A Sweet Tooth’s Guide to 15 of Long Island’s Best Holiday Desserts

Life on Long Island has never been sweeter. • Illustrations by Chamisa Kellogg

Last December I had an epiphany. After hours of sitting at my desk in an adult Christmas onesie, stalking the internet for coupon codes, I awoke from my consumerist slumber with perfect clarity: When I recalled my best, most vivid memories of Christmases past, I very rarely remembered the gifts I gave or received. Instead, the moments I returned to, almost exclusively, were the laughter-laden minutes between Christmas dinner and dessert, when the cakes and cookies are brought out and the eyes of everyone I love simultaneously twinkle and roll as if to say, “Oh no, I’m so full already; I mean, I just couldn’t possibly!”

Luckily, making the impossible possible has been at the heart of the Christmas story since the very beginning—and in these moments, my loved ones continue the holiday’s grand, miraculous tradition with near-impossible levels of eating.

Read more: 12 Days of Christmas Cookie Recipes from Our Kitchens to Yours

Long Island’s bakeries make it easy. From the westernmost tip of Nassau to the easternmost edge of Suffolk’s East End, local bakeries produce impeccable cakes, breads, pies and pastries all year-long—and then, like everyone and everything else during the holidays, they somehow up the ante.

Here are 15 places you’ll find beautiful, holiday-worthy desserts on Long Island this season for you and your family.

Alpine Bakery
59 Route 111, Smithtown

It’s hard to argue with a giant rainbow cookie.

Fans of Alpine Bakery are used to waiting in line. The small shop, nestled in the corner of the Uncle Giuseppe’s shopping center in Smithtown, is a true Long Island institution, beloved for its old-school Italian pastries and increasingly inventive cupcakes, cake pops and cronuts. During the holidays, we especially love their Rainbow Cookie Cake. It pairs perfectly with a traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast.

Beach Bakery & Grand Cafe
112 Main Street, Westhampton Beach

Gingerbread houses are for everyone, and Beach Bakery makes theirs—for Hanukkah—just right.

Often described as “the heart of Westhampton Beach” by locals and visitors alike, Beach Bakery & Grand Cafe is a cozy, kosher bakery founded by Simon Jorna. Earlier this year, Jorna sold the bakery to Rashid Sulehri, who also owns Montauk Bake Shoppe, but luckily the bakery’s offerings haven’t changed despite the change in ownership. Beach Bakery is still home to some of Long Island’s best jelly doughnuts, and, every December, the cutest Hanukkah-themed gingerbread houses around.

Blacksmith’s Breads
870 W. Beech Street, Long Beach

Blacksmith’s Breads is a tiny bakery that serves artisanal loaves that are colossal in quality.

Long Beach’s best kept secret, Blacksmith’s Breads is home to some of Long Island’s greatest rustic-style bread. This tiny bakery-cum-coffeehouse, which spans just 744 square feet (including its kitchen), is locally renowned for its Long Beach sourdough, croissants and baguettes—all of which are made in-house with regional grain from New York, Vermont and Maine. During the holidays, they frequently offer specials like Brie and apple brioche and chocolate babka. Order ahead on the bakery’s website to reserve yours today.

Blue Duck Bakery
56275 Main Road, Southold

Blue Duck Bakery makes some of the best pies on Long Island.

With locations in Southold, Greenport and Riverhead, Blue Duck Bakery is a family-owned and -operated business that’s equally revered for its pies and breads. Each December, Blue Duck additionally offers beautiful, hand-decorated Christmas cookies in festive shapes (think snowmen, snowflakes and more), but we can never resist their picture-perfect pies—not that we’re the kind of people who would ever try to.

84 Wainscott NW Road, Wainscott

Breadzilla’s chocolate raspberry scones are everything we dream of eating on a festive, holiday morning.

Breadzilla has been bringing beautiful sandwiches and baked goods to Wainscott since 1995. And while their lunch menu changes daily, their bakery menu features several “usual suspects,” like their chocolate, rice krispie and peanut butter buckeyes, that are more than worth the drive. Another thing that’s almost always on offer, thank goodness, is their chocolate raspberry scones. Pick some up for a perfect, appropriately decadent holiday breakfast.

Briermere Farms
4414 Sound Avenue, Riverhead

Briermere Farms is a Long Island institution for a reason.

A great many odes have been written in praise of Briermere Farms. This Sound Avenue mainstay is home to Long Island’s most beloved pies—and for good reason; most of the fresh fruit used in their bakery is grown right there on the family farm. At Christmastime, however, we like to splurge on their chocolate cream pie. Rich, dense and oh-so-chocolatey, this pie often transforms even the most cantankerous of Scrooges into jolly, kind Cratchits. 

Carissa’s The Bakery
221 Pantigo Road, East Hampton

Looking for a “showstopper” in the spirit of the Great British Bake Off? Head to Carissa’s.

We’re just going to say it: Carissa Waechter is a genius. Don’t believe us? Head to either location of her bakery, Carissa’s (both located in East Hampton), and you’ll quickly come around. Because everything Carissa and her team touches is not only delicious and made with the utmost integrity and craft—it’s gorgeous. From her meringue-topped pies to flower-adorned cakes, Carissa’s baked goods are Instagram darlings for a reason. This Christmas, treat yourself (and your ’gram) to one of her gingerbread cakes, topped with an adorable, tiny gingerbread house that’s almost too cute to eat. Almost.

Copenhagen Bakery
75 Woodbine Avenue, Northport

You can trust this European bakery with this traditional European treat.

Founded by Danish immigrant Flemming Hansen in 1998, Copenhagen Bakery is a wonderful, European-style bakery overlooking Northport Harbor. Staying true to its roots, even over two decades later, Copenhagen Bakery still sources some of its ingredients from Denmark to preserve authentic flavor. Their Danishes are to die for, but each holiday season it’s their Bûche de Noel that gives us life. 

3264 Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown

We love Dortoni’s take on this Italian Christmas (and Easter) classic.

Dortoni Bakery has been serving Long Island since 1976, and it shows. This bakery, which just opened a second location in Commack, specializes in fine Italian pastries, showstopping cakes and classic American-style desserts. They also make some of the island’s best struffoli. Look for their take on the Italian Christmas classic from the beginning of December on. It’s not quite amore—but boy, is it close.

La Bonne Boulangerie
6247 Northern Boulevard, East Norwich

Start a new holiday dessert tradition with La Bonne Boulangerie’s Sachertorte.

With locations in East Norwich and Port Jefferson, La Bonne Boulangerie has been bringing breathtaking cakes and European-style tortes to both Nassau and Suffolk County for over 20 years. Recently, however, they began a new holiday tradition: Each December, the bakery offers a stunning Sachertorte: a classic Austrian chocolate cake layered with apricot preserves and topped with dark chocolate icing. It is a delicious, elegant-looking cake—and exactly what your holiday dessert table’s been missing.

Nettie’s Country Bakery
366 Railroad Avenue, Center Moriches

If you like the brownie bites at Nettie’s Country Bakery, you’re going to love their stollen.

Founded in 2014 by Joe and Jeanette “Nettie” McHeffey, Nettie’s Country Bakery has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Since its opening, the bakery has earned a loyal legion of fans, and one of their signature bakes, Nettie’s Craft Brownies, has even gone national. Come December, however, we return to Nettie’s again and again for their Holiday stollen. Unlike what you’ll find at the grocery store, Nettie’s authentic rendition of the German Christmas classic is heavy on the fruit—just how we like it.

North Fork Doughnut Company
13175 Main Road, Mattituck

Believe the hype; NoFoDoCo is home to some of Long Island’s best doughnuts.

Ever since North Fork Doughnut Company first opened its doors in 2018, Long Island’s gone completely loco for NoFoDoCo. With eight signature flavors offered daily, alongside a rotating roster of specials that are sure to make you swoon, North Fork Doughnut Company is so popular that its Mattituck outpost frequently sells out before noon. (To better meet their ever-growing demand, NoFoDoCo will soon open a second location in Bay Shore.) This December stay tuned to their website, where you can watch their “Flavor Forecast” to see what holiday specials are coming to town along with Santa.

Sag Harbor Baking Company
51 Division Street, Sag Harbor

Run, run, as fast as you can—to Sag Harbor Baking Company for a taste of these dapper little cookies.

Since opening in December of 2011, Sag Harbor Baking Company has become an integral part of the Sag Harbor community. Known for their specialty cakes and seasonal bars, in particular, Sag Harbor Baking Company is owned and operated by Michele “Mimi” Yardley and Margaret Wagner. But the main reason you need to run, run as fast as you can to this bakery is their jumbo-size gingerbread men (and women) cookies! Perfectly spiced and perfectly dressed, these not-so-little guys are adorned with dapper red bow ties and bright-green buttons—and they taste just as good as they look.

Saint Honoré Pastry Shop
993 Port Washington Boulevard, Port Washington

This igloo cake is packed with a delicious s’mores filling—a perfect treat to enjoy by the fire on a cold December night.

Founded by French immigrant Jacques Le Guelaff, who was born in Brittany but raised in Queens, Saint Honoré Pastry Shop is a boutique French bakery located in Port Washington. Here the croissants, in particular, are excellent, but the St. Honoré cake will leave you breathless. For the holidays, though, we highly recommend the bakery’s whimsical igloo cake. Served, rather adorably, in the shape of an igloo alongside a resident penguin, this cake packs a delicious s’mores filling—a perfect treat to enjoy by the fire on a cold December night.

Tate’s Bake Shop
43 North Sea Road, Southampton

Because Long Island’s most famous cookies deserve a spot on your dessert table.

Tate’s Bake Shop is undoubtedly Long Island’s biggest bakery success story. Founded by Kathleen King—who first began selling cookies at her father’s farmstand as a pre-teen (for just 59 cents per half dozen!)—Tate’s Bake Shop sold to Mondolez International, the company behind Oreos and Chips Ahoy, for $500 million in 2018. And while this has certainly changed King’s life and expanded the reach of her Southampton-based bakery, we are happy to say it hasn’t changed the quality of her legendary recipe. Head to Tate’s only brick-and-mortar location, a charming shop that’s always so festively decorated during the holidays, for a bag of chocolate chip cookies (for Santa) and a chocolate chip pie (for Christmas dessert). Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this pie is just like December 25 itself: decadent, delicious and meant to be shared. After all, some things are just too good to keep to yourself.