11 Publix Baked Goods, Ranked Worst To Best - Tasting Table (2024)

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11 Publix Baked Goods, Ranked Worst To Best - Tasting Table (1)

Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

ByDani Zoeller/

Baking, for many of us, is a labor of love. Every pastry, dessert, or loaf of bread that emerges from our ovens carries with it a piece of our heart. This love and dedication drive us to present our baked goods as gifts to loved ones during dinners and special occasions. But let's be honest: The modern world's hustle and bustle sometimes outpaces even the most ardent baker's intentions. In these moments, a bakery that understands quality and craftsmanship is invaluable.

Enter Publix's bakery section. Here, you'll find a veritable wonderland of pastries, bread, and desserts that can easily rival homemade creations. From offerings like Key Lime Pie to the ever-fabulous Tiramisu, some are so exceptional that they match our homemade goodies and occasionally surpass them, leaving us returning for other bakery favorites frequently. Of course, in the vast sea of baked goods, not everything can be a shining star. While many treats have us coming back for seconds, a few, though promising, don't quite hit the mark. Yet, even these minor missteps can't diminish the overall brilliance of Publix's bakery, a haven for those seeking quality baked treats on the go.

11. Macarons

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

The allure of scooping up fancy macarons from a local grocery store is undeniably strong. After all, the perfect French macarons are delicate and perfectly balanced. With their colorful aesthetics, the Publix macarons promised a journey straight into the heart of a Parisian patisserie. Yet, as hopeful as we were, these turned out to be our least favorite bakery offering.

Visually, they are a treat. Each one is meticulously crafted, suggesting the perfect texture with just that right bite. Yet in tasting, they let us down. Instead of the anticipated firmness, they were far too soft. We expect a crispness on the outside with a softness once you break through, but these were all soft. Moreover, they lacked that fresh-from-the-oven essence. And when it came to flavor? It was there, but it was far too faint. We wish they tasted a little fresher, and we even had the ability to assemble our box from a variety of flavors.

Then there's the price. At $10 for six, they're on the steeper side, especially when pitted against other pastry offerings. Our advice? If you're yearning for authentic macarons, either seek a specialized bakery or consider delving into the art of making them yourself. Chances are, with a dash of dedication and a sprinkle of love, you might just whip up a batch that outshines this store's offering.

10. Cannolis

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

Much like our journey with the macarons, we approached Publix's cannoli offerings with a flutter of excitement. Available in varying sizes, shoppers can opt for the regular-sized duo or perhaps be tempted by the mini cannolis bundled in a four-count package. Each type boasts its own allure, featuring an array of coatings and colors adorning the cannoli ends. And if that's not enough to satiate your cannoli cravings, there's even an option to have them featured in a custom-ordered cake.

Despite our bubbling anticipation, these cannolis didn't quite meet the mark for us. We yearned for that sweet symphony of flavors often associated with this Italian delight, but what we got was more subdued than we wanted.

The texture was another aspect that threw us off. We had envisioned biting down into a crunchy shell, as we've come to expect from traditional Sicilian cannolis, but were instead greeted by an undesirably soft pastry. Rather than the typical shattering crunch, we experienced more of an unappetizing smoosh. The filling, while abundant, was reminiscent of thick frosting rather than the light, sweet ricotta we were expecting. It felt heavy, overwhelming the delicate nature of cannoli. The overall flavor, combined with the texture, just felt disjointed.

9. Chocolate chip cookies

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

Grocery shopping with young ones in tow can oscillate between being an utterly heartwarming experience and a Herculean feat. But in either scenario, the universal pacifier is often a snack. And this is precisely why Publix has solidified its place as one of our top grocery shopping destinations.

For those wandering the aisles with a child, there's a delightful little secret at the bakery counter. Perched atop it is a box brimming with cookies, a subtle nod to the younger patrons. As you approach, a kind bakery staff member will glide over, opening up a world of cookie choices. Among these is the universally loved chocolate chip cookie. A safe bet for most kids, and given the hefty quantities it's sold in, it's clear they have a broader fan base.

Describing these cookies starts with texture. If you've got a penchant for soft, moist cookies, these are your jam. They're not the chunky, hearty types. Instead, they lean more towards the thin side, making them perfectly munchable, especially for smaller hands. Pair them with a glass of milk, and you've got a classic combo. That said, while they're good, they don't climb to the pinnacle of chocolate chip greatness for us. Even though they pack a decent chocolate punch, they could benefit from more sweetness. And while it may not be the star of our cookie lineup, it's a solid player. Plus, it's an undeniably good value at $4.59 for two dozen freshly baked cookies.

8. Guava and cheese pastry

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

In the diverse universe of Publix bakery offerings, another ready-to-go delight catches the eye – the guava and cheese pastry. These bite-sized treats come in a handy pack of 15, priced attractively at $5.99, proving to be a great choice for those who love a sweet bargain.

Upon the first bite, the pastry's flakiness stands out — each layer distinct, adding a wonderful texture. The vibrant red filling teases with an invitingly rich guava flavor. However, while the guava is ever-present, the cheese seems to play more of a background role, leaving us yearning for a bit more of its creamy tang to balance out the fruity sweetness. A delightful crunch comes from the sugar granules generously sprinkled atop the pastries, adding another dimension to the overall bite.

The pastry size is just right, making them a strong choice for parties or gatherings where finger foods are the stars of the show. Moreover, the quantity ensures that these treats go a long way, pleasing both the palate and the pocket.

However, a slight hiccup arises with the filling distribution. Although the jelly-like guava filling is visually evident, with its little windows peeking through the top, its presence feels somewhat fleeting. A more generous spread throughout would enhance each bite, allowing the guava to truly shine and make its mark. Even still, we found popping these in the microwave for just a couple of seconds really added a nice effect to the pastry.

7. Strawberry bundt cake

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

For those with a penchant for ultra-sugary goodness, the strawberry mini Bundt cakes from Publix's bakery aisle might just be for you. These delightful treats come in packs of four, radiating a lively and attractive pink hue that promises a burst of fruity flavors.

Each cake is meticulously adorned with a light, sweet frosting drizzle, creating beautiful stripes that elegantly contrast against the pink. And, for a touch of whimsy, a small dollop is placed in the center, giving each Bundt cake a crowning touch.

Diving into the taste, the sweetness is unmistakably prominent. So much so that it's almost overwhelming for those with a more moderate sweet tooth. While one would anticipate a pronounced strawberry burst, it's somewhat overshadowed by the sheer sugary punch. However, where the flavor might fall short for some, the texture absolutely delivers. The cake is exceptionally moist and soft, achieving a near-perfect consistency.

Children will likely gravitate towards these colorful cakes, making them a stellar choice for festive occasions like birthday parties. However, for those who prefer their desserts a tad less sweet, it might be wise to pair these cakes with a more subdued beverage — perhaps a plain tea or coffee — to balance out the flavors. All in all, while they might not be every adult's cup of tea, they certainly hold their own in the realm of ultra-sweet bakery treats.

6. Lemon loaf

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

As longtime aficionados of the Starbucks pastry case, the lemon loaf has always been our beloved go-to. That thick, luscious slice crowned with tangy frosting has always managed to captivate our taste buds. So, when our eyes caught the sight of Publix's own rendition of a lemon loaf cake, we couldn't resist diving in.

At first glance, there are noticeable differences. Publix's slices are more slender compared to the hefty portion Starbucks offers. However, upon spotting the frosting on the Publix loaf, its appearance strikingly mirrored its Starbucks counterpart.

But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the cake. While Publix's lemon cake base evoked fond memories of the Starbucks loaf with its moist and soft texture, it was the frosting where the two brands diverged in their paths. Starbucks's frosting champions a delightful balance — it's both tangy and sweet, playing a pivotal role in the overall experience. In contrast, Publix's frosting felt a tad muted, lacking that zesty punch that could elevate it from good to exceptional.

5. Cherry turnover

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

After experiencing the guava and cheese pastry at Publix, we were intrigued by another flaky offering: the cherry turnovers. These pastries immediately caught our eye, not just for their size but also for the promise of a vibrant cherry experience within.

Much like the guava and cheese pastry, the turnovers boast the same flaky crust, buttery and rich, promising a textured bite. But the true distinction lies in the filling. Unlike the guava pastry's less substantial offering, the cherry turnovers shine with a robust and ample cherry filling. Even sitting in the package, it literally oozes out, revealing a burst of flavor that's bold and delightful. This was a welcome contrast to the somewhat lacking filling in the guava pastry and a definite step in the right direction.

And then there's the sugar. The same crunchy sugar that adorned the guava and cheese pastry is generously sprinkled here too. This small yet impactful addition adds an extra layer of tasty and enjoyable texture to each bite. Priced at $4.19 for two generously-sized turnovers, it's a perfect buy if you're looking to indulge yourself and another. Large enough to satisfy without feeling overwhelmed, these turnovers strike a wonderful balance.

4. Strawberry cheesecake

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

Among the myriad of baked delights in Publix's bakery, there is one lovely treat that unfailingly catches our eye on each visit: the almond-coated, white-colored cheesecake crowned with lustrous strawberries bathed in glossy gelatin.

Visually, it's a showstopper. The strawberries, plump and red, sit regally atop the cheesecake, lending it an air of opulence. This makes the cheesecake an instant favorite for gatherings. We've often found ourselves gravitating towards this beauty for potlucks and dinner parties, and it never fails to impress.

When it comes to taste, this dessert delivers what you'd anticipate from a cheesecake — rich, creamy, and indulgent. However, a distinction lies in its texture. Unlike the dense consistency of a classic New York-style cheesecake, Publix's rendition leans towards the softer side. For our preference, it's a tad too soft, slightly veering away from the traditional cheesecake feel we yearn for. However, that minor critique fades in the face of the flavor onslaught. The combination of the almonds, frosting, and strawberry gelatin topping balances well with the creamy cheesecake base.

3. Dutch apple pie

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

For those with an unwavering devotion to pies, Publix's bakery presents a delightful haven. Among their range of baked pies, the Dutch Apple pie particularly stands out, making an indelible impression on our taste buds.

One commendable feature is its availability in two sizes. Whether you're hosting a family dinner or simply craving a personal treat, Publix has got you covered with both a larger shareable pie and a more intimate mini variant. At its heart, this Dutch Apple pie promises a medley of textures and flavors. Its crumbly topping juxtaposes beautifully with the buttery crust, encapsulating the apple filling that bursts with natural sweetness.

However, perfection is always an inch away. We found ourselves yearning for an intensified hint of cinnamon within the filling. While the existing flavor profile is delightful, a touch more cinnamon could elevate the overall taste, drawing out the warmth and richness inherent in a classic apple pie.

Additionally, a word to the wise: this pie can be somewhat temperamental. We've observed that the Dutch Apple pie, particularly its crumbly top, tends to edge towards over-browning or even burning. When selecting your pie in-store, it's worth investing a minute or two in inspecting the available options. A discerning eye might just spot one that's perfectly golden, devoid of any charred spots.

2. Carrot cake

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

When it comes to delightful treats from Publix's bakery, the carrot cake undoubtedly holds a special place. On our recent trip, we sampled the carrot cake cream cheese slice, but if you've had the pleasure of tasting the carrot bar cake, you'll understand our affinity for it. Both versions boast a mouthwatering cream cheese topping and filling that complement the rich flavors of the carrot cake itself. Admittedly, we love the carrot decoration adorning the carrot cake bar option, so if presentation is important to you, that should be your choice.

The frosting is an experience on its own: Perfectly tangy, and it provides that desired balance to the moist and flavorful cake. Another aspect we truly appreciate is how the cake's texture is impeccably soft without being overly dense. And for those who value authenticity in their desserts, the visible real carrot pieces within the cake are a testament to Publix's commitment to quality.

Diversity is another strength of this offering. Whether you're in the mood for a carrot cake-style mini cake sprinkled with nuts or envision a grand celebration with a decorative sheet cake, Publix is ready to cater to your needs. At the end of the day, while enjoying a slice solo might be tempting, the real joy of this carrot cake lies in sharing it. After all, when a dessert is this delicious, it's best savored in the company of loved ones.

1. Tiramisu

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Dani Zoeller/Tasting Table

While many of us find solace in tart and moist carrot cake, the real pièce de résistance in our bakery journey is, without a doubt, tiramisu. Publix's version is a delightful combination of authentic ingredients and masterful crafting, and it stands as a testament to what traditional tiramisu is meant to be, but with the added bonus of accessibility at our local grocery store.

Generously portioned, this treat is more than enough for two dessert aficionados to savor, emerging as the crowning jewel at the end of any gastronomic adventure. It's easy to envision ending a candlelit Italian dinner with this dessert, the dim lights accentuating its layers while soft music plays in the background. And, considering the intricate steps involved in making tiramisu from scratch, having this artisanal quality option available for a quick pick-up is a godsend.

Every element of this tiramisu speaks volumes about its quality. The impeccable texture, with its alternating layers of velvety mascarpone and coffee-soaked ladyfingers, promises—and delivers—a heavenly experience. The palate is treated to a symphony of flavors, from the subtle bitterness of coffee to the luscious creaminess of cheese, rounded off with a dusting of cocoa. For those seeking to capture the magic of this dessert in its prime, a small suggestion: always glance at the packaging dates. Selecting the most recent preparation guarantees that you're getting a taste of tiramisu in its most pristine form, where every layer sings, and every bite is sheer bliss.

11 Publix Baked Goods, Ranked Worst To Best - Tasting Table (2024)
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