Dessert Diplomacy: Which Thanksgiving Dessert Reigns Supreme in Your Home State?

Woman Baking

When it comes to food, Thanksgiving is the time for the classics. Too much experimentation or adventurousness is a recipe for disappointment, and the meal's final course is no exception. While you may not be shocked at the three choices that dominate this list, you might be surprised which Turkey Day dessert your state craves the most. We selected 24 states and relied on results from a recent survey to determine which sweet treats local grocery stores should stock in large supply.

1. The Choices: Pick a Pie, Any Pie

Apple Pie, Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Marcus Quigmire – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The survey we relied on for this data offered respondents several options. While cookies and cranberry cake were among the selections, the list felt like an NSYNC Thanksgiving: Pie, Pie, Pie.

After seeing the results, the researchers categorized the pies by tier: Superior (pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, key lime pie, and cherry pie), Good (peach cobbler, blueberry pie, lemon meringue pie), Mid (mud pie), and Low (rhubarb pie, banoffee pie). Among the Superior tier, one overwhelming favorite dominated the sugar-coated competition.

2. California: Pumpkin Pie

California - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: David Ball – Original work, CC BY 2.5/Wiki Commons.

California is known more for its grapes and avocados than its pumpkins, but what the heck? It's not like anyone wants avocado pie after a healthy portion of mashed potatoes, turkey, and stuffing. While residents of most states prefer pumpkin pie as their Thanksgiving dessert, the pumpkin pies have a slightly more golden hue in the Golden State.

3. Texas: Pumpkin Pie

Texas - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Leaflet – Own work, Public Domain/Wiki Commons.

Pumpkin pie is a logical choice for Texans celebrating the pilgrims' successful settlement at Plymouth. After all, the pie is virtually indistinguishable from the burnt-orange aesthetic proud University of Texas graduates incorporate throughout their homes. Horns up, forks up.

4. New Hampshire: Apple Pie

New Hampshire - Apple Pie
Image Credit: Someone35 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

You've heard the phrase, “It's as American as apple pie.” Well, you can thank New Hampshirites for keeping the patriotism in this year's Thanksgiving. Perhaps New Hampshire's robust infrastructure of orchards has made post-turkey apple pie such a time-honored (and unique) tradition. After all, if you don't use the apples by winter's arrival, you lose them. 

5. Pennsylvania: Pumpkin Pie

Pennsylvania - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Matt Batchelor – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Pennsylvania, founded by Quakers, is a state that doesn't attract too much attention to itself. Aside from the hardened, opinionated folks of Philadelphia, Pennsylvanians tend to be mild-mannered, happy to work hard and get along. Unsurprisingly, their preference for pumpkin pie is in lockstep with most of the United States.

6. Illinois: Pumpkin Pie

Illinois - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Erik Cooper – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

In a state known for deep-dish pizza and beef sandwiches, pumpkin pie reigns supreme in late November. Could we try a pumpkin pizza pie this year? That seems crazy, but then again, so did the idea that the Cubs would ever win the World Series.

7. Mississippi: Pecan Pie

Mississippi - Pecan Pie
Image Credit: M M – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

When eating pecan pie in Mississippi, you are legally required to say “pee-can” in your most caramelized Southern drawl. Trust me, the locals will take no offense.

8. North Carolina: Pumpkin Pie

North Carolina - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: James St. John – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in North Carolina for Thanksgiving, ask for the punkin' pie. The second “P” is silent. 

9. Georgia: Pumpkin Pie

Georgia - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: BubbaDaAmogus – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Georgia is the leading producer of pecans in the United States, so it's a head-scratcher that pumpkin pie rates as the state's most popular Thanksgiving dessert. We love pumpkin pie just as much as the next state, but Georgia, come on! You have a reputation (and the pecan-farming industry) to uphold.

10. Alaska: Apple Pie

Alaska - Apple Pie
Image Credit: Azer Koçulu azer – CC0/Wiki Commons.

Alaska is one of the harshest environments for growing fruit in the United States. Apples are one of the rare fruits that can grow in the inclement weather. Alaskans have adopted apple species grown in Canada and more frigid regions of the United States, and they apparently use those apples in their Thanksgiving Day pie spread.

11. Michigan: Pumpkin Pie

Michigan - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: John Menard – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Not to take any cheap shots, but if any city turned from a municipal Cinderella into a pumpkin in the past century, it's Detroit. It's only fitting that Michiganders (who seem like really good people) love their pumpkin pie. 

12. New Jersey: Pumpkin Pie

New Jersey - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Roland Arhelger – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

If you haven't already noticed that pumpkin pie is far and away the most popular Thanksgiving Day dessert, I have breaking news for you: Pumpkin pie is far and away the most popular Thanksgiving Day dessert—including in New Jersey.

Pecan-loving New Jerseyites: Consider relocating southward. You may just fit in better.

13. Tennessee: Pecan Pie

Tennessee - Pecan Pie
Image Credit: Rachel Davis rmaedavis – CC0/Wiki Commons.

Residents of Southern states love their pecan pie, and Tennesseans are not shy about expressing that love. Whether your dinner table rests near the bright lights of Nashville, the three rivers of Knoxville, or anywhere else in this versatile state, make sure the table has at least two pecan pies.

14. Florida: Pumpkin Pie

Florida - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: BeccaCheney – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

You can't grow pumpkins without sunshine, so it's fitting that Floridians gravitate towards pumpkin pie as their go-to Thanksgiving sweet.

15. Wyoming: Peach Cobbler

Wyoming - Peach Cobbler
Image Credit: James St. John – CC BY 2.0/Ralph Daily – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Never a state for conformists, Wyoming is the lone state that prefers peach cobbler as its sugar-laden, post-turkey delight. Considering how delicious peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream is, it's shocking that more states do not follow Wyoming's lead.

16. Washington: Pumpkin Pie

Washington - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Chelles1980 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Word has reached even the remote Pacific Northwest. America is going with pumpkin pie for dessert. That's just what we're doing. From the Hudson River to Seattle, pumpkin pie is the call.

17. Delaware: Apple Pie

Delaware - Apple Pie
Image Credit: Tim Kiser – CC BY-SA 2.5/Wiki Commons.

Delaware is apple-picking country. Why spend money on canned pumpkin when you can pick some fresh apples and make a delectable pie out of them? 

18. Virginia: Pumpkin Pie

Virginia - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: jeff horne – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Why not eat a pie that reminds you of Virginia Cavalier orange? Virginia may be for lovers, but it's also for pumpkin pie lovers.

19. Arizona: Pumpkin Pie

Arizona - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Lennart Sikkema – CC BY 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Arizonans are willing to take one day off from eating their famous cactus pie in favor of pumpkin. Even our desert-dwelling countrymen can agree that pumpkin pie is a can't-miss delight on Thanksgiving.

20. Iowa: Apple Pie

Iowa - Apple Pie
Image Credit: Lynn Betts/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Public Domain/Wiki Commons.

In Iowa, it is customary to use a cornmeal crust in your apple pie. Well, actually, we don't know if that's true. There's just lots of corn in Iowa. We do know, though, based on this recent research, that Iowans prefer apple pie over pumpkin pie once the turkey goes cold.

21. Colorado: Pumpkin Pie

Colorado - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Flickr – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Those who moved to Colorado after state-sanctioned legalization will need lots of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. Something tells us they are going to have quite the appetite.

22. Louisiana: Pecan Pie

Louisiana - Pecan Pie
Image Credit: Pedro Szekely – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Louisiana is arguably the culinary epicenter of the United States. The fact that Louisianans prefer pecan pie on Thanksgiving should make you question all the states choosing pumpkin pie instead.

23. New York: Pumpkin Pie

New York - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Ed Yourdon – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

New York City might be the Big Apple, but on Thanksgiving, you could call it the Big Pumpkin. Admittedly, Big Pumpkin doesn't quite have the same jingle as Big Apple, but that's why we (just me?) only call it the Big Pumpkin for one day.

24. Massachusetts: Pumpkin Pie

Massachusetts - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Nina La – CC BY 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Households throughout the Bay State will be eating pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. Tell grocers in Mass to order pumpkin pie en masse.

25. Washington, D.C.: Pecan Pie

Washington, D.C - Pecan Pie
Image Credit: Nicolas Raymond – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

We know that D.C. is not a state, but it is easily the most influential region in the United States. It shouldn't be a surprise that the political class prefers pecan in a country that overwhelmingly favors pumpkin pie. Can you say “out of touch?”

26. Ohio: Pumpkin Pie

Ohio - Pumpkin Pie
Image Credit: Jason Zhang, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

It's been a tough year for Ohio. It's been a tough many years for Ohio. Those in this state known for its grit and work ethic deserve an extra-large slice of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. In fact, have two slices. Or three. You've earned it, Ohioans.

Source: Online Casinos.

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Pop Culture Writer, Life Hack Aficionado

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  • Education: Bachelor's of Journalism from the University of South Florida - Tampa
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Experience: Sam Mire is a freelance writer with over seven years' experience writing about entertainment, global events, American law, and sports. He got his start as a journalism major at the University of South Florida, and has since spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has written news stories and Op-Eds featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks.

Sam focuses on popular culture, film and television, and general life advice in his role for Wealth of Geeks. He strives to turn readers onto the directors, actors, and other creatives who deliver compelling content outside of the box-office top-ten. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, engaging in battles of strength and wit with his dog, and spending time with good company.

Sam Mire

Author: Sam Mire

Title: Popular Culture and Film Writer

Expertise: Film and Television, Life Advice, Comedic Writing, Movies, DIY Handiwork, Books, Current Events and Popular Culture


Sam Mire is a freelance writer with over seven years' experience writing about entertainment, global events, American law, and sports. With a Journalism degree from the University of South Florida, Sam focuses on popular culture, film and television, and general life advice in his role for Wealth of Geeks.