Mlive recently posed a question: What's the best bakery in Michigan? Theoretically, I've never met a donut I didn't like. But in all honesty, while there are many mediocre and completely edible options out there, when you come across a true standout it is a pretty divine moment.
The first time I had a still-warm, melt-in-your-mouth glazed donut from a little bakery near our favorite vacation spot in Shelby I'm pretty sure cartoon hearts appeared over my head. We had a moment. Those yeasty circles of culinary perfection are worthy of a detour anytime we're headed north on 31 early enough in the morning to score a box.
Whether it's donuts, cookies, cupcakes or croissants that beckon you from the baker's case, don't miss out on these wonderful Southwest Michigan bakeries (plus one in Northern Indiana). We've compiled our favorite baker's dozen.
Country Bake Shop | South Bend, IN
Photo credit: Country Bake Shop
Cross the border for this fabulous no-frills bakery experience and regret nothing. Breads, danishes, cookies and other baked goods are made without preservatives or artificial flavors. The fresh glazed donuts are some of the best around and it's ridiculously affordable.
Hours: Mon-Sat: 5 am- 6 pm | Sun 6 am-2 pm
51318 IN-933, South Bend, IN 46637
The Baker's Rhapsody | Dowagiac
Photo credit: The Baker's Rhapsody
One of the cutest small town bakeries you'll ever happen across, this new(ish) gem in downtown Dowagiac features an array of darling cookies, pastries and breads. The drinks menu is almost as impressive as the food selection. Keep an eye out for fun themes and holiday treats.
Hours: Mon 7 am-2 pm | Tue-Fri 7 am-6 pm | Sat 8 am-4 pm | closed Sun
144 S Front St, Dowagiac, MI 49047
Black Currant Bakehouse | Union Pier
Photo credit: Black Currant Bakehouse
Blink and you'll miss it...but this bakery is totally worth doubling back for. The cozy ambience and cases brimming with mouthwatering cookies, cakes and assorted goodies that taste as good as they look will make you want to linger. Grab a mug of coffee and enjoy. (It's also one of our fave food Insta accounts, btw)
Hours: Fri-Mon 8 am-3 pm | Closed Tue-Thu
9911 Town Line Ave, Union Pier, MI 49129
Whistle Stop Grocery | Union Pier
Photo credit: Whistle Stop Grocery
Yes, it's a (really fabulous) grocery store. But Whistle Stop will win you over its housemade pastries, cakes and savory goods showcasing seasonal flavors and local foods.
Hours: Sun-Thu 7 am-5 pm | Fri-Sat 7 am-6 pm
15700 Red Arrow Hwy, Union Pier, MI 49129
Bit of Swiss | Stevensville
Photo credit: Bit of Swiss
This award-winning bakery is renowned for its artisan breads made from scratch daily using time-tested methods. The expansive menu includes loaves of sourdough and rye, carrot cake, tiramasu, whoopie pies, cheesecake and other mouthwatering treats.
Harbert Swedish Bakery | Harbert
Photo credit: Swedish Bakery
From Swedish limpa and sweet rye to cardamom coffee cakes and kolachki, this bakery focuses on traditional European baking with century-old recipes and techniques. Stop next door at Luisa's Cafe for scratch cooking at its finest.
Hours: Thu-Mon 7 am-3 pm | closed Tue-Wed
13698 Red Arrow Highway
Froehlich's Bakery & Deli | Three Oaks
Photo credit: Fröhliche's Bakery & Deli
Froehlich’s draws in visitors with its fresh, simple breads, pies and pastries, as well as soups, deli items and housemade pantry goods. Enjoy a farm-to-table bite and then stroll through the pleasant downtown streets of Three Oaks.
Hours: Fri-Sun 8 am-5 pm | Mon 8 am-2 pm
26 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI
Plank's Tavern | Benton Harbor
Photo credit: Plank's Tavern
Again, not a bakery exactly but this kid-friendly bar inside the Inn at Harbor Shores boasts one of the area's rising pastry chefs, Mandy Krause. Score some of her signature donuts, pop tarts or cupcakes -- they're almost too pretty to eat.
Hours: Daily 7 am-10 pm
800 Whitwam Dr, St Joseph, MI 49085
Bunde's Good Eats | South Haven
Photo credit: Bunde's Good Eats
This inviting little bakery is so close to Lake Michigan that you can hear the waves crashing while enjoying a breakfast pastry at one of the outdoor tables. The European-style baked goods are divine; housemade chocolates and Starbucks drinks are available.
Hours: Fri-Sun 7:30 am-11:30 am
89 North Shore Drive, South Haven, Michigan 49090
Crane's Pie Pantry | Fennville
Photo credit: Crane's Pie Pantry
You'll smell the warm donuts and pies before you even step foot inside this popular family-run bakery and restaurant. The farm-fresh products do not disappoint. If you have time, pull up a seat and try the pie flight with ice cream. Yes, that's a thing :)
Hours: Tue-Sun 11 am-4 pm | Closed Mon
6054 124th Avenue (M-89), Fennville, MI 49408
Kismet Bakery | Douglas
Photo credit: Kismet Bakery
This small bakery crafts hearth-baked breads and baked goods from scratch. It's got all the right buzz words: non-GMO, organic, artificial-free, high-quality, local ingredients, and if that doesn't win you over, the taste will. Head to downtown Douglas to get your fix.
Hours: Open in the spring (TBD)
8 E Center St, Douglas, MI
Farmhouse Deli | Douglas
Photo credit: Farmhouse Deli
You can find out all you need to know about a bakery by how good their croissants are, and Farmhouse Deli passes with flying colors. So, so good. They also serve up mammoth slices of carrot cake, brownies and other gooey concoctions in an attractive store chock full of local goodies. Coffee drinks and sandwiches are perfection.
Hours: Daily 9 am-6 pm
100 Blue Star Highway, Douglas, MI 49406
The Oven Mitt | Holland
Photo credit: The Oven Mitt
We only just found out about this place and already are obsessed. Seriously, how cute is this cookie? This Holland bakery serves up big charm along with its tasty treats, including muffins, cookies and cupcakes. No special occasion necessary.
Hours: Sun & Tue 10 am-2pm | Wed-Sat 10 am-6 pm | Closed Sun-Mon
217 E. 24 St, Holland, MI 49423
If you're driving a little farther, don't miss...
Le Bon Macaron | Grand Rapids
Photo credit: Le Bon Macaron
Sweet Heather Anne | Ann Arbor
Photo credit: Sweet Heather Anne
Sister Pie | Detroit
Photo credit: Sister Pie
Did we miss your favorite? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know.