25 Best Desserts in the World
For many of us, dessert is the best part of any meal. There are hundreds of sweet pastries, concoctions and recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth, yet there are some that are more popular and beloved than others.
We took a look at hundreds of desserts from around the world and sought out those with the most love on social media, particularly Instagram, to see which desserts we cannot get enough of. From eclairs and baklava to apple pie and macarons — can you guess which dessert is tops?
More commonly known as the Belgian waffle in English, this gift from Brussels was never meant to be a breakfast item. Instead, the street food's squares were meant to hold toppings and serve as a sweetened plate of sorts!
Whether you like it filled with syrup and fruits in the morning or covered in powdered sugar and chocolate as a treat, one thing is clear: Everyone loves a good Belgian waffle.
24. Tres Leches
When you create a delicious vanilla cake savored throughout Latin America, you want to claim your invention. That is why so many Latin Americans debate over which country actually came up with this staple dessert, soaked in three different kinds of milk — evaporated, sweetened condensed, and whole milk or heavy cream.
We'll let them duke it out while we have another slice.
23. Panna Cotta
An Italian pudding, panna cotta is actually attributed to a Hungarian woman who created it while living in Italy at the start of the 20th century.
The "cooked cream" and gelatin dessert found its way into cookbooks by the 1960s, and it's grown into a worldwide favorite ever since.
Dining at an Italian restaurant and not having a cannoli for dessert is like eating at a Chinese restaurant and skipping the fortune cookie.
This tube-shaped fried dough filled with a creamy ricotta cheese sweetened with marsala wine is a classic and has been since Sicily began serving it during Carnivale around the first century.
The Turkish version of ice cream is nothing like the ice cream you traditionally eat. Extremely sticky and stretchy, the dessert is thickened with salep, which is a powdered orchid bulb.
So thick that street vendors are seen stretching it before serving it, dondurma means "freezing" and is sweetened with flavors similar to ice cream.
Considering it's so tasty and light that it can be devoured in seconds, it's understandable that the meaning of eclair is "flash of lightning."
Attributed to Napolean's own preferred chef Antonin Careme at the turn of the 19th century, this pastry filled with cream and topped with chocolate is celebrated in France with its own day on June 22.
There are many claims of being the first to invent the ice cream sundae, all of which share a similar story. In the late 1800s, sodas were mixed by hand using syrups, and one day, someone used those syrups to top ice cream. Of course, each version of the story has a connection to serving it on Sunday, and thus the Sundae was born.
The oldest claim seems to be from soda shop owner Ed Berners of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, who created his first Ice Cream Sunday after a customer requested it in 1881. Similarly, Chester Platt, the owner of an Ithaca, New York, drugstore fountain shop, said he created the dish in 1883 for a reverend on a Sunday.
18. Creme Brulee
Marie Antoinette and the Palace of Versailles have gone down in history for loving all things as rich and decadent as they come, including the desserts served during lavish balls.
So came the sweet custard dish with its burnt sugar crust created by Versailles cook Francois Massialot. (Creme brulee name means "burnt cream.")
Or so they say — there are many variations of this dessert that have appeared in other countries throughout the years.
When food rations were common in England during the Second World War, dessert was especially difficult to come by.
As pie ingredients became scarce, crumbles of leftover butter, brown sugar and flour were rolled together to serve as a crust for an apple-filled "pie" that became known as a crumble.
Its name means "perfect" in French, and that is because a parfait is just that!
Created at the end of the 19th century, a chilled cream, custard or yogurt is layered with fruits and nuts. It's not only a dessert, but can also be a healthy and delicious breakfast dish.
One of the oldest desserts on this list, baklava origins can be traced back to the second century with both the Greeks and Turks still arguing over who invented it.
Officially given recognition as a Turkish dessert, the layers of phyllo dough filled with nuts and drenched in honey is worth fighting over.
14. Chocolate Chip Cookies
How can something so simple be oh-so-good? Take cookie dough and add chocolate chips that melt when cooked to create a delicious, best-just-out-of-the-oven dessert.
Ruth Graves Wakefield of Massachusetts is said to have invented the cookie in 1937. She happened to work at a little restaurant called the Toll House.
When a Baltimore baker "fudged" a batch of caramels, it set off a truly decadent American treat that is sold in waterfront tourist destinations across the country.
It's also baked by grandmas, as the long-lasting squares of sugar, butter and milk are easy to make, travel well and are just perfect for sending as care packages and holiday gifts.
12. Chocolate Mousse
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec gave the world amazing works of art as a post-Impressionist painter, but did you know he is also the person behind the airy dessert?
He loved to cook, and it was his 19th-century culinary masterpiece that became this egg-based sweet mixture, whipped to create air bubbles that make it so light there is always room for a bite or two.
11. Apple Pie
As the saying goes, nothing is as American as apple pie. Except apple pie was originally made by the English, with a recipe printed by esteemed Geoffrey Chaucer to prove it!
The American version (thankfully) added sugar and simplified the ingredients to the dessert that is so good it's a staple at family gatherings and holidays.
The Spanish, Portuguese, Mexican and even Chinese argue over who invented churros, a thin, fried dough treat rolled in sugar and/or cinnamon, but we don't care who gets the credit.
Just give us churros to dip in a thick sauce of melted chocolate or a Madrid-thick hot chocolate, and we're happy.
A staple of any camping retreat was introduced to America in the 1920s by the Girl Scouts of America.
Simply roast a marshmallow over an open fire, then place between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate — and voila!
They are so good you'll be asking for "s'more!"
8. Frozen Yogurt
We don't know where you live, but we're guessing there is more than one fro-yo spot to frequent! In an effort to make a healthier alternative to ice cream, H.P. Hood of TCBY (This Can't Be Yogurt!) fame created the soft-serve treat in the 1970s.
While fruit toppings may keep the fat count down, toppings also include candies, nuts and cookies, so be careful, or it will quickly have more calories than that ice cream you passed up.
Tokyo chefs have practically claimed ownership of fusion cuisine, and that goes for Japan's most-popular dessert, mochi.
A colorful sticky rice mold surrounds a filling of ice cream in this dainty dessert invented by Frances Hashimoto, a Japanese-American businesswoman, in the 1980s.
Tiramisu means "pick me up," and it is certainly just that when biting into the espresso and mascarpone ladyfinger dessert. This "pick me up" is a literal aphrodisiac and was created by a "madam" for her male customers who had to return home to their wives.
Because of its origins, the dessert didn't find its way to our hearts until the 1980s, but now it is a hard-to-pass-up dessert served in many Italian restaurants.
Dessert? Coworkers treat us on Fridays with a baker's dozen. And lazy Sunday mornings are "this much" better with a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Krispy Kreme turns on its red light, and we'll practically get into a car accident trying to get a hot glazed doughnut. Needless to say, the beloved doughnut is much more than dessert!
And it's thanks to Elizabeth Gregory in the 19th century for frying dough for her son and his fellow sailing crewmen to take to the sea for the modern-day version we enjoy today (although we're pretty sure they didn't top theirs in icing, cereal and nuts).
We have Walgreens to thank for the drinkable sweetness of a milkshake. When it was a 5 and 10 store, Ivar "Pop" Coulson first mixed ice cream with malted milk and chocolate syrup in 1922.
Becoming a hit in Chicago, malt shops spread across the country like wildfire and made the dessert drink a fast-food finisher.
Ask anyone who has visited Italy about the gelato, and watch the smile creep upon their face and a gleam appear in their eyes as they recall the Italian version of ice cream.
It's not ice cream, however, as no cream is used. The word means "frozen," but it has less butterfat, which makes it lighter and more flavorful.
It is said to have been made specifically for Catherina dei Medici in the 17th century by Bernardo Buontalenti.
Anyone who dares to visit France without bringing a pair of stretchy pants just doesn't realize how tempting French cuisine can be — especially its desserts. There are so many French desserts in which to choose, but the true-blue fave is this delicate meringue-melt-in-your-mouth-cookie sandwich that comes in a variety of flavors and pastel colors.
The macaron is credited to pastry chef Pierre Desfontaines Laduree who placed ganache between two meringues in the 20th century.
The debate wages on whether the crisp outer edges or the gooey center-cut brownies are the best, but there is one thing for certain: The brownie is irresistible to pass up.
It was Bertha Palmer who first created the cake-like chocolate squares that could be packed into lunch boxes. The wife of the owner of the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, the brownie first made its appearance here in the late 19th century.