Home Desserts 25 Classic American Desserts (+ Easy Recipes)

25 Classic American Desserts (+ Easy Recipes)

I have to admit, when I sat down to think of some of my favorite American desserts, I started to struggle.

There are just way too many amazing treats to choose from!

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I mean, what’s more American than apple pie?

Well, there’s a Texas sheet cake, chocolate chip cookies, anything with peanut butter, and pretty much any kind of glazed donut, to name a few. 

Apple Pie with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

We like it sweet, and we like it big. Nobody does brownies like we do, and I defy you to find anyone that would turn down a slice of New York-style cheesecake. 

With Memorial Day and the 4th of July coming up fast, I’ve gathered 25 of my go-to awesome American desserts for you to choose from.

Make one, make all 25! Each one is better than the last, and you’ll be the hit of the party.

1. Apple Pie Recipe

There might be some European variations, but we all know that saying, “As American as apple pie.”

I don’t know how we got here, but you’ll probably have it at every summer BBQ, every year.

I’m sure you have a family recipe, but just in case you don’t, this one is as classic as they come. No frills.

Just a wonderfully tart and spiced apple filling, with buttery pastry.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2. Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Scandinavians have their gingerbread, the Brits have their biscuits, and we have our chocolate chip cookies.

You can go all over, and nowhere does it quite the same. 

Soft and chewy are the keywords here – the perfect cookie is baked until it’s just set.

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You’re looking for golden edges and a soft center that melts in your mouth. 

Brown sugar and butter are essential and be sure not to over-mix the dough. Stop as soon as the flour is incorporated. 

3. The Most Amazing Texas Sheet Cake

This cake gets its name from the sheer size of it (you know they do it big in Texas!) and the fact that it has grown from a 1950s recipe submitted to the Dallas Morning News.

It’s been described as “as big as Texas and twice as oily” and contains some true southern ingredients like buttermilk and pecans.

You’ll need a pretty large bowl for this. It all gets mixed into a smooth batter before getting baked. 

The topping is a chocolate and buttermilk glaze that gets poured over the warm cake and sprinkled with pecans.

It’s easy, big, moist, and impossible to resist.

4. The BEST Cookie Dough Dip Recipe

I once made a cookie dough and a cheesecake dip for some friends of mine from Europe (Spain and Sweden), and they were floored!

Sweet dip?! Their minds were blown.

Needless to say, the bowls were empty pretty fast! The good news is, they’re so simple to make. 

This cookie dough dip incorporates cream cheese, too, making it a wonderful cross between cookie dough and cheesecake. And the toffee bits are a dream!

Slice Of Chocolate Cake

5. Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

If you’re looking for a rich, chocolatey, super soft chocolate cake, this one’s for you.

Hershey’s did their research on this one and came up with something I would call perfect.

From the deep flavor to the incredibly tender crumb, this cake is as good as a chocolate cake gets. 

6. Peanut Butter Brownies

Like I said before, some of the best American desserts include peanut butter.

I was so surprised that other countries don’t use it as we do, and whenever I’ve served it across the pond, it’s always a hit.

I can only describe this recipe as dangerous. Picture a tender fudgy brownie topped with Reese’s – that’s more or less what this is. 

The peanut butter layer is thick and perfect for slicing – it would also make a sensational filling for that chocolate cake above 🙂

Homemade Junior's Cheesecake with Berries

7. Junior’s Cheesecake Recipe

Whenever I’m in New York, I make the trip to Junior’s in Brooklyn. The place is iconic, and the cheesecake is out of this world. 

Unlike your typical cheesecake, they use a lighter than air sponge for the crust. It’s the best complement to the velvety, rich, dense cheesecake filling. 

Make sure your base is cooked and cooled before adding the filling and always use a water bath!

It will cook that cream cheese custard perfectly. Allow your cheesecake to cool overnight before slicing. 

8. Perfect Bananas Foster

Bananas foster can be eaten by themselves with a scoop of ice cream or will elevate everything from a slice of pound cake to a freshly baked, warm biscuit. 

You can make a batch of these sweet and boozy bananas in just ten minutes.

If you’re making it for adults, don’t even worry about burning off the alcohol. I just like to mix it in for flavor.

Peanut Butter Cookies in a Sheet Pan

9. Jif Peanut Butter Cookies

If you’re making peanut butter cookies, you should really go with the recipe from the peanut butter masters, right?

Like the Hershey’s chocolate cake, this Jif recipe has been tried and tested a million times, ensuring they’re the best out there. 

Between the all brown sugar cookie making this a deeper, chewier, and more caramel-flavored, every bite is bursting with peanut butter flavor. 

10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

If you don’t own an ice cream maker because you think you won’t use it, this recipe will change that.

One bite on this homemade chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, and you’ll be hooked.

Not only does the ice cream have chocolate and peanut butter in the mix, but there are chopped peanut butter cups mixed right in. 

The only thing that would make this better would be a drizzle of caramel. 

Homemade Peanut Butter Tart Pie

11. No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Looking for something sweet for a last-minute get-together? This pie needs just six ingredients and 20 minutes to make!

Once this pie is set, it’s like a peanut butter cheesecake – silky smooth, creamy, and to die for!

I like to add lots of chopped peanut butter cups to the top along with a handsome helping of Reese’s Pieces for pops of crunchy color.

12. Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

This quintessentially southern pie is everything you want in a slice of pie.

It’s sweet, gooey, crunchy, and buttery. I like it warm, with some chocolate chips and a dollop of whipped cream. 

There are a few variations, but most recipes agree that you need brown sugar and corn syrup for that perfect filling. 

As I said, I like to add mini chocolate chips to mine, and sometimes even bacon bits for a salty crunch. 

Banana Pudding With Vanilla Wafers

13. Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding

I lived on Long Island for a few years and would make monthly trips to the city. We would walk, eat, drink, and see a show.

There’s nothing like a summer day in NYC, and I miss it all the time. 

But what I think I miss the most is the banana pudding at Magnolia’s. I know you’ve heard of it, and I know you’ve seen it on your socials. And yes, it is THAT good. 

I think I went six months before I just had to make my own – which is dangerously easy, btw!

Keep it clean and classic with custard, Nilla Wafers, and bananas, or go a little crazy and throw in some salted caramel or even brownie bites.

The possibilities are endless. 

14. Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

Get ready for a blast from the past! You know the best thing about your birthday as a kid was the DQ ice cream cake!

This cake has a layer of chocolate ice cream, chocolate ganache, crushed Oreos, vanilla ice cream, and finally, a layer of whipped cream to cover the whole thing. 

You don’t need the whipped cream ‘frosting,’ but I just love that it gives this ice cream cake the look of a real birthday cake. 

15. No-Bake Banana Pudding Twinkie Cake

I think that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, I’d be just like Woody Harrelson, searching for Twinkies in Zombieland.

I know they aren’t good for me, but I just can’t resist!

This no-bake American dessert might just be more patriotic than apple pie – Twinkies covered in vanilla pudding and banana slices. 

It’s creamy, dreamy, sweet, and the Twinkies are a fantastic base. 

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Cream Cheese

16. Old-Fashioned Whoopie Pies Recipe

I don’t think I’ve ever seen whoopie pies anywhere outside of the States, which is weird, considering they’re soft and filled with frosting. 

You can make whoopie pies in any flavor, and I like to think of them as American macarons.

Much like the little French treat, you can make them any flavor and color you want. These just tend to be bigger!

If you want to keep it classic, this recipe offers the most tender chocolate cookie and a perfect white filling. 

17. Peanut Butter and Banana Sundaes

Do you have a go-to late-night snack? Mine is peanut butter and banana on toast.

As good as peanut butter and chocolate is, I much prefer the nutty spread with sweet bananas. 

You’ll be making a peanut butter sauce for this, which is kind of like a peanut butter caramel.

Use any kind of ice cream you have, and don’t be shy with the banana slices!

18. Beignets from Scratch

New Orleans + Cafe Du Monde + beignets = three things I dream about! This open-air cafe is just magical and classic New Orleans. 

If you’ve never been, put it on your bucket list!

Until then, try this recipe for beignets! They’re so soft and light, and one will not be enough!

Stack of Salted Peanut Butter Fudge

19. Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge

Did you know you can make a batch of creamy peanut butter fudge with just three ingredients and a microwave?

This fudge tastes just like the filling in a Reese’s peanut butter cup, and to be honest, that’s almost exactly what it is.

This just has extra powdered sugar to help it set up so you can cut it into squares. 

20. Apple Pie Milkshake

If you like your apple pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, then you’ll love this milkshake recipe.

I like to make this when I’m making apple pie. Cut up some extra apples and add the spices and cornstarch to a pot.

You’ll need to cook them down and puree the mix before you can add in the ice cream. 

You could use applesauce, but I think this homemade version is so much better. 

21. Baked Chocolate Donuts

As good as fried donuts are, we don’t all have the means to fry a batch of donuts at home. 

Baked donuts are a fantastic alternative, giving you that adorable donuts look, with a tender, cake-like finish. 

These are double chocolate, with both the donut and the glaze being deep and rich.

I love that combo, but I think that a vanilla glaze would look fabulous against the dark donut. 

22. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

As far as cookies go, these are going to melt in your mouth and leave you reaching for more. 

I love adding cream cheese to my cookies. It adds a lovely flavor and guarantees they’re going to be moist.

Mini-chocolate chips are the best bet for these, and they look super cute. But you can add in chunks if you like it chocolatey!

Cheesecake Brownies

23. Cheesecake Brownies

Choosing between cheesecake and brownies is impossible, so why not have both?

If you have a brownie recipe that you swear by, go ahead and make a batch. But if you’re in a rush, a boxed mix will be totally fine.

In fact, I’ve found they can be better than homemade in some cases. 

Swirl the cheesecake right into the batter and let the whole thing bake together.

The only downside here is that you’ll have to let them cool completely to get a clean slice.

Slice of Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with Nuts on Top

24. Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This cake take the traditional coffee cake – with its vanilla sponge and crunchy cinnamon top – and gives it a little upgrade. 

The secret to elevating this recipe? A cream cheese layer right under the crumbly top. Oh, and a handful of chopped pecans, too!

Oreo Cheesecake

25. No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake

Be honest, can you stop at just one Oreo? They’re so addictive, and when you add them to this cheesecake, you’ll need to exercise some serious self-control!

Not only is the base made up of crushed Oreo cookies, but they’re in the filling and scattered over the top too! 

Of course, you can use a pre-made graham cracker crust, too! But I love that this can be made and ready to eat in a matter of hours.

25 Classic American Desserts (+ Easy Recipes)

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American Desserts

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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