NYCGuide

The Best Croissants In NYC

12 places to eat copious amounts of butter.
The plain croissant from Radio Bakery.

photo credit: Alex Stein

Croissants are works of art—the Mona Lisas of the pastry world—and having analyzed dozens of them from every corner of this city, we now consider ourselves to be real connoisseurs. Sure, you can find a decent specimen anywhere, maybe even at your corner coffee cart, but for delicate crescents that flake away before you even touch them, or layered beauties that leave butter on your fingers for the rest of the day, head to these 12 bakeries in the pursuit of the perfect pastry.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Emily Schindler

Bakery/Cafe

Lower East Side

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light BiteBreakfast
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The peak of Supermoon’s croissant looks like the ridge of the Matterhorn, with rounded-off corners and a sheen that you’d hope to see on the teeth of a Toddlers in Tiaras contestant. When you bite into this Lower East Side croissant, the pastry matrix gives way to a satisfying tacky chew, but then puffs and springs back up with the power of its own structural integrity. It’s a serious crumb-producer, but the toasty, buttery flavor more than makes up for any mess.

If you had a French friend visiting, and you took them to get a croissant—which, why would you do this, but stick with us here—we’d tell you to bring them to Simple Loaf. The Park Slope bakery’s plain version hits every note: it’s equal parts flaky and buttery, with just a little chew, and we’d consider it a perfect specimen. We’ve even heard that the person who makes them learned to do so in France. Go find out for yourself.

The pastry case at La Cabra in the East Village is chock-full of cardamom buns, plain and specialty croissants, and danishes, with more layers than a style influencer’s get-ready-with-me TikTok in winter. The lighter-than-air pastry gives you 1/100th of a second of blissfully crunchy resistance when you bite through it, then disintegrates into a buttered cloud. The cross-section looks like a Fibonacci spiral, and there’s a light note of browned butter that nicely differentiates this one.

Radio Bakery is a showoff, an overachiever, the kid in class who raises their hand and asks about extra credit. Inside the tidy Greenpoint shop, you ‘ll see cookies, bread, and focaccia sandwiches, in addition to roughly 10 different kinds of croissant. The classic variety, made with organic flour and French butter, requires a four-day process that results in a glossy, flaky, pull-apart pastry with layers you can count like the rings of a tree. Architecturally, it’s perfect. Taste-wise, it’s classic, slightly tangy, and almost imperceptibly sweet.

Librae in the East Village makes a very visually stimulating croissant: it’s shiny, it’s pointy on the ends, and it’s plump in the middle. Make sure to take your photos before you bite into it, because it will leave some visible streaks of butter on your hands, and chomping down will leave a smear of butter down your chin. The inside is chewy, puffy, and well-seasoned, and the exterior layers are so fine and crunchy that you’ll find little bites of still-crusty dough in your teeth a few hours later.

There’s some origami flair to this palm-sized croissant from a Tom Colicchio-backed bakery that has several locations in the city. The corners splay out slightly from a full-bodied center, like edges of a fan, and are just gently singed. They also peel apart like petals, bringing elegant ribbons of laminated dough with them. Lush with grass-fed French butter, the dough is notably well-salted, with a hint of sourdough tang. This one isn’t a shatterer, instead it comes apart in soft but crisp pieces.

Even at 10am on a Thursday, people line up on the sidewalk outside of Nick + Sons in Williamsburg, typically for the croissants, which are dense and chewy, with a rounded shape that makes it look like they’re ready to burst. More crackly than they are flaky, the crescent-shaped pastries have one main, very appropriate tasting note: butter. For something more substantial, try the ham and cheese kind.

Unsurprisingly, the bakery from one of the best French restaurants in New York makes perfect croissants. Their plain one has a little bit of everything: it tastes like butter, has a nice chew, and also just enough flake that someone will know you recently ate a croissant. They’re not overwhelmingly large, so consider ordering the pistachio one too. Frenchette Bakery has a second location at The Whitney with a whole daytime menu as well.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Navigating the Winner-verse can be complicated—this Park Slope bakery drops different pastries at different times throughout the day—but if it’s a croissant you’re after, just know they start selling them at 7:30am, and it’s not unusual for them to run out around lunch. The sourdough croissants are about the size of two croissants laid on top of eachother, and the sourdough adds a savory note. They’re not so buttery that your fingers will be left shiny, but they’ll flake artfully onto your coat, trailing crumbs all the way to your preferred bench in Prospect Park.

Otway Bakery makes the funkiest croissant on this entire list—sort of like if a plain croissant went to Oberlin, started wearing birkenstocks with socks, and became crunchy. The outside of each croissant is a deep, dark brown, and the insides are darker than average, perfect for a croissant lover who appreciates some nuance. This Clinton Hill bakery also makes an excellent cardamom bun, and croissant dogs on occasion.

The true star at this underground bakery in Chelsea Market is the laminated baguette, a solid baton of bread encased in a flaky, buttery shell. But the basic croissant is pretty good too, with its glossy, painted bands of dough and jaunty, classic crescent shape. It’s on the chewier end of the spectrum, and also sweeter than average, and while it might not necessarily stand out at a baked goods beauty pageant, it would be a very welcome guest at any breakfast table.

Yes, this is the Cronut place, and yes, it sometimes boasts a pretty impressive line. But this Soho spot also has a fantastic plain croissant, and if you come on a weekday morning, you probably won’t have to wait for it. It’s less flaky and more airy than some of the other croissants on this list, but that just means that more of the caramel-colored pastry will end up in your mouth. (As opposed to your shirt, which is always slightly embarrassing.) This is one of the most expensive croissants on the list, but what do you expect from the bakery that trademarked the word Cronut?

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