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Coffee Science king cake.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Where to Get King Cake in New Orleans This Carnival Season

Top picks for the 2024 season, from classics like Hi-Do to newcomers like Dough Nguyener’s

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Coffee Science king cake.
| Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Mardi Gras is New Orleans’s favorite time of year and king cakes are a totem everyone can celebrate, and that’s just what this city does — bakeries, restaurants, and pop-ups flood the market with creative, unexpected, and gorgeous cakes to enjoy at home, gift a neighbor, or bring to work.

Beginning January 6, options abound, from the traditional, brioche-based king cake — ring-shaped and laced with cinnamon, covered in icing and purple, green, and gold sugar, plastic baby hidden inside — to the many twists on the original, plus growing options for the elegant French puff pastry and almond cream version. This map reflects the area’s best king cakes that are available on a regular basis to pick up in person throughout the short, 39-day 2024 Carnival season. Stay tuned for a guide to the best king cakes available via pop-up or special order this season.

Did we miss an outstanding king cake available in New Orleans this year? Let Eater know.

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Dong Phuong Bakery

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Yes, this bakery’s famed king cakes, perhaps the most well-known and loved of all, are already sold out for preorder. Still, the bakery sells its standard six flavors — cream cheese, pecan, cinnamon, strawberry, coconut, and almond creme — every day except Tuesdays for walk-in purchase — limit three per customer, and they are generally sold out by noon, says the bakery. They are also available about a slew of local restaurants, bakeries, and cafes for daily pickup. For the full list, see here.

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Hi-Do Bakery

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Plain, doughy, and not too sweet, the Hi-Do king cake is for the traditionalist. It’s reminiscent of the McKenzie king cakes in its simplicity — no icing, just sugar on top. The bakery also offers various filled versions. Hi-Do cakes are usually sold at King Cake Hub for those who can’t make it out to Terrytown.

Bywater Bakery

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One of the city’s favorites for king cake is Bywater Bakery, where chef/owner Chaya Conrad hits it out of the park with her Chantilly-filled king cake — light, toothsome, and shot through with either blueberries or strawberries. Preorder king cakes with fillings like pecan praline, azul dolce blueberry, frangipane, and a vegan bourbon cinnamon, or stop by the bakery’s walk-up window to pick up.

Antoine's Famous Cakes (Multiple Locations)

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With locations in Gretna and Metairie, Antoine’s Famous Cakes is a locals favorite for king cakes, equally for the “queen cake,” which is stuffed and topped with all sorts of flavors and goodies. Choose from a host of versions and fillings for in-store pickup at either location or call to have them shipped.

Ayu Bakehouse

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In case you haven’t heard, Ayu is one of the best new bakeries to open in New Orleans in recent years, wowing with its savory pastries, beautiful tartlets, baguettes and loaves, and holiday-themed baked goods. Mardi Gras is no exception, with Ayu’s version of king cake making a splash since its debut last season. The traditional is croissant-like: flaky, sweet, and buttery, and laced with a swirl of light cinnamon cream cheese filling. It’s a particularly great option for those who aren’t a fan of the white globules of icing on top — Ayu’s is simply coated with purple, green, and yellow raw sugar. Order online for pickup or grab a slice in-store.

Dough Nguyener’s Bakery

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This awesome Gretna bakery that’s on the newer side knocks it out of the park with its king cake, and it will be available at numerous locations this year — spots like Adams Street Grocery, Rolls n Bowls, and Thanh Thanh. Or, order online for pickup — just be sure to give this new kid on the block a try.

B Sweet Bistro & Bakery

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One of the city’s newer favorites is B Sweet, a fun N. Rampart storefront located directly across from Congo Square on the outskirts of the Quarter. Talented chef and baker Brittney Walker churns out rich, fluffy cakes in the traditional style, available for preorder online and generally available for walk-in pick up during Carnival season, especially if you’re just looking for a slice.

Bittersweet Confections

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Bittersweet Confections has chocoholics in bliss with its much-lauded chocolate cream cheese-stuffed king cake. The brioche dough gets laced with cinnamon sugar, stuffed with chocolate cream cheese, and drizzled with more chocolate. This year, there’s a new, pumped-up version that adds a layer of chocolate mousse, is covered in chocolate ganache icing, and then topped with dark chocolate truffles. Order now for pickup on Magazine Street.

King Cake Connection

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There are actually two locations this year for King Cake Connection, a Where Black NOLA Eats installation for convening king cakes and Mardi Gras-themed desserts and products by Black-owned businesses in one place. One is at SoFAB, aka the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in Central City, and the other is at The Historic New Orleans Collection in the French Quarter. Customers can pick up cakes from pop-ups and vendors like Viola’s Heritage Breads, Adrian’s Bakery, and Hravenly Sweets at the former is Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at THNOC daily except Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Martha Gilreath founded her Nolita king cakes pop-up a few Mardi Gras ago with delivery king cakes, but this year, she’s opened her first bakery in Bayou St. John just in time for the start of the season. Gilreath’s cakes are dreamy; simple and delicious, based on the old-school style of McKenzie’s. There is just the one style, topped with a perfectly runny glaze and thick sugar crystals in deep, vibrant colors. They will also be sold at King Cake Hub and this year’s new King Cake Drive-Thru in Metairie.

Norma's Sweets Bakery

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Norma’s is loved for so many things — the affordable Bayou St. John market and bakery sells beautiful cakes and other sweets, as well as Honduran and Nicaraguan specialties, imported goods, and of course, its beloved guava and cream cheese king cake. The sweet guava filling is wonderfully balanced by the tang of cream cheese wrapped in crumbly dough, topped with light frosting and sprinkles.

Guava and cream cheese king cake from Norma’s Sweets Bakery
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Coffee Science

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Coffee Science is a sleeper hit for king cakes — but the Broad Street cafe makes some of the best in town. This year, it’s Venetian creme, chocolate espresso, and lemon creme, all of which are topped with a thin, glaze-like icing, rather than globs of the white stuff. Order these seriously pretty cakes and pick them up during the week or drop by for first come first served on weekends.

Coffee Science’s chocolate espresso king cake
Randy Schmidt/Eater Nola

King Cake Hub

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What did New Orleans do before King Cake Hub? It sets up shop at Zony Mash Beer Project on Broad Street again this year, selling some 70 varieties from the likes Bywater Bakery, Sugar Love, Zuppardo’s, Brennan’s Restaurant, and much more. Note: This year, there are no preorders or shipping options available, so your best bet is to show up early for walk-in purchase if you have a particular cake in mind.

Laurel Street Bakery

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The king cakes at this Carnival season stalwart (which is located on Broad, not Laurel) are made from a light, slightly sweet dough, braided and topped with a not-too-sweet icing, with similarly balanced fillings — praline, almond, apple, strawberry cream cheese, and Nutella, a customer favorite. Preorder online to pick up in-store. Don’t forget to grab bagels while there.

Tastee Donut

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A New Orleans childhood favorite from back in the day, Tastee has four greater New Orleans area locations and is well known for buttermilk drops, doughnuts, apple fritters, and maybe most of all, the old-school, McKenzie’s recipe king cakes in season.

La Boulangerie

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Link Restaurant Group’s executive pastry chef Maggie Scales is at it again for La Boulangerie this year, with repeat appearances of the “Elvis,” a brioche cake filled with peanut butter and roasted banana and topped with bacon and toasted marshmallows; the more traditional galette des rois, rounds of puff pastry filled with almond cream; and the pretty, tasty New Orleans version filled with chocolate, strawberry almond, or plain cinnamon. Preorder for pick u and they’re all available on-site by the slice.

The Elvis
La Boulangerie/Official

Gracious Bakery (Multiple Locations)

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Gracious hits it out of the park with its specialty king cakes every year, with decadent and unexpected flavors like bananas Foster and a gorgeous nectar cream that are sometimes only available for days at a time. Luckily the almond-filled queen’s cake, a galette de rois, and the traditional versions are also noteworthy, and one of the best-priced, starting at $25. Want to make your own? The bakery’s kit makes it easy.

O'Delice French Bakery

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Another bakery that flies under the radar, O’Delice is nestled next to a Jefferson Feed on Magazine Street. The spotless French bakery is known for perfectly executed buttercream cakes and chicken salad sandwiches. Its superior king cakes are traditionally nostalgic, laced with cinnamon, and topped with fine, crunchy granules of sugar.

The Sweet Life Bakery

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The delightful Sweet Life bakery, now in its Metairie location, has its delicate king cakes again in 2023 — one that enjoys a split identity between a classic French almond king cake and the brioche-based New Orleans king cake.

Maple Street Patisserie

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Chef Ziggy bangs out stunning French king cakes (galette de rois) at the European Maple Street bakery each year, a slightly less sweet version. Layers of puff pastry laced with almond cream seem refined compared to the decadent icing and sugar-topped puffy (and often filled) brioche versions, but there is a good measure of decadence tucked within the delicate layers of the French king cake. The bakery does a brioche cake as well, and usually offers mini cakes with a croissant base, a rare but highly-sought offering.

Tartine

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Tartine flies under the radar for many, hidden near the river in the Black Pearl neighborhood, but it is an excellent choice for king cakes and a quiet lunch. King cakes are wonderful, brioche rolled with brown sugar and cream cheese, baked, and topped with the traditional icing and colorful sugar. It’s at the top of the list for many. Pickup, local delivery, and overnight or two-day shipping — with a hefty price tag — are offered; see all options here.

Breads On Oak (Multiple Locations)

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You won’t miss anything with the king cakes from the all-vegan Breads on Oak — these cakes are delicious, even without eggs and milk. In addition to a traditional, the bakery nails Bavarian cream, almond cream, strawberry cream cheese, and more, all delicious. Order to pick up at the original location or downtown or to ship.

Joe's Cafe Coffee and Donuts (Multiple Locations)

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Joe’s knows King Cakes — this family-owned business consistently offers high-quality cakes in a range of flavor. Besides flavors like cream cheese triple berry and fillings like Bavarian cream, Joe’s offers the only fried king cake we’ve seen, a fitting twist for the much-loved doughnut shop.

The fried king cake from Joe’s
Joe’s Cafe

Manny Randazzo King Cakes

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Manny Randazzo’s king cakes generate a cult following each year, with the Carnival season-only bakery (in operation since 1965) legend for its sweet, braided brioche topped with icing and colored sugar. You can also have this definitive king cake shipped anywhere, with beads and doubloons as part of the package.

Wishing Town Bakery Cafe

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This delightful bakery makes a unique, not-too-sweet king cake, offering an exciting break from the expected — made with Asian milk bread style brioche, it’s topped with a glaze made from housemade cream cheese and comes with coconut, sweet red bean paste, or a simple cinnamon and brown sugar filling. Preorder is required, call or visit the website.

Maurice French Pastries

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So many king cakes to love at Maurice French Pastries. Beyond the traditional, chef Jean-Luc’s specialty cakes are swoon-worthy, with flavors that have included the Pontchatoula, filled with Bavarian cream, fresh strawberries, Chantilly cream, and toasted almonds; and the Bourbon Street, oozing bourbon and toasted pecan flavored chocolate cream. Best of all, the bakery sells sizes from small to extra large, helping with the common conundrum of appropriately sized king cakes for one or two people.

Haydel's Bakery

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Haydel’s serves an outstanding version of the classic New Orleans king cake, and has a location on Magazine Street for those city-dwellers who can’t make the trek to Jefferson. Sweet and topped with lots of icing and colored sugar, it’s the brioche king cake that many New Orleanians grew up eating. An un-iced version is available, and new this year is a cafe au lait flavor.

Gambino's Bakery

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Gambino’s is an old-school New Orleans bakery famous for its Doberge cake year-round. But come Carnival season the king cakes ship around the globe, with fillings aplenty (almond wedding cake, Bavarian cream, blueberry, chocolate cream cheese, pecan praline, and more). This year, the bakery is selling deals on 2, 3, and 6-packs of cake flavors, your choice of variety.

Dong Phuong Bakery

Yes, this bakery’s famed king cakes, perhaps the most well-known and loved of all, are already sold out for preorder. Still, the bakery sells its standard six flavors — cream cheese, pecan, cinnamon, strawberry, coconut, and almond creme — every day except Tuesdays for walk-in purchase — limit three per customer, and they are generally sold out by noon, says the bakery. They are also available about a slew of local restaurants, bakeries, and cafes for daily pickup. For the full list, see here.

Eater

Hi-Do Bakery

Plain, doughy, and not too sweet, the Hi-Do king cake is for the traditionalist. It’s reminiscent of the McKenzie king cakes in its simplicity — no icing, just sugar on top. The bakery also offers various filled versions. Hi-Do cakes are usually sold at King Cake Hub for those who can’t make it out to Terrytown.

Bywater Bakery

One of the city’s favorites for king cake is Bywater Bakery, where chef/owner Chaya Conrad hits it out of the park with her Chantilly-filled king cake — light, toothsome, and shot through with either blueberries or strawberries. Preorder king cakes with fillings like pecan praline, azul dolce blueberry, frangipane, and a vegan bourbon cinnamon, or stop by the bakery’s walk-up window to pick up.

Antoine's Famous Cakes (Multiple Locations)

With locations in Gretna and Metairie, Antoine’s Famous Cakes is a locals favorite for king cakes, equally for the “queen cake,” which is stuffed and topped with all sorts of flavors and goodies. Choose from a host of versions and fillings for in-store pickup at either location or call to have them shipped.

Ayu Bakehouse

In case you haven’t heard, Ayu is one of the best new bakeries to open in New Orleans in recent years, wowing with its savory pastries, beautiful tartlets, baguettes and loaves, and holiday-themed baked goods. Mardi Gras is no exception, with Ayu’s version of king cake making a splash since its debut last season. The traditional is croissant-like: flaky, sweet, and buttery, and laced with a swirl of light cinnamon cream cheese filling. It’s a particularly great option for those who aren’t a fan of the white globules of icing on top — Ayu’s is simply coated with purple, green, and yellow raw sugar. Order online for pickup or grab a slice in-store.

Dough Nguyener’s Bakery

This awesome Gretna bakery that’s on the newer side knocks it out of the park with its king cake, and it will be available at numerous locations this year — spots like Adams Street Grocery, Rolls n Bowls, and Thanh Thanh. Or, order online for pickup — just be sure to give this new kid on the block a try.

B Sweet Bistro & Bakery

One of the city’s newer favorites is B Sweet, a fun N. Rampart storefront located directly across from Congo Square on the outskirts of the Quarter. Talented chef and baker Brittney Walker churns out rich, fluffy cakes in the traditional style, available for preorder online and generally available for walk-in pick up during Carnival season, especially if you’re just looking for a slice.

Bittersweet Confections

Bittersweet Confections has chocoholics in bliss with its much-lauded chocolate cream cheese-stuffed king cake. The brioche dough gets laced with cinnamon sugar, stuffed with chocolate cream cheese, and drizzled with more chocolate. This year, there’s a new, pumped-up version that adds a layer of chocolate mousse, is covered in chocolate ganache icing, and then topped with dark chocolate truffles. Order now for pickup on Magazine Street.

King Cake Connection

There are actually two locations this year for King Cake Connection, a Where Black NOLA Eats installation for convening king cakes and Mardi Gras-themed desserts and products by Black-owned businesses in one place. One is at SoFAB, aka the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in Central City, and the other is at The Historic New Orleans Collection in the French Quarter. Customers can pick up cakes from pop-ups and vendors like Viola’s Heritage Breads, Adrian’s Bakery, and Hravenly Sweets at the former is Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at THNOC daily except Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Nolita

Martha Gilreath founded her Nolita king cakes pop-up a few Mardi Gras ago with delivery king cakes, but this year, she’s opened her first bakery in Bayou St. John just in time for the start of the season. Gilreath’s cakes are dreamy; simple and delicious, based on the old-school style of McKenzie’s. There is just the one style, topped with a perfectly runny glaze and thick sugar crystals in deep, vibrant colors. They will also be sold at King Cake Hub and this year’s new King Cake Drive-Thru in Metairie.

Norma's Sweets Bakery

Norma’s is loved for so many things — the affordable Bayou St. John market and bakery sells beautiful cakes and other sweets, as well as Honduran and Nicaraguan specialties, imported goods, and of course, its beloved guava and cream cheese king cake. The sweet guava filling is wonderfully balanced by the tang of cream cheese wrapped in crumbly dough, topped with light frosting and sprinkles.

Guava and cream cheese king cake from Norma’s Sweets Bakery
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Coffee Science

Coffee Science is a sleeper hit for king cakes — but the Broad Street cafe makes some of the best in town. This year, it’s Venetian creme, chocolate espresso, and lemon creme, all of which are topped with a thin, glaze-like icing, rather than globs of the white stuff. Order these seriously pretty cakes and pick them up during the week or drop by for first come first served on weekends.