In a city steeped in culinary talent and one-of-a-kind Creole cuisine, you can expect nothing less than excellence from its dessert scene. The Big Easy is home to some of the most iconic dessert items in the country, from beignets to king cakes to Louisiana pralines.
New Orleans’ food culture stems from Italian and French traditions, and you can see its eclectic heritage reflected in the array of sweet treats. From classic desserts to out-of-the-box offerings, visitors are sure to satisfy their sweet tooth on their trip to the Crescent City.
Get ready to indulge in the ultimate New Orleans dessert tour with our guide to the best desserts in this iconic culinary city.
We would be doing New Orleans an injustice if we didn’t start with the most popular dessert of all time: beignets. Dubbed the “official state donut,” beignets are the perfect blend of powdered sugar and deep-fried dough.
While there are plenty of beignet shops to visit in Nola, Cafe du Monde stands out as the most popular one in the city. Founded in 1862, it has been a staple in the New Orleans community for centuries.
The original location is just a few steps from Jackson Square in the French Quarter. Overlooking the Mississippi River, it provides a picturesque backdrop for diving into beignets and cafe au lait, the signature New Orleans coffee drink.
If you want your Cafe du Monde fix but aren’t in the French Quarter neighborhood, no worries! There are locations scattered around the city, from City Park to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
Angelo Brocato is a hidden gem within the local New Orleans community. Nestled in Mid City, this Italian ice cream and pastry shop was founded over 100 years ago by the Brocato family, who migrated from Sicily.
While you can’t go wrong with their extensive gelato selection, they are most famous for their cannolis. Their homemade cannolis are dripping in flavor, from the ricotta cheese filling to the crusty exterior shells. You can get them individually or by the dozen in either a normal or petite size.
If cannolis and gelato aren’t your thing, Angelo Brocato boasts a full bakery bar that ranges from cakes to biscottis to cookies. No matter what your sweet tooth is craving, it will be satisfied here.
If you’re a donut fan (who isn’t?), there’s no better dessert spot in the city than District Donuts. District Donuts has become a staple in New Orleans as the go-to donut spot, featuring six rotating donuts each week made 100% from scratch (including their sprinkles!). Their classics – glazed, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate glazed – are available weekly.
Beyond donuts, District Donuts serves a variety of items, from breakfast sandwiches to burgers to cinnamon rolls. They are also known for their delicious coffee, roasted in-house. Whether you prefer a morning or afternoon treat, District Donuts has you covered.
They even have delicious King Cake donuts during Mardi Gras season that you won’t want to miss!
Dubbed the “New Orleans patisserie,” Sucre is a French sweets shop known for its decadent macaroons and one-of-a-kind cupcakes.
The atmosphere is cheerful and sophisticated, with pastel-colored decor matching the rows of macaroons greeting you when you walk in. You can purchase macaroons individually or as a collection, where Sucre will bundle all of their signature macaroons together for you.
Sucre also offers cupcakes, gelato, and milkshakes if you’d prefer a different treat. And if you can’t make up your mind – you can even get a milkshake with a macaroon on top! No matter what fancy treat you crave, Sucre is a one-stop shop for all things delicious.
Aunt Sally’s Pralines is a mom-and-pop sweets shop in the heart of the French Quarter. Founded in 1925, this praline shop has been a staple in the local and tourist community since its opening.
If you aren’t familiar with pralines, they are a classic Louisiana dessert consisting of sugar and pecans cooked over an open flame and then cooled down to perfection. The original pralines are thin and crispy, but you can also find creamy and chewy options that offer a fudge-like consistency.
Aunt Sally’s Pralines also sells candied pecans, a delicious grab-and-go dessert to enjoy while exploring Jackson Square. And if you want to bring some Nola dessert home, you can grab pralines already packaged up and ready for their trip home.
You cannot visit New Orleans in the warm months without experiencing a classic Nola snowball. While you might have tasted a snow cone in other parts of the country, nowhere makes them quite like Louisiana. Down here, they are called snoballs and take on a much juicier, creamier texture. “More syrup, less ice” is the motto here!
Hansen’s Snow-Bliz has been a staple for generations. It’s the go-to spot to cool down with a delicious sugary treat on a humid day in the city. They have classic snowball flavors such as bananas foster, wedding cake, spearmint, and bubblegum. But they also have a “fancy” flavors menu with cardamom, hibiscus, and honey lavender snoballs, to name a few. You might just have to visit each day of your trip to get to them all!
If you’re the type of person who chooses your dinner spot based on the dessert menu, you are definitely going to want to visit Commander’s Palace.
This fine-dining Creole restaurant in the Garden District is known for offering extravagant menu items from start to finish. Their dessert menu features elevated New Orleans classics such as Creole Cream Cheese Cheesecake and Creole Bread Pudding Souffle. They also offer a daily selection of hand-spun ice cream, including seasonal fruit sorbet.
And you’ll definitely want to leave room for their dessert wine menu, featuring an extensive list of port and sherry options. Be sure to plan your visit ahead, as reservations are required, and the dress code is business attire.
Only a block from Bourbon Street, Brennan’s is another long-time staple in the New Orleans fine-dining community. This Cajun-inspired restaurant blends French and Spanish culinary roots with local, seasonal ingredients.
Brennan’s has become synonymous with two things: their Eggs Benedict and world-famous Bananas Foster dessert. Brennan’s boasts the invention of the original bananas foster that we now know and love around the world. This delicious dessert, made with bananas, brown sugar, vanilla ice cream, and dark rum, is flambeed table-side for guests to enjoy the experience.
If you prefer another option, don’t fret! Brennan’s dessert menu is full of delicious choices, from Louisiana bread pudding to cookie butter lava cake. No matter how you end your meal, Brennan’s is a fine-dining experience to remember.
Reservations are required, and typically book out 30 days in advance, so be sure to plan ahead. The dress code is business casual.
New Orleans does many things right, from the festivals to the cuisine to the arts scene; you’re in for a treat when you book a NOLA vacation home. But the real cherry on top is the one that comes on top of the homegrown Bananas Foster. From the beignets to Louisiana pralines and Mardi Gras King Cake, it’s the best way to bring a piece of NOLA home with you!