The Most Popular Holiday Dessert in Each State, Mapped

Ellen Gutoskey
Is your state sticking with the classics, or chowing down on cheesecake?
Is your state sticking with the classics, or chowing down on cheesecake? / Aleksandra Tanasiienko, Unsplash

Candy canes and Christmas cookies might be the MVPs of the holiday season in theory, but Americans appear to be savoring different desserts in practice—namely, cheesecake.

After analyzing last December’s Google Trends data for more than 40 holiday treats, online recruiter Zippia found that 11 states put up surprisingly high numbers for cheesecake. Most of them seem to have gone for classic recipes, but two states got creative: Hawaii favored Oreo cheesecake, while Pennsylvania preferred gingerbread cheesecake. Pennsylvania wasn’t the only state to pay homage to gingerbread’s legacy as a holiday staple. Colorado and Maryland went for gingerbread cake, and New Hampshire and Virginia both chose an even more traditional route—gingerbread men.

Cheesecake and gingerbread don’t seem tied to certain regions, but red velvet just might be. The three states that bake red velvet cake in abundance are Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. If you move slightly north of those Southern neighbors, you’ll run into another cake trend: North and South Carolina apparently have a soft spot for fruitcake.

Residents of other states would rather dip a hand in the candy bowl than spend hours measuring and mixing in the kitchen. Washingtonians have an affinity for Skittles, Utahns love Jolly Ranchers, and Alaskans go for M&Ms (presumably red and green ones). Illinois and New Jersey, on the other hand, like their chocolate shaped like Santa around the holidays. Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee are all busy whipping up pudding, though we don’t know whether it’s figgy or not.

Find out if your own favorite seasonal treat made the map below, and learn more about Zippia’s study here.

Utahns are having a holly Jolly Rancher Christmas.
Utahns are having a holly Jolly Rancher Christmas. / Zippia

[h/t Zippia]