The Most Legendary Dessert in Every State
Finding the best dessert in every state is a sweet kind of challenge. From decadent ice cream sundaes to slices of cake to over-the-top treats you may not have heard about yet, we scoured the country for the most iconic and truly beloved desserts that represent local flavors and tastes.
When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, you're likely always looking for the freshest ingredients, great vibes, local ownership, and a spot that has a loyal local fan base. With that in mind, we scoured reviews, talked to locals, and even looked back on our own travels around the country to put together a definitive list of the best desserts across the U.S.
Now, here is your state-by-state guide of the best desserts you can find that will surely have your sweet tooth very happy. For more, check out The Best Cheesecake in Every State.
ALABAMA: Banana Pudding Shake at K&J's Elegant Pastries in Alabaster
This massive milkshake at K&J's Elegant Pastries marries all the flavors of banana pudding, including the crunch of 'Nilla Wafers, into one decadent dessert.
ALASKA: Yukon Gold at Wild Scoops in Anchorage
Ice cream in Alaska? You betcha! This micro-creamery serves up creative scoops, including this local fave featuring a sweet cream base with homemade potato chip toffee, finished off with a swirl of homemade dark chocolate fudge.
ARIZONA: Ice cream topped with a macaron and toasted marshmallow at Fatty Daddy's in Scottsdale
This locally-owned shop has a wacky menu that is legendary for their fired-up toppings. Their signature treats include ice cream, gelato, and sorbet—all topped off with a freshly made macaroon and toasted marshmallow blazed up by an in-house torch—that are always menu and full of flavor choices.
ARKANSAS: Chocolate Lovers Brownie Sundae at Loblolly Ice Cream in Little Rock
Chocoholics line up for this decadent treat made with a scoop of milk chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, and chocolate chips all over a warm fudge brownie at Loblolly. The affogato—a scoop of ice cream covered in espresso—is excellent as well.
CALIFORNIA: Original Japanese Cheesecake at Uncle Tetsu, Various Locations
With several locations across the state, this local mini-chain has elevated dessert with its signature cheesecake. It combines the richness of American cheesecake with all the fluffiness of a souffle.
COLORADO: Candy Sculpture at The Inventing Room Dessert Shop in Denver
Inspired by the whimsy in the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie, this sweet shop creates magical seeming sweets and treats for guests. The menu does change regularly, but we're currently charmed by the creative candy sculptures. This is an experience that has to be tasted to be believed!
CONNECTICUT: Croissants at Sift Bake Shop in Mystic
This French-inspired bakery in picturesque Mystic isn't serving up your average croissants. The unique flavors like blackberry buttermilk and raspberry chocolate are taken to another level by the vibrant colors of these flaky treats. In-the-know locals flock to the booze and baked goods roof bar during the summer.
DELAWARE: Moon Pie at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach
Served by the slice, this giant ice cream cake is big enough for everyone at the table. It's stacked high with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream, all of which is covered in frosting and dripping with chocolate and caramel. So yes, it's a lot . . . but so worth it during a trip to this fabulous restaurant!
FLORIDA: The BreakFast Club Milkshake at Vicky's House in Coconut Grove
Meant to look like the owner's mom's place in the '80s—wallpaper and linoleum included—Vicky's House is a milkshake shop and beer store with an incredible milkshake menu. Try The BreakFast Club, an indulgent vanilla milkshake with bacon, Captain Crunch cereal, a glazed donut from Salt Donut, maple syrup, a peanut butter rim, whipped cream, and a shot of colada.
GEORGIA: Popcorn Sundae at Canoe in Atlanta
Popcorn and ice cream—two great flavors, made better together at Canoe in Atlanta. This sundae melds the terrific salty crunch of popcorn into house-made peanut Cracker Jack over ice cream and topped with chantilly.
HAWAII: Unicone at Makani's Magic Pineapple Shack in Hilo
The craveable and unique Unicone is one you're going to want to try at Makani's Magic Pineapple Shack in Hilo. Ube and dragon fruit ice creams are swirled together, then speckled with sprinkles and fruity cereal.
IDAHO: Ice Cream Potato at the Westside Drive In in Boise
Contrary to appearance, this trickster dessert at Westside Drive In doesn't contain any actual potato, but it will thrill kids and kids-at-heart. It's made with molded vanilla ice cream that's covered in cocoa and topped with chocolate shavings and whipped cream. We can personally confirm it looks a lot like the real thing!
ILLINOIS: Rainbow Cone from Original Rainbow Cone in Chicago
Since 1926, this scoop shop has been serving ice cream in Chicago. The Rainbow Cone made up of chocolate, orange sherbet, palmer house, pistachio, and strawberry is an over-the-top classic.
INDIANA: Margarita Pie at Pots & Pans in Indianapolis
This pie, available by the slice or whole at Pots & Pans, is the perfect summer treat! Made with fresh limes and tequila, the crust is a mix of graham crackers and saltines—and the whole thing is sprinkled with flaky salt.
IOWA: Scotcheroos at Beyond the Bar Bakery in Decorah
Basically the state dessert of Iowa, Scotcheroos are a gooey peanut butter crispy treat that somehow tastes nostalgic even if you've never had them before. Locals tell us the best ones you can find are at Beyond the Bar, where you'll also find tasty little bite cakes.
KANSAS: Homemade 'Poptarts' at Milkfloat in Wichita
It would be tough to go wrong with any of the baked goods at Milkfloat, but you'll be transported back to childhood—only much, much better—with this flaky pastry stuffed with filling and topped with homemade icing.
KENTUCKY: Bourbon Aficionado at 610 Magnolia in Louisville
This is one sophisticated dessert that is very adults-only at 610 Magnolia. Chef Lee's breakdown of bourbon drunken banana cake, brown butter ice cream butterscotch, chocolate Pappy maple syrup, and corn is not to be missed. Oh, and it also features smoke, too! Talk about putting on a show before you dig in…
LOUISIANA: King Cakes from Manny Randazzo's in Metairie
Traditionally eaten to celebrate the Epiphany (or just to kick off Mardi Gras) king cake is a sweet, cinnamony round cake topped with creamy white frosting—and a tiny baby "king" is hidden within. Pick one up in the city at Manny Randazzo's, or order one to be delivered anywhere in the U.S.
MAINE: Pints from The Parlor Ice Cream Co., Various Retailers
This decadent ice cream is made in small batches using milk and cream from Maine along with local fruits, herbs, and sustainably sourced ingredients. When this creamery drops new flavors—like Cosmic Brownie, Luckiest Charms, Meyer Lemon & Poppy Seed — on Instagram, fans rush to local stores to scoop them up. We suggest you do the same!
MARYLAND: Old Bay Chocolate Crabs from Sweet Cascades Chocolatier in Ellicott City
This old-school chocolate shop has loads of cute chocolate candies—even cicadas! The chocolate molded crabs seasoned with Old Bay are so addictive, you'll be hooked in no time.
MASSACHUSETTS: Cube Toast at Double Chin in Boston
Boston's Double Chin does modern twists on Chinese dishes, and it happens to have over-the-top treats, too. The cube toast—which is giant French toast piled high with ice cream, mochi, M&Ms, fruit, cereal, and more—is the most craveable.
MICHIGAN: Waffle Pops at Street Sweets in Sterling Heights
This choose-your-own-adventure sweet starts with a regular, chocolate, or red velvet waffle on a stick. You can load it up with anything from like birthday cake Oreos to Butterfingers. Street Sweets also leans into its heritage and offers delicious Middle Eastern sweets, including heavenly baklava. Can't go wrong with any of these menu items!
MINNESOTA: Salted Caramel Crunch at Milkjam in Minneapolis
If you just want a scoop, this creamery is packed with tons of flavors. But if you really want to indulge, the Salted Caramel Crunch is packed with all of your favorite sweets: ice cream, salted caramel, caramel whip, and caramelized Rice Krispies.
MISSISSIPPI: Lemon Icebox Pie from The Crystal Grill in Greenwood
We aren't the first to call this pie epic, and we won't be the last! On a hot day, you've got to stop by The Crytal Grill to try this uniquely southern treat for yourself.
MISSOURI: Gooey Butter Cake at Gooey Louie in Chesterfield
Beloved by Missourians, this cake has two layers—often yellow cake on the bottom and a buttery cream cheese layer on top. Gooey Louie offers traditional, plus flavors like blueberry and turtle. Bonus? They ship nationwide!
MONTANA: Huckleberry Ice Cream at Big Dipper in Missoula
Huckleberries grow wild in the mountains of Montana, and locals have very strong feelings about who makes the best ice cream from these sweet berries. The answer is Big Dipper, which has been serving up homemade scoops since 1995.
NEBRASKA: Unicorn Bars at Sweet Magnolia's in Omaha
This locally owned bakery makes everything by hand, and it all looks amazing. But the Unicorn bars—blondies sandwiched with cookies and cream and topped with rainbow buttercream—are the real showstopper.
NEVADA: Capello at Sinatra in Las Vegas
The Capello, also known as the "Sinatra Hat" at the singer's namesake restaurant at Encore, Las Vegas, is a tiny Valrhona chocolate mousse fedora with panna cotta. It's adorable—and so rich!
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Pina Colada Tart at La Maison Navarre in Portsmouth
This French restaurant and patisserie is a local favorite for crepes and quiches, but the real star of the show is the pastry selection—especially the coconut flecked tart.
NEW JERSEY: Dessert Pizza at Brother Bruno's in Wayne
This family-owned pizzeria in New Jersey makes a sweet pizza pie so popular you can order it nationwide. Pick your topping—red velvet and s'mores are both favorites—and get this indulgent treat delivered to your home if you can't swing by and pick it up.
NEW MEXICO: The Blue Sky Donut at Rebel Donut in Albuquerque
Yes, this vanilla cake donut with blue cotton candy icing and topped with rock candy is a nod to the TV series, Breaking Bad. It happens to be sweet, delicious, and a lot better for you than anything they were ever cooking up on the show. Get it at Rebel Donut.
NEW YORK: Salty Pimp at Big Gay Ice Cream in New York City
There's no shortage of sweet treats in New York City, but our pick is a hometown favorite. The Salty Pimp is a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone that's injected with dulce de leche, then lightly salted, and dipped in chocolate shell. It's the perfect mix of salty and sweet from Big Gay Ice Cream.
NORTH CAROLINA: One Pound Doughnut at Stoke in Charlotte
You'll probably want to share this enormous donut topped with whipped cream, Heath bar bits, and powdered sugar. If you don't, the restaurant often offers a half-pound version, as well.
NORTH DAKOTA: Chippers at Carol Widman's Candy Co. in Fargo
These sweet and savory bites at Carol Widman's Candy Co. are pretty much what they sound like: Red River Valley potato chips covered with delicious chocolate. They're available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate (semi-sweet), and white almond.
OHIO: Pretzel Salted Caramel Cheesecake at Annie's Signature Sweets in Cleveland
This award-winning cheesecake from the locally-owned shop is a decadent delight. The creamy cheesecake is surrounded by homemade salted caramel sauce in a pretzel crust.
OKLAHOMA: Roasted Pecan Ball at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma City
Locals go nuts for this dish at Cheever's Cafe! A hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream is coated in sticky, crunchy pecans and brown sugar—all swimming in a warm caramel sauce.
OREGON: Voodoo Doll at Voodoo Donuts in Portland
He's meant to be scary, but we think the Voodoo Doll donut at Voodoo Donuts is just adorable. The raspberry-filled yeast doll-shaped donut with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake in its heart is deliciously creepy.
PENNSYLVANIA: Sundaes at The Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia
Philly is an ice cream town, and Franklin's has been serving up scoops and milkshakes since 1900. From the traditional to the gut-busting Mt. Vesuvius, the revolving menu makes it hard to pick just one. You'll surely enjoy the rich toppings on top of ice cream packed in an easy-to-carry take-out box.
RHODE ISLAND: Cupcake Push Pops at Cupcake Charlie's in Newport
With a motto like "Life is Short, Eat a Cupcake" it's no surprise this sweet shop makes it easy for you to indulge, thanks to the push pops filled with layers of cake, filling, and frosting.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Ultimate Coconut Cake at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston
On the menu at Peninsula Grill since Valentine's Day 1997, this iconic cake has been called the best coconut cake by just about every major food publication. It's actually two cakes cut into three layers each, with fluffy filling, cream cheese icing, and toasted coconut.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Kuchen at Grandma's Kuchen in Ashley
The official state dessert of South Dakota (yes, that's a thing!), Kuchen is sort of a mashup of cake and pie—it's the German word for cake—topped with custard. Grandma's is the local favorite, and this treat is available in flavors like chocolate chip and mixed berry.
TENNESSEE: 100 Layer Doughnuts at Five Daughters in Nashville
You've probably tried a cronut, but these fluffy layered treats at Five Daughters are something far different. Each pastry contains about the same amount of dough as five traditional donuts in flaky layers flavored with chocolate sea salt, triple raspberry, vanilla cream, and more.
TEXAS: Frozen Banana at Bananarchy in Austin
Yes, this food truck only serves frozen bananas—and they do them right! You'll find frozen bananas dipped in chocolate or vegan chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla. They're then rolled in toppings of your choice, including coconut, sprinkles, toffee, and more. Don't forget a drizzle of chocolate and marshmallow to finish!
UTAH: Tollhouse Pie at the Dodo in Salt Lake City
The Dodo has been a staple for great desserts in Salt Lake since the '80s, and the classic Tollhouse pie has been a local favorite for years. The chocolate chip cookie dough baked right into a pie crust topped with whipped cream is a must for sweets lovers, but everything on the menu is truly a treat.
VERMONT: Apple Pie at Poorhouse Pie in Underhill
This self-serve pie shed is legendary among northeastern pie aficionados, and the apple pie—made from Vermont's state fruit—is incredible. Pick up a pie at its shed using the honor system, and take it back to your country house (or rental) for a perfect ending to your Vermont escape.
VIRGINIA: Chess Pie at Proper Pie Co. in Richmond
The oh-so-delicious options at this pie shop sell out fast, so be sure to order early! You can pick up everything from slices of savory pie to entire sweet pies at this eatery. Go for the Southern favorite chess pie, which is made with Meyer lemon and buttermilk.
WASHINGTON: Sliced Cake at Deep Sea Sugar & Salt in Seattle
This special order cake shop offers up slices at the counter every day, so what's available often varies. However, a beloved favorite is the ricotta cake, along with the black currant and blackberry poppyseed cake.
WEST VIRGINIA: Ginger Molasses Cookies at Shepardstown Sweet Shop Bakery in Shepardstown
This cute little bakery and café offers a huge selection of cookies, but locals rave that the ginger molasses cookies are simply "the best." Don't miss the cute cupcakes, either!
WISCONSIN: Kringle from O&H Danish Bakery in Racine
If you've ever spent time in the Northern Midwest, you've probably tried Kringle, a Wisconsin favorite of flaky pastry with decadent cream cheese frosting. With fillings like cherry cheese and mimosa, O&H Danish Bakery makes the best.
WYOMING: Eskimo Bars at Snake River Grill in Jackson
We've already highlighted the Snake River Grill as the most romantic restaurant in Wyoming, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it's also home to the best dessert in the state, thanks to its legendary Eskimo bars. This chilled dessert has a bottom layer of fudge-like brownies that are topped with vanilla ice cream and coated in a chocolate shell. The bars are then drizzled with salted caramel sauce. Talk about pure bliss! They were also featured as one of Giada de Laurentiis' favorite desserts on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Plus, don't miss these other delicious spots: The Best Dessert Menu in Every State.
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