Blue Ribbon-Worthy State Fair Foods You Can Make at Home

Can't make it to the state fair this year? No sweat. Indulge in the same sweet treats, including ice cream sundaes and mini donuts, and fried favorites, such as pork tenderloins and corn dogs, right in the comfort (and coolness!) of your own kitchen.

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  • 1 of 18

    Mix-and-Match Baked Chicken Fingers and Dipping Sauces

    Fair foods often involve mash-ups of epic proportions, so why not try breading chicken with crushed tortilla chips and serving with a Cooled-Down Mexican Salsa dipping sauce. (Unlike the fair, these are baked rather than fried. That means we can eat more, right?)

  • 2 of 18

    BBQ Chicken Sliders and Waffle Fries

    Stir together a double batch of the grape jelly and barbecue sauce mixture. It lends loads of flavor to the ground chicken patties, and you can use it as a dipping sauce for the waffle fries.

  • cookies, cookie, fries 3 of 18

    Carnival Cookie Fries

    Strawberry jam and mango puree make for spot-on dessert stand-ins for ketchup and mustard. Serve bowls of these dipping sauces with the colorful sprinkle cookie fries for a look-alike snack that will make everyone smile.

  • 4 of 18

    Donut Hole Pops

    When you’re going for the fair food vibe, the more food on a stick, the better. This dessert almost couldn’t be easier: Add lollipop sticks to donut holes, dunk in melted candy coating, and decorate as desired.

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    Battered Bacon

    Fried. Bacon. On a stick. For the ultimate fair experience, fry the Battered Bacon on skewers so you can snack on the go.

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    Classic Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

    Pound the pork tenderloin nice and thin for the maximum ratio of crunchy fried exterior to savory, meaty tenderloin.  

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    Bacon Cheeseburgers with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce

    Bye-bye, basic burgers. These spiked bourbon, bacon, and beef burgers are towering with salty, savory elements that will keep you coming back for bite after drippy bite.

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    Electric Lemonade

    Fresh-squeezed lemonade stands are clutch for cooling off at the fair. Our DIY drink is an upgrade on the classic with mint, sparkling water, and vodka (for the over-21 crowd) in the mix.

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    Mini Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts

    Itty-bitty cinnamon-sugar donuts, warm from the fryer, attract long lines of hungry fairgoers—for good reason. Who can resist the moist cake and the sweet coating? To make them simply at home, try our low-fuss baked method.

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    Watermelon Sherbet Shake

    A splash of sweetened condensed milk gives this light fruity frosty its creamy texture. Freeze the watermelon before blending for an even thicker treat that you can scoop up with a spoon.

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    Italian-Style Corn Dogs

    In place of standard hot dogs, this spicy on-a-stick recipe starts with Italian sausage. Dunk in marinara sauce and enjoy alongside a tall glass of lemonade.

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    Curly Fries

    With a spiralizer, homemade curly fries are a breeze to fry up in your own kitchen. The secret to the crispiest and most craveable fries ever? Soaking the spiralized spuds in water overnight, then giving them a ride in the salad spinner to remove as much water as possible.

  • 13 of 18

    Blondie Sticks

    Add a lollipop stick, wooden skewer, ice pop stick, or even a straw to long and thin blondie cookies for a showy sweet that’s way easy to decorate (since you have a handle!).

  • 14 of 18

    Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce

    Warning: You're going to want to roll up your sleeves before you take a bite of this sweet and spicy pork sandwich. For a hands-off roast that's fall-apart tender, simmer it in a sauce of root beer and chili sauce right in your slow cooker.

  • 15 of 18

    Peach Melba Pie Pops

    Few things are more American and summery than a slice of peach pie. This single-serving recipe is so cute—and so easy to snack on while holding a milkshake in your other hand. (We recommend a mix of vanilla and cinnamon ice cream!) 

  • 16 of 18

    Fried Pickles

    Coat pickles in buttermilk and a classic cornmeal batter, then deep-fry for a salty, crunchy swap for French fries.

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    Banana Split Cupcakes

    Banana cupcakes are good. But banana cupcakes topped with ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, and a cherry? Definitely worthy of a first place ribbon.

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