The Most Popular Dessert in Every State
Whether it's for a celebration or just your average Thursday, dessert is arguably the best part of any meal. Your preference in the sweet treat you crave has a lot to do with personal taste as well as what kind of foods you were exposed to growing up. A familiar dessert recipe has a way of transporting you back to childhood or conjuring up wonderful memories of simpler times. It's no wonder, then, that dessert cravings differ across various parts of the country.
Using a list of 40 popular desserts, life insurance company Coventry Direct analyzed Google Trends to see which dessert has been searched for the most in each state as of January 2022. The results show a variety of delicious favorites that Americans love to make with no one treat dominating—in fact, the most popular dessert is the winner in only five states. And unsurprisingly, many nostalgic treats lead across the U.S.
Keep reading to find out the most popular dessert in every state, and we even have some choice recipes to try when a craving strikes. For even more recipes, check out 76 Best Dessert Recipes for Weight Loss.
ALABAMA – Pound cake
Pound cake is a simple cake that actually used to be made with a pound of each ingredient. There are many variations now that tend to result in a lighter cake. For instance, Bigger Bolder Baking uses sour cream which helps to keep the denser-style cake very moist.
Get the recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.
ALASKA – Baked Alaska
Is it really a surprise that this cake and ice cream confection topped with flambeed meringue is popular in its home state? If you've never had Baked Alaska and love ice cream cake, this is an old-fashioned dessert that should be on your list.
ARIZONA – Rice Krispies treats
Two states love this simple, childhood-favorite. The best part about this handheld dessert is that there is no baking necessary, making it a perfect warm-weather sweet snack.
ARKANSAS – Pecan pie
Three states adore this nutty pie. Keep this sweet treat to the holidays because just one slice can set you back over 500 calories.
CALIFORNIA – Ice cream
Ice cream is the most popular dessert across the state, but not as popular as you might think. Only five states claim this as the favorite.
COLORADO – Rice Krispies treats
The people in Colorado love this marshmallow-based treat. Go out of the box and play around with the cereal you use to make these squares your own.
CONNECTICUT – Icebox cake
The easy-to-make old-fashioned icebox cake was likely the precursor to the ice cream cake. This cake is usually cookies and whipped cream layered in a pie pan and then chilled. This simple version has just five ingredients.
Get the recipe from The Seasoned Mom.
DELAWARE – Funnel cake
Three states love this state-fair favorite. Usually, a fluffy pancake-like dough is piped in swirls in hot oil and then showered in powdered sugar. As this is a deep-fried treat, funnel cake should be enjoyed only once per season.
FLORIDA – Key lime pie
Fittingly, the tangy key lime pie, made from tiny key limes indigenous to Florida, is the favorite in the state. Try our recipe to create a bit of a lighter pie than a traditional version!
Get our recipe for The Easiest Key Lime Pie.
GEORGIA – Peach cobbler
Georgia is known for its peaches, so naturally, the Georgians turn this summer fruit into a luscious cobbler. What's the difference between a cobbler, a crumble, and a crisp? Find out: The Real Difference Between Cobblers, Crumbles, Crisps, and More!
Get our recipe for Healthy Blueberry Peach Cobbler.
HAWAII – Cheesecake
In a state filled with tropical fruits, the people love a simple, creamy cheesecake. Cheesecake doesn't have to be terrible for you, there are plenty of ways to make this dessert a healthy one.
Try out our 23 Healthy and Delicious Cheesecake Recipes.
IDAHO – Jello
There's always room for it, especially in Idaho and three other states. Jello brings out the kid in everyone, and, despite the sugar content, it is a lighter dessert worth enjoying from time to time.
ILLINOIS – Ice cream
Illinois also loves a scoop or two of ice cream for dessert.
INDIANA – Texas sheet cake
A Texas sheet cake, popular in Indiana and in two other states, is a simple chocolate cake made in a flat pan. After baking it's spread with fudgy frosting and topped with pecans. Interestingly, this is not the most popular dessert in Texas.
Get the recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.
IOWA – Texas sheet cake
This easy cake is popular in Iowa too.
KANSAS – Texas sheet cake
People hungry for dessert in Kansas are also seeking out this foolproof cake.
KENTUCKY – Fudge
Most people have eaten fudge, most likely buying it from a chocolate shop along a shore while on vacation, but what is it? According to The Spruce Eats, fudge is a candy made from crystallized sugar, butter, and milk, along with some flavorings. Fudge is one of those things that's very easy to make but hard to make right, as so much depends on temperature.
LOUISIANA – Pralines
Pralines are also a candy that, like fudge, is difficult to get right. Unlike fudge, traditional pralines contain pecans in a creamy, caramel-like candy shaped into a little patty.
MAINE – Chocolate chip cookies
The surprise about chocolate chip cookies on this list is that only two states consider the famous cookie their favorite dessert. Perhaps a cookie is really a snack and not a dessert? After all, a slice of cake is a commitment, a cookie is just a small treat.
MARYLAND – Funnel cake
In Mayland, funnel cake is the most popular dessert.
MASSACHUSETTS – Ice cream
In Massachusetts, folks favor a scoop or two of ice cream after a meal.
MICHIGAN – Carrot cake
Carrot cake is the dessert of choice in Michigan and in three other states. There's so much you can do with the nutty, sweet flavors of carrot cake. You can also take this treat to a whole new level with recipes like Gooey Cinnamon Carrot Poke Cake and Carrot Cake Marshmallows.
Get 25 carrot cake recipes from Flour on My Face.
MINNESOTA – Jello
Jello reigns supreme in Minnesota. If you want to go outside of the box and recreate an iconic old-fashioned dessert, try this Creamsicle Orange Jello Salad.
Get the recipe from Cupcakes & Kale Chips.
MISSISSIPPI – Banana pudding
If you've been to New York, the thought of banana pudding automatically brings up the treat from Magnolia Bakery. It just happens they shared the recipe and it's super easy to make.
Get our recipe for Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding.
MISSOURI – Coconut cake
In Missouri and one other state, light and fluffy coconut cake is the favorite. One to try is a Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake since it's both delicious and stunning!
Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
MONTANA – Pumpkin pie
Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is the favorite dessert in Montana.
NEBRASKA – Brownies
Surprisingly, there are only three states where brownies are the favorite dessert.
Get our recipe for The Best Fudgy Brownie.
NEVADA – Blondies
Nevada on the other hand favors brownies cousin the blondie. These delicious treats are made without chocolate or cocoa powder. Try these Coffee Chocolate Chip Blondies for a fun twist!
Get the recipe from Cookie & Kate.
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Jello
The folks in New Hampshire also love Jello.
NEW JERSEY – Icebox cake
Old-fashioned icebox cake has a following in the Garden State. You can even try this recipe using a box of Funfetti cake mix.
Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.
NEW MEXICO – Bananas Foster
Flambeed bananas Foster is a popular dessert in New Mexico but the place to try this dessert in its birthplace: Brennan's in New Orleans.
NEW YORK – Black & white cookies
More cake-like than cookie-like, these iconic cookies are a staple in New York City.
NORTH CAROLINA – Coconut cake
They are also fans of coconut cake in North Carolina.
NORTH DAKOTA – Banana split
The iconic ice cream sundae made with a split banana, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice creams, and variety of other toppings is popular in North Dakota.
OHIO – Texas sheet cake
Flat and fudgy Texas sheet cake is a popular treat in Ohio.
OKLAHOMA – Pecan pie
In Oklahoma, pecan pie is on everyone's minds.
OREGON – Carrot cake
In Oregon, carrot cake is the dessert of choice.
PENNSYLVANIA – Ice cream
People in Pennsylvania opt for a scoop or two of ice cream when dessert time comes. But if you're looking for these premium discontinued flavors, sadly, you'll never see them on the shelves again.
RHODA ISLAND – Donuts
It is shocking that Rhode Island is the only state that turns to donuts for something sweet. Perhaps, these are considered more of a breakfast treat, than a dessert.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Jello
The jiggly sweet stuff is a favorite in South Carolina.
SOUTH DAKOTA – Brownies
In South Dakota, home bakers are whipping up pans of brownies more than any other dessert.
TENNESEE – Chess pie
This easy pie doesn't contain any fruit. It is a mixture of eggs, milk or buttermilk, flour, sugar, and something sour to cut the sweetness like lemon. According to the Cooking Classy blog, one secret to the perfect chess pie is to use browned butter which will also help cut the sweetness of the pie.
Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.
TEXAS – Pecan pie
As we stated above, the popular Texas sheet cake is not the most popular dessert in Texas. That spot is reserved for pecan pie.
UTAH – Chocolate chip cookies
Utah is the other state that favors a simple chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
VERMONT – Brownies
The last state to have brownies as its favorite dessert is Vermont.
VIRGINIA – Funnel cake
Sweet and doughy funnel cake is the favorite dessert in Virginia.
WASHINGTON – Carrot cake
The folk in Washington love a slide of carrot cake for dessert.
WEST VIRGINIA – Fudge
In West Virginia, fudge rules as the state's favorite sweet. Did you know you could make fudge using a slow cooker?
Get the recipe from La Creme De La Crumb.
WISCONSIN – Cherry pie
The people of Wisconsin are the only ones to favor a slice of cherry pie over all other desserts.
WYOMING – German chocolate cake
German chocolate cake is a sweet chocolate cake with a pecan-coconut filling and a thick, chocolate frosting.