popular desserts in the usa

11 Most Popular Desserts in the USA

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A meal isn’t complete without dessert, and with all the different dessert options out there, it can be difficult to choose what you feel like!

If you want to stay traditional and ensure that your family or guests are happy with the dessert you choose to serve, then looking at the most popular desserts in the USA would definitely help.

What are the most popular desserts in America?

While everyone will have their favorite dessert, some are more popular than others. The most popular desserts include apple pie, cupcakes, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, cheesecake, Jell-O, and more!

Read on to find out what the most popular desserts are in the USA. Keep in mind that your ranking of the most popular desserts might be different from ours – but all of these desserts deserve their place on this list!

Apple Pie

Dessert doesn’t get more traditional than apple pie, and if you want to prepare a proper family meal at home, finish it off with some warm apple pie topped with cream or ice cream!

apple pie

Apple pies can be dated all the way back to the 14th century in Europe, and from then, the dessert was made more popular in the USA in the 18th century.

The recipe has changed over the years, with it originally being made with honey, but now, apple pies are made with quite a bit of sugar, and the ala mode version includes apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream.

Apple pie is also many people’s go-to dessert for the holiday, as it is warm, sweet and all things wholesome. The most popular holidays to enjoy apple pie include Thanksgiving and Christmas, and both these holidays call for a topping of vanilla ice cream.

The beauty of apple pie is that it can be served warm or cold, but it is best to enjoy it as soon as it is baked, as it brings out the spices and sweetness of the apples perfectly.


Cupcakes are the epitome of happiness, and there are very few people who would turn down a cupcake if offered one!


These small little cakes come in many different flavors, with the most popular flavors being chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. 

Back in the day, cupcakes were seen as a treat at kids’ parties, but now, as we have experimented more with various flavors and toppings, they are consumed by all ages, and at all events, and are now one of the most popular desserts around!

Some of the new, artisanal cupcake flavors you can find range from red velvet, key lime pie, salted caramel, and cookies and cream.

Cupcakes are super accessible as well, which only adds to their popularity. You can easily make cupcakes at home and flavor them however you want, or you could pop down to your local grocery store or bakery to pick up some freshly baked cupcakes!


Nothing beats a freshly baked chocolate brownie, but there also isn’t much else better than a brownie in general, served warm, at room temperature, or even cool. As long as you are a lover of chocolate, then a brownie is likely at the top of your list for desserts already.


Brownies are super versatile as well, they can be made to be soft and gooey, or they can be made cakey. How your brownies turn out really depends on the ingredients you use, and the ratios of the ingredients you use too.

There are also various flavors you can add to brownies, and instead of traditional chocolate, you can include peanut butter, coffee, cream cheese, fudge pieces, and even marshmallows. Chocolate orange brownies are also becoming more and more popular too!

When served as a dessert, brownies are typically served warm, preferably straight out of the oven, topped with some whipped cream or with vanilla ice cream. 

The rich, decadent chocolate brownie, and the creamy, cooling vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, makes for the perfect end-of-meal treat, and it is always sure to be an absolute hit for your family or guests, or even for yourself as a treat!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t get more American than chocolate chip cookies, and for fans of cookies and chocolate, you simply cannot beat a chocolate chip cookie!

chocolate chip cookies

There is also nothing that smells better than baking chocolate chip cookies, and enjoying chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven is such a treat.

Chocolate chip cookies are quintessentially American as well, with the original recipe being founded by Ruth Wakefield in Massachusetts. You know that this was a winning recipe, as it has hardly changed since it was first created!

However, as delicious and reliable as the original chocolate chip cookie recipe is, there are variations of it, with some recipes creating a gooey soft cookie, some making a cakey cookie, and others making a thin, crisp cookie.

You can also change up the chocolate chips you use to make the cookies, whether you stick to original milk chocolate chips, use dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or even a combination of them all!

To make chocolate chip cookies easier to make, you can even purchase cookie dough that is ready to bake, so everyone can enjoy chocolate chip cookies for dessert with little effort!

Ice Cream

It goes without saying that ice cream is possibly one of the most popular, and most loved, treats around, and most of the time, dessert just isn’t complete without a serving of ice cream!


While ice cream is traditionally served as a side for some desserts, such as warm apple pies or brownies, it does incredibly well as a dessert on its own, especially if you pick out your favorite flavors.

As ice cream has become so popular, the flavor varieties have increased too. If you can think of a flavor, there is probably an ice cream out there to satisfy your cravings! Other than the traditional vanilla and chocolate, you can find cookies and cream, rocky road, pistachio, mango, and so much more.

You can also mix some ingredients into ice cream at home, before sticking it back into the freezer, to make your very own dessert. Mix in some fudge pieces, caramel, nougat, and marshmallows to make the ice cream even better.

Ice cream can be served on its own in a bowl, on a sugar cone, on waffles, on pancakes, and on top of other desserts!


Cheesecake is an all-time favorite dessert, and certain cities even have their own version of cheesecake to enjoy, such as New York cheesecake and Chicago cheesecake!

New York cheesecake

Cheesecake is such a popular dessert, that there is a whole restaurant franchise created over it. Not only does cheesecake come served in a range of ways, but it is available in so many flavors too.

At its core, cheesecake is made with a graham cracker base, and a filling made from cream cheese, cream, and sugar. This is traditionally baked, but there are no-bake versions too which can be set in the fridge.

A traditional cheesecake flavor is delicious as is, but you can also find chocolate cheesecake, berry cheesecake, salted caramel cheesecake, and many more!


Almost all of us grew up enjoying Jell-O as a special treat, and often if we were lucky, it would be topped with some custard!


Jell-O is often thought of as a kid’s dessert, but there are so many different ways to jazz up a standard Jell-O, making it a great dessert to serve, especially in the warmer months.

Making Jell-O is super easy, just mixing the Jell-O mix with boiling water, and allowing it to set. The gelatin in Jell-O is what sets it into its mold, and while this is made from animal by-products, there are some newer versions that are vegetarian.

To make Jell-O more interesting, you can add in some sliced strawberries, layer up different colors of Jell-O, or make a trifle with a bottom layer of sponge cake, Jell-O in-between, and with a topping of whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is the perfect dessert to enjoy when you want something decadent and delicious, but with some hints of healthy too!

carrot cake

Yes, carrot cake is not necessarily healthy, but it can be made with some great ingredients, obviously including carrots, but also with raisins, nuts, and more.

The frosting for carrot cake is a little healthier than that of a normal cake, but it is still incredibly delicious. It is traditionally made with cream cheese and powdered sugar, and perfectly accompanies the warm flavors of the cake.

The added spices in the cake, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, give it an aromatic balance with the sweet ingredients.

Carrot cake is believed to have originated in Europe, but it is now one of the most popular desserts to enjoy in the USA, and you will find it at most bakeries, grocery stores, and there are so many recipes for you to try to make at home too.

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is devilishly sweet, nutty, and wonderfully indulgent. Like apple pie, it is a popular dessert to serve during the holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is also popular all year round too!

pecan pie

Pecan pie crust is made from a crust that involves pecans, flour, butter, sugar, and some salt, and the filling is made from a mix of butter, sugar, eggs, and obviously pecan nuts. The high sugar content means the filling is beautifully sweet, but this is rounded out with the earthy, nutty pecans.

Obviously, you will have to be a fan of nuts to enjoy pecan nut pie, but it really is a classic dessert, that is only made that much better with a topping of some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Pecan pie can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, but it is definitely best served warm!


Fudge is undoubtedly one of the best treats out there, but the problem is that it is almost impossible to stop just at one piece of fudge!


The beauty of fudge is that there are so many different flavors to try out, with traditional vanilla, chocolate, caramel, pistachio, and so much more. You can also include various ingredients to add texture to the fudge as well, such as shortbread, nuts, and toffee chunks.

Fudge might not seem as filling of a dessert as some others, but it can be the perfect bite-size treat after a very filling dinner. Even though it is bite-size, it is rich, decadent, and full of flavor, so it will not be as though you are going without!

You can find fudge at the store quite easily, but nothing beats homemade fudge, and it is really simple to make, and it gives you full control over the flavors and ingredients you use.


You can’t have a hamburger out without washing it down with a milkshake, and milkshakes are definitely one of the most popular, most loved desserts in the USA, and it is so incredibly clear why!


Standard milkshake flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and banana, but there are some monster shakes out there that are a real sight to behold. Milkshakes at specialty restaurants include the most amazing flavors, and have some of the most incredible toppings!

Monster chocolate shakes can be topped with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, whole bars of chocolate, or even a donut, and you can also find bacon-flavored milkshakes too. There really is a whole world of milkshakes out there to explore. 

While there are some incredible milkshakes out there to discover and enjoy, sometimes a simple, homemade milkshake in one of the traditional flavors can be the most satisfying dessert to enjoy after a meal!

Bonus – The Most Popular Campfire Dessert

A list of the most popular desserts in the USA would not be complete without mentioning the most popular campfire dessert, the s’more!

S’mores are a staple, and if you have never made a s’more before, even if indoors, then you are missing out! With a sandwich of two graham crackers and a filling made of melted chocolate and fire-toasted marshmallows, it is the most heavenly bite.

To jazz it up a little more, you can experiment with so many different toppings for s’mores as well, such as sprinkles, strawberries, and salted caramel sauce!

11 Most Popular Desserts in the USA

Above, we have listed the 11 most popular desserts in the USA (including the famous campfire dessert), so you can have something to refer back to when you are stuck on what to make for your family or guests, or what to indulge in yourself!

The list isn’t necessarily in any order, as everyone has their favorite desserts, so take a read-through and decide which dessert is on your next-to-eat list!

Related Questions

What Is the Most Popular Cake in America?

The most popular cake in America is possibly chocolate cake. Not only is it the most popular cake in America, but it is probably the most popular flavor of cake worldwide too.

Close behind would probably be vanilla cake, which is another classic that is loved by so many.

What Is the Most Popular Pie in America?

Pie on its own is an incredibly popular dessert, but the most popular pie of all is apple pie. On Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just a regular Sunday, apple pie is a hit and a must-have, served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the top, or whipped cream if you would prefer!

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