Louisiana's Famous Desserts
Sink a sweet tooth into these classic desserts straight from the Bayou State.
When it comes to food, Louisiana does not mess around! And this includes desserts. After a decadent meal, try one of these Louisiana sweet treats. Or be a rebel and eat dessert first - we don't care just as long as you are having a good time!
One of New Orleans’ quintessential sweets originated with one of its most famous families. Owen Brennan, first came up with the dessert in the 1950s. Made with rum, banana liqueur and cinnamon, the flambéed dish is synonymous with New Orleans breakfast desserts. Taste the original at Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter.
Louisiana is so proud of this sweet pastry that in 1986 the legislature voted the beignet the official state donut. A simple treat made of a square piece of fried dough, the beignet has long been jump-starting French Quarter workers who head to Café Du Monde for an order of three and a side of café au lait. Beignets there and at nearby Café Beignet are served with ample sprinklings of powdered sugar, though you’ll also find savory beignets at Creole restaurants in New Orleans. Outside the Crescent City, satisfy your beignet cravings at Marilynn’s Place in Shreveport, and at Coffee Call in Baton Rouge.
Sink your spoon into warm, gooey goodness! A mainstay of Louisiana's dessert cuisine, bread pudding has a humble beginning. The dessert was originally a unique way to use older bread so that it didn't go to waste. The bread is soaked in milk, eggs and sugar, then baked and often topped with a bourbon-based sauce. Each chef adds their own spin to the dessert, with some adding banana, chocolate, nuts and more. Try a bite of this staple at Commander's Palace in New Orleans or Little Big Cup in Arnaudville.
Did you know that this popular dessert originated in New Orleans? The cake was created by baker Chaya Conrad who worked at Whole Foods at the time. Now a staple of the city, find the original in Louisiana! The cake consists of layers of vanilla cake, layered with decadent whipped frosting and topped with seasonal berries. Order a cake for yourself at Bywater Bakery in New Orleans, owned by Conrad herself.
Doberge is a popular cake that originated in New Orleans. The story goes, back in the 1930s, local baker Beulah Ledner adapted both the name and the cake from the Hungarian dobos torta - a much heavier layered cake filled with buttercream. In order to make a lighter cake, the buttercream was replaced with custard. Traditionally, a doberge cake is comprised of six to eight layers of white or yellow cake with chocolate or lemon pudding, custard, curd or ganache filling and poured fondant – but can be found in a variety of fun flavors. Get a taste at Debbie Does Doberge in New Orleans, Maurice French Pastries in Metairie or Joe Gambino’s Bakery in Baton Rouge.
You can’t mistake a King Cake for anything else. This round, cinnamon-filled cake made with braided dough, covered in icing and colored sugar, contains a little plastic baby. The three colors symbolize justice (purple), faith (green) and power (gold). You’ll see king cakes in bakeries and grocery stores throughout Louisiana between the Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras. There are tons of places to get king cakes around the state, but here are just a few: Manny Randazzo’s King Cakes in Metairie, Dong Phuong on New Orleans, Nonna Randazzo’s in Covington, Atwood’s Bakery in Alexandria, Daily Harvest Bakery & Deli in Monroe, Haydel’s Bakery in New Orleans, Meche’s Donuts in New Iberia and Rickey Meche’s Donuts in Lafayette. Local supermarkets also carry king cakes of all kinds during Mardi Gras season.
Lea’s Lunchroom in Lecompte, has been baking up some serious pie since 1928. Their world famous pies are made each morning with the daily flavors that include coconut, lemon, chocolate, banana, apple, peach, cherry and the best-selling pecan, plus additional seasonal flavors. Strawn’s Eat Shop in Shreveport has been filling bellies with comfort food menus and delicious pies like the ice-box strawberry pie since 1944. The family-owned diner now has additional locations to ensure everyone can get their fill. Not Just Pie has been serving pies since 1985 in Monroe. They serve over 20 different pie flavors but their banana caramel pie was named one of “The South’s Best Pies” by Southern Living. Elsie’s Plate & Pie in Baton Rouge serves both sweet and savory pies. From classics like Pie Shop Apple Pie and turtle pie, to creative rotating flavors like the PB&J pie and banana split pie, to fun creations like the hand pies and pie nachos – there’s something for everyone. Elsie’s was voted 225’s Best Overall Restaurant in Baton Rouge in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The ingredients for pralines are oh-so-simple: Sugar (preferably Louisiana-made cane sugar), butter, Louisiana-grown pecans, cream or buttermilk, cooked in a kettle and dried on wax paper. How can something so basic be so good? Maybe it has something to do with the Louisiana sugarcane most often used in making the Creole candy, found at such New Orleans stores as Aunt Sally’s Pralines and Southern Candymakers in New Orleans. You can also find them in non-specialty markets; Baton Rouge candymaker MiMi’s Pralines are found in grocery stores and shops all over south Louisiana.
Louisiana summers are hot. Very hot. Thankfully, we have devised a not-so-secret weapon to beat the heat, and it’s called the snoball. This is another true New Orleans original, and should never — never — be confused with its distant cousin, the sno-cone. Why not? Because snoballs are made with ice produced by electric ice-shaving machines invented in New Orleans in the 1930s – resulting in softer, lighter, fluffier ice. Flavored with cane syrups that are absorbed into the ice (rather than dripping to the bottom, as with sno-cones), snoballs can be found during warmer months at roadside stands throughout the state. Choose from dozens of creative flavors, toppings like condensed milk and whipped cream, or even stuff with ice cream. Visit the James Beard Award-winning Hansen’s Sno-Bliz or Plum St. Snowballs in New Orleans, Debbie's Snoballs in West Monroe, Just Chillin in Mandeville or SnoMan Snoballs in Baton Rouge.
Learn more about Louisiana's famous foods and culinary history and check out recipes to satify your cravings at home.