Publix Bakery Items Ranked From Worst To Best - Mashed (2024)

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Publix Bakery Items Ranked From Worst To Best - Mashed (1)

Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

ByJenny Kellerhals/

Most major grocery store chains, big box retailers like Walmart, and plenty of smaller regional or local grocery stores have bakeries on-premises, or at least a centrally located kitchen that delivers freshly baked cakes and pastries to the stores. The popular Publix grocery store chain, which is headquartered in Florida and has store locations across the South, is especially famous for its bakery department, which bakes everything from pies to cakes, cookies to cannolis, doughnuts, tarts, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and more.

But which bakery items are really worth the trip? I compiled a list of popular Publix bakery items based on recommendations from fans of the grocery store's bakery, and set out to taste as many as my budget and blood sugar would allow. Fourteen desserts later, here's how these popular Publix bakery items rank, the details you need to know about what's in them, and the different options available for some of the customizable baked goods. Whether you're in the mood for a single cookie or need a cake to serve 40 people, there's a dessert for you at Publix, and here's what you should get.

14. Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

If you're just one person who really wants some cake, you don't have to purchase a whole cake just to enjoy a slice. Publix sells several flavors of its store-baked cakes by the slice, but make sure to adjust your expectations accordingly.

I picked up a slice of the vanilla cake with buttercream frostingand found that the vanilla cake itself was drier than I had expected. The ratio of cake to buttercream was also off, leaving me with much less buttercream than I would have preferred. The overall dryness could have simply been the predictable result of leaving a presliced piece of cake sitting out for a few hours, or maybe even days. The texture and sweetness of the frosting were both nice, making the frosting the most enjoyable part of the dessert.

The $3.75 price tag isn't unreasonable, but for the same price or less, there are plenty of other options from the Publix bakery that can satisfy that sweet tooth. If you've really got your heart set on cake, consider getting the cupcakes for a better cake-to-frosting ratio or splurging on a cake that hasn't been pre-cut.

13. Heath Bar Cookies

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

When was the last time you actually ate a Heath bar? For anyone with dental sensitivities, it's the kind of candy bar you'd stay away from for fear of breaking a tooth or pulling out a filling, thanks to the hard toffee that also manages to get stuck in your molars when you eat it. Heath Milk Chocolate English Toffee Bits, on the other hand, are conveniently chopped-up pieces of Heath bars that can be a nice addition to baked goods, lending a little bit of crunch, along with caramel and chocolate notes to the pastry they're baked into.

Publix cookies tend to be on the softer and chewier side, and the Heath Bar Cookies are no exception. But the Heath Bar cookie itself was a little too salty, and the toffee flavor seemed to meld into the buttery cookie dough flavor without any real distinction, other than occasionally feeling a bit of toffee stuck to my teeth. The chocolate bits were almost too few to notice. I tasted the Jumbo Heath Cookie from the case at the Publix bakery, which cost $2.30, but the cookies are also available in a more average size, in a package of 13, for about $5.69.

12. Dutch Apple Pie

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

Clearly, the Publix Dutch Apple Pie isn't much of a looker as far as pies go. But don't be deceived by the rustic crumble topping because it's the best part. Unfortunately, the pie filling underneath left a little to be desired. Yes, there are real apples in it — the Publix website even tells us that they are Crispin and Greening apples. But the majority of the pie filling is more of a canned pie gooey texture, which isn't horrible but isn't winning any blue ribbons either.

The levels of spice and sweetness are satisfying, and the bites of apple have just enough crunch to them without being a mushy mess. Unfortunately, the goo filling makes the entire pie softer and wobblier than I think an apple pie should be. What's most surprising about this pie is the price — only $6.99, which is an astounding deal for a pie. Because of this, I'd still recommend picking one up if apple pie is your thing. But think of it more like a cobbler or an apple pie topping. Slice or scoop out enough pie to warm up, and serve it over a few scoops of ice cream for an apple dessert that's actually very good.

11. Old-Fashioned Eclairs

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

$3.49 for two full-sized eclairs dipped in chocolate icing and filled with pastry cream seems like a pretty good deal. Carefully packaged, the soft chocolate glaze on top of the eclairs even stays in pristine shape while you transport the pastries to their final destination. I was also surprised to find that the choux pastry shell wasn't soggy when it came out of the package, which can sometimes happen when it's been refrigerated in a moist environment. It was crisp enough to pick up without accidentally poking a finger through it and nicely balanced the pastry cream filling inside.

The only thing that seemed a little off about these eclairs was the pastry cream filling itself. It was light, creamy, and custardy, just like a milk-based custard should be, but there was a lingering synthetic flavor that I couldn't quite place. Taking a look at the eclairs' ingredients list, I noticed that the eclairs containpolydextrose — a sugar substitute that contains about 10% sorbitol, which often has a synthetic taste.

If you're accustomed to eating foods with synthetic sugars in them, this particular flavor may not even be very noticeable. But if the taste of a diet soda can ruin your whole day, you might want to try a different dessert entirely.

10. Cannolis

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

Calling all cannoli lovers: Publix makesseveral sizes of cannoli packages and platters, as well as two types of Cannoli Supreme Cakes (vanilla cake with regular cannoli filling or orange cannoli filling) created in either round or sheet cake format. So I picked up a 4-pack of mini cannolis to see what all of the fuss was about.

I immediately noticed that the cannoli shells were perfectly crisp and fried to a nice golden brown color. It's clear that the filling is a traditional ricotta cheese filling, which tastes just like what you'd find in cannolis at a classic Italian pastry shop. I liked the variety of cannolis offered in the mini cannoli sampler, and all of the flavors were right on point. At $3.79, this particular dessert also felt like a steal.

The only minor complaint I have is that the filling-to-shell ratio was a little off, with not enough filling to balance the shells in the miniature-sized version. But this is also something that is probably less of an issue with the medium and full-sized cannolis offered. So if you're in it for the crunchy shells, pick up the smaller-sized cannolis, and if you're all for the ricotta filling, go for the larger pastries instead.

9. Glazed Doughnuts

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

When asked what the best desserts are at Publix, Redditor NoahTheRedd replied, "Those glazed donuts. They taste better than Krispy Kreme." That's a pretty big claim, considering how popular Krispy Kreme's glazed doughnuts are— so I took that as a challenge. I also picked up the maple and chocolate-covered doughnuts for a more complete picture.

Publix's glazed doughnuts are not better than Krispy Kreme's glazed doughnuts, but I can say that they're better than Dunkin' Donuts' doughnuts, and here's why. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are known for their pillowy softness, warmth, and glaze that shatters on your fingers. The Publix glazed doughnuts are larger (which isn't a bad thing) and more doughy or less pillowy. The texture and darker fried finish are almost exactly what you'd expect from a Dunkin' doughnut. The flavors are even pretty similar with one obvious difference — Dunkin's doughnuts have a sort of cornstarch-like flavor and mouthfeel to them, whereas the Publix doughnuts do not. Just yeasty, slightly buttery, fried dough topped with a satisfying amount of glaze.

But even more than the glazed doughnut, I absolutely adored the maple frosted doughnut. Its mapley sweetness gave extra depth to the glaze and paired perfectly with the flavor of the dough. On the other hand, the chocolate-frosted doughnut was not stunning. Three doughnuts cost $3.57 total, or about $1.19 each.

8. Tiramisu

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

People just can't resist a tiramisu, and the Publix version is no exception. A single 10-ounce serving of Tiramisu costs $7.99, could easily feed two people, and has five layers from the bottom to the top: a coffee-soaked layer of sponge cake, a cream cheese frosting-like filling, another layer of coffee-soaked sponge cake, followed by a whipped cream topping, and then cocoa powder and chocolate pieces for garnish.

I was surprised just how thoroughly the cake layers in this tiramisu were soaked, leaving no part of the cake dry. With that said, if you're planning to move the cake to a plate to eat it, you'll want to use the widest spatula you've got to pick it up with because of how moist it is. The coffee soak tasted richly of roasted coffee, not like a coffee extract or syrup, which was nice. The cream cheese filling tasted more like a layer of cream cheese frosting, which was fine when balanced with the coffee layers but a departure from the traditional mascarpone mousse filling in classic Italian tiramisu.

This tiramisu isn't just a snack or a treat; it's a full-fledged dessert, and it reflects that with a little more delicacy and a higher price point. If you need even more tiramisu, Publix also offers round and sheet cake versions of its Tiramisu Delight Cake, which is made with coffee-soaked cake layers and filled with mascarpone chantilly cream for a more authentic tiramisu experience.

7. Cheesecake Almond Cones

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

While the Cheesecake Almond cones from Publix were high on several favorites lists, many people mentioned that their grocery stores had discontinued selling them or were only available in some locations. So it was really lucky that I spotted them in the cold case in my Publix bakery. The cones come in a 6-ounce pack of two and cost $8.19 per pack — the second most expensive dessert option I tried from the bakery.

The cone itself seems to be made of an almond tuille cookie cone, which is studded with sliced almonds and dusted with confectioner's sugar. Each cone is stuffed with a cream cheese "cheesecake" filling, which tastes a whole lot like the cream cheese filling in the center of the tiramisu cake from above (when comparing the labels, it was inconclusive whether or not they are actually the same). The highlights of this particular dessert are the creaminess of the filling, with a slight nutty crunch from the almond tuille cone, and a richer flavor profile from the brown sugar cone. With that said, I'd have to be in the throws of a very strong sugar craving to eat an entire cone. But if you find them, you might want to try them while they're available.

6. Chocolate Ganache Supreme Cake

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

Chocolate lovers are in for a treat with one of the most ornate chocolate cakes I've ever laid my eyes on, the Chocolate Ganache Supreme Cake.But for all the spectacle that the decorations make, it's actually a relatively straightforward chocolate cake. Between the layers of chocolate cake is super light chocolate whipped "topping" (like whipped cream, but probably with some additional stabilizers), which also frosts the outside of the cake. Finally, a smooth and velvety chocolate ganache is poured over the cake before it's decorated with fudgy ganache piping and chocolate decorations.

The 8-inch round cake only costs $25.99, which is a fraction of the price that you'd get a similar cake for at a stand-alone bakery. I'll admit that the chocolate cake isn't the most indulgent; it's about as satisfying as a devil's food cake boxed mix. The light chocolate whipped topping is a great alternative for those who think frosting is usually too much. And the chocolate ganache topping is just right, like the perfect chocolatey center of a rich truffle.

Like with many of the other offerings, you've got options depending on how many people you need to feed with this cake. It's available in servings as small as a two-slice container and as large as a half-sheet cake that feeds 40 people.

5. Cheesecake

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

The Publix bakery makes a whole slew of flavored, decorated, and fruit-topped cheesecakes for cheesecake fanatics to choose from, but to get an idea of what you can expect from the bakery's core cheesecake offerings, I picked up a pack of two small New York cheesecake slices to taste. After getting them home, I let them sit on the counter for a little while to come to room temperature, then dug in -– not at all prepared for the incredibly smooth and creamy cheesecake experience I was about to have. Unlike other cheesecakes that can be dense enough to chew like peanut butter, grainy from overbaking, or one-note and boring, Publix's New York cheesecake with a graham cracker crust is possibly one of my new favorite cheesecakes, anywhere.

The small 2-pack cost 4.59 and was easy to share (or save for later). The store also carries a full-sized plain version of the cheesecake, as well as large individual slices topped with a variety of sauces, like strawberry and cherry.

4. Key Lime Pie

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

I've never met a Key Lime Pie that I didn't enjoy, even though they can really differ depending on where they come from and who makes them. Since Publix is based in Florida, it's not surprising that it would carry a Key Lime Pie that many say is one of the best desserts in the store. The bakery makes an "Original Key Lime Pie" that serves eight to nine people, as well as a mini version of the pie, which I picked up for just $5.99 and can easily feed two people and potentially up to four.

The crust is the usual graham cracker crust, made with a creamy key lime custard that's sweeter and milkier than it is sharp and acidic. It's topped with whipped cream (instead of meringue) and finished with sliced almonds around the perimeter of the cream. In the center of the pie sits a lime wheel that's actually made out of white chocolate –- a clever way to keep the slice of citrus looking fresh, regardless of how long it sits in the refrigerator.

3. Carrot Cake Bar

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

There's something so old-fashioned about the Carrot Cake Bar from Publix, possibly the giant frosting carrot that's piped across the top -– but it's exactly the kind of thing I'd find on my grandmother's table after dinner while everyone had a cup of coffee. And for about $7.29, it's a substantial amount of cake, enough to serve six to eight slices to guests after a meal or over a few cups of coffee.

I especially enjoyed everything that's in this tender and moist carrot cake, including chopped walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, and carrots so finely grated that you aren't chewing chunks of carrot to get to the cake. The cream cheese frosting isn't especially sweet and nicely compliments the cake. Publix also makes its carrot cake in a variety of other shapes and sizes, but there's really something special about this weird homestyle bar of cake that makes me choose this one every time.

2. Yoyo Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

This incredibly indulgent cookie confection gets its name from the yo-yo (yes, the childhood toy) because, from the side, the cookies look like the casing of a yo-yo with the cream filling mimicking the string wound up inside of it. Otherwise, it's exactly what it looks like –- two chocolate chip cookies filled with frosting and half dipped in chocolate. The chocolate chip cookies are surprisingly soft and chewy, the frosting in the middle is realistically sweet, and the extra chocolate is a great addition for chocolate fanatics.

Luckily, the yo-yos come in this miniature size as well as the regular size, so you don't completely overdo it in one sitting. You're still going to want a large glass of milk and feel like jogging around the block afterward, but in a good, full of joy and energy kind of way. The 3-pack of Mini Yo-Yo Chocolate Chip Cookies costs $3.45.You can also buy the regular-sized version individually or in 2-packs, and party platters of mini yo-yo cookies are also available.

1. Apple Fritters

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

If there were only one thing I could ever buy again from the Publix bakery, it would be this rather boring-looking apple fritter. For anyone who may be unfamiliar with this particular pastry, it's essentially a loose yeasted doughnut dough that has small chopped apples and baking spices folded into it before frying. Once out of the fryer, it's typically glazed or tossed in cinnamon sugar. Publix offers its apple fritters both ways, and both are fine choices because it's really all about the fritter itself.

Do yourself a favor and pop your apple fritter in the microwave for about 10 seconds, or long enough to make the fritter warm, and you can smell the cinnamon. After that, it's hard to put down whether you're a die-hard fan of baked apples or just a seasonal dabbler.

While Publix's glazed doughnuts aren't really any competition, I'd take a warm apple fritter over a fresh doughnut that's just been through the glazing machine at Krispy Kreme any day. One apple fritter costs about $1.19, which is probably the absolute best value for the level of happiness it delivers that money can buy in this economy.

How I selected and tasted each item

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Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

There are hundreds of pastries to choose from in the Publix bakery, so narrowing it down to this collection was the result of a combination of factors. First, I took recommendations from Publix employees at my local store, people I know who shop at Publix, the most popular items on the Publix website, other lists of favorite items published online, and items that people consistently mention on social media, including Reddit, Instagram, and TikTok. Items that were recommended often became must-try items.

From there I chose baked goods that were recommended, while also sampling the widest variety of baked goods, including cakes, cookies, pies, cheesecakes, doughnuts, and specialty pastries. Many items are available in different sizes and at different price points, so to maximize the number of items I could sample, I chose smaller and single-portioned items. Finally, I chose specialty items like the Cheesecake Almond Cones, because of their cult-like following, even though they might not be available in all locations.

While tasting each of the baked goods, I compared them to each other first, ranking them in the order of the desserts I'd pass on in the future to the ones I'd reach for again. While judging each dessert, I mentally compared each one to what I've tasted and baked in the last 13 years as a professional pastry chef and writer and took into consideration the ingredient lists, price, and portion sizes of each item.

Publix Bakery Items Ranked From Worst To Best - Mashed (2024)
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