50 States of Pie
From sweet prickly pear in the deserts of Arizona to lush maple cream in the forests of Vermont, here's a rundown of the most-popular pie flavors our great Republic has to offer.
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Iconic Pies from State to State
Maryland: Baltimore Bomb Pie
Never heard of the Baltimore Bomb Pie? You’re probably not spending enough time in Baltimore. The local specialty, created by a baker at Baltimore’s Dangerously Delicious Pies, is essentially a chess pie with Berger Cookies embedded inside. Berger Cookies are another Baltimore specialty: The rich, fudge-topped shortbread cookies are of German origin first brought to Maryland by George and Henry Berger in 1835. Little did they know these cookies would someday be thrown into a pie to create some gooey goodness.
Photo courtesy of Dangerously Delicious Pies
Go to: Dangerously Delicious Pies
Delaware: Peach Pie
Go to: Fifer's Farm Market Cafe
Virginia: Peanut Pie
Virginia peanuts aren't only grown in Virginia; Virginia peanuts are a specific variety of peanut. The largest of all peanuts, Virginia peanuts are known as the "ballpark" peanuts. In pie form, they take on a sticky-sweet quality similar to pecans (thanks corn syrup). Try a peanut-studded slice at the Virginia Diner in Wakefield.
Go to: Virginia Diner
Illinois: Grasshopper Pie
Go to: Bub City
Kansas: Cream Pies
Go to: Upper Crust Bakery
Indiana: Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie
Born from Amish and Shaker communities that settled in Indiana in the 1800s, the Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie is a rich, custardy pie made with pantry staples like sugar, cream, flour and vanilla. It’s been nicknamed the "desperation pie," since you don’t even need eggs to bake this one. The "Hoosier" part was added to the name because Indiana felt particularly proud of this pie (and didn't want any other state claiming credit). It’d be impossible not to mention Mrs. Wick's Pies, only the largest national Sugar Cream Pie producer. Mrs. Wick's bakes over 750,000 pies each year and ships to 25 states.
Photo courtesy of Marlene Rounds
Go to: Mrs. Wick's Pies
Idaho: Shepherd’s Pie
Go to: Celt Pub & Grill
Michigan: Cherry Pie
Go to: Grand Traverse Pie Company
Alaska: Pirok (Russian Salmon Pie)
Pirok — or perok or peroche — is the Alaskan adoption of a traditional Russian salmon pie. It's an improvisational savory affair with wild-caught salmon nestled between layers of cabbage, rice, onion and whatever other hearty crops you’re lucky enough to harvest along the Alaskan coast. Throw in some bacon or boiled eggs, or maybe even some cheese or heavy cream if you’re feeling decadent, and bake it all together in a puff pastry for a warm meal to stave off Alaska’s chilly arctic nights. Try it at the Tutka Bay Lodge near Homer or its sister location, the Winterlake Lodge near the Iditarod National Historic Trail.
South Dakota: Bumbleberry Pie
Go to: Purple Pie Place
Tennessee: Fudge Pie
Go to: Loveless Cafe
Wisconsin: Apple Pie Baked in a Bag
West Virginia: Pawpaw Pie
What's a pawpaw, you ask? Believe it or not, it’s the largest edible fruit native to the United States (save that one for your next trivia night). The pawpaw has a tropical flavor, somewhere between banana, pineapple and mango. But don't try to replace it with any of these other tropical-tasting fruits — there's no substitute, as people in West Virginia will tell you. That's where the pawpaw grows abundantly in the mountainous regions. Here’s a great recipe if you get your pawpaws on some.
Photo courtesy of Emily Hilliard
Ohio: Shaker Sugar Pie
Go to: The Golden Lamb
Massachusetts: Boston Cream Pie
This pie’s ancestry traces back to 1855 at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, now the Omni Parker House, which still bakes about 25 Boston cream pies daily. Some would call it a pie imposter because it actually lacks a crucial element — there’s no crust to be found. And, despite its name, it contains no cream. Basically it’s just custard smooshed between a few layers of yellow or white cake with chocolate frosting on top. Say what you will, it’s at least pie in name.
Photo courtesy of Omni Parker House
Go to: Omni Parker House
Montana: Huckleberry Pie
Go to: Luna's Restaurant
Alabama: Buttermilk Pie
Go to: Irondale Cafe
Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Pie
California: Boysenberry Pie
Go to: Knott's Berry Farm
Arkansas: Chess Pie
Chess pie is about as simple as pie gets: butter, egg, sugar, milk, a splash of vinegar and maybe some cornmeal. The name supposedly comes from an aberrational twist on "jes' pie," since it's just a plain ol' pie made with ingredients you’d likely have around the kitchen pantry. It's a Southern favorite year-round, during the holidays and at state fairs. Head to Alley Oops in Little Rock for the classic chess pie or the chocolate version (which involves more of the same gooey goodness but with chocolate).
Photo courtesy of Kat Robinson
Go to: Alley Oops
Colorado: "Pot" Pie
Colorado is home to a booming industry that’s pushing the boundaries of baking — the legal boundaries, that is. One of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use, Colorado has instituted relatively relaxed regulations permitting the production of edible cannabis products. Sure, you've heard of the gummies and brownies, but make way for the "pot" pie! Sweet Grass Kitchen distributes its cannabutter-infused shortbread crust pies to more than 400 dispensaries, including the seasonal pumpkin "pot" pie. Just consume responsibly and you may end up finding the true meaning of getting baked.
Sitting in a stadium packed to the brim with 90,000 cheering Cornhusker fans, you might not expect to find a traditionally German hand pie at the food court. The runza is a savory pie pocket, and Runza is also the name of a Nebraska fast-food chain with 75 locations (the chain even has a trademark on the name "runza"). A descendant of the yeasty, doughy bread pockets of the Old World, the runza found a standardized rectangular form in the booming American fast-food culture of the 1950s. While the fast-food variety is a bit more sandwich-leaning given its breadier pocket, the runza’s roots are in the hand pie family. Here’s a recipe to make one from scratch.
Connecticut: Pumpkin Pie
Go to: Michele's Pies
Florida: Key Lime Pie
Key lime pies are as synonymous with Florida as Walt Disney World, white sand beaches and senior living communities. The beloved citrus gems are grown inthe Florida Keys and South Florida, though they can actually be quite hard to find, as the crop was essentially wiped out by a hurricane in 1926. Watch out for "Key lime" pies baked with Persian limes instead. For a real-deal Key lime pie, head to Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe, where Kermit bakes his tart, rich pie in a classic graham cracker crust.
Kentucky: Derby Pie
There might as well be a law that says you can't attend a Kentucky Derby party without having a mint julep in one hand and a slice of Derby pie in the other. The Derby pie is similar to a pecan pie but with chocolate chips melted in the filling along with a healthy pour of bourbon (because, Kentucky). The pie was created at the Melrose Inn in 1950 and now "Derby Pie" is actually a registered trademark of Kern's Kitchen in Park City, which is the only place where you can find the official pie. But don’t worry, there are plenty of unofficial pies all over the state, especially in the Louisville area.
Nevada: Chocolate Sin Pie
OK, we'll be honest: Nevada is not known for its pies. But we promised 50 pies, so we're gonna deliver 50 pies. The top contender for the state that gave us over-the-top Las Vegas is the Chocolate Sin Pie, which appeals to our deepest, darkest desires. It's a four-layered construction with a sugary pecan-filling base, a sweetened cream cheese layer, a chocolate pudding layer and a whipped cream topping. Bam.
Photo by Kelsey Hilts/Itsy Bitsy Foodies
Louisiana: Natchitoches Meat Pies
Go to: Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen
Hawaii: Chocolate Haupia Pie
Go to: Ted's Bakery
New Hampshire: Whoopie Pie
Go to: Just Like Mom's Pastries
Georgia: Peanut Butter Pie
Go to: Edna's Restaurant
Maine: Blueberry Pie
Maine is home to more wild blueberries than any other state — we're talking 60,000 acres of blueberry fields. So, naturally, every diner, lobster shack and other Maine eatery swears to have the best blueberry pie. A little squeeze of lemon juice adds a pleasant tartness to this iconic summertime pie. Head to Maine Diner in Wells for a fresh lobster roll followed by some just-like-your-Maine-grandma-made blueberry pie.
Photo courtesy of Goldbelly
Go to: Maine Diner
Minnesota: Banana Cream Pie
Go to: Duluth Grill
New Mexico: Frito Pie
Go to: Five & Dime General Store
New York: Cheesecake
The bagel, the pizza, the pastrami deli sandwich — there's no lack of iconic foods synonymous with New York City (and by extension the state, where the population is only slightly over double that of the city). Rich, creamy and light-without-falling-apart-as-you-take-a-forkful, New York-style cheesecake is imitated the world over. And let's be honest, even if it’s a "cake" by name, it features custard in a graham cracker crust. We don't know about you, but custard in pie crust sounds like a pie in our book. (Again, existential pie questions.) Junior’s in Brooklyn is, for many, the definition of authentic New York-style cheesecake.
New Jersey: Tomato Pie
We didn't want to touch pizza territory here (we'll save that for another roundup), but when you think of Jersey and pies, tomato pie immediately springs to mind. The pie gained popularity in Trenton over a century ago. Unlike other pizzas, though, the cheese goes on top of the dough, then the sauce is smothered on top. It may look inside-out, but — trust us — it works. You can still find the real-deal tomato pie all over Trenton; De Lorenzo’s has been slinging tomato pies since 1947.
Photo courtesy of Virginia Miller
Go to: De Lorenzo's
Arizona: Prickly Pear Pie
Go to: Bread & Butter Cafe
North Carolina: Sweet Potato Pie
North Carolina is the top sweet potato-growing state in the country (more than 40 percent of the nation's sweet potatoes are grown here, y’all!). There are several varieties of the sweet potato — Beauregard, Carolina Rose and Jewel, to name a few — and just about any of them would be delicious in pie form. Heck, the state even has its own Sweet Potato Commission. Some recipes call for bourbon (why not?), others add a pecan topping, but you can’t go wrong with a classic sweet potato pie. Head down to Sweet Potatoes (Well Shut My Mouth!!) a Restaurant in Winston-Salem for a slice. Extra points if you eat it while listening to the eponymous James Taylor song. ("Softer than a lullaby, deeper than the midnight sky, soulful as a baby's cry, my sweet potato pie.")
Go to: Sweet Potatoes
North Dakota: Chokecherry Pie
North Dakota’s official state fruit is the chokecherry, a juicy red fruit grown throughout the state. While it has a somewhat unfortunate name, it’s so beloved in North Dakota that they even have an annual Chokecherry Festival in August. The chokecherry’s name is inspired by its bitter, astringent flavor, but as you may imagine, the fruit has run into some marketing issues ("this cherry’s so bitter, you could choke on it!"). As a result, the chokecherry sometimes commercially goes by "black cherry" instead. Head to the Town Square Farmer’s Market in Grand Forks for wild chokecherry mini pies.
Photo by Jason Lindsey
Go to: Town Square Farmer's Market
Missouri: Butterscotch Pie
Go to: Cooky's Cafe
Oklahoma: Fried Pie
Oklahoma’s fascination with fried pie runs deep. The Arbuckle Mountains specifically, located in south-central Oklahoma, have been home to fried pies since the late 1800s. Ranchers in this mountain range cooked their meals over an open campfire. To supplement their diets — and take their minds off the miserably cold winters — they started frying pies over the campfire. Today you can find fried pies at Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies near Davis with fruit, custard and savory fillings. (Or if you happen to be in the cold lands of Fargo, N.D., there's another location there.)
Go to: Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies
Oregon: Marionberry Pie
The marionberry, not to be confused with the late D.C. mayor, is a blackberry variety from Marion County. Known as the "Cabernet of blackberries," the berry has a complex, rich and earthy flavor. You'll see it celebrated all over Oregon, in the form of jams, ice cream and, yes, you guessed it, pie. Oregon produces a whopping 30 million pounds of marionberries every year — perfect for a lot of pies! Head to Sweedeedee in Portland for a delicious pie baked with fresh, local marionberries.
Go to: Sweedeedee
South Carolina: Tomato Pie
Go to: Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe
Pennsylvania: Shoofly Pie
Go to: Dutch Kitchen
Rhode Island: Coconut Custard Pie
Go to: Wayland Bakery
Utah: Idleberry Pie
Idleberry is another not-actually-a-real berry. Instead it’s a blend of blueberries, blackberries and boysenberries, which all combine to make a dark berry-heavy pie filling. It’s an original creation over at Idle Isle Cafe in Brigham City (Utah’s third-oldest restaurant), and it’s worth a serious detour if you ask anyone in Utah.
Photo courtesy of Brad Thomas Parsons
Go to: Idle Isle Cafe
Texas: Pecan Pie
Pecans are the state nut of Texas; the pecan tree is the state tree of Texas; and, big surprise here, the pecan pie is the state dessert of Texas. Bottom line: Don't mess with Texas pecans. Serving pecan pie is a matter of Texas pride, and the pecan pie pride especially picks up during Thanksgiving. Royers in Round Top ships out thousands of its beloved pecan pies during the holidays. Note: It’s "pa-can not pee-can" according to the menu.
Photo by Paula Forbes
Go to: Royers Round Top Café
Vermont: Maple Cream Pie
Go to: Wayside Restaurant
Washington: Loganberry Pie
Go to: Whidbey Pies
Wyoming: Rhubarb Pie
Go to: Cowboy Cafe
Iowa: Sour Cream Raisin Pie
Go to: Country Junction