Thought to have been brought over from France to New Orleans in 1870, the king cake is a baked delicacy. It’s a unique blend of flavors that are best compared to a cross between a coffee cake and French pastries. Louisiana style king cakes are often made with that delicious bread-y/cake-y like dough twisted into a ring, decorated with white icing and colorful sprinkles and or sanding sugar, (just like we see in the photo up there).
Every king cake also has a tradition, a small figurine, (normally in the shape of a baby…that’s definitely a tradition to look up the origin too) is hidden in the cake and whoever finds it is “king” for the day, however now, it means that you will have luck and prosperity for that day. Or it can just be a funny silly thing to discover when you take a bite into this flavorful treat!
King cakes can often be found everywhere, but Louisiana is known for this appetizing treat, so it’s safe to say that finding the best king cakes in New Orleans can lead you with a lot of options, today we are breaking down to try and find the best of the best!
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They don’t just have big king cakes, they also have baby ones! Image courtesy of the Haydel’s Bakery Instagram page.
4037 Jefferson Hwy | New Orleans | haydelsbakery.com
In 1959, Lloyd Haydel took over the then Sunny Flake Donut Shop in hopes of turning it into a trampoline center, which was short-lived, and instead Lloyd then turned it into the Haydel’s Sunny Flake Bakery. Just a little over 5 years later, Hurricane Betsy sadly leveled the Haydel’s Sunny Flake Bakery, but Lloyd’s son David built a new shop, renaming it and is now known as the renowned Haydel’s Bakery!
The Haydel’s Bakery over the years has expanded their unique menu options to wedding and wedding cakes, pastries, pies, Cajunnolies, and of course their famous king cakes!
Haydel’s Bakery traditional and flavor-filled king cakes are made with Danish dough, braided with cinnamon and sugar, topped with fondant icing, and adorned with the classic purple, green, and yellow sugar. Their filled king cakes have choices between cream cheese, praline pecan, strawberry cream cheese, German chocolate, and brownie chocolate chip fillings! A wide variety of combinations for your king cake needs!
“I only visit Haydel's during Mardi Gras, they have my favorite king cake! Always fresh with just the right amount of moistness, icing and sugar! Customer service is always great. I'll probably be back a couple more times this season. Until we meet again!” -Yelp Review
A king cake with good ol’ traditional flavors! Image courtesy of the Gambino’s Bakery Instagram page.
4821 Veterans Memorial Blvd | Metairie | gambinos.com
In the early 1920’s, Beulah Ledner began baking in her own kitchen, her delicious treats began to make waves around the New Orleans area, thus leading to her to open a location on Claiborne. Then just a little over 20 years later, Beulah met a man named Joe Gambino, and sold her business and recipes to him. Through some time and changes, what we now know as Gambino’s Bakery has been serving the New Orleans population for over 7 decades!
Available all year long, Gambino’s Bakery takes the Mardi Gras tradition and keeps the king cakes produced for all to enjoy every day! Their “one of a kind” king cakes are hand-made and baked fresh every single day.
They offer traditional king cakes, two filling king cakes, one filling king cake, then two, three, and six king cake packs! If you’re feeling like adding something special to your king cake, they do have classic cakes you can order, dessert trays, or custom cakes for your events! (Plus they even ship their king cakes to most of the United States)!
“Cake was fresh, delicious and BEAUTIFUL!!! I would definitely buy here again they were so helpful when I placed my order and had to figure out exactly what I wanted” -Yelp Review
A colorful background to match a colorful king cake! Image courtesy of the Maurice French Pastries Instagram page.
3501 Hessmer Ave | Metairie | mauricefrenchpastries.com
Born in the French Alps, Jean-Luc wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps in becoming a chef, and ever since the age of 15, he has done just that! Bouncing from kitchen to kitchen in many different places, Jean-Luc learned and gained experience through his work. Eventually his path led him to New Orleans to create Maurice French Pastries!
Offering mini pastries, French specialties, pies, Kugelhopf’s’, specialty cakes, and of course king cakes! Out of every bakery on this list, Maurice French Pastries definitely has the most fillings/flavors available for their king cakes.
From apple cinnamon, cream cheese, Nutella, guava, lemon, chocolate pecan, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, Bavarian cream, Praline, and bourbon! You can go back many times and try out different fillings!
“Came here to get a king cake for my class. It's a little pricy but I'll pay that price for this cake. It isn't the traditional king cake but it's so good and really pretty. The small fed my entire class of 12. I come here at least once a year for their king cake and It never disappoints!” -Yelp Review
Since the start they are still stackin’ king cakes for you! Image courtesy of the Antonie’s Bakery Instagram page.
1300 Stumpf Blvd | Gretna | antoinesbakerynola.com
In 2015, Antonie’s Bakery opened their doors with one goal in mind and that was to make and serve the best custom cakes, pastries, and king cakes all around! There are fresh baked treats available every day and they have an amazing team to create anything you can think of for your parties and events!
Antonie’s Bakery makes their king cakes in a traditional manner but puts their own spin on it! They come in a variety of sizes and come in traditional flavor fillings, with some of Antonie’s exclusive fillings! They also have their very own QUEEN cake which was made for Antonie’s Bakery, and that has five separate fillings too!
Fillings include apple, cream cheese, bavarian cream, and strawberry filling flavors to go along with their already tasty king AND queen cakes!
“Very happy with the cake for my son's party. It was everything I asked for and the cake was so fresh and delicious. The black icing was not bitter and the company was wonderful and carried out to my car.” -Yelp Review
King cakes + new flavor combos? Amazing! Image courtesy of the Caluda’s King Cake Instagram page.
1536 River Oaks Rd W | Harahan | kingcakeshop.com
Serving the New Orleans metro area, Caluda’s King Cake makes all of their baked goods out of a 10,000 square foot bakery! Making an impressive number of king cakes everyday.
You can choose from the more traditional style king cake with a cinnamon, strawberry, and cream cheese flare. Or you can look at Caluda’s fun flavors like their Caramel Kringle Cake or Praline King Cake! They also hold weekly specials that have included Maple Bacon Praline and Bananas Foster. Caluda’s definitely puts a twist on the old traditional king cakes!
Caluda’s King Cake is also doing something really special for Ukraine, and is selling a king cake with blue and yellow topping, proceeds from the sale goes to the World Central Kitchen!
“Caludas is a classic king cake spot and their cakes are always fresh and moist, even when shipping. I recently had one shipped to my clients in Memphis and it arrived on time and tasty! These are always a hit with out of town guests and a fun way to share a NOLA tradition.” -Yelp Review
Mini king cakes for that little sugar craving! Image courtesy of the Cartozzo’s Bakery Instagram page.
111 23rd St | Kenner | cartozzosbakery.com
Specializing in New Orleans-Style French and Italian baked goods, Cartozzo’s Bakery is a fourth generation bakery that makes breads, sweets, and even some savory items! From bread twist loaves, round loaves, sandwich rolls, and French bread. Also, cocktail sandwiches, stuffed breads, and savory pies are all available at Cartozzo’s, but most importantly they have king cakes!
From 4 and 14 inch king cakes that have delicious options like cinnamon, red velvet, and pumpkin spice. Their fillings include Bavarian cream, apple, strawberry, cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese, and praline cream cheese! Lots of different flavors come together to make for a great tasting king cake!
“Best King Cake I've had. Very moist, flavorful ( of course "sweet "). The presentation was awesome. The entire family enjoyed it. We had the cream cheese filling. It was given to us as a gift, and it was truly appreciated. Can't wait to order another.” -Google Review
Although these restaurants don’t offer GiftYa opportunities yet, they are adding more places every day! So make sure to check back and see if you can get a virtual gift card to one of the best king cakes in New Orleans soon!
All of the bakeries on this list offer king cakes throughout the entire year, so you can’t go wrong with ordering a king cake anytime you feel like! There are other “closed for the season” bakeries that specialize in king cakes in New Orleans, but they usually are only open during the Mardi Gras/Christmas season.
King cakes are full of flavor, their rich “brioche-like” dough, fillings like cinnamon, chocolate, and cream cheese make these “typical” holiday cakes stand out. Why not get them all throughout the year and enjoy this tasty treat with your family and friends? You can visit any of these bakeries for the best king cakes in New Orleans!