The Quick Report

The Most Iconic Food From Every State

From coast to coast, each state has a type of food it’s most well-known for. Whether it’s a beloved regional dish or a bizarre local specialty, your state has one too! Here’s the unique food each state is known for.


homemade ranch

The Carolinas aren’t the only Southern states with a love for barbeque: Alabama has white barbecue sauce! It’s mayonnaise based and… unique. You won’t usually see it outside of Alabama. It’s most commonly seen in a dish simply called “chicken and white barbecue sauce.”


a pile of crab legs sitting on top of ice
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If you know anything about the state, it won’t be surprising to learn that Alaska’s signature dish is king crab. Whether it’s in a bisque, cake, bucket, or combo, Alaskans just love some king crab. You can get crab anywhere, but the best stuff comes from Alaska.


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Arizona is home to some of the best Southwestern food in the country. For example, the most notable dish from the state is easily chimichangas. There’s a good reason for this: the dish was invented in Arizona at El Charro Café, the US’s oldest Mexican restaurant.


fried dill pickles

Did you know that fried pickles are from Arkansas? It’s true! The delightful fried snack food might be all over the US now, but it originated at the Duchess Drive-In in 1963. Try them with ketchup, remoulade, or ranch: you can’t go wrong!


bread with egg and vegetable on white ceramic plate
Photo by David B Townsend

What could California be known for if not avocado toast? The dish that launched a thousand memes got its start in the massive West Coast state. And don’t let the jokes fool you: avocado toast is delicious and it’s worth buying, even if the price tag might be a bit higher than you’d expect.


three fried meats on cast iron skillet
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If you’re not from Colorado, this one might surprise you. The best-known dish from the state is lamb chops! The state does lamb better than any other due to their farm-raised sheep, fed by the finest grasses and berries in the Yampa Valley.


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Hear us out here: white clams on a pizza. If that sentence sounds normal to you, you’re from Connecticut. If it sounds like gibberish, you’re from anywhere else on the planet. Jokes aside, white clam pizza is a beloved dish from Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, where it was introduced in 1925.


food, french fries, fries
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Hop into any fancy burger joint and you’ll see French fries served alongside vinegar. What seems initially strange is actually delicious, and it just so happens to be a Delaware classic. In the dish’s home state, fries with vinegar is considered a classic beach snack.


sliced limes
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How many states do you know that have an official state pie? Florida has one, and it’s the delightful Key Lime Pie. This renowned dish was named for the Florida Keys, its place of origin, where limes are plentiful, and the pies are scrumptious.


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Sometimes called “the caviar of the South,” boiled peanuts are a delicacy that you either love or hate. They’ve got a unique texture and a salty flavor profile that’s comparable to edamame, a similar dish with a very different provenance.


ice cream on black ceramic bowl
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If you’re not from Hawaii, you probably call this dish “shaved ice”. If you’re from there, it’s known as “shave ice”. Either way, shave ice or whatever you call it is a perfect summer treat to snack on while you’re relaxing on the beach.


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Go ahead and get your jokes out of the way: the most well-known food from Idaho is the ice cream potato. Yes, it’s very funny. It’s also delicious! And, just so you know, it’s not really a potato: it’s vanilla ice cream coated in cocoa powder so it looks like a potato.


Deep dish pizza

Some people say Chicago-style deep-dish pizza isn’t even really pizza but is instead a variety of lasagna. After all, you have to eat it with a fork! It’s also a very heavy meal, but it’s a staple of Illinois that locals indulge with on special occasions.


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The breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is a favorite of the Hoosier state and can be found in restaurants all around Indiana. This massive, deep-fried sandwich is served on a comically small brioche bun. This is part of the fun with the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich!


yellow corn lot
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It’s no secret that Iowa is loaded with corn. Rows upon rows of ears of corn are a common sight in the state. As such, it’s no surprise that the state’s signature food is sweet corn!  Sweet corn is a particular favorite during the summer months.


roasted ribs with sliced tomatoes and potatoes
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Have you ever had Kansas City ribs? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. Their ribs are some of the best in the country, well-smoked and coated in delicious rib sauce. It’s easy to find a good rib place in the Heartland, but check out Roy’s Hickory Pit BBQ if you want a guaranteed winner.


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he most notable dish from Kentucky it not, in fact, fried chicken. It’s called Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey sandwich that’s hot, savory, and invigorating. The sandwich is named for the Brown Hotel, where it was first made in 1926.


brown and white chocolate cake
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They’re not quite doughnuts: they’re beignets! They’re fried dough coated in powdered sugar and served hot from the fryer. You can find them all throughout Louisiana, and they’re a huge hit around New Orleans. You can find many people chowing down on them around Mardi Gras.


person cutting lobster
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We know you’re absolutely floored to hear that the state dish of Maine is the lobster roll. Did you know that lobster was once considered food for peasants? Before a successful 20th Century marketing campaign, lobster’s terrifying appearance made many upper-class people afraid to eat it!


woman in red shirt holding blue and white fish
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Blue crab is the signature of the Chesapeake Bay, so if you’re ever around Maryland you can always find delicious steamed crabs. Notably, blue crabs are in short supply lately, so Maryland authorities are going out of their way to preserve the species.


brown pastry on white ceramic plate
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If you’ve ever been to Boston, you’ve probably heard people mention clam chowdah. Or, clam chowder, as it’s called everywhere else in the country. The dish is popular all throughout New England, but it’s particularly special to the people of Massachusetts.


Cornish Pasty
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The meat-filled hand pie known as a pasty is a Cornish dish originally, but it migrated with Cornish immigrants to Michigan back in the day. It’s now commonly associated with the Upper Peninsula and is a favorite of Yoopers (people who live in that part of the state).  


Tater Tot Turkey Casserole

Minnesota’s most famous dish is the simply named “Hot Dish”. To make this warm, filling meal, you just take beef or chicken, cream of mushroom soup, vegetables, and top the whole thing with tater tots. Trust us, it’s important to eat that many calories when you’re living in such a cold state.


sliced bread with tomato and green vegetable on white ceramic plate
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Mississippi is home to a unique type of tamales that doesn’t resemble what you might find in a Mexican restaurant. The Mississippi variety is smaller, made with cornmeal and ground pork, and usually boiled. It’s also got a delightfully heavy hot sauce!


yellow cheese on black plate
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Missouri’s best dish is toasted ravioli. That’s right! It’s ravioli, like the kind you’d find in Chef Boyardee cans. Usually, these are filled with ground beef and served with a side of marinara sauce. Sometimes they’re even filled with another Missouri staple, burnt ends!


ice cream on black tray
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Montana’s staple dish is Huckleberry ice cream, a downright delicious variety of creamy desert created by Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream company. Their ice cream is served all over the state, often in scoops or cones. Sometimes it’s even made into milkshakes!


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The most unique dish from Nebraska has a delightful name: the Tin Roof Sundae. To make it, just put chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and top the whole thing with warm marshmallow cream and Spanish peanuts.


cooked food
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It shouldn’t be a shock to learn that the state where you can find Las Vegas has a famous dish called “3 AM Steak and Eggs.” The locals call it “steggs,” and it’s meant to be somewhere between breakfast and dinner. This is the kind of meal you want from a 24-hour restaurant on the Vegas strip.

New Hampshire

person holding burger with fries
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Poutine might be a famous dish in Canada, but many French-Canadian folks who settled down in New Hampshire brought the dish with them to the US. The dish is basically just French fries covered in gravy but trust us when we tell you it’s phenomenal.

New Jersey

fires on paper
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French fries are a favorite dish all over the US, and that’s the case in New Jersey, too. The state’s most noteworthy dish is disco fries, a poutine variant that includes French fries, gravy, melted mozzarella. The name allegedly stems from the dish’s popularity among disco dancers in the 1970s.

New Mexico

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If you’ve ever been to New Mexico, you’ve probably heard about Frito Pie. Texans also claim to have created this dish, but either way it’s a delightful taste of Southwestern cuisine. The dish includes corn chips, chili sauce, ground beef, cheese, and vegetables. It’s almost a deconstructed taco!

New York

fried chicken and with green vegetables
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Buffalo wings might seem like a staple that’s been around forever, but the dish was created nearly on accident on March 4, 1964. Teressa Bellissimo of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo created the first hot wings for her son and his friends using random ingredients left in the fridge, and the rest is history.

North Carolina

cooked sliced meat
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Lexington-style barbecue is the most famous dish from North Carolina! This variety of Lexington barbeque sauce  is ketchup-based, making it a bit controversial in other parts of the South. However, if you’re from North Carolina, you’re likely a fan of the vinegar-heavy, spicy barbecue sauce.

North Dakota

a plate of food
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North Dakota’s famous dish, cheese buttons, follows a loose recipe but doesn’t have a hard-and-fast version. You might know them as pierogis, but they’re called a lot of names across Eastern Europe. Whatever you call it, this dish is delicious!


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The next time you’re in Ohio, you’ve got to try out Cincinnati Chili. This variety of chili is quite distinct from the versions you’ll find in Texas. It’s got much more in common with the type of meat sauce you’d find on a chili cheese dog, and it’s served over spaghetti. It’s downright scrumptious!


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Oklahoma is neatly sandwiched between some heavy hitters among the worlds of barbecue and steak. The state carves out its own identity with smoked bologna, affectionately called “Oklahoma tenderloin”. Check this unique dish out the next time you’re in Tulsa!


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If you’ve never heard of marionberry pie, you’ve probably never been to Oregon. Marionberries were created at Oregon State University, and they incidentally don’t travel well. This means you’re unlikely to get to try marionberries or their pies unless you go to Oregon yourself!


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You won’t believe this one: Pennsylvania is known for the iconic Philly cheesesteak. It’s thin-sliced beef, cooked on the griddle, and served with onions and cheese. It’s melty, savory, and phenomenal. It might have originated in Philly, but it’s beloved everywhere now.

Rhode Island

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Rhode Island actually has a state drink: the fan favorite coffee milk. Can you guess what’s in it? Well, it’s made from both coffee and milk! It’s a desert drink that includes coffee and is spun into a milkshake without ice cream.

South Carolina

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The most notable dish from South Carolina is the delightfully tasty shrimp and grits. Boiled shrimp and piping hot grits are combined with Andouille sausage and served as a huge, hearty meal that delights locals and visitors alike. The dish’s most famous variants are served in Charleston, but you can find the dish all over the state.

South Dakota

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Some folks have just never heard of lefse, but it’s a huge hit among Norwegian-Americans. It’s flat potato bread sprinkled in sugar, rolled up, and served with butter spread. While lefse is unique to South Dakota in the US, it’s quite popular by other names in Northern European countries.


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You might have heard about Nashville Hot Chicken, but you won’t really “get” it until you try it. Rumor has it the dish was created by Thornton Prince’s girlfriend as a way get back at him for his misdeeds, but he loved the spicy flavor.


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There are so many great dishes from Texas that it’s hard to pick just one. Steak? Tex-Mex food? When you get right down to it, the best dish the Lone Star State has to offer is barbeque brisket. It’s some of the finest barbeque in the world, not just the country.


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Everyone loves French fries, and they’re even better with fry sauce. Not just any sauce you dip your fries into, but the Utah specialty known as Fry Sauce. It’s part ketchup, part mayonnaise, and part secret sauce. The sauce is sold at Arctic Circle, a hamburger chain based in Midvale.


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There’s nothing as American as apple pie. And, it turns out, there’s nothing as Vermont as apple pie with cheddar. Don’t knock it until you try it! The cheese and the tartness of the apple makes for a phenomenal pairing that easily complements each of the ingredients.


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The main dish of Virginia is peanut soup, a blend of chicken stock, celery, onions, and the peanut butter that gives it its name. The dish is African in origin and was brought to America via the slaves who worked on plantations in Virginia.


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While clam chowder is the signature dish of New England, seafood chowder is the hallmark of a state on the other end of the country. Washington takes full advantage of the fresh seafood from the Pacific to outfit its restaurants with the finest seafood chowder in the country.

West Virginia

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Pepperoni rolls are the most notable dish from West Virginia, created by Italian immigrants who worked in coal mines in days gone by. You might imagine that coal miners need to take in a ton of calories, so you can imagine how heavy and filling the classic pepperoni roll is!

Read More: The Best and Most Beautiful Hiking Trails in Every State


brown wooden rolling pin on stainless steel bowl
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Wisconsin’s best dish isn’t just any old cherry pie, but Door County cherry pie. Door County is on a peninsula on Lake Michigan and is basically the cherry capital of the US. The peninsula is home to Ellison Bay, where you can find massive 10-inch pies loaded with the sweetest filling.

Read More: The Weirdest Tourist Attraction in Every State


brown yak on brown grass field during day
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This last one is a bit of a bummer: Wyoming’s most well-known dish is bison. Yes, bison is the official state animal, and yes, its numbers have been thinned over the centuries by human activity. But locals still covet bison as a delicacy, where they say it’s a great beef alternative.

Read More: Experts Say TikTok’s Viral Condiment Pink Sauce ‘Absolutely Not Safe’