In a city where a single cupcake can set you back five dollars, it’s more important than ever to remember a basic point: Dessert doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.
Not to knock the work of talented pastry chefs in New York, but for our everyday sugar rush, we’re looking for something less glitzy; two or three bucks would be nice. And these days it’s amazing what you can get on the cheap. This list below includes some staple cheap eats, but also touches on sweets from high-end bakeries that usually charge much more. Want the fine French pastry for cheaper than a croissant, or an easy snack from a vaunted Daniel Boulud spot? These budget sweets are excellent introductions to the more pricey items at the city’s most renowned bakeries.
We don’t pretend this list is comprehensive. But we can say that the 15 sweets below—all $3 and under at time of publication—are excellent examples of their forms, each far more satisfying than many other sweets at twice the price.
Old Fashioned Doughnut From Peter Pan ($1)
Pretty much all doughnuts fall in the $3 and under category, and New York has no shortage of fancy doughnut shops these days, but we always come back to Peter Pan as the alpha and omega of doughnuts in New York. We can’t help but be charmed by the W-shaped counter and the staff in matching pastel uniforms; Peter Pan just feels the way a doughnut shop should feel.