These are the 6 most irresistible desserts in Gatlinburg, according to a local
I’ve always believed that half of the experience of a Smokies vacation is experiencing the local cuisine. From chicken and dumplings to barbeque, you have to admit, East Tennesseans know how to get the most out of some good old-fashioned southern homestyle cooking. But a tragically unsung hero is the dessert.
Here in the Smoky Mountains, we know how to do desserts right. They’re always decadent, deliciously unique, frequently larger than life, and sometimes, they can even get a little crazy. In this article, we celebrate those over-the-top desserts and give you the scoop (ice cream pun) on how and where to find them. Without further ado, here are, what I believe, are some of the best desserts in Gatlinburg (and the surrounding area). Note: Prices mentioned are as of the time of this writing.
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1. Kristi’s Chocolate Cake
The Peddler in Gatlinburg, Tenn., is one of the most popular restaurants in the Smokies. It’s famous for its steaks and its humongous salad bar. But my favorite thing at the Peddler is Kristi’s Chocolate Cake. And if we are being really honest, Kristi’s Chocolate Cake is probably our favorite dessert in the Smokies, period.
The menu’s description of Kristi’s Chocolate Cake is short, sweet and unassuming: “Warm cake, vanilla ice cream with hot fudge”. When you order it, you assume you’re going to receive a standard slice of cake. But the thing that shows up at your table looks more like an entire cake. Or a mini cake at least. This huge “slice” of cake stands at about 3 inches tall. It’s insanely rich, and incredibly decadent. It has the perfect mixture of cake and ice cream with a generous amount of fudge and what tastes like homemade whipped cream. It easily feeds four people (if not more) and at the time of this writing only costs $14. The Peddler is located at 820 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
2. Dollywood’s Cinnamon Bread
If you go to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. and haven’t had the cinnamon bread – can you really say you went to Dollywood? Okay, I guess technically yes you can. However, I argue that tasting the cinnamon bread critical to the overall experience. Just as critical as getting a selfie at the main entrance with the Dollywood sign, listening to bluegrass music, and riding the coasters. Dollywood bakes their cinnamon bread loaves fresh daily at the park’s fully operational grist mill with your choice of buttercream vanilla icing or apple butter (I suggest sampling both but prefer the buttercream icing). Note: Yes, Dollywood cinnamon bread is served in a reheatable tin tray which reheats well. However, I suggest sampling this decadent dish while it’s fresh for the full effect. Dollywood is located at 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd. Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
3. Crazy Mason Milkshake
The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar in Gatlinburg, Tenn. is known for its crazy, over-the-top creations. And each of these crazy concoctions is designed to look like a work of art. Served in mason jars, each cup is rimmed with layers of sugary goodness and stacked with full-sized toppings that topple over the jar in a way that seems to defy gravity. Some of the craziest, larger-than-life toppings include a full-sized uncut banana, an entire cupcake, a slice of 3-layer coconut cake, an entire slice of pecan pie and a whole popsicle, just to name a few. My personal favorite is the Crazy Cookie Dream (pictured in the middle above) featuring Oreos and cookie and cream ice cream. You can view their entire menu online here. Crazy Mason is located at 812 Parkway #106, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
4. Ice Cream on a Cloud Cone
This Ice Cream on a Cloud Cone at Mad Dog’s Creamery in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. might win the prize for the craziest-looking dessert in the Smokies. It’s a traditional ice cream cone dipped and swirled in a plume of vanilla-flavored cotton candy. Never before have we ordered a dessert that produced as many questions and comments as we made our way out the door and through the parking lot with this gorgeous oddity dripping in our hands. “What’s THAT?!” people called out. “OH WOW!” they exclaimed. The reactions this thing produces would be worth the price of admission alone, but to top it all off – it’s not just a looker, it’s also super tasty.
If cones aren’t your speed, Mad Dog’s also serves a “burrito” version of this dessert where they ditch the cone and wrap an entire “log” of ice cream in the cotton candy instead. Mad Dog’s Creamery and Donuts has two locations – one in Pigeon Forge (3048 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863) and the other in Gatlinburg (731 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738).
5. Alcohol Infused Milkshake
Buzzed Bull Creamery in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. isn’t your average, everyday run-of-the-mill ice cream shop. Sure, you’ll find all the standard fare that you might expect to see at the local Baskin-Robbins, including ice cream cups, cones and milkshakes. And it’s all frozen via liquid nitrogen right before your eyes, with plenty of kid-friendly options available. But for the adults, they also offer a little something extra special: Alcohol infused milkshakes and ice cream. By default, each “buzzed” creation starts at about 5% ABV, but additional shots can be added for an extra charge. For reference, that’s about the same alcohol content of a 12-ounce beer. Each concoction can be customized to your liking with a variety of ice cream flavors, liquor options and toppings. I recommend the chocolate milkshake with chocolate chips and whiskey (pictured above). Buzzed Bull is located at 3239 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
6. Handmade Farm-Size Cinnamon Roll
This is, by far, the biggest cinnamon roll I’ve ever seen. Served at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen in Sevierville, Tenn., across from Tanger Outlets, the menu describes this sweet treat simply as “farm-size” and served with “sweet cream icing”. And apparently, they like things big on the farm, cause this thing is huge. However, it’s worth noting here that this dessert, despite appearances, is not quite as decadent as one might assume. There’s a lot of pastry, a light coating of icing and only a hint of cinnamon. Five Oaks Farm Kitchen’s Farm-Size Cinnamon Roll serves an entire table of hungry people for just $6.79 at the time of this writing. Five Oaks Farm Kitchen is located at 1638 Parkway, Sevierville, TN, Tennessee 37862
Have you tried any of these drool-worthy desserts in the Smokies? What should we add to this list? (We need a good excuse to sample more desserts!) Let us know in the comments below. Click here to view the web story version of this article.