Beautiful San Diego is known for scenic beaches and the most effortlessly perfect weather. But the dessert selection is definitely something to be praised as well! Our guide highlights the very best dessert in San Diego—only the most noteworthy local shops that are sure to satisfy any and all of your sweet cravings.
Indulge in the Best Dessert in San Diego
We’ve included classics like gelato, cookies, and cakes, as well as more distinctive desserts, such as shaved ice cream and honey toast. So no matter what treat you’re wanting to indulge in, our Female Foodie guide to the best dessert in San Diego truly has it all. Happy eating!
12. Up2You Cafe
Kicking off our guide to the best dessert in San Diego is one of the most uniquely delicious desserts in San Diego—the honey toast from Up2You Cafe. This dessert cafe has a wide variety on their menu, from crepes and ice cream milk teas floats, to fluffy Japanese cheesecake. But the honey toast is their most popular dessert item, and for good reason. This original dessert is a giant block of toast that is buttery and crunchy on the outside, while still being warm and soft on the inside. The topping selection is diverse and exciting, which allows you to create whatever version of honey toast you desire.
11. Batch and Box
Some of the best dessert in San Diego comes from Batch and Box in the form of cookies. This locally owned and operated cookie shop is in the heart of Del Mar, just a few minutes inland from the beach. The founder believes that cookies create genuine connections with others, and after sharing her homemade cookies with loved ones for years, she decided it was time to share this gift with the community. Lucky us! Every cookie here is made fresh daily with only the finest ingredients, and the smell of the cookies baking in this shop is sure to make you want to taste the entire menu. When you’re here, you’re ordering the Wonder, classic cookie dough with coconut flakes, toasted walnuts, butterscotch, and dark chocolate chips. Or if you’re more of a peanut butter chocolate fan, you’ll experience love at first bite with their Cocoa PB.
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10. Wayfarer Bread & Pastry
It’s really difficult to deliver a perfectly flaky croissant, or a scone with just the right amount of crumble, but Wayfarer absolutely nails it. This endearing bakery is only a few steps away from stunning ocean views in Bird Rock, a seaside neighborhood in La Jolla. Don’t be discouraged if there is a line out the door to order, because these pastries are hands down some of the best dessert in San Diego. Pro tip: stop by during the morning hours (from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) for the widest selection of pastries and you will not be disappointed, especially with the Strawberry Pistachio Croissant, Cinnamon Bun, and Blueberry Lemon Scone.
9. Incredible Cheesecake Co.
Authentic, made-in-house cheesecake can be hard to come by, but Incredible Cheesecake Co. delivers just that. This family business has been around for 40 years and counting, and they have continued to make their own cheesecakes daily, traditionally, and authentically. You’ll feel right at home inside this quaint shop with top-tier customer service and silky smooth cheesecake that’s always made with the freshest ingredients. Their large selection of cheesecake flavors is another win. You’ll want to order a slice of Chunky Monkey—banana and chocolate cheesecake paired with a crumbly Oreo crust—or their classic Red Velvet. One bite will have you realizing that this is definitely some of the best dessert in San Diego.
8. Gelato Paradiso
Enjoying the scenic streets of Coronado Island isn’t complete without a giant homemade waffle cone full of rich, creamy, authentic gelato. Gelato Paradiso delivers just that, making it some of the best dessert in San Diego. This local attraction creates the Italian treat with traditional recipes and in small batches throughout the day to guarantee peak freshness. The tasteful, textured waffle cones are incredible, and are being baked constantly throughout the day, creating a mouthwatering aroma in the shop. You simply have to try the dulce de leche and the blackberry chocolate chip, but be sure to enjoy the sample tastes, because every flavor is truly exquisite.
7. Solana Sumptuous Cookies
Another impressive spot to enjoy the best dessert in San Diego is in beautiful Solana Beach, at Solana Sumptuous Cookies. These cookies are everything a cookie should be—nostalgic, cozy, and baked to perfection. Their most popular menu items are their Solana Beach cookies, which feature semi, milk, and dark chocolate chips with pink Himalayan sea salt, and the Marlena, which features organic raspberry and single-origin chocolate from Machupicchu, Peru. Arguably the best part of this local cookie shop is that they also serve old-fashioned ice cream, giving you the option of creating an ice cream cookie sandwich. YES, PLEASE!
After a day at the beach, you’re going to need to stop for some of the best dessert in San Diego, aka some refreshing thinly shaved ice cream called shaved snow. Iceskimo is slowly introducing San Diego to Taiwanese shaved snow one life-changing bowl at a time. Both creamy and flaky, the texture of this ice cream is unlike any dessert you’ve tried before. Whether you’re craving something classic like strawberry, cookies and cream, or mango (a fantastic dairy-free option), or are looking to switch things up with flavors such as jasmine milk tea or ube, this treat will blow you away. Complete your shaved snow with various items from the delicious topping bar and dig in!
5. Bobboi Natural Gelato
4. Hammonds Gourmet Ice Cream
3. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee
2. Pop Pie Co.
Calling all pie lovers, the Pop Pie Co. (where you’ll find some of the best dessert in San Diego), was created just for you. This hip and inviting pie spot is located only five minutes from Balboa Park and the famous San Diego Zoo, and is definitely going to give you a pie experience you will never forget. Their celebrated crust lives up to the hype in all its flaky, buttery glory, and we simply cannot get enough. Pop Pie Co. features both savory (think personal chicken pot pies) and dessert pies such as chocolate cream, key lime, and coconut cream. The salted caramel apple pie is their staple, as it should be. It is crumbly, comforting, and delivers all the flavors and textures that should be included in a perfect apple pie. You can also order it as a Piescream, featuring the delicious ice cream from Stella Jean’s shop, which is located just next door to take things to another level.
1. Extraordinary Desserts
And finally, when searching for the best dessert in San Diego, it is impossible to leave Extraordinary Desserts out of the conversation. This place is truly magical, always delivering jaw-dropping presentations and an out-of-this-world dessert selection. These high-end desserts bring crowds from all over southern California and the lineup rotates on the daily. The beloved cake slices are their most popular item, especially the Shangri-La, a white chocolate and guava mousse layered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, and La Bete Noire, a dark chocolate cake with layers of chocolate mousse, vanilla crème brulée, and chocolate ganache soaked in vanilla bean syrup. We can’t wait for you to get your hands on a slice of their cake, bread pudding, strudel, brownie cheesecake…you get the point! Anything you sink your teeth into here is guaranteed to be the best dessert you can find in San Diego.