Whether you’re visiting Asheville for a girls’ weekend, a day out in nature, or just making this beautiful mountain city your home, you’re likely to work up quite an appetite in this town. Hikers need some rations for their backpacks, and more leisurely strolls are always a little nicer with a pastry in hand!
The hardest part of finding a great Asheville bakery is honestly picking from the many options! Luckily, there’s likely to be a bakery with the right focus that isn’t too far from where you’re staying or living.
If a celebration is on your mind, you can find everything from the best cake bakeries in Asheville to the best sourdough bread places on this list. The locals know where to head for tasty treats and the best cakes, from elegant catering-style items down to delicious and simple donuts. Here are the spots that dominate the baking scene of Asheville!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 13 Best Bakeries in Asheville
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13 Delicious Bakeries in Asheville, NC
1. French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Few spots are more iconically Asheville than the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Rather than a standard bakery, when you walk into the lounge, you’ll be greeted by chocolate in every form: multiple kinds of specialty hot chocolates, gelato, and truffles are all on display.
What makes it technically an Asheville bakery is that you’ll find all manner of brownies, cookies, chocolate cakes, confections, and pastries in the display cases. Finding a tasty treat here, as well as a glass of wine or cup of tea to pair it with, is a perfect way to enjoy a cozy conversation with a friend or snuggle up with a book to while away an afternoon.
While the line often gets long, don’t let it fool you – once you order at the front counter, you can simply find a spot to sit and take your time. A key tip if you just want some to-go chocolate is that there is a separate, small shop beside the main lounge where you can buy from a more limited menu, including their many truffle collections and bean-to-bar single-origin chocolates.
If you want to go behind the scenes a bit, consider a tour of their second location, a factory and store closer to the French Broad River that gave the shop its name.
2. OWL Bakery
If you visit the North Asheville Tailgate Market during the warmer months, many of the booths will have a bevy of customers buzzing around. Nowhere has quite the lines that OWL Bakery’s stall will have – it’s normal for the market to open and for there to be 10 people already lining up to get a hand on one of their tasty morsels!
OWL stands for Old World Levain, referring to a part of a sourdough starter. This Asheville bakery has two locations, an original spot in West Asheville and a more recent addition of a location on Charlotte Street in the north of the city.
They pride themselves on creating beautiful bread loaves that use thoughtfully sourced ingredients, aiming for local and organic wherever possible. In addition to their core product of loaves of bread, their two locations also offer specialty coffee and tea and a selection of sweet and savory pastries.
Choose from the standbys, including a country loaf, a baguette, a rye loaf, and a thick multigrain/seed/nut bread known as “Wheatless Squirrel Loaf.” The rest of the options rotate based on the day, so no matter which day of the week you stop by, you’re likely to discover something new that will be perfect toasted and slathered in butter or jam.
3. Old Europe Pastries
Asheville is a hopping tourism center now, but it hasn’t always been that way. In the early ‘90s and 2000s, it was a much quieter town with fewer things to do, but as early as 1994, Old Europe Pastries has been dishing up tasty morsels and doling out cups of excellent coffee to the downtown set.
This beautiful, ornately decorated little shop is the brainchild of founder Melinda Vetro. An immigrant from Hungary, she still brings her knowledge of various European treats to the shop nearly 30 years later.
While we cannot guarantee that the hours won’t change, Old Europe Pastries is a good place to check if you feel like nothing else is open. It has a reputation for early morning service as well as late-night hours (it was once memorably the only place to grab some coffee after a chilly Thanksgiving Day 5K – we were very grateful!).
If you want a truly unique birthday, consider this a good source for the best cakes in Asheville. The artistry and flavor combinations will be memorable for any celebration.
Location: 13 Broadway Street, Asheville
4. The Rhu
Chef John Fleer has won awards for his fine dining restaurant Rhubarb, and he created the offshoot The Rhu as a combination breakfast joint, bakery, and local provisions shop, or “pantry.” It’s a great place to get a handcrafted pastry while also shopping for a few food gifts for people back home.
Fleer is big on local, so expect the cheese to be from local cheese maker Looking Glass Creamery, and the handcrafted cutting boards for sale in the shop are all going to be from local woodworkers. The pastries and breakfast options are the focus, but the menu also includes some lunch items that can be taken to-go or eaten while enjoying the view of Lexington Avenue.
The bakery case features both traditional and gluten-free baked goods, and the coffee bar serves artisanal roasts and most of the common espresso drinks. The simple surroundings in The Rhu are paired with truly artisan-quality ingredients in the casual menu. Think of this as a way to get the care and attention of fine dining but with a casual backdrop and price.
Location: 10 S Lexington Ave, Asheville
5. Stay Glazed Donuts
The basement-level Stay Glazed is a fun and irreverent spot to pick up some sweet, affordable pastries and take them for a jaunt around beautiful Pack Square. While this is not one of those fancy Asheville bakeries, it’s a great spot for a quick breakfast, and it doesn’t hurt to take a few donuts to go for friends or to snack on later.
Don’t get confused when looking for the entrance since you’ll need to take a staircase down from the street level to get to the entrance. The menu includes many donuts with big beautiful finishes, including brightly colored glazes and things like a huge toasted marshmallow on top.
Stay Glazed also offers Morsel Cookies, a stunning mound of a cookie made here in Asheville filled with anything from chocolate to Nutella. Notably, if you aren’t specifically in town for chocolate from French Broad Chocolate Lounge and just want a sweet fix, this location is less than a block away and rarely has a line like the Chocolate Lounge does. Show your fellow travelers that you know your stuff and save yourselves the wait for dessert!
Location: 22 S Pack Square, Asheville
6. Vortex Doughnuts
This South Slope feature is one of the best bakeries in Asheville, for sure. Vortex Doughnuts focuses, to no one’s surprise, on doughnuts.
The hip store interior features the main doughnut case prominently, and one of the fun first things you might notice is that these are not ordinary doughnut flavors, at least not all of them: espresso, brown butter, peach crumble, and blueberry maple pancake are just a sampling of the daily rotating flavors that you might find.
A perk is that this Asheville bakery offers both gluten-sensitive (not prepared in a gluten-free facility) and fully vegan doughnuts, and every single one of them is as fresh and tasty as they come. The shop often posts a list of daily flavors to whet your appetite, but hurry in – as with most doughnut shops in Asheville, once they are sold out for the day, that’s it till tomorrow.
Bring down the house at your next gathering with vegan friends, or just bite into one of these sugary treats while looking out the big front windows. You really can’t go wrong!
Location: 32 Banks Avenue, Suite 106
7. City Bakery
One of the long-running standard bakeries in Asheville, City Bakery has been thrilling guests with fresh bread and pastries since 1999. It’s my favorite spot to go early in the morning to pick up a loaf of multigrain or ciabatta, but it also has one of the most extensive breakfast and lunch menus of the Asheville bakeries on our list.
There’s a variety of lunch sandwiches (served on their fresh bread, of course), but what makes me come back time and again are the breakfast sandwiches, served on fluffy-as-a-cloud cheddar scallion biscuits. City Bakery often has packaged treats and plenty of sweet pastries, making them a good stop on the way to see a friend for a big occasion.
You also can’t go wrong with their coffee and espresso, sourced from Dynamite Roasting just down the road in Black Mountain. With the option to order online and pick up in-store, City Bakery is one of the best spots for a reliably-available, artisan-quality loaf of bread or for any of their signature pastries, which can be ordered ahead to feed a crowd.
8. Well-Bred Bakery
You’ll find locations of the elegant Well-Bred Bakery and lunch shop in Weaverville, in the Grove Arcade, and in Biltmore Village, and it’s one of the most recognized and best bakeries in Asheville. Their display cases are full of a variety of delicate sweets, like their chocolate roulade, crispy florentines, and enormous cookies, as well as a deli case full of prepared salads and quiches.
At the counter, you can also order sandwiches and drinks. Well-Bred’s name fits the vibe of the space: while the seating areas are simple, the elegance of the displays of food is truly the only decoration you need. They also make their own granola, cheddar crisps, and even dog biscuits, as well as a few other treats that make perfect gifts for whoever wasn’t lucky enough to join you in Asheville for your trip.
Last thing: consider them for a beautifully ornate cake as a special order because this is one of the best cake bakeries in Asheville! They’ve won awards for their food, and in a town with so much good food, that’s not easy to do. Stop in sometime and treat yourself to one of the finer things in life.
- 1 Page Ave, Asheville
- 6 Boston Way, Asheville
- 232 Reems Creek Rd, Weaverville
- 26 N Main St, Weaverville
9. Geraldine’s Bakery
Geraldine’s Bakery feels like the New York City bakery of Asheville. The simple space is dominated by a huge bakery case full to the brim with pastries, cookies, cupcakes, and anything else they’ve dreamed up that day.
You can also get delicious, made-to-order breakfast sandwiches and choose from a simple variety of cold drinks and hot coffee. The friendly service makes it feel like your neighborhood bakery. While there are a couple of indoor tables, many people choose to bring their baked goods out to the picnic tables by the parking lot.
If you want affordable and delicious sweets for a party, some of the best cupcakes in Asheville are available, with flavors like Boston cream and maple walnut, with all kinds of flavored buttercream frostings.
They offer authentic NY cheesecake and rugelaches, as well as a wide range of donuts, including the Famous Fritzster, a fried danish doughnut. While availability varies, the range of what Geraldine’s does well is truly stunning. Make it a stop for any catering need or just for one of their perfect breakfast sammies.
Location: 840 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville
10. Baked Pie Company
Instead of bread, cookies, or cupcakes, visit Baked Pie Company for literally 10 or more kinds of pie! The menu typically has one or two tasty quiches and a soup of the day too, so it’s a simple place to stop for lunch. When you do opt for dessert, the slices of pie are thick and can be served a la mode if you like.
The gem of the menu, by far, is the “Pie Flight,” where you get three smaller servings of pie on the same plate, ready for sampling and sharing or just enjoying yourself. The menu on any given day will include some fruit pies, like their award-winning apple pie or strawberry rhubarb, some cream pies, like butterscotch cream or pumpkin chocolate, and some other delicious options, including their maple bourbon walnut, orange cranberry custard, or coconut chocolate chip cookie.
It’s smart that they didn’t make you pick just one! Frequent pie-ers can get a punch card toward a future free slice, and their space offers seating and homey decor. If you know that you’ve got guests to feed and don’t feel like sampling one of the cakes of Asheville, consider pre-ordering one of their pies for a special occasion. Many options are keto, gluten-free, or vegan, but make sure you get your order in – many days, the pies sell out before closing.
Location: 4 Long Shoals Road, Arden
11. Short Street Cakes
While we cannot definitively tell you who has the best cupcakes in Asheville, you are likely to find at least some of them at Short Street Cakes. Olga Jiménez purchased this tasty cake company from the original owner, Jodi Rhoden, author of Cake Ladies.
While you’ll find a variety of classic cakes done to an excellent standard here, you can pick one of the more unique options if you’ve got a need for one of the best cakes in Asheville. Opt for an Ashevelvet cake, very similar to the flavor of red velvet but without red food coloring added, and with mountains of perfect cream cheese frosting.
Other unique combos include the Chocolate Chip Blueberry Pound cake, the Georgia Hummingbird cake, or the Peanut Butter & Jelly cake, sure to be a hit with anyone young or young at heart. They are exceptional at themes and decorations, adding delicate designs of any kind or creating multi-tier masterpieces for weddings and other major milestone events.
Location: 225 Haywood Road, Asheville
12. River Arts District Farmer’s Market
While not a brick-and-mortar establishment, any real Asheville local will make sure you don’t miss the unsung Asheville bakeries that sell exclusively at farmer’s markets here in town. In the beautiful River Arts District (RAD), the RAD Farmers Market happens on Wednesday afternoons and typically features multiple artisan bread vendors bringing their freshest products.
This is often a spot to find gluten-free bread baked at the top level, and while the vendors who apply each year do change, you’re likely to find two to four vendors each week selling fresh bread and a few others with pastries. When you’ve grabbed your tasty treats, there’s a walking path along the French Broad River that skirts the rest of the arts district, allowing you to walk, snack, and enjoy the beauty of nature right here in the city.
While, of course, our list is filled with excellent establishments that have regular hours, you’re really finding the hidden gems if you hit the farmer’s markets, both in the RAD and beyond, for your baked goods.
Location: 350 Riverside Dr #3141, Asheville
13. Hole Doughnuts
Your image of a doughnut store may revolve around a wide case of varied doughnut flavors. If you’ve never been to a fried-to-order doughnut shop, Hole Doughnuts in West Asheville needs to be a stop for you.
Doughnuts are always a simple yeast or cake recipe, but Hole essentially answers the question, “what if you made doughnuts out of the finest ingredients you could find?” They use local organic flour, unrefined organic cane sugar, sea salt, cage-free eggs, and whole butter to make the dough.
Then they are fried in non-GMO rice bran oil right in front of you! The result is crispy, airy, and far more decadent than a doughnut in the break room that’s been sitting for a day or two. The flavors are simple, from vanilla glaze to cinnamon sugar, but each week they add one seasonal flavor, some of which are truly out of this world.
Their bourbon-molasses doughnut won “Best Dessert of 2016” in the magazine Bon Appetit. Stop by for the most distinctive and obsessively designed dessert in the area – there isn’t a wide range of available pastries, but they make up for it with this doughnut!
Location: 168 Haywood Road, Asheville
There you have it! The 13 best bakeries in Asheville, NC. What are your favorite Asheville bakeries? Let us know so we can check them out!
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