Decadent Southern Sweets

Fried chicken, cornbread, and cheesy casserole are some of the best foods you can taste in the South. But aside from those dishes, did you know that the South is also known for its decadent desserts that are full of rich flavors? Well, many dessert recipes that belong to early settlers but in the South, there are treats that they made their own. This is the reason why few places compare to the South when it comes to dessert. They can offer you decadent cream-filled cakes, sweet pies, and lots more. 

There are indeed lots of great options to choose from when it comes to Southern sweets. If you want to try them, we are giving you a list of the decadent Southern sweets you must try. 

1. Tarte à la Bouille

This is a classic Cajun dessert that is often found in Southern Louisiana. If you have a sweet craving, this dessert will surely satisfy that craving. It has a sweet dough base and luscious custard filling that is made with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. The filling is poured into the shell and baked until set. Some are topped with lattice as well and some features fruits such as blackberries. 

2. Southern Tea Cakes

These decadent sweets are a part cookie and part cake. It is a glazed confection that is a perfect complement to a cup of tea. So, if you’re undecided whether you like some cake or cookies, then this is the perfect dessert for you. You can check out how to make these tea cakes here

3. Banana Pudding

a banana pudding topped with sweet sauce

This dessert is not distinctly Southern but it has been a popular dessert associated with the South since the 1990s. In fact, there’s a Banana Pudding Festival held in Tennessee annually to celebrate this decadent sweet. This dessert features creamy vanilla custard along with sliced bananas and cookies and topped with meringue or whipped cream. It is a very easy sweet delight to make and it is usually created for large gatherings. If you want to try making some banana pudding, check out this recipe that we found. 

4. Texas Sheet Cake

This is a fudgy cake that is just like the state of Texas which is huge and full of flavor. If you are looking for a unique but delicious chocolate cake, then this is one of the decadent Southern sweets you must try. You can check out the Texas sheet cake recipe here

5. Sweet Potato Pie

a small sweet potato pie


The first known recipe of the sweet potato pie dessert is said to be written by a former slave named Abby Fisher. This dessert is similar to pumpkin pie and it is usually seen on Thanksgiving tables in the Southern states. Cooked, mashed sweet potatoes are mixed with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg together with eggs, sugar, milk, and butter, creating a velvety, smooth mixture. This mixture is then poured into a pie shell and baked. You can also check out this cool Sweet Potato Pie recipe we found. 

6. Chess Pie

a vanilla buttermilk chess pie on a plate


Chess Pie is being made in the South for as long as we’ve been able to get our hands on a few scoops of sugar and a couple pats of butter. Aside from that, there are also many stories about chess pie but there’s not settled history for it. But this dessert is the perfect choice for those who are looking for a very sweet treat. It is a custard-based pie that has a caramelized top that is made with simple ingredients such as flour, eggs, sugar, and butter. If you want to learn how to make this classic Southern dessert, you can check the recipe here

7. Red Velvet Cake


Red velvet desserts like cake, pancakes, and cupcakes can be found anywhere today, but red velvet cake is a popular Southern dessert. This cake is noted for its red coloring which can vary from brownish-red hue to bright red. It has a subtle chocolate flavor and moist cream cheese filling. It is an old-fashioned cake that is beautiful to look at and of course, delicious. You can try creating this dessert by following this recipe

8. Coconut Layer Cake

a slice of coconut layer cake on a plate


The cakes in the Southern states are not regular cakes that you can find anywhere. Another proof for that is their coconut layer cake. It is an elaborate, multi-layer cake that features a coconut layer and a coconut filling between each layer. The whole cake is covered in creamy frosting and more coconut. It is a sweet and moist cake that is perfect for a holiday or anytime to want to impress your friends and family. You can check out its recipe here.

9. Pound Cake

butter pound cakes with vanilla frosting


This is a very rich, dense, and buttery cake that dates back to the 1700s. It has a British origin and it is a favored selection throughout the Southern states. The original recipes of this cake call for one pound each of eggs, flour, sugar, and butter that’s why it’s called pound cake. But there are now contemporary recipes that have been made to create a lighter version. This cake is usually baked in a loaf pan and sometimes dusted with powdered sugar or topped with a light glaze. You can make it at home by following this recipe.

10. Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

This is another widely popular dessert in the South. It is a combination of strawberries, pretzels, and cheesecake which may sound strange but tastes great. It is the best dessert for people who love strawberries and cheese. You can find the recipe of this dessert here.  

11. Hummingbird Cake

a delicious-looking slice of hummingbird cake

This is a gorgeous cake that is filled with ripe bananas, crushed pineapple, and toasted pecans, then topped with cream cheese frosting. The recipe for this cake came from Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina. People have adapted the recipe over the years to suit their tastes. Other bakers added coconut and turned this iconic treat into pancakes. If you want to make one at home, you can find a detailed recipe of hummingbird cake here

12. Pecan Pie

 a whole, freshly baked pecan pie

Pecan pie is a classic Southern dessert that is believed to be introduced by Native Americans to French immigrants who in turn, incorporated them into their recipes. This pie is a sweet, nutty combination of pecans, corn syrup, and sugar. It has a nutty crust that will surely satisfy those who have a major sweet tooth. We found this mini pecan pie recipe that you can try as well. 

13. Key Lime Pie

a whole key lime pie on a table

This is an iconic dessert that originated from Key West, Florida and has been enjoyed by locals for over 100 years. If you are looking for something tart, then this dessert is the best for you. It is a pale yellow pie that is made with key lime juice, eggs, and condensed milk. This mixture is poured in a pastry or graham cracker crust. You can check out the recipe of this pie here

14. Peach Cobbler

a peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top

Cobbler is a delicious, warm, and tasty dessert that is perfect with any seasonal fruit, most especially peaches from Georgia. The recipe of this dessert came from early settlers. It is a deep-dish sweet treat that is full of fruit and topped with crust and a biscuit topping. Peach cobbler is best served warm and it is sometimes enhanced by adding vanilla ice cream, making it a great summer dessert as well. You can check out its recipe here

15. Pig Pickin Cake

This cake sure has a funny name but no story can be found about the origins of that name. It is composed of pineapple, coconut, pecans, and mandarin oranges, making it an impossible-to-resist dessert in the South. You can get the recipe of this pig pickin cake here

16. Lane Cake

a thick slice of lane cake on a plate

Lane cake is a traditional Southern dessert which is enjoyed for over 100 years. It is created by Emma Rylander Lane from Alabama in the late 1800s. This cake features several white sponge cakes layered with a filling of egg yolks, sugar, butter, and raisins, and then added with brandy or bourbon and covered with icing. Some bakers adapted the recipe of the Lane cake to make it their own. They added different ingredients to it such as pecans, pineapple, and coconut. Find out how to make one here

17. Mississippi Mud Cake

This cake features gooey marshmallows and fudge frosting on top. If you have a sweet tooth and you love chocolate cake, well, you will surely love the Mississippi mud cake more. You can check out its recipe here

18. Bread Pudding

freshly baked bread pudding

The history of bread pudding dates back to the 11th century. It was the time when cooks wanted to use up stale bread. This dessert is popular throughout different parts of the world, most especially the Southern states of the United States. This dessert is made using leftover bread soaked in a custard mixture. It also has mix-ins such as raisins and fruits and then they are baked together. After baking, a warm, flavorful sauce like creamy vanilla sauce is then poured over it, making it a comforting decadent dessert. 

19. Lemon Icebox Pie

 a lemon ice box pie with raspberry sorbet

This is one of the great desserts that can be set in the refrigerator and not in a hot oven. This pie has a tangy lemon filling that is made with lemon juice, condensed milk, egg yolks, and cream cheese. It can also be topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make it a great summertime treat or even when you’re just craving for something cold and sweet. 

20. Lemon Meringue Pie

a delicious lemon meringue pie

This is a traditional Southern dessert that one is going to pass on. It is an all-time favorite for most Southerners. This pie tastes like a sweet and tangy slice of heaven and the best part is its meringue topping, especially for people who love sweets. You can try making one yourself by following this recipe

These are some of the decadent Southern sweets that you must try when you visit the Southern United States. But if you can’t wait until you go there, then you can try making them at home as well. If you’re looking for more sweet treats, you can also check out our suggestions for 10 Fun and Unusual Chocolate Snacks.