The Most Popular Dessert in Iowa, Ranked

Choose the dessert you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 8, 2024 06:49
Choosing a favorite dessert can be a delightful dilemma, especially in a place like Iowa where the options are as rich as the state's agricultural heritage. By ranking these sweet treats, we gain insights into local preferences that can guide newcomers and delight residents. It's an engaging way of assessing what tickles the palate in this part of the world. The value of such a ranking doesn’t just end at curiosity. It offers a unique perspective on regional culture, leaning into the traditions and innovations that define Iowa's culinary scene. As people vote for their preferred desserts, they contribute to a dynamic, community-driven list that highlights the state’s gastronomic identity.

What Is the Most Popular Dessert in Iowa?

  1. 1

    Dutch Letters

    A pastry known for its 'S' shape, filled with almond paste and dusted with sugar.
    • Origin: Netherlands
    • Popular Time: Tulip Time Festival in Pella, Iowa
  2. 2

    Rhubarb Pie

    A pie filled with rhubarb and often combined with strawberries or other fruits to balance its tartness.
    • Key Ingredient: Rhubarb
    • Common Variations: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
  3. 3

    Blue Bunny Ice Cream

    A popular brand of ice cream originating from Le Mars, Iowa, known as the 'Ice Cream Capital of the World.'
    • Founded: 1913
    • Headquarters: Le Mars, Iowa
  4. 4

    Apple Dumplings

    Whole apples peeled and cored, wrapped in pastry dough, then baked until tender. Often served with vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce.
    • Key Ingredients: Apples, pastry dough, cinnamon
    • Serving Suggestion: With ice cream or caramel sauce
  5. 5

    Fried Ice Cream

    A dessert made by breading or coating ice cream in a crispy shell, quickly deep-fried, creating a warm, crispy exterior with a cold, creamy interior.
    • Popular At: State Fairs
    • Texture: Crispy outside, creamy inside
  6. 6

    Corn Cookies

    Cookies made with corn flour or cornmeal, giving them a unique flavor and texture, often incorporating fresh corn kernels.
    • Key Ingredient: Cornmeal or Corn Flour
    • Texture: Crunchy or Soft, depending on recipe
  7. 7

    Pumpkin Bars

    Soft, cake-like bars made with pumpkin puree and spices, typically topped with cream cheese frosting.
    • Key Ingredients: Pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream cheese
    • Season: Popular in fall
  8. 8


    A chewy no-bake dessert bar made with chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, and crispy rice cereal.
    • Origin: Midwestern United States
    • Key Ingredients: Chocolate, butterscotch chips, peanut butter, crispy rice cereal
  9. 9

    Snickerdoodle Cookies

    Soft and chewy cookies coated in cinnamon sugar, known for their crackled surface.
    • Key Ingredients: Flour, butter, sugar, eggs, cinnamon
    • Texture: Soft and Chewy
  10. 10


    Peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, resembling the nut of the buckeye tree.
    • Origin: Ohio, but popular in Iowa
    • Key Ingredients: Peanut butter, powdered sugar, chocolate

Missing your favorite dessert?

Error: Failed to render graph
No discussion started, be the first!

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular dessert in Iowa. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Dessert is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 92 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Dessert once every 24 hours. The rank of each Dessert is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


Additional Information

More about the Most Popular Dessert in Iowa

Dutch Letters
Rank #1 for the most popular dessert in Iowa: Dutch Letters (Source)
Iowa boasts a rich culinary heritage. Among the various dishes, one dessert stands out. This treat has roots in the state's agricultural history. Farmers and families would gather ingredients from their fields and gardens. These ingredients were fresh and local, making the dessert special.

The dessert's recipe passed down through generations. Each family added its own twist. Some used more of one ingredient, while others added a secret touch. This created many variations, but the core remained the same. The dessert became a staple at gatherings. It appeared at fairs, picnics, and holidays.

The dessert's simplicity made it popular. It required few ingredients and little effort. This was ideal for busy farm families. They could prepare it quickly after a long day. The ingredients were often on hand, reducing the need for special trips to the store. This convenience helped it spread throughout the state.

During the summer, the dessert was a favorite. It provided a sweet end to a meal. In winter, it offered comfort and warmth. Its versatility meant it was enjoyed year-round. People looked forward to it, knowing it would always be a treat.

Local businesses saw the dessert's popularity. They began to offer it in bakeries and restaurants. This helped it gain wider recognition. Tourists visiting Iowa would try it and often left with fond memories. Some even took the recipe home, sharing it with friends and family.

The dessert also became a symbol of Iowa's hospitality. It represented the state's values: simplicity, tradition, and community. When someone brought it to a gathering, it was a gesture of kindness. It showed care and effort, even if the recipe was simple.

Over time, the dessert inspired contests and festivals. People competed to make the best version. These events brought communities together. They celebrated the dessert's history and its place in Iowa culture. Winners often shared their recipes, adding to the dessert's legacy.

The dessert's impact extends beyond taste. It connects people to Iowa's past and present. It reminds them of simpler times and the importance of family. It also highlights the state's agricultural roots. The ingredients used reflect Iowa's rich farming tradition.

Today, the dessert remains a favorite. It is a must-have at many events. New generations continue to enjoy it, keeping the tradition alive. It is more than just a sweet treat. It is a piece of Iowa's identity, cherished by many.

In conclusion, the most popular dessert in Iowa is a testament to the state's heritage. Its simple ingredients and ease of preparation made it a staple. It has been enjoyed by generations and continues to be a beloved treat. It represents Iowa's values and traditions, making it much more than just a dessert.

Share this article