12 Best Dessert Places in Boston: Cake, Pastries, Ice Cream + More

by Global Viewpoint
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Looking to indulge in baked goods, ice cream, and everything in between? Satisfy your sweet tooth at these best dessert places in Boston.

Known for its international culinary scene, Boston is truly a foodie’s paradise. From the North End to the Seaport, restaurants are popping up all the time, and fierce competition means only the best eateries remain. But beyond the entrées at the city’s top restaurants, there are so many amazing dessert spots in Boston to salivate over.

As a Bostonian who has eaten his way through all the best dessert places in Boston, I can guarantee that there’s something for everyone to drool over. What I can’t guarantee, however, is that you won’t need to be rolled home afterwards. I’ve visited 45 countries—including many gastronomical cities much bigger than our tiny but mighty city— and Boston can surely hold its own. From local bakeries and donut shops to ice cream parlors and confectionary shops, you won’t have to go far to find the best sweets in Boston.

Whether you’re a Bostonian or visitor on the hunt for mouthwatering cakes, cannolis, or all the above, this guide has got you covered. Here are the best dessert spots in Boston that will tantalize your taste buds. For more cool spots around Boston and New England, follow my adventures on Instagram (@Global.Viewpoint).

Read next: 10 Best Restaurants in Boston in 2022

The coolest Boston dessert spots for locals and visitors
COVID Disclosure: Due to COVID-19, some of the establishments below may be closed and/or have abbreviated hours. Refer to their respective websites for more information on hours, dine-in/take-out options, and other important information. Hope you will find a way to support these local eateries!

12 Boston dessert places to satisfy your sugar cravings

1. Mike’s Pastry

Looking to try the best baked goods in Boston? Mike’s Pastry in the North End will not disappoint. It’s best known for its authentic Italian cannolis stuffed with ricotta, fruit, ice cream, and chocolate. These crunchy and creamy desserts come with over 19 flavors, so just about every tourist and local who comes here will find something that suits them!

Located in the North End, Mike's Pastry is a popular dessert spots for visitors.
Located in the North End, Mike’s Pastry is a popular dessert spot in Boston for visitors.

Mike’s was founded in 1946, making it one of the most historic bakeries in the city. There’s always a line out the door, a testament to how passionate and loyal Bostonians are about their cannolis. They also serve other pastries, including cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and pies. This dessert place in Boston is cash only, so plan accordingly!

In addition to Mike’s Pastry, there are many other amazing Italian bakeries on Hanover Street in the North End. Here, you’ll also find several places selling gelato in Boston. For foodies, it truly doesn’t get any better than the North End!

Sweet treats at Mike's Pastry.
Sweet treats at Mike’s Pastry.

2. Zinneken’s Waffles

For a taste of Europe in the US, look no further than Zinneken’s Waffles. This Boston dessert spot is best known for its Belgian sugar waffle (“liege waffle”), which is incredibly authentic and reminds me of the waffles I enjoyed in Brussels. Add to that imported Belgian chocolates and fresh berries, and you’ll be amazed by this rich and sweet handcrafted treat.

Zinneken's Waffles has some of the best dessert in Boston.
Zinneken’s Waffles has some of the best dessert in Boston.

Zinneken’s Waffles has locations in Harvard Square in Cambridge and a food truck in Boston. If you spot that food truck around the city, be sure to chase it down!

Enjoy a waffle or two at Zinneken's and you'll see why it draws so much hype.
Enjoy a waffle or two at Zinneken’s and you’ll see why it draws so much hype.

3. L.A. Burdick Chocolates

For a Boston dessert like no other, you won’t want to miss L.A. Burdick on Clarendon Street. This chocolate shop and café has the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had, but that’s not the only draw to this place. Chocolate mousse cake and European-inspired pastries such as Linzer torte are big hits here, as are the signature chocolates and truffles.

This Boston dessert bar has everything you could ever desire.
This Boston dessert bar has everything you could ever desire.

From handcrafted artisanal chocolates and confections to pastries and specialty drinks, L.A. Burdick is truly a chocolate lover’s dream. Though it’s a bit on the expensive side, this Boston dessert bar is 100% worth it.

L.A. Burdick has the best hot chocolate I've ever had.
L.A. Burdick has the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

4. Parker’s Restaurant has the best dessert in Boston

All visitors of Boston ought to try the city’s most famous dessert, the Boston cream pie. And what better place to try it than at the Boston dessert restaurant where it all began?

The original Boston cream pie
The original Boston cream pie

Located inside the historic Omni Parker House, Parker’s Restaurant is the birthplace of this classic cake (it’s more cake than pie). Boston cream pies are a type of sponge cake filled with cream and topped with chocolate. This New England classic is fluffy, soft, and buttery – the perfect combination for a dessert course.

In addition to Parker’s Restaurant, you can find delicious Boston cream pies at Mike’s Pastry, Flour Bakery & Café, and Bova’s Bakery. Though if you’re looking for a top Boston dessert restaurant, this is it!

Chocolate cake is a top dessert you'll find in Boston.
Chocolate cake is a top dessert you’ll find in Boston.

5. Kane’s Donuts

Located in downtown Boston and Saugus, Kane’s Donuts is a must when you’re in the Greater Boston Area. This classic Boston donut shop has been around for over 65 years, offering over 40 kinds of homemade donuts, including its award-winning honey dip and crème brûlée. Their fresh donuts are absolutely massive, but they feel light at the same time. So, it’s not hard to eat a few in a sitting (well, for me, anyway)!

Kane's is a classic donut shop in Boston.
Kane’s is a classic donut shop in Boston.

In addition to serving classic American donuts, there’s also a selection of gluten-free options and coffee to include in your morning ritual. If you’re in search of the best dessert spots in Boston, add Kane’s Donuts to your hit list.

Kane's Donuts has the best desserts in Massachusetts.
Kane’s Donuts has the best desserts in Massachusetts.

6. Alma Gaúcha

Want to try the best lava cakes in Boston? Alma Gaúcha, a Brazilian restaurant in Boston’s Seaport district, offers the gastronomical experience you’ve been looking for.

Alma Gaucha is a top restaurant in Boston with some amazing desserts.
Alma Gaucha is a top restaurant in Boston with some amazing desserts.

Brazilians are proud of their steakhouses, but their desserts are just as mouthwatering. In particular, the petit gâteau– a chocolate truffle treat popular in Brazil that’s akin to the molten chocolate cakes, or lava cakes sold in the US—is a decadent dessert like no other. Alma Gaúcha also offers a gluten-free lava cakes, tres leches (a white cake soaked with three different kinds of milk), and papaya cream (a blend of vanilla and papaya). The key lime pie is phenomenal as well! With its cozy ambiance and delectable dishes, it’s no wonder Alma Gaúcha is known for having Boston’s best dessert.

Chocolate lava cakes are one of the best desserts near me
Chocolate lava cakes are one of the best desserts near me

7. Modern Pastry Shop is a top dessert place in Boston

Some of the best Boston desserts can be found at Modern Pastry in the North End. This includes everything from pastries and pies to cookies and cakes. Enjoy the best Boston cream pie cupcakes imaginable, as well as pistachio Florentine cookies, almond macaroons, and made-to-order cannolis.

The tastiest desserts in Boston are found at Modern Pastry.
The tastiest desserts in Boston are found at Modern Pastry.

To avoid long lines, I recommend going early in the morning. Though if you get there later and must wait in a long time, know that it’s 100% worth it. This pastry shop is cash only – so plan accordingly! Is this one of the best Boston dessert places? It sure is!

Berry tart at Modern Pastry in Boston.
Berry tart at Modern Pastry in Boston.

8. Amorino Boston

Though one would expect that the best gelato in Boston is found in the Italian North End neighborhood, I think this one on Newbury Street is even better. Amorino Boston is an authentic gelateria that uses nothing but the highest quality organic ingredients. Its sorbets and gelato are also gluten-free.

Amorino has the best gelato in Boston.
Amorino has the best gelato in Boston.

In addition to traditional Italian gelato desserts, you’ll also find macarons al gelato, hot specialty drinks, crêpes, waffles, and more. What more could you desire in a top desert spot in Boston?

If you aren’t interested in trying gelato outside of the North End, I recommend visiting Caffè Paradiso on Hanover Street. This family-run Italian coffeehouse serves gelato, espresso, and pastries.

A Boston dessert like no other.
A Boston dessert like no other.

9. Insomnia Cookies is among the best dessert places in Boston

Looking for the best dessert places in Boston open late? Insomnia Cookies takes the cake with some of the best cookies in Boston. There are a few locations around the city, including two in Boston and one in Cambridge, which close at 1am and provide late-night deliveries.

Insomnia Cookies has some of the best dessert places Boston.
Insomnia Cookies has some of the best dessert places Boston.

Insomnia Cookies is known for being one of the best cookie chains on the East Coast. The cookies are warm and gooey, and when served with ice cream, provide a Boston dessert experience like no other. If you’re like me and tend to have late-night cravings, this cookie joint is sure to impress you!

Nothing says best dessert in Boston like an ice cream cookie sandwich
Nothing says best dessert in Boston like an ice cream cookie sandwich

10. Eldo Cake House

Not all the best dessert places in Boston MA are Italian or American. Located in Chinatown, Eldo Cake House is an incredible Asian bakery that has been around for 30+ years. It specializes in Asian pastries and cakes, including egg custard tarts and cream buns, fruit cakes, and pineapple Bao.

Eldo Cake House is a top dessert place in Boston.
Eldo Cake House is a top dessert place in Boston.

In addition to selling typical sweet treats, you can also order custom birthday cakes here. There are many fresh fruits to choose from, including mango, melon, peach, kiwi, strawberry, and more. The prices are reasonable as well. If you’re looking for some of the best birthday cakes in Boston, Eldo Cake House will meet your needs!

Birthday cake at Eldo Cake House.
Birthday cake at Eldo Cake House.

11. Bova’s Bakery is one of the best sweet shops in Boston

Located in the North End, Bova’s Bakery is known for its traditional Italian baked goods, including Sicilian cannolis, tiramisu, cookies, breads, and pies. They also offer other specialty desserts, including Sfogliatelle, Éclairs, Crème Brule, lobster tails, and more.

Bova's Bakery is a family-run bakery dating back to 1932.
Bova’s Bakery is a family-run bakery dating back to 1932.

Bova’s Bakery has been making homemade Italian pastries, cookies, and breads for over 80 years. It’s become a staple amongst Bostonians and New Englanders alike, who flock here to enjoy some of the finest Italian treats around. It’s no wonder, then, that Bova’s has some of Boston best dessert.

A Cannoli is an Italian pastry made of fried pastry dough and a creamy filling.
A Cannoli is an Italian pastry made of fried pastry dough and a creamy filling.

12. Cafe Madeleine

Last, but not least on this round-up of the best dessert in Boston is Café Madeleine in the South End. This artisanal French bakery serves fresh pastries, brownies, cookies, and coffee. Their baguettes are on par with what I’ve tried in Paris. It’s hard to believe that this Boulangerie is in Boston!

Cafe Madeleine is a French bakery in Boston.
Cafe Madeleine is a French bakery in Boston.

If you’re looking for a quaint café with delicious pastries, Café Madeleine is definitely worthy of a visit. It has the best croissants and canelés in Boston, hands down.

Nothing screams best Boston dessert than macaroons.
Nothing screams best Boston dessert than macaroons.

The Best and Most Unique Dessert Places around Boston in 2022

Hope you enjoyed this article on the coolest dessert spots in Boston! I did my best to include dessert places in the North End, South End, Back Bay, Downtown, Seaport, Chinatown, and more. Have you been to any unique eateries in the area? Email me at jon(at)myglobalviewpoint.com or shoot me a message on Instagram, as I’m always looking to try something new!

For more travel inspiration around Boston and New England, check out these articles:

– Top Weekend Getaways in Boston

– Best Restaurants around Boston

– Coolest Massachusetts Day Trips

– Unique Things to See in Cambridge, MA

– Top Airbnb Rentals around Massachusetts

– Unique VRBO Stays in New England

– New England Road Trip Guide in 2022

– Top Getaways in Cape Cod

– Best Hidden Gems in New England

– Coolest Stays in the Berkshires

Top desserts in Boston in the North End, South End, and Seaport districts
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