Photo courtesy of Chef Carolyn Johnson

The Most Iconic Dessert in Every State

These desserts are the real deal
Photo courtesy of Chef Carolyn Johnson

States across America have regional nicknames, animals, snacks and more as identifiers. But have you ever wondered what treats satisfy your area’s sweet tooth? From Alabama to Wyoming, these are the most iconic desserts from every state and Washington, D.C. 

Methodology

Methodology
GMVozd/E+ via Getty Images

Only a handful of states have passed legislation electing an emblematic dessert. For those states that don’t have an official dessert, we based our selection off of popular local confections, regional specialties, official state fruits and widely produced goods, such as agricultural products.

Alabama: Lane cake

Alabama: Lane cake
Photo courtesy of Club Cooking, provided by My Recipe Magic

With a fluffy layer of white sponge cake filled with raisins and coconut, lane cake is the most iconic dessert in Alabama. The award-winning creation of Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, was first published in her 1898 cookbook “A Few Good Things to Eat.” The dessert requires a tall list of ingredients, so make sure none of your pantry staples have expired.

For the Lane Cake recipe, click here.

Alaska: Baked Alaska

Alaska: Baked Alaska
Courtesy of DB's Tavern

While Alaska doesn’t have a named state dessert, baked Alaska was inspired by the state’s history. In 1867, Alaska became the 49th state when America bought land from Russia in the land deal, around the time this impressive but difficult dessert was created. Celebrate the state’s past by attempting to make this delicious bread pudding baked Alaska recipe.

For the Bread Pudding Baked Alaska recipe, click here.

Arizona: Sopaipilla

Arizona: Sopaipilla
Photo courtesy of The Tortilla Channel, provided by My Recipe Magic

Sometimes referred to as the Navajo taco, sopaipillas originated in Arizona. The dish can be made savory or sweet depending on how it's prepared. In taco form, the dish is topped with refried beans, cheese and sour cream like some of our favorite Mexican dishes. But as a dessert, sopaipillas are topped with sugar, cinnamon and honey.

For the Sopaipilla recipe, click here.

Arkansas: Watermelon pops

Arkansas: Watermelon pops
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

Arkansas is known to have some of the world’s sweetest watermelons. In fact, Hope, Arkansas, has hosted a popular watermelon festival since the 1920s, and the state has 1,600 acres dedicated to watermelons. To celebrate the state’s lucrative watermelon history, try making these delicious watermelon pops, one of those frozen desserts perfect for summer.

For the Watermelon Cooler Frozen Pops recipe, click here.

California: Avocado parfait

California: Avocado parfait
Photo courtesy of the California Avocado Commission

While you may be used to seeing avocados paired with perfectly-cooked scrambled eggs or in dip and salsa recipes, the fruit can also make an appearance in dessert. As the largest producer of avocados grown in the U.S., it’s only fitting California’s unofficial state dessert is an avocado fruit parfait.

For the Wild Berry Frozen Yogurt and California Avocado Lime Fudge Parfait recipe, click here.

Colorado: Palisade peach pancakes

Colorado: Palisade peach pancakes
Photo courtesy of Eggland's Best

On the western slope of Colorado, you’ll find some of the country’s best fruit, including Palisade peaches, which are known to be some of the best in North America. This recipe transforms the seasonal fruit into a delicious compote which is then spread over goat cheese pancakes.

For the Goat Cheese Pancakes with Palisade Peach Compote recipe, click here

Connecticut: Pumpkin cookies with nutmeg

Connecticut: Pumpkin cookies with nutmeg
Photo courtesy of Very Best Baking by Nestle

Connecticut is known as the Nutmeg State, so it’s fitting that nutmeg cookies are Connecticut’s iconic dessert. Reportedly, the state’s early inhabitants were known to make and sell wooden nutmegs, hence the name. And while baking nutmeg into cookies isn’t the most unexpected ingredient you could use, it is transformative. This recipe for old-fashioned pumpkin cookies wouldn’t be complete without the state’s beloved ingredient.

For the Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies recipe, click here.

Delaware: Peach custard pie

Delaware: Peach custard pie
Photo courtesy of Delaware Grown

While you may association peaches with Georgia, the official state dessert of Delaware is peach pie. The state was actually the country's leading producer of peaches during the 19th century. Try making the state’s most iconic pie with this recipe that comes straight from Delaware.

For the Peach Custard Pie recipe, click here.

Florida: Key lime pie

Florida: Key lime pie
Photo courtesy of Corrie Cooks

In 2006, Florida declared key lime pie its official state dessert. With a graham cracker crust, tangy Key lime custard and sweetened whipped cream, Key lime pie is a legendary Floridian dessert. Try making the sweet treat in an Instant Pot with this easy recipe.

For the Instant Pot Key Lime Pie recipe, click here.

 

Georgia: Peach cobbler

Georgia: Peach cobbler
Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker

Georgia has designated the peach as its official state fruit, so a classic Southern peach cobbler is the state’s most iconic dessert. Try out this decadent peach cobbler recipe, which can be made using biscuit mix.

For the Classic Bisquik Peach Cobbler recipe, click here.

Hawaii: Shave ice

Hawaii: Shave ice
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

To beat the Hawaiian heat, shave ice is the way to go. The Aloha State’s most iconic dessert is made by shaving a block of ice and topping it with refreshing syrups in flavors like strawberry or orange. Add it to your list of regional desserts that you need to try.

For the Easy Crushed Orange Shaved Ice recipe, click here.

Idaho: Ice cream potato

Idaho: Ice cream potato
Photo courtesy of Lou Aaron

It’s no secret that potatoes are a staple in Idaho, so much so that the state’s most iconic dessert is ice cream that’s shaped like a potato. An ice cream potato consists of vanilla ice cream that is covered in cocoa and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, resembling a potato with a dollop of sour cream on top. This recipe comes straight from Boise’s Westside Drive-In, one of the drive-ins in America you can still pull up to.

For the Westside Drive-In Ice Cream Potato recipe, click here.

Illinois: Pumpkin pie

Illinois: Pumpkin pie
Recipe courtesy of Mccormick

While you may know this dessert as a Thanksgiving classic, Illinois went the extra mile and named pumpkin pie as its official state pie in 2015. This easy pumpkin pie recipe takes just five minutes to prepare and will last in the freezer for up to two months after it's been baked.

For the Signature Pumpkin Pie recipe, click here.

Indiana: Sugar cream pie

Indiana: Sugar cream pie
Photo courtesy of Averie Cooks

Sugar cream pie is so popular in Indiana that it’s also known as Hoosier Pie. For this recipe, you’ll need just nine common pantry ingredients like sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.

For the Easy Sugar Cream Pie recipe, click here.

Iowa: White chocolate popcorn

Iowa: White chocolate popcorn
Courtesy of Jason Goldstein

While Iowa doesn’t have an official state dessert, it’s the leading producer of corn. And at Iowa’s iconic annual state fair, sweet popcorn is regularly featured as a food option, with choices like Cookies and Cream Popcorn and Vanilla Caramel Popcorn. To celebrate Iowa’s corn industry, try this recipe for white chocolate popcorn.

For the White Chocolate Rainbow Popcorn recipe, click here.

Kansas: Pfeffernüsse

Kansas: Pfeffernüsse
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

Pfeffernüsse are treats that were brought to Kansas in the 1870s by Russian Mennonites. The special, spicy cookies, which are a staple in many Kansas gift shops around the holidays, will leave you eager to try more recipes from around the world.

For the Pfeffernüsse German Cookies recipe, click here.

Kentucky: Bourbon balls

Kentucky: Bourbon balls
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

Kentucky’s relationship with bourbon dates back more than 200 years. Bourbon balls are a no-bake treat made by dipping bourbon-soaked nuts in chocolate. But, if you’d rather celebrate the state’s history by having one of your favorite Bourbon-based cocktails, go right ahead.

For the Bourbon Balls recipe, click here.

Louisiana: Bananas foster

Louisiana: Bananas foster
Photo courtesy of Chris Granger

Bananas Foster was invented in New Orleans in the 1950s when the city was a major port of entry for the trendy fruit. Try making bananas Foster and more popular Louisiana dishes from home.

For the Bananas Foster recipe, click here.

Maine: Whoopie pie

Maine: Whoopie pie
Photo courtesy of Chef Carolyn Johnson

Whoopie pies have reportedly been baked in Maine since 1925. While many states lay claim to the whoopie pie, Maine made it their official state treat in 2010. The beloved comfort food can be found at various dessert shops across the state.

For the Whoopie Pie recipe, click here.

Maryland: Ice cream

Maryland: Ice cream
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

While Smith Island Cake is a beloved dessert in Maryland, we've got to show a little love for the state’s ice cream history. Did you know that Maryland reportedly holds the title for serving the first ice cream on the continent? The state also had the first commercial sales of ice cream. In between making your own ice cream, brush up on more state food fun facts.

For the Cake Batter Ice Cream recipe, click here.

Massachusetts: Boston cream pie

Massachusetts: Boston cream pie
Photo courtesy of Bake from Scratch

Massachusetts is one of the happiest states in America, and we’re starting to wonder whether it has anything to do with Boston cream pie. The state’s iconic dessert has been reimagined as cupcakes, doughnuts and more, but the pie will always be No. 1.

For the Amaretto Boston Cream Pie recipe, click here.

Michigan: Fudge

Michigan: Fudge
Photo courtesy of McCormick

While Michigan hasn’t yet named fudge as its official state dessert, the state’s incredible weekend getaway spot Mackinac Island is touted as America’s Fudge Capital. Spice up the classic treat with this recipe, which incorporates caramel and pecans into the dessert.

For the Caramel Pecan Fudge recipe, click here.

Minnesota: Blueberry muffin

Minnesota: Blueberry muffin
Photo courtesy of McCormick

Muffins are one of those iconic breakfast foods it’s hard to imagine living without, but that doesn’t mean the sweet food isn’t equally as delicious during dessert. Minnesota’s state muffin is the blueberry muffin, which we think qualifies it as the state’s most iconic dessert (if you eat it as a midday treat).

For the Blueberry Muffins recipe, click here.

Mississippi: Bread pudding

Mississippi: Bread pudding
Photo courtesy of McCormick

While Mississippi is home to many popular savory dishes, the state’s dessert options shouldn’t be overlooked. Bread pudding originated as a way to use leftovers and eventually became very popular during the Civil War. Bread pudding can now be found in restaurants around Mississippi.

For the Banana, Cherry and Roasted Cinnamon Bread Pudding recipe, click here.

Missouri: Ice cream cone

Missouri: Ice cream cone
Photo courtesy of Ready Set Eat

Missouri is one of the few states that has declared an official state dessert. In 1904, the ice cream cone first appeared at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, and it was named as the state’s formal dessert in 2008. This recipe for frozen dream cones — a great dessert to make with kids — reimagines the ice cream cone by spreading the inside of a cone with a layer of peanut butter and topping it with whipped cream.

For the Frozen Dream Cones recipe, click here.

Montana: S’mores

Montana: S’mores
Olga Miltsova/Shutterstock

While Montana doesn’t have an officially named dessert, the state is home to some of the most incredible national and state parks in America. And what goes better with camping, hiking and nature than a nice roasted s’more?

For the Ooey Gooey S’mores recipe, click here.

Nebraska: Milkshake

Nebraska: Milkshake
Elena Fomichewa/Shutterstock

Nebraska doesn’t have a designated dessert, but it does have a state beverage: milk. In 1998, the drink was officially commemorated to acknowledge Nebraska’s importance in the dairy industry. To celebrate the state’s milk, make a classic vanilla shake. It's a great way to use up a lot of milk before your gallon goes bad.

For The Best Vanilla Milkshake in the World recipe, click here.

Nevada: Gâteau Basque

Nevada: Gâteau Basque
Photo courtesy of Stephen Devries

Basque culture is such a strong part of Nevada that the state has been hosting an annual Basque festival for the past 57 years. And that means the Gâteau Basque, which translates to Basque cake, ranks among the state’s most iconic desserts. The tart-like treat has a flaky pastry crust that’s usually filled with jam or pastry cream. But, if you don’t have some of the ingredients for this dessert, don’t fret — here are some baking substitutions everyone should know about.

For the Gâteau Basque recipe, click here.

New Hampshire: Apple cider doughnut

New Hampshire: Apple cider doughnut
Photo courtesy of Diary of a Mad Hausfrau

If you’re from New England, you know that apple picking is one of those essential fall weekend trips to take every year. And, in New Hampshire, where apple cider is named as the state’s official beverage, nothing compares to a warm apple cider doughnut that’s baked to perfection and coated in sugar.

For the Apple Cider Brickle Doughnuts recipe, click here.

New Jersey: Blueberry pie

New Jersey: Blueberry pie
Photo courtesy of Living the Gourmet

While New Jersey is home to one of the best old-school boardwalks in America, the state also has a detailed history with blueberries. Hammonton, New Jersey, is touted as the blueberry capital of the world, and New Jersey as a whole is one of the top 10 blueberry producers in America. For this reason it’s only fitting that the Garden State’s most iconic dessert is blueberry pie. This recipe turns the treat into mini blueberry pies that can serve 16 people.

For the Blueberry Basil Hand Pies recipe, click here.

New Mexico: Biscochitos

New Mexico: Biscochitos
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

The most iconic dessert in New Mexico is biscochitos, which was introduced to the state by Spaniards in the 16th century and became the official state cookie in 1989. Bischochitos embody the key components of grandma’s cooking, like baking from scratch and not shying away from ingredients like lard and anise. If you're short on time but still want the flavor of biscochitos, try making these anise cookies, they take just 10 minutes to prepare.

For the Easy Anise Cookies recipe, click here.

New York: Cheesecake

New York: Cheesecake
Photo courtesy of McCormick

New York is so obsessed with cheesecake that the state has its own way to serve it: dense, with cream cheese and served without fruit. Making this recipe at home is a great way to celebrate the history of the Empire State and to really put your baking skills to the test.

For the New York Style Vanilla Cheesecake recipe, click here.

North Carolina: Sweet potato pie

North Carolina: Sweet potato pie
Photo courtesy of McCormick

While you may be used to sweet potatoes being served as a side dish during weeknight dinners, in North Carolina the veggie shines when baked into pie. North Carolina has been the No. 1 sweet potato producing state in the U.S. for nearly 50 years.

For the Sweet Potato pie recipe, click here.

North Dakota: Chippers

North Dakota: Chippers
© Bhofack2/Dreamstime.com

The most iconic dessert in North Dakota seamlessly blends sweet and salty flavors into one notable treat: chippers. The snack pays homage to North Dakota's agricultural history and can be found at Widman’s Candy Co., one of the best chocolate shops in America.

For the Chippers recipe, click here.

Ohio: Buckeyes

Ohio: Buckeyes
Photo courtesy of Ready Set Eat

It’s no secret that Ohio’s most iconic dessert is buckeyes — its nickname is the Buckeye State. Frozen balls of peanut butter are dipped in chocolate to resemble the nuts that grow on buckeye trees. The dessert may be one of those foods you can only find in the Midwest, but now you can make the treat at home with this delicious recipe.

For the Buckeyes recipe, click here.

Oklahoma: Strawberry shortcakes

Oklahoma: Strawberry shortcakes
Photo courtesy of Bake from Scratch

While Oklahoma doesn’t have a designated state dessert, it does have a state fruit. In 2005, the strawberry was named as Oklahoma's official fruit as a way to commemorate the annual strawberry festival in Stilwell, Oklahoma. Because of this, it’s only fitting that the state’s dessert is strawberry shortcakes, the perfect dessert to serve at backyard cookouts or bring along on picnics.

For the Strawberry Shortcakes recipe, click here.

Oregon: Marionberry pops

Oregon: Marionberry pops
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

Marionberries are a type of blackberry that originated at Oregon State University and are now known as the state’s most iconic food. Today, marionberries are the most widely planted trailing blackberry in the world, and 90% are produced in Oregon.To celebrate the state’s blackberries, try making these blackberry iced pops.

For the Blackberry Sweet Potato Iced Pops recipe, click here.

Pennsylvania: Funnel cake

Pennsylvania: Funnel cake
Photo courtesy of Emily Caruso, jellytoastblog.com, provided by Choose Cherries

If you’ve ever been to a carnival then you’re familiar with funnel cake. But are you aware of the popular state fair food’s history? Funnel cake is said to have been invented by the Pennsylvania Dutch, Germans who settled in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th century.

For the Tart Cherry Funnel Cake Sundaes recipe, click here.

Rhode Island: Coffee milk

Rhode Island: Coffee milk
Photo courtesy of Ready Set Eat

In the state of Rhode Island, coffee milk is all the rage. The drink was named as the state’s official beverage in 1993, a few decades after it was introduced to Rhode Islanders. A spin on coffee milk, this frosted coffee float recipe is a mixture of coffee, vanilla ice cream and cocoa, reminiscent of some coffee recipes you can make at home.

For the Frosted Coffee Float recipe, click here.

South Carolina: Coconut cake

South Carolina: Coconut cake
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

There are plenty of guilty pleasure foods we won’t apologize for loving, and cake is one of them. The people of South Carolina agree — the state’s most iconic dessert is coconut cake, which is said to have debuted at the Charleston-based restaurant Peninsula Grill in 1997.

For the Ultimate Coconut Cake recipe, click here.

South Dakota: Kuchen

South Dakota: Kuchen
Photo courtesy of Mccormick

In 2000, kuchen was declared the official state dessert of South Dakota. Kuchen, which is German for cake, is sometimes compared to coffee cake. Pay homage to South Dakotan and German heritage by making this sour cream coffee cake recipe, which is reminiscent of a type of kuchen. If you think a classic kuchen may be too advanced, try taking one of these online cooking classes.

For the Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe, click here.

Tennessee: Banana pudding

Tennessee: Banana pudding
Photo courtesy of Ready Set Eat

Tennessee loves banana pudding so much that the state holds an annual festival for the dessert. If you can’t make it to Tennessee for the event, try whipping up this easy Banana Cream Pie Pudding Cup recipe — it’s one of those desserts that requires fewer than five ingredients.

For the Banana Cream Pie Pudding Cup recipe, click here.

Texas: Pecan pie

Texas: Pecan pie
Photo courtesy of McCormick

Texans have a handful of treasured recipes. But, the state’s most iconic dessert has to be pecan pie. Not only are pecans the Lone Star state’s official nut, but pecan trees are also grown commercially on about 70,000 acres in the state.

For the Decadent Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe, click here.

Utah: Jell-O

Utah: Jell-O
Photo courtesy of Belly Full.

While Jell-O may be a beloved childhood dessert all around America, it’s been claimed as Utah’s state snack after it was revealed that the people of Utah consume more Jell-O per capita than any other state in the U.S. Turn the treat into gold with this Orange Creamsicle Jell-O recipe that melts right in your mouth.

For the Orange Creamsicle Jell-O recipe, click here.

Vermont: Apple pie

Vermont: Apple pie
Photo courtesy of McCormick

Not only is Vermont’s official state fruit apples, but its state pie was also officially declared as apple pie in 1999. Serve this classic apple pie recipe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and your favorite delicious coffee drink.

For the Classic Apple Pie recipe, click here.

Virginia: Chess pie

Virginia: Chess pie
Courtesy of Virgil's Real Barbecue

While chess pie is a beloved dessert all throughout the South, it first appeared in an 1824 cookbook “The Virginia Housewife” under the title “transparent pudding,” marking it as the state’s most iconic dessert.

For the Chocolate Chess Pie recipe, click here.

Washington: Apple crisp

Washington: Apple crisp
Photo courtesy of CONAGRA

Because Washington is the nation’s top apple producing state, the fruit was recognized as a state symbol in 1989. This Deep Dish Apple Crisp recipe is packed with the flavors of Washington and topped with nuts and oats.

For the Deep Dish Apple Crisp recipe, click here.

Washington, DC: Cherry pie

Washington, DC: Cherry pie
Photo courtesy of West of the Loop

In 2006, cherries were named the official fruit of Washington, D.C. The capital is known for its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, which began when the mayor of Tokyo gave the city 3,000 cherry trees. To this day Washington, D.C., is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in the world. To celebrate the flavors of D.C., try making this cherry pie.

For the Spelt Sour Cherry Pie recipe, click here.

West Virginia: Molasses cookies

West Virginia: Molasses cookies
Photo courtesy of McCormick

Like some regional slang you’ve never heard of, you might also be unfamiliar with molasses cookies. In West Virginia, many rural families relied on molasses during the late 19th century until it was replaced by refined sugar after World War II. Channel West Virginia by making these Molasses Spice Cookies.

For the Molasses Spice Cookies recipe, click here.

Wisconsin: Kringle

Wisconsin: Kringle
Photo courtesy of Bake from Scratch

The most iconic dessert from Wisconsin is also the state’s official pastry: the kringle. The flaky dessert typically has a fruit or nut filling and was brought to the state by Danish immigrants in the 1880s. This recipe includes cranberry as its chosen fruit, but you can mix it up with another tart fruit like cherries. For more cherry recipes, check out our list of the best cherry desserts around.

For the Cranberry Kringle recipe, click here.

Wyoming: Truffles

Wyoming: Truffles
Photo courtesy of McCormick

Although Wyoming has no official state dessert or state fruit, it does have great truffles thanks to Tim Kellogg, whose origin story is as Wyoming as it gets. Kellogg started making chocolate as a way to pay for rodeo. His store, Meeteetse Chocolatier, is now among the best dessert shops in America.

For the Easy Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Truffles recipe, click here.

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