22 Best Southern Desserts

The American South is renowned for its comforting, decadent desserts that showcase regional flavors and ingredients. From cakes layered with fresh peaches to pies bursting with pecans, the dessert options below highlight the best of Southern baking. This article explores 22 can’t-miss Southern desserts that will transport your tastebuds.

The list includes beloved classics like Hummingbird Cake, Bananas Foster, and Sweet Potato Pie along with creative twists like Banana Pudding Bundt Cake and Banana Pudding Lasagna. You’ll find tips and tricks from experienced bakers on how to craft these desserts at home, from the perfect caramelization on a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake to getting the ideal tang in your Key Lime Pie.

Whether you’re a novice baker or an expert, this roundup offers inspiration and guidance on mastering 22 quintessential Southern desserts. Now it’s time to preheat the oven and bask in the sweet aromas of brown sugar, fresh fruit, and vanilla as you bake your way through these iconic Southern treats.

Banana Pudding

Traditionally, banana pudding is made by layering vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, and Nilla wafers in a dish. While this classic version is delicious, I like to add a few extra ingredients to really take it to the next level.

Banana pudding for breakfast

For starters, I mix in some cream cheese with the pudding to give it a richer texture. I also like to add a dollop of sour cream to the whipped cream topping for some tanginess. And instead of using plain Nilla wafers, I opt for the banana-flavored ones for an extra burst of banana goodness.

Strawberry-Pretzel Tart

This dessert is a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and creamy flavors that make it a hit at dinner parties or family gatherings. The combination of the buttery, salty pretzel crust with a sweet, creamy filling topped with fresh strawberries creates an explosion of flavors in your mouth that is hard to resist.

To make this tart, I begin by crushing pretzels in a food processor until they are fine. I then mix in melted butter and sugar before pressing the mixture into a tart pan and baking it until golden brown. I then whip up a mixture of cream cheese, whipped cream, and sugar for the filling, spoon it onto the crust, and top it with sliced strawberries.

Chess Pie

One of these delightful desserts is the Chess Pie, a custard-filled pie that is wonderfully reminiscent of buttermilk pie. This delicious pie is perfect for any occasion, be it a backyard barbecue or a family gathering.

In my efforts to create the perfect Chess Pie, I have experimented with different ingredients such as orange juice, coffee, and maple syrup to add new depth to the flavors of the pie. With each new variation, I was thrilled to find that the unique flavors of the added ingredient were wonderfully in sync with the custardiness of the Chess Pie.

Bourbon Peach Pie

A classic combination of juicy peaches and a sophisticated twist of bourbon. The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg will fill your home, making your house feel like a home. Trust me, this pie is a crowd-pleaser perfect for gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.

Making this pie does not require all of your free time, and it is surprisingly easy to put together. You can use store-bought pie crust and pre-sliced peaches, which cuts down the prep time in half. However, if you are an avid baker that likes to go above and beyond, do not shy away from making the pie crust and slicing the peaches yourself.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

The tangy and creamy flavor of sour cream gives the pound cake an extra layer of richness that makes it irresistible. So, when I started compiling my list of 22 best Southern desserts, I knew that my sour cream pound cake recipe had to be on it.

The key is to use good quality ingredients, and make sure that you measure everything accurately. I like to use real butter instead of margarine, and I always use full-fat sour cream to get that perfect texture. And to make sure that the cake doesn’t dry out, I bake it at a low temperature for a longer time.

Brown Sugar Peach Cake

And while peach cobbler is a classic choice, why not mix things up with a Brown Sugar Peach Cake? This delicious twist on a traditional cobbler takes all the best parts – tender, sweet peaches and a rich, buttery topping – and turns it into a stunning cake that’s perfect for any occasion.

One of the best things about this cake is how easy it is to make. The recipe comes together quickly and easily, with most of the ingredients already in your pantry. And while the cake is delicious on its own, it’s the brown sugar boiled icing that really sets it apart. This rich and decadent frosting is made by boiling together sugar and cream until it thickens, then pouring it over the warm cake.

Shoofly Pie

One recipe that particularly caught my eye was the Shoofly Pie. I had heard of this dessert before but had never actually tasted it or attempted to make it myself. After reading through the recipe, I was surprised by how simple the ingredients were – flour, brown sugar, molasses, butter, and a few spices.

I decided to give it a try and was pleasantly surprised by the end result. As I prepared the Shoofly Pie, I couldn’t help but think about the history and culture behind this classic Southern dessert. Known for its origins in Pennsylvania Dutch country, Shoofly Pie has become a staple in Southern cuisine as well.

Hummingbird Cake

If you’re not familiar with this southern classic, think of it as a cross between a carrot cake and banana bread. With layers of moist cake packed with shredded coconut, sweet ripe bananas, and juicy pineapple, and then topped off with a smooth and creamy buttercream frosting, there’s no wonder why this cake is so popular.

But when it comes to making the perfect hummingbird cake, there are a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years. First and foremost, make sure to use ripe bananas for the cake batter. The sweetness and moisture from the bananas will take your cake to the next level. And don’t be afraid to add a little extra shredded coconut or pineapple if you’re a fan of those flavors.

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake has been popular in the South for generations. It’s a cake that is a perfect balance of flavors, and it’s always moist and tender. The chocolate cake has a subtle tang, which is perfect with a rich and creamy cream cheese frosting. I’ve tried many Red Velvet Cake recipes over the years, but this one, in my opinion, is the best.

So, in this article, I’ll be sharing my experience and own thoughts on how to prepare the perfect Red Velvet Cake. The cocoa powder adds a rich chocolate flavor, and the buttermilk gives it a tangy taste that balances out the sweetness. The frosting is also perfect as it’s not too sweet, and the cream cheese adds a lovely creamy texture.


My personal experience with Beignets has been nothing short of ecstasy, and I am here to tell you that making these treats at home is easier than you may think. No need to book a flight or stand in long lines at the famous Cafe Du Monde.

All you need are a few simple ingredients and a frying pan, and you will find yourself with a plate full of soft and delicious pillows of dough, sprinkled with powdered sugar. The recipe is simple to follow, and the ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores across the country.

Easy Peach Cobbler

Peach cobbler is a classic Southern dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. While there are countless variations of this beloved recipe, I’ve found that the one that hits all the right notes is a juicy and sweet dessert with just a hint of spice from ginger.

The secret to making the perfect peach cobbler is all in the topping – it should be buttery and have the right amount of crunch from coarse sugar sprinkled on top. This dessert is one that I love to make for family gatherings or for a cozy night with friends. With just a few simple ingredients, it’s easy to whip up and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Ambrosia Salad

Gone are the heavy and overly sweet versions of this classic fruit salad. Nowadays, it is all about using fresh and seasonal fruits, balanced with a creamy and light dressing. My go-to recipe includes coconut flakes, fresh mandarins, pineapple, and marshmallows creating a perfect blend of fruity and sweet flavors.

While some may shy away from Ambrosia Salad, deeming it a dessert of the past, I encourage you to give it another try with a modern twist. Not only is it a beautiful addition to any spread, but it’s also a refreshing and delightful dessert that will leave you feeling nostalgic and satisfied.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

One dessert that stands out amongst the rest is the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. This retro dessert may seem intimidating to make, but trust me, it’s as easy as pie (or cake, in this case). The key is to flip the cake while it’s still warm, and voila!

You have a beautiful cake with caramelized pineapple topping that will leave everyone in awe. As someone who loves to put their own spin on classic recipes, I like to add a touch of coconut to my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for an extra burst of flavor.

Banana Pudding Lasagna

This no-bake dessert consists of delicious layers of creamy cheesecake filling, sweet bananas, and crunchy Nilla wafers, making it the perfect dessert for any occasion. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also a crowd-pleaser that will have everyone asking for seconds.

But why choose this dessert over other more traditional Southern sweets? Well, for starters, it’s a unique twist on classic banana pudding. It’s a dessert that is sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests and something that they won’t soon forget.

Lemon Bars

Sweet yet tangy, these bars are the perfect balance of flavors. In my experience, they are the ultimate crowd-pleaser and can be prepared in advance, making them the perfect treat for any occasion. As a bonus, they are also relatively easy to make, even for those who claim not to be bakers.

With only a few simple ingredients, anyone can whip up a batch of these delectable bars. When it comes to making Lemon Bars, I have a few tips to ensure the best possible outcome. First, be sure to let the crust cool completely before pouring in the lemon filling. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy and will give the filling a crisp texture.

Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster is a delight to make and an even greater pleasure to eat. The recipe is simple, requires few ingredients, and takes little time to prepare. All it takes is a bit of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, bananas, and rum. Once you have those ingredients, you are well on your way to creating a dessert that will have your taste buds singing and begging for more.

Whether you are a fan of sweets or just looking for a delicious dessert to surprise your guests, bananas Foster has got you covered. If you’re looking to add a bit of flair to your dessert, you can never go wrong with a good flambé. As mentioned earlier, bananas Foster is famous for its flambé technique, which adds a unique and delicious flavor to the dessert.

Ultimate Coconut Cake

This cake is an absolute showstopper! It’s made with vanilla and almond extracts, shredded coconut, 5 eggs, and buttermilk, which all come together perfectly to create an extremely rich and tender crumb. But what really sets this cake apart is the addition of coconut milk to the cream cheese frosting, giving it a whole new dimension of flavor that’s a complete game changer.

I always receive rave reviews when making this cake for family and friends, and trust me, you will too. So, whether you’re looking to impress guests at a dinner party or just want to indulge in a delicious dessert, the Ultimate Coconut Cake is a must-try.

Mississippi Mud Pie

As one of the most popular desserts of the South, the Mississippi Mud Pie is a true delight for any chocolate lover. The combination of the crumbly graham-cracker crust, fudgy brownie layer, and silky smooth pudding filling is unbeatable. And let’s not forget the final touch of whipped cream, which takes this dessert to a whole new level of perfection.

This indulgent treat is the ultimate showcase of layers and textures, from the crumbly graham-cracker crust to the fudgy brownie, rich pudding, and fluffy whipped cream. Every bite is a decadent delight that will have you dreaming of the Deep South.

Banana Pudding Bundt Cake

One of the things that sets this cake apart is the use of instant pudding mix. Adding in this ingredient to your usual cake mix gives the dessert a unique and scrumptious taste. The result is a bundt cake that has a moist and fudgy texture that just melts in your mouth.

Aside from that, the banana taste is incorporated into both the cake and the icing, giving the dessert an amazing flavor profile that will make your taste buds sing. Another great thing about this cake is that it’s perfect for any occasion.

Whether you’re hosting a big family gathering or just want to surprise your loved ones with a tasty dessert, this Banana Pudding Bundt Cake will definitely impress.

Pecan Pie

It’s a dessert that’s great for entertaining because it looks impressive but is incredibly easy to make. Plus, it’s versatile enough to dress up with a dollop of whipped cream or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you’re looking to make the perfect pecan pie, this recipe is your go-to.

It’s a true Southern classic that’s sure to impress your guests, no matter the occasion. So break out the pie dish and get ready to bake – your taste buds won’t regret it!

Key Lime Pie

Southern desserts are the epitome of comfort and tradition, and nothing beats a good Key Lime Pie. When it comes to preparing the perfect Key Lime Pie, there are a few tricks that I have picked up over the years. For instance, using real Key limes (not regular limes) is essential for the pie’s signature tart flavor. I also prefer to use a graham cracker crust for added sweetness and crunch.

But perhaps my favorite twist on this dessert is freezing it on a stick and dipping it in chocolate, mimicking the famous Key Lime Pie on a stick that you can find in Key West. Trust me, it’s the ultimate indulgence that any true Key Lime Pie lover will appreciate.

Sweet Potato Pie

his delectable dessert not only boasts a heavenly, spiced filling that melts in your mouth but also a crispy, buttery crust that perfectly complements the pie’s sweetness. And while there are many variations of the Sweet Potato Pie recipe, there’s no denying that making it from scratch is always the best way to go.

For those who are new to making pies from scratch, the following recipe is beginner-friendly and straightforward. Just don’t forget to sprinkle some cinnamon over the whipped cream or vanilla ice cream before serving to bring out the warmth and coziness of this delightful dessert.