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50 In 50: Iconic Desserts From Each State

By Parker Diakite

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Anywhere you go in the United States boasts that one dish that’s a staple and loved by residents. That’s especially true for desserts. Here’s a list of the most iconic desserts in each state.

Alabama – Lane Cake

Remember the Alabama Lane Cake in the book To Kill A Mockingbird where it makes an appearance more than once?

It’s an award-winning white cake mixed with bourbon-soaked raisins and white marshmallow frosting.

Alaska – Cinnamon Rolls at Tetsa River Lodge

It’s true, Alaska did not invent the Cinnamon Roll but there’s one place you will find the iconic cinnamon bun at the Tetsa River Lodge and RV Park.

The camping company has declared itself as the “Cinnamon Bun Centre of the Galactic Cluster.”

Arizona – Sopaipillas

Sopaipillas are light and crispy fried dough that essentially evolved from the frybread made by the Navajo people.

The dessert is popular throughout Arizona and New Mexico and often served drizzled with honey.

Arkansas – Possum Pie

It sounds disgusting but we can assure you that it’s not filled with Possum meat. It’s simply cream cheese and chocolate pudding layered and then topped with whipped cream.


California – Frozen Yogurt

California boasts more than 180 frozen yogurt establishments, according to Frozen Yogurt Finder.  That’s more than double the state of Florida, with the second most Fro-Yo establishments of 54.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Colorado –  Root Beer Float at Sweet Cow

A legend in Colorado is that a miner and bar owner named Frank Wisner invented the drink in 1893 after musing that the moon shining over snow-capped Cow Mountain looked like a dollop of ice cream resting over a dark-colored beverage, as reported on the Food Network.

His imagination led him to create the Black Cow Mountain, which was later shortened to Black Cow and eventually to root beer float.

Connecticut – Snickerdoodle Cookies

Why? Because it’s the official state cookie.

Delaware – Peach Pie

This is probably a surprise for Georgia residents but officials in the state of Delaware claimed peach pie as the state’s official state dessert in 2009 because “peach farming is an important part of Delaware’s agricultural heritage.”

Florida – Key Lime Pie

This should come to no one’s surprise that the tangy key lime custard and sweetened whipped cream on graham cracker crust is a legendary Floridian dessert invented in Florida.

Georgia – Peach Cobbler

Delaware took the pie, but Georgia still has the peach as its official state fruit.  With that being said, respectfully, there is no other place you should try peach cobbler than in Georgia.

Peach Cobbler and Vanilla Ice Cream | Getty Images

Hawaii  – Shaved Ice

This isn’t your average snowball treat. The perfectly shaved ice flakes are topped with fruit syrup imaginable and sometimes sweetened with condensed milk.

Idaho –  Idaho Ice Cream Potato

For clarification: it’s not a real potato.  It’s actually made of ice cream.  Rolled in cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream “sour cream,” Westside Drive In has created this sweet-treat, which has been drawing in crowds for over 60 years.

Illinois – Chicago Style Popcorn

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Chicago style popcorn is loved by locals and visitors alike. Known to locals as caramel and cheddar cheese popcorn, the combination mixed up together is addicting.

Indiana – Hoosier Pie

Some people call it Hoosier Pie, others call it Sugar Cream Pie, but either way, it’s Indiana’s most iconic dessert.

It’s made up of cream, sugar, and vanilla.

Iowa –  Blarney Stones 

They’re not actually stones.  They’re actually small pieces of pound cake coated in vanilla frosting and rolled in peanuts.

Kansas- Peppernuts

Even though it’s a German Christmas cookie, this spicy cookie has taken root in Kansas and you can find Peppernuts in bakeries across the state. 

Kentucky – Bread Pudding With Bourbon

It’s true that bread pudding is popular in many southern states but it’s only in Kentucky where you can find it perfectly flavored in bourbon sauce.

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Tourism

Louisiana – Beignets

Decorated in confectioners’ sugar, beignets — or French doughnuts— are an iconic New Orleans treat!

Maine – Wild Blueberry Pie

As the country’s leading producer of wild-blueberries, Maine is known for its Blueberry Pie.  It’s also their official state dessert.

Maryland – Smith Island Cake

Smith Island cake is a multi-layered yellow sponge cake frosted with chocolate fudge frosting. 

Massachusetts – Boston Cream Pie

In 1996, the Massachusetts state legislature passed an ordinance declaring Boston cream pie their “Dessert Emblem.”

Michigan – Cherry Pie

Why cherry pie? Michigan produces over 75% of the cherries in the United States.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Minnesota – Seven Layer Bars

A graham cracker crust layered with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk is what Minnesotans call “seven-layer bars,” which are a staple throughout the state.

Mississippi – Mississippi Mud Pie

The pie takes its name from the murky banks of the Mississippi River and instead of dirt,  the “mud” is made from an excess of chocolate: from the cookie crust, pudding filling, and chocolate sauce on top.

Missouri – Gooey Butter Cake

Established in St. Louis, The Gooey Butter Cake is like a sheet cake and a bar that consists of a layer of buttery yellow cake topped with a sweet cream cheese filling.

Montana –  Huckleberry Ice Cream

Grown wild in the mountains, Huckleberries are to Montana what peaches are to Georgia.  They’re tart and tangy which is why people in Montana enjoy them by turning them into jam or ice cream.

Nebraska – Kolache

Kolaches are essentially fruit-filled pastries native to the Czech region.  But you don’t have to travel far for a good Kolache as Nebraska was made the “Kolache Capital of the USA.”

Nevada – Chocolate Fondue

The Bellagio Hotel claims to be home to the world’s largest chocolate fondue fountain!

Photo courtesy of Bellagio Patisserie

New Hampshire – Pumpkin Pie

Because pumpkin is New Hampshire’s official state fruit, what’s a better place to eat pumpkin pie?

New Jersey – Salt Water Taffy

Nobody does saltwater taffy-like New Jersey, which has been sweetening up the Jersey Shore since the 1880s.

New Mexico – Biscochitos 

Biscochitos are thin, buttery cookies that have a distinct cinnamon flavor.

New York – Cheesecake

If you had to ask us what New York’s most iconic food is,  we would say that cheesecake gives hot dogs and New York-style pizza a run for its money as a signature dish.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

North Carolina – Sweet Potato Pie

North Carolina is known to grow the sweetest sweet potatoes in the country, which naturally makes North Carolina the place to eat this southern staple.

North Dakota – Kuchen 

Kuchen is the German word for cake, but in North Dakota, it refers to a specific cake that’s more like a thick custard in a crust of sweet dough, cut into triangles like a pie.

Ohio – Buckeyes

Ohioans call them Buckeyes, but the sweet treats are really peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate where there’s just enough so that a little eye of peanut butter pokes out.

Oklahoma – Fried Pie

Pies are about as American a dessert one can get, but in Oklahoma, they serve it with their own spin:  fried. 

Oregon – Marionberry Pie

Marionberries are exclusively grown in the state of Oregon.

Pennsylvania – Shoofly Pie

The name behind this molasses-based pie from the act of “shooing” away flies that were attracted to the filling.

Rhode Island – Doughboys

Doughboys came from frying leftover pizza dough scraps in oil.  They’re then served with sugar.

Doughboy from Iggy’s Restaurant in Rhode Island. Instagram | @iggys_ri

South Carolina – Benne Wafers

Benne wafers kind of look like crackers but they’re actually thin, crispy, sesame seed-based cookies.

South Dakota – Kolache

Kolaches are also iconic in South Dakota. Made from coils of soft and sweet yeast dough, wrapped around fillings like cheese and fruit, Kolaches are huge during Tabor Czech Days: an annual festival celebrating South Dakota’s Central European founders. 

Tennessee – Mountain Stack Cake

This cake is made up of thin, firm layers with a sweet dried apple filling in between.

Texas – Pecan Pie

The official state tree is the pecan tree, so it’s no wonder that this is Texas’ favorite/iconic pie.

Utah – Jello

In Utah’s capital Salt Lake City alone, residents consume more Jello per capita than any other place in the U.S.

Vermont – Apple Pie

Vermont gets to claim the best-flavored pie because Vermont’s state fruit is the apple.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Virginia – Chess Pie

This dessert is popular all over the South, Virginia has bragging rights to the first recorded recipe dating back to the 1930s.

Washington – Nanaimo Bars

Washington state for Nanaimo bars: a layered treat that consists of a graham cracker crust, vanilla pudding, and chocolate.

West Virginia – Molasses Cookies

Wholesome molasses cookies are so popular in West Virginia that they’ve been formally recognized as the state’s favorite cookie.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Wisconsin – Kringle

This circular pastry is originally a Danish dessert, but Wisconsin has made its own version that’s flaky and filled with custard and fruit.

Wyoming – Cowboy Cookies

Packed with pecans and oatmeal, Cowboy Cookies are chewy, soft, crunchy, and chocolatey.

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