Fran's Chocolates Courtesy of Fran’s Chocolates

If you've got a sweet tooth, Seattle is the place to satisfy it, as evidenced by all the local franchises peddling doughnuts, cupcakes, ice cream, and other sugary treats around town, not to mention numerous stand-alone joints. We've put together a list of some favorites, from local staples to hidden gems to nationally recognized treasures.

Amandine Bakeshop

Capitol Hill

Everything is on point at Sara Naftaly's gem of a bakery in Chophouse Row, which showcases Parisian-style baked goods with thoughtful seasonal flavors. Come for macarons in enchanting variations like juniper lemon, rhubarb and chocolate, and guava cajeta, and glossy croissants burnished a deep copper that leave a confetti-like trail of flakes down the front of your shirt, just like a good croissant should. If drippy yolks are your thing, the savory Danish (farmstead cheese and a runny golden egg framed by a rectangle of flaky pastry) is not to be missed. JULIANNE BELL

Bakery Nouveau

Various Locations

There's a reason Bakery Nouveau has gained a cult-like following and numerous awards over the years. Some say it's the perfect twice-baked almond and chocolate almond croissants, while others swear by the Parisian style macarons, generously filled with creamy ganache, velvety buttercream, or decadent caramel. All will tell you that whatever you walk away with will be worth the wait. And they've got virtually everything you could hope for to satisfy your sweet tooth—from bread pudding and carrot cake to rich brownies and lemon or raspberry tarts. KARA TIERNAN

Cafe O'Dessert

University District

I have a Japanese time-traveling robot cat to thank for this discovery:

A drawing of Doraemon devouring a bowl of shaved ice on the cafe's signature whiteboard was what initially drew me into the cozy place. Their Hong Kong–style shaved ice desserts are mouth-meltingly soft and fluffy. Try the black sesame and milk shaved ice with condensed milk, mochi balls, and guilinggao (Chinese herbal jelly)—it's a personal favorite. SOPHIA STEPHENS

The Confectionery

University Village

This long-standing candy shop is also the oldest store in University Village, and it has operated there for 45 years. As such, this place retains the nostalgia and old-timey feel of a neighborhood candy shop with a selection of gummies, sours, licorice, taffy, nostalgic candy, chocolates, and truffles guaranteed to sate any type of sweet tooth. JEN SWANSON

Coyle's Bakeshop


Pastry chef Rachael Coyle's bakery began its life as a pop-up bake sale in the Book Larder (the best little cookbook shop you'll ever set foot in), where her creations would be snatched up before you could say "cretzel" (that's her winning croissant-pretzel hybrid). Happily, she now has her own brightly lit, quaint, chandeliered space, where you can get perfect butter croissants, muscovado sugar and cinnamon meringues, and the best millionaire's shortbread all the time. JB

Cupcake Royal Benjamin Blackketter
Cupcake Royale

Various Locations

A cupcake institution since 2003, you can now find six locations around Seattle, all serving giant, made-from-scratch cupcakes, including those that are regularly available (like tiramisu, lemon drop, lavender, chocolate, and vanilla with a variety of frosting flavors—salted caramel is dreamy), and limited seasonal offerings (carrot walnut is available through May). Cupcake Royale also serves its own hand-churned ice cream, like the red velvet cupcake ice cream. There are gluten-free and vegan options, too, and they taste closer to the real thing than you might imagine. LEILANI POLK

Fran's Chocolates

Various Locations

The melt-in-your-mouth smoked-salt caramels that Fran's is known for are every bit as delicious as Barack Obama has claimed. The family-owned confectionery is nationally recognized (Fran's has been featured on the Food Network several times) and is named for the woman who's owned and operated it since 1982, Fran Bigelow (she'll be inducted into the Specialty Food Association's Hall of Fame this June). While you can order whatever your heart desires online, we suggest picking up your caramels, truffles, gold bars, or chocolate-covered fruits and nuts at any one of the four boutique shops. LP

Fuji Bakery

Various Locations

Styling themselves as a Japanese French pastry shop, Fuji Bakery is like half dessert shop and half jewelry boutique, so gorgeous are their dainty treasures, which are made with special European butter and their own yeast. Offerings change frequently, but you can depend on Fuji's perfect croissants, either in buttery classic mode or various flavors (mango, almond, strawberry, etc.), along with its ruby red Danish, a square of puff pastry filled with pastry cream and crowned with a few gems of red grapefruit. The clafoutis (custard cake with raspberries or blueberries baked in) is spot-on, très Francais, they have a multitude of pleasantly sweet/bitter green-tea-flavored offerings (panna cotta, Danish, and uji, described as "matcha opera cake"), and the abstract expressionist-inspired Zen (a thick cylinder of green-tea mousse filled with hojicha tea cream, topped with chocolate flakes, and served on a sesame cookie). MEG VAN HUYGEN

General Porpoise Jim Henkens
General Porpoise

Capitol Hill

I'm not sure what manner of witchcraft James Beard Award–winning chef Renee Erickson employs to make doughnuts like this, but whatever it is, it's earned General Porpoise a spot on Thrillist's list of the best doughnuts in America. The dough is magically puffy, pillowy, and yeasty, with just enough toothsome chew to hold its own against luscious cream fillings and a light dusting of crunchy sugar. The lemon-curd flavor is loud, tart, and bracing, a welcome shout of lemon sunshine, and there's always a few rotating seasonal flavors, from rhubarb to rose cream to date shake. Like all Erickson ventures, it's warm, charming, generous, and very Seattle. JB

Larsen's Danish Bakery


This stalwart Danish-style bakery has been around as long as anyone can remember, and it is best known for its tin-can butter cookies, holiday kringle (sort of a giant puff-pastry pretzel with various fillings), and elaborate kransekake ("wreath cake," made of stacked concentric cake circles, often bedecked with little Norwegian flags for Ballard's Syttende Mai Parade). But Larsen's is also a stoner's utopia. You can get a box of 15 day-old doughnuts for $6—well, usually more than the dozen you're supposed to get, anyhow. Other rad munchies include the macarons, especially the Earl Grey and peach, and the cardamom braid. MVH

Molly Moon's

Various Locations

The only thing better than walking by any of Molly Moon's eight locations and filling your lungs with the aroma of griddle-baked waffle cones is actually ducking in and ordering one filled with the ice cream flavor of your choice. Whether it's one of the 10 that are always on the menu (Stumptown coffee, melted chocolate, maple walnut, and salted caramel among them), or one of their seasonal offerings (right now, it's sasquatch, original RGB sorbet, vegan coconut chunk, or birthday cake), you pretty much can't go wrong. LP

Nutty Squirrel Gelato

Various Locations

Seattle reps gelato well, but Nutty Squirrel stands out for its extremely high quality (made with local Smith Brothers dairy products), all-natural protocol—their pistachio gelato is light brown, not neon green—and weird-ass flavors. There are more than 200 flavors, they change regularly, and new ones are added all the time. As well as the traditional stracciatella and espresso, they've done avocado, Market Spice tea, red currant, DiSaronno, lemon Grisbi (an Italian cookie), activated charcoal and coconut (made from charred coconut shells!), stout, raspberry beet, and olive oil. There's a good selection of nondairy sorbettos, too; the orange version is just oranges, water, and sugar, and somehow it's as creamy and lush as any of the gelatos. MVH



No Seattle visit would be complete without a stop to see the Fremont Troll, and while you're in the neighborhood, be sure to drop by Pie to grab a sweet or savory treat. The tantalizing aroma draws hordes of locals and passersby alike to dine on mini pies with flaky, buttery crusts and an assortment of fillings like apple, strawberry rhubarb, or cranberry apple raspberry (savory options include broccoli cheddar or English meat). Seating is limited, so I'd suggest grabbing a few to go or enjoying them on the patio seats out front. KT

R&M Dessert Bar

Capitol Hill

To sate a late-night yen for sugar and booze, look no further than R&M, a one-stop sweet shop where you can order a slice of something sweet and a glass of something sparkly to sip with it. The sleek bar is a labor of love for couple Rod Gambassi and Marc Adams (the eponymous "R" and "M"), the chefs and owners. Popular dishes include the chocolate truffle cake, a cross between a molten lava cake and a soufflé, and the key-lime tartlet, a tangy custard filling encased in buttery pastry crust. It's open until midnight on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on the weekends to accommodate urgent cravings. JB

Side Hustle Coffee & Doughnuts


Everyone needs a side hustle, and you can thank the sugar gods Molly Crane started hers in the form of a doughnut pop-up that opens every weekend at Lowercase Brewing in Georgetown. In a city full of tasty doughnut shops, this is the one tourists channeling their inner Rick Steves will write home about. Fluffy, pillowy mini-sized doughnuts are served by the dozen or half dozen in egg cartons with flavors like iced dark chocolate with rainbow sprinkles or vanilla buttercream with raspberry-lemon cream or chocolate cream filling. Enjoy them with a mason jar of small-batch cold brew coffee (or try the horchata latte!) before heading out on a city tour. KT