Whoopie Pie, a Go-To Traditional Treat in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. But What is it, Really?

Melissa Frost

Photo by Sara Melissa Frost

There is nothing like a freshly baked whoopie pie, straight from a farmer's market or from one of the Amish roadside stands in Lancaster County. But what is the whoopie pie?

Pie, cookie, cake?

Some struggle to wrap their head around the name of it. Because the Whoopie Pie doesn't really look like a pie. More like an Oreo cookie, except it's soft. It's got the texture of a cake, and some people consider a Whoopie Pie to be just that - a type of cake, given that the recipe for its two mound-shaped halves closely emulates that of cake batter, and it is filled with a cream that reminds some of the icing.

These pies are most commonly made with the flavors chocolate and the cream vanilla, but you'll also find seasonal flavors, and a popular one that locals have grown to like is the peanut butter flavored ones, and you'll find these most places in Lancaster, PA.

Rumor has it this dessert was created by Lancaster’s Amish and the Pennsylvania German communities. However, several states are claiming to be the birthplace of this beloved treat. Some of them are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Maine, with most agreeing that it most likely originated in either Maine or Pennsylvania. The recipes have been handed down for years in home kitchens and small bakeries passed down from generation to generation. When children and farmers would find this sweet treat in their lunch pack, they’d yell out “Whoopie!,” and that's why they're called Whoopie Pie.

Local spots

You'll find Whoopie Pies all over Lancaster, even at most local grocery stores. Some popular spots include Achenbach's Pastry. The treats at this place usually sells out fast, especially during weekends, so stop by in the morning if you're planning on getting a taste of their Whoppie Pie. The Bake Shoppe at Country Table in Mount Joy makes really good Whoopie Pies, and they're locally known for their costume-made party cakes as well. If you want a real local experience to go with your Whoopie Pie, stop by Kitchen Kettle Village. This is an adorable, walkable village of local cooks, quilters, and shopkeepers. Whether you come for the unique Lancaster County homemade food or handmade goods, this place is a family-friendly village and it is well worth spending a few hours strolling this village. That being said, the best Whoopie Pie I've ever had was from a plain and simple Amish roadside stand along one of the streets in Lancaster County.

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Journalist and writer. I cover local stories + food, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA

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