Los Angeles has such a diverse and booming food scene that so many amazing eats are at our fingertips, as showcased by the LA Food and Wine Festival. Californians clearly do all kinds of food right. Not to brag, but we also have a melting pot of desserts. From traditional sweets, like pies and donuts, to a crazy concoction called Dragon's Breath, the desserts in Los Angeles are arguably the best part of any meal. So for all of my fellow sweet tooths out there, here are the 50 best desserts in LA that are definitely worth the calories.
1. Milk: Red Velvet Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich
Milk is virtually on every list of must-go places in Los Angeles, and it's for a good reason. They are the ice cream institution most known for their macaron ice cream sandwiches. I like a bit of texture with my ice cream, so this ingenious combination is perfect for me.
2. Chocolate Chair: Dragon's Breath
Dragon's Breath is a colorful cereal dessert, coated in liquid nitrogen, that comes with an array of sauces like strawberry and blueberry. It is truly a multiple-sense experience.
3. Sweet Lady Jane: Triple Berry Shortcake
With multiple locations and a variety of desserts to enjoy, from chocolate cinnamon rugelach to apple pie, they clearly aim to please. Their showstopper is their triple berry shortcake. They are very generous with their slices of cake, and I suggest you eat in for an IG-worthy pic.
#SpoonTip: Come with a group of people, so you can sample a few of their desserts.
4. The Pie Hole: Earl Grey Tea Pie
A thriving eatery with a homey feel, their walls are adorned with frames of calligraphed pie recipes. They are always pushing themselves to create exciting new flavors, like Cereal Killer, while keeping a few fan favorites like Earl Grey Tea.
5. Porto's Bakery: Cheese Roll
Topping Yelp's 100 Places to Eat in the US for 2016, people come from far and wide to try the famous cheese roll. A perfect ratio of cream cheese to the flaky crust, this cheese roll is a staple whenever you make it through the long line at Porto's.
6. Bottega Louie: Macarons
The grandness of Bottega Louie, a beautiful space with a white marble theme, can be summarized into one of their desserts: macarons. You'll feel so French and fancy when you order these beauties.
7. Ridges Churro Bar: Fruity Pebbles
Churros + fruity pebbles + ice cream = dessert heaven. This food truck takes all of your favorite things and makes them into one delectable dessert. Check out where they'll be next on their website.
8. Donut Friend: DIY Donut
For someone who loves all kinds of toppings, the DIY donut is a blessing. You can choose from toppings like fresh fruit and crushed Oreos, making the donut of your dreams. If you’re an over-thinker, then you can always choose one of their classic flavors like Nutellavision.
9. Demitasse: Lavender Hot Chocolate
Lavender and chocolate may be an unlikely pair, but this is one for the books. A thick European sipping chocolate with a large toasted marshmallow will send you straight to hot chocolate heaven.
10. McConnell's: Sea Salt Cream & Cookie
McConnell's uses milk from grass-fed cows and organic, local ingredients to make some of the finest ice cream in Southern California. Sea salt cream & cookies take cookies and cream to the next level with sweet cream ice cream, a pinch of sea salt, and bits of house-made Guittard chocolate chunk cookies.
#SpoonTip: A single scoop is really two scoops at McConnell's so you can ask for two different flavors.
11. Rocco's Cheesecake: White Velvet Cheesecake
Killing the game with five stars on Yelp, Rocco's Cheesecake is the promise land for cheesecakes. One of their most popular flavors, white velvet, has bits of cookie dough mixed in a vanilla cheesecake with hints of chai. They're most known for their passionate owner, Johnny, whose zeal for his work is truly apparent when you meet him.
#SpoonTip: Call ahead for daily slice availability or pre-order your flavor of choice at least a day before you plan to go.
12. Papillon International Bakery: Oreo Churros with Nutella
Papillon International Bakery has exceeded everyone's expectations of what a churro could be with their Oreo churros with Nutella. This dessert is one that we used to fantasize about, but this guilty pleasure is now a reality.
13. Valerie Confections: Petit Fours
"Petit four" is French for "small oven," but these adorable desserts are actually mini versions of Valerie's dense, flavorful cakes, which I request/demand every year for my birthday. With unique cake flavors like champagne, rose petal, and lavender, petit fours are a perfect ending note to their brunch. At $4 per petit four, the price is a testament as to how meticulously each one is crafted.
#SpoonTip: Come in here as early as possible, as they often have samples of the pastries of the day!
14. Café 86: Ube Flan Cupcake
Café 86 combines two Filipino traditional desserts, leche flan and ube, to create the dessert we didn't know we needed until now. The flavors of caramel and purple yam totally enhance each other rather than compete. These cupcakes are pretty damn cute, too.
15. Amorino Gelato: Gelato Rose
Amorino's Gelato Rose is almost too pretty to eat, but foodie see, foodie eat. We would take gelato flowers over a bouquet of roses any day.
#SpoonTip: To create a more vibrant rose, choose flavors with brighter colors.
16. République: Market Fruit Crostata
République often has lines out the door during regular eating hours, but the wait is worth every second. The heavenly ambiance, amazing service, and beautiful baked goods live up to the hype of this LA gem. Really any of their desserts would be a superb choice.
17. Blu Jam Café: Crunchy French Toast
Dessert for breakfast? Well, Blu Jam Café is always a great place any time of the day, because they have ALL DAY BREAKFAST. Even if you go for lunchtime, the crunchy French toast is an absolute must. It could be your meal if you want, I won't tell.
18. Doughboys Cafe and Bakery: Red Velvet Cake
Their signature dessert is the world famous Doughboys red velvet cake, dubbed the best by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. This red velvet cake has a rich, sweet cream cheese frosting with drizzles of white chocolate truffle frosting, topped with red velvet crumbs. We all know anything with truffle is automatically incredible.
19. Happy Days Cafe: Stuffed Churro Sampler
You'll definitely have a happy day when you order churros oozing with chocolate, dulce de leche, guava, and Nutella. On some nights, you can enjoy live music by local bands while waiting in line for these beauties.
#SpoonTip: Order the Horchata latte as well for a completely IG-worthy pic.
20. CottonHi: Tiramisu
This new take on the Italian dessert totally aligns with people's current food tastes. CottonHi uses 100% organic cotton candy and fresh soft serve. Their tiramisu is their original soft serve with an espresso shot, a ladyfinger, mascarpone cheese sauce, chocolate powder and salted caramel cotton candy.
21. Sul & Beans: Green Tea Bingsoo
Bingsoo is Korean shaved ice, eaten especially during the summer. This Green Tea Bingsoo is green tea shaved ice topped with dried dates, red beans, and lychees. In typical LA fashion, Sul & Beans only uses USDA organic red beans.
#SpoonTip: The Bingsoo comes with a side of condensed milk. But taste it first before you add any! If you do add condensed milk, make sure to leave some for the second half of your bingsoo.
22. Tacos Tu Madre: Red Velvet Churros
A perfect combination of two very different flavors, these red velvet churros are a symbol for what is truly beautiful about cultures coming together.
23. Joan's on Third: Cloud Cupcake
Joan's on Third has an assortment of delicious desserts that grace their glass case daily. The light and airy cloud cupcake is perfect after any one of their bougie meals.
#SpoonTip: Go during non-peak hours (i.e. not regular lunch or dinner time hours) because it will be very crowded, which is a testament to how yummy all the food is!
24. B Sweet Dessert Bar: Bread Pudding
B Sweet Dessert Bar is a dessert empire consisting of a dessert bar, dessert trucks, and a coffee and catering company. They are most known for their 40+ flavors of bread pudding, with the flavors rotating weekly. Flavors include red velvet, glazed donut, ube, and cornbread. They are available in two sizes: Being Good (one scoop) or Being Bad (two scoops).
25. Milk Jar Cookies: Banana Split Cookie
At Milk Jar Cookies, cookies are homemade daily and made in small batches, so you'll always get something fresh out of the oven when you visit.
26. Churro Borough: Churro Ice Cream Sandwich
Churro Borough prides itself in creating "the original" churro ice cream sandwich. Choosing from ice cream flavors like spicy hot chocolate and matcha green tea to go in your churro sandwich is very difficult. My favorite is vanilla custard because it balances all the flavors out perfectly.
27. 85 Degrees Bakery: Literally anything
Don't be afraid to pile your tray high with anything and everything at 85 Degrees. With fresh trays of desserts coming out constantly to replenish their cases, you're sure to have something fresh and insanely delicious. Their pastries last for a few days, so you can definitely stock up for the week.
28. The Baked Bear: Ice Cream Sandwich
If you're tired of hearing about Diddy Riese, you should go to The Baked Bear, which is just as amazing at making cookie ice cream sandwiches. The portions are large and it will definitely fill you up with creamy + cookie goodness.
#SpoonTip: Ask for your sandwich to be hot pressed so your cookies will warm!
29. Urth Caffe: Matcha Tiramisu
Urth Caffe is an LA favorite, known for all of their food and drinks to be photo-worthy. The mindset is that if you don't take a photo at Urth, then you didn't really go. This matcha tiramisu proves this right.
30. California Donuts: Panda Donut
Whenever you go to California Donuts, you can never get just one donut and your box of a dozen will not be complete without a panda donut. A white chocolate donut with Oreos, its cuteness precedes its simplicity.
31. Syrup Desserts: Triple Berry Belgian
Open from 9-12 am everyday, Syrup Desserts lets us know that indulging in Belgian waffles, crepes, and grilled cheeses is acceptable at any time of the day.
32. The Griddle Cafe: The Golden Ticket
The Griddle Cafe is famous for making pancakes the size of medium pizzas, and the Golden Ticket is my favorite stack. These banana pancakes filled and topped with caramel, walnuts, and streusel are a brilliant mix of textures and flavors, creating a world of wonder in your mouth.
#SpoonTip: Go with at least two other people so you don't have a heart attack from eating these gargantuan pancakes!
33. Cr8 Crepes: Make your Own Crepe
On Hollywood Boulevard, after a day of sight-seeing, you can end the day on a sweet note by making your own crepe. Choose from an array of fruits, spreads, toppings, and treats, and you can make your dreams of becoming a crepe star come true.
34. Platine Cookies: Cookie Shots
These are some shots that any sweet tooth would love to take. However, unlike the alcoholic ones, I recommend sipping the milk slowly while eating the edges of the cookie like you would an ice cream cone.
35. Creme Caramel: Unicorn Poop
Sweet and fluffy on the inside, these treats may make you believe that unicorns are actually real. The house-made meringue is covered in rainbow sprinkles, whose appearance alone can brighten up any poopy day.
36. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams: Brambleberry Crisp Scoop
Brambleberry crisp is "oven-toasted oat streusel and a sweet-tart 'brambleberry' jam of blackberries and blackcurrants layered throughout vanilla ice cream." Long ice cream descriptions are a signature of Jeni's, exhibiting how much detail and thought are put into every unique flavor.
37. Magnolia Bakery: Banana Pudding
Despite having an array of beautiful cupcakes, Magnolia's true pride and joy is their banana pudding. With the consistency of frosting mixed with bread, it's basically cake in a pint.
38. Rita's Italian Ice: Mango with Vanilla Custard Gelati
The unlikely combination of Italian ice and custard is so delightfully delicious that it has induced a multitude of Rita's to open throughout SoCal. Mango with vanilla custard is a crowd favorite and getting it as a gelati will ensure you get custard on the top and bottom of the ice.
39. Melt It!: Deep Fried Nutella Sandwich
Thanks to Melt It!, you don't have to wait until the county fair to get a deep fried delight. The deep fried Nutella sandwich is not on the official menu, but you can still order it.
40. Peddler's Creamery: Maple Pancake Batter
At Peddler's Creamery, you get to work for your ice cream. There's a Schwinn bicycle set up at the store for you to simultaneously pedal and churn real ice cream! If you want to earn a free scoop, sign up for the Peddler's Club.
From 7-9 pm almost every night, they have slots open for you to pedal for 15-20 minutes at a rate of at least 15 mph to churn a whole batch of ice cream. For each batch you churn, you can get a free scoop from one of the flavors in the case or donate your scoop to charity.
41. Trois Familia: Birthday Cake
Trois Familia's tres leches cake can make you feel like it's your birthday. It's sweet and moist from the condensed milk and the most aesthetically pleasing way to end brunch in one of the cutest places in LA.
42. Alfred Tea Room: Matcha Milk Tea with Boba
With drinks ranging from $4 to $8, one must expect the aesthetic of the place to be on point, and Alfred Tea Room doesn't disappoint. In addition to having a beautiful little shop with dozens of Instagram post possibilities, the drinks are equally photogenic. The matcha milk tea with boba is the perfect subject against their pink walls.
43. Shake Shack: Rainbow Connection Concrete
The Rainbow Connection, offered only at their West Hollywood location, is a combination of vanilla custard, Cofax spiced crumb donut pieces, Sqirl Seascape strawberry & rose geranium jam, and rainbow sprinkles. Don't feel guilty about indulging in this dessert because 5% of Rainbow Connection sales go to LA PRIDE, a non-profit that works to advance human rights, education, outreach, and equality for the LGBT community.
44. Pressed Juicery: Greens Freeze
Made using only the juice of fruits and vegetables, almonds and coconuts, Pressed Juicery's freezes are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free desserts that everyone can get on board with. Sweetened with dates and coconuts, the Greens Freeze can make anyone forget they're eating healthy.
45. Salt & Straw: Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons
One of their classic LA flavors, sea salt with caramel ribbons is a marvelous blend of salty and sweet. They use Fleur de Sel salt, made in Guatemala from salt pans that are renowned for supplying the Mayan empire at the height of its power, and hand-burned caramel that they make in house to create this masterpiece.
46. Kettle Glazed: Chocolate Drizzle Cronut
When you're not in New York for Dominique Ansel, Kettle Glazed's cronuts are a close contender. Filled with vanilla bean creme and covered in sugar, the croissant-donut hybrid are so fluffy and light that you're bound to eat more than one.
47. Get Shaved: UFO
Hawaii does not seem so far away with this shaved ice. A UFO is their smallest size of shaved ice and it's enough to cool down without getting brain freeze. A tasty flavor combination for your first time is cherry, lime, and watermelon with sour spray.
48. Quenelle: Funnel Cake Ice Cream Sandwich
Funnel cake ice cream sandwiches are the most innovative kind of ice cream sandwiches I've seen so far. Quenelle only has these beauties on Wednesdays from 5-8:30 pm and Sundays from 5-9 pm, so be sure to make your plans accordingly.
#SpoonTip: "Quenelle" is a French cooking term for a smooth oval-shaped scoop of a soft food, such as an ice cream or sorbet, formed with two spoons.
49. Sprinkles Cupcake ATM: Any Cupcake
You can satisfy cupcake cravings 24/7 at this Sprinkles ATM in Beverly Hills. The novelty of the experience is enough of a consolation for not-as-moist cupcakes at times. But you can't expect to have freshly baked cupcakes from an ATM at 3 am.
50. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse: Donut
Famed for coining the "cruffin," Mr. Holmes Bakehouse also makes a superb donut. With flavors varying daily, it's hard not to come in frequently to try them. The donuts have real substance, bready and filled with creme, not just air. They're hands down the best fried donuts I've ever had.