Blue Ribbon-Worthy State Fair Foods You Can Make at Home
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?)
BBQ Chicken Sliders and Waffle Fries
If you want to create your own state fair-worthy food mash-up, look no further than this sweet and savory dish. 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, too.
Carnival Cookie Fries
Don't miss out on enjoying fair cookies all year long. 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.
Air-Fryer Pickle Chips
Make this classic state fair food a little bit healthier at home by frying up pickle slices in your air fryer. Since the trendy appliance cooks food using high heat and circulating air instead of oil, you can indulge in these crispy, crunchy pickle chips guilt-free. You'll get all of the delicious taste of deep-fried food but in a less greasy package! Serve with a spicy sriracha dipping sauce, and you'll love these pickle chips even more than the ones you find at the fair.
Donut Hole Pops
When you’re going for the state fair food vibe, the more food on a stick, the better. This dessert almost couldn’t be easier: Add lollipop sticks to donut holes (any flavor will do!), dunk in melted candy coating, and decorate as desired.
Fried. Bacon. On a stick. For the ultimate fair experience, fry the Battered Bacon on skewers so you can snack on the go. Fried bacon definitely falls into the category of unique things to toss in the fryer, so when you also turn it into a food on a stick, this recipe becomes everything Americans love about the state fair in one crunchy dish.
Classic Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
It's just not the state fair until you find a pork tenderloin sandwich that's almost as big as your face. The super oversize sandwiches don't have to be limited to just the fairgrounds though. When you make this recipe at home, pound the pork tenderloin nice and thin for the maximum ratio of crunchy fried exterior to savory, meaty tenderloin and you'll feel like you're standing right on the main drag of the fair.
Potato Chip Baked Chicken Fingers
Chicken fingers are one of our favorite state fair fried foods, so why not enjoy them year-round? If you don't have the tools to deep-fry at home, these baked chicken fingers are crispy, delicious alternative. Coated with a crunchy potato chip breading, they'll be just as crispy as chicken fingers fresh out of the fryer.
Bacon Cheeseburgers with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce
Bye-bye, basic burgers. These spiked bourbon, bacon, and beef burgers are towering with salty and savory elements that will keep you coming back for bite after drippy bite. These burgers are worthy of a blue ribbon at the fair!
Grilled Corn with Pimiento-Cheese Butter
The state fair wouldn't be the same without an ear of juicy grilled corn! Part of what we love about state fair grilled corn is the variety of toppings available—and this recipe delivers. Spice up each ear with a buttery mixture of pimientos, garlic powder, and sharp cheddar cheese, then sink your teeth into this delicious fair food favorite.
Fresh-squeezed lemonade stands are clutch for cooling off at the fair...and washing down deep-fried foods and state fair desserts. Our DIY drink is an upgrade on the classic with mint, sparkling water, and vodka (for the over-21 crowd) in the mix.
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. Craving even more sweetness? Dunk in, or drizzle with, a powdered sugar glaze!
Watermelon Sherbet Shake
Take a break from deep-fried food and treats on a stick to sip on this refreshing watermelon 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.
Italian-Style Corn Dogs
Corn dogs are definitely one of the easiest fair foods to re-create at home, even when you give them a little twist. 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.
Cherry Hand Pies
State fair food is known for being easy to eat on the go—just like these cherry hand pies! While they might not be quite the same as a slice on a stick, these handheld cherry pies can't help but remind us of all of the sweet finger foods we love at the fair. Whenever you miss walking down the midway, just bake up a batch of these cherry pie treats to make you think of summer.
With a spiralizer, homemade curly fries are a breeze to fry up in your own kitchen. The secret to the crispiest and most crave-able 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.
Cookies served on a stick? Yes, please! 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!). To give them a little extra sweetness and flair, dip them in melted chocolate or frosting and add sprinkles.
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 your slow cooker in a sauce of root beer and chili sauce.
Peach Melba Pie Pops
Few things are more American and summery than a slice of peach pie, especially when you serve it up as a fair-inspired food on a stick. 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!)
Whether you like your fair pickles fried whole or in slices, this recipe lets you make them just the way you like. Coat pickles in buttermilk and a classic cornmeal batter, then deep-fry for a salty, crunchy swap for French fries. Try making a creamy dipping sauce for dunking this deep-fried food to make each bite extra tasty.
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. Like any good state fair food, this deliciously sweet recipe is a mash-up of decadent cupcakes and a luscious banana split sundae.