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We Found Each State’s Signature Food

No matter where you roam, every state has a recipe that is beloved by locals and tourists alike!

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Southern Lane CakeTaste of Home

Alabama

Southern Lane Cake

Lane cake, also known as prize cake, was officially recognized as the state cake of Alabama in 2016. This iconic cake is a staple in the American South and was invented by Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama. The original 1898 recipe contained bourbon, raisins, pecans and coconut. Today, numerous variations exist. Here are some of the best cake recipes from every state.

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Easy smoked salmonTaste of Home

Alaska

Easy Smoked Salmon

The waters of Alaska are home to five different species of salmon. Every year over 100 million pink salmon are harvested in Alaska, making it one of the state’s most valuable markets. Whether smoked, grilled, roasted or poached—salmon is the signature dish of America’s last frontier.

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Chicken ChimichangasTaste of Home

Arizona

Chimichangas

Was the first chimichanga created intentionally, or by accident? While many claim to be its inventor, there seems to be agreement that Arizona was the birthplace of these tasty deep-fried burritos stuffed with meat and cheese! Chimichangas are always a popular pick on Mexican restaurant menus.

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Fried Dill PicklesTaste of Home

Arkansas

Fried Dill Pickles

While fried pickles seem to be having a moment throughout the country—Lay’s rereleased their Fried Pickles with Ranch chip, recently—they were first popularized in Atkins, Arkansas. The pickles were created in the early ’60s by Bernell “Fatman” Austin at his Duchess Drive-In. Today, the original recipe is only known by a few descendants of Austin, and is used once a year at Atkins’ Picklefest.

If you love old-school drive-ins, you’ll want to check out this list.

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Fish Tacos with GuacamoleTaste of Home

California

Fish Tacos with Guacamole

Spanning nearly the entire western coastline on the U.S., it’s tough to pinpoint a single food that says California (here are all the contenders). When you factor in California’s close proximity to the ocean, booming food truck scene and plentiful avocado farms, however, the choice is obvious. Nothing represents Cali better than a plate of fish tacos topped with fresh guac.

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Green Chile RibsTaste of Home

Colorado

Green Chile Ribs

We challenge you to find a restaurant in Colorado that doesn’t have at least one thing on their menu featuring green chile. Whether topped on a burger, or used as a braising liquid for pork, Colorado natives have a long-standing love affair with this food.

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New Haven Clam PizzaTaste of Home

Connecticut

New Haven-Style Clam Pizza

Invented by Frank Pepe at his Neapolitan Pizzeria in New Haven, Connecticut in the ’60s, this famous pie combines two of the state’s local delicacies in one. This white (sauceless) pizza begins with a thin crust that’s topped with Romano cheese, olive oil, garlic and oregano. It’s then charred New Haven-style in a coal oven and finished with raw littleneck clams after baking. See how it compares to other regional pizza styles.

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Amish Apple ScrappleTaste of Home

Delaware

Amish Apple Scrapple

While this dish may have Pennsylvania Dutch origins, it’s Delaware that has taken this dish and elevated it to new levels. The State of Delaware even celebrates this dish annually every October during the Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville, Delaware. Scrapple is a semi-solid meatloaf often made from pork scraps, cornmeal and spices. It’s traditionally sliced thin, fried and served at breakfast.

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Cuban Roasted Pork SandwichesTaste of Home

Florida

Cuban Roasted Pork Sandwiches

Home to the highest population of Cuban Americans, it should be no surprise that Cuban food and culture have had a strong influence on this state’s cuisine. Originally served in cafes that catered to Cuban workers in southern Florida, two common variations of the sandwich are popular today: one consists of ham and roasted pork, and the other—found almost exclusively in Tampa—adds salami.

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Mom’s Peach PieTaste of Home

Georgia

Peach Pie

Peaches have been a part of Georgia long before it was even a state. The first peaches arrived to the region in the 16th century when Franciscan monks introduced them to St. Simons and Cumberland islands along Georgia’s coast. Today, they’re a state symbol and celebrated by communities annually at a food festival that celebrate this state’s love of peaches.

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grilled huli huli chickenTaste of Home

Hawaii

Huli Huli Chicken

Huli Huli Chicken has a special place in Hawaii’s history and culture. The dish was created in 1954 by WWII veteran Ernest Morgado. The recipe became popular after he started using his grandmother’s teriyaki-like sauce when barbecuing chicken at fundraisers. Today, Huli Huli chicken can still be found at school and church fundraisers but is also a staple at restaurants and roadside stands.

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Huckleberry Cheese PieTaste of Home

Idaho

Huckleberry Pie

As Idaho’s official state fruit, you’ll find all kinds of recipes, jams and dips made using huckleberries. Grown at high elevations, these berries depend on winter snow cover for survival which means most berries are produced and sold exclusively within the state by local growers, like these other regional berries.

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Chicago-Style Deep-Dish PizzaTaste of Home

Illinois

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

While some pizza purists will argue that Chicago-style pizza isn’t really pizza, locals remain loyal to their deep-dish version of America’s favorite food. The main difference between deep-dish pizza and other ‘zas is that a true deep-dish ladles the sauce on top of the cheese and other ingredients. This method protects the other ingredients from burning since deep dish pizza often requires a longer baking time than other pizza varieties.

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sugar cream pieTaste of Home

Indiana

Sugar Cream Pie

If you’re not from the Hoosier State, then sugar cream pie may be a new dish to you. While it’s not as well-known outside of Indiana, residents declared it their state pie back in 2009. This custard-based pie is typically made with ingredients like maple or brown sugar and vanilla cream. Make sure you know the best places to stop for pie on your next road trip.

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Stuffed Iowa ChopsTaste of Home

Iowa

Stuffed Iowa Pork Chops

Iowa is the No.1 pork-producing state, with nearly 22 million pigs raised and farmed there. Cut thick from the loin, Iowa even has its own pork chop that’s often stuffed before being grilled or broiled. If you’re a fan of pulled pork, you’ll want to check out this list of the best BBQ joints.

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Hearty Beef & Cabbage PocketsTaste of Home

Kansas

Hearty Beef & Cabbage Pockets (Bierocks)

While most people recognize Kansas as cattle country, those who live in the state are all familiar with these tasty little meat pies. Created by German settlers in the area, bierocks are stuffed with beef, cabbage, onions and spices.

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Dark Chocolate Bourbon BallsTaste of Home

Kentucky

Chocolate Bourbon Balls

Recognized as Kentucky’s most famous candy, these boozy little morsels were invented in the ’30s by Ruth Booe, founder of the Rebecca Ruth Candy Co. Combining chocolate, pecans and a little Kentucky-made bourbon, Ruth created a state treasure that has been adapted into countless variations by other chocolatiers.

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seafood gumboTaste of Home

Louisiana

Seafood Gumbo

Louisiana is a mecca for great food that’s created with equal parts history and soul. While Louisiana is home to other indulgent culinary delights like jambalaya and beignets, the people of Louisiana named gumbo their state cuisine. Representing the true melting pot that is Louisiana and Creole culture, gumbo is a marriage of African, French, Spanish, Italian and German cooking techniques.

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Lobster RollsTaste of Home

Maine

Lobster Rolls

When people think of what to eat in Maine, they typically think of one thing: lobster. While lobster will often be considered an indulgent luxury, residents of Maine residents are lucky to have close access to fresh lobster almost year-round. Nothing says Maine more than a toasted butter roll filled with sweet, succulent lobster with a side of kettle-cooked chips.

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Classic Crab CakesTaste of Home

Maryland

Crab Cakes

The only food Maryland loves more than Old Bay seasoning is blue crab. That’s why a plate of classic Maryland crab cakes is without a doubt this state’s signature dish. Known for their buttery taste, Maryland blue crabs yield extra tender, flavorful results requiring nothing more than a squeeze of lemon for garnish.

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contest-winning new england clam chowderTaste of Home

Massachusetts

New England Clam Chowder

CHOW-DAH! Is anything more Bostonian than a cup of New England clam chowder served with oyster crackers? With an original recipe older than the United States itself, New England clam chowder became popular well before the Revolutionary War. If you’re a fan of fish, make sure you know some of our best seafood recipes.

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Chili Coney DogsTaste of Home

Michigan

Chili Coney Dogs

Michigan’s Coney dogs culture was born more than 100 years ago, when Greek immigrants brought the recipe to the state from New York. Four distinct regional versions of Michigan Coney have evolved, with each locale claiming to be the best or original: Detroit, Jackson, Flint and Kalamazoo. Collectively, there are more than 500 Coney dog eateries in the state today serving up these tasty chili-topped wieners. If you can’t make it to Michigan, check out the other best places to grab a hot dog.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot BakeTaste of Home

Minnesota

Hotdish

For Minnesota, it’s less about one specific dish and more about a whole category of cuisine known as “hotdish”. If you’re not from Minnesota, or at least the upper Midwest, this may be a new food concept for you. Hotdish describes a whole category of one-dish recipes that are typically comprised of a creamy sauce mixed with a starch, a vegetable and a protein before being topped—most commonly—with tots. Learn how to make a hotdish like a real Minnesotan.

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kansas city-style ribsTaste of Home

Missouri

Kansas City-Style Barbecue

Missouri—and specifically Kansas City—is the barbecue capital of the United States. With more than 100 barbecue joints serving the Missouri side of the city alone, it’s a meat lover’s paradise where locals defend their tomato and molasses-based sauces with pride. Check out these Best BBQ Recipes Across America.

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Shrimp Po’Boys with Pineapple SlawTaste of Home

Mississippi

Po’ Boy Sandwiches

Po’boy sandwiches are synonymous with the Gulf Coast. While they were originally invented in New Orleans, Mississippi can be credited with taking these sandwiches to the next level by filling their po’ boys with a variety of seafood options from their ocean shores. Mississippi eateries like Bozo’s Fish Market and Rosetti’s Old Biloxi Cafe are recognized as must-stop places to enjoy one of their world-famous po’ boy sandwiches.

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Morel Mushroom RavioliTaste of Home

Montana

Morel Mushroom Ravioli

While wild game like bison and elk are local favorites, Montana residents also prize their famous morel mushrooms. Hunting for this seasonal delicacy is a rite of passage for many Montana youth who scour the mountain elevations for these little hidden treasures. Difficult to find under leaves and forest debris, morels have a relatively short growing season. This can up the price of this delicacy to more than $150 per pound when dried!

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Reuben sandwichTaste of Home

Nebraska

Reuben Sandwich

You may be surprised to learn that Nebraska may be the source of this popular sandwich! Legend has it that Reuben Kulakofsky and his friends crafted this creation during their weekly poker games held at the Blackstone Hotel. Eventually, the sandwich found its way onto the hotel’s menu and from there, the state’s love for this sandwich grew.

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Big-Batch Bloody MarysTaste of Home

Nevada

Bloody Mary

It’s near impossible to visit a brunch buffet in Vegas without seeing herds of groggy gamblers attempting to ward off the revelries of the night before with a Bloody Mary in hand. Bloody Marys are renowned as a “hangover cure” due to their combination of ingredients that are believed to help settle the stomach, replenish lost electrolytes and relieve head and body aches. Here’s how to make the best Bloody Mary bar at home.

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Apple Cider DoughnutsTaste of Home

New Hampshire

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Imagine taking a brisk fall walk through the brightly colored leaves in New Hampshire, nibbling on a fresh apple cider doughnut. With apple orchards scattered throughout the state—some growing 100 different varieties—there’s little doubt that New Hampshire residents love all things apple.

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Taylor ham egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a kaiser roll from New JerseyEzumeImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

New Jersey

Taylor Ham Sandwich (Pork Roll Sandwich)

While various brands of pork roll exist, most New Jersey natives are loyal to John Taylor’s “Original Taylor Pork Roll.” Similar to SPAM, this pork-based processed meat specialty was invented in Trenton, New Jersey. It continues to hold a special place in the hearts of the locals.

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The musical "Waitress"

New Mexico

Sopaipillas

The beloved sopaipilla is New Mexico’s version of a New Orleans’ beignet. While beignets are typically always served sweet, sopaipillas can be sweet or savory. The deep-fried pieces of dough puff as they cook, leaving a hollow center that can be filled with meat and cheese. They can be served as a meal, or left empty and simply drizzled with honey.

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Homemade bagelsTaste of Home

New York

Bagels

When it comes to food, there’s one thing New Yorkers can agree upon—nobody can replicate a NYC bagel. Up until recently, it was believed that their unique taste and texture was solely due to the unique mineral content of New York City water. Their iconic taste actually comes from two critical preparation steps: a slow rise at a low temperature and a quick boiling of the formed dough before baking.

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Carolina-Style Pork BarbecueTaste of Home

North Carolina

Carolina-Style Pork Barbecue

Like Missouri, the people of North Carolina love their barbecue. However, the state is divided on exactly what defines North Carolina barbecue. While both versions agree on pork, Easterners will barbecue any part of a hog and flavor it with a vinegar-based sauce. In the west, Lexington-style, the pork shoulder is used almost exclusively and incorporates tomato in their sauce. Learn more about different regional barbecue styles.

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Knoephla SoupTaste of Home

North Dakota

Knoephla Soup

Pronounced “nip-fla” this creamy, German dumpling soup was brought to the state by immigrants who settled in the region. Today, it remains a staple among families who have called North Dakota home for many generations. Containing mainly potatoes, dumplings and chicken, this dish is comfort food at its finest.

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Cincinnati ChiliTaste of Home

Ohio

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Also known as skyline chili, Cincinnati-style chili is a regional specialty of Ohio that residents all know and recognize as a symbol for their state. The dish is made from a Mediterranean-spiced “chili” that gets served over a pile of cooked spaghetti noodles and topped with cheese.

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Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy 120399Taste of Home

Oklahoma

Chicken-Fried Steak

It’s fair to say that no state loves chicken-fried steak quite like Oklahoma. They named this dish part of its official State Meal in 1988. The meal included fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, black-eyed peas, strawberries and pecan pie. What a feast!

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Oregon’s Best Marionberry PieTaste of Home

Oregon

Marionberry Pie

It’s likely that you have never heard of marionberries if you’re not from Oregon. Within the state, they’re well-known and adored. A hybrid fruit cultivated by crossing Chehalem and Olalli blackberries, marionberries are grown exclusively in Oregon and are loved by locals for their tart-yet-sweet flavor.

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Pat’s King of Steaks Philly CheesesteakTaste of Home

Pennsylvania

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

Truth time. Locals of Philadelphia don’t eat cheesesteaks as often as the internet may lead you to believe. However, this sandwich has become so ingrained with the city’s food culture, that almost every tourist makes a point to stop to eat one of these famous hoagies while they’re passing through the City of Brotherly Love.

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Dad’s Famous StuffiesTaste of Home

Rhode Island

Dad’s Famous Stuffies

If you’re from Rhode Island or have visited America’s smallest state before, you’ve probably seen “stuffies” on a menu or two. Stuffies are quohogs (large clams native to the area) that are stuffed with a blend of chopped clams, bread crumbs, herbs, onion, bell pepper and celery. Natives love to make stuffies at home or grab some at their favorite beachside dive bar with a cold beer.

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Frogmore StewTaste of Home

South Carolina

Frogmore Stew

Named for its place of origin in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Frogmore Stew is a way of life for the people of this region. The stew is made by boiling corn on the cob, shrimp, potatoes and smoked sausage together in a single pot. It can also contain Old Bay seasoning, hot sauce, beer, onions—even crab claws.

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rich fruit kuchensTaste of Home

South Dakota

Rich Fruit Kuchens

If you’re from South Dakota, then you’ve probably eaten your fair share of Grandma’s homemade fruit kuchens (koo-kens). Kuchens, which translates to “cake” in German, is a pie/custard/cake hybrid, that can be filled with a variety of different fruits and flavors. Brought to the state by German immigrants, it is the official dessert of South Dakota.

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Air-Fryer Nashville Hot ChickenTaste of Home

Tennessee

Nashville Hot Chicken

While almost everyone loves fried chicken, few states do it better than Tennessee. Renowned for their special Nashville Hot Chicken, Tennessee residents and tourist alike flock to famous Nashville hot chicken restaurants like Hattie B’s and Prince’s. Most want to try to replicate this sacred fried chicken recipe at home in their own kitchen.

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Instant Pot Chili con CarneTaste of Home

Texas

Chili Con Carne

Texas chili con carne is a state specialty that has been adapted into thousands of different recipes and spurred countless chili cook-offs statewide. What makes true Texas-style chili con carne different from regular chili is that it typically contains only beef and assorted chilies. While purists may scoff at the addition of tomatoes or beans, more recipes have begun accepting the inclusion of other ingredients.

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Utah Buttermilk SconesTaste of Home

Utah

Utah Buttermilk Scones

If served to the Queen, she would be baffled by Utah’s definition of a scone. These fried pieces of dough are almost identical to Arizona’s Indian fry bread or New Mexico’s sopaipilla and savored by locals and tourists alike. In fact, one Utah-based restaurant chain estimates that they serve up more than 10,000 Utah Scones every day across their eleven locations.

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the best ever pancakesTaste of Home

Vermont

Vermont Maple Syrup with Pancakes

In any other state, we would call this dish pancakes with syrup, but in the land of maple syrup, your focus is flipped. While Vermont residents serve maple syrup on (almost) everything, few foods are more iconic than this classic breakfast duo. Fun Fact: Vermont produces 47% of the country’s maple syrup!

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Oyster FricasseeTaste of Home

Virginia

Oyster Fricassee

Virginia is the largest producer of farm-raised oysters in the country, making it the East Coast’s Oyster Capital. With numerous oyster events and celebrations year-round, such as the Chincoteague Oyster Festival and Urbanna Oyster Festival, it’s clear that Virginia is the place for oyster lovers to enjoy all their favorite oyster recipes.

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Honey Spiced LatteTaste of Home

Washington

Latte

It’s no secret that residents of Washington love their coffee—it is the birthplace of Starbucks, after all. In Seattle especially, coffee is a way of life among Washingtonians. Whether served black, steamed, frothed or with cream or sugar—Washington equals a good cup of java.

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Breakfast Biscuits ‘n’ EggsTaste of Home

West Virginia

Biscuit Sandwich

Ask a resident what it means to be West Virginian, and they’ll likely mention the Tudor’s Biscuit Sandwich. Residents of West Virginia love their biscuits either served plain with a smear of jam or turned into a breakfast sandwich with eggs, bacon or sausage. A stop at Tudor’s Biscuit World is a must for just about every West Virginia native.

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Crunchy-Coated WalleyeTaste of Home

Wisconsin

Crunchy Coated Walleye

Outsiders are often surprised to realize that almost every dining establishment in the state of Wisconsin offers a fish fry on Fridays. While battered cod and breaded perch are popular offerings, crunchy piece of fried walleye served with fries, coleslaw and a piece of rye bread is the perfect meal for many Wisconsinites. Enjoyed with the mandatory cold beer, a Friday Fish Fry in Wisconsin is all about food, family and tradition.

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Grilled Campfire Trout DinnerTaste of Home

Wyoming

Grilled Campfire Trout

There are five distinct species of trout, and four subspecies of cutthroat trout found in the state. This makes fishing in the streams, lakes and rivers of Wyoming a popular pastime for all. While many pack their catch on ice to bring it home, others enjoy their fish fresh, cooked over an open campfire after a long day on the water.

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