The Most Iconic Dessert From Every State from The Most Iconic Dessert From Every State Gallery

The Most Iconic Dessert From Every State Gallery

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The Most Iconic Dessert From Every State

In America, it is a custom of the states to claim various objects, activities, and foods to represent them. For instance, the state animal of California, showcased on the state flag, is the grizzly bear, while the state flower of Kansas is the sunflower.

To become a state emblem, the item in question must have significant ties to the state through heritage, agriculture, or environment. It is a real government process: A bill must be passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor for something to be officially inducted.

Only a handful of states have passed legislation electing an emblematic sweet, however. But that doesn’t mean each state is lacking in noteworthy pies, cakes, and other treats! For those states without official desserts, we have taken the liberty of suggesting desserts or iconic local confections that we think represent them in the sweetest way possible.


Alabama: Lane Cake

Tender layers of white sponge cake filled with bourbon-soaked raisins and coconut, Lane Cake is the award-winning creation of Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama. She published the original recipe in her cookbook A Few Good Things to Eat way back in 1898.


Alaska: Lingonberry Jam on Biscuits

“Don’t you dare put baked Alaska as our state dessert,” threatened one local. “It was invented in New York and no one eats it here… or anywhere else for that matter.” True, baked Alaska was invented in New York City by chef Charles Ranhofer at the famous Delmonico’s restaurant in honor of the nation’s purchase of the Alaska territory from the Russians in 1867.

Instead, to honor the enthusiastic berry-picking culture of Alaska — and it’s a serious culture, as one article articulated, “Asking Alaskans to reveal their favorite berry-picking spot is an unspoken social faux pas, right up there with talking politics, religion or asking a woman her age” — we deem native lingonberry jam the official state sweet treat and have paired it here with a soft, buttery buttermilk biscuit. Lingonberries, also known as low-brush cranberries, are very tart and high in antioxidants (much more so than blueberries, in fact.)


Arizona: Sopaipillas

Sometimes referred to as the Navajo taco, sopaipilla is the correct name for the fried bread invented by the indigenous Navajo Indians, and the treat was voted the state dish of Arizona in a 1995 poll conducted by the Arizona Republic newspaper. Sopaipilla can be served either savory or sweet; the sweet version is most often drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.


Arkansas: Possum Pie

Nope, no opossum meat in this pie from Arkansas, just pie crust filled with cream cheese and chocolate pudding and then topped with whipped cream. To “play possum” means to pretend to be asleep or dead, this particular pie takes the name because the whipped cream hides what’s really beneath its billowy layer. (Hint: It’s chocolate pudding and not vanilla pudding. Gasp! Fooled you!)


California: Frozen Yogurt

California needed a state treat that could speak to the citizenry’s health-conscious and active mentality and one that could also represent such a large state with a diverse population. The answer: Froyo. Everyone loves froyo, and according to California boasts of a whopping 189 establishments serving the frozen dessert, whereas Illinois, with the second most froyo establishments, only has 28.


Colorado: Yogurt Parfait Topped With Granola

Ok, Denver Post, we listened. We think you deserve a better treat than pot candy, too. How about a nice, healthy yogurt parfait topped with crunchy granola. This can represent the more bohemian (read: crunchy) nature-loving population who may also enjoy a pot candy or two, while also respecting the thriving dairy industry (dairy farming contributes $594.2 million to Colorado’s economy each year) and health-conscious nature of the state, as well.


Connecticut: The Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwich

Connecticut snagged both ice cream as its official dessert and the snickerdoodle cookie as their official state cookie. While we were deciding which dessert to choose, we had an epiphany: Why can’t Connecticut have both?


Delaware: Peach Pie

Much to the surprise of Georgia peach fans everywhere, Delaware claimed peach pie as their own on July 30, 2009. That said, peaches have also been an important part of Delaware agricultural heritage since colonial times.

For the Spiced Peach Pie recipe, click here.


Florida: Key Lime Pie

With graham cracker crust, tangy Key lime custard, and sweetened whipped cream, Key lime pie is a legendary Floridian dessert invented in Florida. Interestingly, it was only declared the official state pie in 2006.

For the Pepe’s Café Key West Key Lime Pie recipe, click here.


Jessica Chou

Georgia: Peach Cobbler

Delaware took the pie, but Georgia still has the peach as its official state fruit. Therefore, we think it’s entirely appropriate to give Georgia the peach cobbler — like this brown butter peach cobbler, for instance.


Hawaii: Coconut Muffin

Hawaii deemed the coconut muffin as their official state muffin (yes, that exists). And although a good case can be made for shave ice, we’ll honor state laws and indigenous ingredients and say those sweet, coconutty creations qualify as dessert, too.


Idaho: Huckleberry Pie

Idaho is especially proud of its huckleberries — and why shouldn’t it be? The filling for huckleberry pie is usually made with about six cups of huckleberries, tossed with orange zest, tapioca for thickness, and orange juice.

How Sweet Eats

Illinois: Brownies

Interestingly, pumpkins are the state fruit of Illinois, but brownies first made their appearance at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Note that popcorn is the official state snack and so a strong case for caramel corn could also be made here.

For some brownie recipe inspiration, click here to read “Brownie Decadence.”



Indiana: Sugar Cream Pie aka Hoosier Pie

A Hoosier favorite, this recipe supposedly first appeared the year Indiana was established. The pie incorporates sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract to make a custardy filling that is baked inside a flaky butter pie crust.


Iowa: Blarney Stones

According to Wikipedia, s’mores is the state snack of Iowa, but really, Blarney Stones — pound cake covered in vanilla frosting and coated in peanuts — are a dessert famously found in bakeries across the state.


Kansas: Peppernuts

You may be saying to yourself, “What the heck is a peppernut?” And we are right there with you. But you may know these little cookies by their original name: pfeffernüsse. Russian Mennonites who immigrated to Kansas in the 1870s brought with them recipes for these special, spicy cookies which are a staple in many Kansas bakeries.


Kentucky: Mayday Pie

You may know this Kentucky dessert as “Derby Pie,” but unfortunately, that name is (aggressively) copyright-protected by the creators, so instead we’ll use the more generic name for it: Mayday pie. This particular confection is closely associated with the Kentucky Derby and tastes like a version of chess or pecan pie: sticky, sweet, and nutty. It’s studded with bourbon, chocolate chips, and walnuts and then baked in a pie crust.

Paige Green 

Louisiana: Beignets

Lavishly dusted with confectioners’ sugar, beignets — or French doughnuts — are an iconic New Orleans treat most famously served at Café du Monde. They puff up to look like fluffy pillows when fried and are best served piping hot with a cup of chicory coffee.

For the Warm Beignets With Powdered Sugar recipe, click here.



Maine: Wild Blueberry Pie

About 60,000 acres of wild blueberries abound throughout rugged Maine, and it is for this reason that Mainiacs have adopted wild blueberry pie as their state dessert.

For the Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie recipe, click here.


Flicker: Photo Modified: Jane Thomas  CC BY 2.0

Maryland: Smith Island Cake

Smith Island cake: A multi-layered yellow sponge cake frosted with chocolate fudge frosting is well

Taste of Home 

Massachusetts: Boston Cream Pie

On December 12, 1996, the Massachusetts state legislature passed an ordinance declaring Boston cream pie their “Dessert Emblem.” Note that the Boston cream pie doughnut is also the official state doughnut. Interestingly, the Commonwealth is crazy about claiming things as their own — just see for yourself here. Bonus information: The state recreational activity is volleyball.

For the Boston Cream Pie recipe, click here.



Michigan: Cherry Pie

This state is famous for its cherries. The light, dry, sandy soil of northern Michigan is the perfect environment in which to cultivate the fruit. Michigan grows a staggering 32,000 acres of tart cherry trees — which is a good thing since tart cherries are ideal for baking!

For the Best Cherry Pie recipe, click here.



Minnesota: Blueberry Muffin

Because wheat is such an important agricultural crop in Minnesota, and because wild blueberries are native to northern Minnesota, the students from South Terrance Elementary School, in Carlton, Minnesota, lobbied for the blueberry muffin to be the official state muffin. They were ultimately successful.

For the Best Blueberry Muffin recipe, click here.


Photo Modified: Flickr / cyclonebill / CC BY . SA 4.0

Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Pie

Mississippi mud pie is named for what Mississippi River tributaries look like after a rainstorm: muddy, brown, and dirty. But this pie is only sweet, chocolatey, and delicious — albeit usually a little messy. Chocolate cookies and chopped pecans make up the crust, and coffee-flavored liqueur, vanilla extract, and unsweetened chocolate help the smooth filling before it is all topped with whipped cream.


Missouri: Ice Cream Cone

It may seem strange that Missouri gets to claim the ice cream cone as its own, but, in fact, the state is quite deserving: The ice cream cone was made famous at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis (though it was invented in New York City and patented the year before). A booth selling Syrian waffle-like pastries called zalabis was conveniently situated next to an ice cream booth. Once the ice cream man ran out of bowls, the two teamed up serving scoops of ice cream on zalabis cone base.

Gentl & Hyers

Montana: Alfalfa Honey Pie

With no official state dessert designated to the state, some investigating was necessary. When asked to name Montana’s most iconic dessert, one local chef said without hesitation, “Huckleberry pie…and it sucks. Might as well give us the molten lava cake since we are so boring here.” Instead, this chef says she likes to incorporate honey made from Montana’s abundant alfalfa fields into her desserts.

For the Salted Honey Pie recipe, click here.


My Baking Addiction

Nebraska: Kolaches

Kolaches, traditional Czech fruit-filled pastries, were brought by immigrants to Nebraska who effectively made Nebraska the “Kolache Capital of the USA.”

For the Blueberry Cream Cheese Kolaches, click here.



Nevada: Basque Cake

The gold rush brought a mass immigration of Basque people to Nevada, and the Basque cake, a product of the Basque miners’ influence in the area, is made with plenty of butter, sugar, and eggs and is filled with a generous layer of pastry cream and/or jam. It is most popular around the holidays.

Erin Kunkle

New Hampshire: Pumpkin Pie

New Hampshire, like Illinois, has tapped the pumpkin as its state fruit, and what better way to eat pumpkin than in pie form? Try this maple pumpkin pie to include New Hampshire’s other famous export: maple syrup.

For the Maple Pumpkin Pie recipe, click here.



New Jersey: Italian Cookies

The Tristate Area’s Italian population means a lot of amazing Italian bakeries. Colorful pastries and cookies, pignoli, biscotti, pizelles, and polenta cookies dipped in chocolate are must haves. We couldn’t choose just one cookie to represent the state of New Jersey because usually when Jerseyites stop by the bakery, all their favorites are jumbled together in one bakery box!

Gabriela's Kitchen 

New Mexico: Biscochitos

Biscochitos are thin, buttery cookies brought to New Mexico by the Spanish (in Spain they are called “mantecosos,” which means buttery). These cookies have a distinct cinnamon and anise flavor and are most often eaten around the holidays and weddings.

Debbie Smirnoff

New York: Cheesecake

There was uproar when the state legislature made yogurt the official state snack, but few can disagree with the fact that New York-Style cheesecake is one of New York’s most famous confections. New York cheesecake is inherently simple, but it is also supremely rich and dense, as it is made with extra egg yolks and thick cream cheese.

The Hungry Hutch

North Carolina: Sweet Potato Pie

North Carolina grows the sweetest sweet potatoes, which are in turn transformed into the sweetest sweet potato pies. This southern staple is made with eggs, cream, and spices all lovingly baked into a pie shell.

For the Sweet Potato Pie recipe, click here.



North Dakota: Berliner Kranser

The largest Scandinavian Festival in North America is the annual Norsk Høstfest held every October, in Minot, North Dakota. There, common food choices expand far beyond smelly lutefisk, and locals serve up confections like krumcakes and Berliner Kranser, or wreath-shaped butter cookies often eaten during the holidays.

For Oma’s Berliner Kranser German Butter Knot Cookies recipe, click here.


Ohio: Buckeyes

Go Buckeyes! Without a moment’s thought, every Ohioan will tell you this is their most iconic state treat. Most commonly, they are soft peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate just enough so that a little eye of peanut butter pokes out.

For Buckeye recipes, click here.


Oklahoma: Pecan Pie

Oklahoma has claimed everything under their state banner: black-eyed peas, grits, squash, barbecue, and pecan pie, too.

For the Brown Butter Pecan Pie recipe, click here.



Oregon: Pear Cake

Oregon farming culture produces wonderful apples, cherries, berries, and, of course, pears. Oregon produces a variety of pears, including Comice, Anjou, Bosc, and Bartlett, and the pear ranks as the top-selling tree fruit crop in the state. It was officially elected to be their state fruit in 2005. For dessert, a pear tart is a wonderful way to showcase Oregonian pears; bonus points if you can incorporate filberts into the recipe, too.


Pennsylvania: Shoofly Pie

Shoofly pie is a molasses-based pie made popular by the Pennsylvania Dutch. The name is said to have come from the act of shooing away flies that were attracted to the sweet molasses filling. After you have prepared your pie shell, the filling can come together in less than 10 minutes.

For the Shoofly Pie recipe, click here.



Rhode Island: Doughboys

Rhode Island boasts a large Italian population (Providence even has its own notable Little Italy). Doughboys came about by frying leftover pizza dough scraps in oil then dusting them with sugar. In case you’re curious: These have no relation to the Pillsbury Doughboy.


South Carolina: Benne Wafers

Benne wafers are thin, crispy, sesame seed-based cookie/crackers brought to the United States by slaves. The Olde Colony Bakery in Charleston, South Carolina, home of the “original Benne Wafers,” has been serving up this treat for over 100 years.


South Dakota: Kuchen

Kuchen, simply meaning “cake,” honors South Dakotan heritage. It was the German immigrants who first brought kuchen to South Dakota in the 1880s. The confections are usually made with sweet dough that is filled with custard and/or fruit.

For the Kuchen recipe, click here.

Flicker: Photo modified: Southern Food Ways Alliance / CC 2.0

Tennessee: Tennessee Mountain Stack Cake

This Appalachian creation is a stack of firm cake disks saturated with apple preserves and dried apples. It is most traditionally a wedding cake, and, according to folk wisdom, wedding guests would each bring a layer of the cake to the bride’s family, which they spread with apples and stacked right then and there. “It was said that the number of cake layers the bride got determined how popular she was,” reports Appalachian History.


Texas: Mexican Wedding Cookies

While similar to New Mexico’s biscochitos, the most popular dessert treats in Texas, Mexican wedding cookies, are more influenced by Mexico than Spain. Here they are rolled into balls or formed into crescent shapes and covered with confectioner's sugar.


Utah: Jell-O

Utah’s state snack is brand-named Jell-O. Strange, yes, but Jell-O marketing is intentionally targeted at large families. The company has actively marketed their products to moms and children and has lobbied to be associated with “good, wholesome fun” instead of with college campuses where Jell-O shots are popular for other reasons. To this effect, Salt Lake City purportedly consumes the most Jell-O per capita of any other place and dishes like green Jell-O carrot salad with shredded carrots are still popular at family and church functions.

Gentl & Hyers

Vermont: Apple Pie

Apple pie is the official state dessert of Vermont, and you can’t make apple pie without apples — which might be why Vermont also declared the apple as their official state fruit!

Click here for 11 Apple Pie Recipes Better Than Mom’s.


Flickr/ Photo Modified: Cookbookman17 / cc 2.0

Virginia: Chess Pie

A cousin of the pecan and sugar pie, chess pie is known as the “ultimate pantry pie” and sometimes even goes by that name. It’s easily constructed with items already found in your pantry: eggs, milk, and sugar.

For the Lemon Chess pie recipe, click here.


Washington: Apple Crisp

Washington’s state fruit is the apple, and the orchards in this state are truly spectacular. An amazing way to enjoy apples is through dessert, and apple crisp made with flavorful apples and a sweet oat crumble is an excellent way to enjoy Washington’s bounty.

For the Apple Crisp recipe, click here.


Ditte Isager

West Virginia: Molasses cookies

Wholesome molasses cookies are so popular in West Virginia that they’ve been formally recognized as the state’s favorite. Sugar, ginger, and molasses come together to make an incredibly chewy dessert that’s hard to pass up.

For the Ginger Molasses Cookie recipe, click here.


Shutterstock Wyoming: S’mores

Wisconsin: Kringle

Kringles (the name means “ring” or “circle”) are a Scandinavian pastry. In 2013, the kringle became the official state pastry of Wisconsin. It’s made with a ring of pastry that is then topped with fruit and frosting. Racine, Wisconsin, in particular, is known to be a hub of Danish-American culture and of expert kringle-making.

For the Easy Danish Kringle recipe, click here.


Wyoming: S’mores

Unfortunately, this state doesn’t have an official state treat, snack, or dessert to guide the choice here, yet Wyoming is one of the best places in America to experience the awe-inspiring expanse of nature. From hiking in the Grand Tetons to visiting Old Faithful, skiing in Jackson Hole, or farming and ranching on the prairie ranges, Wyoming is a place for people who love the outdoors. So while you sit by the campfire enjoying nature, enjoy the perfect rugged outdoor dessert: s’mores! The best part is, this classic desert is absolutely covered and smothered in chocolate, just like these 15 other foods.

For the Classic S’mores recipe, click here.

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