If you consider yourself a dessert person, you’ve likely tried desserts that are popular in different parts of the world. French pastries such as macarons are undoubtedly some of the best sweet treats you can have. Alternatively, maybe you prefer Japanese desserts like mochi or brigadeiros that originated in Brazil.
That being said, there are many mouth-watering all-American desserts that you should definitely try! You might be surprised to learn that many of these famous desserts were either created in the United States or influenced by talented immigrants who shared their culinary traditions with the American people.
As the years have passed, all of these sweet treats have turned into timeless and nostalgic staples for people in the U.S. Every single dessert on this list is a classic, ranging from sweet to tart in flavor. This roundup has everything from cookies to brownies to pies to cakes. Once you've become familiar with all of the recipes here, you will definitely have a sweet tooth!
Everyone likely knows what a chocolate chip cookie is, but did you know that this is actually an American invention? Classic chocolate chip cookies have a simple base. They usually contain flour, sugar, butter, eggs, leavening agents, and vanilla extract. You can mix in chocolate chips or chunks. The specific recipe also uses coarse sea salt, which you can sprinkle on top to balance the chocolate sweetness!
2. Apple Pie
“It's American as apple pie.” At least, that's what they say. Apple pie is a delicious dessert typically consisting of a flaky pie crust with a fruity apple filling. Often, baking spices are included to accentuate the flavor of the fruit. Our recipe for apple pie is Weight Watchers-friendly, and you can make it in just one hour!
3. Lava Cake
Lava cake is a rich chocolate cake that has a liquidy chocolate filling. Sometimes, the chocolate in the center is ganache; other times, it is simply part of the cake, and bakers must ensure that the cake isn't over-baked; otherwise, the lava filling isn't running enough. This recipe includes a simple combination of eggs, vanilla, flour, butter, and dark chocolate chips.
These cookies are an American delicacy. Although their origin could be more precise, many believe they were invented in New England. Hermit cookies have baking spices, raisins, and walnuts, and sometimes they are modified to have dates, pecans, or almonds. This recipe has brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, brewed coffee, nuts, dried fruit, and more!
This dessert is a St. Louis classic! Commonly, this type of cake is dense and might be similar to a blondie for some. As the name suggests, it's a buttery and gooey cake! A German American Baker invented it in the 1930s. This recipe includes yellow cake mix, butter, eggs, and cream cheese, with powdered sugar for a quicker preparation!
6. Funnel Cake
Funnel cake is an American-loved dessert, and it was created in Pennsylvania by German immigrants. This dessert has a unique look because of its stringy design and crispy exterior. It's perfect for topping with powdered sugar, strawberries, whipped cream, and more. It has a simple base that you can make with flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and eggs. Some people also throw in some vanilla extract.
If you are from the South, odds are that you have had a buttermilk pie slice or two (or many more, for that matter). This Southern classic is a simple yet decadent dessert. It has a basic pie crust, and the filling has sugar, flour, spices, buttermilk, eggs, and butter. A splash of lemon juice and vanilla is often added to balance all the flavors. This specific recipe takes about one hour to bake.
Although its origin is unknown, this type of cookie Is an American favorite and was likely created by German immigrants. Snickerdoodle cookies have a unique flavor because you make the cookie dough base and then roll the cookies in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Many snickerdoodles have cream of tartar, which gives them a distinct tangy undertone. These are easy to make. You can make them in just 30 minutes!
Although Rice Krispies treats are more of a simple dessert than an extravagant one, they are still a delicious treat many people love. Rice Krispies treats are simple since you only need butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies cereal. Over time, people have experimented and tried making these treats with different types of cereal! Nothing comes close to the original, though.
This pie is a rich, chocolatey treat named after the Mississippi River mud. This type of dessert has an Oreo crust with layers and layers of chocolate. It has a chocolate mousse underneath a baked chocolate base. On top, you can find chocolate whipped cream and crushed cookies! This dessert isn't for the faint of heart! This specific recipe makes 12 servings, so you should try it out.
11. Pound Cake
Although pound cake is technically a European invention, it was included in the first American cookbook. Initially, this dessert required one pound of each ingredient, but over time, other components were added, making its name less appropriate. For example, this recipe calls for butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and milk. But it also has small amounts of vanilla and almond extract.
Peanut butter cookies are among the most popular cookie types in the United States! There's no wonder why because they are so delicious. They have a unique look because people typically stamp them with a fork before baking, making them have grooves on top. They also get sprinkled with some sugar. The dough is relatively simple and has plenty of peanut butter for a pronounced nutty taste. If you try this recipe, it will provide you with 20 cookies!
13. Oatmeal Cookies
Here is another cookie that everyone loves! Oatmeal cookies are typically chewy; sometimes, people include raisins or chocolate chips. This cookie has been around for a while, as it was invented in 1896. Back then, people could find it in a Boston Cooking School cookbook. This specific recipe uses quick and old-fashioned oats, but it depends on the recipe, as every recipe varies. You will also typically find baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
14. Lemon Bars
Lemon bars are a beloved treat in the U.S.! The crust is a shortbread that is buttery and delicious. The base has a lemon curd-type filling that is extra lemony and gooey. This dessert has a tangy flavor rather than being overly sweet, and that's what makes it so appealing. You can sprinkle the lemon bars with some powdered sugar to decorate them. If you try this recipe, it requires some time, but it's worth it.
15. Icebox Cake
Despite what you might think, an icebox cake isn't a frozen dessert but a no-bake chilled dessert. Moreover, it doesn't typically involve actual cake, either. It has layers and layers of cookies and creamy filling, which softens the cookies to be cake-like. Traditional recipes use Graham crackers, like this one! This is a super popular vintage dessert.
16. Hummingbird Cake
Hummingbird Cake is cherished in the Southern area of the United States. This type of cake has a cream cheese frosting, and the cake base has mashed bananas, pecans, crushed pineapple, baking spices, and more. It is a unique dessert, which is what makes it so enticing! The initial recipe was published in Southern Living magazine in the late 70s.
17. Grasshopper Pie
This is a retro American dessert that has chocolate and mint flavors. The pie base has an Oreo crust, and the filling is incredibly fluffy and minty. There are many variations, some with Cool Whip and some using heavy whipping cream. The dessert's classic look is enhanced by adding green food coloring, which is optional.
This sweet is a type of chocolate cake which is incredibly indulgent. Devil's Food cake often has freshly brewed coffee, and the cake is decorated with a chocolate frosting. This exact recipe contains cocoa powder, flour, vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, coffee and more. It also has a chocolate frosting with corn syrup, heavy cream, vanilla, butter, and chocolate.
Brownies are such a timeless dessert that you probably didn't realize they were born in the US. Brownies come in different forms. Some are cakey, some are chewy, and some are just downright fudgy. Nevertheless, it is a delicious chocolate treat that you can enjoy warm or at room temperature. Usually, the brownie base is made with melted chopped chocolate or cocoa powder to give it a chocolatey flavor.
People often confuse brownies and blondies since they look similar, but blondies are just lighter. However, blondies typically have a different texture and contain no chocolate. Frequently, blondies have butterscotch or brown butter to give them a complex flavor. People also put mix-ins such as white chocolate chips, dried fruit, or nuts. This recipe is straightforward, with white chocolate chips and walnuts!
Nothing compares to a velvety and classic New York cheesecake. The traditional dessert version has a buttery Graham cracker crust with a light cream cheese filling that usually also has eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Sometimes, people add flour or other ingredients to help bind it. Although people make other cheesecake types like chocolate or pumpkin, New York cheesecake has a simple flavor that can't be beaten.
22. Bananas Foster
Have you ever tried Bananas Foster? For this dessert, bananas are sautéed in butter, sugar, and cinnamon. They are then flambéed with rum. This is a quick dessert to make, and it has such comforting flavors. You can enjoy it with vanilla ice cream! This recipe only requires a handful of ingredients, and you can make it in just 10 minutes.
23. Apple Crisp
Apple crisps are similar to apple pie in flavor and ingredients. However, they typically have a crispy streusel topping. The filling and spiced fruit are on the bottom, like a cobbler without a crust. Many people make individual apple crisps and ramekins, but you can also make it family-style in a casserole dish. This old-fashioned version uses Golden Delicious apples, but you can also use Granny Smith.
24. Angel Food Cake
Although Angel food cake can be enjoyed as is, many people turn it into Strawberry Shortcake. Angel food cake is incredibly cloud-like and airy, requiring some skill to make it. Unlike other desserts, you shouldn't grease the pan when you make this baked good! Also, this dessert usually contains cream of tartar, which helps to stabilize the egg whites, allowing the cake to lift and become light.
25. Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is enjoyed around the holidays and year-round, especially in the South. This delicious pie has a standard pie crust, gooey filling, and crunchy pecans. Sometimes, people toast their pecans beforehand, and sometimes they don't. The main sweetener used in the base is corn syrup, although some individuals opt for honey, agave, or other choices. This pecan pie recipe is especially easy since you can use a pre-made pie crust!
26. Boston Cream Pie
As the name suggests, this dessert was first served in Boston. However, it is a little bit misleading because it isn't technically a pie. It has layers of cake but a creamy filling. On top, it has a layer of rich ganache. You can try this easy recipe, which helps you make a homemade pastry cream for the filling! It's truly delicious.
27. Key Lime Pie
It's believed that this pie was created in Key West, FL, but it's not 100% certain. Nevertheless, this has become an American staple over time. Key lime pie has a tangy filling due to the fresh Key Lime juice. It has a buttery Graham cracker base that offsets the sweet and sour filling. Sometimes, you may come across Key Lime pies that are unnaturally green due to artificial coloring. However, this recipe features no such additives!
27 Classic American Desserts
- 1 ⅓ cups 150 g rolled oats
- 3 large-sized apples peeled, cored, and sliced
- ½ cup 125 g unsweetened applesauce
- 8 packet of granulated stevia s
- ¼ cup 60 ml water (for the crust)
- 1 tablespoon of light butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the crust
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (220 g) of rolled oats with 2 teaspoons of stevia.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add it to the oats.
- Mix in ¼ cup (60 ml) of water and knead until the mixture holds together. If necessary, add more water, one tablespoon at a time.
- Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling
- In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
- Add the stevia, sliced apples and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.
- Stir in ½ cup (125 g) of unsweetened applesauce and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix well and remove from heat.
Assemble and bake
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface to fit your pie dish.
- Place the rolled-out dough into a 9-inch (23 cm) pie dish.
- Pour the apple mixture into the crust, spreading it out evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, and the filling is bubbling.
- Let the pie cool before slicing. It's delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.