HOUGuide

The Best Bakeries In Houston

In Houston, we wake up early just to stand in line for the boudin sausage-filled kolache of the day.
cookies and pastries

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you walk into a Houston bakery. Inhaling the warm, buttery smell of fresh croissants and wondering if anyone has turned this scent into a candle. Pressing your face against the glass to pick which cream cheese danish you’ll spend the morning with. Waking up at 5am just to stand in line for the boudin sausage-filled kolache of the day. Here are the 11 best bakeries in the city.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Bakery/Cafe

East Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsBrunchCoffee & A Light Bite
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No trip to Houston is complete without stopping at this Cambodian bakery in East Downtown. At Koffeteria you can get typical pastries like some damned good chocolate croissants, but try a two-year aged salted lime tart, guava cream cheese danish, or a beef brisket pho-stuffed kolache instead. All of Houston’s flavors are represented here. Get there early because Koffeteria almost always sells out.

The small counter bakery inside of Weights + Measure in Midtown puts the percentage and name of the fancy butter in the croissants right on the menu—82% beurremont beurre—so you know it’s serious. Love Croissants’ buttery, airy pain au chocolats are deeply satisfying. Savory croissants get stuffed with extra thick layers of smoked ham and asiago. Plus there’s something called a “crolache,” a uniquely Texas mashup that combines a croissant and toasted jalapeño cheddar beef sausage kolache.

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Pondi Bake Lab feels like a chic industrial treehouse perfumed with saffron and hibiscus. The wraparound pastry case is filled with opulent mango-golden cakes topped with a flower petal crown, brioche buns with dark chocolate centers, and savory-sweet cookies packed with pistachios and chili. Everything here has the potential to induce a might-as-well-order-everything fugue state, a practice we wholeheartedly endorse.

While there are many excellent bakeries in Chinatown, the tiny Chinese spot Kamalan in Dun Huang Plaza is one of the best. No other bakery’s mango-cream-filled milk bun even comes close to the pillowy soft one at Kamalan. You can also pick up fluffy Japanese-style cheesecakes, savory stuffed breads with sticky red bean paste, or jalapeño and cheese sausage buns with a layer of oven-crisp cheese on top. Get a tray, some tongs, and grab as many pastries as you can.

The Original Kolache Shoppe opens at 5am, which is when you should show up. Opened in 1956, the tiny bakery sells out of its half-dozen varieties of kolaches nearly every day. Classic sausage and cheese kolaches have a slim outer shell of sweet, puffy bread; the pastrami gets stuffed into flat, rectangular pastries that look like crimped Hot Pockets; and sweet layers of raspberry jam are folded into butter-crisp triangles. The Original Kolache Shoppe is an old-school classic for a reason, and one bite of the perfectly sweet and savory kolaches will tell you why.

photo credit: Liz Silva

$$$$Perfect For:DessertVegans

Crumbville specializes in plant-based cookies, brownies, and “stuffed cups” (cupcakes with fillings) and we can’t get enough of their vegan desserts. The treats at this small Third Ward bakery line the walls and the fluffliness causes us to double-check the packaging. Grab the giant ginger snap cookies glued together by a layer of icing, the must-order peach cobbler, and if you’re in the market for a stuffed cup, we could eat the filling on the Oreo stuffed cupcakes as a standalone dessert.

Badolina Bakery in Rice Village needs to be at the top of the list for grab-and-go Israeli pastries. This retail store-esque bakery has an oak tree-shaded patio, and it's the perfect place to sit with a warm almond raspberry croissant or a slice of focaccia topped with sweet cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions. Badolina also has fresh sourdough baguettes, and the dulce de leche-filled brioche is a perfect snack while you sift through the racks of the latest Luminary dress. (Try not to get any on the clothes).

Moeller’s has been around for over 90 years, and chances are you’ve had one of their cakes at a baby shower or wedding. This Bellaire bakery is where you will find giant cinnamon rolls sold by the package, and petit fours made daily. Moeller’s is best when you want a soft, festive gingerbread cookie covered in rainbow sprinkles, or just need a T-Rex-shaped cookie coated in neon green sugar crystals.

Fluff Bake Bar reminds us that sometimes the best desserts are the ones that have a little fun. The small Heights bakery has a sweet balance of all the classics — fluffy chocolate chip cookies and ginger cookies with extra zing and more inventive cookies like the “unicorn bait”, which is a sugar cookie with birthday cake dough rolled in glitter sugar. Come when you want a treat filled with bits of pretzels and potato chips or have a few mythical creatures that need trapping.

Magnol is best known for its French desserts and often has lines out the door for boxes of fluffy croissants. Every row of this Spring Branch bakery is filled with fresh baguettes, creme-filled chocolate eclairs, and refreshing lime meringue tarts. Have your flaky hazelnut croissant in the bake shop and brush up on your French grammar with one of the textbooks inside.

French Gourmet opened in 1973 on the edge of River Oaks and Montrose. The full-service French bakery has pastry cases full of chocolate-laced eclairs, whimsically iced sugar cookies that look like massive gingerbread men, as well as multiple croissants that leave hands pleasantly slick with a sheen of butter. Savory loaves and baguettes are also available, the latter of which you might see someone ripping into immediately upon exiting.

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