Fried Food You Need To Try In Every State

Fried Food You Need To Try In Every State

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Fried Food You Need To Try In Every State
Cheapism; Rus32 / iStock; 4kodiak/istockphoto

United States of the Deep Fryer

America's love for the deep fryer knows no bounds. This is the country that has fried everything from Coke to Oreos to butter. Every state has its signature fried dish that locals rave about and visitors can’t resist. From the East Coast to the West, you’ll find mouthwatering, artery-clogging, crispy delights that are worth the trip.

Here is the best fried food you need to try in every state. 

Related: The Best Fried Foods Around the World

Air Fryer Southern Style Catfish with Green Beans with Fork Into a Piece of Catfish

Alabama – Fried Catfish

Alabama loves its fried catfish. Found in every nook and cranny from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachian foothills, Alabama catfish has a crisp coating that seals in moist, juicy fillets spiced just right. It is served best with hush puppies and creamy coleslaw. 

Related: The Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State

Halibut and chips
HannamariaH / iStock

Alaska – Halibut and Chips

In Alaska, the halibut is so fresh, it practically jumps from the ocean into the fryer. This fish, firm and buttery, becomes the ultimate comfort food when battered and deep-fried. Paired with fresh-cut fries, Alaskan halibut and chips are the best way to stay warm in the Last Frontier. 

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Delicious chimichanga with sour cream and guacamole on top

Arizona – Chimichanga

When someone in Tucson accidentally dropped a burrito into hot oil, they didn't realize it would become the state's favorite fried food and a Tex-Mex delicacy. El Charro Café claims to be the birthplace of the chimichanga, and their version is stuffed with everything from beef to beans, then smothered in cheese or enchilada sauce.

Fried Pickles
Stephen Barnes / iStock

Arkansas – Fried Pickles

Arkansas gave the world fried pickles, thanks to Bernell "Fatman" Austin of Atkins. In 1963, at the Duchess Drive-In near a pickle factory, he sliced and fried pickles into crispy perfection. Today, this tangy, crunchy snack is a favorite at fairs and bars nationwide. It’s hard to beat the original, but fried pickle aficionados keep coming back to Arkansas for that authentic, mouth-puckering crunch.

Fried Fish Tacos
Robert Patrick Briggs / iStock

California – Fried Fish Tacos

Originating from Baja California, these tacos feature deep-fried flaky fish inside of corn tortillas, topped with fresh garnishes and zesty sauces. They are a staple in beach towns from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Simple yet delicious, fried fish tacos are perfect for sunny days and surfing breaks.

Rocky Mountain Oysters, Rocky Mountain Oyster Bar
Bleep S./Yelp

Colorado – Rocky Mountain Oysters

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain oysters are a true test of bravery. Don't be fooled by the name — they're not seafood, but deep-fried bull testicles served with a side of courage. Breaded, fried, and served with fries, these “oysters” are a crunchy, chewy, uniquely Western delicacy. 

Fried Clams
onepony / iStock

Connecticut – Fried Clams

Fried clams are the perfect proof that America can fry anything that fits in a fryer. Found at clam shacks along the coast, these nuggets are fried with their bellies intact, preserving their sweet juiciness inside a crispy shell. Drizzle some lemon, add tartar sauce, and enjoy a true New England treat.

Crab Cakes, Faidley Seafood in Baltimore, Maryland
Tracie U./

Delaware – Crab Cakes

Delaware might just make the best crab cakes in the U.S. Whether you find them at casual joints or upscale restaurants, these crab cakes come in various delicious forms. The fancier versions are served with sides like potatoes, salads, and veggies, while the laid-back option comes simply served inside a bun. 

Conch Fritters
Wendy Gunderson / iStock
Fried Green Tomatoes, Irondale Cafe
Irondale Cafe

Georgia – Fried Green Tomatoes

In Georgia, fried green tomatoes are a must-try Southern classic. These tart green tomatoes are sliced, coated in cornmeal, and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Often served with a tangy dipping sauce, they’re a delicious blend of crunchy and savory. You can find them at family-owned diners or upscale restaurants across the state. For a real treat, visit The Whistle Stop Café in Juliette, famous from the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes."  

Alexandr Milodan / iStock

Hawaii – Malasadas

Hawaii’s malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts that locals have made their own. These fluffy, sugar-dusted treats have no hole and are often filled with local flavors like coconut or passion fruit. 

French fries

Idaho – French Fries

Idaho is synonymous with potatoes, so it's no surprise that French fries are a must-try here. Known for producing some of the biggest and best potatoes in the country, Idaho takes its fries seriously. These golden, crispy delights are made from fresh, locally grown potatoes and served in a variety of styles — from classic thin cuts to hearty steak fries. 

Related: 27 Tasty Ways to Cook Potatoes

Mudwater / iStock

Illinois – Francheezie

Illinois’ francheezie is a hot dog taken to new heights. This dish features a cheese-stuffed hot dog wrapped in bacon, then deep-fried until crispy. It’s a gooey, savory delight that’s hard to resist, especially when topped with all your favorite condiments. 

Hand holding Fried chicken and eating in the restaurant

Indiana – Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a beloved staple among Hoosiers, found on diner menus, at family gatherings, and even in race-day box lunches. For a taste of the best in Indianapolis, head to Hollyhock Hill on the north side, where they’ve been serving family-style fried chicken dinners since 1928, or Mississippi Belle in Broad Ripple, known for its savory, pan-fried chicken

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Indiana
Lizzie H./Yelp

Iowa – Tenderloin Sandwich

Iowa is famous for its pork, and the tenderloin sandwich is a great example of why. This beloved local favorite includes a massive breaded and fried pork tenderloin that often extends well beyond the bun. You'll find it in diners and eateries across the state, typically served with pickles, onions, and mustard, offering a perfect blend of crunch and savory pork flavor. 

Chicken-fried Steak
rez-art / iStock

Kansas – Chicken-Fried Steak

In Kansas, chicken-fried steak is the ultimate comfort food you can't miss. Think of a tender beef steak, perfectly breaded and fried to a crispy golden brown, then smothered in rich, creamy gravy.  

Fried Chicken
N B./Yelp

Kentucky – Fried Chicken

You can't visit the state of Colonel Sanders without trying fried chicken—it would be blasphemy! Kentucky is the birthplace of KFC, and the love for fried chicken runs deep here. From the original recipe at KFC to local gems in Louisville like Indi’s or Momma’s Mustard, Pickles & BBQ, you'll find fried chicken that’s crispy, juicy, and bursting with flavor.

Cafe Du Monde Beignets and Cafe Au Lait, New Orleans

Louisiana – Beignets

Even if you were living under a rock, you've likely heard that when in New Orleans, you have to eat beignets. These delicious, deep-fried pastries dusted with powdered sugar are a must-try and are famously served at Café du Monde. 

Fried Haddock
robertsre / iStock

Maine – Fried Haddock

When summer arrives in Maine, lobster rolls are the star attraction, drawing attention from locals and visitors alike. However, Mainers don't just sit around eating lobster rolls all day. They also savor the other seafood treasures pulled from the Gulf of Maine, especially fried haddock. Whether you're at a seaside shack or a local diner, you'll find fried haddock served with tartar sauce and a side of fries or coleslaw.  

Related: Amazing Seafood Shacks Across America

Fried Chicken

Maryland – Fried Chicken

Yet another state famous for its fried chicken, Maryland has a unique way of preparing and serving this dish. The chicken pieces are fried with the lid on, creating a crispy exterior while retaining juiciness inside. Topped with white gravy, Maryland’s fried chicken is both comforting and flavorful.

Clam Roll
Ant DM / iStock

Massachusetts – Clam Roll

Featuring whole-bellied clams in a hot dog bun, Massachusetts’ clam roll is a must-try, Woodman’s in Essex claims to have invented the fried clam in 1916, and their clam roll remains a crispy, tender treat best enjoyed with tartar sauce.

bhofack2 / iStock

Michigan – Pączki

Michigan’s pączki (pronounced "poonch-key") are Polish doughnuts brought over by immigrants. These deep-fried, jelly-filled treats are traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday but are enjoyed year-round in many bakeries. Crispy on the outside and soft inside, pączki are a sweet delight.

Deep Fried Fish

Minnesota – Fried Fish

Minnesota’s fried fish, especially walleye, is a freshwater favorite. Fish fries are common, especially on Fridays and during Lent. Served with crispy fries and dipping sauces, fried walleye is a deliciously crispy way to enjoy Minnesota’s state fish. 

Borroum's Drug Store Slugburger
Caitlin C./Yelp

Mississippi – Slugburger

Mississippi’s slugburger, despite its name, thankfully contains no slugs. This Great Depression-era dish combines ground meat and potato flour filler to create a unique, crispy patty. It’s a humble and delicious reminder of a resourceful culinary past.

Toasted Ravioli

Missouri – Toasted Ravioli

Missouri’s toasted ravioli, a St. Louis specialty, is breaded and deep-fried until crispy. These golden nuggets, often filled with meat or cheese, are a favorite snack. Served with marinara sauce, they’re a crunchy, savory delight.

Fried Pork Chop Sandwiches
danielj9706 / TripAdvisor

Montana – Fried Pork Chop Sandwiches

In the 1920s, when Butte was one of the liveliest towns in the West, John Burklund became a local legend by selling his fried pork chop sandwiches on the corner of Mercury and Main. The sandwiches were such a hit that Burklund eventually opened his own restaurant, Pork Chop John's, on Mercury Street, where it remains to this day.

The secret to these beloved sandwiches lies in their cornmeal batter, which forms a crunchy coating around slices of boneless pork loin, topped traditionally with mustard, pickles, and onions.

Cheese Frenchee
JEF419 / TripAdvisor

Nebraska – Cheese Frenchee

Nebraska’s cheese frenchee is a deep-fried cheese sandwich that’s a carb-lover’s dream. Breaded and fried to golden perfection, this gooey, crispy treat is the height of indulgence. It’s the kind of snack that makes you question your life choices — right before you take another delicious bite. 

Baskets of Onion Rings, Curly Fries and Cheese Sticks
Lauri Patterson/istockphoto

Nevada – Onion Rings

Onion rings are the rock stars of fried food in Nevada, where onions are one of the top crops. These crispy, savory rings are a favorite snack from Las Vegas food trucks to local pubs and restaurants.  

Chicken Tenders
VeselovaElena / iStock

New Hampshire – Chicken Tenders

New Hampshire’s chicken tenders, first created at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester, are a crispy, juicy favorite. Breaded and fried strips of chicken breast are perfect for dipping, making them a beloved dish for all ages.

Italian Hot Dog
Robin Gentry / iStock

New Jersey – Italian Hot Dog

In New Jersey, the Italian hot dog is a local favorite. Created by Jimmy Buff in 1932, this sandwich features a deep-fried hot dog placed in an Italian roll or pizza bread, topped with fried bell peppers, onions, and potatoes. It's a staple at places like Jimmy Buff's and Dickie Dee's. While there are many variations, such as replacing the hot dog with sausage or adding French fries, the classic version remains a favorite. 

Chiles Rellenos and a Cheese Enchilada with Sides on a White Plate, El Compadre, Los Angeles
Andrew W./Yelp

New Mexico – Chiles Rellenos

New Mexico’s chiles rellenos are made with Hatch chiles, stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter, and fried. This dish features a crispy exterior and a gooey, cheesy interior, capturing the essence of New Mexican cuisine.

fotopitu/ istock
Livermush by Dale Haas (CC BY)

North Carolina – Livermush

North Carolina’s livermush is a retro dish made with liver, meat, cornmeal, and spices. Cooked, blended into a mush, and then pan-fried, livermush has a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior. It’s a unique, must-try local specialty.

Fried Walleye
Pawel Kacperek / iSTock

North Dakota – Fried Walleye

North Dakota’s fried walleye is a local favorite. This flaky, mild fish is perfect for frying, creating a crispy exterior while keeping the meat juicy. Served with fries and tartar sauce, fried walleye is a delicious taste of the Midwest.

Barberton-Style Chicken
Ongart Yotrungrueang / iSTock

Ohio – Barberton-Style Chicken

Ohio’s Barberton-style chicken, created by Serbian immigrants during the Great Depression, is fried in lard. Brined, dipped in egg wash, and dredged in flour, this crispy chicken is served with a side of hot sauce, creating a unique, flavorful dish.

Fried Okra
bhofack2 / iStock

Oklahoma – Fried Okra

Oklahoma’s fried okra is a Southern staple. Rolled in cornmeal and fried until crispy, okra’s unique texture shines in this dish. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish, fried okra is best enjoyed with a dipping sauce.

potato wedges
wmaster890 / iStock

Oregon – Jojo Potatoes

Oregon’s jojo potatoes are seasoned potato wedges breaded and pressure-fried. These crispy, flavorful wedges are often served with fried chicken, making them a beloved local treat. 

Funnel Cake
raksybH / iStock

Pennsylvania – Funnel Cake

Pennsylvania’s funnel cake, popularized by the Pennsylvania Dutch, is a fairground favorite. Batter is funneled into hot oil, creating crispy, intertwined threads of dough. Traditionally dusted with powdered sugar, funnel cakes are a sweet, crispy delight.

Clam cakes from Blount Clam Shack
Waz8 / Wikipedia

Rhode Island – Clam Cake

Rhode Island’s clam cakes are deep-fried nuggets of clam batter. Made with clams, eggs, milk, flour, and seasonings, these golden, crispy treats are best enjoyed fresh from the fryer, making them a perfect beach snack.

Hush Puppies
ALLEKO / iStock

South Carolina – Hush Puppies

South Carolina’s hush puppies are small cornmeal fritters. Fried until crispy, these simple bites are often served with fish or barbecue. Their origins are murky, but their deliciousness is undeniable.

Chislic at a bar
Amanda I. / Yelp

South Dakota – Chislic

South Dakota’s chislic, the state’s official snack, consists of cubed meat fried in oil. Traditionally made with lamb or mutton, chislic is a salty, savory delight best enjoyed with saltines and seasoned salt. 

Nashville hot chicken
Rus32 / iStock

Tennessee – Hot Chicken

Tennessee’s hot chicken, a Nashville specialty, is fried chicken with a fiery twist. Spiced with hot pepper paste, this dish lives up to its name. Prince’s Hot Chicken, open since the 1930s, is the go-to spot for this spicy, crispy treat.

Corn Dog

Texas – Corn Dog

In Texas, they've tried to fry just about everything edible, from butter to sweet tea. At the State Fair of Texas, you can find an incredible array of fried creations, including deep-fried brisket and even fried avocado. However, the most popular fried treat remains the classic corn dog. Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs have been a staple for over 80 years, selling more than 500,000 each fair season. This iconic treat, with its hot dog dipped in a proprietary cornmeal batter and fried to golden perfection, is beloved by Texans and visitors alike. 

Related: The Most Outrageous and Delicious Foods at State Fairs Across America

Utah Scones
bhofack2 / iStock

Utah – Utah Scones

Utah’s scones are deep-fried, yeast-based treats, similar to fry bread. Often served with honey butter, these sweet, puffy scones are a delicious, crispy snack with a unique twist on the traditional British version.

Cider Doughnuts
bhofack2 / iStock

Vermont – Cider Doughnuts

Vermont’s cider doughnuts, popular during apple harvest, are deep-fried treats with a lot of cinnamon flavor. Rolled in cinnamon sugar, these soft, sweet doughnuts are a perfect autumn snack after apple picking.

Soft shell fried crab
greenwatermelon / iStock

Virginia – Soft Shell Fried Crab

Virginia’s soft shell fried crabs, best enjoyed during the soft crab season, are a coastal delicacy. Fried whole, these crispy crabs can be eaten as an appetizer, main course, or in a sandwich, offering a unique seafood experience.

Fried oysters
AnnapolisStudios / iStock

Washington – Fried Oysters

Washington is the top producer of commercial shellfish in the U.S., so oysters are a big deal here. You can find some of the best at places like The Walrus & The Carpenter in Seattle, where cornmeal-battered fried oysters are served with cilantro aioli.

Fish Sandwich
Craig K. / Yelp

West Virginia – Fish Sandwich

In Wheeling, West Virginia, a quintessential lunch experience often involves a visit to the historic Centre Market hall. For over a century, the Coleman family has operated their bustling fish market here, and since the 1940s, they've been serving one of the state's most iconic fried foods: the fish sandwich. These sandwiches, stacked high between two slices of Nickles Bakery white bread, offer a choice of pollock or cod.

Wisconsin fried cheese curds Dairyland
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

Wisconsin: Fried Cheese Curds

The Dairy State unsurprisingly has cheese curds as its most popular fried food. These bite-sized morsels of cheese are breaded and deep-fried to achieve a perfect balance of crispy exterior and gooey interior. Pair them with a cold beer for the ultimate Wisconsin experience. 

A plate of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and asparagus

Wyoming – Chicken Fried Steak

While fried trout and Native American fry bread are contenders, chicken-fried steak is the most popular fried dish you should try in Wyoming. This hearty classic features a tender beef steak, breaded and fried to golden perfection, then smothered in rich, creamy gravy.