The smells. The sights. The flavors. The freshness. The voices. Together, these qualities define the bakery experience. If it’s a good one, your visual, olfactory, gustatory and auditory senses will spring to life the second you walk through the door. Intoxicating aromas should be in full bloom. A well-stocked bakery case should visually delight the eyes.
Your taste buds should stand at attention as you consider your options, and your ears should fill with the sounds of a warm welcome. If you stopped by such a bakery for a donut or muffin, rest assured you’ll be walking out with at least five or six more goodies. Your lack of resistance is a sign that good bakery protocols are in place.
The Charleston area is not only a dining destination brimming with must-eats, but it’s home to some of the best bakeries in the state. From croissant wizards to pie masters to cookie queens to cake bosses, you’ll find them all here.
Ready to make the rounds? Here’s a sampling to get you started.
Baguette Magic, James Island and West Ashley Among the area’s most lauded French-style bakeries, Baguette Magic gets its name honestly. Both locations are hotspots for baguettes and pastries made using authentic techniques. A must-try item are the cruffins—a cross between a croissant and muffin with a rotation of fillings that include lemon curd, Key lime, strawberry and more. Treats to try: Cruffins filled with lemon curd, twice-baked chocolate raspberry croissant, almond cream croissants
Bakehouse Charleston, Charleston Bakehouse Charleston fills the historic district with the aromas of freshly baked goodies. Stop in for coffee and pair it with your choice of tarts, brownie bars, cookies, cakes and more. Treats to try: Key lime pie, coconut macaroons, s'mores bar
BKeDSHoP, Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant If you love yeast-raised donuts, BKeDSHoP is your place. Not a donut fan? The bakery case at each locale is brimming with a variety of yummy baked goods to tickle your fancy. Treats to try: Pecan toffee donut, apple fritter, chocolate ho-hos
EVO Craft Bakery, North Charleston What began as a dedicated pizza restaurant has become one of the area’s finest bakeries. EVO Craft Bakery in North Charleston churns out a line of artisan breads and pastries that are highly sought after across the Lowcountry. Treats to try: Abruzzi rye bread, apple cupcakes, cinnamon rolls
La Pâtisserie, Charleston Located at the elegant Hotel Bennett, La Pâtisserie pulls in the crowds who catch a glimpse of the bakery case through the window. Brimming with picture-perfect breads and pastries, the offerings at this French bakery are as pleasing to the eye as they are the palate. Treats to try: Camellia’s cake, almond croissant, eclairs, butterscotch brioche, macarons
Luckhaus & Brubaker Sweets & Treats, Charleston This neighborhood bakery, known locally as LB. Sweets & Treats, has found a loyal following with its delicious cakes, pies, tarts and pastries. Cakes can be customized to reflect whatever your imagination conjures. Order one and be amazed. Treats to try: Chocolate caramel pecan turtle shortbread cookie, lemon blackberry macarons, fresh fruit mini tarts
Macaroon Boutique, Charleston You’ll think you’ve left Charleston for Paris when you visit this bustling little bakery called Macaroon Boutique. From cookies to croissants, you’ll love the distinct buttery richness and authentic French flair that infuses these baked goods. Treats to try: Almond croissant, pistachio macaron, gougères, brioche
Swank Desserts, Summerville It’s worth a stop in charming Summerville to check out Swank Desserts. Pick from a colorful array of macarons and high-end desserts. Cupcakes in fun flavors are a popular draw, too. But if you can snag their signature brownies, do so. (You can thank us later.) Treats to try: Dark chocolate, Nutella and salted caramel fudge brownies, chewy chocolate chip cookies, apple hand pies
WildFlour Pastry, West Ashley Double chocolate cookies—enough said. The ever-popular WildFlour Pastry is famous for them and much more. You’ll also find a tantalizing array of sweet and savory scones. On Sundays, they bake up their notoriously good sticky buns. You might have to wait in line for one, but it’s totally worth the trouble. Treats to try: Raspberry Nutella turnover, savory scones, sticky buns
Olde Colony Bakery, Mount Pleasant If you are a fan of Charleston benne wafers, be sure to stop by the Mount Pleasant home of this local favorite. Since 1919, Olde Colony Bakery has been baking up goods infused with Lowcountry flavor. You can find their pecan pinches, benne wafers, benne cheese zingers and more in local markets and stores. But it’s always fun to pay a visit to the source. Treats to try: Carolina sweet cream bread, pecan pinches, benne cheese zingers, cinnamon bread
Saffron Restaurant & Bakery, Charleston With a bakery case that is second to none, Saffron enjoys a dual reputation as a solid choice for Mediterranean dishes and delicious desserts. Take a look at the day's offerings and prepare for indecision as you try to nail it down to just one decadent pastry. Treats to try: Lemon cream cake, raspberry chocolate cheesecake, baklava
Sugar Bakeshop, Charleston There’s a vintage vibe at Sugar Bakeshop, a small-batch bakery committed to making the best baked desserts you’ll find anywhere. Cookies, tarts, cupcakes and more issue from its ovens each day. This is also the place where you’ll find the legendary Southern Lady Baltimore cake. Give it a try for a true taste of Charleston. Treats to try: Lady Baltimore cupcakes, pecan tarts, strawberry rhubarb pie (seasonal)