Sugar Rush: Ultimate Boston Dessert Guide

Whether your sweet tooth craves cannoli, cookies, or ice cream, here’s where you can get your just desserts.

Even the most insatiably sweet-toothed dessert fiend will tell you: Not all sugar highs are created equal. We’ve spent years scouring the city for its best confections, and oh, did we ever find them. Here’s our guide to Boston’s crème de la creampuff.

Pastries from Flour Bakery

Pastries from Flour Bakery

Best Bakeries for Sweets

We say: Let the cupcake lovers revel in their frosting-induced myopia; those of us who truly love pastry still embrace tarts, cakes, and cookies. Sweet dreams are made of these: Flour Bakery’s hazelnut-almond dacquoise and Sofra’s Syrian shortbread—for starters.

See all winners of the the best bakeries for sweets in Boston.

Cannoli from Modern Pastry

Cannoli from Modern Pastry

Best Cannolis

Our motto: “Don’t ever trust a bakery with prefilled cannoli.” That’s hardly a controversial sentiment. But where does Boston magazine fall on the Mike’s versus Modern debate? Well, that’s a little more provocative (though the answer should surprise no one). But we also want to make sure you don’t overlook the lesser-known, yet equally fine specimens at North End haunt Caffé Paradiso or Maria’s. Here’s where you can find hand-wrought, flaky-shelled, airy-ricotta-filled nirvana.

See all winners of the best cannolis in Boston.

Chocolate from EHChocolatier

Chocolate from EHChocolatier

Best Chocolate Shops

Whether you’re a cacao purist or someone who thinks outside the standard chocolate box, you’re in good company in Boston, seeing as we’re graced by the likes of Somerville-based EHChocolatier, Evelyn and Angel’s in Porter Square, and L.A. Burdick (whose signature chocolate mice are still the most charming foodie rodents in our brave new post-Pizza Rat world). And for the full Wonka experience, make sure to tour Union Square’s Taza Chocolate Factory.

See all winners of the best chocolate in Boston.

Chocolate sandwich cookies from Hi-Rise

Chocolate sandwich cookies from Hi-Rise

Best Cookies

It may seem like a simple task, but pulling off truly great chocolate chip cookies requires some serious baking chops. But considering we invented the form right here in the Bay State—by the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts in the 1930s—it’s no surprise that a handful of our favorite bakeries offer their own transcendent versions of this humble classic.

See all winners of the best cookies in Boston.

Ice cream from Toscanini's

Ice cream from Toscanini’s

Best Ice Cream

We New Englanders are incapable of resisting the temptation of ice cream, no matter the weather. Even in the dead of winter, our local ice cream parlors do a brisk cone business. We’ve sampled just about every cone in Greater Boston—from the exotic bourbon black pepper at Toscanini’s to the peanut-butter chip at Christina’s—and we can confidently say that these are the standouts in a world of mediocre soft-serve.

See all winners of the best ice cream parlors in Boston.

Frappes from Toscanini's

Frappes from Toscanini’s

Best Frappes

Of course, New England’s love of dairy fat comes in many forms. The rest of the country can have their thin (ice cream-free) milkshake; we Yankees will happily take the frappe—preferably from Toscanini’s, Lizzy’s, or one of our other favorites.

See all winners of the best frappes in Boston.

Doughnuts from Union Square Donuts

Doughnuts from Union Square Donuts / Courtesy photo

Best Doughnuts

Dessert for breakfast? Do or donut, there is no try. At least not around here, where there’s some serious competition for the crown of best doughnut. And sorry, Dunk’s, we love you for many things, but your waxy French crullers are not one of them. Instead, our hearts (and double-glazed arteries) belong to the likes of Union Square Donuts, Kane’s, and these other choice doughnut shops.

See all winners of the best doughnut shops in Boston.