As the holidays draw near, Charlotte is abuzz with anticipation. The air is crisp, the houses are bright, and the city is brimming with an undeniable sense of holiday cheer. And in our opinion, nothing says holiday cheer quite like baked goods. Luckily for us, the Queen City doesn’t shy away from delicious desserts. Charlotteans know how to do dessert and we do it well. So we’ve compiled a list of the best local spots to satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday season. Whether you’re looking for artisanal chocolates, Christmas morning doughnuts, or cookies for Santa—we’ve got you.
The Andersons Catering & Pies
The Andersons Catering & Pies is a Charlotte gem that has been around for nearly 75 years. Once a beloved restaurant, the family-owned company now focuses on their catering business, with their Pecan Pie set as the star of the show. They’ve perfected their famous recipe (which hasn’t been changed since 1959) and have even dubbed it “the world’s best pecan pie.”
Milkbread, coming soon, is the newest concept from Joe and Katy Kindred, owners of the acclaimed Kindred restaurant. The Milkbread cafe, located in Davidson with a storefront in Plaza Midwood on the horizon, serves decadent milk bread donuts, coffee and espresso, crispy chicken, and natural wines in the evening. Kindred’s website also offers a variety of holiday milk bread desserts including the “Mini Cinnies,” aka mini milk bread cinnamon rolls, perfect for Christmas morning.
Babe & Butcher
Want to “wow” your guests at your next holiday party? Look no further than Babe & Butcher! Best known for their decadent charcuterie and dessert boards, owners Lindsay and Rob Henricks are experts at combining artful ingredients that pack a delightful culinary punch. This season they’re offering a Holiday Snowman Dessert Board, filled with your favorite holiday treats including macarons, candy canes, meringue, and chocolate bark.
Nothing says the holidays quite like homemade pie. Thankfully, Copain, a cafe/bakery by Jim Noble of Rooster’s and Noble Smoke, has you covered. They offer an assortment of homemade pies and holiday treats, perfect for the upcoming festivities. They also have holiday dinner options available.
In 2020, a flash flood destroyed Cristina “Cris” Rojas-Agurcia’s treasured small batch bakery, The Batchmaker. After nearly a full year, The Batchmaker is back and better than ever. The new shop, now located in the Wesley Heights neighborhood, offers all the staples, including their Oatmeal Cream Pies, S’mores Brownies, and Chocolate Puddle Cookies. Their holiday cakes and pies tend to run out fast, so if you’re looking for a holiday dessert make sure to order ahead of time!
Switch up your holiday morning routine with donuts! Duck Donuts offers an array of unique and seasonal flavors, all made to order. The donuts come out warm, delicious, and undeniably fresh. Some of our favorite seasonal donuts include their Maple Bacon, Apple Pie, and Coffee Cake.
In need of cookies to leave out for Santa? Check out Suarez Bakery, in Park Road Shopping Center or at Optimist Hall. They offer an impressive array of big and little cookies, as well as holiday sugar cookies. Besides cookies, the bakery also dishes out made-to-order cakes, cupcakes, and pastries. Their offerings are available in store until they run out. You may also pre-order online with at least 48 hours notice.
Mama Ward’s Cake Co.
Mama Ward’s is a cake company with deep Southern roots. Named after owner Sunnie McCain’s great-grandmother, the bakery specializes in traditional “little layer cakes.” Not only are Sunnie’s cakes delicious, they’re steeped in history. If you’re looking for a unique, authentic dessert for your holiday celebration, definitely try Mama Ward’s!
Haberdish, located in NoDa, offers elevated Southern fare and delectable craft cocktails. But besides their savory array of fried chicken, Smoked Deviled Eggs, and Sweet Potato Dumplings, the mill town-inspired restaurant also offers classic Southern-inspired desserts. We’re particularly fond of their Whoopie Pies and Banana Pudding.
Sunflour Baking Company
Sunflour Baking Company prides itself on being family-owned and locally sourced. With four Charlotte-area locations, Sunflour has become a bonafide institution in the Queen City. The small batch bakery offers a wide variety of treats, both savory and sweet. For the holidays, they offer seasonal pies and cakes, many of which can be prepared with vegan ingredients. Check out their website to find a location closest to you.
Amelie’s French Bakery & Café
In need of a tasty, yet elegant gift for a friend? Amelie’s French Bakery offers their famous 12 Pack French Macaron Box. Their Classic Collection includes flavors such as Pistachio, Cotton Candy Buttercream, Raspberry Marmalade, Chocolate Ganache, Lemon, and Orange Buttercream. Besides macarons, the cafe has a delightful array of French pastries.
The Secret Chocolatier
Have you ever had a Brownie Pop before? It’s a brownie dipped in chocolate, delightfully decorated, then placed on a stick for easy enjoyment. Aside from their ingenuitive Brownie Pops, the good folks behind The Secret Chocolatier offer an array of unique chocolate boxes and gift sets, perfect for that hard-to-shop-for friend.
Villani’s is a true New York/Italian style bakery that features regional classics such as cannolis, sfingi, biscotti, tiramisu, and more! They also offer a large array of cakes, cookies, muffins, and macarons. Everything is made fresh and in-house.
Dubbed “Charlotte’s first Hispanic bakery,” Manolo’s is best known for its authentic Latin sweets. Founded by Colombian immigrant Manuel “Manolo” Betancur, Manolo’s focuses on giving back to the immigrant community. His staff don shirts that proudly say “Made in America by Immigrant Hands.” Switch up your holiday tradition this year, support the American dream, and try something new! We recommend their churros, flan, tres leches, or any of their homemade cakes.
Founded in 2013, Renaissance Pâtisserie is an award-winning French bakery that specializes in authentic viennoiserie, pastries, and bread. If you’re not sure what to bring to that holiday potluck, we always recommend a baguette or butter brioche. They also offer holiday takeaway meals, which can be ordered on the website.
Wentworth & Fenn
Wentworth & Fenn is a gourmet bakery run by pastry chef and James Beard Award nominee Samantha Allen and her wife Cassie. They’re best known for their custom cakes and pastries, which they sell out of a 1961 Shasta Camper, lovingly named Selma. Their pastries are decadent, unique, and undoubtedly beautiful. During the holidays they sell specialty pies and cakes.
Appalachia Cookie Company
According to the folks at the Appalachia Cookie Company, they make their cookies like your grandma made them… i.e. fresh and from scratch. The Boone-based cookery offers unique flavors that would make Santa blush. We recommend ordering their Bacon & Bourbon, Apple Pie, or Cheesecake cookies.
Located in the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown, Bar Cocoa is a dessert bar that offers an array of homemade pastries, Norman Love Confections, gelato, and macarons. The dessert boutique is a lovely spot to grab a unique holiday sweet while out in the city.
Craft Cakes CLT
Craft Cakes CLT is a designer bakery where the cakes are considered works of art. Owner Brigitte Oger creates her cakes with an emphasis on contemporary design. While the cakes are undoubtedly beautiful, they also taste pretty darn good. Brigitte uses locally sourced ingredients and is able to accommodate vegan and gluten-sensitive customers. Treat yourself this holiday season to an artisanal cake or stop by their shop to grab a delightful cake cup.
Burney’s Sweets & More
Burney’s Sweets & More is a family-owned bakery that has been operating since 2011. Their mantra is as sweet as their confections: “May all who enter as guests, leave as friends.” They offer small and large pies, glazed croissants, donuts/pastries, cakes, and other sweet treats.