Who doesn’t love pie? No one, right? Good!
There’s something wonderful about a pristine, uncut pie. It’s a thing of beauty, full of potential. And when it’s cut? It’s like unwrapping a present, seeing what’s inside, serving it up on a plate, and digging in to taste that delicious filling first. What’s even better? It’s an excuse to add ice cream and whipped cream too, right?
There are so many different kinds of pie that it doesn’t matter whether you like something super sweet or only slightly sweet, something fruity, something creamy, or something chocolatey — there’s guaranteed to be a pie for you. While you could bake a pie a year without making the same one twice, it’s an undeniable fact that depending on where you come from, chances are good you might have a favorite based on your home state.
So, let’s dive into pie and see if these famous pies create a stirring of nostalgia!
Alabama: Sweet potato pie
Sweet potato pie is to the south what pumpkin pie is in the north. According to Southern Kitchen, sweet potatoes were introduced in West Africa before crossing the Atlantic with the slave trade. Families began handing down sweet potato pie recipes through the generations, and this difficult-to-make, time-consuming dessert became so important that it would typically be the trademark dish of just a few family members.
That brings us to Alabama and Dolester Miles. The James Beard Awarding-winning pastry chef from Birmingham is known for her sweet potato pie, says Garden & Gun: a true Alabama classic.
Alaska: Pirok/salmon pie
Not all pies are sweet, and that brings us to Alaska’s pirok. Edible Alaska says that there are a handful of occasions that just aren’t complete without a pirok on the table: weddings, birthday, funerals … it’s even required eating for Russian New Year.
So, what is it? It’s a hearty pie with root vegetables and salmon, brought to Alaska with Russian fur traders in the 18th century. Since then, this hearty and delicious comfort food that uses the best of Alaska’s fresh ingredients has remained a staple of Alaskan menus and culture.
Arizona: Cactus pie
Cactus pie might not sound like the most appetizing pie option out there, but according to L.A. Pie Story, it’s a delicious "must-try" in Arizona. Particularly, we’re talking about pie made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, which are scary to harvest and tough to open but totally worth the work. (That’s a prickly pear in the picture.)
Some of Arizona’s ultra-trendy restaurants are using other kinds of cactus, like nopales, for their cactus pie, and KJZZ indicates that this is one foodie favorite that’s just getting more popular.
Arkansas: Possum pie
Don’t worry, there’s no possum in possum pie! Atlas Obscura says that the name of what they call "Arkansas’ unofficial state treat" comes from the massive layer of whipped cream on top that hides all the other goodness in the layers beneath it. It’s "playing possum!"
Usually, those are layers of chocolate custard, vanilla pudding, pecans, or sometimes even fruit. House of Nash Eats says there’s usually a pecan shortbread crust that really makes it stand out from other pies, and that sounds pretty delicious, doesn’t it?
California: Chiffon pie
Monroe Strause was a teen in 1919 when he joined his uncle’s wholesale pie business, and what he found was some stiff competition. Strause set about rethinking an age-old classic, and according to Atlas Obscura, he did a ton of pie-making before he invented the chiffon pie. Delicate, light, and airy, it was first sold in Los Angeles as a sort of novelty pie but quickly became popular in the rest of California and beyond.
There are all kinds of varieties of chiffon pie today (via Restaurant Business).
Colorado: Peach pie
Every year, Colorado is flooded with thousands of pounds of peaches. According to The Denver Post, that happens in the summer months, and when it does, the peak peach season is short. They’ve got to be used pretty quickly while they’re at their peak ripeness, and what’s a state to do? Bake peach pies, of course! Grand Junction Colorado says that if you’re looking for the perfect peaches, then Colorado’s Palisade peach is your go-to, and a peach pie is a must.
Connecticut: Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving favorite on tables all over the country, but according to CBS Connecticut, if you want to get some of the best pumpkin pies you’ve ever tasted, Connecticut is the state to visit. It’s no wonder the Nutmeg State is so in love with pumpkin pie: It’s been an American staple for centuries, and in 1705, one Connecticut town even postponed Thanksgiving because it didn’t have enough molasses for all the pumpkin pies. That’s true love!
Delaware: Peach pie
Delaware takes its peaches seriously, and according to Delaware Online, the state celebrates August 24 — National Peach Pie Day — in style. The state made its love affair with peach pie official when it named it the state dessert in 2009, and for good reason: The peach industry has formed the backbone of the state’s agricultural industry for a long time, reaching a peak in 1875. That’s when it sent more than six million baskets of fruit to market, and Delaware hasn’t looked back.
Florida: Key lime pie
Key lime pie is a source of pride for Florida, and it goes without saying that it was invented there … right? Food & Wine says that when author Stella Parks suggested in her book BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts that the pie was developed by the Borden milk company to sell more condensed milk and not in Key West, well, Floridians were not about to let that fly. They insist they’ve been making it with the tart Key limes since the mid-1800s. No matter where it was invented, there’s one thing that’s undeniable: It’s the taste of Florida on a dessert plate.
Georgia: Peanut butter pie
Not all pies have to be super sweet to be delicious. Just take Georgia’s famous peanut butter pie (via Taste Atlas), an incredible dessert that’s as salty as it is sweet. It typically has a crumbly crust and usually comes piled high with whipped cream or drizzled with caramel. It’s a guaranteed win with a long history: The Georgian Encyclopedia says Georgia has been a leader in peanut farming since before the Civil War. What better way to use them?
Hawaii: Haupia pie
Hawaii Magazine calls haupia pie "something of a dessert institution in the islands," and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Love a yummy, flaky pie crust, chocolate, coconut, and whipped cream? This is the pie for you. 196 flavors says that haupia — which refers to the white, coconut-flavored part of the filling — has been popular since the 1940s, and considering Hawaii’s love of coconuts, it’s not surprising the state found a way to turn them into the perfect pie. Chocolate and coconut? Yes, please!
Idaho: Huckleberry pie
In 2000, Idaho made the huckleberry its state fruit, and in 2018, one fourth-grade class pushed Idaho lawmakers to get in ahead of Utah and claim huckleberry pie too. According to The Spokesman, the law passed … with only a couple of party poopers who clearly had something against pie.
What are huckleberries? What’s Cooking America says they’re like a strong blueberry, and people aren’t the only ones who love them. Here’s a fun fact: They can make up as much of a third of a grizzly bear’s diet.
Illinois: Pumpkin pie
We couldn’t have autumn desserts without pumpkin, and we couldn’t have pumpkin without Illinois. According to State Symbols USA, about 85 percent of all pumpkin eaten in the country comes from Illinois. So it only makes sense that in 2015, the state made the pumpkin pie the official state pie, going on record and declaring their love for this distinctly American dessert. There’s something to give thanks for next Thanksgiving!
Indiana: Sugar cream pie
What do you love in pie? Sweetness? Check. Vanilla? Check. Just the right amount of sugar? Check. Buttery goodness? Check and double check. Indiana’s favorite dessert is the sugar cream pie, a delicious concoction that What’s Cooking America says likely originated in the Shaker and Amish communities. Fun fact: It’s also known as a finger pie because it was often stirred with a finger to prevent the crust from breaking. Love pecan pie but not a fan of the texture of the nuts? Try a sugar cream pie, and you’ll see why Indiana loves it.
Iowa: Sour cream raisin pie
The idea of a sour cream and raisin pie might sound pretty weird to anyone outside of the Midwest, but according to House of Nash Eats, this is a popular pie with a long history, a vintage dish that everyone’s grandmother had a go-to recipe for. Lost Recipes Found says it’s based on old German pie recipes that used prunes, and since then, it’s morphed into something custardy that’s filled with all kinds of old-world spice, perfect for cold winter nights.
Kansas: Norma Grubb’s pies
This one’s a little different in that it’s not a particular pie, it’s any and all pies made by the woman dubbed one of the best pie-makers in the world. Her name was Norma Grubb, and she worked at the Sommerset Hall Cafe when Good Morning America dropped in for some of her pies. They’re not the only ones who have made the trip to Dover, Kansas: The Denver Post said it was worth the trip, and entire tour buses regularly program in a pie-related detour.
Unfortunately, Grubb passed away in 2011 at 90 years old. But her pie legacy — and her recipes — live on.
Kentucky: Derby pie
There’s only one real Derby pie, and that’s the one that was trademarked by Leaudra, Walter, and George Kern. The family of bakers was at Kentucky’s Melrose Inn when they made that first chocolate-and-walnut pie, and since then, they’ve continued to make their pies under the Kern’s Kitchen name. They’ve also managed to keep their recipe top secret. Sure, you can find knock-offs, but anyone from Kentucky knows there’s only one original.
Louisiana: Natchitoches meat pie
Not all pies are sweet, and some of the best are the savory ones. Just take the Natchitoches meat pie, a savory pie filled with ground beef and pork mixed with sweet peppers, onions, garlic, pepper sauce, and a dash of cayenne for a spicy kick. These pies have been popular for a long time. Deep South Dish says that they were one of the biggest street foods in Natchitoches Parish going back to the late 1700s, and today, they’re still a favorite that has its own festival.
Maine: Blueberry pie
The blueberry pie is Maine’s state dessert, but according to the state’s official website, it can’t be just any blueberry: It has to be wild Maine blueberries.
Blueberries that grow wild in Maine were an important food source for the area’s native peoples for a long time, and the New England Historical Society says that it wasn’t until the Civil War that the tasty wild berry was introduced to areas outside of the region. Canneries that were no longer selling to the south had to find other ways to turn a profit, so they turned to blueberries. One company started in 1874 and today owns 10,000 acres of wild blueberries.
Maryland: Baltimore bomb pie
Maryland believes you shouldn’t have to choose between cookies and pies when you can have them both at the same time. How? We’re talking about a Berger cookie pie, also known as the Maryland bomb pie. According to Nothing in the House, it’s basically a chess pie with Berger cookies mixed in the filling. And what are those? They’re iconic, fudge-topped shortbread cookies from Baltimore, and everything about that sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Massachusetts: Boston cream pie
We know — technically, Boston cream pie is a cake. But it’s such a weird — and delicious — dessert that we had to throw it in here, and here’s why. According to New England Today, it was invented at Boston’s Parker House, and they’ve long claimed credit for giving it that strange name. But … no one knows why they called it a pie instead of a cake. Maybe it just adds to the mystique? Whatever you call it, it’s delicious. It’s no wonder this cake-not-pie is known nationwide.
Michigan: Sour cherry pie
Everyone loves sweet cherries, but tart cherries are something special. According to the National Cherry Festival, Michigan grows about 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherries, so we had to give them the tart cherry pie. The Unofficial National Cherry Homepage says that not only has Michigan been growing tart cherries for a long time — since the first commercial orchards were planted in 1893 — but they have the perfect mix of sandy soil and cool temperatures for these tasty fruits. They ripen in the summer, and that’s the best time to enjoy them in a pie.
Minnesota: French silk pie
CBS reported that when it came time to look at the most searched pie in Minnesota in the days leading up to Pi Day, it was the French silk. What, exactly, goes into a French Silk pie? Deseret News — which was answering a question about St. Paul’s "best" Chocolate Silk pie from the W.A. Frost restaurant — says the filling typically involves eggs, chocolate, and lots of sugar. It’s sweet, decadent, but light, which makes it everything you want in a dessert. No wonder so many Minnesotans are googling it.
Mississippi: Mississippi mud pie
It’s got the state right in the name of the pie, so who else would get the Mississippi mud pie? There are a lot of different versions, but it’s a creamy filling (that Eater says can also contain ingredients like ice cream, whipped cream, pudding, and liqueur) in a cookie crust. The sky’s the limit! No one is entirely sure where the cake came from, but one claim suggests that it was a dessert people would eat during the hot summer months, in the coolest place they could find: on the docks, with their feet deep in the mud of the Mississippi river.
Missouri: Pawpaw pie
The pawpaw has been a part of Missouri history for a long time. The Missouri Department of Conservation says it was mentioned by DeSoto when he explored the area in 1541, but it had been around much longer than that. That’s a pawpaw tree with fruit we’ve pictured, in case you’re curious as to the pre-pie form. The News Tribune says these "false bananas" also come with a nutritious punch, so there’s a bonus to pawpaw pie, whether you live in Missouri or not.
Montana: Huckleberry pie
What’s Cooking America calls the huckleberry Montana’s favorite berry and compares the fruit to a very tart blueberry. Since they aren’t farmed, the only place to find them is in the wild, and there’s something very cool about that. Very … Montana, if you will. Lewis and Clark wrote about them and noted they’d been a favorite of the Native Americans there for a long time — so it’s no wonder that slices of huckleberry pie are still common on Montana tables.
Nebraska’s favorite pie is a savory one called the runza, and it’s got an impressive history. What’s Cooking America says the runza — a doughy hand pie filled with beef, cabbage, onions, and spices — was brought to the States by German and Russian immigrants who settled in Kansas and Nebraska. They were originally made as a quick and easy meal for laborers who had to eat on the run, and they’re still popular today. It’s no wonder: In today’s busy world, you can’t beat a handy meal-in-a-pie.
Nevada: Gateau Basque/Basque cherry pie
According to Sweet State of Mine, Nevada has a massive Basque population that brought their culture with them when they settled there, and they continue to pass down their traditions. That includes the Basque cherry pie, or gateau basque, a dessert that’s got the light, fluffy texture of cake in a pie format. Cherry is the most traditional filling but there are others that are just as delicious.
New Hampshire: Whoopie pie
We know — the Whoopie pie isn’t a pie in the typical sense of the word, but it definitely deserves a mention … because who doesn’t love them? The Take Magazine says there’s a number of states that each lay claim to the origin of the Whoopie pie: New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. But the outlet also says that New Hampshire is the one to beat as far as quality goes, so we’re going to give this chocolatey treat to them.
New Jersey: Tomato pie
New Jersey gets a savory pie, too: the tomato pie. What the heck is it? Eater says that Jersey’s version is basically a super-thin crust with a fraction of the cheese of a pizza, then a ton of sauce. The state is also home to the self-proclaimed "oldest tomato pie restaurant," Papa’s, but it’s not the only game in town. Others have perfected their version of the cracker crust, smattering of cheese, and pile of sauce. It’s the best part of the pizza, taking center stage!
New Mexico: Frito pie
When Anthony Bourdain tried a Frito pie in New Mexico, it didn’t go well for him — and he managed to make a lot of people very angry. Houstonia says that Frito pie is as controversial as it is beloved. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: No, it’s not a traditional pie, but it definitely deserves a shout-out. It’s a can of chili, heated and poured into a bag of Fritos (the crust, if you like), then covered with cheese and onions. Love it? Or hate it?
New York: Grape pie
There’s more to New York than just a city, and when you head into the Finger Lakes region, you’ll find one of the best grape-growing and wine-making regions in the country. It follows, then, that we’re giving a nod to Upstate New York’s grape pie, usually made with Concord grapes. Home in the Finger Lakes acknowledges that yes, it’s a lot of work, but is it ever worth it to try this delicious dessert reminiscent of wine in a pie. Yum!
North Carolina: Sweet potato pie
The sweet potato pie has a fascinating history in North Carolina, and according to the North Carolina Coastal Federation, it’s the pie that fueled the state’s fishing industry. How? Sweet potato pie has long been a staple among fishermen since the 1800s when they would grab two or three slices — or a whole pie — to have as a hearty breakfast before heading out on the boats. North Carolina is still a huge producer of sweet potatoes.
North Dakota: Sunflower pie
Drive through North Dakota in the summer, and you’ll be greeted by a beautiful sight: fields and fields of sunflowers. The state, says North Dakota Tourism, is one of the largest producers of sunflower oil and sunflower seeds, which aren’t just a snack — they’re also used in sunflower pie. What exactly is that? Think of it as a sort of pecan pie with sunflower seeds instead of pecans, and you’re on the right track. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
Ohio: Buckeye pie
Ohio is proud to be the Buckeye State, and its pie is definitely the Buckeye pie. They’re not the same thing, though. While The Lantern says that the buckeye nut is the origin of the name, the buckeyes in this pie are the candy kind, made by mixing peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar then forming balls and dipping them in chocolate. The pie, says Serious Eats, goes one step further and puts those candy buckeyes on a graham cracker crust pie with peanut butter cream filling.
Oklahoma: Fried pies
Only in Your State says Oklahoma is definitely known for a particular kind of pie: fried pie. The recipe for Arbuckle Moutain Fried Pies have been around for a long time, and visiting the original location is something of a pilgrimage. Cherry or pineapple, pecan or peach, blackberry or apple, one of their cream pies or their savory pies … everyone has their favorite, and there’s absolutely no way to go wrong, no matter which flavor you choose.
Oregon: Marionberry pie
Marionberries are an Oregon original — literally, says NPR. They were invented at the Oregon State University, where they were created by crossing two different kinds of blackberries. The result are huge berries that have a distinct flavor that’s sweet and tart at the same time, and the pie? Oh, the pie! Oregonians love making everything from ice cream to liquor with marionberries, and pie is definitely on the list too. It’s no wonder that even though the state produces tons of marionberries every year, the delicate berries almost never make it past state lines. Who can blame them for keeping them for themselves?
Pennsylvania: Shoofly pie
Shoofly sounds like something you’d say walking through a field, not ordering off a menu … so what is this Pennsylvania classic? Bird in Hand says this pie comes from Pennsylvania Dutch country, and it’s basically a molasses-based crumb pie that come in two different versions. "Wet bottom" pies feature a custard-like middle, while "dry bottom" — likely the original version — has a crust with the texture of a dry cake. It’s spicy, sugary, and delicious, a pie with a strange name that would be right at home on a Thanksgiving table anywhere in the country.
Rhode Island: Greening apple pie
There’s apple pie, and then there’s apple pie made with the perfect apples. And those, says Orange Pippin, are the Rhode Island Greening apples. Rhode Island Greening apples are one of the oldest apples in the country and were once popular with the colonists, as Specialty Produce says they go back all the way to the 1650s. Since they’re extremely hard and hardy, they hold their shape when cooked, which is exactly what you want for a delicious apple pie. Texture is everything, after all, and there’s a reason Rhode Island’s Greenings are still popular after hundreds of years.
South Carolina: Coconut cream pie
Southern Living calls cream pies "a southern tradition" and says that the South Carolina coconut cream pie is nothing short of "ethereal." It’s light and fluffy, a light pastry or cookie-crumb crust filled with something akin to pudding. Picture a hot afternoon in the Carolinas, and think about what you might like to eat. What would be better than a slice of light, chilled coconut cream pie?
South Dakota: Kuchen
South Dakota’s state dessert is the kuchen, and even though South Dakota Magazine says "kuchen" translates to "cake," it’s more along the lines of what we think of as a pie: a sweet dough with a custard or fruit filling.
The kuchen has a long history, and it was brought to South Dakota by those who settled there from Germany. And since that only happened a few generations ago, bakeries and restaurants across the state still serve kuchen. The only question is whether or not it’s as good as grandma’s.
Tennessee: Chess pie
The Old Mill says that one of their favorite Tennessee desserts is the chess pie, a perfect example of how something delicious can be made with the most basic of ingredients. The chess pie is basically a buttermilk pie without the buttermilk. Because lemons were expensive and hard to source, creative bakers used vinegar instead. Cornmeal was used to thicken the filling, and the result was a testament to Southern ingenuity when home cooks across the region still found ways to feed their families something tasty even during tough times.
Texas: Pecan pie
Pecans are as American as, well, apple pie. Pecans were grown by Native Americans for a long time, and Eater says it wasn’t until the 1870s that Texas cookbooks started including recipes with pecans, and it wasn’t until 1898 until there was a recipe of what we would now call pecan pie. For a few decades, Texas had pecan pie all to themselves, until syrup manufacturer Karo hopped on board in the 1920s. Their promotion helped it become popular outside of Texas. And Texas? They haven’t let the rest of us forget it. We’re fine with that, though, as long as we can have our annual Thanksgiving pecan pie.
Utah: JELL-O pie
The Los Angeles Times says that Salt Lake City is the country’s "JELL-O eating capital," and the wiggly, jiggly JELL-O pie is a natural fit. BellyFull says it’s a quick and easy dessert that can be made in any flavor, doesn’t need to be baked, and takes only a few ingredients, so it’s a total win.
What started Utah’s love affair with JELL-O? Clever marketing campaigns that appealed to the state’s Mormon community and presented them with a dessert they could enjoy.
Vermont: Maple pie
Vermont is the country’s largest producer of maple syrup, and it’s been years and years since European settlers were first shown how to draw sap and make syrup by the native peoples. It’s still incredibly hard work, even though horses have now been replaced by more efficient tractors. This multi-generational treat — The University of Vermont says a maple tree should be at least 40 years old before it’s used for maple syrup — is the most important ingredient in maple pies. Love it on pancakes? You’ll love it in a pie.
Virginia: Peanut pie
Imagine a pecan pie. Now, replace the pecans with peanuts. Just like that, you’ve got a peanut pie. And while Southern Living calls it a "southern treasure," we’re giving this salty dessert to Virginia. Why? Because the best peanut pies are made with Virginia peanuts, and diners in the state still make some of the best peanut pies in the country. In other words, if you’re going through, you should definitely make a stop for some peanut put. It’s worth the detour for this classic dessert.
Washington: Rhubarb-anything pie
Washington loves its rhubarb, and The Seattle Times says the state produces the largest commercial rhubarb crop in the country. Washingtonians take their rhubarb very seriously, and Sumner, Washington, is even the Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World. The great thing about pie made from this incredibly versatile ingredient? Not only do a few plants produce more rhubarb than you’ll probably know what to do with, there’s also a ton of things you can add to it. Strawberry-rhubarb? Rhubarb-lemon? How about a rhubarb-meringue? The possibilities are almost endless.
West Virginia: Pawpaw pie
Whether you’re talking about a pawpaw cream pie or pawpaw tarts, you’re still using a fruit that West Virginia Tourism says has earned the nickname of the "West Virginia banana." It’s been a part of the state’s history since the Hatfields and the McCoys waged one of their bloodiest fights around a pawpaw stand. And today? You don’t have to work quite so hard to find these oblong fruits with the custardy center, but try a pie made with them, and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
Wisconsin: Cranberry pie
When it comes to cranberries, we can all thank Wisconsin for getting them to our tables: Wisconsin Cranberries says the state harvests just over half — 60 percent — of the nation’s cranberries. And even if you’re not a fan of the stuff in the can that makes an appearance every Thanksgiving, try their cranberry pie. Go on! Typically filled with not just cranberries but walnuts, butter, and nutmeg too, it’s the perfect autumn pie for Thanksgiving … or any other fall occasion.
Wyoming: Chokecherry pie
The Billings Gazette says chokecherries are number one in Wyoming, noting that they’re made into all kinds of treats. But first and foremost? Pies. So, what are they? Britannica says they’re small, shrubby trees that are part of the rose family, and they produce tart, cherry-like fruits. It’s the green and yellow chokecherries that are native to Wyoming (via the Wyoming Plant Company), but no matter what the color, the pie is a delicious favorite, especially for those who don’t like their desserts quite so sweet.