Arkansas Possum Pie

Arkansas Possum Pie without the Furry Possum

Lately, online searches for “Arkansas Possum Pie” have skyrocketed. I mean, I can completely understand why. Some people are wondering if there is actually a furry animal in there and other people are wanting to know how to make the delicious goodness we love here in Arkansas.

So, let me tell you about this Arkansas specialty that might sound a bit quirky but is seriously delicious: Arkansas Possum Pie! Now, hold up before you start thinking there’s actual possum in this pie – nope, no furry critters involved! It’s a sweet, creamy, and downright indulgent dessert that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance.


This pie has its roots deep in the Arkansas culinary scene, where inventive cooks whipped up delightful treats with whatever ingredients were on hand.

First Ever Mention of Arkansas Possum Pie

A dessert with the name Possum Pie got its first mention in a 1983 restaurant review in the Arkansas Gazette. The same year, the Arkansas Democrat published a recipe from Fred’s Fish House in Cord (Independence County) called Fred’s Five-Layer Delight and featuring a coconut layer rather than a chocolate layer. But it was the late 2000s the first time a Food section published a recipe for the dessert using the name Possum Pie. source

Arkansas Possum Pie first mention

It’s like this: a flaky pie crust cradling a luscious layer of creamy filling, often made with a mix of cream cheese, whipped cream, and chocolate pudding. Don’t forget the crushed pecans for that extra crunch.

But here’s the star of the show: the name.

Why is it called Possum Pie?

Why “possum,” you ask? Well, legend has it that this pie got its name because it looks a bit like a possum playing dead! That creamy layer is smooth and flat on top, just like a possum pretending to snooze. Now, don’t worry, no critters involved – just a playful name for a seriously tasty dessert.

Another idea is that it’s “so named because it “plays possum,” in that it represents itself as something else. It’s also known by a lot of other monikers in Arkansas such as Four-Layer Pie, Striped Delight, and Chocolate Layer Pie.” source

Arkansas Possum Pie Ingredients

You might find variations across different Southern kitchens. Some recipes call for a layer of chocolate or a sprinkle of coconut, adding layers of flavor that’ll make your taste buds sing. And let’s not forget the final touch – a dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top for that perfect finish.

Possum Pie with no Possum

What makes this pie stand out isn’t just its quirky name but also its irresistible taste. It’s the kind of dessert that brings folks together, whether it’s at a family gathering, a potluck, or just a cozy evening treat. There’s something special about digging into a slice of Arkansas Possum Pie that just screams comfort and good times.

…especially around the holidays…or hot summer days…or anytime really.

Arkansas Possum Pie Recipe

This recipe is titled “Pudding Cake Dessert” and comes from Liza Ashley. Ms. Ashley was a cook at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion from the 1950s until late 1990.

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large container Cool Whip, thawed, divided use
  • 1 (4 ½-ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (3 ¾-ounce) package instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • Grated chocolate, optional

Combine butter, flour and pecans. Press into 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

Blend cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 cup Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust.

Blend instant puddings with milk until thick. (Puddings can be mixed and spread together or separately.) Spread over cream cheese filling. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Grate chocolate over top if desired. Chill well. source

Are you going to try it?

So, if you’re up for a culinary adventure and want to try something that’s a little bit offbeat but oh-so-delicious, whip up a Southern Possum Pie. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you, and you’ll have a story to tell about enjoying a pie with a possum in its name – without a furry creature in sight!