Charleston is the foodie capital of the state of South Carolina, and its ever-evolving food scene makes it one of the best cities for food-lovers to visit in the southeastern United States! Charleston has experienced somewhat of a food renaissance in the past couple of decades, and the city has gained some seriously amazing restaurants. (Read more about the best restaurants in Charleston here). Of course, every great meal has to be followed with an equally great dessert, right? Where can you find the best dessert in Charleston SC?
As a former Charlestonian and a native South Carolinian, I’ve eaten my way through the Charleston dessert scene, and now, I want to tell you where you can find the best dessert in Charleston SC. From small bakeries to high-class dessert bars, there’s plenty of options for dessert in Charleston SC. Here’s my insider’s guide to these sweet spots, plus recommendations for what to get at each place!
For more international flavors, check out my other food and drink posts!
Best Dessert in Charleston SC, According to a Local
1. Carmella’s Cafe and Dessert Bar
Carmella’s Cafe and Dessert Bar is located in a cute, pale pink building on East Bay Street in downtown Charleston. This little restaurant serves sweet and savory foods and drinks, but it’s best known for its adorable miniature cakes. The bakers at Carmella’s make these mini cakes in a variety of flavors! The menu changes all the time, but when I went, mini cake flavors included: blueberry lemon, chocolate, oreo, cannoli, and more! The cakes are as delicious as they are adorable, and even though they look small, I think one can serve around 4 people.
2. Sugar Bakeshop
Sugar Bakeshop is another great Charleston bakery, located on Cannon Street. I personally love Sugar’s cupcakes! The storefront is adorable, but the shop is very small inside, so this is a great place to stop for a quick treat to go!
3. Cupcake DownSouth
Cupcake Down South is one of the original cupcake stores in Charleston, and it’s located in the heart of downtown Charleston on King Street! The cupcakes are super sweet, topped with a mountain of icing! The flavors rotate every day, with classics like vanilla and red velvet remaining throughout the week! I’ve had a LOT of cupcakes from here, and they never disappoint.
4. Brown’s Court Bakery
As you walk into Brown’s Court Bakery, you’ll notice the smell of freshly baked bread and a huge spread of baked goods on the counter. Come here in the morning for coffee and freshly baked bagels or scones, or visit in the afternoon for a sweet treat like a cookie or cake! I’ve had lots of good treats from here, and I have to say, this is one of my favorite bakeries in Charleston!
5. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Even though I don’t like to include chain restaurants in my food guides, Jeni’s is so good, I’ll make an exception. Jeni’s is the best ice cream I’ve ever had. There’s a huge range of creative flavors (I had the cream puff and the seasonal lavender berry flavors), and each is perfectly crafted.
6. Glazed Donuts
If you love donuts, you have to visit Glazed. Glazed, located on King Street, is Charleston’s most popular artisanal donut shop. It’s only open until 3 PM every day, so make sure you get there early before flavors start to run out! I love the maple bacon flavor.
7. Bakehouse Charleston
Bakehouse is another bakery located on East Bay Street, serving a mix of sweet and savory treats along with coffee and craft beer. The salted caramel brownies are delicious, and I’ve also had the smores bar, which is pretty good as well. This is a great place to chill, with lots of nice seating and WiFi.
8. Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe
Kaminsky’s is a nice cafe that serves dessert and drinks! You can buy cakes by the slice, as well as milkshakes, ice cream sundaes, and specialty dessert cocktails. This is a great place to sit down and enjoy dessert with table service.
9. Cafe Framboise
Cafe Framboise is a French-style patisserie located on Market Street. If you want a light lunch, they have sandwiches and savory crepes. If you’re looking for something sweet, try one of the sweet pastries or crepes!
10. Peace Pie
For a unique dessert in Charleston SC, head to Peace Pie! Peace Pie is another chain that I thought deserved a mention because it is so unique (and it went viral online)! They serve ice cream sandwiches that have a layer of pie filling. Flavors include pecan pie, key lime pie, and more! Even though I’m not sure if it’s the best dessert in Charleston SC, it’s probably the most interesting!
Charleston Restaurants with Great Desserts
Hall’s Chophouse is one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston because it has incredible food and outstanding hospitality. If you eat at Hall’s, you need to try the bread pudding for dessert. The dense, buttery bread pudding is topped with macerated cherries and a whiskey creme, creating a sinfully delicious ending to any meal.
Peninsula Grill is home to one of Charleston’s most famous desserts (and what some would say is the best dessert in Charleston SC) – their iconic coconut cake. The cake has 12 decadent layers, and you can even order it to be delivered to your home! This cake is so good, it’s been recognized by practically every food and travel magazine out there.
Like Hall’s Chophouse, Grill 225 is another great Charleston steakhouse. I’ve ended every meal here with the chocolate mousse cake (also called the Chocolate mousse bonbon on the upstairs menu). This dessert has a mound of chocolate mousse on top of a layer of fudge, and it’s all coated in ganache.
Best Dessert in Charleston SC – Hungry Yet?
From cupcakes to bread pudding and everything in between, there are so many sweet treats you need to try in Charleston. If I had to choose my favorite as the ultimate best dessert in Charleston SC, I would probably be torn between Hall’s bread pudding and the mini cakes at Carmella’s because both are just that good. Is there a Charleston dessert you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Best Dessert in Charleston SC, According to a Local”
This is a fantastic list! Sadly Cupcake DownSouth doesn’t have a downtown location any longer, but there is still one out on Long Point Road (Mt. Pleasant). A great new (non-chain) ice cream option is Off Track Ice Cream … even their vegan options are delicious. Also on Savannah Highway in West Ashley, there’s a coffee “outpost” called Burrell & Flynns with gigantic, incredibly delicious brownies (in the same shopping center parking lot as Whole Foods & the IGA Grocery store). Thanks for sharing your list!
Yes to Carmellas! Went there a few weeks ago and was shocked at the bakery case. I asked my mom if she wanted to split a cake with me and she said NO! Get your own! Haha! They also have a full bar and cool atmosphere for after dinner drinks and dessert.