10 Most Popular Desserts in America (2023)

By: Alia Hoyt & Sarah Gleim|Updated: Oct 8, 2021

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (1)

Who doesn't crave a wonderful, decadent dessert, especially after dinner? The name itself comes from the French word "desservir," which in English means "to clear away," in this case, the food from dinner table. And depending on where you are in the world that could mean a variety of after-dinner sweet treats. In China, it might contain sweet red beans or dates. In Mexico, flan could be on the menu.

In the United States, the sweeter the dessert, the better. In fact, Americans might not have created some of the most popular desserts out there, but they've become known for putting their spin on several of the classics. Case in point: Apple pie wasn't created in the U.S. but it's as American as, well, apple pie. So what other desserts are among Americans' favorites? Join us as we count down the 10 most popular desserts the United States has to offer.



  1. Cheesecake
  2. Cupcakes
  3. Jell-O
  4. Carrot Cake
  5. Apple Pie
  6. Ice Cream
  7. Brownies
  8. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  9. German Chocolate Cake
  10. Fudge

10: Cheesecake

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (2)

While you might think the cheesecake got its start in New York, its origins date back to ancient Greece and the island of Samos. Anthropologists have found cheese molds there that date back to circa 2000 B.C.E. and the first recipe for Greek cheesecake is credited to writer Athenaeus in 230 A.D. But it was Americans who added cream cheese to the cake in 1872. A New York dairy farmer accidentally created what we now know as Philadelphia Cream Cheese when he was trying to re-create French Neufchatel. While there are seemingly unlimited variations of cheesecake, New York style cheesecake uses cream cheese along with eggs, cream, sugar and usually a graham cracker crust. It's served plain with no other ingredients or toppings.


9: Cupcakes

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (3)

Cupcakes aren't just for kids anymore. And if you want a dessert fix entirely personalized for you, head to your nearest gourmet cupcake shop. Americans are fascinated with cupcakes — and cupcake bakeries — and it's easy to see why. They're small, stunning and pint-sized versions of every cake flavor you can imagine.

You can expect to find everything from traditional vanilla and chocolate to more exotic flavors like Key lime pie, red velvet and cookies 'n' cream. Of course, you don't have to go to a gourmet shop to get them. You can also make perfect cupcakes at home using a muffin pan and decorative paper liners.


(Video) Top 10 American Desserts

8: Jell-O

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (4)

There's always room for Jell-O. At least that's what the dessert's vintage famous ad slogan says. Jell-O is actually a brand name, but it's has become synonymous with any kind of gelatin dessert and there's an undeniably fun appeal to the jiggling. It's easy to make and there's virtually no cleanup required. All you have to do is add boiling water to the powdered mix and chill for a few hours.

Here's something you might not know: Gelatin is a processed version of collagen, a natural protein found in the tendons, ligaments and tissues of mammals. It's made by boiling the connective tissues, bones and skins of animals. And yes, that's what Jell-O brand is made from, too. Take that powdered gelatin, add some artificial sweetener and food coloring, and you have a very popular dessert. Chalk one up for the advertising business.

7: Carrot Cake

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (5)

Ah, carrot cake. Not only is it equal parts creamy and delicious, it's also quite possibly the best dessert to choose when you want to fool yourself into thinking you're being healthy. Carrots are good for you, so carrot cake can't be too bad, right? Well, not so much.

Made popular in the U.S. in the mid-20th century, carrot cake is a delightful blend of sweet and spicy cake rounded out with cream cheese frosting (made from cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract). Like many other desserts, carrot cake can be made using a traditional recipe or dressed up with extras like macadamia nuts, pineapple and coconut.


Of course, if fat and calories are a concern, you can easily lighten it up by making a few simple adjustments, such as reducing the amount of sugar and oil and adding crushed pineapple to preserve moistness. Still, no matter what you do, calling carrot cake a healthy dessert will be a stretch, but it'll always be tasty.

6: Apple Pie

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (6)

Nothing says America like baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. But apple pie wasn't even created in the United States.

Apple pies or tarts date all the way back to Europe in the 14th century. The first apple pie recipes are from 1390, and they used honey in place of the seldom-used sugar. In the 1700s, the pie became pretty popular in the United Kingdom and was brought over to the new American colonies. Apple pie was regularly found in American cookbooks by the 18th century, but the famous ala mode version, topped with vanilla ice cream, didn't come into fashion until the 19th century in New York.


Because of the "red, white and blue" connotations, you can find apple pie on picnic tables all over the country every Fourth of July when Americans celebrate their independence from England. The two most popular versions of the dessert are the traditional flakey crust variety and the Dutch, or crumb, apple pie. Most folks prefer it fresh and warm from the oven, but frozen apple pies are big sellers as well; just ask Sara Lee.

5: Ice Cream

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (7)
(Video) Top 10 Most Popular Desserts in America

The birthplace of ice cream isn't certain, but food historians generally credit it to the Chinese and the flavored ices they enjoyed as far back as 3000 B.C.E. Marco Polo is believed to be the man responsible for bringing the idea to Italy, where the modern ice cream we enjoy today was born in the 17th century. The first ice cream recipe in the United States is thought to be from the 1792 cookbook "The New Art of Cookery, According to the Present Practice."

The invention of the hand-crank ice cream maker in 1843 allowed people to make it themselves, and homemade ice cream remains a popular dessert for American families today.


Many flavors have come and gone over the years, but none rocked the ice cream world like cookies 'n' cream in 1979 and chocolate chip cookie dough in 1991.

4: Brownies

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (8)

Served piping hot or at room temperature, made from scratch or from a mix, brownies are quite possibly one of the most versatile desserts out there, provided you enjoy a significant dose of chocolate. Some brownie connoisseurs prefer their creations to be more cake like, whereas others enjoy a fudgier, moister consistency. In general, how your brownies turn out is influenced by the number of eggs and fat you use in the recipe, as well as how long you bake them for.

Brownies can also be tailor-made to suit your taste buds. The traditional chocolate variety is a classic, enjoyable option, but some aspiring chefs prefer to include other ingredients to add some extra zing to the mix. For example, cream cheese, peanut butter or chocolate chips, coffee, white chocolate and icing are all popular add-ins. Their versatility alone is what makes brownies one of Americans' favorite desserts.


3: Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (9)

For cookie lovers, rarely is there a recipe more beloved than the classic chocolate chip. The mixture of cookie dough and those delicious semisweet chocolate morsels is hard to beat, especially when they come straight out of a hot oven. And chocolate chip cookies are quintessentially American. The recipe was created in the late '30s by Ruth Wakefield who ran the Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts. Her recipe was so popular with her guests, it ran on Betty Crocker's radio program, and in 1939, Wakefield sold the recipe rights to Nestlé. Wakefield's original recipe is what we now know as Nestlé Toll House's Original Chocolate Chip Cookies.


2: German Chocolate Cake

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (10)

The first chocolate cakes in American history were actually "Mahogany cakes" and they date back to the late 1800s. Recipes for mahogany cakes first appeared cookbooks like Sarah Tyson Rorer's "The Philadelphia Cookbook" around 1886. Around the same time, Sam German was perfecting sweet baking chocolate for Baker's chocolate company, which they named for him. But "German's Chocolate" never caught on until late 1950. That's when the Dallas Morning Star published the recipe for what we now know as German chocolate cake; America fell hard, and the rest is history.


1: Fudge

10 Most Popular Desserts in America (11)

The only problem with fudge is that it's nearly impossible to eat just a square or two. And in the world of fudge, there's a flavor for everyone. Traditionalists can stick with the milk or dark chocolate versions, while nut enthusiasts might incorporate walnuts or macadamias for a little extra crunch.

The best part about fudge is that it's easy to whip up, even for children. Plus, fudge makes an excellent gift for any occasion. If you've never had the pleasure of sampling homemade fudge, give it a try so that you'll forever understand why this rich sweet has captivated American dessert-lovers for more than 100 years.

Originally Published: Feb 23, 2009

(Video) Top 10 American Desserts - Most Popular Desserts In America

Most Popular Desserts in the U.S.A.

What is the easiest dessert to make from scratch?

Jello is easy to make and there's virtually no cleanup required. All you have to do is add boiling water to the powdered mix and chill for a few hours.

What is the most popular dessert in America?

In the U.S., ice cream production is a whopping $8 billion industry.

What is the most popular bake sale item?

Cupcakes, cookies and brownies are some of the most common bake sale items because they're small and easy to distribute.

What is the most popular baked good in America?

Doughnuts. According to WebstaurantStore Blog, 123 million doughnuts were eaten in 2016 and nearly $350 million was spent on doughnuts.

What is the most popular dessert in America?

Cheesecake, cupcakes, jell-O, carrot cake, apple pie, ice cream, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake are the most popular desserts in America.

Lots More Information

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  • Chocolates. "Chocolate Cake." 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.chocolates.org/chocolate-cake.html
  • Eating Well. "Carrot Cake." April/May 2005. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/carrot_cake.html
  • Food Channel. "The Top 15 Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors." Foodchannel.com. 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.foodchannel.com/stories/674-the-top-15-most-popular-ice-cream-flavors
  • HuffPost. "Eating Raw Cookie Dough Really Can Make You Sick -- in Unexpected Ways." Dec. 9, 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/eating-raw-cookie-dough_n_1140260.html
  • Hungry Monster. "Cheesecake: a History." 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.hungrymonster.com/FoodFacts/Food_Facts.cfm?Phrase_vch=Cheesecake&fid=9671
  • JELL-O Gallery, the. "The History of JELL-O." 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.jellogallery.org/jellohistory.html
  • Kent, Tamsyn. "The cupcake revival." BBC. Oct. 23, 2009. (Dec. 15, 2011) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8315245.stm
  • Loeper, Kelly. "Low-fat vs. classic carrot cake." The Journal: Queen's University. Dec. 11, 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://queensjournal.ca/blogs/food/2011/12/low-fat-vs-classic-carrot-cake/
  • Malgieri, Nick. "Cakes: Recipes and Tips." Epicurious. 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/primers/cakesfrostings
  • Martha Stewart Living. "Carrot Cake Cookies. 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.marthastewart.com/270553/carrot-cake-cookies
  • Martha Stewart Living. "Making Fudge." 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.marthastewart.com/267690/making-fudge
  • Olver, Lynn. "About Ice Cream." Food Timeline. 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodicecream.html
  • Paretti, Jane Marchiony. "The man who invented the ice cream cone Italo Marchiony created the dish you could eat - and he created it in Hoboken." Hudson Reporter. 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011) http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_stories_home/2405732/article-The-man-who-invented-the-ice-cream-cone-Italo-Marchiony-created-the-dish-you-could-eat---and-he-created-it-in-Hoboken
  • Pie Space. "A History of Apple Pie." Dec. 5, 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://piespace.com/a-history-of-apple-pie
  • Santos-Neves, Carolina. "Taste Test – Brownie Mixes." Epicurious. 2011. (Dec. 16, 2011).http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/everydaycooking/tastetests/browniemixestastetest
  • What's Cooking America. "Cheesecake History." 2008. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/Cheesecake.htm
  • What's Cooking America. "History of Apple Pie." (Dec. 15, 2011) http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PieHistory/ApplePie.htm
  • Whole Foods. "Carrots." 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21
  • Woodstock Candy. "History of Fudge." 2011. (Dec. 15, 2011). http://www.woodstockcandy.com/history-of-fudge.html

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What is the most popular dessert in USA? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Desserts in America are Chocolate Chip Cookies!

What is the #1 dessert in the world? ›

1) Cream Brulee (FRANCE) -

Back in the 17th century, this dessert was introduced by Francois Massialot, a chef of a kitchen of a Duke of Orlean, who wrote about its recipe in a book. A creamy pastry a thin, crisp caramel layer is what is referred to as cream brulee and which has stolen everyone's heart.

What is the best desert? ›

  • Tiramisu.
  • Chocolate mousse in minutes.
  • Angel food cake.
  • 'Not so fried' ice-cream.
  • Roasted strawberry crumble.
  • Apple and butterscotch pie.
  • Almond and date cake.
  • Apple cinnamon custard cake.

What is America's national dessert? ›

Apple pie is a stalwart of American culture. According to the American Pie Council, apple really is the US national favorite.

What is one of the oldest desserts? ›

Ashure (Noah's Pudding) is thought to be the oldest dessert in the world, first made by Noah after his fabled landfall at Mt Ararat. It is a delightful mix of dried fruit, nuts, grains and beans (yes, beans!) made in Turkey and all over the Middle East. Give it a try - you'll be glad you did!

What is the most popular desert? ›

Bananas have stolen the number one spot of most popular dessert, two years in a row. The year 2021 was all about the Classic Banana Pudding.

What is the most expensive dessert? ›

The dessert uses a fine blend of 28 cocoas, including 14 of the world's most expensive. The sundae was made in partnership with luxury jeweller Euphoria New York. The dessert is decorated with 5 g (0.17 oz) of edible 23-karat gold and is served in a goblet lined with edible gold.

What dessert do people eat? ›

The term dessert can apply to many confections, such as biscuits, cakes, cookies, custards, gelatins, ice creams, pastries, pies, puddings, macaroons, sweet soups, tarts, and fruit salad. Fruit is also commonly found in dessert courses because of its naturally occurring sweetness.

What desserts are trending? ›

Then you'll need to be up on the dessert trends for 2023.
  • Daisy Cupcakes. ...
  • Newstalgia. ...
  • Comic cakes. ...
  • Sage green cupcakes. ...
  • Cakescapes. ...
  • Fake Bakes. ...
  • Checkered desserts. ...
  • Boozy baking.
Jan 25, 2023

What's your favorite dessert? ›

Cheesecake. There are so many delicious types of desserts out there, but cheesecake is definitely one of our favorites!

What are the desserts of North America? ›

North America has four major deserts: Great Basin, Mohave, Chihuahuan and Sonoran. All but the Sonoran Desert have cold winters.

What is the most popular baked good in America? ›

According to search data, donuts (also known as “doughnuts”) are America's favorite baked good.
America's favorite donuts:
  • Apple Fritters.
  • Glazed.
  • Old Fashioned.
  • Cruller.
  • Cake.

What dessert is Texas known for? ›

Today, peach cobbler remains a popular dessert that Texans and visitors to the Lone Star State enjoy. Whether you want your cobbler with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, there's no denying that peach cobbler is a Texas tradition that is here to stay!

What is California's famous dessert? ›

As the largest producer of avocados grown in the U.S., it's only fitting California's unofficial state dessert is an avocado fruit parfait.

What dessert was invented in America? ›

It turns out, apple pie was one of the first desserts to be made in America, and there's a pretty interesting story about why the colonists began baking it. The patriotic origins of the classic dessert date back to the 1600s, when the colonists first arrived in America, long before the first Independence Day.

What is America's #1 candy bar? ›


Although consumers and candy bar lovers were outraged at the cost, Snickers quickly became the most beloved candy bar in America. “If we're talking about the best candy bars, we can't have a list without Snickers. It's chocolate, it's caramel, it's nougat and it's peanuts.

What is America's favorite cake? ›

Chocolate Cake

It's not only America's favorite cake - it's the most favorite cake in the world.

Who is the king of desserts? ›

A course of a meal is incomplete without a dessert to accompany it and would be very rude of the host to not offer a dessert. The best form of dessert being an Ice cream.

What is the hardest dessert in the world? ›

The Gateau is a dessert of four, sometimes five distinct elements: puff pastry, choux pastry, Chiboust cream (which itself is a mixture of creme patissiere and Italian meringue), whipped cream, and caramel.

What desserts did slaves eat? ›

In the antebellum South, dessert was not a regular part of a meal pattern that primarily consisted of boiled vegetables, corn bread and buttermilk. During the week, if there was a dessert, it would be a piece of corn bread with some molasses poured on top or some fruit.

What is the number 1 pie in the US? ›

I've even been known to request pie in favor of cake on my birthday. Instacart recently determined which pie flavors reigned supreme in each state. The clear winner for the United States as a whole was (not surprisingly) apple pie with more than 27% of sales going to the traditional flavor.

What are famous deserts? ›

Famous deserts of the world include the Sahara and Namib deserts of Africa; the Arabian, Gobi, and Thar deserts of Asia; the Great Sandy and Great Victoria deserts of Australia; the Atacama and Patagonian deserts of South America; and the Mojave and Chihuahuan deserts of North America.

Where are the most popular deserts? ›

  • Kalahari Desert. The Kalahari desert is found in Southern Africa. ...
  • Sahara Desert. The Sahara desert is the largest desert in Africa and is also the largest desert in the world, aside from the cold deserts of Antarctica and the Arctic. ...
  • Arabian Desert. ...
  • Gobi Desert. ...
  • Thar Desert. ...
  • The Arctic and Antarctic Deserts.
Jan 26, 2023

Which dessert is the cheapest one? ›

19 Cheapest Dessert Recipes
  • Molten chocolate cake.
  • Apple crumble.
  • Banana bread.
  • Banana Nutella crepe.
  • Fudgy brownies.
  • Chocolate chip cookies.
  • Chocolate pudding with olive oil and sea salt.
  • Banana pudding.
Jul 15, 2020

What is the most popular dessert at Christmas? ›

When asked what their most essential dessert for Christmas was, approximately 46.3 percent of responding U.S. adults picked apple pie in 2021. Chocolate chip cookies were the second most coveted dessert for Christmas. Chocolate cookies ranked just in front of fruitcake.

What are three different desserts? ›

The main types of deserts include hot and dry deserts, semi-arid deserts, coastal deserts, and cold deserts.

What is a true dessert? ›

One thing all deserts have in common is that they are arid, or dry. Most experts agree that a desert is an area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year. The amount of evaporation in a desert often greatly exceeds the annual rainfall.

What dessert for when sick? ›

Interestingly, salt can help kill bacteria, so if you want candy, a salted caramel or two might actually help. Also highly appropriate: gelato, pudding, panna cotta, sorbet, any soft dessert with lemon (such as pudding or custard or lemon curd). Drizzling honey on top of your treat is highly suggested, too.

Is dessert a junk food? ›

Some examples of junk food are chips, aerated beverages, sweet desserts and other fast food items like pizzas, burgers, hot dugs etc. These foods are fat-containing and low in nutritional value. They contain many harmful ingredients like refined sugar, trans fat etc.

What is the most popular frozen dessert? ›

Ice cream is perhaps the most common frozen dessert. Commonly served in cones, bowls, or soft serve, ice cream has a lot of nuance to it. The number of flavorings used in ice cream is nearly endless, with some common ones being: Vanilla.

What desserts are the states known for? ›

Brownies were invented in Illinois, while Boston cream pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts.
  • ALABAMA: Lane cake. Lane Cake. ...
  • ALASKA: Baked Alaska. Baked Alaska. ...
  • ARIZONA: Buñuelos. ...
  • ARKANSAS: Fried pies. ...
  • CALIFORNIA: Fortune cookies. ...
  • COLORADO: Palisade peach cobbler. ...
  • CONNECTICUT: Apple cider donuts. ...
  • DELAWARE: Peach pie.
Aug 19, 2022

What state is famous for pie? ›

The South is known for its pies, and Alabama is no exception. It's a region and state also known for its country music anthems.

What is the most loved dessert? ›

Bananas have stolen the number one spot of most popular dessert, two years in a row. The year 2021 was all about the Classic Banana Pudding.

What dessert is Florida known for? ›

Strawberry shortcake becomes official state dessert after Gov. DeSantis signs bill at Florida Strawberry Festival. On the fifth day of the Florida Strawberry Festival, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1006 into law, which designated strawberry shortcake as the official state dessert. PLANT CITY, Fla.

What are 10 examples of baked products? ›

Bakery and baked goods categories like bars, breads (bagels, buns, rolls, biscuits and loaf breads), cookies, desserts (cakes, cheesecakes and pies), muffins, pizza, snack cakes, sweet goods (doughnuts, Danish, sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls and coffee cake) and tortillas.

What are the most popular cookies in America? ›

America's favorite cookie and the one dubbed “the American cookie” is the Chocolate chip cookie.

What are the 4 major baked products? ›

major reference

Bakery products, which include bread, rolls, cookies, pies, pastries, and muffins, are usually prepared from flour or meal derived from some form of grain.


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