The Top 8 Favorite Thanksgiving Desserts Across the U.S.


When you think about Thanksgiving, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

If you’re like most, you’re probably thinking about the Thanksgiving turkey and delicious sides like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole.

But it’s important not to forget about dessert.

While America has a wide range of favorite Thanksgiving dishes, we have many more favorite dessert dishes in common.

Let’s look at the top eight favorite Thanksgiving desserts across the U.S. and which states love them most.

#1. Pecan Pie

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Pecan pie is a holiday staple, regardless of whether it’s being eaten at Thanksgiving or shared with friends and family during Christmastime.

Pecan pie is best described as sweet and nutty, comprised of pecans that caramelize in a basic blend of butter, sugar, eggs, and corn syrup.

The result is something that you can’t resist after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you warm it up and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Some of the states that list pecan pie as their favorite Thanksgiving dessert include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

#2. Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Once October rolls around, pumpkin is found in every food, including pumpkin cheesecake, a Thanksgiving favorite.

A bit different from some of the other desserts you might find in the Thanksgiving spread, pumpkin cheesecake filling is made with simple ingredients like cream cheese, brown sugar, sour cream, flour, pumpkin pie mix and spice, and vanilla extract.

The filling is then added to a crushed graham cracker base, which brings out the flavors and creates an experience you won’t soon forget.

If you haven’t had pumpkin cheesecake yet, you might want to follow in the footsteps of these states who have made it their favorite dessert:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho 
  • Nevada

#3. Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving dessert that needs no introduction.

This delicious pumpkin concoction is smooth and creamy and strikes the perfect sweetness if you don’t feel like consuming something over-sugary after having a massive Thanksgiving dinner.

Of course, the pumpkin pie has experienced several variations over the years, including pumpkin pie filled with pralines, marbled maple pumpkin pie, and even creme brulee pumpkin pie.

No matter what form you love most, you’d likely get along with these states that proudly proclaim pumpkin pie is their favorite Thanksgiving dessert:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming

#4. Apple Fritters

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Apple fritters seem like an odd dessert for Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve become one of the most popular desserts.

For those who don’t often eat pastries, apple fritters are doughnuts with a delicious cinnamon apple filling and a sweet drizzle on top.

Some apple fritter recipes result in massive, filled pastries that are great for a final dessert course, while others call for much smaller variations that might be covered in powdered sugar for a little extra sweetness.

If apple fritters are your thing, you’ll be surprised to learn that many states also list them as their favorite dessert to have at their Thanksgiving table, including:

  • Connecticut
  • Kentucky
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma

#5. Sweet Potato Pie

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Sweet potatoes have made their way into the Thanksgiving meal and in more ways than one.

While certain things like mashed sweet potatoes might be common, what you might not have heard of before is sweet potato pie.

Sweet potato pie is a take on the pumpkin pie that uses sweet potatoes instead.

The recipes are relatively similar, but those who enjoy it say that the sweet potato pie is much denser and starchier, allowing them to feel like they’re eating something sweet without overindulging in something too rich for their tastes.

Sweet potato pie isn’t an overwhelmingly popular dessert choice, but it is a top favorite among the following states:

  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina

#6. Brownies

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No one can resist a good brownie.

Chewy, chocolatey, and offering up so many different experiences, brownies are a top favorite dessert across America for good reason.

While plenty of people like traditional brownie recipes, some of the variations to come out over the years that might be perfect for your Thanksgiving gathering include brookies, fudge walnut brownies, blondies, and even brownies with candies baked into them.

If you enjoy brownies, you won’t be surprised that the following states do too:

  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Virginia

#7. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate chip cookies are another very popular dessert option, but it’s not the traditional recipe that stands out among certain states as the best Thanksgiving dessert choice.

Instead, that honor goes to pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Pumpkin chocolate chips condense all the pumpkin and spicy goodness of some of your fall and wintertime favorites into a chewy cookie coated with melty chocolate chips.

The result is something that you had come up with sooner!

That said, this dessert is only the top-ranking dessert in one state in the U.S.: Maine.

#8. Apple Pie

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If it’s fall or winter, it’s pie season.

The warmth and comfort of a good pie is something everyone can enjoy, and what’s more American than a classic apple pie?

Most recipes call for specific apples like Granny Smith, but the recipes are generally all the same, featuring cinnamon, apple chunks, butter, brown sugar, and a few other basic ingredients.

Mix them together, and you’ll have a pie that should be on your dinner table at least once for Thanksgiving.

Much like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies being a favorite in only one state, apple pie is surprisingly only a favorite dessert in Vermont.

Most Popular Thanksgiving Dishes

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While Americans have different opinions on many things, when it comes to Thanksgiving, we have a lot in common.

Especially when it comes to food.

Here are the most popular Thanksgiving dishes across the U.S.


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Live A Life Of Unlimited Wealth

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The data for this study can be found here.

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