Pie is a quintessential American dessert that is ingrained in the country’s culture. The dessert has been beloved for hundreds of years by the likes of pioneers to presidents, and its popularity has endured over the centuries. Pie is a staple, but just as every state has its own nickname animal and snack, states also have signature pies. From Alabama to Wyoming, this is the most iconic pie in every state.
Perok is an Alaskan adaption of a traditional Russian savory pie that makes use of the state’s supply of wild-caught salmon — its official state fish. Fish pie can be made in a variety of different ways, but it’s typically served as a hearty dinner dish with vegetables like turnips and rutabaga.
Several species of pink-tinged prickly pear cactus grow in Arizona, dotting the desert and also making for a tasty dessert. Prickly pear cactus fruit is sweet and its spines are removed if you buy it at the grocery store. The ripe and sweet fruit makes for a lovely pie filling.
To “play possum” means to pretend to be asleep or dead. Possum pie, Arkansas’ most iconic pie, is so named because its whipped cream topping hides the pie’s true chocolaty nature underneath, which hides another layer made of cream cheese, sour cream or vanilla pudding. Add it to your list of regional desserts you need to try.
Although there’s some controversy over their origin, “black bottom” pies, or pies made with chocolate graham cracker crusts, had their earliest appearance in California around 1930. After its creation, the pie grew from a Golden State specialty to a nationwide phenomenon. Celebrate California’s history with a slice of black bottom pie and catch one of the state’s beautiful sunsets.
Although you might not find this on the menu at your favorite Italian restaurant, the most searched pie in Colorado in 2019 was spaghetti pie, a hearty baked pasta dish. Colorado has strong Italian ties as Italian immigrants began moving there in the 1850s before it was even a state. Today, Italian-Americans make up 5% of Colorado’s population.
White clam pie is a style of pizza that originated in New Haven, Connecticut, and attracts pizza aficionados from around the country. In fact, the white clam pie at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is considered to be among the 101 best pizzas in America.
Not only does Florida have beautiful beaches, but the state also has great pie. Florida declared Key lime pie its official state dessert in 2006, which makes sense given the state’s history as a top producer of citrus fruit. Made with a graham cracker crust, tangy Key lime custard and sweetened whipped cream, Key lime pie is a legendary Floridian dessert.
Desperation pies are Southern traditions that can be made with common pantry staples and don’t require any fresh, seasonal fruit. Rather than getting its tangy flavor from citrus, buttermilk pie’s sweet custard filling is cut thanks to the addition of its namesake ingredient.
Haupia pie is a chilled chocolate pie with an island twist. Between its base of chocolate pudding and whipped cream topping is a layer of haupia. A beloved Hawaiian staple, haupia is a dessert made with few ingredients, including coconut milk, sugar and cornstarch. Haupia pie can be found as a signature dish at bakeries and coffee shops in Hawaii.
Idaho is a state known for its spud production, yielding nearly one-third of the country's potatoes. A classic pie recipe that incorporates Idaho’s official state vegetable is shepherd’s pie. The hearty casserole of meat and veggies, topped with a mashed potato crust, is a great way to use leftovers.
Illinois might be famous for its deep-dish style of pizza that looks like a pie, but the state’s pie of choice is pumpkin pie. The dessert became the official state pie several years ago due to the state’s pumpkin production. A Thanksgiving classic, no holiday gathering would be complete without one.
Iowa is known for its famous state fair, which drew more than a million visitors in 2019. One of the baking contest categories at the Iowa State Fair has historically been for sour cream raisin pie. The Iowa specialty has a creamy filling (with raisins, of course) and is generally topped with fluffy meringue.
Invented by the Kentucky-based bakery Kern’s Kitchen, Derby Pie is a Southern icon that’s similar to chocolate nut pie. At Kern’s, the treat is made with rich chocolate and walnuts, and the filling is baked atop the bakery’s signature pie crust. The Kentucky hot spot has been selling the iconic pie since 1954, and to this day each pie is made one at a time. This year, celebrate the Kentucky Derby at home with Derby Pie and more stadium foods you can make at home.
Louisiana has many famous sweet desserts from beignets to king cake, but when it comes to pies, its most iconic one is savory. Natchitoches meat pie is the official meat pie of Louisiana, and the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival is an annual celebration of the dish. This meat pie is a crimped, empanada-like hand pie filled with spiced meat that is inspired by Spanish, French, Cajun and Southern flavors.
Maine’s official state dessert is blueberry pie made with wild Maine blueberries. More than 98% of the nation's low bush blueberries are harvested in Maine, making the fruit one of the state’s largest exports. Not only is blueberry pie delicious, but it's also a great recipe to make with your kids. Along with flour, sugar and butter, add some lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg to your blueberry pie recipe to complement the fruit’s flavor.
Berger cookies are a Baltimore specialty. The German-inspired cookies are soft, sponge-like cookies that are dipped in fudge icing. Famed Baltimore pie shop Dangerously Delicious Pies — one of the best places in America to buy apple pie — first turned these cookies into pie form by swirling them into a sweet chess filling. The shop dubbed the result Baltimore bomb pie, which is now its best seller.
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 official state dessert of Massachusetts, Boston cream pie was created at the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston in 1856. It’s since been reimagined as cupcakes, doughnuts and more, but the pie will always be No. 1.
Michigan is one of the top producers of tart cherries in the country, yielding 264 million pounds as well as almost 24,000 tons of sweet cherries in 2018. One of the best ways to use all this fruit is in a classic cherry pie, or in more fun cherry desserts.
For Americans going apple picking or baking apple dishes in the fall, one of the most coveted and popular apple varieties is the Honeycrisp. Engineered at the University of Minnesota, Honeycrisp apples were first planted in 1962 and were adopted as the official state fruit of Minnesota in 2006. Their lovely balance of sweet and tart flavors work perfectly in apple pie.
While some claim that the rich, chocolatey Mississippi mud pie originated near Jackson, Mississippi, around 1927, the dessert’s history is hazy. Regardless of its birthplace, this layered pie became a phenomenon across the country. There are many variations of the impressive dessert, but the classic recipe involves a cookie crust, a rich chocolate filling with liqueur and a layer of whipped cream on top.
Missouri’s most iconic dessert is its famous gooey butter cake, which was invented in St. Louis, and can also take on the form of pie. The cake traditionally is made with a butter mixture that is poured over a homemade Danish or coffee cake. The gooey butter cake has been adapted into other forms like delicious cookies, ice cream flavors and pie.
Huckleberries are so beloved in the state of Montana that they might as well be the unofficial state fruit. Huckleberries closely resemble blueberries but can only be picked in the wild as they’re not commercially cultivated. Spot the berries in the state’s incredible national park or pick up some famous huckleberry pie, which can be found at restaurants and bakeries all along the Central Montana Pie Trail.
Runza is a savory bread pocket that German immigrants developed in Eastern Russia as their own take on the Russian meat-filled pierogi. When groups of these Volga Germans later moved to the American Midwest, they brought the doughy hand pie with them. This dish led to the creation of a Nebraska fast-food chain named Runza, which now has more than 80 locations. The savory dish is more akin to a delicious sandwich than a pie, but it’s so iconic that we’ve made an exception.
Basque culture is such a strong part of Nevada that the state has been hosting an annual Basque festival for the past 57 years. This helps make Gâteau Basque, which translates to Basque cake, the state’s most iconic treat. This tart-like “cake” consists of a flaky pastry crust that resembles pie when filled with cherry jam or pastry cream. If you make the dessert at home, be sure to follow along with some of our best beginner baking tips.
New Hampshire is one of a few states to lay claim to inventing the whoopie pie, including Maine, where it is the state’s most iconic snack. But plenty of New Hampshire bakeries are famous for their whoopie pies. One bakery, Just Like Mom’s Pastries in Weare, New Hampshire, has over 50 individual flavors of the treat, which traditionally is served with vanilla cream filling sandwiched between two chocolate cakes.
If you’re from New Jersey, you know pizza isn’t the same as tomato pie. Also known as Trenton tomato pie because of its city of origin, this dish has the base of a crisp thin-crust pizza except for the tomato sauce, which is made from seasoned, crushed plum tomatoes and goes on top of the cheese. You can find the iconic Jersey staple at some of the best pizza shops in America.
Although there is fierce debate between Texas and New Mexico over who can rightly lay claim to Frito pie, The Five & Dime General Store in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been serving the dish since the 1960s. The hearty comfort dish is best eaten directly from a bag of chips. That’s right, Frito pie is made by simply pouring in a ladleful of your favorite chili recipe and topping it with cheese and onions.
While cheesecake has “cake” in its name, it is definitely more of a pie with its custard-like cream cheese filling and graham cracker crumb pie crust. The dessert comes in many styles and flavors but perhaps the most famous is New York-style cheesecake. The unique style is dense, filled 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.
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.
North Dakota’s official state fruit is the chokecherry, a juicy red fruit that grows across the state. It’s even featured at the annual North Dakota Chokecherry Festival in Williston. As with other sour produce such as rhubarb or cranberries, chokecherries do great in pies because the sugar and buttery crust help balance the flavor. Make sure to pair the dessert with some homemade coffee recipes for the perfect nightcap.
It’s no secret that Ohio’s most iconic pie is inspired by buckeyes — its nickname is the Buckeye State. The iconic Midwestern dessert consists of peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate and is meant to look like a nut from the buckeye tree. The candy can be translated to buckeye pie, which sandwiches peanut butter filling between crust and a topping of chocolate ganache.
Fried pies (convenient fruit-filled turnovers) are staples for families across the South, including in Oklahoma. The state’s famous fried pie company, Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies, started in 1954 and now has a dozen locations across Oklahoma and Kansas. They serve more than 20 varieties from cherry to coconut to chicken and broccoli. The treat makes for the perfect picnic snack.
Marionberries are a type of blackberry that originated at Oregon State University and are now known as one of the most iconic foods in America. Today, marionberries are the most widely planted trailing blackberry in the world, and 90% are produced in Oregon. The fruit is juicy with a sweet and tart flavor, meaning marionberries do well in just about any blackberry pie recipe.
Originating with the Pennsylvania Dutch, shoofly pie gets its name from the sticky-sweet molasses in its filling that would attract flies that would have to be “shooed” away. The pie’s dense custard is topped with crumbs and embodies the key components of grandma’s cooking, like baking from scratch and using hearty ingredients.
Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence has one of the largest Italian-American populations in the country, which might explain why so many Rhode Islanders have a special fondness for ricotta pie. This Italian dish is similar to a cheesecake and is a popular pie to make for Easter celebrations. Sweet ricotta pies can be flavored with citrus, nuts or chocolate, while savory versions can include herbs, cheese or meat.
Variations of coconut pie are available across all of South Carolina, and no adaptation of the dessert is more Southern than coconut cream pie. The treat is made with a graham cracker base and a shredded coconut filling and is topped with whipped cream. In between making your own version of the dessert, brush up on more state food fun facts.
There are plenty of guilty pleasure foods we won’t apologize for loving, and dessert is one of them. In South Dakota, the most iconic dessert is kuchen, which means “cake” in German, but its crust and creamy fruit and custard filling make it more like a tart or fruit pie. The basic recipe for kuchen can be customized with a variety of fillings from peach to pineapple.
Invented way back in 1917, MoonPies are an iconic Southern snack made by Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The bakery produces a million of these iconic little pies per day and are one of the snack foods you won’t believe are over 100 years old.
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. The flavored box gelatin makes a great base for a simple, refreshing and creamy summer pie when combined with whipped cream or whipped topping.
Vermont is synonymous with maple syrup. The Green Mountain State makes the most maple syrup in the country, producing over 2 million gallons of syrup in 2019. It’s second in the world only to Quebec, Canada. On top of being a breakfast staple and natural sweetener, maple syrup also makes the foundation for a tasty pie.
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 pie.
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but with the addition of sugar, its tart stalks make for a satisfying pie filling. Washington produces the largest commercial rhubarb crop in the country, and the city of Sumner in Pierce County has crowned itself “the rhubarb pie capital of the world.”
It seems fitting that America’s most beloved pie belongs to the capital of the country. Apple pie is a staple in Washington, D.C, where the dish is a favorite on the White House Thanksgiving menu. Former President Barack Obama even said that the White House apple pie is the best pie he’s ever had.
Native to the eastern U.S. from Florida all the way up to Canada, pawpaw fruit has a custard-like yellow flesh comparable to a banana mixed with a mango. Pawpaws bruise easily and have a short shelf life but they’re celebrated in West Virginia, where locals use the fruit in jellies, jams, ice cream, beer, moonshine and, of course, pie.
Cranberry pie will give the best dessert shop in your state a run for its money, and nowhere does the treat better than Wisconsin. Cranberries are the state’s official fruit as of 2003, which is fitting as it leads the nation in cranberry crops. If you attempt to bake cranberry pie at home, make it really sing with the use of additional sweetener and orange zest to balance the tartness of fresh cranberries.
It may be surprising for something so niche to be labeled as an iconic pie, but plums are native to Wyoming, where the bushes can grow up to 15 feet tall. Although plums can be difficult to work with, they’re well worth it when baked into a delicious pie or even plum pudding cake. And now that you know how every state gets its pie fix, push your sweet tooth even further by brushing up on the most iconic dessert in every state.
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