Finding the Best Desserts in Raleigh


Recently making the rounds of “best places lists,” Raleigh, North Carolina is a pretty special place. When it comes to sweet treats, Raleigh makes the grade again. For newcomers to Raleigh — or those who haven’t visited in a while — here are the best desserts in Raleigh.

Best Desserts for Date Night

Without a doubt, the best place to enjoy a date night featuring sweet treats is Bittersweet, in the PNC 16 E. Martin Street. Offering decadent, house made desserts, boozy drinks and specialty coffees, Bittersweet takes dessert to a whole new level. 

With seating indoors and out, Bittersweet’s regular menu is pretty spectacular. Their Derby Pie, which takes pecan pie to a whole new level with bourbon and bittersweet chocolate topped by a house made salted caramel sauce hits all the sweet southern notes one could want from a decadent dessert.


Seasonal treats, like the Blueberry Carnival that pairs a blueberry-gin compote with a cornmeal poundcake, whipped cream and house-made animal crackers, take advantage of the flavors of the season. 

An extensive cocktail menu and an impressive menu of evening coffee drinks make a dessert date night a tasty, memorable experience.


Other Great Options for a Date Night Dessert in Raleigh

Other places to enjoy a dessert date night in Raleigh include lucettegrace and Hayes Barton Cafe.

lucettegrace is a bakery/cafe that serves French-style pastries and desserts. Open 8 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday, head to lucettegrace for a sweet breakfast or to get carryout for a romantic evening at home.

Hayes Barton Cafe & Dessertery, in the historic Five Points neighborhood of Raleigh, has been serving incredible desserts for decades. The coconut cake is out of this world. Open lunch and dinnertime Wednesday through Saturday, reservations are recommended. Stop in early to get dessert for a romantic evening at home.

Best Ice Cream in Raleigh

When it comes to sweet treats, ice cream tops most people’s list, and Raleigh doesn’t disappoint. 

Topping the list of best ice cream in Raleigh is Two Roosters Ice Cream with three locations in Raleigh and one in nearby Durham. Their ice cream is made with locally sourced ingredients. The milk and cream comes from the NC State University Dairy in Raleigh. That’s local!

With a few seasonal flavors, all developed in house, and several “forever flavors,” the only real challenge is deciding which one to try first. 

The Coffee Bourbon, one of the “forever flavors,” is made with coffee from a local coffee company and bourbon from nearby Durham. The Girl Scout Mint, also a forever flavor, is made with Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies purchased directly from local girl scout troops. 

A scoop of ice cream from Two Roosters is a true taste of Raleigh! Simply delicious.


Other Tasty Places to Get Ice Cream

Since ice cream is one of the best sweet treats around, it’s hard to narrow down the list of the best ice cream spots in Raleigh, but these are amazing.

Goodberry’s Frozen Custard, with locations throughout central North Carolina, makes the best frozen custard in the Carolinas. The menu includes chocolate and vanilla, as well as a daily flavor. The “concrete,” custard blended with a couple of toppings and served in a milkshake cup, is the most popular item on the menu. 

Raleigh Rolls, 411 W Morgan Street, in the Morgan Street Food Hall, is open from Noon to 10 p.m. daily. The ice cream is rolled on cold slates with a variety of flavors and toppings — some inspired by the flavors of the south. The fun presentation is enough to make this place worth a visit. It tastes great, too.

Best Internationally-Inspired Desserts in Raleigh

This young business is a new-comer to the Raleigh sweet treats scene, but they’re here to stay. Besides their full-time location at Crabtree Valley Mall, their popsicle cart can be found at local festivals and events. They have plans to expand to other malls in the region, as well. Raleigh Popsicle Co., in Crabtree Valley Mall (lower level) at 4325 Glenwood Avenue.


The Mexican-inspired popsicles at Raleigh Popsicle Company are hand-crafted creations crafted by hand. Each popsicle packs an intense flavor that satisfies the taste buds. The Oreo Cookie is the most popular flavor on the menu, but they are all scrumptious. 

Other Internationally-Inspired Sweet Treats

Check out these other internationally inspired sweet treats in Raleigh. Yes, Raleigh!

Amorino Raleigh, 137 E Davie Street, is open from 3-9 p.m. daily, and serves incredible Italian gelato. Their “rose” cone, which uses gelato to make a flower shaped cone, is beautiful and delicious. The gelato macarons are pretty incredible, too. 

Mon Macaron, 111 Seaboard Avenue, Suite 118, Raleigh, is open daily, and serves French macarons in dozens of flavors, as well as coffees, teas and wine. How sweet!

Best Chocolate in Raleigh

When compiling a list of the best sweet treats in town, chocolate simply must make the list. 

The best place to get chocolate in Raleigh is at the Chocolate Boutique in Lafayette Village. Besides offering a variety of hand-crafted chocolates and caramels, the Chocolate Boutique offers some unique experiences. Each hand made chocolate is beautifully prepared and tastes spectacular.

Beyond that, the Chocolate Boutique offers chocolate parties, where guests learn the art of chocolate making and then get to use chocolate molds and flavorings (nuts, candy, caramels and more) to create their own chocolates to take home. There’s also a Belgian Date Night option, which includes a chocolate making lesson, premium ingredients, and a glass of wine to enjoy. 

The Chocolate Boutique is open every day at 11 a.m. Reservations are needed for the parties and date night options.


Other Places For Han-Crafted Chocolates

There are two bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Raleigh, both offering tasty chocolates made in small batches.

Escazu Chocolates, at 936 N. Blount Street, has been crafting chocolates since 2008. They offer a variety of hand-crafted truffles and chocolate bars, as well as ice cream and a hot chocolate bar. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Videri Chocolate Factory, at 327 W Davie Street, is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory and chocolate shop. Visitors can tour the factory to learn how chocolate beans become delicious chocolates and enjoy a fresh brewed coffee and treat at the cafe. Videri provides the chocolate used at some of the local restaurants, so check out those dessert menus.

Best Doughnuts in Raleigh

When it comes to good doughnuts, there’s no doubt the big names have their following. Looking at local doughnut shops, though, there’s a true standout in Raleigh.

Burney’s Sweets & More is a full service bakery that offers traditional doughnuts, fritters, brownies, and other pastries, as well as custom cake orders. But, they’re best known for their croissant doughnuts, a sweet take on the traditional croissant.

This small chain which got its start in Elizabethtown, NC just ten years ago, started humbly, to serve a sweet croissant in a warm family-friendly atmosphere. The croissants, filled with rich buttercream or fruit, make a delicious “doughnut” that can’t be beat. 

With so many scrumptious sweet treats in Raleigh, the hardest decision might be which one to try first.

Read more from author Karen Dawkins:

Outdoor Fun on Georgia’s Golden Isles

The Best Day Hikes in North Carolina

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