The official NYC muffin top taste-test

Muffin Tops NYC
New York

The official NYC muffin top taste-test
The official NYC muffin top taste-test

Andrew Zimmer

In honor of last Saturday being the 25th anniversary of the Seinfeld airing (holy crap, 25?!?!), and because you can't eat a Festivus pole, we gathered up as many awesome NYC muffins as our intern could carry, chopped the tops off, and taste-tested them to determine A) if Elaine had a viable business plan, and B) whose muffin top is the king of muffin tops.

Muffin top rating methodology: We had three tasters all simultaneously eat a piece of the same muffin top, and then rate said top on a scale of 1-10 for both taste and texture, and provide comments. Then we added up all the points totals, yadda yadda yadda, and crowned a Master Of The Muffin Top Domain.

Andrew Zimmer

7. Apple Cinnamon Muffin

FIKA (address and info)
Flatiron, Midtown West, Financial District

Overall score: 37
Taste: 16
Texture: 21
It was generally agreed that this muffin -- while pleasant and inoffensive -- just didn't pack enough flavor in, and the crunch of crumbles were nice, but there weren't enough to deliver on its visual promise.

Andrew Zimmer

6. The Morning Glory Muffin

Ted & Honey (address and info)
Cobble Hill

Overall score: 37
Taste: 20
Texture: 17
While the tasters were impressed by the complexity of the flavors (which include carrots, raisins, and other healthy-ish goods), the verdict was that the top was too much like a bottom, and the whole thing would've worked better as a banana bread-esque loaf where you wouldn't have that "crust expectation".

Andrew Zimmer

5. Pumpkin/Apple/Cranberry Muffin

Blue Sky Bakery (address and info)
Park Slope

Overall score: 40
Taste: 24
Texture: 16
This bad boy had the same issue as the Ted & Honey top; the flavors were bright, fruity, and interesting, but the top featured mostly what was referred to as "stump texture" that "didn't fight back enough".

Andrew Zimmer

4. The Baker's Muffin

The City Bakery (address and info)

Overall score: 42.5
Taste: 19.5
Texture: 23
The tasters all agreed that this was the one they were most excited to taste. It was cinnamon-y, substantial, and sweet, but ultimately not complex enough for our tasters, who were uniformly impressed with the hybrid muffin/pastry feel of the top.

Andrew Zimmer

3. Chocolate Chip Muffin

Empire Cake (address and info)

Overall score: 43.5
Taste: 22.5
Texture: 21
There was some grumbling that it was "a little too cookie-like", and "using chocolate chips is almost cheating", but since this taste-test had zero cheating rules, it checked in at No. 3. Everyone agreed that you could tell they used quality ingredients, and that the ratio of chocolate-to-muffin was on point, while the top offered "good chew" and "good resistance".

Andrew Zimmer

2. Blueberry Muffin

Bouchon Bakery (address and info)

Overall score: 46
Taste: 24
Texture: 22
The sugar crystals on top were a hit, but the tasters agreed it was a "proxy for the crust". Still, this guy provided the necessary crunch they were looking for, plus they also enjoyed the fact that it wasn't straight-up stereotypical blueberry, thanks to a hint of lemon (probably zest) in it.

Andrew Zimmer


1. Blueberry Muffin

Little Miss Muffin N Her Stuffin (address and info)
Crown Heights

Overall score: 48.5
Taste: 24
Texture: 24.5
Our tasters' sense of nostalgia kicked into overdrive with this one -- a "classic, country store muffin" that boasted both a great buttery flavor and tons of blueberries. The top had just enough firmness and chewiness to provide ample resistance to avoid any mistaking it for a stump.

Andrew Zimmer

Final thoughts

Despite the fact that the tasters agreed that the tops were, in fact, the best part of the muffin, they couldn't get past the fact that the interplay between top and bottom is essential to the muffin experience. Sorry, Elaine.

Andrew Zimmer is Thrillist's NYC Editor and he likes his muffins split, buttered heavily, and grilled. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Tasters included Thrillist Contributor Manager Mike Barish (@mikebarish), Thrillist Travel Editor Ryan Craggs (@ryanrcraggs), and Thrillist Senior Editor Jesse Brukman (@J_Brukman).

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1. Fika 2211 Broadway, New York, NY 10024 (Upper West Side)

With nine different locations around NYC, Fika is a definite go-to for fresh coffee (made with traditional Swedish slow-roasting techniques), and fine chocolates and pastries.

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2. Bouchon Bakery Cookies 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023 (Midtown West)

Thomas Keller's bastion of lady-pleasing treats is celebrating love with devourable action like devil's food Cupid Cupcakes w/ passion fruit caramel center; shortbread Expression cookies with candy-heart phrases; and heart-shaped everything.

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3. The City Bakery 3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011 (Union Square)

This bakery-cum-farmers market is an exceptional place to dive into to get away from the bustle of Union Square. They're acclaimed for their hot chocolate, but are still front-runners in mostly everything.

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4. Empire Cake 112 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

This pastry shop features custom and specialty cakes of all varieties, from traditional wedding cakes, to one-of-a-kind birthday cakes, as well as cookies, brownies, snack cakes, muffins, and more.

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5. Little Miss Muffin 'n' Her Stuffin' 768 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

This unassuming little Trini spot along Washington Ave in Prospect Heights specializes in homemade meat patties native to the Caribbean. From jerk chicken to spicy beef, the meat stuffed into these pastry patties are packed with flavor. There are plenty of daily specials from a roster of Caribbean standards in addition to a bakery case of sweets, like rich and dense cookies. The incredibly fast and friendly service attracts repeat customers despite the minimal seating and bare-bones interior.

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6. Blue Sky Bakery 53 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (Park Slope)

This Park Slope bakery makes some of the best confections around, specializing in muffins and cupcakes that are made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients.

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7. Ted & Honey 264 Clinton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Cobble Hill)

Ted & Honey is a great place to go and start your day, whether it be with an iced coffee and a muffin to go, or a sit-down, two-course brunch with unlimited mimosas and micheladas.