos, or living within close proximity to a bakery that serves them, the typical guava- and coconut-filled pastries leave something to be desired. Hialeah bakery Breadman Miami has the sugary antidote with its variety of classic, Latin-inspired sweets updated for modern taste buds. There are coconut-chocolate and nutella-stuffed pastelitos, plus dessert combos like NY cheesecake topped with Cuban rice pudding or the Oreo-stuffed caracol—a flaky shell filled with crumbled cookies that’s super rico.
Nationally renowned pastry chef Antonio Bachour, who’s helmed kitchens across cruise lines and luxury hotels, brings his talents to Brickell alongside chef and partner Henry Hané (overseeing the bistro half of the combo). Most of Bachour’s lauded desserts, plus several new ones, are available throughout the day either to go or to stay and enjoy in the beautiful, sunlit dining room. Portable sweets include verrines, like delicate dessert parfaits, and pastries that range from assorted croissants to a gooey Nutella brioche. Beautiful tarts topped with berries and other fresh fruit taste as pretty as they look displayed.
If you like your Cuban pastelitos on the doughier side, Gilbert’s Bakery’s version of the classic guava is it—flaky yet firm, without ever crumbling. The bakery puts its own spin on other well-known items, like the Cuban sandwich-turned-empanada and pumpkin spice cortadito (imagine a mini, dense and much sweeter kind of latte), available for a limited time. Its most popular dessert for the past few decades remains a rich chocolate rum cake known as the Montego.
If you’re into reading labels, Bunnie Cakes is the ideal sweet spot. The vegan bakery serves cupcakes, cakes, brownies and doughnuts made from mostly organic ingredients. Plus, owner Mariana Cortez caters to clients with food allergies, offering a variety of gluten-free cupcakes in flavors like red velvet, vanilla and guava. The mini versions are the perfect, one-bite treats but there are also larger cupcakes and made-to-order cakes available for purchase.
Good things come in small packages, as in Sweetness Bake Shop & Cafe’s specialty dessert shots. Whether you’re after key lime, cheesecake, flan or red velvet cake, you’ll find it here in a small shooter. Mini cupcakes are a hit with customers, too, especially the Guayabera (guava cake filled with guava marmalade and topped with cream cheese frosting) and booze-filled flavors, such as the Irish Car Bomb (a delicious combo of Guinness, Jameson whiskey and Baileys Irish Cream-infused ingredients). You can also get your hands on a hot cup of Panther coffee.
Zak [Stern] the baker has become the authority on all things bread in Miami. (ZTB, which you’ll see printed on many a menu in this city, is shorthand for “damn good bread.” Or at least it should be.) But his burgeoning cafe in Wynwood is serving more than delicious bread fresh from the oven. There are a variety of soups and sandwiches plus daily specials, which tend to be heartier than the standard menu items. Everything served is kosher, including the popular house toasts (avocado is both on trend and on point) and the simple, albeit spectacular, chocolate chip cookies.
This upscale patisserie befits the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach (the lobby of which it occupies). Gourmet chocolates, specialty cakes and pastries almost too pretty to eat are presented in spotless display cases. Also front and center is pastry chef Jordi Panisello, who can often be seen prepping truffles, fudge and other confections at one of the shop’s live-action stations. Any time the hotel has a special anniversary or event, count on Chez Bon Bon to celebrate with themed desserts—from decadent Easter bunnies to Jack Daniel’s-spiked truffles in honor of Frank Sinatra 100th birthday.