The Official State Food of All 50 States
Help yourself to a taste of these official state foods from all across the country.
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Official state foods
Each state has a lot to offer when it comes to food. With a rich and vast history, each sector of the United States has developed its own culinary staples. You may be able to think of some of the best hamburgers, best pizzerias, and best coffee shops for each state, but do you know there’s a specific food that each place is known for that goes beyond traditional restaurants? Some of these food choices may even come as a surprise.
How we choose the official state foods
Many states recognize a specific food as a symbol of their state, whether it’s the official state fruit, vegetable, dessert, or even snack. You can read more about each state’s history through food on their respective government websites. Still, there are a few states that haven’t declared any type of food as their own, so we chose some favorite foods that honor the state’s history and its people.
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Alabama: Lane cake
If you’ve never heard of Lane cake, this delicious dessert is a bourbon layer cake with a unique filling that includes pecans, coconut, and raisins. Lane cake was named the official state dessert of Alabama in 2016, and it got a shout-out in the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Alaska: Giant king salmon
Go fish! The giant king salmon, also known as Chinook salmon, has been the official state fish of Alaska since 1962. While Alaskan waters are swimming in salmon, this is the most desired seafood of all the fish species because they can reach up to 120 pounds. That’s a lot of fish!
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Arizona: Apache trout
Like Alaska, Arizona is also known for a fish, specifically the Apache trout. You’ll find these yellow and pink trout swimming around the state rivers of Arizona. They can be grilled, broiled, baked, or smoked. Pair this with one of the best craft beers for a delicious meal.
Aw, nuts! California has legally declared four different nuts as their own, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans. Focusing on the pistachio in particular, California produces 98 percent of the country’s pistachio supply.
Colorado: The Snowball
While Colorado doesn’t have an official state food, they do have a signature drink—and it’s a crowd favorite for a reason. “The Snowball” is comprised of vodka, Fresca, and lime juice. A similar cocktail is also popular in the U.K., but they use lemonade instead of Fresca. It’s the Fresca that makes the drink unique to Colorado.
Step aside, New York, and make way for Connecticut pizza. In 2021, the Connecticut House of Representatives approved a bill that solidified pizza as the official state food of Connecticut. Hopefully residents of the state celebrated the passing of this bill over a large pie (with extra cheese, of course).
Delaware: Peach pie
A sweet slice of peach pie with a dollop of whipped cream was declared the official state dessert of Delaware in 2009. You may have already known that the peach blossom is the state’s official flower, so this yummy treat goes hand in hand. Peach farming has been an integral part of Delaware history since Colonial times. You can probably grab a slice at one of the best diners.
Florida officially acknowledged oranges as their state fruit after a teacher and her elementary school students learned that Florida’s official state flower is the orange blossom, and the official state drink is orange juice—but oranges themselves were not yet recognized at the state fruit. The students wrote letters to lawmakers and put together a petition, and it became official in 2005.
Grits is a Southern staple that’s similar in consistency to porridge and made of cornmeal, and Georgia recognized grits as the official prepared food of Georgia in 2002. The dish can be made into a sweet quick breakfast with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, or served as a side to a more savory breakfast with eggs, cheese, and bacon.
Saimin is considered a “national dish” of Hawaii and one of the state’s most iconic comfort foods. If you’ve never heard of saimin, it’s a traditional noodle soup with thin noodles in a clear broth, and there are many variations that incorporate other ingredients such as scallions, fish cake, or pork. You can even buy this soup in packets in Hawaiian grocery stores, similar to ramen.
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Whether you prefer this vegetable to be baked, fried, or in tater tot form, potatoes are the official state food of Idaho. As the leader of potato-producing states, Idaho grows about one third of all the potatoes in the United States.
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With corn as the official state vegetable of Illinois, it makes sense that the official state snack is popcorn. State Senator Larry Walsh agreed to the bill in 2003 after a group of third-grade students petitioned for popcorn to be the official snack food of the Corn State.
Indiana: Sugar cream pie
The official pie of the Hoosier State is none other than its iconic sugar cream pie. The recipe is rumored to have been invented in eastern Indiana in the early 1800s, and while modern-day recipes can vary, most versions call for a combination of sugar, whipping cream, and butter, baked into a pie crust.
Iowa: Sweet potato
The sweet potato became Iowa’s official state vegetable in 1995, but long before then it was an essential for the region’s Native American population. You may enjoy sweet potatoes baked or fried, but due to their naturally sweet taste, they are a popular vegetable to include in desserts too. Sweet potato pie, anyone?
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Blackberries were designated the official fruit of Kentucky in 2004. They’re a delicious addition to smoothies and oatmeal, while also commonly baked into pies and other desserts.
If you’ve never heard of gumbo, it’s a robust stew-like dish of seafood, sausage, vegetables, and other ingredients, along with flavorful Cajun seasonings. Gumbo dates back to the 19th century and is rumored to have flavors stemming from Native American, African, Caribbean, Spanish, and French cuisines.
Maine: Whoopie pie
This state treat is a real delight for all chocolate lovers. The Maine State Legislature acknowledged the whoopie pie as the official state dessert in 2011. This delicious sweet is made of two chocolate cake-like cookies sandwiched together with a white cream filling. You can even dunk it in some milk. Is your mouth watering yet?
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Maryland: Smith Island Cake
Smith Island Cake is 8–10 layers of chocolatey goodness, with chocolate frosting spread between layers of yellow cake. Since Maryland adopted the cake as its official dessert in 2008, different flavor variations have become more popular. Smith Island itself is accessible only by boat and is Maryland’s only remaining inhabited island.
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Massachusetts: Chocolate chip cookie
Has anyone in history every said no to a chocolate chip cookie? Arguably the best cookie (sorry, snickerdoodle and peanut butter), chocolate chip was made the official cookie of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1997. The Nestle Toll House Cookie was actually invented in Whitman, Massachusetts, by innkeeper Ruth Graves Wakefield. Pick one up as a sweet treat at one of the best delis.
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Michigan: Brook trout
Michigan lawmakers declared the trout the official fish of the state in 1965, but Michigan residents thought the declaration was too broad, as there are many types of trout. Outswimming brown trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout, the brook trout became the selected state fish in 1988.
Minnesota: Blueberry muffin
Wild blueberries are native to Minnesota, so it’s only natural that blueberry muffins would become the official state muffin in 1988. Similar to other state foods on this list, the request was petitioned by a third-grade class in Carlton, Minnesota.
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Mississippi: Mississippi mud pie
While Mississippi doesn’t have any official state foods, it would be remiss not to mention the classic Mississippi mud pie. This chocolate-based pie is composed of chocolate pudding, cake, ice cream, whipped cream, and liqueur in a crust. It’s believed that Mississippi mud pie evolved from Mississippi mud cake, which became popular during World War II.
Missouri: Ice cream cone
Vanilla? Chocolate? Mint chocolate chip? Rocky road? Whatever your favorite flavor may be, ice cream is ice cream, and the state of Missouri recognized its superiority when they declared it their official state dessert in 2008. The ice cream cone was first created in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair when vendors began rolling up waffles and filling them with ice cream.
The people of Montana love their steak. While steak isn’t the official food of Montana, it may as well be, and you can find steak on most menus throughout the state due to their large cattle industry. If you prefer hot dogs, there’s a good place to snag those too.
Nebraska: Runza sandwich
Nebraska doesn’t have an official state food, but they are known for their Runza sandwich. Back in 1949, a woman named Sally Everett opened her first restaurant, called Runza. She served these little sandwiches, and the name stuck. You may also know it as a bierock, and similar to a hot pocket, bread is stuffed with beef, cabbage, and onions.
Nevada: Shrimp cocktail
Even though Nevada is pretty far from the nearest ocean, Nevada consumes more shrimp than any other state in the country. Shrimp cocktail has become a staple on the Las Vegas Strip, with almost every restaurant having some variation of it on their menu. In 1959, Italo Ghelfi managed the Golden Gate Casino and decided to start serving shrimp cocktail, unknowingly starting the trend. You may even find some at the best buffets in Vegas.
New Hampshire: Pumpkins
There’s nothing quite like fall in the Northeast. An annual pumpkin festival has been held in Keene, New Hampshire, since 1991, displaying thousands of pumpkins and even holding the world record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns. The pumpkin itself became New Hampshire’s official state fruit in 2006.
New Jersey: Northern highbush blueberry
Blueberries are native to New Jersey and were the state’s gateway into the agricultural industry. Not to mention, the fruit is incredibly healthy due to its high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. A fourth-grade class campaigned to the state government to successfully declare the blueberry the official state fruit.
New Mexico: Chile
The people of New Mexico claim their state is the chile capital of the world, as the peppers bring a sense of pride to residents—and even though chiles are technically fruits, they’re officially New Mexico’s state vegetable. Used in all kinds of dishes including enchiladas, tamales, burritos, and huevos rancheros, chile is a signature flavor you’ll find throughout New Mexico.
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New York: Apples
We all know New York City as the Big Apple, but the whole state is dedicated to the fruit. Apples were declared the state fruit in 1976, and New York is the second largest U.S. producer of apples after Washington State. With so many options, from Macoun and Cortland to Empire and Honey Crisp (my personal favorite), there’s an apple for everybody if you go apple picking in the Empire State.
North Carolina: Scuppernong grape
This grape was named after the Scuppernong River in North Carolina, where it was first discovered. They are similar to white grapes but are usually larger with small seeds inside each one. Scuppernongs became the official state fruit of North Carolina in 2001.
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North Dakota: Chokecherries
If you’ve never heard of a chokecherry, you’re certainly not the only one. Chokecherries are relatively common across the state of North Dakota and are typically eaten by wild animals, but they’re also enjoyed by humans in preserves, juice, and jelly. They became the official state fruit of North Dakota in 2007.
The largest edible fruit native to North America, pawpaws were declared the official state native fruit of Ohio in 2009. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew their own pawpaws, but the fruit also grows wild in 26 states. They are described as having a tropical taste like a mango, with more of a yeast and floral aftertaste.
Oklahoma: Fried okra
The official state meal of Oklahoma includes a bunch of fried okra, cornbread, biscuits, chicken fried steak, and other staples that reflect Oklahoma’s historical agriculture. Fried okra consists of sliced okra that’s coated in buttermilk, flour, cornmeal, and various other seasonings before being fried to a crisp.
A whopping 99 percent of hazelnuts in the U.S. are grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Named the state nut in 1989, they grow on single-trunked trees that stand up to 40 feet tall. While delicious on their own, hazelnuts are a popular coffee flavoring in addition to being paired with chocolate (even white chocolate) and liqueur, or used as a nut butter spread.
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Pennsylvania: Shoofly pie
Pennsylvania doesn’t have any official state foods, but shoofly pie has a place on the tables of Lancaster County. The Pennsylvania Dutch make this concoction with molasses and a light crumb topping—think coffee cake in a pie crust.
Rhode Island: Calamari
The official state appetizer of Rhode Island was decided back in 2014 to commemorate the thriving squid industry of this little state. The culinary experts of Rhode Island lightly fry the squid with thin slices of pickled hot peppers to create delicious calamari. Sometimes they even serve it with a side of marinara sauce.
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South Carolina: Barbecue
Barbecue became the official state picnic cuisine of South Carolina in 2014, thanks to their reputation for having the best barbecue in the nation—although other states may disagree. Barbecue joints across the state tend to follow sauce recipes that have been passed down for generations.
South Dakota: Chislic
Chislic was named the “official nosh” of South Dakota in 2018. Not to be confused with shish kebab—which combines both meat and vegetables—chislic is more straightforward, using just cubes of meat, stacked on skewers. Both German and Russian immigrants are credited with bringing chislic to South Dakota in the late 1800s.
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To-may-to, to-mah-to. No matter how you say it, tomatoes were designated the official state fruit of Tennessee back in 2003. While typically used in association with vegetables, the beloved tomatoes is actually a fruit.
Not to be confused with New Mexico’s chiles, chili became the official state dish of Texas when the state legislature signed off in 1977 with a resolution stating, “in recognition of the fact that the only real ‘bowl of red’ is that prepared by Texans.” If you’re looking to try some incredible chili, the International Chili Cookoff has been held in Texas since 1967 and is still going strong today.
There isn’t a place in the country that loves Jell-O as much as Utah. Residents of the state consume twice as much Jell-O as the rest of the nation and also have a statewide Jell-O Week. It’s no wonder Jell-O has become the official state snack of Utah!
This may seem like the obvious choice, but maple is such a defining part of the state of Vermont that they decided to make it their official state flavor in 1993. Vermont produces 50 percent of the country’s maple syrup—including two million gallons in 2020.
Virginia: Cured country ham
Virginia is known for their cured country ham. Known for its sweetness after being cured and smoked over apple and hickory wood fires, Virginia ham is some of the most widely recognized ham across the country, pairing well with a big country breakfast.
Washington: Walla Walla sweet onion
The unique Walla Walla sweet onion was classified as the official state vegetable in 2007. The onion, grown in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State, is known for having a sweeter and milder flavor than a classic yellow onion. That’s due to their low sulfur content, which also means these onions won’t make you cry!
West Virginia: Pepperoni rolls
Pepperoni rolls were actually created in West Virginia by Italian immigrants looking for a nourishing and nonperishable meal to take to work in the coal mines. Now, the rolls are the official state food of West Virginia. Modern takes on the dish include onions, peppers, and marinara in addition to the pepperoni stuffed inside fluffy rolls.
Wisconsin declared kringle the official state pastry in 2013. The treat came from Danish immigrants in the 1800s, and some Wisconsin bakeries are still using recipes from around that time. Kringle is a flakey pastry with either a fruity or nutty filling—delicious with a morning cup of coffee.
While Wyoming doesn’t have an official state food, bison is a very popular dish across the state—especially bison burgers. With a similar flavor and a slightly different texture than regular hamburgers, bison burgers are actually a healthier option if you’re looking to reduce your calorie and fat intake.
Now that you know all about state foods, take this food quiz to test your culinary smarts.