The NYC Cookie Power RankingFrom chocolate chip to black and white, these are the best cookies in the city.
We’re hereby lobbying to change our city’s official nickname from the Big Apple to the Big Cookie due to the sheer volume of noteworthy cookies in a relatively small geographic area. Yes, there are the big names—your Levains, your Mamans, etc.—but the absolute the best cookies are ones you probably haven’t heard of. If you want to know which cookies are worth going out of your way for, check out this ranking. It covers a range of styles, so there’s something here for everyone.
1. Chocolate Chip Cookie
If we had to strike all other chocolate chip cookies from the record and keep just one, it would be La Mercerie's. This cookie is thick but not too thick, gooey but still properly baked, with big discs of semi-sweet chocolate throughout. The middle is soft, the edges are crisp, and there’s a generous dusting of flaky salt on top. The Maillard reaction is really doing its work to make this cookie taste a little caramelized without relying too much on an abundance of sugar. It’s perfect.
2. Monster Cookie
Partybus is known for their breads, but the monster cookies here deserve acclaim too. They’re perfectly round and have some heft to them, but not so much that you feel like you’re holding a hockey puck when you pick one up. They come in a few different flavors, but we’re partial to the classic chocolate chip—which gets a textural punch from oatmeal—and the deeply satisfying, brownie-like double chocolate. The texture is chewy without being too soft, and there’s a distinctly buttery flavor to the dough.
3. Pistachio Cookie
This Bensonhurst bakery is so committed to preserving the tradition of Sicilian pastry making that they actually have a letter of recognition from Sicily (yeah, the island) hanging in the shop. Everything we’ve tried here has been kind of mind-blowing, but the pistachio cookie is a true standout. It’s vibrantly green and seems to be made of pure essence of pistachio. If you like almond cookies, this is sort of like that, but better, because it’s pistachio.
4. Black and White Cookie
There’s no cookie with an identity so inextricably bound to New York as the black and white, and the best ones are found at William Greenberg Desserts on the Upper East Side. They’ve been making these since 1946, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. The cake base has a deep vanilla flavor and manages to be appropriately dense yet implausibly light at the same time. The frosting is on the softer side (if you like the snap of royal icing, this is not the cookie for you), but it’s well-balanced. If you’re not much of a chocolate person, they also sell the Amerikaner variation, which is essentially an all-white black and white.
5. Pignoli Cannoli
Adding more cannoli cream to your life will make it better. This is a fact. You can use it to spackle your walls or fix your marriage, or you can go to Artuso Pastry Shoppe on Arthur Avenue and eat a pignoli cannoli. The soft and chewy cookie sandwich consists of two buttery amaretto-flavored cookies with cannoli cream in between, a decadent combination that borders on being too-sweet without going over the edge. Yes, you want powdered sugar. Just get a strong cup of coffee to balance it out.
6. Oatmeal Cookie
Culture Espresso is a Garment District coffee shop that makes some of the most excellent espresso drinks in Manhattan, but they also have really, really good cookies. Chocolate chip is the most popular, but the oatmeal cranberry variation is the one that keeps us coming back. This is a slightly chunkier cookie, with a thicker, chewier middle that gives way to thinner, crispier edges. It’s quite buttery, in a good way.
7. Cookie Camp
Is a skillet cookie a cookie? This is a thought we considered for about 15 seconds before realizing that it has "cookie" in the name, so yes. Spot Dessert Bar makes our favorite skillet cookie, with a perfectly underbaked, too-gooey-to-pick-up middle and lots of melty chocolate. The cookie is served at a ridiculously hot temperature with an obligatory scoop of ice cream, so your last few bites are like cookie-and-milk soup. The ice cream is marshmallow flavored, evoking a s’more, and there’s an extra drizzle of hot chocolate sauce on top to round out the dish.
8. Chocolate Chip Cookie
The chocolate chip cookie at Seven Grams Caffé, a small coffee shop with three locations in Manhattan, is a cult favorite. It’s soft, with big chunks of chocolate and a nicely browned exterior. The cookies come in both classic and vegan options, and what’s most impressive is that the two are nearly impossible to tell apart.
9. Chocolate Chip Cookie
Alita is a cute little cafe whose main claim to fame could have been their chorizo biscuits or olive focaccias, if they didn’t have a chocolate chip cookie that’s earned our unequivocal devotion. It’s big and a bit cakey, more like a muffin top with crispy edges than a chewy cookie. Once you take a bite, you’ll decide it’s a better breakfast option than anything else in the shop.
10. Malted Chocolate Cookie
Another thinner, chewier chocolate chip cookie, this one gets an added punch from the addition of malt. The chocolate spreads out in large, satisfying pools with a crackly texture on top. Even though Interlude is a coffee shop, the specialty tea menu here is vast and exciting. This cookie pairs especially well with a black tea that has some smokey notes to offset the sweeter flavors in the cookie.