Iconic Desserts From Every State You Must Try

Iconic Desserts From Every State You Must Try

Every state has a nickname, and many have official state symbols such as animals. Some states have become well-known for certain treats. A handful of states have even passed legislation electing an emblematic dessert.

24/7 Tempo reviewed information about state official symbols and referenced the history of popular confections, specialties, and widely produced goods such as agricultural products to compile a list of iconic desserts from every state.

Some of the famous desserts on the list are popular throughout the country and a nationwide staple around the holidays or year-round.

Others, however, are just gaining popularity. The same is true for other foods, including sage and savory snacks — here are the most iconic foods every state has given the rest of the U.S.

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Alabama: Lane cake

The iconic Alabama white sponge cake filled with raisins or coconut was the creation of Emma Rylander Lane from Clayton, Alabama. Lane published the cake’s recipe in her cookbook, “A Few Good Things to Eat,” in 1898.

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Alaska: Baked Alaska

The name of this igloo-shaped dessert consisting of cake and ice cream topped with browned meringue was inspired by Alaska’s history of becoming the 49th U.S. state. The dessert might have actually been invented in New York by a French chef who called it “Alaska, Florida,” and was first served to celebrate the purchase of Alaska in 1867.

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Arizona: Eegees

Eegees is an Italian ice slush dessert that is only available in Tucson and Casa Grande, Arizona. The dessert was invented in 1971 by two college students — Ed Irving and Bob Greenberg — who named it after themselves.

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Arkansas: Possum pie

There is no possum meat in this pie with chocolate pudding, often paired with cream cheese or vanilla pudding. This layered dessert is topped with whipped cream. Unofficially, possum pie is the state’s treat.

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California: Date shake

The date shake — a milkshake flavored with locally grown dates — was invented in the late 1920s by Russell Nicoll. The drink is iconic to Palm Springs.

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Colorado: Palisade peach pancakes

Western Colorado is where Palisade peaches are grown, so it’s no surprise that one of the most popular desserts in the state includes the juicy fruit. Peach pies and cobblers are other local favorites.

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Connecticut: Pumpkin cookies with nutmeg

Connecticut is known as the Nutmeg state, so it’s only fitting that nutmeg cookies are one of Connecticut’s iconic desserts. The sweet spice was a staple among early New England inhabitants.

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Delaware: Strawberry pretzel salad

Though peach pie is the official state dessert, strawberry pretzel salad is worth a try. Strawberry, the official fruit of Delaware, is used in many, many recipes. One of them is the strawberry pretzel salad, which is not a salad, but a cake with crushed pretzels, sugar, and cream cheese topped with whipped cream.

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Florida: Key lime pie

The key lime, a smaller, seedier lime with more acidity and flavor than regular lime varieties, is grown in the Florida Keys and used to flavor the official pie of Florida.

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Georgia: Peach cobbler

Fruit cobblers have been popular since early American settlers baked them in Dutch ovens. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Georgia Peach Council helped establish a National Peach Cobbler Day to celebrate this dessert made from Georgia’s juiciest crop.

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Hawaii: Haupia

Haupia is a coconut-flavored pudding made of either cornstarch and coconut cream. The dessert is something between a jello square and a creamy pudding, depending on the recipe.

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Idaho: Ice cream potato

Idaho is famous for its potatoes, but an ice cream potato doesn’t actually have potatoes. The dessert is just shaped like a potato. An ice cream potato consists of vanilla ice cream covered in cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream. The dessert looks like a boiled potato with sour cream on top.

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Illinois: Chicago style popcorn

Chicago style popcorn is basically caramel and cheddar cheese popcorn. This particular style of popcorn was originally created in 1988 by a company headquartered in Minnesota.

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Indiana: Sugar cream pie

Also known as Hoosier pie or Indiana cream pie, this sweet staple is a custard pie made from cream, eggs, and vanilla in a butter crust.

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Iowa: Scotcharoos

Scotcharoos are chunks of rice krispies topped with melted chocolate and butterscotch chips and with peanut butter throughout the bar. The dessert’s origins are unclear, but it’s a staple in Iowa.

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Kansas: Sour cream and raisin pie

Made with or without meringue topping, sour cream and raisin pies are a Kansas specialty introduced by European immigrants.

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Kentucky: Bourbon balls

Kentucky is the world’s bourbon capital, so it’s no surprise that a famous dessert from the state would have bourbon. Bourbon balls are a no-bake dessert made by dipping bourbon-soaked nuts in chocolate. They were first created by Ruth Booe during the Prohibition era.

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Louisiana: Bananas Foster

Louisiana is known for many treats, including beignets. Few people may be aware that Bananas Foster — a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream, topped with a sauce made from butter, sugar, rum, banana liqueur, and cinnamon — was created in New Orleans in 1951.

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Maine: Whoopie pie

Whoopie pies are a Maine staple. There are several theories about the dessert’s origins. According to Farmers’ Almanac, the first commercially produced whoopie pies were sold in Lewiston, Maine, in 1925 (or 1918).

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Maryland: Smith Island cake

Smith Island cake has been Maryland’s official state dessert since 2008. Locals call the treat “layer cake.” It consists of eight to 10 layers of yellow cake with chocolate frosting in between. Some recipes even have 12 layers.

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Massachusetts: Boston cream pie

Created at the Parker House Hotel in 1856, Boston cream pie consists of two layers of sponge cake filled with thick vanilla custard and topped with chocolate sauce.

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Michigan: Bumpy cake

Bumpy cake is a sheet cake with chocolate fudge-covered vanilla buttercream bumps. The dessert was created almost a century ago in 1913 at Sanders Chocolates by Fred Sanders, who originally named the dessert “the Sanders devil’s food buttercream cake.”

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Minnesota: Bundt cake

Technically, the cake has European origins. But what makes a Bundt cake is the Bundt pans, which were invented in Minnesota in 1949.

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Mississippi: Mississippi mud pie

Resembling the muddy banks of the Mississippi River, this pie consists of multiple layers of chocolate. The cookie crust is topped by a dense layer of cake topped by a rich chocolate pudding — all topped with whipped cream.

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Missouri: Gooey butter cake

Invented in St. Louis in the 1930s or 1940s, gooey butter cake consists of a bottom cake layer with a chewy, pudding-like filling and a delicate crisp top.

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Montana: Huckleberry pie

Often confused with blueberries, huckleberries are a wild berry with crunchier seeds, thicker skin, and more acidity than blueberries. These berries have developed a sort of cult following in Montana.

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Nebraska: Tin roof sundae

The tin roof sundae dessert has a few variations, one of which is a scoop of chocolate ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, topped again with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with marshmallow cream — and with salted Spanish peanuts at the very top. The dessert was invented by Harold Dean “Pinky” Thayer at his diner.

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Nevada: Basque cake

The Basque cake has several names, including Gâteau Basque. It’s a tart-like treat, filled with jam or cream, with a flaky crust. The dessert has French origin and was introduced to American cuisine by the first Basque immigrants who settled in Nevada during the Gold Rush.

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New Hampshire: Cider donuts

New Hampshire produces over 24 million pounds of apples each year, and while cider donuts are popular all over New England, this state deserves recognition for the variety of flavors and widespread availability of these autumn dough delicacies.

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New Jersey: Saltwater taffy

Saltwater taffies were first made in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the late 19th century. A popular theory about the treat’s origin tells the story of a candy shop owner’s store was flooded and all of the taffy was soaked with salty ocean water. He sold a few of the taffies to a girl as a joke and the rest, as they say, is history.

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New Mexico: Sopaipilla

Sopaipillas are basically fried dough — sometimes in the shape of pillows — that are eaten with honey. The dessert, which has Spanish origins, is popular in several southern states.

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New York: Banana pudding

New York is most often associated with cheesecake, the state’s pride and joy when it comes to desserts. But banana pudding, which today is mostly associated with the South, was also invented in the Empire State — by German confectionery on Staten Island in the late 19th century.

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North Carolina: Sweet potato pie

Sweet potatoes are usually a side dish but can be the main ingredient of desserts. The origin of the sweet potato pie is unclear. As the No. 1 sweet potato-growing state in the U.S., North Carolina is most often linked to the pie.

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North Dakota: Chocolate-covered potato chips

Invented at Carol Widman’s Candy shop in Fargo, a chocolate-covered potato chips, or chipper, is the sweet, salty treat we all wish we’d known about sooner.

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Ohio: Buckeyes

These peanut butter fudge balls dipped in chocolate are made to look like the nut of Ohio’s state tree, the buckeye, which is native to the Midwest.

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Oklahoma: Fried pies

Pies are about as American as a dessert can get. But Oklahoma created its own spin — fried pies. Fried pies were first created in Springer, Oklahoma, south of the Arbuckle Mountains.

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Oregon: Marionberry pie

Marionberries are similar to blackberries but are grown only in Oregon. It’s no surprise then that marionberries have been incorporated by Oregon residents in many desserts, most notably in pies and cobblers, but also in ice cream and milkshakes.

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Pennsylvania: Shoofly pie

Shoofly pie is a molasses-based pie. It was likely created by the Pennsylvania Dutch community in the late 1800s. The first version of the pie was a coffee cake and was first served in 1876 at the U.S. Centennial in Philadelphia, according to food historian William Weaver.

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Rhode Island: Coffee milk

The coffee milk, which is not a milkshake, is popular in Rhode Island and is referred to as “cabinet” because the drink’s creator kept his blender in a kitchen cabinet. The drink, which is a mix of ice cream, milk, and coffee syrup, was named as Rhode Island’s official beverage in 1993.

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South Carolina: Coconut cake

The coconut cake is an iconic dessert in South Carolina perhaps because it is believed to have been created at Charleston-based restaurant Peninsula Grill in 1997 — on Valentine’s Day. The cake is basically a pound cake with coconut butter cream in between its layers. The Ultimate Coconut Cake is a trademark and the only place to get it is at the Peninsula Grill.

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South Dakota: Kuchen

South Dakota’s official state dessert, kuchen, is a pastry dough filled with a fruit or custard (or both) filling. It was originally brought to the area by German immigrants and now every South Dakotan family has its own kuchen variation.

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Tennessee: Cotton candy

Originally called fairy floss, cotton candy was created by two Nashville candymakers in 1897 when they invented a machine that heated sugar in a spinning bowl.

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Texas: Pecan pie

Several states claim to be the original home of pecan pie, one of America’s most famous pies. But one of the earliest recipes for this holiday staple — and one that is only slightly different from how the dessert is made today — can be traced back to a Texas cookbook from the 1870s.

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Utah: Jell-O

Jell-O, Utah’s official state snack, is so famous that U.S. senator from Utah Mike Lee has made Wednesdays at his office Jell-O Wednesdays (which were cancelled until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Utah is particularly famous for green Jell-O. The state even had an officially licensed Jell-O pin during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

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Vermont: Maple creemee

Locals call the maple creemee simply a creemee. The dessert, which has unclear origin, is basically a maple-flavored soft ice cream.

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Virginia: Chess pie

Chess pie is a beloved Southern dessert. This custardy refrigerator pie, which dates back to the mid-18th century, has nothing to do with the game. Its name might be a corruption of the term “cheese pie,” an old name for English lemon curd pie. The first recipe for chess pie can be traced back to the 1828 cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife.” In its simplest form, it’s made with nothing but flour, butter, sugar, and eggs.

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Washington: Apple crisp

Washington is the No. 1 apple producer in the U.S. Apples have been an official state symbol since 1989. Desserts with apples are very popular, and the deep dish apple crisp is one of them.

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West Virginia: No-bake cookies

West Virginia has several signature desserts, and no-bake cookies are among them. These cookies are a mix of cocoa, peanut butter, and oatmeal.

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Wisconsin: Kringle

Wisconsin’s most iconic dessert is also the state official pastry. The kringle has Danish origin. The pastry, which was brought to Wisconsin by Danish immigrants in the 19th century, has fruit, cheese, or nut filling.

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Wyoming: Huckleberry ice cream

Huckleberries are native to Wyoming and are very popular in the state. They are used in a variety of desserts — anything from pies to frozen snacks. One of the most popular is the huckleberry ice cream.

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