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

Cinnamon Churros
Photo: Kritsada Panichgul

Can't make it to the state fair this year? No problem. Use our recipes to indulge in your favorite treats—right in your own home—from ice cream sundaes, mini donuts, and deep-fried pickles to corn dogs.

01 of 21

Mix-and-Match Baked Chicken Fingers and Dipping Sauces

Mix-and-Match Baked Chicken Fingers and Dipping Sauces
Kritsada Panichgul

Fair foods often involve mash-ups of epic proportions, so why not try breading chicken with crushed tortilla chips and serving them with a cooled-down Mexican salsa dipping sauce. These are baked rather than fried, and that means we can eat more, right?

02 of 21

DIY Pineapple Whip

DIY Pineapple Whip

In the list of favorite fair foods, nothing cools you off faster while walking the grounds than a frosty pineapple whip. If you can't get to the fair this year, or want one when it's not fair time, this take of the classic Dole whip is only five ingredients and a couple of minutes of blending away from being ready to enjoy.

03 of 21

Carnival Cookie Fries

Carnival Cookie Fries
Matthew Clark

Don't miss out on fair cookies. Strawberry jam and mango puree make for spot-on dessert substitutes 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.

04 of 21

Air-Fryer Pickle Chips

Air-Fryer Pickle Chips
Matthew Clark

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. Serve them with a spicy sriracha dipping sauce, and you'll love yours even more than the fair's.

Buy It: Power XL Vortex Air Fryer ($90)

05 of 21

Donut Hole Pops

Donut Hole Pops
Andy Lyons

When you're going for the state fair food vibe, the more desserts on a stick, the better. This one couldn't be easier: Add lollipop sticks to donut holes (any flavor will do), dunk them in melted candy coating, and decorate.

06 of 21

Battered Bacon

Battered Bacon
Karla Conrad

Fried. Bacon. On a stick. For the ultimate fair experience, fry the battered bacon on skewers and you can snack on the go. Batter-fried bacon definitely falls into the unique category, so when you also turn it into food on a stick, this recipe becomes everything Americans love about the state fair in one crunchy dish.

07 of 21

Classic Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

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. These super-sized sandwiches need not be limited to the fairgrounds. When you make this recipe at home, pound the pork tenderloin 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.

08 of 21

Cinnamon Churros

Cinnamon Churros
Kritsada Panichgul

Right up there with corn dogs and funnel cakes, it's just not a fair without churros. The ingredients needed for this well-loved treat are quite simple; odds are you've got everything you need in your pantry. To get the classic churro shape, pipe the dough using a pastry bag with a large star dip.

09 of 21

Bacon Cheeseburgers with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce

Bacon Cheeseburgers with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce
Blaine Moats

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

10 of 21

Honey-Pepper Bacon Pops

Honey-Pepper Bacon Pops
Andy Lyons

So simple, yet so hard to resist—of course we've got a recipe for bacon on a stick to bring a taste of the fair home. The secret to the big flavor is a honey-soy sauce brushed on partway through the baking time.

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Electric Lemonade

Electric Lemonade
Karla Conrad

Fresh-squeezed lemonade stands are a cinch for cooling off at the fair—and washing down deep-fried foods and desserts. Our recipe is an upgrade on the classic, with mint, sparkling water, and vodka (for the over-21 crowd) in the mix.

12 of 21

Mini Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts

Mini Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts
Adam Albright

Itty-bitty cinnamon-sugar donuts, warm from the fryer, attract long lines of hungry fairgoers, and for good reason. Who can resist the moist cake and the sweet coating? To make them at home, try our low-fuss baked method. Craving even more sweetness? Dunk them in, or drizzle them with a powdered sugar glaze.

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Philly Cheesesteak on a Stick

Philly Cheese Steak on a Stick

No, this is not your usual meat and veggie kabob. This is a Philly cheesesteak deconstructed and rebuilt on a stick so it's transformed into fair food. Hoagie bread cubes and cheese sauce are what give it the classic cheesesteak flavors.

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Italian-Style Corn Dogs

Italian-Style Corn Dogs
Blaine Moats

Corn dogs are definitely one of the easiest fair foods to recreate at home, even when given a little twist. In place of standard hot dogs, this spicy recipe starts with Italian sausage. Dunk the dogs in marinara sauce and enjoy them alongside a tall glass of lemonade.

15 of 21

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies
Andy Lyons

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 pies can't help but remind us of all of the fair's sweet finger foods. Whenever you miss walking down the midway, just bake up a batch of these cherry pie treats to set you dreaming of summer.

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Curly Fries

Curly Fries

With a spiralizer, homemade curly fries are a breeze to prepare. The secret to the crispiest and most crave-able fries ever? Soaking the spuds in water overnight, then giving them a ride in the salad spinner to remove as much water as possible.

17 of 21

Blondie Sticks

Blondie Stix
Blaine Moats

Cookies served on a stick? Yes, please. Add a lollipop stick, wooden skewer, ice pop stick, or even a straw, to long, thin blondie cookies for a showy sweet that's 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.

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Root Beer Barbecue Sauce
Blaine Moats

Warning: You're going to want to roll up your sleeves before you take a bite of this sweet and spicy pulled 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.

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Peach Melba Pie Pops

Peach Melba Pie Pops
Jason Donnelly

Few things are more American and summery than a slice of peach pie, especially when you serve it on a stick. This single-serving recipe is cute and so easy to snack on while holding a milkshake in your other hand.

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Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles
Blaine Moats

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 a buttermilk and cornmeal batter, then deep-fry them for a salty, crunchy twist on french fries. Try making a creamy dipping sauce to make each bite extra tasty.

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Banana Split Cupcakes

Banana Split Cupcakes
Blaine Moats

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.

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