The Most Outrageous and Delicious Foods at State Fairs Across America

Turkey Legs and Fries at the Texas State Fair

Guy H./

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Scrapple Burgers and Dogs in Delaware State Fair, Delaware
Jason S./Yelp

Deep-Fried Fun

Kooky, calorie-dense, and often coated in batter or served on a stick, state fair food is as big a draw as all the rides and entertainment. You'll find staples such as corn dogs and cotton candy just about everywhere, but there are some unique eats that may be worth a drive. Here are some of the tastiest, craziest, and most celebrated fair foods across the country, according to reviews from expert food writers and thousands of hungry fairgoers.

Note: Availability is subject to change. 

Luther Burger
Luther Burger by 1SarahSmith (CC BY-ND)

Alabama: Krispy Kreme Hamburger

Alabama National Fair

Krispy Kreme is a fixture in the South, so it's no surprise to see the iconic doughnut repurposed in a gut-busting way. This burger sandwiches a quarter-pound beef patty, bacon, and cheese between two full-size original glazed Krispy Kremes. The nutritional price of this sin: somewhere around 1,100 calories and 67 grams of fat ... but who's counting? 

Smoked Salmon Quesadillas
Smoked Salmon Quesadillas by Pan Pacific (CC BY)

Alaska: Salmon Quesadillas

Alaska State Fair

Sure, you can get all the typical state fair standbys in Alaska, but the local offerings are so much more intriguing. They include salmon quesadillas, deep-fried halibut, and spicy reindeer dogs (if you can stomach eating Rudolph, that is). Another longtime favorite: Talkeetna spinach bread, smothered in garlic and cheese.

Navajo Taco
Navajo Taco by Matt Malone (CC BY-NC)
Barbecue Parfait in Arkansas State Fair, Arkansas
Karen L./Yelp

Arkansas: Barbecue Parfait

Arkansas State Fair

It sounds gross until you realize there's nothing sweet involved here: It's just tender smoked brisket layered with baked beans, barbecue sauce, and mashed potatoes, served up in a cup — perfect for eating while strolling. Add some coleslaw if you're feeling adventurous. But if you really want to walk on the wild side, pizza with toppings such as crickets, grubs, and scorpions has also been on the menu.

Dole Whip
Dole Whip by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (CC BY-NC)
Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Colorado State Fair
Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Colorado State Fair by Holly (CC BY-NC-ND)

Colorado: Rocky Mountain Oysters

Colorado State Fair

If you've spent much time out west, you know exactly what Rocky Mountain oysters aren't: oysters. Indeed, they're actually deep-fried bull testicles, a well-known local favorite. But that's not the weirdest thing to ever grace the Colorado fair. If you really have an iron stomach, be on the lookout for a maggot melt sandwich.

Big Donut in Berlin Fair, Connecticut
Francisco M./Yelp

Connecticut: Big Donut

Berlin Fair

Connecticut doesn't have its own big state fair, but the Berlin Fair is one of the larger community fairs. A favorite here? "The Big Donut," born from a 70+ year-old family recipe. And it's exactly what it sounds like: A simple, sugary doughnut that just happens to be the size of a plate. Bon appetit! 

Scrapple Burgers and Dogs in Delaware State Fair, Delaware
Jason S./Yelp

Delaware: Scrapple Burgers and Dogs

Delaware State Fair

Hot dogs and burgers are state fair staples, but in Delaware, they get a local twist when they're loaded up with a heaping helping of scrapple. For the uninitiated, scrapple is a mid-Atlantic regional dish that's a little bit like sausage, but includes even the least-savory parts of the pig (think snouts, tongue, skin, and even brains). The meat is usually mixed with a grain such as cornmeal, then formed into a mushy loaf. Er, yum? 

Fried Key Lime Pie Florida State Fair
Alyssa R./

Florida: Fried Key Lime Pie

Florida State Fair

Key lime pie is a Florida original, so why not take it to another level for the state fair in February by frying it?  This treat comes in a cup and features whipped cream, white chocolate and a fresh slice of lime.  

Deep Fried Kool-Aid
Deep Fried Kool-Aid by jlwelsh (CC BY)

Georgia: Deep-Fried Kool-Aid Hush Puppies

North Georgia State Fair

One of several major fairs in Georgia, the North Georgia State Fair doesn't mess around when it comes to fried favorites. One of the more unique offerings: fried Kool-Aid Hush Puppies  (Oh yeah!) If you're more into that classic savory-sweet combo, try out a hot dog dipped in waffle batter. Last year's delicacies included shrimp ceviche  and catfish po' boys.

Seared Ahi in 50th State Fair, Hawaii
Jarod H./Yelp

Hawaii: Seared Ahi

50th State Fair

Sure, you can get corn dogs and funnel cakes at the fair in Hawaii (which wrapped up this year on July 9), but why would you? There were plenty of local favorites to indulge in, such as seared ahi tuna served up on hapa rice — that's a mix of white and brown — or lau lau, which is pork wrapped in taro leaves to seal in the juicy flavor.

Potato Ice Cream
Potato Ice Cream by Chrissy Wainwright (CC BY-NC)

Idaho: Ice Cream Potato

Western Idaho Fair

Ice ... cream ... potato? Only in Idaho. Actually, it's not really a potato — your sweet treat is merely masquerading as Idaho's most famous food export. Standing in for the potato is an oblong ball of vanilla ice cream rolled in cocoa powder. It's sliced in half and topped with whipped cream instead of sour cream, then topped off with nuts and crushed Oreos.

Deep-Fried S'mores in Illinois State Fair, Illinois
Kim N./Yelp

Illinois: Deep-Fried S'mores

Illinois State Fair

S'mores are an iconic summer classic, so why not give them the typical fair treatment and fry them, too? But beef lovers should consider the Sirloin-on-a-Stick for their main entree. 

Elote Street Corn Pizza Indiana State Fair
Dustin H./

Indiana: Elote Street Corn Pizza

Indiana State Fair

Indiana definitely produces its share of corn, so a pizza that features corn should be a natural result. This year's state fair menu includes a pie that's a nod to Mexican street corn that's made with mozzarella and cotija cheese, corn, jalapeños, and chipotle mayo. Meat lovers can pay homage to Indiana's thriving pork industry with an order of barbecue pigs wings.  

Grinder Balls Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair

Iowa: Grinder Balls

Iowa State Fair

Iowa is a top pork producer, and the Bacon Box has a new menu item that leans heavily on pork. The Grinder Ball is made of bacon balls stuffed with mozzarella, wrapped in bacon, and covered with marinara sauce. The Iowa Twinkie from Whatcha Smokin’ BBQ & Brew is a bacon-wrapped  jalapeno that's stuffed with pulled pork, cream cheese and sweet corn.

Don't Have Buttermilk? Try Pickle Juice

Kansas: Stuffed Pickle on a Stick

Kansas State Fair

Pickle lovers, rejoice: Kansas has you covered. Not only can you get a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped pickle (or "bickle"), you can get a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped pickle stuffed with hamburger, cheese and onions. Chase it with a glass of strawberry milk or double-dip cone from the fair's popular Dairy Bar, operated by the Kansas Dairy Association.

Tater Tots
boudin blanc
boudin blanc by Southern Foodways Alliance (CC BY)

Louisiana: Crawfish and Crab Boudin

State Fair of Louisiana

Boudin is a Cajun standby that just happens to be perfectly suited for the midway. It's a sausage made from rice and parts of the pig that are typically cast off, plus plenty of spices. More local favorites you'll see at the fair: fried crawfish, sausage cornbread, and alligator meat.

Maine Lobster Roll
Maine Lobster Roll by Navin75 (CC BY-SA)

Maine: Lobster Rolls

Fryeburg Fair

Like many Northeastern states, Maine doesn't have a big statewide fair, but the Fryeburg Fair comes close. Local nonprofit vendors serve up Maine favorites such as lobster rolls and fish chowder, though the fair has plenty of traditional fried favorites, too. Also popular: The massive slices of pizza from Sunflower Farm.

Corn and Old Bay
Corn and Old Bay by Karen Thornton (CC BY)

Maryland: Corn With Old Bay

Maryland State Fair

You can never go wrong with fresh corn on the cob at the fair. At Maryland's state fair, they take it one step further and sprinkle it with Old Bay, that iconic and essential seafood seasoning. Hankering for a meatier local delicacy? Look for a crab patty, which loads up a tasty Maryland crab cake with a soft-shell crab on top.

GIANT PUFF! by Honey Bunny (CC BY-NC-ND)

Massachusetts: Giant Cream Puffs

The Big E

The Big E functions as the major state fair for all of the Northeast, and it has the wide variety of crazy fair food befitting of a regional event. But for well over a decade, the signature dish here has been the giant Big E Cream Puff, made with massive scoops of cream and topped off with a generous amount of powdered sugar.

raw chocolate milk
raw chocolate milk by tracy benjamin (CC BY-NC-ND)

Michigan: Endless Chocolate Milk

Michigan State Fair

Dairy farming is big business in much of the Great Lakes, including Michigan. It's only fitting that the state fair pay homage, then, by giving visitors the opportunity to guzzle as much chocolate milk as they can for just $1. Of course, there's plenty of ice cream to be had, too.

Minnesota Corn Dog in Minnesota State Fair, Minnesota
Mandy H./Yelp

Minnesota: Minnesota Corn Dog

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota might have some of the nation's best fair food. Case in point: Its own state-specific twist on a corn dog, featuring ground sausage tossed with blueberries, apples, wild rice, and maple syrup. Spam sushi — which rolls grilled Spam and fried egg in sushi rice, and nori — has also been known to feed fairgoers. This year's newcomers include the jumbo Cheese Curd Stuffed Pizza Pretzel and a nod to Minnesota's  Nordic roots: a Crispy Lutefisk Steam Bun. 

Beer-Battered Burgers in Mississippi State Fair, Mississippi
Julius C./Yelp

Mississippi: Beer-battered Burgers

Mississippi State Fair

Why stop at simply frying the meat of your burger when you can dunk the entire thing in a frying basket of hot beer batter? The same vendor has served porkychos, in which pork rinds stand in for tortilla chips and are topped with barbecue, jalapeño, and other toppings. Candy-flavored watermelon was also on the menu last year.

Pork Chops

Missouri: Pork, Pork, and More Pork

Missouri State Fair

Pork is big business in Missouri, and the only evidence you need is the Missouri Pork Association's standalone state-fair restaurant, The Pork Place, a fixture since 1979. Here, fairgoers can sit down in air-conditioned comfort and scarf down pork chops, pulled pork, ribs, pork burgers — you get the idea. There's even a pork loin salad.

Deep Fried Meatballs
libin jose/istockphoto

Montana: Viking on a Stick


This staple of Montana's biggest fair is essentially a giant meatball that's put on a stick, covered in a thick coating of batter, and fried. It's topped with "an undisclosed combination of Scandinavian spices" — and served in a "boat," of course. You can also grab some lefse, a Norwegian flatbread.

Beef burger with melted cheese and onions

Nebraska: Cowboy Mignon

Nebraska State Fair

One of Nebraska's gut-busting fair foods is the Cowboy Mignon, which is sausage and ground chuck stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and served smothered in fried onions and a Vidalia onion sauce. The heart attack continues with deep-fried bacon-wrapped cinnamon rolls. 

Deep Fried Snickers
Deep Fried Snickers by Amy Aletheia Cahill (CC BY-SA)

Nevada: Deep-Fried Snickers

Nevada State Fair

Nevada's state fair rose from the ashes of a couple of years ago after financial woes forced a multiyear hiatus. Though it's smaller than many other state fairs, you can still find all the fried favorites here. Our vote: Go with a classic fried Snickers.

Apple cider doughnuts
Apple cider doughnuts by Stef Noble (CC BY-NC-ND)

New Hampshire: Apple Cider Doughnuts

Hopkinton State Fair

One of New Hampshire's biggest fairs, Hopkinton boasts all the staple fair foods you'd expect. If you can tear yourself away from all the gluttonous food on a stick, it's hard to beat the region's famous apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, or apple crisp. Pat's is one vendor that hits most of the state's big fairs, including Hopkinton.

You'll never know if you don't try. Deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
You'll never know if you don't try. Deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. by Martin Criminale (CC BY-SA)

New Jersey: Deep-Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly

State Fair Meadowlands

If it's fried, you can find it at the State Fair Meadowlands, one of two big statewide fairs in New Jersey. On the menu previously? Deep-fried wads of pink bubblegum, courtesy of the perfectly named Crazy Fried Things booth, were available for the brave. This year, peanut butter and jelly got a turn in the deep fryer when the fair took place in June and July.

Inside the funnel cake booth, vendor is pouring funnelcake batter though a funnel into boiling hot oil to make a popular fair/festival dessert.

New Mexico: Green Chile Pepperoni Funnel Cake

New Mexico State Fair

Chiles are a New Mexico staple, and funnel cakes are a fair staple, so this mashup is a match made in heaven. While 2019 proclaimed the Oreo Ice Cream Taco the winner of the fair's taste test, the 2017 winner packed more of a punch (to our thinking, anyway). A chile funnel cake fused mozzarella cheese, green chiles, and pepperoni before being fried and topped with pizza sauce. If that's not enough, ranch dressing was an ideal dunk.

Camel Spiedie in The Great New York State Fair, New York
Louis R./Yelp

New York: Camel Spiedie

The Great New York State Fair

The spiedie, a sandwich made up of meat cubes soaked in an Italian dressing-like marinade, originated in Binghamton, New York. Of course, the meat is usually something pedestrian such as chicken or lamb, but in previous years a camel spiedie and one with kangaroo have been available, too.

Drink Cheerwine
Drink Cheerwine by Ross Catrow (CC BY-SA)

North Carolina: Cheerwine Funnel Cake

North Carolina State Fair

North Carolinians love their Cheerwine, a red cherry soda that's been made locally for more than 100 years. So it's only natural that Cheerwine won a starring role at the North Carolina State Fair in one of the most iconic fair foods of 'em all: the funnel cake. Also worth seeking out: Cheerwine cake, made with a honey-infused frosting and finished with chocolate shavings.

Peanut Butter

North Dakota: Peanut Butter Squealer

North Dakota State Fair

Who wouldn't love to try this dish from the 2021 Food Frenzy competition at next year's fair? The Peanut Butter Squealer is a breakfast sausage baked inside a Belgian waffle and then covered with peanut butter sauce and bacon. It is, of course, served on a stick.

Buckeyes 028
Buckeyes 028 by Cheryl Bennett (CC BY-ND)

Ohio: Deep-Fried Buckeyes

Ohio State Fair

Ohio doesn't have a state dessert, but if it did, it would certainly be the candy buckeye, a tooth-achingly rich combination of peanut butter and chocolate. At the fair, they're promptly dunked in sizzling batter and served up on a stick. If you really want to go for the gold, one vendor has been known to wrap the buckeyes in bacon before frying them.


Oklahoma: Freeze-Dried Milk Duds

Oklahoma State Fair

In previous years, Oklahoma jumped in on the unicorn craze with its unicorn crepe. Last year, freeze-dried Milk Duds from Gram's Sweet Treats were a favorite among the sweet items available at the fair, while coconut shrimp topped the competition among savory delights. 

Stampede 2016 - Day 00: Best New Food
Stampede 2016 - Day 00: Best New Food by Reg Tiangha (CC BY)

Oregon: Deep-Fried Coffee

Oregon State Fair

The Pacific Northwest is known for its coffee, so it was only a matter of time before someone thought to serve deep-fried coffee at the fair. (Granted, you can't actually deep-fry coffee, so coffee is mixed into funnel cake batter, fried, and soaked in a coffee syrup.) If you're more of a traditionalist, you'll also find 2-foot corn dogs and elephant ears the size of steering wheels, along with hog daddies and barbecued turkey legs from Sweet Cheeks.

Philly Cheesesteak

Pennsylvania: Cheesesteak

Bloomsburg Fair

There's no big state fair in Pennsylvania, but there are plenty of county fairs to seek out. One of the biggest is the Bloomsburg Fair, where cheesesteaks are king despite stiff competition from hundreds of vendors. Fairgoers flock to Vince's for this traditional favorite.

Clam Cakes in Washington County Fair, Rhode Island
Damon D./Yelp

Rhode Island: Clam Cakes

Washington County Fair

One of the biggest fairs in little Rhode Island is the Washington County Fair, where you'll find plenty of local food to go with the predictable fair favorites. Offerings include clam cakes, a statewide summer staple that is fried — of course — and perfect for spritzing with lemon or dipping in chowder. Satisfy your sweet tooth afterward with some fresh strawberry shortcake.

Sriracha Chicken and Waffle Sliders in South Carolina State Fair, South Carolina
Sriracha Chicken and Waffle Sliders in South Carolina State Fair, South Carolina by Malingering (CC BY-NC-ND)

South Carolina: Sriracha Chicken and Waffle Sliders

South Carolina State Fair

What better way than to make a southern favorite sing than by adding sriracha? The popular hot sauce is a favorite at the South Carolina Fair — it's even been drizzled on a sundae topped with whipped cream and corn chips.  


South Dakota: Rattlesnake Bratwurst

South Dakota State Fair

South Dakota's only venomous snake is the prairie rattlesnake, so what better place than the South Dakota State Fair to make rattlers your next meal? Of course, there are also some brats filled with slightly more traditional local favorites, including elk and buffalo meat.

Deep-fried Goo Goo Clusters

Tennessee: Deep-Fried Goo Goo Clusters

Tennessee State Fair

Goo-Goo Clusters, a chocolate-covered mashup of caramel, peanuts, and roasted peanuts, are a distinctly Tennessee candy; fried goo-goo clusters have even served as official state fair candy. Or head to the nearby Wilson County Fair — actually a bigger event than the state fair — and grab some walking tacos or fried green tomatoes.

Taco Cones
Estudio conceito/istockphoto

Texas: Stuffed Fried Taco Cone

Texas State Fair

In 2019, the Big Tex Choice Award winner in the savory category was this tasty treat. Slow-cooked barbacoa was served in a ice cream cone-shaped tortilla shell with black beans and cilantro lime rice and topped with pico de gallo, quest fresco, and salsa verde. It's a good bet this easy-to-eat choice will be back this year, but if it doesn't appeal you can clog your arteries by downing some fried butter. 

DSC04027 by RosieTulips (CC BY-NC-ND)

Utah: Deep-Fried Jell-O

Utah State Fair

Utah has long had a love affair with Jell-O — it was even designated an official state snack. So it only follows that you can get it deep-fried and smothered in whipped cream at the fair. As for other wacky state-specific food, the fair even has its own contest to decide who makes the best funeral potatoes.

Maple Creemee in Vermont State Fair, Vermont
Kristian D./Yelp

Vermont: Maple Creemee

Vermont State Fair

What's a maple creemee? It's pure Vermont on a cone — or more specifically, soft-serve vanilla ice cream whipped with maple syrup. Maple shakes and even maple shaved ice have also been offered at the state fair. Another longtime favorite is Roxie's Fries, made fresh by locals and devoured by fairgoers every year.

Country ham biscuits
Holly Cromer/istockphoto

Virginia: Deep-Fried Ham Biscuits

State Fair of Virginia

One of Virginia's most well-known foods, the ham biscuit, started getting the typical fair treatment a few years ago when vendors began dunking it in the deep fryer. Deep-fried Swiss Cake Roll and Pop-Tarts have also been offered.

Raspberry scone

Washington: Scones

Washington State Fair

Compared with the frankenfoods at many other state fairs, Washington is known for something a little more low-key: a scone made with local raspberry jam and whipped butter. The scones have been a fair mainstay for more than a century, and fairgoers gobbled more than 1.3 million of them in 2016 alone.

Cinnamon Rolls
roman tohtohunov/istockphoto

West Virginia: Cinnamon Rolls

State Fair of West Virginia

Like Washington, West Virginia's claim to fame is sweet and traditional. Fairgoers say you can't do any better than the Son's-Sational cinnamon rolls, a decades-old fair-food staple. The generously sized rolls are made entirely from scratch using top-notch cinnamon and pure butter, but that's about all you'll get out of the sellers — the recipe is a family secret.

Cheese Curds in Wisconsin State Fair, Wisconsin
Arvin H./Yelp

Wisconsin: Cheese Curds

Wisconsin State Fair

Could Wisconsin's best fair food be anything other than cheese curds? Of course not. Happily, vendors have stepped up their game with any number of varieties. One of the most recent: beer-battered, pretzel-coated cheese curds served with a Caribbean sauce. Also on offer: cheese curds made with goat milk, and poutine (French fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy).

Pancakes and honey

Wyoming: Pancakes

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Yes, Wyoming has a state fair, but it's small potatoes compared with Cheyenne Frontier Days, where food is as big a draw as the famous rodeo. The biggest food here — and we mean big — is the humble pancake. That's because volunteers serve up more than 100,000 flapjacks during a free pancake breakfast every year.