The 5 best bakeries in Minnesota

I tallied your votes for the best bakeries in Minnesota. Most of them are outside of the immediate metro (none are in Minneapolis or Saint Paul) and they all have been around for generations.

I was on KSTP-TV’s Twin Cities Live to share their stories.

Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop, Red Wing

  • Originally opened as Quandt’s Bakery in the 1920s.
  • The white bread recipe they are currently using goes back to the owners from the 1970s.
  • Hanisch has 70 kinds of pastries and donuts. They sell over 50 dozen raised donuts a day, with twice that amount on the weekend.
  • They’re known for their Presidential Cookie Poll. On a Presidential Election Day, Hanisch will sell cookies for the main party candidates. They have correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote based off cookie sales since 1984.

Emily’s Bakery & Deli, Hastings

emilys almond.jpg

  • Family-owned since 1946 when it was Pitz Bakery.
  • Steve and his sister, Norine, own the bakery and both have worked there for over 35 years. The shop is named after their grandmother, Emily.
  • Their Prison Bars are Emily Bakery’s version of the Scotcharoo. The recipe came from a woman who used to volunteer at a prison and always brought the bars with her for the inmates.
  • The Almond Tarts are a signature item. It’s a butter rich tart that’s filled with an almond paste. It’s one of the best things I had on my tour of all these bakeries.
  • Don’t pass on the Coconut Macaroons. They are also gluten-free.

Hans’ Bakery, Anoka & Blaine

Original location in Anoka, satellite location in Blaine.

  • The original owner, Hans, passed away from cancer in 1997, just two months after being diagnosed.
  • The bakery exchanged hands multiple times and eventually went into foreclosure.
  • When the current owner, Kelly Olsen, bought it, it had sat vacant for 4 years. She says “everything needed help.”
  • The community rallied behind the new ownership to help Hans’ Bakery reopen in February 2014. The Food Network caught wind of the buzz and featured them before they opened. On their first day, they sold out of everything they had in the store.
  • The Texas Donuts are the size of your head. And they cost only $5.


  • The Beehive, and the smaller Beesting, are eye-catchers. The sweet dough pasty is filled with Bavarian cream, topped with candied almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. If you’re really hungry, order it as a cake.

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  • The Whipped Cheesecake is a hidden gem.

Cold Spring Bakery, Cold Spring & Waite Park


  • Original location in Cold Spring, satellite location in Waite Park.
  • The original owner, Mel, learned how to bake on a Navy ship.
  • After World War II, he found a bakery for sale in the city of Cold Spring.
  • Soon it will be passed on to the third generation, as Mel’s granddaughter will take over as head baker.
  • Cold Spring Bakery delivers throughout central Minnesota, including many meat markets.
  • They will handle 25 to 30 wedding orders per weekend. And that’s not just cakes. Many couples are opting for cupcakes and donut walls now.


  • Their Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Cookie is a soft, tender cookie with raspberries, cream cheese and white chocolate chips. It’s incredible.
  • Their Cashew Brittle is special. It’s not hard like peanut brittle, and tastes a bit like Chex Mix. It’s perfect to bring to a holiday gathering.
  • Order the kolachies, a tender, flaky pasty baked with a fruit or poppyseed filling. They have a streusel topping and a Danish icing. Think of it like a really good Toaster Strudel.
  • Don’t pass on the Oatmeal Date Filled Cookies.

Benson Bakery, Benson

  • Benson is northwest of Willmar, about 2.5 hours from Saint Paul
  • The building the bakery is in dates back to 1900. It originally opened as a bakery, cafe and hotel.
  • It’s now owned by the third generation of the Johannessen family.
  • There are deep Norwegian roots here.
  • The Peanut Squares are something special. Some refer them as Mocha Bars. It’s a combination of frosting, cake and peanut meal.
  • Don’t miss out on their Sour Cream Raisin and Salted Nut Bars. There are eight to 10 different bars available daily.
  • The Angel Food Cake recipe has been handed down for over 80 years and can be ordered in a variety of flavors. The most popular is lemon.

Check out my other roundups of what’s ‘Worth the Trip’

8 Comments on “The 5 best bakeries in Minnesota

    • The top 5 were selected by votes on my Facebook page and the Twin Cities Live Facebook page. Bloedow didn’t receive enough votes to get into the top 5.

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  4. McGregor Bakery is fantastic!!
    Also love Emily’s in Hastings.

  5. I am sad that PJ Murphy’s bakery in St Paul did not make the list, but I am glad Hanisch did !!

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