From Apple Pie to Zeppole: Chicago Dessert Options Satisfy Day and Night

Chicago owns a deep chocolate and candy history. In fact, the legend is that Charles F. Gunther was responsible for introducing caramels in America and would sell them from his Clark Street candy business before it burned to the ground during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. During Prohibition, when alcohol was banned across the country, Chicago turned local taverns into ice cream shops and confection parlors. The brownie? Invented at the Palmer House. 

Chicago serves a generous helping of ethnic and American bakeries, pie and donut shops, ice cream parlors, chocolatiers and renowned pastry chefs working their culinary alchemy. You be the judge: is it Katherine Anne Confections or Mindy's that has the most decadent drinking chocolate crowned with homemade pillowy marshmallows? Visitors to the city may want a Chicago flight of chocolates donning designs of city landmarks from the wonderful Veruca Chocolates. Specializing in dessert all day, Goddess and the Baker focuses on house-made pastries and sweets, plus a one-of-a-kind coffee program all just steps from Millennium Park. Restaurants with outstanding dessert menus include Dearborn Tavern in the Theater District, Michael Jordan's Steakhouse and Brindille. For hard-to-find Scandinavian baked goods, get to Andersonville's Lost Larson. Step right up to the walk-up window at BombBar serving hot Italian donuts. Coming in late winter 2019, JoJo's Milk Bar sets up the fountain for milkshakes and more in River North. 

Dessert has long been buttoned into the allure of Chicago food scene - so diet today to get all decadent tomorrow. 



Bar Siena's walk-up dessert window, BomboBar, offers a riff on doughnuts - the "bomboloni" - an Italian hole-less doughnut Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani serves at his restaurants, Siena Tavern and Bar Siena. It's the specialty of the house at...  Read More



The main draws at this hip, cozy spot by James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal, are the impressive gourmet desserts, ice cream and the titular hot chocolate. If you don't know where to start, feel free to quiz waitstaff who are very...  Read More



Superlative desserts at a tavern? Irish owned but utterly American, The Dearborn can be found at the intersection the Theater District, satisfying food and lively ambiance. Pastry Chef Julianna Westgor has a playful style riffing on ice cream...  Read More



Everything is made right in Katherine Anne's retail space, so you can see them rolling truffles, pouring caramel and whipping marshmallow. The cafe has 16 seats for enjoying 15 flavors of drinking chocolate or sweets. Chocolatiers make a new...  Read More



Sometimes, whether to enhance celebration or assuage gloom, you just need a ginormous honking dessert. The 23 Layer Chocolate Cake at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse outdoes the colossal creations of other steakhouses with 23 layers of chocolate...  Read More



The River North restaurant offers a menu of sophisticated Parisian dishes that land upon exquisite china amid French linens. That includes painterly desserts by Pastry Chef, Craig Harzewski, who grabbed a 2019 nomination for a Jean Banchet...  Read More



Just a few minutes from Millennium Park (and another location on Wacker and LaSalle), Goddess and The Baker is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert all day. In fact, dessert is their jam: among the temptresses in the display case are...  Read More



Located in Andersonville, Manor, Evanston and Ravenswood, First Slice Pie Cafe specializes in hearty soups and sandwiches plus homey baked goods made from scratch. Another treat is knowing that a portion of its proceeds benefit the needy and...  Read More



Bakery and Chicago history fans lamented when Swedish Bakery closed after 88 years. Pastry chef and Chicago native, Bobby Schaffer, did the city a favor when he and his sister, Bree, opened Lost Larson. Expect seasonally inspired pastries...  Read More

Lincoln Park


Veruca began as a wholesale business and today anyone can sample the variety of handmade, artisan chocolates and caramels made for those with a discerning taste for fine chocolate and an eye for beauty. Each piece is handmade and hand decorated...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky