20 Kentucky Derby Desserts: The South's Best

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Easy Kentucky Derby desserts are the perfect finish to your Derby party. Make the most of the South's best flavors including fresh peaches, seasonal strawberries, crispy pecans, and delicious treats for your buffet table.

A photo collage shows peach cobbler, pecan pie bars, strawberry sauce, and lemon meringue pie.

As the Kentucky Derby approaches, it's time to start thinking about the perfect dessert to serve at your Derby party.

The Kentucky Derby is not just a horse race, it's a cultural event that is known for its traditional southern cuisine and decadent desserts.

Whether you're attending the race in person or hosting a party at home, having the right dessert is essential to completing your Derby experience.

Today I'm sharing some of the most popular Kentucky Derby desserts that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and impress your guests.

From classic pecan pie bars to southern style peach cobbler, I've got you covered with all the recipes you need to create an unforgettable Derby day dessert spread.

So, let's whip up some delicious treats that will have everyone cheering for more!

Kentucky Derby Party Tips

Gathering your friends to watch the races is such a fun excuse to throw a special event. Start with my easy Kentucky Derby party ideas and learn how to set up a make-your-own mint julep bar!

Then plan your party menu with a few of these easy Kentucky Derby appetizers.

The Derby is all about elegance with those fancy Derby hats and stylish dresses. Be sure your home is ready by filling it with fresh flowers. On a budget? Check out how I stock my vases for less than $20 at Trader Joe's.

20 Kentucky Derby Desserts

From stunning Derby cakes to easy bite-sized treats to add to a dessert buffet table, these easy Kentucky Derby desserts are filled with classic Southern flavors like fresh peaches, pecans, seasonal strawberries, and more.

Southern Peach Cobbler

If I could choose just one dessert to serve at a Kentucky Derby party, it would hands-down be this southern style peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream melting over a warm serving of the juicy dish.

You can make it with fresh peaches or canned peaches and the crispy, buttery cobbler topping is one that will have you making this recipe again and again.

Southern Peach Cobbler
This classic southern peach cobbler made with fresh peaches is a quick and easy dessert to make for summer. Serve it topped with vanilla ice cream for an unforgettable treat.
4.56 from 9 votes
A dish of peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and a spoon.

Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars

Pecans and shortbread go hand in hand in the south. Add a little dash of bourbon to the mix and you're ready for the ultimate end to your Derby party.

Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars
These rich and chewy shortbread pecan pie bars have a crispy cookie crust, a gooey caramel center, and salty pecans all over the top. Slice up a square to share with friends for fall entertaining.
4.96 from 41 votes
A stack of shortbread pecan pie bars on a cake plate for serving.

Triple Berry Sauce for Topping a Plain Cheesecake

Need to keep it easy? Hosting doesn't need to be difficult.

Grab a huge vanilla cheesecake from Costco and prep this triple berry sauce for drizzling over the top. Add some fresh seasonal berries for the perfect touch.

Triple Berry Sauce
This simple triple berry sauce is so easy to make using fresh or frozen blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Drizzle it over cheesecake or your favorite dessert.
4.48 from 21 votes
A slice of plain cheesecake has fresh strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries sprinkled over the top and on the table. A drizzle of dark purple triple berry sauce is dripping down from the top. A pitcher of sauce is nearby.

Banana Pudding {No Bananas!}

Few things are more southern than a classic banana pudding.

I threw caution to the wind and made mine without bananas. Whether or not you love that fresh yellow fruit, don't miss out on this amazing easy dessert.

Banana Pudding {No Bananas}
This easy potluck dessert recipe is a classic southern church dessert. While it usually features fresh bananas layered in the creamy pudding mix, this recipe is completely banana free for anyone who has an allergy or strong aversion to banana flavor.
4.91 from 52 votes
A slice of banana pudding sits on a stack of white plates. You can see that there are no bananas in the layers.

Strawberry Cream Pie

Not only is this strawberry cream pie one of the most searched for Southern recipes, it is also the color of all those red Derby roses!

Strawberry Cream Pie
Sweet strawberry cream pie is an easy no bake dessert that uses fresh strawberries and cream cheese. The longer chill time makes this an amazing make ahead dessert to serve at a party.
5 from 38 votes
The no bake strawberry pie has a graham cracker crust and fresh strawberries on top. It is in a clear pie plate so you can see the crust.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

This pretty pink lemonade cake tastes amazing served chilled from the fridge and could be a refreshing dessert to serve on a hot afternoon of Derby fun.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake
This perfectly portable 9x13 pink lemonade cake is an awesome potluck party dessert. Bright and tart, it is delicious straight out of the fridge ice cold but can be served at room temperature, too.
5 from 1 vote
A square slice of strawberry lemonade sheet cake with a fork taking a bite. The frosting is pale pink with little pastel sprinkles.

Blackberry Jam & Biscuits

For a unique dessert, make a batch of homemade buttermilk biscuits and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top before baking.

Serve them on a party platter with whipped honey butter and a mason jar of this delicious no cook blackberry freezer jam. Add a bowl of homemade whipped cream and fresh berries to top it all off.

Blackberry Freezer Jam
This sweet and zesty no cook blackberry freezer jam is the perfect way to preserve your favorite fresh berries this summer without any corn syrup. 
4.70 from 13 votes
A mason jar with blackberry freezer jam and a spoon. A split biscuit topped with jam sits in the back.

Lemon Meringue Tart

Want to win the prize for most elegant Derby dessert?

You can prep the elements to this easy lemon meringue tart in advance and then just assemble the morning before the Derby party.

Lemon Meringue Tart
This bright and zingy lemon meringue tart is a stunning dessert to add to your celebration. The filling and crust can be made ahead of time and stored separately to save time.
5 from 1 vote
The finished lemon meringue tart is on a cake plate with a ceramic lemon decoration next to it.

Strawberry Kiwi Poke Cake

A classic strawberry poke cake recipe is always a hit on a hot spring afternoon with the chilled gelatin filling and creamy whipped topping.

Mix and match the fruits you display on top to match your Derby decor.

Strawberry Kiwi Cake
Cool and refreshing, this fruity poke cake features Jell-o and a whipped topping and is perfectly delicious straight out of the fridge.
5 from 1 vote
A square slice of strawberry kiwi cake shows the red Jello poke stripes, fluffy whipped topping, and has two thin slices of fresh kiwi on top for garnish.

Orange Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Southern style bundt cakes are always a party pleaser.

This zesty orange chocolate chip bundt cake is amazing with or without the chocolate ganache drizzle over the top. You could swap it for a bourbon orange glaze to go with the Derby theme.

Orange Chocolate Chip Cake
This zesty orange chocolate chip bundt cake is covered in an easy chocolate ganache. Perfect easy cake for a party.
5 from 1 vote
A chocolate glazed bundt cake sits on a white cake plate with a blue robins egg decoration to the left.

Roasted Cherries and Ice Cream

Serve warm roasted cherries in parfait glasses over scoops of vanilla ice cream.

You could add 1 - 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or rum or bourbon to the cherries at the end of the roasting for extra flavor.

Roasted Cherries
This easy roasted cherries recipe can be made sweet for desserts or savory for spooning over chicken or pork. It is a great way to use up fresh cherries during the season.
5 from 3 votes
Roasted cherries in a baking dish.

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Sauce

Pick up an angel food cake or individual sponge cakes from the grocery store and add this homemade strawberry sauce, fresh strawberries, and dollops of whipped cream for a shortcut strawberry shortcake dessert.

Strawberry Sauce
Easy strawberry sauce for cheesecake, pancakes, ice cream, and more! This delicious fresh strawberry recipe is the perfect way to use up the sweet berries of the season. Freeze a batch so you can use it all year long.
5 from 2 votes
A pitcher of strawberry sauce sits on a plate next to fresh strawberries.

Chicken Salad Chick Grape Salad

Pretty red grapes are nestled under that delicious cream cheese and brown sugar dressing on this copycat Chicken Salad Chick grape salad.

Topped with crispy pecans, this sweet grape salad is an easy no bake dessert that is always a hit at a party.

Chicken Salad Chick Grape Salad
This copycat of the famous Chicken Salad Chick Grape Salad recipe is the perfect dish to bring to a potluck or serve as a sweet side dish for Easter or a festive brunch. The sweet and creamy dressing is made with cream cheese and brown sugar and topped with crispy pecans for awesome crunch.
4.95 from 56 votes
A big blue bowl is filled with a creamy grape salad with cream cheese, covered in brown sugar and pecans.

Pineapple Marshmallow Salad (a.k.a. Ambrosia)

Be sure to add a bowl of this no-mayo ambrosia salad to your Derby dessert table.

Guests will love adding a dollop to their plates because it is cold and refreshing and pairs perfectly with almost any savory Kentucky Derby appetizers you've got planned.

Pineapple Marshmallow Salad
This sweet pineapple ambrosia salad made without mayo can be served as a no bake dessert or holiday side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. Stir it together in just minutes and it is ready to serve.
4.95 from 40 votes
A serving of pineapple ambrosia has a spoon for serving.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

This stunning strawberry cream cheese tart is shockingly easy to prepare and will be a gorgeous addition to your party dessert table.

You can mix and match the fruits on top to add any colors you want to your party theme.

Red White and Blue Strawberry Tart
This festive fresh fruit tart is picture perfect for a patriotic summer holiday! Fresh strawberries and blueberries from the farmer's market tops a sweet and creamy custard base in a cookie crust.
4.50 from 4 votes
A blue plate with a strawberry tart featuring a cookie crust, creamy filling, and fresh summer berries in a red and blue pattern on the top.

Peach Bread

This easy peach quick bread has a delicate almond flavored glaze drizzled over the top and real fresh peaches all throughout the spongy bread.

You could easily call it a fresh peach cake and serve it with tea or coffee.

Peach Bread with Almond Glaze
Delicious fresh peach bread with almond glaze is the perfect make-ahead treat for a special weekend brunch. Bursting with fresh peaches and a deliciously crunchy topping, it is sure to be a hit of your breakfast menu.
5 from 1 vote
The baked peach bread with almond glaze and toasted almond slivers has been sliced so you can see the fresh peaches inside.

Pound Cake with Peach Jam

Homemade peach freezer jam can be used in a wide variety of easy desserts.

Warm it up and drizzle over ice cream, a plain pound cake, or spread it over shortbread cookies for a fresh and fruity taste of the South.

Peach Vanilla Bean Freezer Jam
Peach freezer jam is an easy way to preserve the most delicious fruit of summer. Mixed with vanilla beans, this simple fruit jam is delicious on biscuits or toast.
5 from 1 vote
Several mason jars filled with bright orange peach freezer jam with metal lids.

Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream

I love to serve these caramelized grilled peaches as a side dish for my favorite rum glazed pork tenderloins but they also make an incredible dessert all on their own or when served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Peaches
Delicious caramelized grilled peaches make an easy summer side dish to go with grilled pork, chicken, or fish. Want to serve it as a dessert? Just add ice cream.
5 from 2 votes
Sliced grilled peaches are lined up on a cutting board.

Fresh Peach Scones

Another bite-sized dessert you could add to a buffet table would be these fresh peach scones, with or without white chocolate chips added to the mix.

They pair perfectly with a cup of tea for an afternoon nibble.

Peach Scones
These easy homemade scones feature diced fresh peaches and white chocolate chips for a sweet treat to add to your brunch menu.
5 from 2 votes
A plate of triangle shaped fresh peach scones.

Butterscotch Brownies

Cut a pan of these easy butterscotch blondies into bite-sized squares and pile them up on a 3-tier tray for your party table. Watch them disappear in a flash.

Butterscotch Brownies
This one-bowl recipe is so easy, the batter will be done before the oven has even pre-heated! It's a perfect first recipe for kids learning to bake. The sweet and salty combo is utterly addictive.
4.90 from 47 votes
A batch of butterscotch brownies have been cut into squares on a piece of foil.

More Southern Recipes

Want to fill out your Derby menu? Just take a peek at the top 30 southern recipes and you'll be sure to find more delicious eats:

More Party Recipes

A photo collage shows a peach cobbler with ice cream and a spoon, pecan pie bars, lemon meringue pie, and a cheesecake with berry sauce.

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