57 Recipes for Homemade State Fair Food

Updated: Apr. 09, 2024

Bring the fairgrounds to your own backyard this summer with homemade versions of classic state fair foods like cream puffs, cheese curds and turkey legs.

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Funnel Cakes

This funnel cake recipe is simpler to make than doughnuts, and it’s just as good. Funnel cakes have been a favorite of ours since we came across them living in the Ozarks. —Mary Faith Yoder, Unity, Wisconsin

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Fair-Favorite Corn Dogs

Bring the county fair home to your kitchen with these summer-ready corn dogs. A tip for dipping: Pour the batter in a tall Mason jar and dunk the dogs to create an even coating all around. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Maryland Corn Pops

Fresh-picked sweet corn is a big thing in Maryland. Here’s my homespun version of Mexican street corn that brings in local bay flavors. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland
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Grilled Huli Huli Turkey Drumsticks

I'm never one to do things traditionally, so when it came time to hosting Thanksgiving, I went in a completely tropical direction. Borrowing my favorite Hawaiian chicken recipe, I substituted turkey legs and have never looked back. —Jacyn Siebert, San Francisco, California
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No-Fry Fried Ice Cream

This ice cream has a crispy cinnamon coating just like the fried ice cream served at Mexican restaurants, but minus the oily mess. Make ahead of time and freeze until serving. —Tim White, Windsor, ON
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Deep-Fried Cookies

My kids love this delicious, indulgent treat. I like to give the batter a kick by adding a pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. — Margarita Torres, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
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Homemade Fry Bread

Crispy, doughy and totally delicious, this fry bread is fantastic with nearly any sweet or savory topping you can think of. We love it with a little butter, a drizzle of honey and a squeeze of lemon. —Thelma Tyler, Dragoon, Arizona
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Jelly Doughnuts

There's no need to run to the bakery for delicious jelly doughnuts! These sweet treats are lighter than air. I've been fixing them for 25 years for my husband, our two daughters and their families. They disappear almost as fast as I make them. —Kathy Westendorf, Westgate, Iowa
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Tacos on a Stick

Kids like assembling these creative kabobs almost as much as they like devouring them. The whole family is sure to love the sensational southwestern flavor of this twist on the classic beef shish kabobs. —Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois
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Bacon-Wrapped Corn

After one bite of this grilled corn on the cob, you'll never go back to your old way of preparing it. The incredible flavor of roasted corn combined with bacon and chili powder is sure to please your palate and bring rave reviews at your next backyard barbecue. —Lori Bramble, Omaha, Nebraska
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Loaded Stuffed Potato Pancakes

When I make mashed potatoes, I always cook extra so I can prepare these over-the-top potato pancakes. Fill them with sour cream, ranch dressing or melted cheese—or all three. —Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
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Deep-Fried Cheese Bites

These beer-battered cheese curds are the ultimate in delicious comfort food. Some folks like to serve them with ranch dressing, ketchup or barbecue sauce for dipping. —Katie Rose, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
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Hot & Spicy Roasted Turkey Legs

Who doesn’t love turkey legs at a street fair? Why wait for the next fair when you can make incredible turkey legs at home? Grab the seasonings and begin! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Waffle Fry Nachos

My husband and two grown sons really enjoy these fun nachos—they can devour a platter of them in no time. They're also fun to make when friends come over. —Debra Morgan, Idaho Falls, Idaho
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State Fair Cream Puffs

The Wisconsin Bakers Association has served this cream puff recipe at our state fair since 1924. —Ruth Jungbluth, Dodgeville, Wisconsin
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Baby Back Ribs

Slow-cook the ribs during the day and they will be ready to finish on the grill when you get home. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Lemonade Iced Tea

I have always loved iced tea with lemon, and this delightful thirst quencher just takes it one step further. Lemonade gives the drink a nice color too. I dress up each glass with a slice of lemon on the rim. —Gail Buss, New Bern, North Carolina
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Gourmet Caramel Apples

These drizzled confections look gorgeous and taste over-the-top yummy. With peanut butter flavor and a salty burst, they'll be the treats you can't wait to make each year. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Indiana-Style Corn Dogs

One of the best parts of the many fairs and festivals in Indiana is the corn dogs! My family loves corn dogs, so I fix them fairly often at home. —Sally Denney, Warsaw, Indiana
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Oven-Fried Pickles

Like deep-fried pickles? You'll love this unfried version even more. Dill pickle slices are coated with panko bread crumbs and spices, then baked until crispy. Dip them with ranch dressing for an appetizer you won't soon forget.—Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
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State Fair Subs

My college roommate and I first ate these meaty sandwiches at the Iowa State Fair. After a little experimenting, we re-created the recipe. We ate the subs often because they were fast to fix between classes and didn't break our next-to-nothing grocery budget. —Christi Ross, Mill Creek, Oklahoma
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Springtime Beignets & Berries

I've always loved beignets, but never thought I could make them myself. Turns out they're easy! Sometimes I'll even make a quick berry whipped cream and pipe it inside for a fun surprise. —Kathi Hemmer, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Jalapeno Popper Burgers

What do you get when you combine a jalapeno popper and a classic burger? This fantastic recipe! It takes the essential components of a popper and encases them in a juicy patty for a burst of flavor in every bite. —Jo Davison, Naples, Florida
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Courtside Caramel Corn

My guests say they can't stop eating my caramel corn! For our basketball party I fix enough to fill a big red tin with our team's logo. The delectable syrup coats the popcorn well but isn't sticky. —Sharon Landeen, Tucson, Arizona
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Sweet Corn Ice Cream

You have to give this novel sweet corn ice cream a try. It’s actually made with corn, sweetly flavored by vanilla extract and maple syrup. I plan to make this surprising treat every summer.—Diana Burrink, Crete, Illinois
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Hearty Pork & Black Bean Nachos

My husband and I are both graduate students right now, so we don't have a lot of time to cook dinner. Our family loves coming home to this incredible nacho platter, and I love how easy it is to prepare. —Faith Stokes, Chickamauga, Georgia
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Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs

Here's a juicy, delicious and savory meal in a bun! I make these bacon-wrapped hot dogs for picnics, barbecues and tailgate parties, and they always get compliments. To transport, wrap the hot dogs in foil and then in paper. —Peter Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese Shells

I created this deep fried mac and cheese recipe for my husband. He describes this recipe as unbelievably delicious because of the crispy deep-fried coating on the outside and the creamy richness on the inside. —Shirley Rickis, The Villages, Florida
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Pizza on a Stick

My daughter and her friends had fun turning sausage, pepperoni, veggies and pizza dough into these cute kabobs. —Charlene Woods, Norfolk, Virginia
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Baked Elephant Ears

My mother-in-law handed down this recipe from her mother. These are a special treat—even better, I think, than those at a carnival or festival. —Delores Baeten, Downers Grove, Illinois
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Southern Fried Okra

Golden brown with a little fresh green showing through, these okra nuggets are crunchy and addictive! My sons like to dip them in ketchup. —Pam Duncan, Summers, Arkansas
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

Crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned, this really is the best fried chicken recipe, ever. Summer reunions and neighborly gatherings will never be the same. When I was growing up, my parents had a farm, and every year, Dad would hire teenage boys to help by haying time. They looked forward to coming because they knew they would be treated to some of Mom's deep fryer recipes, including this delicious fried chicken. —Lola Clifton, Vinton, Virginia
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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

While growing up on a farm, I often ate rhubarb, so it's natural for me to use it in a pie. I prefer to use lard for the flaky pie crust and thin red rhubarb stalks for the filling. These two little secrets helped this strawberry rhubarb pie recipe win top honors at the 2013 Iowa State Fair. —Marianne Carlson, Jefferson, Iowa
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Jalapeno Popper Mexican Street Corn

One of the best things about summer is fresh sweet corn, and this recipe is a definite standout. We love its creamy dressing, crunchy panko coating and spicy jalapeno kick. If you're really feeling wild, sprinkle these with a bit of cooked and crumbled bacon! —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Cinnamon Caramel Apples

We used cinnamon and chocolate to give a fun and tasty twist to traditional caramel apples. Rolled in nuts, coconut or colorful candies, they'll delight kids of all ages. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Walking Tacos

These Walking Tacos are perfect for an on-the-go dinner, a campfire meal or an easy game-night supper. The ingredients go right into the chip bags! —Beverly Matthews, Richland, Washington
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Texas Pecan Pie

I won a blue ribbon for this pie at the Texas State Fair. Since I was in the military for more than 20 years, I didn’t really start cooking until after I retired. Now I enjoy spending my time in the kitchen. —Michelle Shockley, Wichita, Kansas
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Mini Nutella Doughnuts

You can make these bites in advance and refrigerate them before frying. Just be sure to bring the dough to room temperature before frying. —Renee Greene, Smithtown, New York
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Blackberry Lemonade

Here's a special drink that's perfect when blackberries are in season. It has a tangy, refreshing flavor. —Rich Murray, Nevada, Missouri
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Maine Potato Candy

Years ago, folks in Maine ate potatoes every day and used leftovers in bread, doughnuts and even candy. This chocolate potato candy recipe captures the old-school flavors. —Barbara Allen, Chelmsford, Massachusetts
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Grilled Cheese, Bacon and Oven-Dried Tomato Sandwich

Take your grilled cheese sandwich to a place it's never been before with crispy bacon and tangy tomatoes and five—yes, five!—types of cheese. —Josh Rink, Taste of Home Food Stylist
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Chocolate Covered Bacon

Bring your favorite fair-food treat home with this easy-to-make chocolate-covered bacon recipe. The best part? You get to top it however you like, with goodies such as chopped pecans, pistachios, dried fruit, or spicy cayenne pepper. Ready to eat in under an hour, it's the ideal recipe for when the craving strikes.
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Poutine

The ultimate in French-Canadian junk food, poutine commonly features warm fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. This side dish is quick to fix with frozen potatoes and packaged gravy but has all the traditional greasy spoon comfort. —Shelisa Terry, Henderson, Nevada
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Frozen Chocolate Monkey Treats

Everyone needs a fun, friendly way for kids to play with food. These rich bites are nutty and yummy. Just coat bananas in chocolate and dip them into peanuts, sprinkles or coconut. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin
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Marina's Golden Corn Fritters

Just one bite of these fritters takes me back to when my kids were young. Nowadays for our get-togethers, I sometimes triple the recipe. Serve fritters with maple syrup or agave nectar. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Sloppy Joe Dogs

There are so many different ways to top a hot dog, but this tasty sloppy joe version beats them all! —Kimberly Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
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Deep-Fried Candy Bars on a Stick

Why wait in line at the state fair for deep-fried candy bars when you can satisfy your curious taste buds in your own home? Be sure to make a big batch—these novelties go fast! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cheesy Chili Fries

My family is all about chili fries, but restaurant versions pile on the calories. For a healthier approach, bake the fries and serve them with green onions and avocado. —Beverly Nowling, Bristol, Florida
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Italian Sausage Hoagies

In southeastern Wisconsin, our cuisine is influenced by both Germans and Italians who immigrated to this area. When preparing this recipe, we often substitute German bratwurst for the Italian sausage, so we blend the two influences with delicious results. —Craig Wachs, Racine, Wisconsin
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Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

This creamy, luscious ice cream will remind you of the signature treat served at church ice cream socials. What dessert could be better? —Esther Johnson, Merrill, Wisconsin—Esther Johnson, Merrill, Wisconsin
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Fried Green Tomato Stacks

This dish is for lovers of red and green tomatoes. When I ran across the recipe, I just had to try it and it proved to be so tasty! —Barbara Mohr, Millington, Michigan
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Candy Craze Ice Cream Sandwiches

These ice cream sandwiches have a little bit of everything in them to satisfy all your cravings. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Finger-Licking Good Mini Cream Puffs

This recipe is quick and easy to whip up, and the kids will love it! They are perfect to pack for a picnic or to have as a snack for family game night. I guarantee you can't eat just one—they are so addictive and perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth! —Jennifer Erwin, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
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Barbecued Burgers

I can't take all the credit for these winning burgers. My husband's uncle passed down the special barbecue sauce recipe. We love it on everything...it was only natural to try it on, and in, burgers. Add cheese and bacon to take them over the top. —Rhoda Troyer, Glenford, Ohio
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

Apple doughnuts remind me of family trips to South Dakota. We’d stop at Wall Drug for a dozen or so before camping in the Badlands. Maple glaze was and still is my favorite. Share a batch with friends and family who appreciate a hot, fresh apple cider doughnut. —Melissa Hansen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Grilled Seasoned Bratwurst

Whether you're hosting a picnic at home or at a park, cook these bratwurst on the stovetop first. Then you can quickly brown them on the grill. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Refreshing Rhubarb Ice Cream

No matter where my military family is stationed, this ice cream always makes me think of my parents’ backyard rhubarb patch in Rochester, New York. —Rachel Garcia, Honolulu, Hawaii